Did you audition for the band, did you know somebody or did you come by recommendation?
I knew Eric, John Miceli and Greg Smith...but I did audition. I did a club gig with Eric about two years ago in New York with John Miceli and a couple other guys. It was a jam called "Meatballs and Clams" that was starting in Greenwich Village but never worked out, but that was my first time meeting Eric.
When were you born?
March 21. [Grew up] in Long Island and New York City.
When did you start playing?
I started playing saxophone at 13, but after I bought Kiss Alive, that was over, and I switched to guitar. And I've been playing guitar and bass ever since.
So you're proficient on guitar too?
Yeah...I get by, I use it mostly for writing. I don't gig much on guitar, but I write a lot with it.
Your playing technique is one of my favorites. I call it the Mick Ronson technique. Your arms are stretched all the way down so you can be comfortable as you pick.
Yeah, it's easier on my shoulder to play lower. With the Spectre bass the way the neck lays [the higher it is] the more you have to do this... (demonstrates a large stretch of the left arm).
You're self-taught I gather?
I've studied with a couple of people. When I was 16 studied with a guy for about a year. And I studied theory in school. My older brother Richie is an organist and a school teacher, and I picked up a lot of music theory from him, but I studied theory in high school and college, and arranging and that kind of stuff. Took a couple lessons from some local players in the city and took a couple lessons from Jeff Andrews who plays with Mike Stern now. A great, great player. But other than that, I'm self taught.
What's your musical history?
I've ghosted on a bunch of records, I played on a TNT record called Realized Fantasies. That was their only record for Atlantic in '91 or '92. Then after the band broke up, Tony Harnell and I put a band together called Morning Wood, with Al Pitrelli, who played guitar with Alice Cooper, and Chuck Bonfante (of Saraya) who was a drummer. We did a record called Morning Wood for Polygram out in Japan. We did some covers, and some originals. I also played on a record called The Mojo Brothers, which was Al Pitrelli and Joe Franco (Good Rats). They did an instrumental record for Japan, and I played on nine tracks. It just came out in Japan about a month ago [ed. note: this interview was conducted Sep 3, 1995]. T. M. Stevens is on it, Joe Lynn Turner is on it, and Derrick Sheranian (Dream Theatre). Al, Chuck and I did a record called A Place Called Rage for the same label in Japan. I played on a couple records for Relativity, a guitarist named Ralph Valducci, put out a record called Balance. Joe Satriani-type instrumentals. That should be out now.
What kind of basses do you play?
My main bass is an old Spector NS-2 that's pre-Kramer that I got around '83, and I have a '78 Fender Jazz Bass on the road, a '63 Jazz at home, which I don't take out on the road, a Steinberger XL-2, and I have an 8-string and a Yamaha 5-string. Mostly I take the Fender and the Spector on the road. They seem to be the most road-worthy basses.
Any special string brand?
I prefer LaBella strings. [I use] 45-105, standard gauge. They're very consistent, and they're a great company to work with, too.
You have a bunch of pedals, I see.
Not much -- I have a Boss octave pedal, and I have an Arion stage tuner, and a Morley A-B switch so I can tune while I'm playing, and that's really all I use right now. I've got a lot of effects -- digital delays, distortion units, but for this gig I try to keep it as simple as possible. Pretty much straight cord to the amp.
What is the amp setup you have?
I have a Sans Amp Bass Preamp, going to a Demeter and from that to a Urie LA-4 compressor, going in to an Ampeg SVT-2, just using the power amp section of that. I have an SVT-3 in the rack as a spare, which is solid state, into two cabinets -- an old early seventies SVT 8/10 and SWR 8x8.
You got the call to join Blue Öyster Cult with two day's notice before the gig. How did you prepare?
A lot of it was walkman listening on the plane to St. Louis...(laughs). Just eating, sleeping with the music. I mean literally going to sleep with the walkman.
Do you read? Did you get the songs on charts?
Yes, I do read music. I just wrote cheat sheets--I didn't want to be a slave to the charts, but mostly for arrangement purposes. I never wrote any of the riffs out, I wanted to get them in my head. They're played so differently all the time. Buck will approach things differently all the time so for me to write it down verbatim from a gig wouldn't [work out]. It's a good thing they keep primarily the same set. There was a lot of page turning in the beginning, which was tough. The first gig was in St. Louis for twenty thousand people and I'm praying that a strong wind didn't come and blow the charts away. I had basically two days to prepare. Even though I'm familiar with a lot of the studio versions, they've gone so far since then, so it didn't really tell me a whole lot to get the studio versions down. 
I take it you are an original Kiss fan, like myself, so did you listen to BÖC?
I definitely did listen to them, but Kiss was so, so far to the left of anything at that point, the heaviest thing I was listening to was Elton John or Peter Frampton. Nothing looked or sounded like Kiss at that time, so that's when I knew I should definitely be playing guitar and not saxophone.
Do you still play sax?
I have a saxophone...I haven't touched it in years. I touch it about as much as I touch my Chapman Stick. I have a Chapman Stick at home because I'm a big Tony Levin fan, but I haven't touched my saxophone. I attempted to years ago, but they told me to put it away, so... I know what you mean, I've tried some other instruments, but... Yeah, I played piano, keyboards, but saxophone is so foreign to everything else that I'm doing right now, I'm playing all chordal instruments.