I have always been involved with music. Having gone through my own parent’s deaths along with some other events and experiences in my life set in motion what has developed into JTDOG. JTDOG is simply an acronym: (John The Drummer On Guitar) that came to me one day. I starting playing music at an early age, and though I experienced many hours of enjoyment exploring guitar, trumpet, clarinet, bass clarinet, accordion, organ, tenor saxophone, bass guitar, and drums I settled on drums for the most part and played in several area bands through the years, playing the drums and singing lead vocals. In fact, it’s how I met the love of my life to whom I’ve been married for 26+ years. Our band(s) had a nice following of loyal fans, and eventually, I affectionately became known as “John the Drummer.” That name stuck and whenever I would be seen out and about it was a fun thing to hear someone call out, “Hey, it’s John the drummer!”
All my noisy years of playing among other loud habits took its toll on my hearing and I developed Tinnitus (constant ringing of the ears). I had to gradually all but give up my drums. I turned to my very first instrument: the guitar, and JTDOG seemed to be the way I was being led. After my parents passing, attending a concert of a favorite artist of mine (Roger Hodgson), and seeing the documentarys Glenn Campbell; I’ll Be Me and Alive Inside, I felt inspired to do something more meaningful in my life. I needed to make a difference, however big or small, for as many as I could.
I feel that no matter our age, we are all eternal souls existing in this vessel we call our bodies. They say the eyes are the mirror to the soul, and when I look into the eyes of individuals for whom I play, I try to see the person within and not just the shell. My Mother was just a hoot when she was on this Earth. She had a great sense of humor and was full of life. As I age myself, I see the difference in the way some people look at me. They see a fifty-something year old man. Inside, I still feel a much younger soul within. My body may be older and tired, but it’s what’s on the inside that counts. Our minds and memories may fade, but I truly believe music can revive lost memories and bring back some of the “identity” that has slipped away through the years. While I play, I look for that. I see some who eagerly sing along and sway back and forth a bit, some who listen quietly, and some who are weaker or tired, but that foot or those fingers tapping tells me that I reach them at some level on the inside. That’s what I’m about, and that is my passion. I started out playing for a few assisted living establishments in the Oshkosh area and it become quite rewarding for me as a volunteer. Residents always asked me when I’d be packing up to leave if I’d come back, and of course, I said I would. I started playing for six different places, once a week, making a circuit of sorts. I’d finish with the last one and then start again.
One of the residents fell and broke her hip, and due to her advanced age and situation, was not a candidate for surgery. She was to live the remainder of her life in the bed, in her room. I offered to play for her and also for her husband (also residing there) privately in her room. I played for them for an hour and it took me back to my parents. I sang as true and as sweetly as I could as she drifted in and out of sleep. I knew she could still hear me and I continued. This wonderful lady passed the very next week. I was grateful to serve her one last time, and I felt like I was serving a purpose greater than myself. That’s when I felt the need to step it up.
My Wife and I went out with a good friend for her upcoming birthday one night and the conversation eventually shifted to my desire to do something more with my playing. I had come to feel a yearning to do more, because I knew that through the help of God I was making a difference. The next thing we knew she was asking me why don’t I take it to the next level and start a business doing just that; playing more and reaching out to more people. This sent my mind whirling, and it wasn’t so much the beer in my hand as it was her making it sound, well, so logical! Within the next week I purchased this web domain and here we are! I made the decision and quit the rat race to devote my life to my mission of serving people with music. I want to make a positive difference for as many as I can. How far will this journey take me? Only the Lord knows, but I am hoping and reaching for the sky.