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6 questions for Gerard Serafini

A Sonoma Valley native, Gerard Serafini’s family homesteaded Sonoma almost 70 years ago, and they have been living on the property ever since. It’s a musical household, and young Serafini had two older brothers who both played in bands during the whole ‘60’s music revolution.

With instruments laying around and a taught chord on a guitar here and there, it wasn’t long before Serafini was playing and writing songs; in fact, his first performance in seventh grade had him performing one of his original songs with long-time friend Glenn Sullivan.

As the ‘80s rolled on, Serafini found himself bouncing between playing clubs in San Francisco and Marin and having a full-time audio visual engineer job, which had him doing sound and video on the “All-Madden” show among others. But 16-18 days a month on the road is tough to do when you have small children, so Serafini took a job at a local music store, run by legendary luthier Steve Klein, eventually taking over the space and changing the name to Sonoma Valley Music.

Like many industries, the Internet had its way with video rentals, record stores and even music stores and Serafini was forced to close the doors. After a brief health setback, Serafini decided to scale things back and focus on his own songs, which he had been writing for years, and put together a music catalog. An opportunity from Music Nomad Equipment Care came along, where Serafini could represent the environmentally-friendly music products and essentially work from his house, and his new act “Peace of G” became realized.

Serafini will be making his debut performance with the band tonight, July 22, for a show at Rossi’s 1906 Roadhouse, kicking off at 8 p.m. We managed to touch base with Serafini so let’s find out a little more about him with the usual six questions.

Many musicians in our generation cite the Beatles on Ed Sullivan as that moment when they knew music was what they wanted to do. When and what was it that made you realize you wanted to be a musician?

It was a television show, but a different one for me. It was the Smothers Brothers and the Who was on the show. As one of the skits, or not, Pete Townshend grabbed Tommy’s acoustic guitar and smashed it to pieces (Townshend was famous for that in his act). That was pretty much it. I actually got to tell Tommy that story and thank him for setting me up on the path that would eventually become my career.

That first instrument you owned. What was it and do you still have it?

No, I don’t have it. I had already decided I wanted to be a bass player after seeing Woody Herman and the Woodchoppers Ball but my parents got me a classical guitar, so it didn’t get played much by me.

Who are the primary influences in your music?

Well, from an “old-school” perspective, the Who and the Grateful Dead. I probably saw the Dead a hundred times. For now though, it’s Jon Shannon Williams, my singer-songwriter in my band Ten Foot Tone. He is a constant inspiration to me and keeps me focused on the song, among other things.

What CD or playlist is in your car or your iPod?

“Peace of G” tracks. I honestly don’t listen to the radio or even popular songs, or have playlists or anything. I’m too much a tech geek and I start breaking down the song as to where the mics may have been placed during recording or how much reverb the producer was using before I even hear the vocals or the song itself. I guess instrumentals are likely my favorite.

Tell us about your current acts.

“Ten Foot Tone” and my new act “Peace of G.” That’s pretty much it. We’ve been doing Ten Foot Tone for almost 10 years now and the new act is really all my songs, my personality, with all my twists to music.

If you could have written one song, which one would it be and why?

Oh man, that’s tough. Hmmm. It wouldn’t be one song, but an entire album. Pink Floyd’s “Dark Side of the Moon.” When you listen to it, it is kind of like one long song. I honestly don’t listen to the radio or even popular songs, or have playlists or anything.

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