Until 1979, everything I had composed were either songs for rock groups, composition exercises as a music major at the Cincinnati Conservatory, or perhaps some pithy little original piece for a church service. Shortly after New Year’s in 1979 though, I decided to leave my rock group Tracer, (which I had founded with Curt Sellers in 1977) and pursue a solo album of all electronic music.
For years people had said that they observed that I handle life like a bull in a china cabinet. That seemed an appropriate title for my first “serious” work.I had written some pieces as a composition major at the Cincinnati Conservatory and I did start to work on a master’s degree at the same Conservatory, but I realized that I really wanted to pursue commercial music because it was more financially lucrative than being an arts composer. Yet I was drawn to creating this album as a bridge between my rock and roll song composer life and heading into my new career as a jingle and underscore composer.
Side One, (on a vinyl LP there were “sides” in those days) is mostly pop music; with the exception of the opening piece, the title track of the album itself. Remember disco was starting to influence pop music at this point in time and I was guilty as charged. Side Two, Diagnosis, was a reasonably serious work discussing — in musical terms — what I was dealing with in my 1978 episode with a kidney stone. That was my first of three kidney stone experiences, experiences I never want to again repeat. Yet those four days in the hospital strongly influenced the music on “side two” with this, my first opus. You can read the liner notes to see the now “legacy” synthesizers I used. There is an acoustic piano on Sign of Sending, and there is a live saxophone player who appears at the very end of the work. Other than that, it was all produced on the very best electronic equipment that I could muster together at that time between 1979 and 1981.
It is interesting to me that, although this work is nearly 40 years old, it has appeared on the Internet in multiple places: it has been pirated by other users who have placed it on SoundCloud and other venues. Some of them credit me as the composer; some of them have no idea who wrote this. I assure you; it was I who composed Bull in a China Cabinet. I am indebted to those credited who helped me to produce this recording, artwork, mastering, and marketing. It’s certainly not a refined composition, but it is my first opus of some merit.
Those that know me would likely tell you that very little about my demeanor and drive has changed in the forty-plus years since I began this work. I still strive for artistic excellence, to communicate with others and touch them with the incredible impact that music can have on our lives. And, those same people would likely tell you that I continue to live my life like a Bull in a China Cabinet.