Dick Weissman - free live performance
Saturday, March 16th 5:00 PM
Dick Weissman is the last surviving member of The Journeymen, which he founded with John Phillips and Scott McKenzie. He is also an author, with eighteen published books on subjects that include the music business, a history of the folk music revival, and music and politics.
Dick was born in Philadelphia, where he began piano lessons at the age of seven. His musical career was interrupted by a teenage career as a semi-professional ping pong player. Following the advice in Pete Seeger's banjo book, Dick bought a five string banjo at a pawn shop in the skid row section of town, abandoning it when he couldn't figure out how to tune it without breaking strings. While attending Goddard College in Vermont, Dick met Lil Blos, who offered to teach him how to play the banjo. Spending his junior year in New York and New Mexico, Dick met the gospel blues guitarist Gary Davis in New York, and had the great experience of sitting in on a number of occasions with Gary at the house of Tiny Ledbetter, Leadbelly's niece. Dick studied with guitarist Jerry Silverman during this New York sojourn, and met the superb banjoist Stu Jamieson in Albuquerque.
After graduating from college, Dick moved to New York, and spent the next four years alternating between attending graduate school and becoming active in the folk music scene in Greenwich Village. Eventually he dropped out of Columbia, performed with Happy Traum, did a two week gig at Folk City opening for Brownie McGhee and Sonny Terry, and with John Phillips and Scott McKenzie formed the folk-pop band The Journeymen. Three and a half years, three Capitol albums and several hundred concerts later, Dick moved back to New York and became a studio musician, record producer and songwriter.
In 1972 he moved to Colorado, got a music degree, wrote numerous instructional books for banjo and guitar, and performed widely. This evolved into a writing career, co-authoring the award-winning Folk Music Sourcebook and writing the best-selling The Music Business: Career Opportunities & Self Defense. At the same time Dick taught at the late Colorado Women's College, later getting an MA from the University of Oklahoma, and working for NARAS as their National Educational Coordinator in Los Angeles in 1987. Moving back to Colorado, Dick became a tenured professor in the Music & Entertainment Industry program at the University of Colorado at Denver. In 2002 Dick and his wife Susan Planalp moved to Portland, where Dick continued to perform, record, and to teach seminars and workshops.
Now, Dick Weissman is leaving Portland after ten years to return to Denver. His current CD, Near and Far, offers twelve instrumentals and four songs. The instrumentals are played on banjo, nylon and steel string guitars, and twelve string guitar. They vary from flamenco and Brazilian-flavored banjo to acoustic guitar tributes to various friends, associates, and pets. The album includes some unusual combinations, including banjo and oboe d'amore, banjo and soprano saxophone, and several songs with a full rhythm section.