I was born in Vassa, Finland in 1948 and the family emigrated to Canada in 1956. Sudbury, Ontario became our Canadianized home until the early 60’s when we moved to Toronto. It was in the initial year in Toronto at the age of 15 when I bought my first guitar and taught myself to play by ear. It did not take long for me to realize that a wealth of knowledge could be gained by being able to read music. I approached that subject as being a relatively simple arithmetical puzzle. Within a short time, I was at the point where I could play, read and write the music that I was learning by ear. In my last year of high school, I decided to take lessons in classical guitar and studied with John Liberatore for that one year. By the end of the school season, I had gained a good proficiency on that instrument. My regimen was about 3 to 4 hours of practice on school days and a lot more on the weekends. Perhaps needless to say, my school marks had taken a real dive but my guitar playing had come a long way.
At this juncture in my life, I decided that more formal schooling was not going to make me into a musician. Other influences brought me to Kitchener, Ontario and within a year, I got into the music teaching business at a local music store. In these early years, I attended as many concerts by world famous people, as I could afford. I came to the conclusion that although I was a pretty good player, there were others who were a lot better. That did not deter me but just gave me a reality check.
Working in a music store put me in contact with many musicians and I soon began playing professionally in a variety of groups both large and small. Somewhere along the line I realized that there was probably more work for a good bassist as compared to guitarists. It did not take me long to begin freelancing as a bass player. The basic technique seemed nearly obvious.
All along the line I had been continuing my musical studies on a self taught basis and had developed an interest in jazz. Through the grapevine, in 1976, I found a guitar teacher named Tony Bradan in Toronto. At this point I had been teaching for quite a number of years and also had plenty of playing experience. Within the first few lessons, I realized how great a teacher Mr. Bradan really was and I continued my once a week trip to Toronto until Tony retired and moved to the west coast in around 1980. We had become very good friends as well as student and mentor. I visited Mr. Bradan on many occasions when I was out west also visiting my parents who had moved there in the early 70’s. The lessons with Tony Bradan reorganized my way of thinking about music in general. Theoretical logic and such, I garnished from some great books and in particular the Modern Harmonic Technique by Gordon Delamont. Today, both of these Canadian greats are missed by many as they have passed away some years ago.
Over the years I have performed in and led a number of groups from small stage bands to jazz trios. I continue to teach both guitar and bass technique in my private studio in Kitchener and also on a part time basis at another private music school operated by a close friend. Retirement is not something that I am thinking of although I mostly only play at events where I can choose the material to be performed. Slightly older age has made me a bit choosy in the song department.