Wow life is strange. Just last week I wrote about a guy who turned me on to fusion (see Prog Improv). His name was Doug Dinehdeal. After writing that post I decided to search his name on line and I found an MP3 crediting him as the guitarist. The composer's name is Jeff Jones. I contacted Jeff to see if he could put me in touch with Doug. Sadly, Jeff told me that Doug Dinehdeal died of cancer around five years ago.
Let me tell you about my experience with Doug. I was 17 and totally in to Prog. I met Doug in Mr. Trohan's high school vocational printing class. I remember Doug was a big guy compared to me. He was the first Native American I ever met and, although I was initimidated at first, I now know that he was one of the kindest and most encouraging people I have ever known. I also thought he was the coolest guy on the planet. We talked, he found out I played drums and he told me to come jam with him and his friends. That was a life changing experience. They turned me on to fusion and, even though I was totally unfamilliar with jazz, they didn't care. Doug and his friends told me to just play the way I play and not to worry about trying to be please anyone. Just be myself. I was so self conscious about everything at that time, but Doug was able to put me at ease.
I remember he played a Gibson SG (just like Frank Zappa). He had replaced the long skinny whammy bar with the short male section of a gate latch. You know what I'm talking about. It's about 3 or 4 inches long and it has a knob on the end. It's attached to the gate and it slips into a clamp when you close the gate. I thought that was very bizzare.
Doug came over to my house a couple of times to jam and then he asked me to come record something with him and some other musicians. That was my first experience in a recording studio. The composition was Doug's. He called it "Excess Mellow" and I still have a recording of it. The musicians were Doug Dinehdeal on guitar, Dale Mast on guitar, Allan Anderson on Bass, and me on drums. Doug actually had me play my first drum solo on it.
How can I thank this guy? He brought me out of my self conscious shell. He turned me on to fusion jazz. He encouraged me to play like me. He gave me my first recording experience. He gave me my first drum solo. And he was just a great guy to hang out with!
Doug, wherever you are, may God bless you and give you peace and may he enjoy forever your talent, your spirit, and the music he put in you.
Thanks my brother, I will never forget you.