DOCKTA D'S HUMBLE START IN MUSIC
Born under a bad sign, Dockta D
has been blowin' harmonica ever since he was ten. His older brothers
always had plenty of musical instruments around
the house and he messed around with guitar, bass, drums, sax, and
harmonica. But, he fell in love with the blues harp one fateful night
Paul Butterfield concert held in circa 1971 in his
high school gymnasium (Mount Pleasant High).
He had been messing around with harp for a few years but, that night,
he heard the voice of God... well, it was actually Paul's sweet
and monstrous amplified harp sound screaming from the
PA system, and the young Dockta D (known back then as "Intern D") knew right then and there that he would be
a harp player for the rest of his life. From that day forth, he could be heard
practicing daily in the stairwells of his high school, which had a nice echo.
Eventually, he was asked to join a local band, Icarus,
(headed by Nick Bucci) and got his feet wet (literally... they
did a lot of pool parties) performing in front of people.
Soon, he started his own band, which he called, "
in the Quad-State area. He loved playing for people and
soon adapted a 50 ft mic cable into the act so that he could
venture out into the audience and play directly to the people
(pre-dating the wireless audience forays of the marvelous
Rod Piazza). He also pioneered the fine art of jumping
from the top of the PA cabinets into the audience to end
the show on the last note (and thereby credits himself with
stage-diving and crowd surfing). He never broke a single leg nor
skull - his own or anybody else's - not one single time.
The Dockta did lots of studio work in Los Angeles, playing on various commercials and
theatrical soundtracks. He performed (and acted), for instance, on that famous
Seagram's Golden Wine Cooler commercial (click to see it) with actor,
Bruce Willis, who was a friend of his, the one with Willis singing on
a porch with three guys, including a harmonica player, which was the Dockta.
As a matter of fact, speaking of Willis, all of the harmonica "performed" by that
actor in the joint HBO/Motown video/LP project, co-written, incidentally, by the Dockta, entitled
The Return of Bruno (1987) (click to read about it) was not performed by him but was actually
performed by the Dockta and lip-synced by Willis (except for some harmonica
played by Willis during a live concert which appears at the end of the movie). For instance,
the Dockta performed the harmonica for the
Peter Gunn Theme (click to hear it),
which can be heard in the
"Bruno and The Basement" segment of the movie and which Willis lip-synced for the camera.
the executive producer, Willis, neglected to provide the proper screen credit to
the Dockta for that harmonica work prior to its airing on HBO and prior to
its release on video tape and prior to its release on DVD. But, without a doubt,
the harp work is indeed the Dockta's and one need only to listen to it to
identify it as the Dockta's inimitable style. As an aside, the Dockta also wrote and sang
the song called No
One's Home (click to hear it),
for the psychedelic segment of this film, the premise
being that the fictitious character "Bruno Radolini", played by Willis, recorded this
number, which the Beatles heard and were influenced, as it were, to recorded "I Am A Walrus" and "A Day
In A Life".
As fate would have it, also in LA, Dockta D
was hired to play harmonica on a commercial for
Shell Oil (click to hear it).
He got a call around one o'clock in the morning from a
commercial producer whom he had never met
who somehow got his number and he was asked if Dock could
do a commercial session in the morning. Dock said yes and was
instructed to be at a studio in Malibu at 7AM. During
the session, the sound engineer asked him if he knew who
was supposed to do that commercial and Dock said no and the guy
told him that Paul Butterfield
was supposed to do it but he died the night before (due to drug-related
heart failure, as it were, May 4, 1987).
Thus, Paul inspired him become a harp player and da Dockta was
honored to fill in for him on his last Earthly gig. RIP
The Dockta has been in numerous blues rock bands, in Delaware,
Utah, California, Tennessee, and Alagonquin Territory:
"Icarus" - rock and roll (Nick Bucci's band) - Delaware
"Loose Goose" - blues/rock/boogie - Delaware
"Head First" - country/blues/rock - Park City, Utah
"The Bluebonics" - blues - Los Angeles
"The Buzz Drivers" - blues - Los Angeles
"The Bruno Brothers" - blues rock - Los Angeles
"The National Blues Band" - blues - Los Angeles
"Black and Blue" - blues - Los Angeles
"Doctor Blue" - blues - Los Angeles
"Dockta D and the Blooze Clinic" - Nashville
"The Excellerators" - hollyrock - Los Angeles
THE LESSER-KNOWN EXPERIMENTAL PROJECTS
(the black years)
"Dockta D and the Di-Atomix" - synthesized acid jazz - Tangytown
"Docktra Sinatra and the Killa Karoonahs" - death lounge - Greenwitch Village
"Docktor Diablo e los Quatros Marimbas Electricos" - mariachi fusion - Santo Lo Quinto Correctional Facility
"Dockta Chivago and the Crazy Cosacks" - Russian techno blues - Moscow
"Dockta Aorta and the Cardiac Arrests" - grunge aerobics - Peaceful Valley
Hot Springs Resort, Meditation Retreat and Big Game Hunting Ranch (farm fed lions)
"Dockto Procto and the Buttknockers" - medical institution elevator musick -
Harvard Medical School Janitors Union Hall house band - Masssacheutsettesetss
Witch Dockta and the Wacky Watussis - Afro Deziack Head Enlarging Muzak - Zimbobwae
Which Dockta and the Whodunnits - Detective Show Theme music - City of Angles (wrote themes to
such obscure and short lived TV gumshoe shows as, Pigs on the Beat, Prostitute Patrol, Hawaii Six-N,
The B-Team, Cape May Vice, and The Blob Squad Meets Charlies' Anorexics)
and the very laudable endeavor...
"Tasty Aid" - the concert to benefit laid-off Tasty-Kake
employees at the Upper Darby plant -
note: the Boss, Sting, Phil Collins, Willie Nelson, Elton John and Led Zeppelin cancelled when they
heard the Dockta was going to open the show. That's understandable... who would want to follow the
Dockta under any circumstances altruistic? On a happy note, the almost $600 raised at this event easily
covered laid-off icing mixer, Ernie Saleski's, rent last June. Heartfelt thanks go out to
all 15 attendees.
None of these projects enjoyed much success, which is why
the Dock has returned to his roots herein...
As stated, Paul Butterfield was the earliest major influence on the Dock but that
is probably because he had not yet been exposed to the old masters like Little Walter
Jimmy Reed, Junior Wells, Sonny Boy Williamson, Sonny Terry, Howlin' Wolf and James Cotton, to name a very few.
So, definitely, Paul got the ball rolling toward harp as his instrument of choice.
There were many many others from rock-n-roll, hard rock and blues:
Charlie Musselwhite's white boy blues style, similar is respects to Butterfield's approach but definitely big on 3rd position.
Lee Oscar's (of War fame) melodic single note style.
John Mayall's "chordal" and "breathy" style.
James Cotton's boogie style and high note bending expertise.
Mick Jagger's groove on "Midnight Rambler" -- cool tune.
Alan Blind Owl Wilson's (from Canned Heat) big-time boogie feel and smooth sound.
Lee Oscar's melodic, single note style.
Magic Dick's blues/pop/rock-n-roll interpretation and excellent tone. Real name Richard Salwitz ("Whammer Jammer").
Jack Bruce's (of Creem fame) incredible train emulation style (you MUST check out "Traintime" on Wheels of Fire LP).
Kim Wilson and William Clarke's hard-core white boy blues power.
Rusty Day's (from Cactus fame) acid-boogie-hard rock style.
Robert Plant's English heavy metal blues style.
Mark Farner's hard rock style. Grand Funk were masters of the orchestrated jam, which the Dock loves.
John Fogerty's high energy bayou chooglin' style ("Keep On Chooglin').
John Lennon (oddly enough) and his rock and roll harp accompaniment style (check out "Little Child").
Charlie McCoy's speed and preciseness ("Orange Blossom Special").
Bob Dylan and Neil Young's folk rock 1st position harp style (later adoped by people like Petty).
Sugar Blue's (James Whiting) cool blues style and quickness and nice tone ("Miss You" by the Stones)
Rod Piazza's superb old-school styling's, jazz and boogie-woogie influenced harp licks, and absolute master of the amplified harmonica tone.
Paul DeLay's super smooth stylings.
John Popper's monster approach to the instrument, incredible heavy amped sound, his sheer volume of notes and utter quickness.
John Sebastian (after all, he DID play on Roadhouse Blues by the Doors).
Toots Thielman, Larry Adler, Paul DeLary and Stevie Wonder's mastery of the chromatic harp.
Jean-Jacques Milteau's very nice stylings.
Adam Gussow's (Satan and Adam) superb understanding of harp equipment and mechanics.
Howard Levy's mastery of the mechanics of the instrument.
Jason Ricci's incredible understanding of the instrument, and in particular his mastery of the "overblow" and "overdraw" techniques. Whiz kid extraordinaire.
Chief "Red Lips" McClonsky's, the little known blower from from Alagonquin City, famous for his war cry harp style.
There are many other great harp players but these are major influences.
OTHER MUSIC INFLUENCES
Dockta D's music is eclectic and his influences are too numerous
to list here, but the short list
is - blues, R and B, T and A, rock, blues rock,
jailhouse rock, limbo rock, religious rock, acid rock, folk rock,
soft rock, hard rock, rock around the clock, rock hard crock, volcanic rock, rock opera,
rock and a hard place, rock-n-roll, rolling rock, rolling stones, roll away the stone,
too rolling stone, hard roll, soft roll, Italian roll, roll over Beethoven,
the Beatles, the beat goes on, Texas Radio and the Big Beat, Texas swing, playground
swing, swinging from the gallows pole, DC sling, Nashville swang, Francisco schwagger,
Cambodian bamboo accordian, Uncasville umbilicordian, harmodium, hurdy gurdy, tin pan alley,
Icelandic longboat coast-raiding hymns, funk, flunk, fusion, re-fusion, fission jazz,
tango, tango-n-cash, tang the hump, ting tang walla walla bing bang,
Kentucky spoon kloppting, Alabammah fork flaffing, Mussel Shoales, Mrs. Mrs. Jones,
New England whaling songs, whale song, bird song, Brian's song,
song sung blue, bluesmagoos, hamhock blues, country blues, city blues,
roadhouse blues, hill street blues, blues for breakfast, organ grinder, church organ,
Roller rink organ, morgan on the organ, the Mormon Tabernacle Choir,
the Mormon Tabernacle Jazz Band, the Mormon Tabernacle Death Mettle Symphony,
the Mermon T. Abernathy Mormon Barber Shop Siamese Quartuplets,
Mormon campfire polygamy hymnals, Donnie and Marie, LSD music, Philadelphia psychedelia,
psychedelic shack, Shak Rap, scat, Mummers, Polish polka dot,
Greek wedding music, Italian funeral home music, four beat waltz, East
Tennessee Smokey Mountain yodelayhehoo, Ozzie Ozborne, the theme from Ozzie and Harriet,
the land of Oz castle guard chants, Oslo ohsolomeo, Latvian Kjazunknak vodka drinking nursery rhymes,
the Cracker Jack jingle, soundtrack, electronic, techno, trance, house,
home, home and garden, sound garden, kindergarten snack-time sing-a-longs,
grunge music, la grange music, torture chamber music, new wave, old wave, permanent wave,
surf music, nurf music, smurf music, beach shag music, tiki music,
klatu mirata niktu nasal humming, black rapper lip and mouth drum kit emulation,
hip hop, bip bop, ahhhh beep beep, merengue,
marangue, opera, oprah, punta, la pinto, Mexican hat dance, Mexican halter top dance,
Mexican rope belt dance, elevator muzak, nursery school red stick/blue stick marching
music, ragtime, bayou bullfrog roast tunes, campfire songs, ol' Lewsianna street beat,
back beat, front beat, ballroom waltz, ballroom blitz, banjo, washboard,
folk, traditional African music, traditional Hawaiian fire knife virgin sacrifice log drum music,
traditional new age music, contemporary old age music, Gaelic boogaloo, synthesized,
musical chairs music, zydeco, wrap,
Campfire Girl throat warbling, Comanche Indian tomtom war beats,
the one and only Atlanta Braves "Indian" crowd chant,
European soccer fan riot chants, gay and lesbian "coming out" striptese music,
death row harmonica music, boogie woogie, reggae, oye oye oye punk, pink,
massage parlor background meditation wave sounds, mall subliminal inspirational, world music,
big band, little band, mini band, Transylvanian gypsy calypso, heavy metal (lead, iron, tin),
jews harp, jews trombone,
jews timbales, Palestinian la boomba, bomba y plena, Rat Pack, Rat Patrol, Mickey Mouse Club,
accoustic finger style guitar, slide guitar, steel pedal guitar, Bangladesh sitar, Tibetan shitar,
belly drumming, alternative music, optional music, substitute music, easy listening, hard listening,
hard of hearing,
country western, country eastern, city southern, salsa, samba, simba,
sambo, jazzbo, harp music, harpo marx, Inuit Indian
Harp seal bludgeoning chant music, commercial jingle music, country fiddle, fiddle faddle, fiddle
about, classical, neo-classical, neo-lithical, ska, Gothic contrapuntal, Contra-Iranian disco,
juke joint, jug band, Kate Smith, the Charleston, skin head love ballads,
punk, monk, Gregorian chant, Motown sole, Irish jig, crooner, techno, soft death metal,
bluegrass, greengrass, marching muzak, gospel, cotton field call and answer,
Mexican pop polka, Welsh Arterial Clogging, Korean Creole,
Australian dingo watzenelli waltz, Scottish bagpipe, Indian hookapipe, Swiss glockenspoogle,
Finnish kazooka, Iranian self-flagellation hymnals, and Japanese kamakazee karyoke.
When he has more time he'll provide the complete list of all his musical influences, including
those from the Netherlands and Butte, Montana.
As an adolescent, he went regularly to concerts
and saw the likes of Jimi Hendrix, Janice Joplin (8 times), The Doors (3 times),
The Allman Brothers (5 times), B.B. King (10 times), The Who,
Neil Young and Crazyhorse,
Santana, Iron Butterfly, Johnny Winter, Crosby, Still and Nash, Chicago,
CCR, Blood, Sweat and Tears, TOP,
Emerson, Lake and Palmer, Grand Funk Railroad, SRV, Procol Harum, Booker T, Jefferson Airplane and
Starship, The Paul Butterfield Blues Band, Hugh Masekela,
Canned Heat, Frank Zappa and the Mothers of Invention, The Moody Blues,
Three Dog Night, Joe Cocker, Little Richard,
Dr. John the Night Tripper, Humble Pie, The James Gang, Richie Havens,
Led Zeppelin, Johnnie Taylor,
Steve Miller, Supertramp, John Mayall, The J. Geils Band, Cactus,
Rod Stewart and Small Faces,
Aerosmith, Bad Company, Sha-Na-Na, James Brown, Weather Report,
Mott the Hoople, Eric Burton and War, Sonny Stitt, Deep Purple,
Rick Derringer, Edgar Winter and White Trash,
The Four Tops, Frankie Vallie, James Cotton, Foghat, Genesis, Rare Earth,
Peter Frampton, Herbie Hancock, Wet Willlie, Isley Brothers,
Jethro Tull, Ten Years After,
Journey, Traffic, The Police, Dave Mason, Steppenwolf, Robin Trower,
Bob Dylan, Charlie Musselwhite, Stones, Toots Theilmans, Mountain, Yes, Bo Diddley,
The Temptations, Bonnie Raitt, Black Sabbath, Jack Bruce, Staple Singers.
Dockta D is a decorated veteran of many foreign battles of the bands and he
holds numerous honors and titles in WHA competitions
(World Harp Association, Inc.):
Winner 2002 Greater Duluth Area Pork Rhind Harmonica
Blow-Off and Pig Roast, upsetting three-time winner,
Jake "Blow Hard" Shaw, in a 15-round harmonica blood fest;
Winner 2005 Grand World Universal Pangeal Harmonica Schwing-Dig
Jam-Offs, held last year in Reykjavik, Iceland, at Ice Age National Park. His
upper lip got frostbitten but it's ok now, thanks to a gal named
Johanna Ragnhildur Bergthoradottir for her quick mouth-to-mouth resuscitation;
Proud Winner of the coveted "Ho-ner Rhineland
Chicken Wing Hoffbrau Beer Blitzkreig and Harp Throw-Down Championship Cup" for 2006. He defends
his title this year in L' Provence d' Arpegia on the Moorish Gulf;
Runner-up in this year's Windy City Harp Suck Off
and Blues Thang competition. Lonnie "Harmonidog" Kaminski took
first place. He and the Dockta were neck and neck in
the twenty-fifth turnaround of Stormy Monday when Doc
accidentally swallowed a mini C harp after a beer mug hit him in the throat
and he had to recuse himself from the competition
(note: second place only took $178 bucks and
two tickets to the annual St. Paddy's Pulled Pork Porch Picnic and
Dart Throw but, what the hey, there was plenty of beer);
Came in 13th Place in the All-Arounds
at last year's 3rd Annual Trout Rodeo, Frisbee Golf, and
Unusual Instrument competition;
Took 902nd place in the 2005 Alaska State Harpoon Cup
(it should be noted that the Dockta thought it was a harmonica competition but
decided to stay in Naknek and compete anyway. Despite his piteous
performance in the harpoon throwing and whale bone sculpting events, he did learn how
to stalk harp seals and developed an affinity for blubber burgers);
Holds an Honorary Professorate of Vibration Harmonics from
the infamous Walter Reed Institute of Audio Dynamonics (the manufactory where
they manufactor the reeds for harmonicas, kazoos, and panfloots) in Upper
Honkers, NY, awarded pre-humously (because he's still alive);
The Dockta is recognized widely as the pregenetrator of the fine art of
Directorperson and Chairperson of the Greater
Wilmington Area Harmonica Lampoon Society and Blind Children's
Orphanage Charity Fund, benefiting all blind, indigent, orphaned
harmonica players across the First State, such as, Dockta D. (Well, actually,
he's not really blind but sometimes feigns it in his act
to pick up extra tips. Everybody does it, so it's no big deal);
Founder, Delaware Association For The Illegally Blind. Tax-deferred
annuity-deductable cash contributions may be sent to the Dockta at the addess listed herein;
Holds Royale Grande Meisterklauss Harmonicalutionist
Classification in the lower 47 States (Utah doesn't recognize the Blues... only
the Jazz), awarded just two years ago at the Old Pioneer Days County Fair
and Blues Whollapalooza, entitling him to place his name at the top of
the sign-up sheet at all WHA-sanctioned open-mic nites from here to Baltimore,
including, of course, the infamous White Horse Lounge in Havre de Grace;
Voted "Best Philharmonic Windjammer", for his circular breathing
and circular reasoning techniques, at the 2004 Bose Audiophiliac
Convention (sponsored by Bose) held that year at the 'World Famous'
Route 42 Truck Stop, Rodeo and Casino located in Algonquin Territory,
just up the road a snake from the old landfill. Note, Dockta D
doesn't remember much about this event but graciously accepts the
Head Superintendent of the Better Harlem
Harp Boys Consortium (sponsored by Bose), a laudable organization dedicated to
teaching young stray homeless harp boys, like Dockta D was, how to survive
on the mean streets, such as, how to shuck and jive, how to tap dance for money,
how to shoot craps in back alleys, how to re-load a 45 on a dead run, how to
run a 3 card Molly scam, and how to play "Willie and The Po' Boys" on the
harmonica for when you are in the bull pen awaiting arraignment;
Inventor of the concept "nuclear fusion harmonics"
which has revolutionized the way people think
about overblown high notes on a harmonica and their affect on
the female libido;
Discovered the fact that harmonica is like a woodwind
instrument except that the Japanese have perfected plastic
harmonicas and so Doc came up with the phrase "plasticwind"
to deal with that;
Was the first to suggest that "the blues" should be renamed
"the blacks" cause them's the folks that
discovered it and they should get they props. So, you would say, "I got
the blacks for you, baby";
Although suffering from Singular Schlerosis, a rare form of the disease, in
which only the schlero on the left side is inflicted, he still holds the
State record for the longest known rendition of Magic Dick's Whammer Jammer
(14 hours, 22 minutes, 6 seconds), achieved in response
to a $20 barroom challenge from Clarence "Wide Mouth" Henderson,
of the Delaware City Blue Collar Boys (note: Guiness
refuses to recognize the record because the Dockta greased
his lips with Pennsoil for the last three hours. To this day,
he refuses to drink their beer);
Founder of the newly formed Harp Logger Brewing Company
- the dock intends to spank Guiness by stealing away a sizeable chunk of their
market share - Ha! then, maybe they'll whistle a different tune about his bloody record;
Author of the bestselling book***,
The Tibbetin Book of the Dead, which is basically a book about
what happens to you when you die, which is, basically, that you die, and
that's pretty much it;
Author of the bestselling book,
The Tibbetin Book of the Un-Dead, which is basically a book about
what happens to you when you don't die, which is, basically, a bunch
of crap, which is why there is the "blues" (or the "blacks", as Dockta D
prefers) on this Earth;
Author of the bestselling book,
The Tibbetin Book of the Un-Born, which is basically a book about
what happens to you if you are never born, which is, basically, not much.
Original model for the Mister Softee logo,
for which he received a lifetime supply of hot choco-dip and walnut topping
on any sundae of his choice purchased on any Sunday of his choice (except
during the second Sunday of each month during "Second Sunday Second Scoup
Creator of the latest urban craze, Hippity
Hoppity (which is gangsta rap for kindergartners) with cool tunes
like "Can't Get My MoFo Cookies and Milk", "Shot Miss Malinda Wit Ma Pea
Shoota", and "F%*k Dem Naps Bitch";
Penned the new blues standard, "Calmy Tuesday",
which is catching on in blues venues across the nation. You see, the
Dock got absolutely sick and tired of hearing "Stormy Monday",
played over and over and over, ad nauseum, in blues joints
everywhere with the song lasting sometimes well over 20 minutes.
Calmy Tuesday is only 24 bars long, has only one verse
and no turn-arounds and lasts about a minute.
"Well, they call me Calmy Tuesday
But Wednesday's just as mild
Yeah, they call me Calmy Tuesday
But Wednesday's just as mild
And Thursday's even nicer
And Friday I get high"
(or the alternate, "Friday I get by",
depending on if yer
playing it on the Ed Syllvan Show)
World Record Holder
for writing the most songs about Honky Tonkin'.
Here are just a few written by the Dockta:
Road Hogin' Horn Honkin' Honky Tonkin' Truck Drivin' Blues
Honky Tonkin' Is Fun
Honky Tonkin' Is Easy
I Like Honky Tonkin'
Willie Wonka Honky Tonka
Honky Tonk Pick Up Lines and Honky Tonk Pick Up Trucks
When I Die I'm Goin' To Honky Tonk Heaven
When I Die I'm Goin' To Honky Tonk Hell
When I Die I'm Goin' To Honky Tonk Valhalla
When I Am Deceased I Will Visit The Honky Tonk Hereafter
When I Die I'm Goin' Down To The Honky Tonk And Get Drunk One
I Lost My Honky Tonk Dog Somewhere Behind The Bar
My Momma Nursed Me On A Honky Tonk Still
I Got The Honky Tonk Tank Top Tiddy Bar Blues
I Got The Hip Hop Honky Tonk Muthafukin Blues
Got Me A Horse Named Honky Tonk And A Dog Named Honky Tonk, Too
I Got The Boot Kickin', Harp Lickin', Fiddle Pickin', Honky Tonkin' Blues
and many, many, more...
And so, there you have it: as you can see, the Dockta has had quite
a prolific career, spanning many months, as a musician, writer,
inventor, and creator of many cool things.
*Note: to set the record straight, the actor, Bruce Willis, was never
a member of Loose Goose, as has
often been reported erroneously on the Internet. He hired my band once and that's it.
No other connection other than jamming occasionally.
***Note: bestselling in Death Valley, California and in the shoretown of
Khirbat Qumran north bank of the Dead Sea.