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 dad’s Jazz records, Mad Magazine tear-out 45’s, and radio static during storms.

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 he’d 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 heroes
3 Into Capt. Beefheart, The Residents, and medieval music.