Creative inspiration is a funny thing. One never knows what’s going to inspire them, or to what degree. As an example, when I worked in Naperville, Illinois – about an hour and a half drive from home each way – I used to pass a garbage dump and a wind farm. At least three poems were inspired by that long drive down I-39 and across I-88.

Every time I’ve seen Rush play live, the first thing I want to do the next day is pull my Aria Pro II bass guitar out of the gig bag it lives in and start playing. There’s no chance in Hell I’ll ever be as good a bassist as Geddy Lee, but his playing inspires me to become better.

When Shadows & Mirrors released their second record, Aria, earlier this year, I jumped on the preorder bandwagon. I’ve known Brian Diamond for over two decades, but to be perfectly honest, I hadn’t paid much attention to his first record. Still, I bought the (literal) record to support a friend, but then something happened.

I was inspired.

Now, I’m not going to try comparing Shadows & Mirrors to Rush. They’re two totally different things, and they inspire me in different ways, but I will say this: the effort Brian put into this album shows. Before the record was officially released, I had a chance to meet up with Brian, and his passion for music was obvious. He showed me his home studio, we talked about his songwriting tools and process, how he got his (fucking awesome) music videos made, and listened to some records (Thriller!) over a few beers.

After that meeting, having some sound advice from a guy who’s put out not one but two albums, I started seriously working toward a dream I’ve had since my first time performing: record a record. I’m using some different tools than Brian, and I expect what we produce will be wildly different, but I’m convinced within the next year, you’ll see my name in the liner notes of a new album.


My music workspace


My signed copy of Aria