But I think the moment that stands out the most for me was when I discovered my destiny. The “new guy,” Dann Huff was practicing his guitar before sound check. As I walked by the stage, he hit the distortion pedal on his rig, and a “fuzz” sound came out of his amp that I hadn’t heard before. I was about 8 years old, and the only music I had really gotten into was my parents’ (mainly because, oh yeah, did I have a choice?), Neil Diamond and the occasional “Sesame Street” hit. I was into “Muppets” and Star Wars, but THIS . . . this was rock ’n roll! The guy was screaming a solo and playing with lightning speed and astounding precision.
“Hey man,” he looked up at me.
“Hey,” I said, still in utter amazement.
“What’s your name?” he asked.
“I’m Dann Huff. Nice to meet you.”
I was staring at his guitar like he was holding a light saber.
“You like guitars?” he asked.
I nodded with my mouth agape.
“Well check this out!”
He started playing some riff that I could only assume was NOT in my parents’ set list. I realized that I had just crossed over into a world from which I would never return.
From then on, this 19-year-old prodigy guitar player was hounded and harassed by the boss’ 8-year-old son.
I started to take a genuine interest in guitar and
music. At the time, Dann had a small studio apartment
in Alexandria, and I would go over and hang out with
him, listening to music, learning riffs and taking home
cool new records he’d let me have — none of which my
mother exactly approved.
(Benjy as a kid with his mom, Gloria)
Of course, I would jam to loud music upstairs in the playroom, most of the time interrupted by Mom or Dad flipping the light on and off from the downstairs light switch — my indication to “TURN IT DOWN!”
Years later, I started writing and formed my own band. We toured and played and had some small successes. One chapter of my life always seemed to open to more exciting chapters. I’m now producing films. I still write music and still, every once in awhile put on the old ’80s jams, strap on the air guitar and turn it up to ungodly levels. I have my own house now, so I don’t have to deal with my mom or dad giving me the TURN IT DOWN signal; it’s mainly my wife rolling her eyes at me asking, “You ever gonna grow up?” Ha. “Maybe next year, Honey . . . but probably not.”
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