Show: Southern California Country
Bands: Cochise, Drive South, Hardriders
Keyboards: Conrad Askland
Show Dates: 1989-2004
Number of Shows Performed: 1100+
Many people know me as a conductor and musical theater composer, and are surprised to learn that I spent many years playing country music. Before playing keyboards for country artist Freddy Fender and cowboy artist Roy Roger’s Jr., I slugged it out in the Southern California country music circuit with bar bands playing high energy dance music. I learned to love country music and develop an appreciation for the style. It was pretty much a full time gig with at least 5 shows a week in Los Angeles, Arizona or New Mexico.
Later, I would go on to play with country star Freddy Fender and even got to perform live on tv at the Grand Ole Opry. What a fun ride that was.
It was a really busy time and I was doing steady studio engineering during the day and sometimes going out on gigs with many different groups, so I think this is where I really honed my chops on time management.
For many years I actually hauled around a thirty space rack full of tone modules so I could use different stacks of sounds for strings, synth fx and time based techno fx for the line dances (not everyone appreciated it!). But I love when musical worlds collide and as much enjoyment I got out of respecting the traditions of country music, I also had fun mixing it up with Vegas horns, classical strings and a little techno overly here and there.
You haven’t lived until you’ve played a trucker bar at one o’clock in the morning.