Tom took up guitar, at age 14, and is largely self-taught, learning from books and by ear. His discovery of Ry Cooder’s slide guitar music through a Arlen Roth course set the course for his primary musical explorations. At 17 years old, Tom ran away from home and school with the clothes on his back and his Sears Dreadnaught Folk guitar and eventually hitchhiked his way to San Diego where he survived on Sunday afternoon busking in Balboa Park and the kindness of strangers for a few months. He began writing songs at this point and two of those songs are still in his current solo repertoire.
Coming to his senses, he returned home and continued as a hobby guitarist and songwriter. He joined the Air Force shortly after being married in the early 80’s. After the marriage fell apart, he requested an overseas assignment to Comiso, Sicily. While there, he made friends with a local musician, Salvatore Micieli, who invited Tom to perform at a Festa in Pedalino where he was very well received by an audience of about 2000, singing a couple of Beatles songs. He was hooked on performing.
Upon returning to the US, he joined with Gary Fozbot in forming the short lived hard rock band, The Fozmonots, switching to electric bass as the least proficient of three guitar players. They played a few gigs and eventually split up as members left the Air Force or were reassigned. Tom was honorably discharged from the Air Force after 6 1/2 years and returned to Whitman, Mass.
The first thing he did when he got home was to start auditioning for bands, eventually getting hired as bass player, backing vocalist for The Silver Wings Band, a country/rockabilly/general business band headed up by Paul and Nancy Coulombe. Along with Wayne Conners, their guitarist, Paul and Nancy encouraged and trained Tom, bringing his performance ability and confidence level up to a point where he was highly sought after as a side man for the next two decades. A succession of bands ensued in several genre, Ridgewood, The Alternative, Degage, The 58 House Band, etc. He worked hosting Blues Jams, as a side man for GB gigs and then eventually ended up fronting a highly popular and talented blues band with horn section, Bill’s Fast Shoes.
Then he discovered the internet. His day job interfered with performing and he took several years off to write and record new songs, explore music and further develop his chops on multiple instruments, returning primarily to his first instrument, guitar. After moving to Maine in 2004, he met Leo Chalmers, a bassist/blues harmonica player, and they formed the current line up of The Ketchfish Brothers which also includes experienced guitarist Billy White and ace drummer Tim Mariano.
Edited by ketchfish on 22 May 2009, 15:02
Memory, so please pardon anything I’ve forgotten which is a lot!
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