As Luke tells it...
"I grew up in a pretty little town called Rye, a suburb of New York City along the Long Island Sound. In the fifth grade grade I had a lead in a school play called "The Homeland" that was written by two of the teachers. The play had two casts, one with blonde hair, the other dark. I played "Peter" in the blonde-haired cast, and Matt Zekala played him in the dark-haired cast. We've been best friends ever since.
"In seventh grade Rye's three elementary schools fed into one high school/middle school, and I found myself in many classes with a quirky and challenging boy with the exotic name (it was easy to be exotic in homogeneous Rye) of Avram Lavinsky. Avram soon became a close friend as well.
"When he was 15, Matt started taking guitar lessons, and within a few months had reached a level of proficiency I still haven't achieved after decades of trying. Avram was also playing music, mostly trumpet, but he also played enough piano that he was able to form a band called Crimson Rose with some other Rye High kids. Crimson Rose was a Grateful Dead cover band, and they became wildly popular, packing bars full of excited fans before any of its members were old enough to drink. Avram got a taste of the rockstar life, playing to packed rooms full of adoring fans every weekend.
"When I went off to college, I brought along an electric keyboard, with thoughts of putting together a band like Crimson Rose -- it looked fun! One afternoon, early in freshman year, I was jamming with one of my roommates (a very talented guitarist/singer/songwriter named Christian Pschorr) when a skinny, nerdy kid I had met showed up unexpectedly at the door of my dorm room with a guitar and amp in hand. "Mind if I sit in?" said Willie Bonham. I wasn't sure how I felt about that -- I was enjoying my jam with Christian -- but I didn't want to be rude, so I nodded ok. Willie plugged in, tuned up, and started to play.
"HOLY SHIT!" Christian and I had been noodling along (in Christian's case, very competently) but Willie was at a whole other level. It was like being in a room with Duane Allman or Carlos Santana -- he played with incredible passion, emotion, and dexterity, I'd never seen anything like it.
"During the summer of freshman year I had a nice, well-paying job as a programming intern at a New York City bank. I made enough change to buy myself a neat little toy, a Yamaha MT44 4-track cassette deck recorder that allowed you to overdub tracks like a professional recording studio. I played with it some, but one night Matt sat down and recorded an amazing composition with it called "Misty Morning Overdrive." I was blown away, as was everybody else that heard it -- it was gorgeous.
"Sophomore year, I moved into a dorm that mixed freshman with upper classmen. During the first week, I walked around the hall and introduced myself to my new neighbors, which is how I wound up meeting Billy Cohen. Billy was a poet and a dreamer, and we've been close friends ever since.
"Early in my sophomore year, I ran into Doug Haxall, who I had become friends with the previous year. We discussed how we both dreamed about getting Willie into a band. Willie was being courted by every musician on campus, and Doug and I realized that for a band to work Willie would need to think it was his idea, so we conspired together to make it happen. Doug and I secretly practiced a few songs, so that one day we would all be hanging out together -- which we did often -- a "spontaneous" jam would happen, and Willie would insist that we all form a band. It worked like a charm! We formed a band (including a dramatic Korean guitarist named Jack Lee who has had a very successful career as a jazz guitaris) , and even played a few well-attended gigs. (I remember playing a keyboard solo to a packed house in our dorm's lounge, and noticing a guy in the front row with his eyes closed playing Air Keyboards. 'That guy is pretending to be me!' I thought to myself, in amazement.)
"At one point that year, Matt (who was going to college in Connecticut) visited me at Columbia. I had been telling Willie and Matt about each other for months, and we were all excited to see what it would sound like to hear them play together. That night we had a jam in my dorm room, which I recorded on my trusty 4-track. At one point Doug came over, was excited to jam, but all the guitars were being used. (Doug has since learned to never go anywhere without an instrument! ;) ) I happened to have a bass guitar, so I plugged it in and handed it to Doug, who had never previously touched one. Doug started playing, and the first notes he ever played on a bass sounded like he had been playing for years. (We have it on tape!)
"Billy, the poet, began writing lyrics for both Doug and Willie, and the first songs in the Dreamspeak repertoire began to take shape, including Twisted Trees and Magic Dance.
"That spring, Avram (who was attending Stanford University) visited me at Columbia. Late one night, he was at the Columbia campus when Matt, Willie, and Doug had a jam out on the steps. He captured this moment in the song Golden Road: "The first time that I saw them, it was early in the morning, and they echoed through the buildings, pointed heads went spinning round." Avram decided to drop out of Stanford and form a band. He got in touch with Willie and Doug, who had decided to drop out of Columbia to do music (much to my chagrin!) and Dreamspeak was born. Needing a drummer, Willie called his high school friend "mBuzuki" Tommy Kaelin who was an amazing drummer. They called Matt and tried to convince him to join, but Matt was unable to join full-time at the start, though he frequently showed up as a treasured guest, and eventually was able to join the band full-time in the summer of 1987.
"Willie and Tom had another friend from high school, singer Sean O'Brien who had his own band, Pure Instinct. Sean began to make regular guest appearances with Dreamspeak, and soon his powerful voice and poignant songs were welcomed as he became a fulltime member of the band.
"In 1988 one last piece fell into place. A young man from Kentucky named Gordon Clay showed up at Columbia, and put together a percussion group called Repercussions. I convinced Gordon to let me play piano and synthesizer, and along with a guitar player named Brian we rehearsed and played a few shows -- including the biggest show I've ever played, opening for famed Washington DC GoGo band Trouble Funk in a big show at Columbia's Wollman auditorium. Gordon sat in with Dreamspeak, everybody fell in love, and at the end of the year Gordon dropped out of Columbia and joined Dreamspeak full-time. (At which point I stopped forming bands, since my best musicians kept quitting my bands and joining Avrams!)
"Yada yada yada...now I put this site together."