Musicians are really interesting people to write about, to be honest. With so many different artists in different genres, there is so much that could be talked about their lives. For the most part, artists use their lives to influence the work that they create. There isn’t a standard story for each musician that I write about. There are certain details that feel familiar after writing about so many of them. But the circumstances that lead them to their current careers can vary a lot. Even though I don’t listen to a lot of music from different genres, it’s easier to appreciate their artistry.
Compared to sports, the arts are sort of easier for me to get into. I mean, there are terms that you need to know if you were deep into it. But it’s not really needed all that much. It helps to know the terms, but it’s definitely not required for you to listen to music. I feel like you kind of have to be aware of all the positions and the movement required in sports to understand what is happening. With music, you just have to connect with it. That’s all there is to it.
Even though there are groups or artists whose life stories are available to read on the internet, it’s not always that easy. There are instances when there’s only a brief overview of their lives on some music website. This happens a lot with certain older and newer artists. Perhaps those artists aren’t too forthcoming about their life growing up. Or maybe it’s because their careers haven’t really been eventful. I still try my best to work with what little information I could get. But it definitely ups the difficult a little bit.
A thing that I have noticed when I write about musicians is that a lot of them grew up in a household that either played music or listened to music. It definitely makes sense that your formative years influence your tastes and personality. Having a childhood that was filled with music made sense to people who would later decide to pursue a career in music. It’s not surprising how common that kind of thing is with artists.
In the case of Denny Carmassi, he grew up in a family of drummers. In an interview he did, he mentioned that the person who influenced him to play the drums was his father. It seems that drumming runs in the family, his dad and his uncle played the drums and so did his brothers. His father would often play standards with a bunch of his friends during the weekends. And more often than not, Denny would watch them play.
Aside from letting him listen on to their rehearsals, his dad also brought him and his brothers to shows where he could see other drummers play their instrument. It was through that that Denny decided that he wanted to also play the drums. He listened to a live album from artist Ray Charles that he would use to practice beats. And it seems he also took inspiration from all of the drummers he heard on the radio. Exposing yourself to all kinds of music regardless of style or genres gives you an idea of how to meld those into your own style of playing music. Everybody uses their inspirations to influence their style.
It seems that Denny’s career as a drummer start shortly after he graduated high school. He was mostly playing around the Bay Area. He somehow got gigs to play the drums in topless bars. An unusual place to do live music. During that time, he joined a band named “Sweet Linda Divine.” They went to New York to record an album for Columbia Records. But the band broke up shortly after. It made sense that after that break up, he went on to join other bands as their drummer. Standard thing that happens to artists who work in a band, I guess?
It wasn’t until the early 1970s that he collaborated with Sammy Hagar and the band Montrose. He went on to work with the band for four albums from 1973 to 1976. He then went on to do drums for Sammy Hagar when he went solo. Besides that, he also played drums for his other Montrose bandmates, namely Ronnie Montrose and Jim Alcivar, when they were performing as Gamma. He has done a lot work for other artists and bands after that. The last thing he lent his talent to was the 2014 album Bad Habit from Mercy and Lynda Morrison. At that point, Denny Carmassi had a net worth of $1,600,000.