Although most of my friends know me as Alan Friedman, CPA and Partner of Friedman, Kannenberg & Company, P.C., I have a
dark side that I've kept from my family and friends. But I don't want to talk about that now.
Instead, let me talk about my favorite subject: me. I was born January 7, 1956 and raised in Albany, New York. Like many
other baby boomer musicians my age, life started for me one Sunday night in February, 1964. "Ladies and gentleman,
from Liverpool, The Beatles!!" That was it; I was hooked on rock and roll - my new secret weapon to picking up my cute
little female classmates.
I dabbled on an old Harmony acoustic guitar for a couple of years, which my parents got me for $25 (there was no extra
charge for the strings being 2 inches off the fretboard). I started to get serious about getting a real guitar at age 14,
when I scrubbed the luncheonette counter, floor and grills at Kessler's Pharmacy seven nights a week for $20. I wanted to
buy a brand new cherry red Gibson SG for $200, but my parents said "no, that's too much money." My parents obviously didn't
know rock and roll has no financial boundaries. So instead, I bought a pre-CBS blonde Fender Telecaster for $150. For a
lousy $50, I was friggin' Hank Williams instead of Pete Townsend...ughh. So I saved some more money, bought a pre-CBS
black-faced Super Reverb, traded the Tele for a white '69 Stratocaster and bought a fuzz box. Now I'm Jimi Schmendrix.
I'd like to kill myself right now for getting rid of that Tele and Super Reverb. Who knew? I still have the Strat, but
I've bastardized it with a new neck, Schecter electronics and a Floyd Rose tremolo, removing any hint of vintage value.
I got into my first band at age 14. My best friend, Dean Cholakis (a killer guitar player with a cherry red ES-330,
who also turned me onto some really cool music like Zappa, Sabbath and Tull) had just left a rock band to play the bazuki
in a Greek Orthodox wedding band. Go figure. So he recommends me to this rock band, and now I'm in my first band called
"Riders on the Storm." Frankly, I hated The Doors, but the keyboard player got to pick the name since he furnished his
house, food and records for band practice. Ironically, my first gig was playing a Sunday morning service at the church
where the other three (drummer, bassist and keyboard player) band members belonged. Here I am, a nice Jewish guitar
player, just like my other guitar hero, Larry Weinstein (a.k.a. Leslie West), playing a Sunday morning church service.
We were all "Cream" fanatics so we played "Presence of the Lord" by Blind Faith. I suppose that was a better choice than
my suggestion to play "Bitch" by the Stones.
After a while, I started to listening to Hendrix and recommended we change our name to "Jimi Friedman and a Band of
Gentiles", but no go. In fact, it became a band rule that we would only play Cream and Mountain tunes...that was until
Deep Purple came along; Ritchie Blackmore quickly replaced Eric Clapton as my new guitar God. We played the entire
"Machine Head" album for our junior high school dance. For some odd reason, we didn't get any dance gigs after that.
Two years later, my 3 bandmates headed off to college. I was only 16, and got asked to join a new band called
"Highway Star" - like I didn't learn the first time. But we did play some cool stuff other than Deep Purple, like
Humble Pie, Bad Company, Sly & The Family Stone, Grand Funk, J. Geils Band and Alice Cooper. We became the premier high
school band in Albany, New York; not because we were any good, but because we had a "hot" female drummer named Sherry
Kramer. At 16, there's only two things you think about: being in a rock band, and doing your drummer. Unfortunately,
Sherry's brother Mark was our rhythm guitar player and any thought of carnal knowledge with the drummer was quickly
dismissed by her psychotic brother.
Well, two years later and I'm off to college. The first thing I tried to do at college was get good grades...just kidding.
The first thing I attempted to do was put together a band of great musicians as a direct means of attracting collegiate
females. I failed miserably at both. But my senior year, I did start a band with some other University of Hartford students,
which lasted for three years, including two years after college. The band was called "Storm" - All Weather Rock (our slogan).
Because we had a very killer, versatile female lead singer named Teresa, we did a lot of cool 80's music with testicle-
clenching vocals, like Toto, Heart, Foreigner, Styx, Pat Benatar, Eddie Money, Linda Ronstadt, Fleetwood Mac, Rufus and
more. But I had just gotten married and was dragging my wife Beth to some sleazy bars (which was okay for me, but she
didn't seem to happy about it), and I wasn't studying for the CPA exam. So I cashed out of the band, bought a Tascam
4-track recorder and started my home studio recording career which has now lasted 25 years.
Now I own an Alesis-based 24-track digital studio, Mackie mixing board, ProTools, a few keyboards and a rack full of
digital effect processors. I've got 35 guitars (mostly Ernie Ball / MusicMan and Fender guitars, MTD basses, Ovation,
Taylor, Tacoma and Yamaha acoustics and a really nice Ovation mandolin. By far, my favorite guitars are my three Ernie
Ball "Luke" model guitars (gee, what a surprise). I've got three guitar amp setups, but my favorite is my mini-rack with
my Custom Audio 3+ preamp, Mesa Boogie 2:90 power amp, twin Marshall 4x12 cabinets with vintage Celestian 30s, a few cool
pedal effects and a Bob Bradshaw switching system to keep all the stuff groovin'.
In 1996, my good friend, keyboard player and fellow band mate Mark Zampino (Public Affairs Director for the CT
Society of CPAs) got a few CPAs together for a Career Day Conference to play some rock 'n roll for graduating high school
students. Seven years later, our all-CPA rock band, "The Accounting Crows", is well on its way to becoming a household
name. Well, okay, maybe just a name you'd find on the bathroom wall in your local Taco Bell.
It was also about that time that I started writing and recording some of my more serious-side songs based in a rock, pop,
funk, country and ballad vein. Because our CPA firm is immersed in the music industry, I've acquired some unbelievable
musicians in our client base. In 2003 I finally finished recording 73 minutes and 43 seconds of 13 beloved tunes that now
comprise my first solo album entitled "The Test of Time." I suppose this CD is somewhat of a throw-back to 80's rock, but
that's an era of music I love and make no excuses about. Long live Nightranger.
I thought it would be fitting to end this background narative with a list of my all time favorite 500 bands, guitarists,
vocalists, drummers, bass players, keyboard players, sax players, percussionists, harmonica players, trumpeters,
trombonists, flautists, marimba players, lighting directors and roadies. I couldn't wait to compile the list...until I did
it. I struggled. There were so many more I wanted to give accolades to, but it would've gotten more ridiculous than it
already is. So I kept it to my personal "Top 10 Musical Influences" by musical category.
As I mentioned before, I have some unbelievably talented musician clients. For some odd reason, we seem to have a ton of
drummers, who I absolutely love and am in total awe over: Jonathan Mover (who's played for Joe Satriani, Aretha Franklin
and Alice Cooper), Will Calhoun (of Living Colour fame), Slam G's (Britney Spears), Van Romaine (Steve Morse Group,
Enrique Iglesias), Chris Lukes (Clay Aiken, Aaron Carter), the funkiest of funk/hip-hop Johnny Rabb, killer L.A. studio
drummer Josh Eagan (Pink), and my next door neighbor kid's character Rob "The Drummer" Gottfried, to name just a few. But I
tried keeping my list to those that affected me when I was growing up, as opposed to affecting me now by not paying their
accounting fees on time.
I also tried naming everyone on the list just once, as I could have put Paul McCartney in my favorite singer, songwriter,
bass player category, not to mention the band he was in (no, not "Wings"). But I did manage to throw another ten of my
favorite guitarists on a favorite "slide" guitarist category to ease my guilt from being limited to just 10 guitarists.
I've also effectively given due respect in the "My Big Mouth" section of this website, which you must check out. Finally,
you'll notice a distinct absence of jazz players on my list; you'll also notice a distinct absence of jazz in my playing;
you'll notice a distinct absence of jazz in my knowledge of music - trust me, there's a correlation.