Timmy G - Guitarist/Vocalist/Music Instructor
I was born in the city of Walnut Creek, CA. My parents were both New York transplants - my father, an Irish Catholic surgeon and my mother a German-Irish Catholic nurse. I was born in the very same hospital where my father worked for 30+ years, and where he eventually died. I miss him every day - he was the most brilliant man I ever knew. It was probably my mothers side, however, from whence I acquired the "music gene" - my mom sang in a church choir, and two of my uncles were musicians (my dearly departed Uncle Ritchie played guitar and sang, while my Uncle Bill was a professional drummer on the Long Island circuit for many years). I always thought my uncles were "cool" and looked up to them to some degree.
I first started playing guitar at the tender age of 13, right as all my friends were getting into heavy metal and guitar-based music. My first lessons were with Rich DeAgo out of Countrywood music in Walnut Creek... if I remember correctly I took lessons with him for about 1 1/2 years. From him, I learned the fundamentals of rock and blues guitar, as well as a slew of songs by my favorite artists at the time, among which were Metallica and Led Zeppelin. At about 15, I was recruited by a high school band as a singer, as it was determined that I could carry a tune and was good at imitating Mike Patton. Yes, our small high school band was terrible, but it taught me much about interacting with other musicians and composing songs in that format.
As time went on, I got myself some proper vocal training (mostly through the local community college, DVC - a few voice training classes and a year in the DVC Jazz Choir a few years later). I went on to get a job working at Max's Opera Cafe in Walnut Creek, primarily due to my singing ability, as I had absolutely no serving experience at the time! Max's was quite a formative time for me in a number of ways; while employed there, I developed an interest in Jazz and Latin music, as well as an interest in languages (I began learning Spanish from the cooks, and it just took off from there). It also made me a much stronger singer, able to sing five nights a week without ruining my voice (thus necessitating that I learn proper technique, just to survive!)
My newfound interest in Jazz music led to me pursue private lessons in jazz guitar, and I had two great instructors - Mr. Joe Livoti out of Black Market Music in Walnut Creek and Mr. Alex Skolnik, famed guitarist from the band Testament. I took lessons from both of them for about a year each, and the experience greatly improved my playing as well as my knowledge of applied music theory.
After playing in a few bands (Flab R Glap, Banana Hammock, and Malavita), it became quite clear that I most likely would never become a rock star (which seemed at the time to be the only route one could go as a working musician), and so made the ostensibly practical decision to go back to school. As an undergrad as UC Riverside, I majored in Foreign Languages (Spanish, Italian, and German) and studied abroad for a year and a half (1/2 year in Goettingen, Germany, followed by 1 year in Italy). Engrossed and enamored by all things international, I decided to go to Grad School at the Monterey Institute of International Studies, where I received a degree in International Policy Studies. I had dreamed of a life of travel, culture, and purpose: I could help change the world for the better!
However, these particular dreams of mine still have yet to see fruition. After two years employed at a consulting firm, from which I was subsequently laid off preceding the economic tsumani of 2008, I found myself unemployed, and worse, unable to find employment, even given my seemingly great education. The Universe, however, has a funny way of placing things in your path...
So now, I find myself in the seemingly strange position of having "fallen back" on my first love: music! I have found myself making my living in earnest as a musician, as both a teacher and a performer, and it has been wonderful. I feel valued and appreciated for the work I do - in fact, it feels as if this was what I was born to do! Despite my best efforts at resisting what was in front of me the whole time, music has found ME again. And so, here I am!