My first band was called The Regulars (Marquette, MI). We were in high school and played mostly punk and 60s garage covers - everything from The Monkees to the Dead Kennedys. Then I moved to Detroit and started focusing on originals. I played in Chutes & Ladders, SlugBug, The OffRamps and Fidrych, before forming The Tucos in 2010. I also released and toured behind a solo-album called Party Of One in 2009.
Mostly just being raised in a home where creativity was encouraged, I think. In our house there was always a piano, always a record player and records - Dylan, Stones, Beatles, Beach Boys, and later Fleetwood Mac, Linda Ronstadt, stuff like that. When a kid shows an interest in something that's not destructive, parents should nurture that. Mine did. My mom played piano and guitar, and I had an acoustic at a very early age. I got into it a bit, trying (failing) to keep up with those records, and became frustrated and quit - until I got grounded for egging the Vice Principal's house in Junior High. I picked it up out of sheer boredom, borrowed a WHO songbook from my aunt Lori, and haven't put it down since.
Around that same time, I started hearing KISS, The Who, and Cheap Trick, and figuring out the guitar was key to the incredible emotional response I was having to that music. I wanted to be Ace Frehley or Rick Nielsen. I wanted to play power chords like Pete Townshend. I wanted to write a song like I Want You To Want Me.
A Crestwood. $40. Still have it.
Exile On Main Street - Rolling Stones
Let It Be - The Replacements
Quadrophenia - The Who
Flip Your Wig - Hüsker Dü
Rumours - Fleetwood Mac
In more recent years -
Southern Rock Opera/Decoration Day - Drive-By Truckers
Real - Lydia Loveless
Southeastern - Jason Isbell
Justin Townes Earle - Nothing's Gonna Change The Way You Feel About Me Now
This is tough, but the answer is probably just that I'm still doing it today. Every time I play a show, release a song, sell a record, that's an accomplishment and something I don't take for granted. I never grew up, never became a soccer-dad (not that there's anything wrong with that!) I've played a lot of shows with artists I am a huge fan of, so working with these people as a colleague or peer and not just watching as a fan is always special to me.
I've known Ken Haas for some 27 years or so. We've played countless shows together, he played on my solo album. He was never shy when it came to expounding how great they were. It took me a few years to come around, but I finally picked one up and haven't looked back!
I have 2 of the PA1s, one is black with P90s tuned to open E and the other is Red-Black burst with Revtron humbuckers. Both have the looser spring in the Bigsby, which I dig.
I have an aggressive style (thanks to ripping off Pete Townshend and Bob Mould for 30 years) and we do a lot of road shows, so my guitars take a beating. A guitar that doesn't stay in tune or loses intonation easily won't work for me in a live setting. My Reverends stay in tune - even after bouncing around in the back of a cold van for countless hours. The action is fantastic, they sound amazing, and it doesn't hurt that they look cool. Every show we play someone compliments my tone and asks about my guitars.
I use a Sampson-era Matchless Chieftain head with either 4x12, 2x12, or 1x12 Avatar cabinets (alone or in various combinations), depending on the room we're playing. I've got various Celestions in each of them.
I run though an old Boss digital chorus and an MXR Carbon Copy Delay, mostly for spotty, occasional effect, but the core of my pedal-tone is the Wampler Paisley Overdrive (the new one with the east-west toggles) and the Spaceman Saturn V Harmonic Booster - a rare, killer boost pedal.
I have an early 80s Marshall JCM800 head and an assortment of other amps, pedals, and guitars that I use for recording too.
Hmmm. I love Taco Bell, Saturday nights at home (when we're not on the road), and good whiskey. I collect vinyl. I come from punk rock, but before that (and still) I am a huge fan of classic metal - mostly 85 and earlier - Ozzy/Sabbath, Maiden, Scorpions, early Crüe, Priest, stuff like that. I like lower case "u"s with umlauts. Seriously, though, travelling with my wife, exploring the Detroit music and food scene, and not taking things for granted.
Yeah - my advice is to just figure out what you want to do and own it – whatever that is. Whether you want to write songs and tour, play covers in a bar or wedding band, or just sit in your basement and play along to records – or anything in between. Do it with an unapologetic passion. If you can align your goals with (or maybe just a notch above) your ambitions then you will be happier than if you jump into something you aren’t really up for or into.
Jeremy Porter And The Tucos are working on our 3rd record. We're looking at a Summer 2017 release date, and we'll be playing all over the place promoting it when it comes out!