Who is Joe Witkin?

Hey, I'm just a guy from Brooklyn, N.Y. who like to play music. My mom still tells me I used to sing the Hallelujah Chorus in my crib. Piano at age three. Lessons at age six. I'm still learning at forty-nine plus. First guitar in Junior High. Folks got me a funky paisley Hofner 6-string electric in Germany in 1964. And an Ampeg Gemini II. Blue tolex with one 15". Man, was I in heaven. Heard the Beatles and had to learn bass, too. Robin's-egg-blue Hagstrom, made in Sweden. My goal was to perfect the guitar AND bass parts of every Beatles song. Still doing the Mozart-Beethoven thing on piano, too. Some fine teachers in New York City!


With this kind of gear in high school in Brooklyn in the sixties, you gotta join a band, right? Plug the "wish I were a Unidyne" mic into the old Ampeg, crank it up in the school gym... "Hey, Joe, we can't hear the voices!!!!"


College. Columbia University. All right! Joined Glee Club, and set out to, what else, join a band! Did a Beachboys thing for a while. I was really good and hearing those obscure harmonies. The first three or four were obvious, but that soft fifth one moving oddly through the others- so cool!


Summer of 1967 bought a Gibson J-50 acoustic guitar from a senior, 6 months old with the original sales slip from Sam Ash for $168. Still have the guitar AND the slip. Heard of the "instrument acquisition syndrome"? It was starting...


The Soul Syndicate was a twelve-piece funky soul band based at Columbia. Ten brothers, the FUNKIEST white bass player, and me as one of two guitarists. Four horns, five up-front dancer-singers a la Temptations. Good band! Even got a gig or two. HAD to buy a new Thinline Telecaster! Still have that one, too...


Then, the really good stuff started to happen.


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