Dan McKinnon sings

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  • Mom and Dad bought me a Harmony guitar and lessons when I was 12. At the end of my lessons my teacher jingled the change in his pocket to remind me to pay him, $2.50 for a half hour. On the music store wall, an album for sale showed a wild-looking guy walking down the street with a woman on his arm. I thought, 'Who does that guy think he is?' Album title: The Freewheelin' Bob Dylan. (1963)
  • The Harmony had a spruce top and mahogany sides and back. Later I got a Gibson ES-175 and an Ampeg amp, both stolen by a drug-addicted musician I let stay with me. For a time I played the old Harmony acoustic until it was eventually stolen also.
  • My first big break was playing with John Holte's Swingland Express, an offshoot of the New Deal Rhythm Band. Ronnie Pierce (as, cl), Jeff Hughes (tpt), Jeff Hay (tb), and Greg Keplinger (dr) did stints with that band. I shared the guitar seat with Robin Kutz, who was the better player. (He still plays, and teaches at the prestigious Roberts Music Institute.)
  • To supplement the random musical pointers one picks up playing in a swing band, I took a few classes in music theory at the UW. In one of my classes I gave a short recital, using the Harmony to flat-pick half of a Bach Invention while Robin flat-picked the other. That was a surreal experience, two jazzers playing a Bach Invention for the longhairs on their own turf.
  • My life disintegrated. I rode a bucking bronco of breathtaking highs and devastating lows. I experimented with drugs, sometimes liberally and dangerously. I was sexually promiscuous. I was involved with the occult; I reached a point where I couldn’t make decisions without consulting the I Ching. Crazy things happened and the supernatural was very real.
  • I accepted Christ standing in my friend’s front yard, led in the sinner’s prayer by a guy I didn’t know. My life has never been the same.
  • There are similarities between my story and Kris Kristofferson's, though of course I'm not on his level musically. Here's a link to his story and a performance of his most popular song, Why Me Lord? on YouTube.
  • My church is important to me. I love to worship and hear our pastor and other speakers. I started working with kids. I love the kids and like spending time with them, and some of them actually like me :)
  • And I love it when I can share my faith in God with others in the music field. I find there are a number of players that are believers as well. I used to go to Eastside Foursquare Church in Kirkland. That’s where I met Don Lanphere, who had an influence on me.