There is a phenomenon called a "child prodigy." Perhaps you will see it in the form of a 7 year old Japanese girl who is already a World Class violinist, or maybe a 10 year old Russian boy, who has the abilities of a Concert pianist. I'm sure you've all seen one of these at some time on TV. I however, have had the pleasure of meeting one who does not play Vivaldi, Bach or Mozart, I was introduced to one who plays Rat Race Choir music. Perhaps "prodigy" is too strong a word, but "amazing" isn't.
He picked his first guitar up at age 5, and has been playing almost 13 years. I have never come across anyone who is so enthusiastic about our music, or anyone so adept at playing it, especially at his age. So, I would like to tell you how I came to meet this person, it is an interesting story.....
Way back in the late 70's, early 80's.......Rat Race Choir was playing almost every night. And, due to the constant abuse to our instruments being loaded and unloaded, kept in a truck during freezing winter nights, and normal wear and tear, our amps and other electronic instruments (synthesizers, etc) would sometimes break .When we needed our gear fixed, we brought it to a guy named Chip Weinberg, who is an electronic genius, in Long Island. He was a fan of the band's as well. Chip came to a lot of gigs, he taped the band, and he exchanged tapes with other people who had RRC tapes. He held on to these tapes and still has all of them. In October of 1983, Chip and Laraine had a son.
Their son's name was Craig...... Craig Weinberg.
I suppose Craig was a normal child, but instead of playing video games he developed a strong interest in music at a very early age. He asked for a guitar, and his Grandparents bought him one. Craig began playing this guitar constantly, and Chip started to notice that Craig had natural musical abilities beyond the normal 6 or 7 year old. Craig was always listening to Dad's tapes and CDs and one day he stumbled upon the Rat Race Choir tapes that Chip had kept. Craig was fascinated with RRC's complex, and progressive style. So, no challenge being too great, Craig decided to sit and learn all the RRC music he could. What happened was, Rat Race Choir became Craig's favorite music, and he sat for hours at a time figuring all of the RRC songs out that he could. Eventually Craig had obtained, and learned almost everything on the tapes. This was all before he was a teenager!
To make a long story short......Craig and Chip came to a show we did in Long Island. I was introduced to Craig and I was told that he knew every RRC song by heart.......(I was a bit skeptical)..... But Craig's enthusiasm in talking to me about certain musical passages, and questions regarding musical things in our songs that only the members of RRC would ever talk about really impressed me. I asked him if he'd like to come up and play a couple of tunes with us that night..... (I was curious to see if all I was told could be true, or if it was just a proud father trying to show off his son...) Well, Craig sat in on a few tunes, and nailed them all perfectly. Except for minor mistakes of a note or two, he DID have incredible knowledge of our songs. This prompted me, to learn more about him, because after all, here is a young man representing an entirely new generation of music listeners, who is telling me Rat Race Choir's music is his favorite, and that he was playing it to his friends, and they got into our music as well!
So, at the close of that evening, I invited Chip and Craig up to my house for a day, and I really got down to going over song after song testing Craig. I tried to give him the hardest tests I could, but he scored 100% on all of the music I tried to throw at him. He knew parts we had discarded years ago. He knew "link sections" we used for a couple of months and forgot about. He knew segments that we had experimented with and forgot... basically he was a walking RRC expert at 17 years old!
So this is the story of how our "once electronics tech," eventually has a son, who grows up to be the best "RRC interpreter" that I've ever heard. If you ever get a chance to see Craig play, the trip will be worth it......he had his own band "Epic Prequel", but it has recently broken up.
If you would like to read an Interview with Craig, so you can read about his interest in RRC's music, in his own words........just Click on the link below!
Click HERE for the interview.