I am attempting to recreate a timeline of significant events in my life. Bear with me as this page is a constant WIP as I source historical images and information.
This year I started a new company called "Digital Backbone Solutions." The core of it is that I wanted to finally reduce my personal and professional outputs to things I align with philosophically.
While much of Silicon Valley bleeds this nation dry, I aim to help MN keep as much of its hard-earned money RIGHT HERE where it belongs, enhancing the community, creating jobs, and adding resiliency.
While this company is still forming... I can tell you it's been well received and I am beyond excited to bring a new offering to my market. We aim to serve small businesses in our area with goals like data ownership, cost reduction (untooling from Silicon Valley), and custom differentiators.
learn more at digitalbackbonesolutions.com
Making Music again
After a hiatus that lasted since the 90's, I have finally returned to making music. Now that my children have grown up, I find myself with fresh perspectives on what I want to convey through my music and a new approach to creating it.
It feels exhilarating to be back in the world of music, armed with a renewed passion and a newfound understanding of what truly matters in my art.
Jan 1, 2022, I stood on a beach in Florida and made the best decision of my life. I quit drinking.
It's as hard as they say. But, one day at a time.
There is a bigger story here about mental health and the value of getting the help we need and the medicine if needed.
Guatemala. I hadn't been to Antigua since I was a kid. A dream trip up to the volcanic lake for a week, and a night camping on the volcano.
In 2015 I started making visual art. You can see more of that at my website.
After the sale of Catalyst Studios and a failed attempt to reboot a new agency under the brand CAKE, I took on the project of completely flipping a creative agency.
The agency was Go East in Oakdale, MN. A remnant of the print design era and a time when clients in your back yard (3M) made perfect sense.
I was able to rebrand & reposition them as Thread (connected content) focused on micro media services and relocated to hip N.E. Mpls.
Thread was eventually sold to Kick in 2022.
During the evening years of my tenure at Catalyst Studios, I began to date and would eventually marry the (now) Mpls icon, Sarah E.
Together we would continue to develop her brands like I AM MPLS, I AM St PAUL, I AM Rescued, I AM Kindness, etc. While I attempted to build a new agency CAKE.
During an adventurous round of pillow talk, I suggested Sarah create a legit Fashion Week in MN. Not only did she, but the venture took over our lives and I eventually exited for other priorities.
A design and technology studio that had my whole heart for 7 years.
Starting from a blooper-like interview, this design studio stole my heart right away. I would grow a digital team within it over several years, be offered partnership, and then become a leadership voice for UX, steering us into Saas, mobile, and other experimental creations.
We sold Catalyst at the end of 2012 to Inito3i, a marketing group looking to secure digital capabilities. I miss it, daily.
My son Theodore (21) was born (2003) in the piano room of our humble starter home in St. Paul. He's pure kindness and on his way to a law degree.
My son Oliver (19) was born (2005) prematurely at North Memorial, he had a rough start but you'd never know it, he's currently an esports champ.
Becoming a father has changed me in ways I cannot fully comprehend.
Misplaced Music Radio
My friend (Sam) and I started an internet radio station that blew up to 80,000 listeners monthly. It was a labor of love run from our respective homes.
Aside from the station, we hosted live events like
Live from the Turf Club (w House of Mercy), sold and shipped CDs online for musicians (no fees), and began to show Mpls the wild and strange variety of music subcultures that thrive here.
A friend of mine (Jesse) was going to school for design and was being exposed to some web development courses. He would take classes at college for these things and turn around and teach me. I was (and am) beyond grateful, it changed my entire life and way of thinking.
I can recall many long nights in my basement, listening to Kid-A and eating chips with Salsa Lisa, as my mind exponentiated itself in my lap.
Married my high school (Perpich Center For Arts) sweetie. A cute Scandinavian artist, Kirstin. We lived in our parents' basements. We worked shit retail and warehouse jobs, drove shitty cars, and knew nothing about life. Good times.
We started a family in a small house in St Paul, just off Rice St. behind the capital. It's quaint. So many music projects were recorded in that basement. Myself, Styrophome Circus, Liquid Ernie, A noise band from Duluth, Chuck U (yep) and many more.
My return to the US was... rocky. I was about 15 and used to the rural parts of a 3rd world country. Transposed into the Wayzata School System I was a near disaster.
I channeled this energy by creating a band with my brother (Jesse) and best friend (Andy). A kid from Wayzata joined us on lead guitar (Greg). I learned I have stage fright, bad.
We recorded a cassette tape demo in '94 at OBT Studios in Champlain, MN with Jon Tranberry.
We later swapped out lead guitarists (Eric) and recorded an EP onto CD (big deal back then) We got some radio play on 93.7 EDGE and Rev105, had distribution through Best Buy and Down in the Valley, and played a few cool gigs like Uptown Bar (RIP) and Bayfront Stage in Duluth.
I would later quit this endeavor, and drum for Jesse in his band 'Styrophome Circus.'
I was a USGF MN state champion.
The guy spotting me? Gonzo. Best coach ever.
Often my parents would be late or forget to pick me up and I would sit in and learn Karate with a class that started after my teams' training was done.
I would go on the skip a competing level and train for class II competition, however my family returned to Mexico and that chalky dream was over.
Raised in Mexico
My family lived in rural Central America when I was young. First on a mountain plateau near Tlaxiaco, Oaxaca. Then a year-long stint in Antigua, Guatemala. Later we moved to the desert basin of Michoacán to a small town called Huetamo, in an area known as 'los oronos.'
I loved both regions for different reasons. In Oaxaca I developed a deep and spiritual connection with nature, getting lost in the mountains for hours each day. In the desert, I began to cultivate my Spanish more and make friends. These friends will be 'siempre en mi mente.'