A Brief Biography
I was born in 1951 in Vancouver, Washington. After graduating from high school, I went to Europe where I spent four months hitchhiking and taking trains. When I returned to the U.S., I moved to Seattle and devoted the next three years of my life to studying song. In the spring of 1973, I moved to Berkeley, California where I began working as a street singer. Late that summer, I found myself in a confused mess. I did the time-honored thing and went out on the road. I traveled up and down the West Coast for awhile until I had a bad accident, after which I ended up on the streets of the San Francisco bohemian neighborhood known as North Beach. I spent the next fifteen years living in alleyways, rooftops, and storerooms, studying “Eastern” religions and a few other subjects that interested me: history, Italian, guitar, and clarinet among others. I worked at odd jobs and watched the world go by, trying to understand what it was all about.
In 1988, I took a position as the caretaker of a house on the east side of Telegraph Hill. Two years later, I spotted four parrots in the public gardens near the house. Within three years the flock had grown to twenty-six, and I was in love. I spent the next six years making friends with them and learning their ways. In 1996 I began a book, which was published by Harmony Books in January, 2004: The Wild Parrots of Telegraph Hill. I also worked on a documentary of the same title with filmmaker Judy Irving. Judy and I married and are living in the gardens of Telegraph Hill. I'm currently working on a book about my years on the street. I call it Street Song.