Erik Walker , Bio-degradable history
Erik Walker was born in 1957. Age 5 stated intention to become mad
Scientist. Listened to Spike Jones, Jerry Lee Lewis, his dads
Jazz records, Mad Magazine tear-out 45s, and radio static
Began piano at age 10, as the family had moved out rural and the
ennui was encroaching. Studied for 8 years with the great Sid Smither
(Mr. Ear Training). Wrote rock songs and played drums and bass in
bands 1. Mad Scientist got his first tape deck and synthesizer
(Arp 2600), learning deeply about the physics of sound, texture,
weirdness, chaos, engineering and production 2. Concentrated
on improvising through road maps of ideas. Practiced
6-8 hours a day (Jazz/blues, Classical, Prog Rock).
Entered San Francisco Conservatory of Music in 1976 (BM Compostition
80). Studied electronic music with Alden Jenks and
composition with the accomplished orchestral composer John Adams.
Adams stressed having clarity of style, understanding your vocabulary
of sound, and weeding out unnecessary clutter. So, Erik played in
the punk band the Beauty Killers. 3
1981-91 was a fruitful period of collaboration, composing extensively
for modern dance and experimental theater in San Francisco. He also
fronted the bands Ha-Ha, Nova Mob (new wave) and Them Horn Moans
(jazz/blues). Accompanied modern dance classes and taught at Blue
Bear School of Music for burrito money. There he taught piano, synth,
and Rock and Blues Workshop (coaching a band). Began collaborations
with Joe Goode Performance Group (1988), scoring numerous
shows that traveled the country. Composition explored mixture of
acoustic and electro-industrial scores.
1991 sustained temporary debilitating ear injury, requiring a year
off from music to recuperate. During this time Mr. Walker reviewed
his musical output and drew upon elements that had been discarded
before. The result was the CD The Kisses, recorded with the brilliant
violist Phyllis Kamrin and the gorgeous singing of Cameron
Ember. It is to date his most successful opus. 1994 his work
with director Veronique Guillaud Culminated in the wildly
popular Free Fall, a performance where the audience
viewed the actors in hotel windows from a stairway across the street.
Sound was transmitted by radio. Was also performed at Lincoln Center
in New York City. Scored the Jay Rosenblatt film The
Smell of Burning Ants, winner of numerous awards.
Currently, Erik teaches at the Community Music Center in San Francisco,
coaching students in piano, improvisation, singer/songwriting piano
skills, and general crazy fun. Continues to work with Joe Goode,
and is in demand as session player and producer. He is the father
of a 8-year old boy, and is teaching music to children in public
school. Revisiting simplicity in expression, and certainly experiencing
joy in a way hed never expected.
1 Faves were The Kinks, Who, Muddy Waters, Mothers of
Invention (Frank Zappa), Blues, Handel organ concertos.
2 Chopin, Keith Emerson and Jimmy Smith emerged as keyboard
3 Into Capt. Beefheart, The Residents, and medieval music.