I was born in Pittsburgh on an uncommonly warm night in April, 1962. By all family accounts I screamed so uncontrollably when they brought me home that I turned a wonderful shade of purple. I apparently regained my composure shortly thereafter and settled into my role as the youngest of three. By the time the family moved to Detroit in 1967, I had worn the grooves off my brother's Beatles records and my dad's classical 78's, planting the seeds for the eclectic mixture of styles that is my 'home turf.' I started violin lessons at age seven, but when I wasn't practicing 'Lightly Row' I was back at my brother's record collection, getting a good listen to Grand Funk Railroad, Jimi Hendrix, and Emerson, Lake, and Palmer before he got home from junior high. My brother retaliated by making me desecrate my violin with a microphone in an attempt to sound similar to Jean-Luc Ponty's tone on the Frank Zappa song 'Fifty-Fifty.' The feedback still rings in my subconscious. Switching from violin (and viola) to guitar was a natural progression fueled by two insatiable needs: to be noticed by the opposite sex, and to be noticed by the opposite sex while playing song in the Led Zeppelin catalog. Of particular interest were the acoustic numbers, with their odd tunings, challenging fingerings, and compositional flair. Mom let me switch instruments as long as I took classical guitar lessons; I don't think I ever thanked her for that. By the time the family compound moved to St. Louis in 1979, guitar-acoustic and electric-was my passion. Between 1979 and 1982 I moved between St. Louis, Kansas City, and Columbus before heading to New York City on a whim. Having chewed up his records years before, I thought it only fitting that my newlywed brother let me sleep on the couch in his apartment in White Plains. Two weeks later, the couch and I were both heading to Queens, where we lived quite happily for many years. During the 1980's I left school, returned to school, chained myself to a piano, completed my BA in Music and received an MA in Composition from Queens College, CUNY. On the only day I didn't stay late to pound out required chord progressions, I took a gorgeous girl to the movies to see 'Amadeus,' only to ignore her throughout the entire film. We've been married nearly 16 years now, and I still owe her big time for all the Graduate Composers Concerts she lovingly endured throughout our courtship. The last fifteen years have seen the birth two beautiful children, a position as teacher of strings, music theory and guitar in a Long Island school district, and a passion for writing and playing music that has aged and proliferated as my musical language has become more personal and powerful. Bach, Beethoven, Bartok, Fahey, Kottke, Hedges, Page, Thompson, and Fripp (along with countless other musicians, family, and friends who enter into the mix), are the ingredients for my personal stew of musical expression. The acoustic steel-string guitar was my only voice on 1998's Hands On; the textures are fuller and more defined on Unspoken (2003) with the addition of strings, percussion, loops, electronic treatments, and masterful production. Best Wishes, Rich Stein.