(This is the 9th chapter in my autobiographical series. This chapter was initially in the form of an email sent to my music fan email list on June 10, 2020. It has been edited and expanded for this blog. All the previous chapters in this series can be found on the column to the right. Go here to start at the beginning.)
The Move to Denver and Charon Blue
In the Spring of 2000, I got a job offer in Denver and moved there. After settling in, I started looking for a band to join. I joined a band called Charon Blue in late 2001 or maybe early 2002 and played lead guitar. We made a demo CD (available exclusively for members of my fan club, The Misfit Club to download). We played three gigs, two at Herman’s Hideaway in Denver and one at a bar in Aurora, Colorado, whose name I can’t remember.
I quit Charon Blue in late 2002 or early 2003 for a couple of reasons, one of which was that I had decided to take up songwriting. That will be the subject of the next chapter.
Folk Music and Pub Songs Demo CD
I discussed my interest in folk music in previous chapters– see The Missing Years, Part 1, and The Missing Years, Part 2. From the age of 18, I’ve always had a split musical personality– half electric, half acoustic; half rock, half folk. I never really fit in in either, but I fit in both.
Since the 1970’s, I would get out the acoustic guitar and play songs for friends who came over to hang out, or at parties. By the 1990’s, before, during, and after Faded Innocence, I began taking it more seriously, taking singing lessons, and developing a repertoire of folk songs I liked. During this time, I was invited to play a couple of “gigs” at friends’ parties. After Kurt left and Faded Innocence ended, I got myself a solo gig at the University of Arizona in Tucson.
My repertoire was a mix of the songs I had learned in the 1970s– Jimmy Buffett, John Prine, Jackson Browne, Jerry Jeff Walker, etc.– and Irish pub song bands that I had been turned on to in the 1980’s, especially The Dubliners. And in the 1990’s, my mandolin-playing boss, Dave Firestine, turned me on to some funny folk songs. My repertoire followed the Irish tradition: the songs were either political, funny or sad. I don’t like happy songs, or inspirational songs, or love songs. Still hate that shit. I like songs that are real; songs about real life; songs I can relate to. Love? Gimme a break. What does a guy like me know about that? “Everything’s gonna be alright”? Bullshit. That’s not the world I live in. I like songs that tell the truth, either with humor and sarcasm, or let the sadness come out in all its glory.
Even though I had decided to start writing my own songs, I knew that it would take awhile before I would have enough to play a whole set. So, while building up a supply of my own songs, I went searching for a bar in Denver that would let me play my acoustic cover songs. So I made a home demo CD and called it “Pub Songs.” (This album is available exclusively for members of my fan club, The Misfit Club to download.) I played these songs at a few bar gigs in 2005 and 2006. But as I wrote more of my own songs, these cover songs began dropping off the set lists. About the only ones that remain from those days is “Please Don’t Bury Me” by John Prine, and “The Beer Song.”
By 2007 I was ready to make a home demo of my own songs, which would be called “Some Songs I Wrote.” That, and the followup CD, “Me,” will be the topic of the next chapter.