It had been Paul Simon whose playing of guitar, lyrics, and finger picking first intrigued him to buy an inexpensive gut-string guitar. He took to that guitar with a vengeance not allowing anything to get in his way while trying to master it. At least, to master Travis picking and replicate the plucking of Peter, Paul and Mary as well as Mr. Simon. The hours that he had spent learning guitar had been during his growing from adolescence to manhood. For the first time in his life he had built a road on which only he had traveled. While Led Zeppelin and Cream were screaming out their songs he played and developed his own finger picking style. learned that he had a voice which, though not on par with most, could hold a tune. All of which cemented the guitar as a friend for life. He called his guitar Mr. Martin and it went with him through great times, to death of family, and, lord knows, the turmoil of his life.
His young life had been stormy. A family once solid turned to griping and fighting on a daily basis. There had even been an exchange of blows. He was far to young, aged someplace between 6-9, to understand what had taken place but the result of the dysfunction (he later coined this word as dysfucktion) was to sew the seeds of personal dysfunction which damn near killed him. It had gotten so bad that he had joined the U.S. Navy, knowing full-well that going to war in Vietnam was virtually inevitable, just to get away from the screaming maelstrom of dysfunction and impending doom of his family.
It was in the Navy that he first injured his back. It hadn’t been combat related and he hadn’t reported to sick bay when he injured it. A bad move which he would later regret. Had he had confirmed that he had injured it while on duty he would have had his back covered for the rest of his life by the government. As it was, he had just toughed through each siege of back pain as it occurred. A few days off and being careful as he could then going back to work. That had sufficed for all these years. Now, however, the pain was chronic and somewhat debilitating and probably more than enough reason for the age in his face. Still, there were birds.