The Short Story - in 3rd Person

Floyd Murray is like one of those Swiss Army Knives. If you need to get something done, he's probably got a solution for it. And if he doesn't, he'll figure one out. Floyd comes from an average all American closely knit family from central New Jersey, but the paths that his life has taken him on are as diverse and wildly entertaining as anyone could possibly imagine.

Having been a successful full time performing musician and entertainer for over 20 years is what he appears to be on the surface. To scratch that surface would reveal a deep and diversified body of life loving wild spirit that flows into streams of art, technology, nature, loyal relationships, world travels, knowledge quests, curiosity, and heart felt adventure. A true individualist, Floyd will not be found following the herd. He is most easily found several nights a week entertaining and performing live music in front of a room full of people at restaurants, night spots and private events all around New Jersey from the ski slopes of Vernon to the Jersey shore, and anywhere in between. He's even been known to travel internationally to "do a gig".

To see Floyd at one of his shows will give you some insight as to how real and honest he is. There is nothing fake about this guy. You can see and hear that in his playing and vocal performance that is quite obviously from the heart... to the heart. You can also tell that he has put some serious time into his craft and is on top of his game. His guitar chops are amazing, and his vocals are strong and spot on. Being a bit of a self proclaimed "geek", Floyd uses the latest and greatest in digital sound processing and reinforcement mixed with a little "old school" instrumentation and attitude, giving him a full and pristine sound that is suitable for a dinner/cocktail party or a nightclub dance floor. He is capable of doing pretty much any occasion. His song selection is eclectically alluring and fun with both contemporary and classic selections, again not being part of the herd and sometimes going well off the beaten path.

Going beyond just a "musical performance", Floyd has a real natural and comfortable way about connecting with an audience on an interpersonal level. You don't just want to watch and hear him play, you want to hang out with him. During a performance Floyd will often tell stories, or share an experience, or tell a bad joke, or even ask questions to the listeners. While he can be just "background music" if that is what is required, Floyd truly thrives on audience interaction and participation and wants you to have an enjoyable personal experience when you see him play. You can even go up and sing with him or play a song if you are so inclined. It's all about fun. Having fun and sharing fun. In Floyd's world, entertainment is not a one way path, it is an exchange. It is people sharing good times, good music, and enjoying life and each other in a fun and entertaining environment.

Beyond the limelight of being an entertainer and musician, Floyd has quite an arsenal of talent, skills and experience packed into that "Swiss Army Knife". Instead of attending college after high school, Floyd enlisted in the U.S Navy and served for six years as a Sonar technician, tracking and identifying Soviet Submarines in the Indian and Pacific Ocean regions. While in the military, Floyd attended numerous schools including basic and advanced digital and analog electronics, firefighting and damage control, weapons handling and marksmanship, and leadership and people management, graduating with honors. Enrolling in an accelerated program, he advanced quickly in rank and earned a Top Secret Security Clearance, becoming part of the Navy's Security Force and a member of the Nuclear Weapons Handling Team. The Navy took Floyd to some 20 or so countries, and he resided in Japan for two years, San Diego for a year and a half, and Pearl Harbor, Hawaii for two and a half years. He was the recipient of a Letter Of Commendation and had actual life and death experiences.

After the Navy, Floyd attended school in Ohio to become a certified Recording Engineer. Writing, recording and performing music have always been and continue to be on the forefront of what Floyd loves to do, but some of his "other" accomplishments include:

The Long Story - in 1st Person

I was born in early May of 1961 in Perth Amboy, New Jersey, to two wonderful parents... an Italian Mother, and an Irish Father with a little bit of Hungarian in him. I resided in Woodbridge, New Jersey, for all of my adolescent and teen age life, attending St. James Catholic School from K through 8th grade, then one year in 9th grade at Woodbridge Junior High, then attending and graduating from Woodbridge Senior High school, Class of '79. I am the "middle child", having an older sister of two years, and a younger brother of two years, both of whom I am very close with. I am blessed with a close-knit family, and feel that I experienced the "average model American childhood". (boy, did that all change later in life!)

I seemed to always be interested in music, and recall very early on sitting around the "stereo" singing to Peter, Paul, and Mary albums with my folks. (the kids now are all asking… what the heck is an album... and who is Peter, Paul and Mary?) My parents bought me a great set of Ludwig drums at about the age of 12, and I was enjoying playing them until my sister accidentally put her hand through the snare drum while roller skating in the basement. Then my parents sold them without asking me because they thought they were broken. (it was probably because they were so loud) I was so devastated by this that my wonderful aunt, Sr. Margaret (she's a Nun) gave me a "Harmony" guitar. Well that changed my whole life! I was immediately hooked and spent a great deal of time goofing around on guitar and recording my own little "radio shows" into my dad's General Electric tape recorder. (I still have a few of those tapes) I formed my first band in the 7th grade called "The Black Rage" and that was the beginning of an incredible journey.

Going into a public school after 9 years of Catholic school was a very enlightening experience for me to say the least. A whole New World! The focus always seemed to be on music (and girls), and I met some new musician friends and formed the Southern Rock band "Spread Eagle" which went on to win a few local battle of the bands and get some gigs at local dances. (I still have a few of those old tapes too!) In high school I got involved with a heavy metal band (that wasn't the term at the time) named "High Voltage". I could tell you some nutty stories about that band! The notorious Harley gang, "The Breed" did security for us, (I didn't need security, I was 17 years old) and I played some funky gigs with that band. Probably not appropriate to be described here.

I landed my first "real job" in a music store at the age of 15 working as a salesperson and somewhat manager at Laconia Music Center, down town Woodbridge. I met some cool people there, learned a lot about the music scene, equipment, retail, and bought some good equipment at cost. I also learned at that ripe age that I wasn't really interested in working for someone else for a living. I had the pleasure of working with Richie Sambora at that store, (you remember him, he was the guitar player for that guy… what was his name… Bongiovi or something…) Richie and I went to school together as well. He was always a great player and somewhat of an inspiration.

Anyway… After high school I worked various day jobs while gigging in bands at night for about two years. I was never interested in, nor did I have the money to go to college. That was about the first time in my life I really had my first experience with "soul searching". I still have those once and awhile. I knew I wanted to "do music", and that I wanted to travel. I also had the burning desire to learn new things and gather knowledge and experiences. By a crazy act of fate, which is an incredible story in itself and much to the delight of my parents, I wound up joining the United States Navy.

My Navy experience was absolutely incredible! Six years of some of the best experiences of my life! Some day I may do a whole Web Site on just that experience. I have an incredible photo collection, all in chronological order, of most of my six years in the Navy. I even discovered a Web Site about the first ship I served on, the fast frigate U.S.S. Francis Hammond FF-1067. Joining the Navy for me was a very calculated and planned adventure, and I got everything out of it that I intended and more. I traveled the world extensively, visiting 20 or so different countries. I lived in San Diego for a year and a half, Japan for two years, and Pearl Harbor, Hawaii for two and a half years. I got extensive schooling and experience in digital and analog electronics, fire fighting, weapons handling, and leadership management. I advanced quickly in rank as a Sonar Technician, tracking Soviet Submarines around the Pacific and Indian Ocean regions. I earned a Top Secret Security Clearance and was on the ships Security Force and a member of the Nuclear Weapons Handling Team. I received a Letter Of Commendation for aiding in preventing our ship from sinking off the Aleutian Islands near the Bearing Straits during a huge storm at sea that nearly sank us! In the Navy, I literally had life and death experiences, and made a few life long friends. The cool thing was that I always maintained my "music thing", playing in different bands in different countries, practicing my ass off while at sea, and buying lots of cool music gear in Japan and Hong Kong. But moving right along…

After leaving the Navy I embarked on what was to be the best vacation of my life up to that point. I was stationed in Hawaii, and upon my discharge I had accumulated 45 days of paid leave. So for 45 days, all I did was get up in the morning and have a light breakfast, go surfing on which ever side of the island had the best surf that day, come home and cook a good meal (I had this incredible house in the mountains overlooking Pearl Harbor), play guitar for a few hours, then go to Waikiki at night and party. I could live the rest of my life that way! On my way back to New Jersey, I hung out for two weeks in San Diego with my sister and my brother-in-law who lived there. (I introduced them!) That was pretty much another two weeks of surfing, playing guitar, and partying. My brother came out to San Diego to drive back to New Jersey with me, and that was the beginning… or continuation… of a cosmic trip.

I then went back to NJ for two weeks. I retrieved my Ford van and my personal belongings that were shipped from Hawaii to Newark, NJ on a container ship, partied with some old friends, packed the van full of my music equipment and some clothes, and cruised down to my wonderful cousin's farm in West Virginia for a week or so. "Half Mountain Berry Farm", one of the most incredible places on earth. More spiritually and life enhancing indoor/outdoor activities, playing guitar, and partying. I was stopping there on my way to recording/engineering school in Chillicothe, Ohio.

That school was Great! The first time in my life I was completely surrounded by people who were pretty much into everything I was. A very educational and creative time in my life. I graduated in the top 5% of a class of 95 people. I couldn't surf there, but there was lots of music and partying. I learned the latest audio engineering technology, made a few more life long friends, and headed back to Jersey to pursue my music career.

Now that I was going to be "based" in New Jersey, I immediately formed a new band named "Magazine" with an old Navy buddy from New York who I actually met while jamming on a stage in a club in the Philippines. I started beating the streets in Manhattan for a "job" in a recording studio. I got a few offers, but you start out by being an "intern" with no or little pay and I needed to make money. While contemplating my new musical adventures and how I was going to make money, I became a volunteer Fireman for Woodbridge Fire Department.

I had to decide on the quickest route a good income, so I jumped back into the "corporate world" using my electronics training landing a good paying "job". I wasn't digging the corporate thing, and Magazine split up in the middle of recording our big demo because the lead singer left the band, so I took some time off and traveled to South America. Upon returning, I found myself working again in a music store, making good money, meeting people in the industry, and buying music equipment at cost. I worked there for nearly 3 years, was one of the top salesman in the store, then they screwed me over and fired me for... let's just say, political reasons. That company was so F*&c%ed up and screwed so many of their employees… that's a whole other story… ask me about it if you're really interested. Now I was convinced that I would never work for anybody else again… but what was I to do?

A fellow employee at that Sam Ash store (oops, I gave it away) talked me into forming a "duo" to play gigs with him, much to my reluctance. (After all, I had done the "band thing" and wanted to make some real money.) I agreed, and next thing I knew, we're Incorporated and doing five gigs a week as JukeBox Inc. That was just about when the 80's slipped into the 90's.

The 90's began a decade of vast experiences, changes, education, and growth. Gigging out 5 or 6 gigs a week in a duo or solo, writing and recording my music in my studio, recording and gigging with a band named "Nature Boy", recording some of the local talent in my studio, and trying to work contacts in the totally insane "music industry". In late summer of 1990 I was Blessed with and delivered my wonderful son in a birthing center with a midwife. Having my son had brought me to a place in my life that I had instinctually known about all my life. I felt immediate and distinct physiological understanding and reward. Unconditional love. The first three and a half years of this decade I pretty much spent all of my time caring for and raising my son during the day and gigging at night. That's always been a big plus in both my relationship with my son and my "occupation". I got to hang out with him all day, tuck him in at night, then go to "work" and have fun.

About halfway through the 90's, after continuous gigging and a few duo partners later, by an act of fate I was introduced to a very talented vocalist/songwriter/performer named Jody. We immediately "clicked" and were soon gigging out 5 nights a week and writing and recording. There was an incredible writing chemistry between us that melded into this creatively prolific relationship of making what we felt was cool music. In the mean time, and as a byproduct of spending so much time together, Jody and I had become good friends. We were recording our music in my studio and gigging our asses off with the intention of putting out a CD of our music. We eventually did. "Black and White" was completely recorded and produced by me in my home studio. I did all the artwork and photography, and the final product was a CD with 17 songs and a 20-page booklet with art and lyrics. We started selling them at gigs and on line. We were both single parents trying to make a living in the music industry. (I still have a bunch of copies of "Black and White" if you're interested. They just may be collectors items at this point! lol )

Through contacts that Jody had developed throughout her career, she had gotten the attention and interest of Scott Welch, producer for Alanis Morissette. Scott assembled a management team and financed the recording and production of a world class CD of songs written by both Jody and I. We recorded in some of the most predominant recording studios in NYC and had some top session players on the tracks, including Fernando Saunders, bass player for Lou Reed. David Bryan (Bon Jovi keyboardist) contributed in the writing of one of the tracks. It turned out to be a really nice sounding compilation with strong songs. We started doing some showcase shows in Manhattan for some "industry executives" in the hopes of getting "signed". It was made clear to me that Jody was being shopped as a solo artist, and that I was a co writer and band member. I was OK with that.

We formed a band to do the showcases, and we did some cool shows in the NYC and in Hoboken. It seemed as if there was starting to be a "buzz" about this music. There was a lot of communication and excitement from the management team, then one day they just fell silent. Jody kept pressing them for information, statuses, updates, news... anything. Finally they got back to Jody and told her (this is what she told me) that she was too old and they couldn't market her. Welcome to the music business. So we continued gigging full time as a duo and selling CD's. After a while Jody told me that she wanted to form a working cover band. I wasn't interested in that, so she formed a cover band and I've been gigging full time solo ever since.

Right about that same time I was also freelancing in building web sites and a good friend of mine asked me to build him a web site for his recruiting/employment agency. I built him a site and then he asked me to build him a multi-State computer network with a VPN (Virtual Private Network). So I built him a VPN and he asked me to maintain it. Of course, he was paying me good money for all of this, so I agreed to maintain his network, which included maintaining his employees workstations, which led to a little interstate travel. He then asked me to come on as a full time employee and I said to him, "you know my lifestyle. I can't work a full time corporate office job!". Well, he made me an offer I couldn't refuse, (yes, he's Italian) and next thing I knew I was working a full time day job and gigging full time at night, and raising a son. Let me make this clear here. The ONLY reason I took a "full time corporate day job" is because of this; It was for and with a lifelong friend of mine, the money was good, and it wasn't nearly as corporate (for me) as it sounds. While this was a professional and successful multi state employment agency, I was the I.T. guy. I was the guy behind the curtain. And plus, I could telecommute and do this job pretty much from anywhere I could get an internet connection, except for when I had to physically be on site to work on some machines, which meant traveling interstate to other offices with my friend!

It was a good gig. It was a great gig! I could/would ride my motorcycle to my office in shorts and a tee shirt, and bring my pets! I had crazy pets during that period. Some of which I raised and trained in that office. It was a good scene. We were all good friends working together making money and having fun. I was traveling a bit with my friend, and I was still gigging a lot. Speaking of that motorcycle...

Well, what do you do when you're working two full time jobs, you're in your early 40's and life is good? You go out like I did and drop about $35K into a Honda Goldwing motorcycle with matching trailer, a "delivered" prebuilt garage to keep it in, all of the riding gear (jackets, pants, gloves, helmet, etc.) times two (x2) for both me and my son, and then all of the other farkles that one just has to have on their bike. Like... GPS, iPod that's integrated into the sound system with passenger/driver intercom system and CB radio, heated hand grips, and of course all kinds of tools and manuals to do my own maintenance, and why not a custom built (by myself) trailer to pull a canoe! I could go on... :-)

That was 2004 when I bought that bike, and I can honestly say, that was one of the best moves I ever made in my life. It's also something that I had wanted to do all my life. I very distinctly remember being a kid in the back seat of my moms car while we were being passed by a Honda Goldwing with two passengers and pulling a trailer behind it, and that feeling of... "one day I will own one of these"! I have had the most amazing adventures and experiences on my motorcycle, and I have met some of the most wonderful people from around the country and made lifelong friends! I spent two weeks riding out to and around Colorado and Utah. I've been up to and around eastern Canada numerous times, rode down to the Florida Keys a few times, and have done a great deal of back roads riding the twisties in West Virginia, one of my favorite places to ride. Then there's all the local and "nearby" State (NY, PA) day trips that I do from home. Without being rude, let me just say this. If I have to explain it to you any further, you'll never understand. This link sums it up perfectly. Here is Why I Ride.

All mixed in with this fun and work and excitement, I started doing some consulting work for an audio/visual company setting up and conducting presentations for huge conferences in the energy, pharmaceutical, and financial industries all around the country. This was an awesome and exciting opportunity and experience because I could schedule the time off from gigging, my friend at my "day job" would give me the time off because hey... I could still do my job for him on the road, and it afforded me some awesome paid travel! Pretty much any time I can get paid to travel, I'm going to do it. So this gig took me to places like Boston, Florida, Chicago, San Diego, Washington D.C., Scottsdale, AZ, Las Vegas, and numerous local NYC jobs at places like The Waldorf, The Plaza Hotel, Marriott Times Square, The Weston, among others.

One of the really cool things about that gig was that I got to sit in on a lot of "insider" information on these various industries. I met with and shared lunches and dinners with world renowned Scientists, Chemists, big wig huge hitter Wall Street bankers and investors, and inventors who have had their lives threatened because they have invented "free energy" solutions that compete with "big oil" companies. Hey, I can't make this stuff up!

One very enlightening experience I had was in Princeton, NJ, at a cancer research convention. I was setting up the presentation for and conversing with this scientist. He was probably in his late 50's, maybe 60, kind of long white hair, a tee shirt and a sports jacket with jeans and sneakers. He was kind enough to be inquiring about my occupation and I explained to him that I was a full time performing musician freelancing in this audio/visual consulting gig. After his very impressive presentation, I shook his hand and thanked him, saying "I'm glad there are people like you in this world who do this amazing work and research that the rest of us benefit from but can't even understand". He gripped my hand a little tighter and put his other hand on my shoulder and said "I'm glad there are people like you in this world because when I'm up all night working on my research, it's your music that is playing in the background". We both smiled in the silent bond of that symbiotic relationship.

Another "perk" to that gig was that sometimes I'd be gone for 2 or 3 weeks and work a 3 or 4 day convention, then have 5 days off till the next convention in the same place. And, I was able to occasionally recruit a few of my technically proficient friends to accompany and assist me. (Even got my son in on it!) Sometimes we would drive out in a van with all the gear, and sometimes we would fly out and meet the gear at the show. One time in Vegas, a good friend and myself had 5 days off between shows. So we took the van and rented a cabin on Lake Meade in a really cold February and explored Hoover Dam and the Grand Canyon. Other times it would be a rented Hummer tour out into the dessert or a road trip to visit friends in southern California. I love gigs like that!

In the early years of the new millennium I went to work part time for Apple Computer as a "Mac Specialist" for about 2 years or more. Why? I guess I was looking for a bit of a distraction (a "productive" distraction) and I felt that I needed to catch up on what Apple was doing with all this global altering new technology. (and get some of that "employee discount" on a kick ass new system... 17" MacBook Pro, 30" Cinema Display, AirPort/TimeMachine, and a few nice peripherals) Yea... I needed a distraction from working a full time day job and a full time night job, so why not work some weekend days and a few weeknights at Apple! I don't know what I was thinking but yea, I drank the KoolAid and pulled it off. Three "jobs" and some consulting on the side! Apple was an awesome and educational experience. I enjoyed selling, supporting and doing training on Mac products and getting in some good networking with my customers. I got up to speed with the new technology, and I even got to do a gig in the store with my son for Apple's Live Performance Series. Hey... that's what I do!

I am an avid photographer, videographer, graphics designer, website developer, writer, editor, and all around computer geek. I have been working on my video production and editing skills, which I really enjoy. I love creating art and entertainment, manipulating art and entertainment, and observing art and entertainment. I love visually stimulating media, audibly stimulating sounds (musical or non musical) and all things in life that give me goose bumps and make the little hairs stand on end.

So, the first decade of the new millennium was going really well. Then we stared to fall into the "great crisis". Is that the official name for it? You know, it's funny, but I remember hearing talk at some of the financial conventions I was working of the big "crash" and how crazy some of the overly speculative Wall Street investment deals were, but I never put it together. I didn't care, I was having too much fun. And that's pretty much how I've come to live my life. I strive to surround myself with the people I love and the things I love to do, and just keep having at it! I thoroughly enjoy working hard, playing hard, and loving hard. I am energized by traveling and meeting people from different cultures and sharing ideas and experiences. I value the things in life that really mean something. Family. Friends. Close relationships. Productivity, creative inspiration, and deeply satisfying human experiences. Sharing. Beauty. The Arts. Mother Nature. Humanity. I have an unquenchable thirst for knowledge and I continue to educate myself on my own personal interests in new technologies, current trends, science and nature, music, Quantum Physics, and sometimes useless information that is just totally entertaining. I believe in karma. I believe that everything happens for a reason. I believe in a Greater Power. I am spiritual, not religious. I am intensely alive, and loving every minute of it.

And did I say that I love the ocean, and everything to do with it? My parents brought me to the Jersey Shore every summer my whole life as a kid. And by way of my Navy career, I gained a deep knowledge and respect for our worlds oceans, its power, its infinite beauty and ecosystem. It's interesting, ... as a Taurus (an Earth sign), I have a spiritual connection with water and the sea.

I just recently enjoyed another wonderful turn of events and amazing life experience. I was invited to "work" (play and perform music) at a boutique hotel in Costa Rica. I made good on the offer, and took my son (and one of his hand drums) with me for a 15 day tour of music performances and exploring as much as I could of a country I have been dreaming of going to all my life. I fell in love with Costa Rica. (So did my son) This trip was nothing less than spectacular. I played Tuesday through Saturday from 5pm to 8pm for the "Sunset Happy Hour" at Mango Moon Hotel in Manuel Antonio, just south of Quepos. In an open air lounge facing the Pacific Ocean with four species of monkeys, sloths, toucans, and other exotic wildlife jumping all over the place. OK... the sloths don't actually jump... they do that sloth kind of thing. The rest of my time was my own. Are you kidding me! This was a totally amazing trip! My son and I had some awesomely cool music performances, jammed with a few of the locals and made a couple more life long friends, and we got to explore some of the local Costa Rica wonders, which were abundant! Conclusion... we both want to go back as soon as possible, and for as long as possible. But don't tell anyone any of this and how awesome Costa Rica is. Keep it a secret. :-)

To put a time frame on this biography update, I'm sitting right now by candlelight with a glass of wine at my kitchen table because there is a power outage in most of New Jersey due to hurricane Sandy. I suspect that there is a massive power outage in the entire Northeast, and my heart and thoughts and positive energy goes out to all that may be experiencing great difficulty and/or loss. I'm in an information blackout and won't know the brunt of this storm until power comes back up. With that, I will conclude this "bio" if that's indeed what it is. Maybe I'll visit it in a few years when I have more stuff to post. For now, and after the cleanup from this massive storm, it's off to another gig, another adventure, another new life experience, another new friend. If you've made it this far reading through this, thank you for your interest and time, and I hope to share some of this wonderful life with you real soon!

~ Floyd

(to be continued...)