I love music. We had a piano in my big Boston Irish family; my mother sang Handel, my father loved John McCormack. An aunt gave us the Benny Goodman’s Carnegie Hall LPs--I flipped for “Sing Sing Sing.” In high school I wore out my Billie Holiday and Duke Ellington records, but convinced I’d never learn to play jazz, I became a writer instead.
“Hit the Road Jack” introduced me to Ray Charles in college. A girlfriend knew all of Chuck Berry’s lyrics, and a drummer pal took me down to Harlem’s Apollo Theater to dig James Brown. I panned the Beatles in my campus column, praising Martha and the Vandellas instead. This, my first “rock writing,” got people talking.
Willing to teach
Beginner to advanced
Faculty, Third Street Music School, NYC
Private students: $60 an hour