A NO QUIT GUY!
When the man with the distinction of being the only featured songwriter on both the Renegade Radio Nashville and In the Cab - Redneck Country Radio rosters first set out to make his mark on the trail of life as a kid, getting on the horse was not so easy. (More on that later.) Coming from a broken home, he was excessively shy. And his Mom and Dad wondered why were his grades so poor and energy level low?
What his parents found out was that Charlie had a high IQ but needed something to motivate him.
So he took three piano lessons but did not relate to the teacher much. Then he started to copy Chuck Berry on an old keyboard and taught himself to play! Got way past "three chords and the truth."
Fortunately, two other significant things happened about at the same time that helped set Charlie on the straight and narrow.
First, he had a seemingly natural ability to write, and found himself on his elementary school newspaper. And then, at his mother’s urging, he joined the Cub Scouts working very slowly all the way up to the rank of Eagle Scout!
“Scouting first taught me the value of focus and determination. Took me about six years to go from Cub to Eagle. When my mother put the medal on my Explorer uniform, she said, “You’re a no quit guy and you will be an Eagle the rest of your life!”
Also, living early on in Upstate New York, and a little chubby at the time, Charlie tried out for this high school hockey team and made it as a third-string, little used, defenseman. "Still was happy to be on the squad."
A handful of years later, Charlie earned a college degree (split major in Journalism and Political Science at Rutgers) where he was named a Senior Editor at the "Anthologist", the university literary magazine and, at the same time, to his immense delight, the very physically-fit Captain of the Scarlet Knights hockey team.
Following four years in the Air Force as a military TV broadcaster including a one year 'live' stint as a 22-year old anchorman, thanks to a recommendation by his first Wing Commander, Chuck Yeager, Charlie left the service earning the Air Force Commendation Medal, the highest non-combat medal that branch of service affords.
With the tools he acquired in the military, he had finally overcoming his shyness to become a well-recognized anchorman in his home areas of Central New York (Utica, then Syracuse) then on to Associated Press in New York as a broadcast news writer on the national desk.
And his love of country has never waivered, returning to the Air Force during Operation Desert Storm as a Secretary of the Air Force Public Affairs specialist and then for ten years in Team Coast Guard to patrol the waters off LAX and the El Segundo Chevron refinery as a CGAUX Flotilla Commander then as a Public Seamanship Instructor.
The pubic information function was something that separately consumed over two decades of Charlie's professional life, both in business public affairs, starting in Manhattan with one of the world's largest firms. One of his last assignments was to serve as Communications Director in a concerted effort to try and unseat, in 2010, his L.A. district Congresswoman, who seems to continue to make raucus headlines to this day.
Like most of us, Charlie, who loves sailing, has faced many challenges, beginning with surviving storms first as a teenage Merchant Marine seaman off the east coast of Africa (pictured above) and more recently on what was supposed to an uneventful crew charter assignment from Cabo San Lucas to L.A. but turned out to be the Captain’s badly planned eight-day struggle in stormy Spring seas. “That was 1,100 miles of mostly sheer terror.”
Over the years, Charlie, in no particular order, was stabbed, in Cape Town, by a local club patron "in a very bad mood,” shot at while driving his car in a rough L.A. neighborhood, nearly captured by the length of an enemy soldier's hand during what was supposed to be a routine recon patrol along the Korean DMZ and, in what he recalls, with a little levity, his most painful and embarrassing situation, “trying to get on a horse wrongly from the right, and having to ride it, during a Philmont Scout Ranch expedition, nursing a very sore foot 20 miles into the New Mexico desert flatlands prior to a required additional 50 mile hike through the rugged Sangre de Christo Mountains.”
For most of his life, Charlie has credited his Lord and a little luck for getting him through his challenges. But the biggest medical one first occurred in 2012 when he suffered a serious stroke which came within a millimeter, doctors said, of wiping out his ability to speak. Three years later, on his way to a Fourth of July party, another hit him and this stroke, while not as vast as the first, has continued to hamper his ability to use his left hand. “And that makes it hard for me to play an instrument.”
Both times, his loving wife of 31 years, Linda (pictured above) was by his side and rushed him to the ER.
Charlie has forged forward, carefully crafting music projects, most both words and melodies, into a critically-acclaimed mesh with the help of solid producers. ”My mentor when I joined what was The Los Angeles Songwriters Showcase was Sam Brown, who ten years earlier was Michael Jackson’s songwriting coach, so I got off to a solid, and serious, start.”
Since he began his music quest in earnest, Charlie has earned coming up on over 20 awards (see separate awards section) first in Europe, then Japan and finally, America. The biggest of the bunch, from the L.A. Music Awards, was “Career Country Songwriter” (pictured above) spanning the 25 years of this Hollywood-based nation-wide competition.
He concludes: “When all is said and done, my constants first developed as a kid – writing, knack with melodies and focused determination, opened up a wonderful world for me. And it keeps getting better!”