amount of pure talent that I have had the honor of meeting and been
fortunate enough to stand on the same stage with during rehearsals and
sound checks is truly amazing.David
Lewis is another example of how a mega talented musician
makes up the heart of Ambrosia.
The members of Ambrosia, as I have said in the past, are cut from a
different pattern than most other bands. David is a prime example of
this. His musicianship speaks for itself, but behind that there is a
whole different facet. He is an extremely warm, open, comical and extremely
interesting person to sit and talk with.
I had been around David in his first years with the band and again I
was there to see his reunion show with the rest of this growing musical
family. It was an evening that I will not forget.
After the show, the members met in the hospitality area and there was
a definite sense of electricity in and amongst us all. As things drew
to a close and we returned to our rooms, David came walking in. I could
tell that this night was not only a special night because of the show,
but it had a different feeling as if it were a whole new start. I had
the pleasure to sit and talk with David and ask things I had never had
the chance to do prior. The rest of the band also found their way to
the room. I sat back and just listened to them all talk. Yeah this was
definitely a different night.
I hope with this interview I can share with you. just a taste of what
I was treated to by being able to talk with this multi talented musician.
Ambrosia was originally formed
as a four piece band, yourself
and Royce Jones were from what
I have been told were brought into the mix to augment the bands sound,
how did that transpire and was
it an easy process?
I played on the "Life Beyond LA" record before
I was in the touring band. Chris had left the band and I knew Burleigh
via a mutual friend; Ed Mann (Frank Zappa).
(I actually played with Joe,
at CAL ARTS when I was going there in 1974.) Burleigh
then called me and I went down and jammed with Joe,
Then I began rehearsing with the band and we started auditioning organ
We went through a lot of people and none of them "got it."
I mentioned trying Chris
he was back in the band. Before the Life Beyond LA tour, Royce
was brought in to fill in harmonies
and sing lead.The whole thing was easy; we were YOUNG!
Q.) You are known as a premier keyboard artist, what type of training
did you have and at what age did you realize this is what you wanted
to do as a way of life?
was raised playing classical piano before I can remember.
I stuck with
that all through my youth. In high school I began improvising and met
key players that shaped my life. My parents had bought me a Fender
and before we all knew it, my band was getting unplugged at high school
because we were improvising in a Miles DavisBitches
Brew style : ) I can't blame
them in retrospect. Then CAL ARTS happened and my technique
skills soared. I also played the top part of the 2 piano 'Rite
of Spring.' That took 1 1/2
years to get down. An achievement I'll always be proud of. 32 minutes
of insane music!
Q.) Who do you consider
to be the one keyboard player that sets the bar for all others?
That is a difficult question. I don't have a favorite.
Many players were very important to me
at various ages. Joe Zawinul with Weather Report,
was a huge influence, as was Chick
Corea and Herbie Hancock. Also, Keith
Jarrett was a monster. Cecil Taylor was also
a huge influence. His chaotic style was really brilliant.
freak of nature? I 'think' the first time I met him was at rehearsal.
What a guy. I tend to gravitate towards eccentric people, and he QUALIFIES.
Haven't seen him in quite awhile. It's probably time for a shoot out.
Q.) How different
is it with the band today compared to the lineup
you first recorded and toured with?
know, not that all different. Doug
are pros. Everyone in this lineup kicks ass.
Q.) Not only are you a fantastic musician but you also design some of
the best web graphics
I have seen, how did you get involved with web designs?
an Ambrosia gig '96 on a cruise
ship in the Caribbean I slipped a disk. After returning I
couldn't lift anything like keyboards and I put out some feelers and
got hired by a guy here in
Santa Monica to be his graphics and web guy. I had already become quite
proficient at Photoshop and when the Internet first appeared I immediately built a
web site and learned HTML. I've been
doing this off and on since.
Q.) Are you still
in contact with David Pack at all?
No I'm not in contact with David. We never really had
major business conflicts;
just played music. He is a very talented musician.
Q.) In your eyes,
what is the one one thing you are most proud of in your musical career?