... And of course the PERspiration...
What inspires me to write and play music ?
As you go on through life you encounter people, things and events
that sometimes have a profound effect on you.
out of many such experiences, a few immediately spring to mind ...
My main influences as a guitar player go back a long way, all the way to the Beatles and KISS, in fact. They were the first bands that got me aware of the guitar as a way cool instrument to play. So my  first real guitar hero was Ace Frehley of KISS, and I spent many a moon staying up trying to figure out all of his licks, especially from the Alive! album.
(vinyl, remember ?)

I also got quite heavily into the twin lead guitar sound of Iron Maiden, who really taught me alot about what what melodic soloing and great feeling in guitar solos was all about. And who can forget the short but glorious stint of Vinnie Vincent in Kiss 83-84 ! He is truly one of the most underrated guitar players ever, and in my opinion he never topped his playing on
Kiss' "Creatures of the night" and "Lick It Up", neither before or after.

After that I discovered Randy Rhoads and later Yngwie, who really opened the floodgates, so to speak, with a whole new vocabulary of playing, that also got me interested in classical music big-time. After that it was inevitable that I discovered the whole "Mike Varney" stable " of guitarists, Tony MacAlpine, Vinnie Moore, Paul Gilbert, Jason Becker,
the list goes on and on ...

This was during the late eighties "Guitar Boom" when a whole new standard of guitar playing was reached. It was during this period, up until the early 90's when I did most of my woodshedding on my guitar. Ah, the many hours of sweat and blood, with nothing but your guitar, 3 octave triplet sequences, some coffee, a metronome and a love for music ! My love for classical music also got me into playing classical guitar and learning the violin. This was a period where it was cool to be a great musician, and it seemed that most musicians you knew really tried to improve themselves.

Well, as it turned out that would all change, as the 90's beckoned, and Flannel shirts were all the rage. I turned the other way instead, and started focusing on improving my songwriting and arranging skills. One of my main influences in this area are the underrated genius of Kip Winger, as well as other AOR singer/songwriters like Don Henley, Glenn Burtnick and Bruce Hornsby. These guys opened up whole new ways of approaching music and melodies for me, and probably taught me more than anyone else about songwriting.

Other styles of music I also have found intriguing are the sounds of Jazz/funk players like Ronny
Jordan, Larry Carlton, and Robben Ford  - and acid jazz bands like the
early Brand New Heavies and especially Fourplay.
Although I don't really write and play much in that vein now, after the demise of my previous band
Public Connection, I still find that music interesting to study and listen to.

But one of the most profound influences on me is without the shadow of a doubt, the powerful music of RUSH. In my mind, RUSH are probably the band that comes closest to encompassing everything I find great about music. From virtuoso musicianship, to progressive arrangements and textural landscapes, to their thought-provoking, insightful lyrics, they continue to astound me, and I constantly discover new things in their music after some 12 years of listening. They truly epitomize what a band should be doing : continually breaking new ground, constantly adapting themselves, without compromising one bit of their integrity, and strong individual principles.

In closing, even though the music I write in SAHARA sounds nothing like RUSH,
the principles on which they make music can be applied to any person creating music, in any style...