Tribute and ThanksNo one goes through life without being influenced by others and as I look backwards in time there are a number of people who have had a strong influence on my life and the twists and turns that shaped me and what I do. The people listed below are no longer on the planet but I am greatly indebted to them. I am so glad I had a chance to know them. Leo Waters - My grandfather who was a metal worker throughout his life as was his father. Leo had a highly developed skill of being able to make almost anything with a few tools and he had the ability to solve assembly and construction problems quickly. I still evoke him today when I run into a construction or design problem. Richard A. Waters Sr. - My dad who was also a metal worker until he shifted over to the hotel business. He was a pipe smoking gentleman. He was highly supportive of me even though he could not understand my need to go into the arts. We often went fishing together and at the end of his life he was my best friend. Gladys Hove Waters - My mother who had a strong creative streak and it was her urging that I get involved with music and art. When we lived in Bermuda and I was a young boy, she took me out for a series of watercolor lessons. She was a patron of the arts and hired artists like Walter Anderson to paint murals at Gulf Hills Dude Ranch in Ocean Springs, MS. Don Reitan - A highly developed jazz piano player who I became friends with in Biloxi, MS at a jazz club. His attitude about music was cookingly infectious and I became involved with the music he played and the entire band. This band and their music changed my life. Mike Serpas - Another musician who played in the same band and became a very close friend and mentor. Mike was a trumpet player supreme and I would spend much time with Mike and his songbird wife Jackie before, during, and after the gigs. At his house Mike would gain eye contact with me and then scat sing the phrasing for an entire piece of music. Shelly Manne - My friend Lee Charlton knew Shelly and invited him up to Fairfax, CA for a preview of the recently invented waterphone. Shelly was impressed and bought 2 waterphones which he took back to Hollywood which kick started my musical instrument business. From Shelly"s waterphone introduction a number of other well known musicians began buying waterphones and other items I was making. Darrel DeVore - Great Improviser, bamboo musical instrument designer, and musical brother. Darrell was a Very Versatile friend on a parallel path as mine. We played in a number of music ensembles in Northern California, as well as duo performances. Darrell was one of the 4 members of C-SIDE (California Sonic Instrument Designers Ensemble) along with Tom Nunn, Bart Hopins and myself. Over the years much music was played in Darrell's chicken shack studio in Petaluma, CA. Steve DeWitt - A Berkeley, CA piano player who was extremely enthusiastic about my musical instrument designs. Rita Hamilton - A warm, smiling, light who was always upbeat and a good friend. Chip Dunbar - My brilliant computer guru and a versatile string player. When we would improvise music together, Chip would pull melody lines out of the air and away we would go. Patsy Johnson - A smiling, dancing, dynamo, classmate in my college days at the U. of Southern MS. Max Halsey - Bulldozer Max who I met when I moved to the Big Island of Hawaii. Max had done just about everything including sailing around the world with no money. Max had such a great attitude. Mel Graves - A gifted, double bass player, composer, and teacher. We worked together in a multi media Jazz band "Totem" and played a lot of music together. Trey Eichelberger - A great friend who I met at a wedding on the coast of Mississippi 50 years ago and we became instant friends. When I was in graduate school at the CA College of Arts we spent much time bar hoping in Oakland and San Francisco and it was Trey who taught me how to ride a motorcycle. Later when I invented and started making waterphones, Trey who was living in Santa Cruz became my leading salesman by being a street musician. He became so good playing the waterphone that I asked him to join my band, "The Gravity Adjusters Expansion Band" and Trey performed with us throughout the San Francisco Bay Area as well as at the Musical Saw Festival in Santa Cruz. Later he moved to Oahu and I moved to the Big Island of Hawaii. Trey was a good friend and I will miss him. Dolph Segal - Dolph Segal was one of those people who changed my life. He was a practicing Orthopedic surgeon when I met him and I was in graduate art school. He got me involved in t-groups or encounter groups which focused on extremely intense personal and interpersonal relationships. Dolph got me to thinking about a range of things I had not been considering including adjusting my own thinking, Zen Buddhism, and how to be a real human being by helping others. In short during my California years, Dolph became my best friend and my Teacher. Tony D'Anna - Tony was The Most Versatile and Developed Musician I ever knew. He was a master at the piano but was also very good on any instrument he played. I knew him for a long time and played music with him in various groups and situations. When I first knew him, Tony would take his grand piano apart and take it to a gig and reassemble it, and tune it, in order to have a good instrument to play. He started playing my waterphones and we did some barters so he ended up with a Revolving Sound Generator (RSG) and 2 of the hand held waterphones, which he played very well. His attitude about music and living was wholesome, and friendly and there was no music that Tony could not play. He played for the dance classes at the Sonoma State University and was a regular in the jazz scene in Northern California but he claimed classical music as his home territory
Tom Dondelinger - Tom joined the "Gravity Adjusters Expansion Band" along with Lee Charlton and myself soon after its birth in the very early 70s. Tom was an excellent drummer but played mostly percussion when he played with us. Tom was a master at odd time signatures which he played on a custom percussion set up. I also worked with Tom in "Totem" and found him to always be upbeat, warm and friendly. His musical contribution was right on point and he was such fun to play music with that he was in demand and frequently working and touring.