Abraxas was born on 17th July, 1986 in Winston- Salem, NC. Shortly thereafter, he moved to Kansas City, KS and then to Salt Lake City, UT, where he currently resides.
Abraxas began playing piano at the age of three, almost immediately showing a natural talent for playing by ear. He never really learned to sight- read music and continues to play by ear.
When he was seven, Abraxas received his first guitar, but without anybody to teach him chords, he didn't really start playing until he was twelve. He had received a chord chart and began trying out different chords until he pieced together the Beatles' "Let It Be."
At the age of eight, Abraxas bought a harmonica and taught himself to play.
Abaxas began collecting instruments over the years and eventually ended up with (alongside the family piano) several guitars, a Fender Precision Bass guitar, a ukulele, a violin, a Belaruvian lap harp, a mini sitar, and a cheap drumkit. Abraxas learnt to play all of these instruments without taking any lessons.
Abraxas began recording Delusions of Grandeur when he was fourteen. The album, when finished, will contain a mixture of fourteen original and cover songs.
Abraxas' greatest influences are Queen and Michael Jackson. This may seem like it makes for an interesting combination, which is true. Abraxas says his voice sounds like a mix between the maneouverability of Michael Jackson, the emotion of Brian May, the power of Freddie Mercury, the smoothness of Boy George, and Richard Marx's balls. His guitar playing sounds a bit like Brian May and Neil Schon, with a bit of Yngwie Malmsteen thrown in for some flavour. The result is a smooth, melodic sound, with some classical themes.
His keyboard playing is very influenced by Britsh classic rock musicians, such as Freddie Mercury, David Bowie, Elton John, and Paul McCartney. He's also got some of the jazz/ blues stylings of Billy Joel and Bruce Hornsby.
Abraxas uses a number of different guitars and amplifiers to create different unique effects. His main guitar is a Burns Brian May signature series guitar. Other guitars he uses are an Epiphone special, a Jay Turser Les Paul copy, a Gibson B-20 acoustic, and a number of other axes. His main bass is a Fender Precision. Amplifiers used on this album include a Vox Brian May bedroom amp, a Fender Frontman reverb amp, a Fender Jam amp, and a Yamaha amp. Abraxas has a Stradivarius copy violin, a Hohner 24kt gold- plated harmonica, and a Hilo ukulele.
Abraxas' Personal Narrative/ Autobiography
Faith is a tricky thing. I could say that I have faith that I will wake up in the morning-- I mean, it's probable that I won't develope a sudden case of sleep apnea, have a heart attack, that my heater won't start leaking carbon monoxide, or that a robber won't break in and kill me in the middle of the night. Spontaneous combustion is also pretty unlikely. Call me paranoid, but I think about these things. Of course, I have that teenage "I will live forever" mantra firmly instilled in me, only I call it "legends never die." I can't die-- no time for it. Got too much to do. So if my dad wants my mother to drive a box somewhere sort of far away, like Vernal or St. George, I always volunteer to take it. Protective instinct, I guess. Either that or self- preservation, because I decided awhile ago that if anything happens to my mother, then it's "see ya later, Abs." Simple as that. I'm the ultimate mama's boy. I don't really know if I'm eccentric. I always thought it would be fun to be. My brain is an odd combination of logic and anti- logic. I learned at a young age not to speak unless spoken to. I learned that from the kids at school. Don't speak unless spoken to, or else the seven- year olds will mash your face into the chainlink fence. And, if you are spoken to, run. I was always the kid you'd find curled up in a ball in the far corner of the playground. Never understood quite why... I'd always share my umbrella when it was raining. Well, until it got ripped from my hands, buried in the gravel, and stepped on. So, needless to say, I've always been terrified of people. Logical? Perhaps. Yeah, kids can be cruel. But adults can shoot you between the eyes or run you over with their new Mercedes. Or, you know, their Geo Metro. I really like that whole "show no fear" thing. I figure if I can convince everybody else that I'm not afraid of anything, then maybe I'll buy into it myself at some point. So I put myself into situations that can be potentially hazardous to my well- being. Like, oh, I don't know, existing, for instance. I go out in public. That's scary. I know what people are thinking when they see me. I could be hassled at any point. Ever seen Boys Don't Cry? I go up onstage and perform stand- up comedy. Or, attempt to. What the hell am I doing? Standing on a platform with a microphone, speaking to people. Inviting them to laugh at me. Yeah, that's violating my "don't speak unless spoken to" rule right there! If I'm in a group of people I don't say anything unless I'm absolutely sure I won't interrupt someone. In stand-up I could be interrupting dozens of conversations! And that's just rude. I feel like a real asshole now. I sometimes feel like I have multiple personalities. Two, specifically. Or a few more if you count Mr. Intoxicated, Mr. Exhibitionist (that kind of goes along with the first one), and Mr. I Just Woke Up So I'm Likely To Set Fire To Your Genitals. The first personality is who I am when I'm comfortable. I'm relaxed, easy- going... Someone once said I was so laid- back it was impressive that I was able to walk upright. And I'm funny. I can be mind- blowingly hilarious when I'm completely comfortable. I talk a mile a minute, sing, dance, and grab familiar buttocks, chests, and elbows. As soon as I leave my comfort zone (that is to say, when I'm outside my house or the company of very good friends) I become the Recluse. Like a shelled turtle, you know? I don't say a word. I stare at my shoes, and look a mess. Sometimes when I'm in my car, I'll be singing along with modern opera, blasting along at full lung- capacity, and then a thought will enter my head. Oh, no, I say to myself. Not a thought! Those pesky things... I can't even hear the music anymore when that happens. Sometimes I'll be cut off mid- word (and it doesn't even have to be English! It could be Japanese, Italian, Spanish, or German). That's really odd. And my mind will suddenly start cooking up all these bizarre fantasies. For instance, I'll be onstage, doing comedy one night and I'll get a rude heckle. I will handle it well, but then the heckler will get pissed off and leave. Then, when the show's over and I'm heading to my car he'll come up to me with a big knife and I'll have to fight him off Bruce Lee style. Or he'll come back to the venue while it's still packed, carrying a huge gun, and I'll miraculously save everyone's life. I have this recurring dream, where I'm on a tour bus in the middle of nowhere with a bunch of kids from my high school. It's the middle of the night and the bus stops so we can go buy soda or food and stretch our legs. A kid will be walking up the aisle of the bus eating something, trip over someone's leg, choke on the food, and nick his jugular on something sharp. And so I'll drag him off the bus, lay him down, and give him the Heimlich, but the food won't come out. Meanwhile he's losing a lot of blood and suddenly his heart stops from the trauma. So the cut stops gushing but I've got to work fast. I get some kids to call 911, and go get a few items: a bottle of vodka, some clean rags, a sharp knife, a straw, and a needle and fishing line. When the items have been collected, I use the vodka to sterilise the knife and needle, then sop up the blood with the rags. Then I proceed to cut his neck open and give him a quick traceostomy with the straw to get him breathing. I then cut open the skin on his neck where the original jugular cut was, find the vein, and stitch it up with the fishing line. Then I give him CPR. Badah- bing, I've saved the kid's life in less than three minutes. I don't know quite what this means, unless it's that I have some longing to become a surgeon. Perhaps I've been watching too much "Mash." I think it's a metaphor. I want to help people, obviously, and take care of those who are mean. Or maybe it's just that I need to learn to stand up for myself and actually do what I feel like I should be doing. Get the wheels in motion, that kind of thing. Or, another option: maybe I'm feeling overlooked and unnoticed and want to do something that will get me instant recognition. It's probably option D: all of the above. In many ways I'm still that little kid, curled up and quivering in the corner of the playground. I've got Peter Pan syndrome. My favourite people to hang out with are my cousins Ailee and Elnaz, aged five and seven. I've got that little kid mentality. I look up at clouds and I see geese, sheep, penguins, and balloons. Anything but clouds. I like to play with Legos. My favourite thing to watch on TV is cartoons. I find it fascinating to pick up bugs and let them crawl on my hands. Every time I come home I get on the floor and wrestle around with my dogs and rile them up. I keep seeing advertisements for toys and feel like I need to buy them. I like having fun. I like things that sparkle or make weird noises. I see the different states of water (ice, liquid, and steam) in a sort of hourglass shape in my head. And I can sense people's auras. I think little kids can see auras. I'm also meticulously obsessive. I like to do ridiculously long but simple math problems. If I read an interesting snippet, I must do followup research. I saw pictures of Harlequin babies once and read up everything I could find about them online. I once read 6 webpages on Englebert Humperdinck. I've read Wayne Gretsky's autobiography, just because I like to play hockey. I've been playing the same song on the drums for two months just because I like it a lot. I like the snare hits after the bridge. They sound like a machine gun. I have ridiculous amounts of trivial knowledge about interesting people, places, and things. I could do well at Jeopardy. I've been known to listen to the same song for a week straight, just to detect subtleties in it. I'll listen to the left side of the mix, then the right, to see what the differences are. Living inside my head is a nightmare. But back to the faith thing. I have trouble with it. Because my brain is so scrambled and random, I've come up with lots of weird theories. I believe it's possible that I don't exist. The whole world as I know it could not exist. I could be a character in a story, someone's dream (or nightmare), or a pawn in God's game of Sims. Not that I necessarily believe in God. I mean, if I'm not even sure that I exist, why would I believe in God? I hit my head and passed out when I was eight. Who knows, maybe I'm in a coma and am imagining all this. I'd like to be in a coma, just so I know what it's like. And then Karma. I love the idea of Karma. I try to do good things, but not because I want good things to come up and say hello to me. As I previously insinuated, I've got a bit of a victim mentality-- I want struggles. I want hassles, so I can have opportunities to stand up for myself. But about Karma... If it exists, then why do three year olds become terminally ill? Why the AIDS epidemic in Africa? Why extreme poverty? Why do politicians live so bloody long? Why is there that expression, "only the good die young"? I do follow "do unto others" and "what goes around, comes around." That's what I base my whole state of existence (confirmed or not) on. So, I suppose that's good. But I'm interested in psychology and how society has progressed. Cars are interesting. They're cool. It's like a social marker now. If you have a cool car, you're high up there. Or, if you have a Honda Civic. Which are little shit cars that have no power and aren't cool at all. But everyone seems to think they are. A Shelby GT is cool. A Civic is NOT. It doesn't matter how much crap you put on it either. And it seems that everyone who gets a Civic spends more money on trying to make it look cool and sound cool, than they spent on the car itself. They have to get the cool headlights, the blue ones, and the cheap- looking plastic-y taillights, biplane wings, cherry bombs to make it louder than a motorbike going through a tsunami, put a jet engine on it, blacklights to go underneath, racing stripes, hoodstripes, a spoiler that's ten feet high, a neon licence plate frame, a Darwin fish, and fuzzy dice. Until you get a car that looks like a dragonfly on testosterone. Imagine, "THE DRAGONFLY THAT ATE TOKYO!" And after putting all this shit on, they're so heavy that they can't go more than 30 miles per hour. But they're really LOUD so they seem as if they're going fast. So they spend twenty thousand dollars on the car and fifty thousand dollars trying to make it cool. And the sad part is, they fool a lot of people. But I'm here to tell you that no matter what you do to a Civic, IT'S NOT BLOODY COOL! Mini's are cool. Cos they're tiny. Corvettes are cool because they look like a shark and they go fast. Vipers are so cool that when I see one I get weak in the knees. "oooh, a Viper.. oh, my... (wobble)". Ferraris have much the same effect. Mustangs are purdy. And Lamborghinis and MacLarens look like spaceships. But Civics are not cool. What else is cool is when you have a piece of shit muscle car that's about a hundred years old, completely rusted over, with the muffler dragging the ground and you trick it out. You do to one of those what people do to a Civic. And then you put in a 47- speaker stereo with about 5 million watts in it and a subwoofer the size of an astronaut, however big that is, and blast rap or thrash metal. Very cool. What I think is really funny is when people have a 47- speaker stereo with five million watts and a subwoofer the size of an astronaut, and then they play stuff like Britney Spears or the Bee Gees or showtunes on it. Not that I have a problem with showtunes, and I even like a couple of BeeGees numbers. But it's really funny on full-blast in a car stereo that wouldn't fit in most people's houses. I do have a problem with Britney Spears cos she can't sing. And she doesn't write her own music. and there is no band. It's all synthesized. And that's crap. But that's fine for people who like Britney. Cos they'll just die. Like smokers. It's just as dangerous and addictive a habit. Because Britney and all her little clones out there are just like a souped-up Civic. They take a little not- so- impressive singer and then decorate her with slutty clothes, dancers, some fancy computerised music, give her a personal trainer and put her on a low- carb diet, teach her how to dance and then-- voila!! People are fooled into thinking she's got talent. So pop stars are rather like Honda Civics. In a sort of not- very- much- like- a- Honda- Civic kind of way. I don't know where I learned this. It seems to be inherent knowledge. Or maybe inherited knowledge. Maybe from my parents. I don't know. But motorcycle safety is important. A few weeks ago I was driving and saw a motorbike fly about 10 feet in the air without anyone attached to it. The guy who had been on it was okay, so no worries. But I've decided that helmets are very important. Helmets with visors. Because I've driven a lot and I know how many bugs, rocks, and other miscellaneous objects smash into the front of my car. And even though a rather large truck may not turn you into an undercooked pizza, or cause you to leave half your skull neatly displayed by the side of the road, there's a good chance a wasp or a sparrow or a can of beans will splat into your face, or that a good- sized stone will embed itself in your pretty little eyesocket, leaving your vision drastically impaired. I'm not sure what that means, but it seems to be true at any rate. I'm very much into the idea of fame as well. I want to be famous. Fame is a box. So I'd like to break that box in a big way. With a wrecking ball. See, I'm in a box now but it's got windows, which is nice. Fame has that kind of "living your life through a fisheye lens" kind of thing. I don't know why I think of it in that way, since it really doesn't make any sense, but nothing I think makes any sense so I guess it's okay. Rock stardom was where it was a couple of decades ago, so that's where I want to be. I like to always be a couple of decades behind, because to people who are unaware it seems that I'm ahead. I'd like to be the Neil Armstrong of the music world. First rock musician on the moon... no, not really, but do a big thing in that kind of way, so that people will know me forever. Living legend is where it should be. Rather, where I should be. I was made for the stage. I've carefully crafted myself for a life in the spotlight. I've got brilliant ideas that have to do with harnesses, trapdoors, body doubles, and extreme costumes. My cover for my shyness is that I push down all my energy so I can really be wild onstage. That's a lie, but it seems to pacify people. I can be really wild onstage, but that's not why I'm shy. Most people who are famous and who like to be in the public eye are very lonely by nature. They crave attention and love from people. They're deficient. They lack the attention and love they need from the people they know, so they reach out and do these things so they feel loved. Most famous people are loners. They don't have a lot of close friends, generally speaking. This is where I am. And this is where the box comes in. When you become famous, you've been craving that love and companionship and whatever, but then you don't know who you can trust. You don't know who really likes you, or who just wants to get close to you so you can do them favours or introduce them to other famous people. So you box yourself in and learn to distrust people. I am extremely trusting of people, no matter how cynical I may seem, or how scared I am of people. This is an area where my brain is wired backwards. I really trust that people won't hurt me, won't take advantage of me. But I am cautious enough not to let people screw me over. So fame will be a tricky one for me. I'm a glass-is-half-full kind of person, and fame requires a degree of cynicism. I was a weird kid. And now I'm a weirder adult- like entity. My brain, I think, really is wired in a very strange way. When I was about six I had imaginary friends, like most kids do. I had weird ones, though. Twelve huge, grey snails that would follow me around. I would have conversations with them. I haven't changed much. I will still speak to bugs, plants, animals... Even inanimate objects. I guess I have this theory that all things have spirits, or souls, or what have you. There's that thing that if you talk to plants they grow better. And that priests saying prayers over holy water changes its molecular structure. So, there is that Karmic thing. I feel that if I send good vibes to things, it will make them happy. And that makes me happy. It's bizarre, I know, but I really know how leaves feel when they fall from trees. A friend of mine told me that after looking at some of my drawings. And it's totally true. I can pick up on signals like that, read between all sorts of lines. I was also a sickly kid. I had an allergic reaction to the purtussis vaccine when I was two months old, and stopped breathing for a couple minutes. When I was three I had Alopecia Areata and H.S. Purpura. Alopecia causes your hair to fall out. H.S. Purpura, on the other hand, is more serious, and causes severe swelling of the joints (I still get a lot of joint pain) and spine, petikia (burst cappilaries), huge bruises, and commonly affects the kidneys, eyes, heart, liver, and brain. There is a 26% mortailty rate. I was completely immobilised for six months. Also at eleven I was diagnosed with Hashimoto Syndrome (hypothyroidism). Recently, for no particular reason I've lost about twenty pounds. It's stabilised now. Last time I went in to get blood drawn I was so dehydrated that the nurse had to poke me five times and had me drink half a gallon of water before she could get any blood. When she finally did it was the consistency of honey. I've also got fybroid cysts and am lactose intolerant. So I'm not the healthiest person in the world. My sister told me I should go into child psychology. She saw me playing with my cousin Ariyan. He's a cute kid. I think he's four now. I think that because I've kept that little kid mentality I can relate to kids a lot better than adults. Kids don't judge, they just want to be your friend. When I go over to my uncle's house I always hang out with Ailee and Elnaz. Elnaz reminds me a lot of me. She's really shy. Her big sister is a real extrovert, so sometimes she feels overlooked. So I become her protector. Sometimes they'll get into fights and I'll pull the TV Dad stunt and give them a talking to and they'll be back to playing in no time. And that's good because then I can get back to playing too! When I was young, you could never have sat me down with a psychologist and had me draw a picture of my family and been able to determine anything from it. I am constantly thinking, "what is this person's intention?" I would have known they were looking for some sort of abnormality. Just as now, if I were to have my handwriting analysed, I would adjust it so that it ended up "saying" what I wanted it to. I've read up on graphology for that reason. If people find out things about me, I want it to be because I've told them, not because they were sneaky about finding it out. There's no need for them to do that; I think it's obvious that I am quite candid. And I expect others to realise this, and also be honest with me in return. There is a purpose to absolutely everything I do, from the way I walk and my accent/ speech patterns, to how my shirttail falls, to how often I blink. Sometimes I want to come across as a tough guy, and sometimes I want to come across as Mr. Sensitivity. I realise what signals people pick up on that they aren't even aware of, and subtly adjust those signals. If I seem manipulitive it is only because I am insecure. I think everybody does this, but maybe most people don't realise or admit it. I plan my every move with almost military strategy for my own self- preservation. I believe I can do anything. In the grand scheme of things, I'm merely a minuscule speck. I couldn't live with myself if I didn't know I was making a difference, making a name for myself. If I didn't think that I could accomplish what I've been driving myself toward my entire life, there would be no point in living. It's all or nothing. I'm not saying I want to be as famous as Jesus or anything... But close. So I'm working on it. I've been working on one album for five years. I want it to be spectacular. Incredible. Amazing. I can't listen to music anymore without picking it apart. It's fun. I like to listen to old Queen songs in my car. I'll put a whole song on just the left speakers, then the right. I'll memorise every nuance, every chord, harmony, drum beat... Pick apart the mix. I'm a perfectionist. When I was learning the song "Resurrection" to record, I played eight hours a day for four months until I had every guitar part learned perfectly. I mapped out the keyboards, bass guitar, and vocals. Then I set out tabbing out the guitar parts. I was forcing myself to be organised so I could lay down the tracks as efficiently as possible. All fifty of them. I've been on hiatus from recording for awhile... About a year ago I recorded the backing track to the song in three weeks, minus fifteen guitars. About twenty hours total of hard work, but I love it. I can't wait until I can get back to the studio once a week so I can finally finish this album. I'm about halfway done. So I think I can hack this whole rock star thing. I've been playing music onstage since I was three. Big crowds are no big departure for me. I sang at Disneyland three years ago, and that's a big crowd. Right before that I sang at the Crystal Cathedral-- a televised event. You may have seen it (I would have been the one in the long black dress with long curly brown hair and Converse sneakers with peace signs on them. It was transvestite appreciation week. I'll leave it up to you to decide how much of that is true). So, that's me in a nutshell. Boring? Perhaps. But I'm still trying to work out whether I'm eccentric or not. I suppose it all depends on how you look at things. I'll let you know how it goes.
Review of Queen + Paul Rodgers concert
Holy fuck. Well, I've just got back from Vegas. In case anyone didn't know, me and Jamie went to see the greatest band in the history of civilisation-- QUEEN. Of course, I've got all the gear-- the t-shirts, hats, sweat bands, stuff... And a picture of God (I mean, Brian May-- no, wait, I mean God) on my phone... He's in the spotlight with Red Special. So... Jamie and I got there Thursday night around 7 or 8, checked in to the hotel, checked out the Venue (MGM Grand), and wandered aimlessly for awhile, taking pictures and being silly. Jamie's friend Ray stopped by for a bit and we hung out... Then bed. Next day (Friuday- -the BIG day) we got up 1-ish, tried to go swimming (water was bloody freezing) and I got a sunburn, then we headed back to the MGM to take more pictures since we'd been told no cameras allowed in the concert. So around 4.15 we went back to the hotel, dropped off the camera, and hung out for a couple of minutes, and headed back to the MGM again at 5. We sat in the waiting area for the concert (they didn't start admitting until 6.30) and heard the end of the soundcheck. Of course we'd been freaking out well before this, but we just stood there grinning like idiots, saying "hehe we just heard Queen's soundcheck. That was Brian in there playing "Brighton Rock Solo" for 15 minutes." Then, out walk Spike Edney (the keysman) and Jamie Moses (Rhythm guitar) and we stared at them as they walked past us, less than 10 feet away, looking back at us like "we know you know who we are." We didn't say anything. So we went in-- and found out we WERE allowed to bring cameras, just not professional ones. Fuck. Next time, we bring cameras. We bought gear before the show-- wise choice, as, after the gig we would have had to wait at least 2 hours. As it was we only had to wait 5 minutes because we were almost the first in line. So in the show. They played CCR and the Beatles over the speakers. Our seats were great-- only about 200 feet from the end of the catwalk and less than 500 feet from the stage. Paul walked out singing "Reaching Out" and we went "woooo." Then Bri came out from behind the curtain as they started "Tie Your Mother Down" and I almost passed out. You must understand-- Brian IS God to me. Paul and Bri had amazing energy for 20 year olds, let alone 60 year olds. They were like kids. They played a new song, "Take Love" which was pretty good. I was shocked as hell when they played "The Show Must Go On" and "Under Pressure." Bri even sang the second verse of Pressure. He's in good voice and was playing phenomenally. His 15 minute solo (a medley of "Brighton Rock," "Chinese Torture," and "Last Horizon") was stunning. He broke a string right before Last Horizon-- that almost never happens. And Bri sang Love of My life, too, which was incredible. That's the sing along song. I never thought I'd be in a Queen audience singing along live to Love of my Life and God Save the Queen or clapping to Radio Ga Ga and We Will Rock You. Bohemian Rhapsody was spectacular. They had a video/audio clip of Fred playing it at Wembley in 1986 and they played along with it at the beginning, then left the stage in the middle bit, as always, and came out solo at the end with a change of clothes. And, of course there were a few Bad Company/ Free songs. They did Reaching Out, of course, "Bad Company," "All Right Now," and... what was it... Oh yeah, "Can't Get Enough of Your Love." And "Feel Like Making Love," as well. God, though, Brian sends out this amazing vibe, it's pure love, man. Seriously... And at one point he looked right at me, the silly kid doing all the moves that have been in the Queen history books for 30 years, and he just smiled. Me and Jamie, we're changed people now... We couldn't say anything when we left except, "Oh. My. God." Of course, now I hurt all over and I can't talk, and my ears hurt like hell and there's that incessant ringing, but Great Holy Motherfuck. Fucking Queen. Nothing will ever top that show. Ever. No, really. There are not words to describe how truly amazing that was. I can die now...
--Review by Abraxas, of Queen+ Paul Rodgers Las Vegas show, 7th April 2006.