Like so many 60's dreamers, I began singing and writing music at age twelve during the 1965 Beatles craze. But my fascination with instruments had begun well before that. My father, Harold Tassin, had become acquainted with the guitar during the 50's and remains a dedicated audiophile to this day. My Mother, Margaret, also played the piano. These talents bled over to all five Tassin children in some way or other. Both Parents contributed musically to some of My first music recordings. Dad seemed to always be experimenting with some kind of audio equipment. During my teen years my parent's livingroom transformed into a recording studio and did not return to normal till my older brother, Rick and I were long gone from the house. Needless to say, my folks were very supportive.
Through the sixties and seventies Me and brother Rick, a talented drummer/songwriter himself, labored our craft alongside a flock of local bands such as The Holidaze (correct spelling) Page Five, The Poor Souls, The Chimes of Freedom. In 1967, during my sophomore year of high school at age sixteen, my then current band, The Spindle (John and Bill Carter, Rick Belyea, Tom Wilson and myself) had begun recording in the Tassin front-room studio. Those recordings landed us the first artist contract with Jerden Records in Seattle, along with acts such as ‘The Bards', Jeff Afton and the Sonics, Springfield Flute' and George Washington and the Cherry Bombs. The Spindle enjoyed the success of a couple single releases, most notably with a song called, ‘Little Lies', written by myself, John Carter and Tom Wilson. These original recordings have been recently released as part of the collection of the History of Northwest Rock, Volume 3, available on amazon.com
The seventies were filled with stories of the road, with a procession of gigs through every front room, bar, stadium or strip club we could find. During these years Alaska proved to be a profitable venture for making more money in less time. In the 70's, Alaska was truly the last frontier. With a grueling six hour nights, and a six day a week schedule, a musician could earn enough money in three months to last the rest of the year and road stories to last a lifetime.
By the mid 70's Rick and I formed a band called, ‘Jarat', consisting of Jeff, Rick and Tom Cox, a talented guitar, bass player, vocalist and writer. Jarat enjoyed much local success, rising to the top of the Seattle circuit during their first year. On the shoulders of this success, the band was able to arrange showcase gigs in Los Angeles in clubs like the Whiskey and the Troubadour. We also managed to sneak onto the studio musician roster at A&M Studios in Hollywood. I was adopted by Steve Diamond and the Midnight Band as a regular there at The Troubadour on Monday nights.
Jarat caught the ear of the folks at ABC Dunhill and we were signed to an artist contract. But after management problems, I soon became dissatisfied with the harder rock image they were putting upon us. By that time, I had begun to incorporate the influence of tunesmiths such as Ron Davies, Tim Hardin and Joni Mitchell and players like Jimi Hendrix, Joco Pastorious and Charlie Bird. I had begun writing a broader palate of material in styles which tended to be overlooked there at ABC Dunhill at the time. So I packed up my acoustic guitar and headed back to Alaska , on my first solo gig, in an effort to perfect my writing skills.
I spent the better part of nine years in Alaska , wintering in the Yukon a couple times, gathering experiences that could never be forgotten. I intermittently returned to Los Angeles and then pressed on to Nashville as my studio chops and song catalog matured. I moved to Nashville in 1979 and slept in my car for several months, until I was signed as a staff writer to Tree Publishing, at that time the largest publishing house in Nashville.
I published my first song, “'Movin', I Might Decide to Stay” through Little Chickadee Publishing, later aquired by Warner-Chapel. 'Movin'is still paying royalties as it has become somewhat of a bluegrass standard in Europe. While struggling to be seen in Nashville I logged many road miles with various Nashville luminaries, touring with or recording with the likes of, Delbert McClinton, Jeff Hanna and Bonnie Bramlett, Dolly Pardon, Jerry-Jeff Walker, The Oak Ridge Boys, Statler Brothers, Gail Davies, Charlie Daniels and Ronnie Milsap. I was able to mix it up with world renown session players such as Leeland Sklar, Albert Lee, Billy Pain, Michael Baird, Max Bennet, Buddy Spiker and Terry Macmillan. I split a few road gigs with musicians who may not so easily be brought to mind, though they are some of my favorite songwriters and players, like Kevin Welsh, Walker Iglheart (Bangles), Michael Peterson and Paulette 'Polly' Carlson of Hiway 101.
By the mid-eighties, I sought out the TV industry in the Seattle area and began writing scores for KCTS channel 9, PBS features and sound track work. In the, over 20 years of independant contracting at PBS, I have garnered the International Telly Award, three Emmy's for music composition and other distinctions for my work in television. I am currently producing talent while returning to Nashville and Los Angeles on occasion to play guitar for various projects.
Currently, I've returned to playing live gigs more often, touring with a variety of other folks and continue to work on my own song catalog between TV scores and producing other artists. We'll keep adding newly completed material so you may want to drop by occasionally to see how it's growing. Check the front page blog occasionally so you can drop by the gigs and keep me company.
"I greatly appreciate your interest and your ears, without them… I'd have to get a strait gig.” -Thanks again! Jeff Tassin.