About Al Millan…My songwriting started when I was 10 years old making up words to songs on the radio like The Battle of New Orleans. I tortured everyone on the bus ride to school in those days when we all gathered at a bus stop at the end of the street. I was lucky to grow up in public schools with music programs so that by the time I was 15 I had learned to play some trumpet, sousaphone, drums, played in school bands and sang in choirs. In the mid 1960’s I started working in rocknroll bands and then as a solo artist throughout California. All along the way my music was marinated and flavored by the incredible events, people, music, arts and circumstances of those times.
I'm originally from San Francisco Bay Area, born, raised and went to high school in San Jose, moved to San Francisco for college, played with Johnny Star in Marin County, and I spent a lot of time in the coastal redwoods between Half Moon Bay and Santa Cruz. San Francisco is one of my home towns.
I started as a singer in high school with The Breakers. We covered everything we could play that was on the radio then - The Beach Boys, The Beatles the Stones, the Kinks and the rest of the 'British invasion', and of course, Motown and the R&B that crept into AM radio.
I learned to play guitar mainly so I could write songs.
There was a huge folk music thing going on that I really loved and was the road I followed - still do - the stories, the awakening knowledge of the struggles of so many people though time, a sense of history that you could learn from and maybe make a better place and time for us to live in. So I set out on my own as a folksinger influenced by the songs and singers of the contemporary folk scene, including Dylan, Mark Spoelstra, Tom Paxton, Peter Paul and Mary....all capturing the mood and remarkable events of the civil rights movement, the raging controversies of the Vietnam era - including the stunning losses of John Kennedy, Martin Luther King Jr., Robert Kennedy, and the many other lives tossed and lost during those turbulent times. When the National Guard began tear gassing and shooting students and fellow citizens, a sobering reality came clear in the smoky air of the SF State campus.
So many roads. So many tools. To make a difference - Pick up a rock, a gun, a girl, a pen or a guitar? I went with the guitar.
I always liked a lot of different kinds of music and so there isn’t really one style that I like to write in, other than I’ve primarily been a guitar player and guitar was my tool for writing songs...never have wanted to be a ‘guitar player’ so much as a song writer.
All I ever wanted to do was go to college in San Francisco and so I did along with my best friend from high school. I needed a job to stay in school and eventually worked at what was then "the largest record store in the known world" Tower Records. Found friends and we became Johnny Star, got captured by the SF scene and all the music that percolated through the Fillmore, Avalon Ballroom, Winterland, The Lions Share in Marin County, and the many festivals and outdoor concerts of the era.
More to discover as time goes by....