Originally created 05/26/05

Sonic spotlight

AGE: 54

HOMETOWN: Sandusky, Ohio. Moved to Augusta in 1981 to work at Savannah River Site. "I wanted to come South anyway. I'd been stationed in Charleston (S.C.) and Jacksonville (Fla.), and I enjoyed the weather."

OCCUPATION: Research and development engineer, Savannah River National Laboratory.

PLAYS: Taylor acoustic guitar and Fender Stratocaster electric guitar.

FIRST LIVE SHOW: "When I was 16, I got into a band called The Impact Sounds, which was the name of the studio that the Rolling Stones recorded in. We had a battle of the bands at a street fair, and we covered Chuck Berry, The Rolling Stones and The Yardbirds. I'd only been in the band for a few months, but we played in front of a thousand people. I was shaking so bad, but I loved it. We got onto this thing called the Hullabaloo circuit, and we actually started to get pretty big, and then our singer got drafted."

PLAYED WITH: The Impact Sounds, fall 1965 to winter 1968; Double D, spring 2002 to present. "I really got back into playing in about March/April/May of 2001 through open-mike performances at The Playground, when Doug (James) from 420 Outback was the emcee. At first it was difficult to even get through a song, but Doug was so encouraging; he'd really work with you. Then my friend Dennis Hall, who hadn't been playing in awhile either, started talking about playing out in front for First Friday. I owe getting back out there to Scott and Dee Levine, Doug James and my wife."

FIRST CONCERT HE ATTENDED: John Mayall and the Bluesbreakers at a small club on the east side of Cleveland in the spring of 1966. My parents actually took the whole band (Impact Sounds). my parents were pretty cool. I was just overwhelmed."

BEST/WORST LIVE MOMENT: "They were both when I walked out on stage at my first show. I remember sitting in a building across the street from the stage, looking out and seeing so many people. All I could think of was all the things that could go wrong. I wasn't sure I was going to be able to play, but I sure loved it."

IF HE COULD COVER ANY ALBUM: Abraxis by Santana. "It's the one with Black Magic Woman and Oye Como Va. It's one of the classics. His guitar playing is just so smooth, and the tone he gets - I could just put it on and listen to it any time."

WHAT'S THE ODDEST REQUEST YOU'VE GOTTEN FROM A FIRST FRIDAY CROWD? "These kids were on a scavenger hunt last spring, and they had a video camera that they had to record Play That Funky Music. Dennis was able to do it right there on the spot."

Denny Kotz and Dennis Hall play every First Friday as Double D in front of the Playground, 873 Broad St.

- Patrick Verel


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