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About

BIOGRAPHY:

I am mainly a self taught musician. I play guitar, bass, drum set, piano, and am a singer as well as composer, sound engineer and producer. It all started with catching the guitar bug in my teen-age years, as is often the case.

My musical journey had its modest beginnings at the age of thirteen. My grandfather had an old Japanese Zim-Gar electric guitar and a vintage Univox amp from the early ‘60s. (A U-42 as I recall.) He showed me a few chords and a scale or two before he gave up playing due to arthritis.

I had always loved rock music and from early on, I used to play along with records by the Rolling Stones and the Beatles. Jimi Hendrix blew me away! He was on a whole other level and he totally floored me.

When I lost my sight at the age of fourteen, music became a central part of my life. Until that point, my interest in music was often put on the back burner due to video games and visual arts etc. A couple of years down the line, I developed an interest in hard rock/metal and really got into groups ranging from Led Zeppelin and Black Sabbath to bands like Metallica and Iron Maiden etc.

My first electric guitar was a second hand Lotus les paul copy from my dads’ friend Steve. Man did I put a lot of practice time in on that axe! Not a bad guitar in retrospect. I had a second hand Boss chorus pedal and one of those little walk about marshall amps that ran on a nine volt battery. After blowing the speaker on that, I got a second hand crate 20w 1×12 combo amp, which was certainly a step up! (I also figured out that if I ran my walkman straight into my guitar amp, it would be mono, but, it’d be a lot freaking louder than my cheap excuse for a ghetto blaster!) Later on, I also figured out that I could run my microphone into my guitar amp to get EQ and reverb, then, run the headphone output of the guitar amp into an old tape deck in the garage. I made my earliest recordings this way one summer. Thus began my fascination with recording technology and its history.

I formed my first group at the age of sixteen. I was the lead guitarist and lead vocalist. We played a range of music from The Stones, to Aerosmith, tom petty, the moody blues, and, Pink Floyd just to name a few. We didn’t have a pa or anything, so I usually had to sing without a microphone. However, I did have a Marshall 2×12 by that point so guitar volume wasn’t lacking at least. We never actually played a proper gig, but it was fun, challenging, and a great learning experience!

I studied guitar for a while from an excellent teacher in upstate NY named Tony Salori. He was an amazing player, and more importantly, a great teacher. He helped me advance so much as a player not only in terms of playing technique, but in theory as well. My knack for turning beginners into well rounded guitarists is in large part due to my first teacher being so good at what he did. Thanks man;wherever you are.

I moved to England before my senior year of high school to start college early. During my first year there, Carl, a good mate of mine and I formed a group which would be an important part of my life for the next four years. At the time, we called ourselves “Blind Drunk”. We played a range of music and got to perform at various venues to different crowds of people.
We were also involved in a number of shows to raise money for Charities in the south east of England. Our bass player unexpectedly passed away in the summer of 2000. It was a tragic event and we decided to take some time off and plan for the future of the group. For the next year or so we went through various changes from the lineup to set lists etc. We later changed our name to “Driven”. This was one turning point in my four year involvement with the group because along with the name change, we started recording a proper demo…

Previously that year, I produced and did some writing/session playing for EPs by two talented female vocalists; Alison Hill, (from St. Helens, Mersey side), and, Lucy Tiffin, (from Swanley, Kent.)

Around this time, I also finished my first solo album, “Expressions”.

http://www.cdbaby.com/cameronstrife

This was a great learning experience which was fun, challenging, and frustrating at times, as projects like this tend to be.

Soon after, I had the opportunity to record a performance by the cellist Julian Lloyd Webber. (I strongly recommend attending any performance that he is playing in. He is without a doubt, the best cellist I have ever heard.) Also around this time, I recorded a concert featuring the Royal Artillery Band. (This orchestra performs at various functions including those which take place at Buckingham Palace.) Recording purely acoustic music is very interesting and organic. I enjoy it.

Rock and blues had always been my thing but I started to get into a range of music from electronic and jazz, to classical, and new age etc. My composing/songwriting took on more of an experimental and progressive feel during this period.

Throughout this time, I was also performing as a solo artist and sitting in with various groups. This, along with my full time employment as a sound engineer/teacher assistant, and my private teaching, made me quite a busy individual.

Rush and Dream Theater are my two favorite bands, hands down. I also really like triumph, ZZ Top, Frank Zappa, Tommy Emmanuel, X Japan, Opeth, buckethead, rage against the machine, les paul, buddy guy, albert Collins, Jimi Hendrix, Prince, California guitar trio, Andrea Bocheli, arrien, the doors, Django, duran duran, earth wind and fire, Billy Joel, the eagles, Elton John, bad company, queen, return to forever, Robert Johnson, Robert cray, CCR, godsmack, yanni, Jethrow Tul, ELP, evenessence, fate’s warning, frameshift, all the G3 albums, Larry Carlton, steely dan, green day, fourplay, grandfunk railroad, no doubt, saxxon, seal, sinata arctica, stereophonics, styx, tears for fears, the B52s, the clash, the gin blossoms, the gypsie kings, the goo goo dolls, the killers, the ramones, the scorpions, the lounge brigade, the police, the red hot chili peppers, PFA, the steve miller band, the talking heads, the who, thin lizie, trans siberian orchestra, heart, trapped, UFO, van halen, vinnie moore, weather report, Yngwie J Malmsteen, Al Di Meola, alice cooper, Amadeus Guitar Duo, America, anthrax, John mclaughlin, Victor Wuten, roger waters, david Gilmour, judest priest, journey, kamelot, keen, king crimson, kiss, kraftwork, Lacuna Coil, lisa lobe, living color, Mike Oldfield, motorhead, ozzy, muse, muddy waters, niel young, nora jones, OSI, outcast, paul weller, pearl jam, bela flek, phil Collins, Porcupine Tree, primus, emenem, D12, Alice in chains, the beastie boys, Avril Lavigne, SoulLive, blue oyster cult, boston, toto, stone temple pilots, GnR, velvet revolver, Jordan Rudis, sting, don henly, aerosmith, AC/DC, Venessa Carlton,pantera, Kansas, A.C.T, cosmosis, hybrid, early Chicago, twisted sister, accept, quiet riot, coldplay, dido, BT, danny gatten, Yes, Dave Grusin, Genesis, way out west, David Bowie, foreigner, deep forest, def lepard, deep purple, system of a down, symphony X, in flames, skid row, Cinderella, queensryche, Bumblefoot, lady gaga, john mayer, Orianthi Panagaris, Andy McKee, Stevie Ray, etc. I also love a lot of classical, jazz, and world music but it’s too much to list…

Some more semi random stuff for your consumption…

I like a decent cigar and a good scotch or a few beers from time to time… When I’m not teaching, performing, or working in the studio, I enjoy various things from reading and writing to cross country skiing and canoeing. I’ve also done a bit of pottery in the past and would like to take that up again at some point. Biking is awesome but I don’t know anyone around here with a tandom bike at the present time.

I love Italian, Thai, sushi, Indian, and Mexican food. A few of my favorite authors are Sam Berry, David Gibbins, Stephen King, Dean Koontz, Sam Harris, Christopher Hitchens, Patricia Cornwell, Richard Dawkins, and Jack Higgins. Regarding computers and portable media devices etc, I prefer Apple over Windows the majority of the time. The first concert I remember seeing is Billy Joel with the Spin Doctors as an opening act. A few other fantastic shows I’ve seen were Rush, the rolling stones, dream theater, steve vai, and bo diddly. I collect shot glasses, Zippos, coins, and polished stones. As far as tv, I love the Simpsons, family guy, cash cab, life after people, deadliest catch, man vs wild, married with children, antiques road show, some stuff on nick at night, and, a bunch of stuff on the history channel and vh1 classic. Oh… and did I mention I love coffee? (A lot. Mmmmmmmm.)

Anyways, back to business… After returning to the states, I attended Purchase College in New York where I obtained a BA degree in music. )My concentration was in studio production and I am a member of the conservatory of music.) I had some great professors and got to hear some great performers during my time there. I also played with some great musicians, (Brandon, Allek, Steve, Luke, you know who you are.) I’m still in touch with Dave and Mary, who were two of my closest friends in college on top of being roomates for a year.

After leaving SUNY Purchase, I began to work part time for the Filomen M. D’Agostino Greenberg Music School in Manhatten, which is part of Lighthouse International. I taught guitar as well as music technology.

The next year, I moved out to Austin, Texas and concentrated mainly on writing and teaching private students. I got my first guide dog around this time from the Seeing Eye in New Jersey. If you’re interested in their work, please check out their web site, http://www.seeingeye.org, and while you’re there, please make a donation. Thanks!

While in Austin, I also started working for Lava studios,

http://www.lavastudios.net

where I was a staff writer/producer of music for various media applications and advertising etc.

In early 2010, I became an Open Labs endorsee. They make some great gear for stage and studio! Be sure to check them out at http://www.openlabs.com

I am always buying and selling guitars and amps etc. Here are just a few I really wish I would have kept… Taylor 512, Gibson ES335 pro, a couple Gibson les pauls, some weird thrown together strat that had a MIJ neck and active EMG single coils, and, a white Ibanez JS1000.

In March 2010, I moved to Boston, Massachusetts where I lived for two years. I mainly taught during that time.

In May 2010, I finished work on my long awaited second solo release “To the outside world”. This album is a departure from my first solo effort which was mostly guitar based. The majority of the tracks on this album are solo piano compositions. This may come as a surprise to some. I like to mix things up a bit! It never hurts to keep things interesting and diverse in my opinion.

You can purchase the album as a physical CD, or, in mp3 format through CD Baby by following this link:

http://www.cdbaby.com/cameronstrife2

If you’d prefer to order by phone, you can call 1-800-289-6923.
(If you’re calling from outside the USA, please be sure to add the country code +001.)

If you’d like to preview/purchase via Itunes, then please follow this link:

http://itunes.apple.com/us/album/to-the-outside-world/id412078545

Since December 2011, I’ve lived in Connecticut. My son Gabriel was born in February 2012 and he’s a very cute and special baby. This whole parenting thing has certainly been an adjustment but he’s totally worth it! Perhaps he’ll be interested in music when he’s older, or some other creative outlet;we shall see I suppose…

In future I plan to do a prog rock/metal album, a blues album, some kind of orchestral project, and an album in more of an electronic style. I also plan to continue with the private teaching gig and working with other artists in various ways.

Well that’s about all for now. Feel free to drop me an e mail at: cameron@cameronstrife.com if you’re interested in local guitar lessons, lessons via skype or mp3, or if you’d like me to compose music for various media, write/record guitar parts for your album, if you need a guitarist for a tour, or, if you just want to chat about music. Finally, be sure to sign up for my newsletter, and, follow me on twitter!

http://www.twitter.com/cameronstrife

Thanks for checking my bio out and keep rock’in!

Cameron

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