Conceived in Los Angeles, California September, 1979, I was finally born over 20" long at 8.7lbs the next year on June the 5th at 11:55am in room 4261A at Kaiser Hospital in Los Angeles on Venice Boulevard and Cadillac after eighteen hours of labor. This is the first photograph of me.
Two months prior, my parents moved to Halldale Avenue where I continued to reside for the next twenty-one years. My father Michael, like his father Charles, were in the Navy. And just like my grandfather and father, I ended up wanting to be a guitarist.
I don't know how in July, 1983, I figured out that Edward Van Halen gets those rip-roarin' guitar solos through finger tapping but apparently that's what I'm trying to do here with my double-humbucking toy guitar here to the right. ;-) My lead-singer was best-friend Curious George to my left.
Ironically, it would be my mother Valerie who started teaching me to play guitar. In July, 1986--she taught me a few chords and I spent a considerable amount of time and effort just getting used to holding down the metallic-wound strings down without buzzing the notes. However, I was well coordinated and easily figured out how to strum at the same time change notes or chords and since I was five, I could keep tempo easily.
In September, 1986; my dad brought home a Casio keyboard because my mom didn't feel comfortable teaching me the recorder according to my home schooling curriculum. They also bought that music book from which I was reading in this 1988 picture. I look puzzled because folks are asking me questions and they know I've never been able to talk or sing while playing.
In the late 1980s, my brother Ondré and I used a Radio Shack condenser microphones and unwanted audio cassettes to record our own "albums" with him singing lead, playing drums on Tupperware while I played guitar and sang backup. We called ourselves Jet Pro after a horse our father bet and won on (for the first time ever) and recorded a bunch of covers from shows like Muppet Babies, Sesame Street and a couple of originals like, "In A Car," "Boogie Woogie," "Big Deal" and several others I'm too old to remember now. ;-) The last time Ondré played "live" together was in 1990. Some neighbors got a taste of that show, actually. But it was cool because I rigged that old Casio keyboard to play drums and taught Ondré which key to press to activate a "chord" I'd programmed into it. So while I played guitar and backup vocals, he sang and played "bass & drums" on the keyboard. The keyboard idea didn't go over too well with him, though and now I'm reminded of the fights regarding all the keyboards in Van Halen's 1984 album. Haha! What's most interesting is that after recently hearing some of those old recordings, I can't believe we kept time at all.
My father also had also tinkered with computers for quite a few years too and in 1983, he bought a Tandy TRS-80 MC-10 4k 8-color computer from Radio Shack where I taught myself to program in BASIC six years later. He also bought an imitation-IntelliVision 16-color computer in 1986 made by Matel called an Aquarius which also had BASIC but featured game cartridges for such games as Tron, Snafu and the ones we had: Night Stalker and Utopia. A year later, he bought an Apple IIe 128k computer that had a 64k capacity 5.25" disk drive and did 32 colors. I rarely used it but it was our first online experienced because the Apple had a modem which we used to connect to the dealer of our computer for technical support. We ended up selling it a year later but in September, 1990 my father had been taking classes to learn the C programming language and make real money. He failed to do that but to help him, my parents bought an 8088 Laser-XT IBM-compatible computer. It had a whopping 640K onboard memory, TWO 360K floppy drives (with space for an optional hard disk), a separate keyboard and a monochrome monitor. We then put a 2400-baud modem in it, subscribed to Prodigy Interactive Services in July, 1991 and that's when I began to spend more and more time with the computer and less of it with music.
In fact, the last "album" I recorded was under the pseudonym "Night Stalker" and it was using a newer keyboard we'd bought to teach my brother to play Piano using Patty Carlson's method. Well, that didn't work out but the larger 61-note keys, 100-sound library, features and drum-kit let me do some creative things. I also started using the headphone jack to put headphones over the condenser mic of the tape recorder I was using for a much cleaner and less "airy" sound. After that, though, I started getting wound up in computers.
In 1992, I brought up my own BBS after logging on to several others and deciding that, for sure, that is what I wanted to do. Because, in 1987, I developed a deep interest in radio for the reason that communications always appealed to me. The thought of receiving (or sending) information, by voice or by text, to some place far away also blew my mind. Until 1994, I thought I was going to have a career in radio. But the pay sucked and because I needed money right away, I ended up in the internet industry instead. But I soon learned it was the same principle of distributing content over a long distance to numerous recipients immediately, electronically. I took that job in 1996 and here are pictures of me taking the train to and from that job in El Segundo, California:
I got the job June 23, 1996 and it revolutionized my life; my social skills improved, I started to learn my way around town, I had money and (to me, anyway) lots of it. I started to really wonder why my parents had insisted on alternative means to an income instead of just good, old-fashioned, honest work-for-pay. When I got hired to do something I did for FUN on my computer at home, I felt like I was living the American Dream for real.
It was just a summer gig but at the time, I was in love with someone nearly 3,000 miles away, so I took a job at a better office but for a worse employer at the end of 1997 in Westwood. For seven months, I ate dung and called it Chocolate Ice Cream to save up the bucks to see the girl that made my heart sing (and broke my writer's block). Here I am at the office; I look great, huh? ;-)
I turned 18 ten minutes after Susan G., our receptionist and photography student used my semi-pro camera to shoot this picture. Right after that, I headed to 4-Play Gentlemen's club to be embarrassed by the D.J. who was informed it was my birthday. I had a lot of fun (except for the stripper who said "Fuck You" when I wouldn't tip after her because the other dancers were much better, in my opinion).
When I came back from my two-week trip, a newly single man, I got fired because they thought I was lying on my timecards and because I unplugged my computer. The computer was unplugged because I was afraid that when I got back, I would have to spend a day or more putting it back the way it was so that I could work productively. And my timecards were accurate. They just didn't like paying me more money. They kept waving raises in my face to make me do ridiculous tasks while never paying up. However, even though getting terminated was devastating, it was the best thing that ever happened to me. The company soon disappeared and I would get a temp. job where I made a couple of friends who'd help me produce some of my newer music.
But before all this, I start to really dig music I'm hearing by Ron A. Wasserman, Vince DiCola (from then-recently obtained tapes) as well as The Lion King soundtrack and David Benoit's material I heard on KTWV 94.7FM The Wave. So I start back to solo recording again in 1995 and because of my relationship at the time, I wrote 15 new and original songs. They ended up apart of a collection called "Eye of the Storm" in 1997 which I finally was able to record thanks to buying a Fostex X-26 Multitracker in September, 1996.
Between 1995-1998, I started re-learning how to sing because hearing myself on professional-grade tape recordings helped me figure out how to control my voice even better than in the late 1980s when I taught myself how to stop stuttering. It reminded me of how I taught myself how to spell and improve my grammar when I started using Prodigy in 1991.
After recording "Eye of the Storm," the "Astroranger Original Soundtrack" and the "Netranger Original Soundtrack" volumes one and two, everyone at my third permanent job was loosely aware of the fact that I was a pianist and guitarist. It really became known when an employee was trying to sell his Yamaha upright at the Torrance office and I spent my two-entitled breaks playing it almost every day as my way of remaining sane on the job.
In September, 2000, the company where I worked hosted an Open House, announcing/celebrating a partnership with another company. I was asked by the building manager to audition with the Open House coordinator for the purpose of playing for an hour before the ceremonies while the guests ate and drank at the party. I was thrilled and happily agreed. I video taped and audio recorded my hour and to the right, one of the salesmen shot this photography of me between sets. I started off with some covers but moved into some of my own original material. This took place September, 2000.
Who knows what lies ahead.
Copyright © 2002 Dairenn Lombard