Derek D'Mann

Retired Horticulturist

      For as long as I can remember I've been playing music. I started on those harmonicas I'd get each year in my Christmas stocking. Not to blow my own horn (or harmonica!), but I've actually developed a pretty good sound and style on harp (though I know some musicians cringe at the thought of a harp player in a band!). Then, I progressed to ukulele where I wore down the frets as a child from playing so much. After that came piano. Lessons were only so interesting for awhile until I decided to give those up and focus on styles that interested me, such as ragtime and blues.
      I mostly play guitar and bass these days, though I've been told I'm a natural at tickling the ivories! On guitar and bass I play a broad variety of styles from rock to country to blues and so on. I can honestly say I've had the pleasure of learning from some of my local favorites - Randy Leaf, Mark Moree, John Harbison, and Roy Brooks to name a few. My early influences included bluegrass and jazz and other music I'd listen to on public radio. My guitar influences range from Jimi Hendrix, Eric Clapton, Jerry Garcia (of course!), and the amazing Danny Gatton. I've also had fun playing with a tropical rock Jimmy Buffett cover band, Captain Quint, who has opened for Buffett several times.
      I've spent most of my musical career playing both lead and rhythm guitar and in recent years have been focusing more on the bass. I've been a teacher of guitar, bass and piano over the years and have enjoyed the opportunities I've had to share my experience and knowledge in order to help my students develop their own styles and techniques. And, of course, I've paid my dues playing and running open mics through the years as well (anyone familiar with Hank Dietels on Rockville Pike? Enough said!).
      This isn't my first time playing in a Dead Cover band, having played with and been a founding member of a band back in the day known as The Moon Cats. A friend and fellow guitarist from that band, Eric Goldberg, has gone on to form his own Dead cover band in recent years. And finally, I enjoy the opportunities when I get to sing in the band - my favorite part being to find those harmonies that fill out the sound of a song. I started appreciating and learning to pick out harmony parts early on by listening to Simon and Garfunkel and John Denver. There's nothing better than hearing all the singers find those sweet spots when all voices blend together!
      Though I'm the newest member in the band, I can say it has been an honor and a privilege to play with such talented guys who have years of experience that I am lucky to learn more and more from the longer we play together! I am glad they've stuck with me and given me this chance. I hope that I can stay on with them for a while to come yet!