My Ataxia Music
I picked up my first guitar when I was 14. Switched to bass when I was 16. Played in various Rock & Roll bands that each had different incarnations. Some were actually what I would consider to be fairly successful. We played a lot...schools, clubs, festivals, corporate parties, wrote songs, did some recording. We were even opening acts for Rare Earth and Bachman Turner Overdrive. Yes I'm going back a way.
Although the ataxia actually started manifesting in my late teens and early 20s, I didn't know about it until my diagnosis in my late 30s. Playing was becoming a problem, and singing even more so. After a pretty good run, I put my guitar down in the mid 90s.
This being a crushing and devastating blow that can only be understood by other musicians, I still wanted to do what I could in music. I decided to become a DJ. I had a company for almost 12 years, and with the help of some others, branched out into video and photography. After another fairly successful venture, ataxia was making it very hard. Speech was declining to where I could no longer MC an event, and it was time.
I still DJ fundraisers occasionally, just because that's how I roll. I'm at home on stage, and have always gotten fueled by a crowd. Take me off the stage though, and I don't like crowds.
I recently came up with an idea for a song called 'The Ataxia Shuffle'. I thought it was a catchy novelty song, and wanted to record it. However the thought of someone else on the bass simply did not sit well with me.
After 15 years of not playing, I started to thump around on my guitar a bit. I mean thump, because it sure wasn't playing. Brain was fogged, fingers were rusty and incapable, and I thought "this is useless". Enter the Jonas stubborness. Kept at it, and I asked some musician friends to collaborate on the recording.
The Ataxia Shuffle
I got creative again, and, at the beginning of March, 2013, I wrote 'The Wheelchair Boogie'. Since The Ataxia Shuffle, some former band mates got a new project together. They were happy to record it for me. Take a listen...
The Wheelchair Boogie
We went into my buddies studio, and started to build. No one ever played or even heard it before, as it was just an idea. Well, here it is, recorded in November of 2012, and yes, that's me on bass.