A KISS show is New Year’s Eve, 4th of July and Halloween all wrapped up into one show! I love the fire and brimstone presentation of their live show. But even more, I love their music. Over the years, their music has been poo-pooed by critics and snobs, many who have never actually listened to a KISS album. Those folks are missing out on some of the most energetic and creative rock and roll ever recorded, along with some very poignant ballads. My songwriting definitely exhibits the influence of KISS. And my guitar-playing is inspired by Ace Frehley. His solos are melodic and musical instead of being “just a bunch of notes” strung together. I try to write my solos the same way. I may be succeeding because my co-producer, Dave Tyo, tells me that he can hum every one of my guitar solos!
My family is loaded with Elvis fans, starting with my grandmother. She was an Elvis fan from Day One. I have black and white Kodak Instamatic photos of Elvis that she took from the front row of a show he played at a county fair at the beginning of his career. My grandfather sometimes complained that she loved Elvis more than him, and sometimes, she would answer, “So what?” Elvis’ voice is unmatchable, but I strive to sing with the same vocal quality. There’s no harm in trying to sing as well as the King!
Pat Benetar and Neil Giraldo
Pat is the pre-eminent female rock star. Anyone who listens to her music knows about her spectacular voice. What they often overlook is the tight production of her songs and the punch-in-the-face power of the guitars on those songs. Thanks to her husband/guitarist, Neil Giraldo, her songs receive the excellent production treatment that they deserve. My guitar style is heavily influenced by Neil, and I would love to work in the studio with him someday.
Crunchy guitars, tasteful keyboards and well-written songs are the hallmark of REO Speedwagon. The musical line-up for E’TOWN EXPRESS is similar to REO’s. REO plays lots of county fairs, and so do we. I think these similarities put our sound in the same ballpark as the premier rock and roll band from America’s Midwest.
My Dad, George Pulsifer, Jr.
My Dad was neither a musician nor a performer. He was an auto mechanic who busted his rear-end to raise three kids on a meager auto mechanic’s salary. But he was a fun guy, and he was, by far, my most important influence, in life and in music. Yes, he taught me to work hard and be honest, and that helped me become a professional musician. But he also influenced me musically. He grew up in the 1950’s, and he exposed me to the music of his youth, including Chuck Berry, Elvis, and all of the wonderful doo-wap music from the 50’s (check out the doo-wap backing vocals in MAMA’S MAD). He was also a big fan of country music. He listened to it constantly around the house. Though I grew up to be a rock and roller, Dad’s country music seeped into my pores. My songwriting certainly reflects country music sensibilities (check out FISHIN’ HOLE and STAY WITH ME). He passed away in 2002, but I still think about him every day. Thanks, Dad. I miss you.