Jack the Riffer
All my early life I was surrounded with music. Mostly big band jazz and classical. My creative influences really began with the Beatles in 1963. That in time lead to the British Prog invasion. I listened to the Beatles extensively and started singing their harmonies. I loved all instruments, but I found myself always tapping away to the music, so I decided drumming was for me. Unfortunately, we lived in an apartment and drums would not work, so my mother suggested I take up guitar instead. That idea changed my life immediately because guitar playing to me was very natural.
At 13 I really began listening and learning the guitar parts to Joe Walsh with James Gang. Black Sabbath and Wishbone Ash. Also, I was very attracted to the PROG sounds of ELP, and Pink Floyd. At one point a friend played me some YES and Frank Zappa. Wow! That was guitar playing that was making perfect sense to me. Shortly after that, Genesis and the eerie sounds of Steve Hackett’s guitar playing was introduced to me. I was slowly morphing into a progressive musician.
One night at a concert in Toronto, my musical direction changed forever. My friend and I had good tickets to see Wishbone Ash in Toronto. Excited to see Wishbone Ash, the headliners, we happily waited for the opening act to play. They were an unknown band with a strange name, “Gentle Giant” As they came on stage and played, I was transformed to somewhere I cannot explain. We were both stunned. Now in musical shock from seeing Gentle Giant, my mind simply could not appreciate at that moment hearing the blues influenced double leads and sounds Wishbone Ash does so well. In a daze, we left the show, walked up Yonge Street and bought 2 Gentle Giant records.
Since then I began writing, playing, and touring throughout the world extensively and I must say the last 35 years has gone by very fast! Fortunately, I have been able to entertain thousands of people everywhere. Some of the acts I played with included all original music. AIRKRAFT, TEMPEST, TITAN, and MYTH. Also, in 1984 I joined Lee Aaron a successful female recording artist from Toronto for several tours including Europe. Lee Aaron challenged and introduced me to a heavier side of guitar playing.
During the 80s cover acts became very popular. Because of my progressive background I was fortunate to play in two acts doing the music I loved. First Yes Shows, a complete musical journey playing the music of Yes. Although short lived, we all had an amazing time playing together for the gigs we had. And secondly. Over The Garden Wall. The complete history of Genesis music. Timing was everything because in 1986 two new recordings, Invisible Touch with Genesis, and SO, by Peter Gabriel were released. Both had major hits on Billboard. This made our band extremely easy to book and we had a successful 10 year run all over North America.
Although I had been writing my own originals all along, the opportunity to record them professionally never came along until I came off the road and settled down. After making the decision to write my CD things flowed quickly and the CD was created. I had moved from Toronto in 1998 out west to a wonderful city in the interior of British Columbia. Although Kelowna is beautiful, it was difficult for me to find progressive, like minded musicians and it was at that point I wrote, sang, and played everything except drums on my first CD AS ONE. Ideas I had for years finally were expressed. At 63 I continue to play and write music daily. My preference for Prog music keeps my mind alert. Feel free to check out my music site www.jacktheriffer.com You can hear my CD there. Stay tuned for 6 new songs!