I got kicked out of my own jazz trio back in 1998, because I came up with a Nick Cave song that I wanted to experiment on. We had also just recently recorded an album experimenting with Schubert songs, which the producer then wasn’t prepared to publish anymore, fearing the album wouldn’t sell. He claimed that it too experimental.
My basic idea back then was, to try to stick closest possible to the original chords and melodies and focus only on rhythmic feel. We got into major disputes, my companions refused to play simple three note chords and so we’d always end up in improvisational orgies over ongoing tension chords, which was really what I was trying to avoid.
These sort of major disappointments, plus friends and family members doubting me all along have led to a very long path of digging through pits full of toxic relationships and bad business deals in permanent search for answers and difficulties identifying with my instrument, envying drummers and guitar players, because they had gigs with pop bands.
But there is always two sides of the coin...
…and both sides have equally influenced me and marked the style I play today:
When eighties Pop really kicked off around 1983, I was 12 and in the best possible age to get totally attracted. No other genre has touched me deeper ever since.
-But that was the time where daily life was flooded with music from renaissance to modern 24/7 and my mum would take me with her to the opera house, where I would hang out with the stage engineers and watch the rehearsals. I remember when I entered the backstage area for the first time, I ultimately felt, this was the kind of place I was going to work in one day.
As a student at music university I had teachers and colleagues giving me that feeling, that Jazz was the only true genre and horn players would claim Coltrane to be the only true saxophonist.
-But that was the time, when I really got into rhythm, tone and expression. My sax teacher was obsessed with Coltrane and enabled me to internalize Coltrane’s sound techniques. I was less interested in the bebop stuff, so I focused more and more on my tone and articulation. I never bought a Coltrane album though, I preferred to listen to Ben Webster, Stan Getz, Maceo Parker, Jan Garbarek, Chet Baker, Oscar Peterson, Jimmy Smith or the Modern Jazz Quartet.
After some years of experimenting mainly for myself, I started to hang out with people from the rock scene and was invited to join a rock band emulating the sound of bands like Kyuss, Nirvana and Sonic Youth.
-That was when I was able to establish fatness in my tone, train my breathing techniques and learn how to play more like a rhythm guitar. I also learned how to maintain stability even though you’re totally drunk and stoned.
But I eventually got bored blowing my ass off, trying to keep up with that constant high level energy in the music and pretty much gave up on the idea of pursuing a career as a rock saxophonist.
I raised my two wonderful sons instead, today 14 and 16 years old.
I became a singer-songwriter and failed to establish a band after five years of trying.
I built the “Blue Piano”, a midi and audio workstation in the look of an old piano. (I’ll try to cover that story in another blog post)
I worked nine to five jobs, gave lessons at a local music school near Vienna for nearly a decade and worked as a cabdriver every now and then, all of which I preferred to do for a living, rather than having to play unpleasant and poorly paid gigs over and over again.
Ten years later my family broke apart and I moved to Berlin.
And another ten years went down the drain having to cope with legal fights over visitation rights, health issues and a really difficult city to maneuver, if you’re seriously aspiring for a career in the music business. I feel that people from German speaking countries won't tell you shit. No Go-Givers. If you don't manage to get into the right circles, you won't get anywhere and end up playing lousy jam sessions at lousy places with lousy to 0 payment.
And again I find myself in the same deep pit of toxic relationships and bad business deals.
So once more I retreat from the music scene.
But in order to sustain my abilities, I would continue to live my dream by pretending recording sessions with my favorite artists in my home recording studio.
I would pick a favorite original, cut out one or two loops and jam.
I became obsessed with the idea of flooding the internet with hundreds of clips of me recording to a Rammstein, Drake or Massive Attack original. And so the Living Dream Sessions thing became a habit and I was luckily able to document more or less throughout the last two years, since I started.
Flooding the internet is probably not what I'm going to do, but it feels great to have it all accessible in one place, at last!
Please let me know, if my music inspires you, I'd be thrilled to hear yours!