Mark Altekruse

Mark AltekruseMany guitarists of my generation would point to February of 1964 as the date when their inspiration to play music and the guitar began. In certain ways mine did too. I was then, and am now, a huge fan of the Beatles but my musical and guitar enlightenment actually happened a few months later in the summer of 1964. During those years I attended a Sunday School class at a Unitarian Church in Birmingham, Michigan. On this particular day one of the kids brought in a solid body guitar and a small amp. When he plugged the guitar into the amp, turned it on and started playing the hair on the back of my 11 year old neck stood straight up. I even remember what he played – the opening lick to Roy Orbison’s “Pretty Woman.” That guitar and amp were early low cost imports (you know, one of those guitars that had way too many pickups, switches and the amp had a single control for volume). I’m sure if I saw and heard that guitar and amp today I would cringe but to my young ears it was a little slice of heaven on earth! Since those early years I have listened to and studied a myriad of musicians and their approach to playing their instruments. I’ve played rock, jazz, and blues in a number of bands over the years as well as played in pit orchestras and performed in solo instrumental settings. For my formal education I attended Berklee College of Music in the mid-1970s and I was in one of the first graduating classes from Musicians Institute (then known as GIT). Post-graduation I worked with a number of companies here in the US and in Europe performing various sales, marketing and product development roles. These companies included Roland, Korg/Marshall, Apple, Inc. and most recently Mackie/Ampeg and I’ve done a fair share of non-profit work with organizations including a stint as the executive director of a symphony orchestra.
I’ve also had the pleasure of meeting and sometimes working with high profile people in the business of music making. Among these are Lee Groves and Pete Marrett from Hex Orchestra, my dear friend John McLaughlin (Miles Davis/Mahavishnu Orchestra/4th Dimension), Pat Metheny, Wix Wickens (keyboardist and arranger for Paul McCartney), Dominic Miller (Sting), Vernon Reid (Living Colour) and a very memorable one-time meeting with Sir Paul McCartney. I’ve had the opportunity to work on the business/instrument side of the business with some of the greatest minds in musical instrument development – including a 10 year association with one of the founders of modern electronic music products and the mind behind MIDI, the late Ikutaro (Taro) Kakehashi. I recently left the tech and musical products industry in order to devote myself full time to performing, teaching, composing and recording. I currently play with my trio Scared of Spiders as well as perform solo guitar gigs in the San Francisco Bay Area. I also compose and record new music with my writing partners in Hex Orchestra, and teach a limited number of students at my home studio. My wife and sons and I recently moved to the Southeast Boise. As a family we have lived in a number of cities including having Detroit, Meridian (MS), Long Beach, San Jose, Santa Clara and London UK. We haven’t felt this much at home in an area in years. What a wonderful city this is! We look forward to spending the rest of our lives in this wonderful community!

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