BioMy name is Craig Louis Dingman and this here is my musical autobiography.
I started playing guitar in 1962 when I learned to play "Come Back to Sorrento" and other primers on a grey acoustic Harmony arch top from a music store owner who, I later learned, was only a few lessons ahead of me in the Mel Bay book.
But soon the real learning began when the popular tunes of the day were bequeathed to me through friends and acquaintances. Back then it was hootenannies and folk tunes followed by the Beatles, Beach Boys, et al. The first band I played in was in the novitiate where I attended high school when, like a good Catholic boy, I aspired to a religious vocation. There we had to play our own rock and roll if we wanted to hear it at all. Our first audience was a roomful of nuns whom we entertained with a Beatles tune and, cluelessly, the theme from "Never on a Sunday," the classic Melina Mercouri film about a prostitute.
So, from the beginning, my tastes were "catholic" in the universal sense, ranging from Broadway to the Beatles. A robed novice showed me my first blues lick on a vintage Telecaster (well, it was just a Telecaster then).
After high school, and determining that I was not cut out for the religious life, I spent a year in Israel where I had my first solo performance experiences which led, when I returned to the states, to several years of haunting open mike venues to play my early self written songs as well as covers, ranging from Beatles to standards. And all the while I played bass and guitar in fraternity party and bar bands.
Like many folks of my generation I entered into a long period of "responsible" living where holding jobs and keeping up with family demands took priority over music. But still I played on, with original music bands in Southern California and, once I moved to the Central Coast, with Country, Rock and Blues bands in Moose, Elks and Eagles lodges, local bars, weddings and county fairs.
Then, I experienced a divorce and found myself at loose ends. I decided that I wasn't going to sit around home drinking and being morose. I determined that I was going to go out and get drunk in public! Seriously, out of the heartbreak and disappointment I found the opportunity to re-engage as a songwriter and re-emerge as a dedicated player. And here I am!