E-mail: tom @ mutaytor.com
Tom started his musical growth at a very early age playing piano. He had private lessons for about 5 years during his Elementary School days. That was what formed his basic knowledge of reading and love of music. He did try the violin for one year, but needless to say, that did not work out. It wasn't until the Seventh Grade that he decided on the saxophone. Almost immediately he excelled and was placed as leader of the sax section in his first band!
Most likely the credit here should go to his mother for urging him to practice the piano which led him to be one step above all the other kids. Knowing how to read music on sight was a big plus.
When Tom entered high school, his parents never imagined that he would continue with the saxophone so fervently. Every band he joined placed him as first chair. It wasn't until his senior year when the band director (a highly accomplished saxophonist in his own right) realized that Tom had never had one private lesson on the sax. So that year Tom started taking private lessons, which enhanced his playing. In that same year Tom auditioned for the Santa Clara County Honor Band and was awarded second chair which was a great distinction and stepping stone for him to build on in later years. Before leaving high school he won the Louis Armstrong Jazz Award, given to the best jazz artist in the entire school for that year.
Upon receiving a music scholarship, he decided to matriculate at San Jose State University in pursuance of a Bachelor of Arts degree in Music. During the summer months of his college years Tom auditioned for Paramount's Great America, a local amusement park. The first time he tried out he was cast in a show called 'Hot Hits' which was an overview of the history of rock-n-roll. It was an eight-piece band with eight singers and dancers to back up.
The next three years he joined the infamous Kings of Komedy Klown Band. This group would run around the park and act crazy while playing catchy tunes on their horns. Auditions were held annually statewide. Near the end of his college days he wound up with a local salsa band which recruited him to play at Latin nightclubs between one and three times a week.
In the course of four years he played with three different Latin groups. His first CD recording came with 'Sabor Latino' which led him to an appearance on Telemundo (a Spanish television channel). Well, after awhile he became tired of the same old routine, playing at the same nightclubs with no ambition to learn any new material or do any more recordings. So he decided to pack up for Los Angeles.
Once Tom became acclimated to L.A. living and his steady '9 to 5' job at a television post production facility, he was ready to venture out and find a band to join. Having no idea where to start, he went on the internet to look up info on possibly joining the union, or to see if there was any local bands looking for horns. Well, one day he was browsing a record store and he happened across a magazine entitled 'The Music Connection.' In the back of the publication he found wanted ads for every instrument. This was like a gold mine! He immediately subscribed. About 2 months later he found an ad looking for 'sax and trombone.' He called the band and was invited to one of their gigs to check them out and see for himself whether he would be interested or not. After seeing 'Footlong' perform Tom could not wait to start playing with them for live audiences once again. After the first rehearsal with the group he felt confident that this was what he was meant to do. Not only were they talented individuals, but as a whole the chemistry seemed to blend in a way that put Tom at ease and allowed him to do what he does best.
During the course of the next two years 'Footlong' played at clubs such as The Gig, The Martini Lounge, Lush, The Whiskey, and The House of Blues! It was a great run, but all good things eventually come to an end. The band broke up at the end of 2001, but all the while Tom kept in close contact with the lead singer, Solomon Burke, Jr. (The son of legendary soul singer, Solomon Burke!) They collaborated on a few side projects recording several songs on tribute albums for Prince, The Smashing Pumpkins, and The Red Hot Chili Peppers.
This was also around the time when Tom had his first gig with 'The King of Rock and Soul', Solomon Burke. The Venue was The Long Beach Blues Festival in September of 2001. This was a twenty-piece band playing in front of over a thousand people! His next opportunity didn't arrive until August of 2002 when Tom was invited to play in Rome, Italy with the same group! After that he did a show at The House of Blues and two shows in San Francisco. But the most memorable show of them all was when he opened for The Rolling Stones in Las Vegas on Nov. 29, 2002!!
Since that time Tom has not had too many gigs to brag about. But he is hopeful that will all change by recently joining up with 'The Mutaytor' With this kind of group, the possibilities are endless!