In 1978, I began my first job at Morrison Brothers Music as a do-boy the summer before my junior year of high school. I learned a number of skills, including audio cable manufacturing, and I used my artistic talents in doing their graphic arts needs. In 1980, the company sent me to transducer repair and rebuilding training in Chicago. I also did concert production manufacturing for Roadwork Audio, Morrison Brothers' subsidiary, a touring concert production company which later moved to Nashville. Morrison Brothers moved to a larger location in 1983.
George Lawrence contacted me to manage his new drum shop in Jackson in 1985. I remained there, managing, doing drum repair, and refinishing until George closed the shop. I did freelance work, touring with a couple of bands, and assisted in building custom audio racks for Roadwork Audio's Nashville operation until 1988, when I returned to Morrison Brothers full time.
During my hiatus with Morrison Brothers, they had begun a sound-system installation business, specializing in church audio systems. I began assisting with manufacture and installation of components and soon developed skills in woodworking to keep the furniture component manufacturing in-house. I primarily specialized in speaker shrouds, rack cabinetry, and roll-top desks. Due to the store's continual growth, I was also designing and building a steady stream of store fixtures. It was during this period that I developed the Mojoe line of custom drums for Morrison Brothers Music. I began using a wide array of finishes, including nitrocellulose lacquers, automotive finishes, and catalyzed polyesters.
Roadwork Audio returned its operations to Jackson in the early 90s, and held the contract for Jackson's summer music festival Jubilee Jam. I was recruited as the equipment manager for the four-stage, three-day festival for the next four years. The job entailed contacting all the artists' managers and meeting their equipment needs for the shows. My responsibilities included coordinating with the stage managers, ensuring the equipment necessary for the acts to perform.
In the late 90s, the Morrison brothers began planning for a new store for which they purchased a high-visibility property in Jackson's growth path. They commissioned me to work with the architectural firm to design the layout for the building, a three-story 36,000 square-foot structure that included a basement warehouse. From the architect's initial blueprints, I built a scale-model and was able to submit alterations to the structure to suit our needs. During the construction period, I designed and built the fixtures for the new building. I also frequently visited the construction site to collaborate with the site manager. The building opened in July 1998.
That same year, Morrison Brothers ProAudio added home theater to their services and I began designing, building, and installing home theater furniture and accessories. I began working with exotic woods and veneers to build higher-end pieces for our new clientele. A local restaurant commissioned me to build a faux grand piano to house an electronic keyboard for their jazz lounge. I later did several others for churches and other restaurants in various finishes.
Throughout my career, I have defied my college art teacher who told me that I would have to choose between art and music. I was a member of a long series of original bands in the 80s and 90s, including two tours in the late 80s. I played on more than a dozen albums and did studio work for various artists. I also continued my work in graphic arts and I began exploring sculpture as my woodworking skills progressed. I developed a reputation among the area craftsmen and was invited to join the Craftsman's Guild of Mississippi.
In 2003, Charles Craig, a retired architect turned sculptor, heard of my ability to create spheres out of wood and he commissioned me to produce an ebony sphere for one of his pieces. We have become fast friends, collaborating with each other on various projects to this day. He orchestrated a meeting with a local high-end custom furniture maker and fellow member of the Craftsman's Guild. I spent two and a half years designing and building custom pieces in his shop. My most recent project for him was a set of reproduction chairs of the Mississippi Senate, which will be featured as a permanent exhibit in the Old Capitol Museum.
Before leaving Morrison Brothers, I reconnected with George Lawrence via fax. We met shortly afterward during one of his trips back to Jackson where saw some of my drums at the music store. The next time he was in town, we got together to discuss business. I was building a new shop at home for my business Mojoe Woodworking, and we explored the possibility of his marketing a variety of products that I would produce. Among the ideas we discussed were the 2x4 snare and the name Famous Drums.
My current projects include designing and wiring the interior of a mobile recording studio bus, designing and manufacturing Famous Drum prototypes, building the first shipment of 2x4 snares, constructing a reproduction Greek warrior shield, and a variety of sculptures for the Mississippi Crafts Center gallery.