Music was always part of my life, even as a kid in England; my Mum used to listen to light classics on the radio and, later, played records on a turntable which my parents acquired. At the time I might not have actually liked what she played but I do know that her music stayed with me, deeply rooted, and that it formed the basis of my own interest in classical music later in life.
My earliest memory of pop music was watching the ancient black & white TV at my grandparent's house one day when I was about seven years old; performing was a group led by a guitar player who had a curlicue of hair in the middle of his forehead. I remember being quite drawn to the music and, when I asked who this was, was very impressed that my Grandfather knew the answer - "that's Mr. Bill Haley and his Comets", he confidently and quite rightly told me. That, I thought, was very cool - long before I had any idea what cool was.
Shortly after this time I began listening to Radio Caroline on a small transistor radio; the pirate stations were the only places where you could hear pop/rock in those days and I can still remember spending my Saturday and Sunday afternoons glued to the station while I built dozens of Airfix plastic model kits ( these cost 2/6 apiece from the hobby shop down in Finham... ). This, along with Top Of The Pops on TV ( I vividly remember seeing the Jimi Hendrix Experience's first appearance on that show, albeit a lip-synched affair ), was my first exposure to what I still think of as real music, music which would become the British Invasion and which would form the basis of my lifelong fascination with adventurous musical forms.
My first instrument was actually the guitar; when we'd moved to Vancouver in 1970 my sister got one for her eighth birthday but didn't pursue it so one day I dug it out of her closet and began to teach myself how to play. I remember starting with the melodies of things like TV theme songs and commercials and, as best I could, songs I heard on the radio; I didn't know any other guitarists at the time so discovering chords was a laborious process which I carried out by ear. My Dad bought me a book by Frederick Noad from which I was able to learn basic classical solo guitar technique ( I still have that book ) and which was of great help to me in decoding more and more complex musical forms/structures.
I began to take drum lessons basically as a result of being seated next to a bespectacled kid in Grade 8 science class; that kid was Mark Gauthier, a friend ever since and the man who designed and manufactured the Collarlock rack systems back in the 1980s and early '90s. I was by this time heavily into the likes of Jethro Tull, Emerson Lake & Palmer, Chicago and Grand Funk Railroad and King Crimson but, through Mark, I was also introduced to serious jazz; Buddy Rich, Gene Krupa, Louie Bellson, Joe Morello and their peers were all brand new to me and they opened up an entirely new aspect of music.Around this time I also heard the Mahavishnu Orchestra on the radio - that was the beginning of my life-long love of odd-meter and virtuosic, hugely exploratory music.
A job at Safeway and a brief engagement teaching/coaching a youth marching band gave me the money I needed to acquire good gear; my original $40.00 Beltone starter set was quickly outgrown and, in any case, there was no way I could ever have gigged with such poor quality equipment. Just after graduation from high school in 1975 I ordered a custom-built Milestone drum set - even then they cost a fortune but I didn't care; I had to have them - and took delivery of those drums in late 1976 by which time I was already playing seven nights a week in the Vancouver club scene.
From that point onwards I was completely immersed in music; played every night, practised every day, tried my hand at writing original material for various bands, recorded a series of demo-tapes ( this is waaaay pre-digital... ) which earned a series of very nice rejection letters from all of the best labels, traveled continuously and tried to find that elusive key to "making it" as a musician. I never did find that key.
By 1984 I was married and living in Victoria, BC, when Mark Gauthier and my brother Dave both mentioned to me that the Milestone drum company was for sale and recomended that I buy it. So I did and, on April 1, 1985, launched Tempus Instruments Inc.
Which pretty well takes care of the twenty-seven years which have elapsed since then.
During that time I also continued to play in styles ranging from rock to country to Holdsworthian jazz to big band to white-guy R&B, did quiet a bit of teaching, even recorded a CD ( The Eliiot Freedman Group ) which was moderately well received and which took me to Europe for some gigs which included the famed Bim Huis in Amsterdam. I've been able to travel even more extensively through my Tempus dealings and have met and befriended quite the most extraordinary people around the globe. I've been heavily involved with music advocacy and music education ( I was the President of the North Vancouver Band & Strings Parents Association for four or five years, an engagement which introduced me to administrators, teachers and advocates from the local school district as well as the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra ) and will be moving back into that area in the coming months.
And music has always, one way or another, been at the centre of my life, culturally, emotionally, artistically, therapeutically and in every other way.
I don't really see that changing.