Unlike most musicians, I had no musical role models in my family. My father didn’t play bass in a blues band. My mother didn’t give piano lessons to neighborhood kids. We didn’t even have a piano, instruments laying around, nor was there a radio or record player blaring out songs in anything close to regularity. I remember a cache of 8-track tapes that came in from Columbia House. Burton Cummings, Engelbert Humperdinck, Barry Manilow. It’s hard to imagine how a young lad would ever be inspired by music with such meager influences. That all changed in 5th grade during an assembly/talent show at school. Some 6th graders (old guys) had formed a band. With Electric guitars! They played Deep Purple’s Smoke on the Water. I was immediately hooked. That opening riff! My next door neighbor’s dad had Deep Purple’s live album Made in Japan which contains the classic live version of what was then, and for many years my favorite song: Smoke On The Water!
In life I am rarely moved to tears. When I am, it is usually because I am overwhelmed by the power and mystery of a piece of music. I am also inspired when I have that rare moment when I am playing with a band, and the rhythm section is in a deep, powerful groove. I am out front playing guitar and singing. I feel like I am “driving a tank” in these moments and it is inspiring. Most humbling of all, I have been told on a few occasions that I have inspired someone.
-"Cross Tie" Walker