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I've been reading a lot of other starving artists "bio" pages and I got the feeling that they have much better press agent than I do. Of course, I am my own press agent (and I suck at it) so thatís part of the problem. Here, then, is my vain (vane?) attempt at a more "glitzy" biography.
Doug was born the second son to middle class parents living the American dream at the edge of the desert in Phoenix Arizona - 1960.
He showed an aptitude for music from a young age by learning all the words to the theme from Gilliganís Island.
His parents listened to a wide variety of music - from Slim Whitman to Gene Autry.
The Chipmunks molded a great deal of his early musical experience as well.
He attended music class at Saguaro (Sahuaro?) grade school where the teachers continually stated that he "pretty much kept on key".
In sixth grade he joined the band as a 5th chair flute player. In the band he mastered such challenging tunes as
"Mary had a little lamb" and "twinkle twinkle little star". After almost 2 years in the band and moving up to 4th chair
(the 3rd chair girl moved to Ohio) Doug decided to move on because - in his words "I didn't want to get up that early anymore".
Doug had a major musical breakthrough in 1972 when he discovered that there was more than one radio station.
At least one of them actually played popular music & rock n roll. This opened up an entire new world of wonderful rock music and
sugar coated tooth decaying bubble gum pop. Crocodile rock, little Willy, seasons in the sun, horse with no name, the lime in the cocoanut,
dead skunk - the list goes on and on.
Eventually he settled on a few favorites and started to amass a record collection that eventually
weighed several hundred pounds. His early influences included - John Denver, Elton John, The Partridge Family and Barry Manilow.
In his first year of high school Doug's mother bought an old player piano without the "Player" (so you had to play it yourself).
Doug taught himself to play a handful of simple tunes including "Mary had a little lamb" and "twinkle twinkle little star".
He figured he was on his way to fame and fortune, or perhaps infame and misfortune.
In 1976 Doug signed up for a guitar class during the fall semester at his high school - Moon Valley.
To keep cost low he "borrowed" his mothers Harmony archtop and decided to start practicing during the summer.
Hours of tireless playing later he had mastered... well, not exactly mastered, but gotten the basics of...
well, the chord progressions at the very least, to "house of the rising sun" and "country roads".
He dropped out of the guitar class after a week because he was on his way to fame and fortune - again.
The Harmony guitar died from over use, excess heat and poor workmanship. Doug then moved on to a "borrowed" Yamaha that had been his uncles.
The next year or so saw Doug learning several new songs (four) and attempting to write lyrics (badly).
Most of those early attempts have long since been destroyed and can no longer hurt us (there is a God).
After high school Doug discovered beer. He also discovered that several establishments that served this magic elixir also had musicians
who played relatively recent music accompanying themselves on the guitar.
Doug attended several late night jams with these aspiring troubadors and discovered he was, in fact, NOT on his way to fame and fortune.
The ridicule was tough but he bounced back by accidently stepping on his guitar one night. Doug then went out and actually "bought" a guitar.
It was the cutting edge of acoustic electrics. An applause guitar. The back was made of a rounded hard composite of some kind.
The neck was made of solid aluminum. The strings were made of steel. The thing weighed a TON. Doug started in learning new songs (six)
and poked at writing lyrics (still badly). Again these were thankfully lost at some point.
Around 1983 Doug became more interested
in women and beer than music so the guitar gathered dust in the corner. After 1985 it saw the light of day even less.
Luckily the guitar was such a peice of junk that no one could even give it away. So when the bug bit again Doug still had his old,
extremely heavy friend with 20 year old strings.
In 2001 Doug finally bought a real guitar and discovered he had forgotten every song he ever knew except "Country Roads".
For the next year or 2 he "claimed" to want to learn to play but never took the time. In March of 2003 Doug bought a Martin Cowboy II
and suddenly he really wanted to play. From that point on he took a guitar every place possible and several places not possible.
He started playing in his car at lunch every day - the same song over and over.
After a year of playing every day the fingers started taking off on their own and Doug began composing guitar instrumentals.
With the aid of a Tascam 4 track recorder and a cheap computer, Doug recorded his first CD "1958 Archtop Harmony".
The accolades rolled in from all over.
"Thanks for your business" - CD Baby music distributor
"Wonderful" - Doug's mom
"Uh huh" - Most of Doug's co-workers
Doug started playing the open mic at a mall every now and then & a showcase here and there.
Doug decided to give lyrics another try at this point (slightly better than prevoius tries).
Since then Doug has written and recorded over one hundred original songs. He has finished 7 CD's of guitar instrumentals and 8 CD's
including his vocals. Doug has released several of the CD's at CDbaby.com. He has been compared to Gordon Lightfoot,
John Prine, John Denver, Jim Croce, a sack of flour, that guy from Mr. Bean and others. Sometimes favorably.
In 2009 Doug decided to learn how to perform without his knees knocking or his voice warbling because it was cutting into his image
as an "artist". Or whatever it was he thought of himself. From March of 2009 until September of 2010,
Doug hosted an open mic every Saturday night at a local drinking establishment
called "Katie J's". Many times there was applause, laughter or the ever popular "I thought it was the radio".
Doug was released from
his responsibilities at a large airplane manufacturer who shall remain nameless in June 2010 - after 12 years of employment -
due to, as they put it, affordability issues. Translated to mean "they outsourced his day job to the dollar store of computer services companies
in order to save a couple bucks".
Undaunted Doug began playing at the bar more often.
It was around this time Mike Helland wandered into Katie J's looking to play guitar for tips.
They became friends and started an open jam on Sundays. It was very popular with the 7 regulars.
In Sept of 2010 Doug went to his 30 year high school reunion. Then because of family and a love interest,
he packed up all of his cherished belongings in a really small truck, and moved back to Phoenix Arizona.
Phoenix, the valley of the sun, the home of his youth, the dust bowl, the hottest city on earth, the screen door to... well, you get the idea.
Since then Doug can be seen playing guitar during the 11am mass at St. Jerome parrish and at some of the open mics in Phoenix.
And so the adventure continues....
Copyright ©2005-2011 Doug Barnett. All rights reserved.
Updated 08/09/11 By Doug Barnett