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The Musicians


In addition to writing all the material on my albums and producing the projects, I also play bass guitar, acoustic rhythm guitar on most of the tracks and sing the lead vocal on about 70% of the songs. I started the first album back in Oct. of 1995 with the bass line for the song "Lookin' For My Baby" (which has been used 4 times in the daytime drama, 'All My Children'). Ten months later I had written and recorded a CD of 12 songs from rock to funk to R&B flavored ballads to romantic pop. With themes as diverse as everyday relationships and regrets to science fiction mystery to blues to out on the road, good time rock and roll this album covers a wide range of interests and emotions.  The second album, "Ride On", took a bit longer to complete, 16 songs in about 3 1/2 years, but was equally fun to record. Many songs were from personal experience and I wish to thank two beautiful ladies, Jan and Shirley, who have passed in and out of my life several times and left me with the inspiration for many of these songs. Again, there is a wide variety of styles and themes including two country tunes, another science fiction adventure song and a lot of rock and blues. I also threw in some romantic ballads, one funk tune and a song about a pyromaniac, (must have been something I ate before bedtime). My 3rd CD 'Any Questions?!!' was written and recorded with songs that are, again, drawn from real life. As I like to say, 'All you have to do is look around and pay attention' (Thank you-Shirley). The new CD was released when we opened for  REO Speedwagan  Sept 18,04, as part of our CD release party. I also played locally in a very visual and dynamic blues/rock trio, 'Black Book', and we had a 'Live' band CD out.

John West is a stunning singer who brought his extraordinary range, muscular vocal power and great vibrato to the rock songs in the first collection while also showing great feeling and sensitivity on the R&B flavored songs and the ballads. This was especially evident in his ability to build to dramatic and breathtaking endings on songs like "Victim Of The Plan", "I'm A Lucky Man", and "Dark Star". John's voice has been heard with groups like 'Badlands', 'The Cozy Powell Group', 'Saints And Sinners'(the original 'Whitesnake' band), and on several tours with the guitar instrumentalist Michael Lee Firkins. He has recorded several CD's with the group 'Artension', and three personal CD's, all on Mike Varney's Shrapnel Records label and is currently recording and touring in Europe and Japan with the EuroMetal band 'Royal Hunt'. Locally, John sang and played guitar with one of the best gut level, no frills rock & roll bands in the area, 'Dirty Joke'.

The guitarists on the first CD, Demian Meng and Marvin Allen, brought great tone and power to the songs. They didn't just play riffs, they 'made statements' with great note selection and feeling in their leads. Notice the very dramatic solo work from Demian on the song "Storms of Madness", and the equally fiery lead from Marvin on "Dark Star". Their playing brings large amounts of six string horsepower to the songs, and contributes heavily to the guitar driven sound of the music. They both have had recording projects of their own on the market and have played on many other sessions as well. Marvin was the driving force in a great local rock & roll and funk band, 'Earthbound' along with his lovely wife, Marcie, and has continued to write and play for many other projects.

Demian is also featured on 12 of the 16 cuts on the second album "Ride On", and has become a valued contributor to the 'Rider' sound. We have worked together on 22 songs and counting and his playing has become better with each new track. Notice the lead work on "Taste Of Candy", especially the outro and release to the 3rd verse. This song is my personal favorite. Also, while his solo on "Back To My Heartbreak Kid" is equally strong just listen to the rhythm guitar work, that'll turn your head around. Listen, also, to the finger picked acoustic rhythm guitar work on "I Just Can't Be Free", very Fleetwood Mac-ish. Demian is also a very good singer and song writer and has two great albums of his own.

The drums and keyboards on the first album were handled by Kevin Sanderson and Doug Colosio, both of whom were part of the road band for the very popular north state country act, 'The Marcy Brothers'. Kevin, as a powerhouse drummer with a great right foot, (notice his work on "Dark Star", and "Jonnie The Foxx"), and rock solid timing, also played for several years with the local fusion band 'After Dark'. 

Doug Colosio, in addition to playing all keyboards, (standout tracks include "Moonlight Fantasy", and "You Were A Friend Of Mine"), scoring and singing backup harmonies, was also the recording engineer and co-producer of the first CD. His considerable engineering talent is responsible for the punch and great sonic quality of the music and, justifiably, earned him the album credit nickname 'Great Ears'. His work on the CD also earned him praise from Greg King, the chief mastering engineer at the time for Disc Maker. Doug currently is the keyboard player for Merle Haggard and is also a great writer, co-writing the title track, 'Haggard, Like Never Before' and 'Lonesome Day' on Merle's current album. In addition to his writing and playing he was recently (12/4/03) the subject of a feature article in the 'DATE' section of Redding's Record Searchlight newspaper. I have been fortunate to have him play recently on two more of my songs, "The Man I Want To Be' where he contributed a great rock organ to the track and a featured keyboard part in the song, 'Look Into My Eyes'.

Also appearing on the first album, singing an amazing guest vocal at the end of the song "Two Train's Runnin'", is Marcie Green. If her scream at the start of that part of the song doesn't raise the hair on the back of your neck, you're dead! In addition she adds her beautiful voice to several other songs singing great backing harmonies. It took me awhile, but for the second album I was finally able to write a song for her to sing worthy of her talent. She contributes an incredible vocal performance on "Back To My Heartbreak Kid", really conveying the story in the lyrics with great emotion, check it out. Since this song was recorded, Marcie Green has become Mrs. Marcie Allen, marrying Marvin Allen in beautiful Whitmore, Calif. in June of 2001.

David Callanta and I have worked together, almost continuously, in three different acts over the last 12 years. We started out with the formation of a blues based band called 'Helynnback' which evolved into the kick ass, hard edged blues rock trio, 'Black Book', known for No Dinner Sets, No Barry Manilow  Medley, And No Background Music For Polite Conversation, and had a 'live' band CD out called, 'Any  Questions?!!', and we meant it. David, Dennis Cadigan (profiled below) and I played all over the Northern Calif. area and developed a large and loyal following over the years. We were embraced by the local 'biker' clubs and were known as one of the premier 'Biker Bands' in the area and proud of it. I have always really liked David's playing as there is something in it that has always moved me. I have watched him learn several styles over the years from the blues of Tommy Castro to the blues rock of ZZ Top to the jazzy blues of Robben Ford and then incorporate these influences into his own personal playing library. In this area and I suspect other areas as welI, there are many great players who are only good for the middle of a song. David's value in addition to his playing skill is his work ethic, he actually learns the complete song. Because of this I knew that there could be no other guitar player to play on 'Rock&Blues...The Rules' when I recorded it. We played together again Sept 18th, 04 when 'Rider' opened for REO Speedwagan at the Events Center at Win-River Casino in Redding, Ca. (see REO Pictures page). While we are not currently playing together on a regular basis, (I've Got To Change That!!) since David and his lovely wife (and our band mom) Elizabeth are living in the bay area, we try to get together on a more selective basis as our busy schedules permit and more recording is needed or touring name rock bands need a good opening act.  David and Elizabeth are not just bandmates but really good and lasting personal friends and I love them both.

I also feel very fortunate to have Dennis  'Cadillac' Cadigan as the drummer on 13 of the songs on my second album and 7 songs and counting on the new CD, 'Any Questions?!!'. The nickname refers to the groove he generates that's as wide and comfortable as a Cadillac. Dennis is also the drummer I've worked with for many years in the group 'Black Book' and he brings extraordinary timing and feel to my tunes. I personally like a relatively simple kick and snare to get more impact and he gives me that, 'in spades', and then adds these incredible high hat fills. Notice his handy work on "Taste Of Candy" and "It's Not Over". Also notice his 2 tom breaks on "Flame In The Night". Other things that stand out in my mind about Dennis' drumming is his ability to hold tempo, especially live. I know that I have a tendency to push the beat and Dennis has the ability to gently hold me in check without getting in my way and for that I thank him. I've got tracks that vary in tempo only 1 to 2 BPM over the entire 6 1/2 minutes of the song and if you think that's easy, try it sometime. Another standout is his ability to add live drums to a pre-recorded song with a drum machine on it. He not only has to play creatively but he has to follow a pre-recorded arrangement. Check out his work on "Midnight Flight". He has done this on many other tracks and I'll bet you can't tell which ones they are, they're so seamless. This is why Dennis is another important part of the 'Rider' sound and why I personally wanted him drumming for me when we opened for REO Speedwagon (see REO Pictures page).

While I usually play bass guitar on my tracks, when I wrote a song called "Eyes Of Smoke And Fire",  I felt that a good friend and a stunning bass player, Phil Rowe, would be a better choice for this funk style of playing and I was not wrong. He's an extraordinary slap and pop player with great timing and very creative ideas and he contributed several great fills and accents to this track. He is easily one of the standout players on the song and is in heavy demand locally for his phenomenal technical ability over many styles of music. As I like to say, Phil is the 'Muscle And Blood' of the songs he's part of with all the power he generates with his playing and he's who I want behind me kicking me in the ass when I'm doing my songs live. What a rush!!

Dan Frost is a truly unique guitar  player with an incredible ability to bring very interesting playing to a difficult song, 'It's Not Over'. He was given no space for a true solo and had to fit his playing into and around the singing and a spoken part and did a stunning job of it. I have also had the pleasure of having him play lead, both acoustic and electric, for me in several shows that I have done, most recently when we opened as an acoustic duo for 'Lydia Pence&Cold Blood' for Shasta Lake City Celebration 2007.

Two of the songs written for the second album, "I Just Can't Be Free", and "She Left Her Memory", seemed to work very well in the country field and for that reason I brought in two people who have spent most of their lives singing and playing country music. Dave Laam and Teddy Fox are two guys who are not only authentic country musicians but are extremely good at what they do. As guitar players they know most of the styles that are part of the country sound, from 'chicken pickin', to pedal steel licks, to slide, to blindingly fast single note leads. As singers, there is no question as to their country roots. They know the feel, the phrasing and the emotion of country music and how to convey it to the listeners. I feel extremely lucky to have these two very talented gentlemen singing and playing on the songs that I have written. As of 6/15/03 Dave has also added his voice and guitar playing to a song that will appear on the upcoming CD, 'Rock&Blues...The Rules'. That song is a country version of the title song called 'Country Blues...The Rules'. Check it out on the Music page.

Grant Rudolph was not on the original CD version of 'Ride On', but, I had the good fortune to get him to play keyboards for me when Rider opened for 'REO Speedwagon' at Win-River Casino. We played some songs for that show that didn't have keyboards in them so he had to create his own parts. One of the songs was 'Your Memory Just Won't Set Me Free' and he created a clavinet part that just blew me away. I knew that I had to re-record that song and get his keyboard part in it and also give him a lead solo spot. I think that his playing made a huge difference in the energy of that song and inspired me to change the melody in certain places to go along with that energy. I will certainly be using his keyboard skills in future songs.

I used one other drummer on the second album and his name is Ralph Phipps. Ralph came in as a pitch hitter on short notice when I needed to complete the song "Race With The Devil" for a special event. He is a well respected blues, jazz and rock player locally with great timing and impact and I was lucky to get him for this song.

I needed a keyboard player to round out the band and I was very lucky to be able to get the services of Bill King, a very talented player and singer. Bill has been playing in a band with Phil Rowe (profiled earlier) so it was a natural choice. Bill in addition to amazing ability on the keyboard is also a very talented singer in his own right and is noted for his Elton John chops both instrumentally and vocally. While I have not had an opportunity to have Bill record for me yet, I plan to remedy that just as soon as possible.

I also wish to acknowledge the tremendous and valued contribution to the 'Rider' sound and look made by Kevin Palm. While he has not played or sung on any of the songs  his talent on the computer is as strong as any of the musicians or singers. He is my computer guru and without his expertise my music and the 'Ride On' and 'Any Questions?!!' CDs would not be possible. His talent at sound mastering and graphics is immediately evident when you hear the music and see the CD packaging. For anyone interested in help with recording, music mastering, packaging, graphics or computer setups and tutoring, Kevin can be reached at (530) 243-8861 or Thanks Kevin.

And, of course, who can fail to notice the amazing and rhythmic conga work on "Stole Her From A Fool" by Redding's own percussion legend, Ricardo Festiva.

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