Oral History -
John Waite was born in Lancaster, England and began playing ukulele at the age of four. In school he studied art and always felt that his music incorporated art at some level in addition to the music. In 1975 one of his first bands, The Babies, recorded a video that went along with their song and this was many years before MTV existed.
Doc Bochenek provided some interesting background on a number of important companies and instruments during his 2020 NAMM Oral History interview. Having worked with Moog Music, Doc was the one to sell the synthesizers that Disney used to create the music for the Main Street Electrical Parade.
Alan Barclay entered the music industry as a salesman, which is where his love of the industry developed. In 2003 he opened Absolute Music, an instrument retail store in England that incorporates a host of special services for his customers, helping set his store apart from his online competitors.
Lloyd Baggs began his journey in music in forth grade as a cellist. After playing in youth symphonies he landed in the UCLA symphony while still in high school. Lloyd graduated from college with a degree in Fine Art and made his first guitar while working as a fine art master printer.
Roger Smith began playing the piano and singing in church at an early age, quickly falling in love with the way people reacted to the music he performed. He was introduced to the Hammond organ thanks to a friend from school whose uncle was the legendary Jimmy McGriff.
Karrie Keyes grew up with a deep appreciation and understanding of art. She played in both band and orchestra at school. As a teenager in Los Angeles in the early days of the punk rock movement, Karrie began helping load out gear for local bands.
Mark Spring was presented the 2020 Parnelli Lifetime Achievement Award for his dedication and contribution to lighting design. His incredible career began on tour with Def Leppard and continued to include some of the most successful tours of the 1980s, 1990s and early 2000s.
Willem Van Dijk started his career with Gibson Guitars as a sales rep for their European branch in 2005. With a focus on his sales and technology background, Willem helped expand the company’s dealer base and Internet presence. He was promoted to Sales Director then Vice President of Gibson Europe at a time when sales for Gibson’s products were higher than ever before.
Jim Fitzpatrick’s passion as an award-winning sound mixer can be traced back to fourth grade when he began playing trumpet and later trombone in the school band. During those early years Jim also developed an interest in electronics. While acting as a roadie for his band as a teenager, he would fix up the gear and learn the inner workings of all the sound equipment.
Oliver C. Brown was a member of KC and the Sunshine Band when they recorded their big disco hits that helped define an era of popular music.