I was born in a small mining town in Los Cerrillos to my two loving parents, Hector and Mercedes. My father was a 3rd generation miner and my mother was a grave digger and gambler.

I spent most of my early years in quiet isolation reading Dostoevsky and Joyce as well as learning the finer points of Stud Poker and Craps on those rare days my mother was not digging up clay under the hot, arid sky of New Mexico.

The isolation was not due to being unsociable, but rather because I found it easier to cope without the ridicule of the other children and neighbors in town. My mother was what one would call a conspiracy theorist and believed the government had been poisoning us for years by dousing us with barium and aluminum by way of commercial airlines and the fluoride in our water supply. She claimed once enough barium and aluminum soak into our skin and mixed with the ingested fluoride, the government will be able to read our minds and control our thoughts. I was forced to wear metallic running suits and wide brimmed hats lined with aluminum and all my footwear covered with thick plastic wrap whenever I was outdoors to shield myself from the chemtrails. After each meal, we also had to squeeze into each nostril a solution made of two ounces of pure water, neti salts and drops of tea tree and eucalyptus oil.

This was normal, right? Fortunately we were also not allowed to have a TV in our house since it was another government means for programming the citizens, so I eventually moved on from reading about the struggles of life and began to read science books. It didn’t take too long to figure out my mother, bless her soul, was completely freaking nuts and her logic had all come from unscientific research and crock pots. Of course, trying to reason with her with actual facts and scientific research was futile since, according to her, all scientists secretly worked for the UN and their quest for the New World Order. And although most of the governments belonging to the UN believe they all share a part in this structuring, they are really just pawns for the Illuminati who actually control the UN. Although I whole heartily agree the TV has definitely become a device for programming, I would argue it’s not programming us to be government led robots, but consumer doormats and morons. But by the age of 17, that is the only thing we agreed upon and I could no longer stay with my parents under such bizarre restrictions.

So I packed up my books and jumped on my 1974 Schwinn Continental, brown, 10Speed Tour bike, and peddled my way to my uncle’s cabin in Au Train, Michigan. It was there I learned not true love of nature while I was free to breath and feel the clean air. I learned to fish for walleye and northern pike in Lake Superior and trout in the nearby rivers and streams. But it was the evenings that I learned I learned my most valuable life lessons.

Every evening a few of my uncle’s buddies would stroll on out to his cabin each with the musical instrument of their choice and a few homemade brews and shine. Each night was different with never the same instrument or beer being passed around. Fiddles, banjos and a plethora of 6 and 12 string acoustic, classical, flat-top, and selmer guitars were passed around each night accompanied by an array of harmonicas or empty jugs. It was the 90’s, but instead of learning about Eddie Van Halen and Snoop Dog on MTV, I was being cultivated in the true art of American music. Whether the mood called for some jazz and the education of the greats Django Reinhardt, Andres Segovia, Joe Pass, a little banjo or bluegrass of Lester Flat, Hot Rize,and Bela Fleck, some Nashville picking of the legendary Chet Atkins and Hank Garland, or the roots of blues and rock and roll through Robert Johnson and Chuck Berry, I soak it all in like a tube sock on the foot of a fat guy running a 10K in Death Valley.

Between the picking, beer was shared and stories told about how each came to be, everything from Blonde Ales to Russian Stouts. Everyone had their favorite style whether it was a Golden, Pale, Brown, Red, Scotch, or Cream Ale, Hefeweizen, Altbier, Porter, or Stout. And each was discussed with passion in great detail until the shots of moonshine took control and the music and discussion turned to distorted nonsense and the occasional fist fight.

When my education was complete, I headed down to Indiana to grow some corn and work on my tan. It was here where I met my new friends, Jordan, and Cowboy who, like myself, had a fond desire for music and beer fueled conversations.

The rest is history.

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