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Frank Portolese

I come from Mishawaka, Indiana. When I was 10 years old I saw the Beatles on the Ed Sullivan TV show. The next day we were all on the playground during recess deciding what instruments we were going to play in the band we were going to form. I was going to play harpsichord but that didn't work out. Now my buddy Chuck had a $20 acoustic guitar with a big note painted on the top. He showed me some chords, and after his parents bought him a nice Gibson SG Chuck let me borrow the big note guitar and his chord book. I remember that the “D” chord was really hard for me.

In those days I would take the AM radio from the kitchen into my bedroom and listen to the music on WLS and WCFL every night. I found I could pick out the bass lines of those British Invasion groups. I noticed that if the bass note was an A, chances are the chord was some kind of A chord. I've had a good ear for music ever since.

I would play my riffs and my friends would flip out and say I was great. I would think, “What's wrong with YOU?” I learned that people are easily impressed, and it was a little disillusioning. I liked playing, however. I knew there was more to music than this, and that I was not going to find it in Mishawaka.

I went to college and it was awful. After a year I went to New York, stayed with friends and tried to be a rock and roll guitar player. I lasted two months. Of all things, I got homesick. New York was fast, the people were fast, I wasn't sure I could hang. Small town boy. Back in Indiana, tail between my legs, and my Dad found me a better school.

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