Keith Cherry

Like most 18 year olds, I wanted to be a rock star but I didn’t know how to play. So I spent all the money I had from my gas station job on a guitar ( a red Flying V no less) and figured I’d have no choice but to learn how to play. That might not have been the smartest plan, but it worked. This was probably the first time in my life that I learned a lesson that would serve me well many times – go for it! It’s better to try and fail than to wonder what might have been. Two years later when I transferred to a 4 year college, I taught my roommate how to play guitar. His best friend was a drummer, so the three of us jammed that first summer. I was hooked. Playing along with albums was no longer enough. So I recruited my best friend to play bass for us, but first I had to teach him a few notes. That’s how the Violators came together around 1982 or 1983. We’ve been playing together off and on ever since. Since some of the Violators now live in the Reno area, and since everybody has a real life, we don’t get together as much as I wished we could, so I play alone a lot, which leads me to different genres and styles the Violators would never do. That’s really helped me expand my repertoire, even when playing with the Violators. In my late 40s, I was no longer satisfied with playing other artists music. I started to have my own ideas from things that inspired me from everyday life, so I started writing my own songs. It became a passion, or should I say obsession. I have now written well over 30 originals, with many, many more demos in the hopper in different stages of completion. I struggle to describe what my music sounds like. I think I’m an odd mix of all the music I was exposed to in my life, starting with Soul music in the 70’s when I was a kid in DC, to the hard rock I discovered as a dirt bag high schooler in Stockton, to the new wave I discovered in college and the smooth romantic sound I enjoyed as a yuppie. Even today, I relish the modern rock sounds of artists that mix soft and hard into one song. When The Violators get together to play, our setlist contains about 10 of my songs. We still play covers too, but not because I want to. Our fans are really loyal, and have come to know some of our original songs very well, but we want to mix in some songs that are more familiar to keep the flow. My solo career as Keith Cherry allows me to be selfish and do whatever I damn well feel like at the moment. Even if nobody else cares, this is my therapy; a chance to express my frustrations, hope, twisted fantasies and juvenile recollections. Sometimes those become Violators songs, but many times they don’t and that’s fine.
You’ll also find some of these same songs recorded on The You might be surprised how different the same songs sound. For anyone who’s ever had a dream, I say go for it! I did when I was 18, despite what all the haters said. I’m still doing my thing today. There’s still plenty of haters, but that’s all they have. I can’t imagine a life without music and glad I don’t have to.

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