I was 12 years old when my dad asked my younger sister, Denise, and
wanted to take music lessons. Upon the advice of my
older sister, Kathy, who told me
that "guitar was for sissies", I decided
to take drum lessons. I remember wearing out
dashboard of my dad's old Rambler practicing on the way to class,
sitting in front of the TV twirling my drum sticks and striking the
My first real band was called "Grindstone".
We used to
play the teen clubs and bars
in the Norfolk, Virginia area where my
dad was stationed at the time.
I was 16 we moved to Okinawa. I had stayed the summer in Norfolk
so by the time I got to Okinawa my sister Denise had already
met all the bands on the
island. There was the Japanese band
Sizen, the Okinawan bands Murisaki and
Psycho, and of course the
American Army Band called TLA or Trans Love Airway.
I hooked up
with a great group of high-schoolers like myself and we formed
Blues Band". We used to play the bars in the city of Kosa and
the troops at Monsa Beach about once a month along with all
After I graduated from
Kubisaki High I went to live with my sweetheart in Baltimore,
Maryland. I did pretty well in college that year (made the
Dean's list), but then my girlfriend
dumped me and I moved down to
Florida and eventually made my way to Gainesville, where
ever since (except for a summer when I moved up to Jacksonville to
we'll get to that in a bit).
My first Gainesville band was called "Treat", a five piece dueling
After "Treat" had run it's course I hooked up with a
couple of cats and formed "Holy Trinity",
a 3-piece power trio.
This was the band that I moved to Jacksonville for a summer to play.
Yeah, holed up in a 3 bedroom house, no AC, Dorman (the guitar player)
and his daughter,
Michael Bowlus and myself, this was the rock and
roll life! We were playing the local bars,
the same circuit as
Molly Hatchet and .38 Special.
One night Dorman came home from a late
night of partying and told us he was gonna do
We could come along or not. We choose not, and Michael and I
moved back to Gainesville. Now, this was the year of Lynyrd
Skynyrd's fateful plane crash
which left their label in a pinch to fill
the Southern Rock void left at what seemed to be
the end of Lynyrd Skynyrd.
Molly Hatchet, .38 Special, and Dorman Cogburn (as a member of Alias)
were picked up by the "big boys" and Michael and I slipped
I soon ran
into someone who, in retrospect, was probably the most influential
influence of my life... a wildman named Jorge Corrochano.
The first time I saw Jorge play I
thought he was the best single act I
had ever seen. He wore metal finger picks and had such
strong right hand technique. And then when he opened his mouth,
you would like, have to
look around to try to figure out where all the
sound was coming from.
We started a band called "Condor"
mostly covers and a few of Jorge's originals.
This was the last
band that I was the drummer in. Up to this point, I had always
played a little
guitar and had always had all of the guitar players in
the bands I was in show me something,
but was the drummer and only
played drums on stage.
"Condor" died a slow painful death, but
Jorge and I remained friends and started
This was the birth of "Steel Bamboo" and the first band in which I
played guitar and sang backup. We started out as a 3 piece,
Jorge, Pete Wankelli on
Moog bass, and myself.
filled out into a 6 piece with Waldo Lee Snarnof on drums,
on bass, Pete Wankelli on piano, Rob Glaser on percussion, Jorge on
acoustic guitar, and me on a borrowed Gibson ES-295 guitar. We concentrated on Jorge's
originals and a "world music" kind of thing.
diverse lifestyles caused us to implode, but not before I was hooked
guitar and singing, not to mention I was ready to stop having
dreams about my arms all
flailing around at night doing an endless
Jorge left town and Pete, Rob and I fell in with bassist Charlie Thomas and
drummer Matt Latsko and formed "Satori", the first band where I was the lead
and lead guitar player. We played around for a year or
so, but it was about the time my son
was beginning school so I
figured it was time to get a real job. I became a warehouse
and truck driver for Orange Blossom Cooperative Warehouse for 9
"Satori" slipped into
oblivion but I always kept a rehearsal warehouse at the Mini Maxi.
This was the period that we started
having jams on Monday nights. Man those warehouses
coolest place to be with sometimes 6 or 8 bands playing all at once.
Yes, you had to play loud to be heard. But anyway, Pete and I
would host a Jam every
Monday. We would supply the beer and
pizza and musicians from all over town would come.
never know who would show up. Usually 5 to as many as 20 people
there. We'd have dueling bass players and drummers, piano
and of course a guitar army.
Definitely some of the best times
in my life.
This was also when I met my friends Brad Burns,
Kevin Leary and Charlie Hargrett,
and the period in which most of the songs on this CD
For about 2
years, around this time, Pete and I had a Midi show. Pete would
play the piano along with midi files he had made of strings,
horns, synth and such. I would program
the drums and together we
became "The Department of Art and Music
I was playing out on the patio at Napolitanos and they kept asking me if I had a nickname.
Well, I think Pete was probably the first person to
call me Doc, so I told them "Doc Garret".
Freddie Pryor, Kevin
Leary and John Glancy and myself formed probably the first version
of what would become the "Doc Garret Band".
Brad would also come and sit in with us
from time to time. Freddie got sick and was out of action for a while and
Brad stepped in.
Brad always had his cover and original bands
going at the same time but somehow it all
worked out. We went
from "King Doc" to
"Rocktafari", to the
"Doc Garret Band".
I want to
take a moment to mention one of my old friends and a man I learned a
Tom Hart. Kevin, Tom and I would meet after work 2 or
3 times a week and play in Tom's
apartment with a drum machine.
We would always try to do something different or
learn something new