Attack of the Panic Button
I was born and raised in a shady small town in the hills of northern California the year Roger Maris hit 61 home runs and 2 years after Buddy Holly died. I grew up on baseball and music and, by the time I was 8, I wished I could be John Fogerty. I wrote my first song at age 10 and I had my first band when I was 15 called 'Highrise'... performing mostly original material with some covers thrown in.... we lasted for about a year before disbanding in 1977. From there, I formed a new group called "Street Child". Funny because we had no idea what it was to come from the streets. The lineup in that band included Curtis Christian, now with Super Duo Sellout in Portland, Oregon. Street Child stayed together for almost 3 years and disbanded in 1981. In 1982, I hooked up with an amazing guitar player and singer, Kenny Williams, along with Tom Vandergrift and Johnny Rodriguez (who plays with Black Slaxx in Northern California). We called ourselves the "Rod Wilvanbec Band", a name created by combining the 1st 3 letters of each of our last names. I look back and see that the combination of musicians was pretty amazing; especially Kenny Williams who really should have a record deal right now.... Anyway, we played throughout small towns in Northern California, Oregon, and Nevada before disbanding in Pinetop Arizona in 1984.... There's a story there that's too lengthy to go into here... but that's when I decided to move to Los Angeles. I arrived at 5:00 a.m. on a Greyhound and knocked on the door of a place where Curtis lived with his roommates, one of which was Gordon Wall. Gordon answered the door and I went from saying a couple of weeks to moving in. It was in Los Angeles that, through the wonderful Recycler, I found bassist Doug Thresher (Now of the Wildcats in Albuquerque, NM) and drummer Omar Racedo. We played from 1985 - 1989 through most of the clubs on Sunset Strip under the name "The Barnburners". In 1988, we released an album called "Wish You Blue" under the newly formed Blast Label, headed up by Eddie Alienello and Robert Feist, who now owns Ravenswork music in West Los Angeles. "Wish You Blue" charted on CMJ just in time for us to disband in order to raise families.... prioritization has it's blessings and price. In 1991, the Barnburners reformed under the name "Runaway Train" for a short sting through Dallas, Texas where the song "Pleasure" was featured on KDGE's "Cannibal Crabs Crawl to Kill" CD. That September was the last time the 3 of us played together. In 1992, I began writing songs with Gordon Wall and, after a few acoustic gigs; we met up with drummer Tim Edmonson and bassist Steve Kompst. We also called ourselves the Barnburners, which I sometimes refer to as the Barnburners, Part II. Our music was different from the first Barnburners - with much more country influences. We kept everything on a driving Acoustic plane and started making noise but personal interests kept us from continuing and we disbanded in late 1993. I still think that band had a chance at something really great. I continued writing for the next 14 years while ping-pong-ing between domestic bliss and musical frustration.... with the exception of a Rod Wilvanbec reunion show on 4/20/2000 and some open mike nights at the Fret House in Covina, CA, I spent my time raising our family with my wife Eva at the helm. In 2006, I started to realize and really feel like my chance to do something musically beyond just playing guitar in the living room was running out. This is where panic set in and the title of my new album, "Attack of the Panic Button". I spend a few months going over about 50-60 songs that I had written over the years and finally settled on 12 that I think presents a good cross-section of songs and styles. The album was recorded in my garage on an 8-track Tascam 688. In order to craft the songs in a way that I was hearing them in my head, I learned to play the drums and bass.... The rest is kind of like a big, loud, experiment... hopefully with songs that you will listen to over and over again. That's where this ends up.... and I think it's just starting....