My name is Darryl James Albert Eckhardt, currently and for the last 24 plus years I am a soldier in the Canadian Armed Forces. I was born in Port Dalhousie Ontario but we moved to St. Catharine’s when I was four so I spent most of my young adult life there. St. Catharine’s was a nice place to grow up, close to the Welland Canal and situated on the banks of Lake Ontario. With Niagara Falls and Toronto close by there was always something fun to do.
The musician part of my life began pretty early. My father would play guitar and sing often and eventually he began to show me some chords so I could play as well. I played these chords furiously for a few years and about the time I turned 15 my father got tired of me monopolizing his guitar and finally broke down and decided to buy me my own guitar. We went to Thorold Music and bought a beautiful Univox Les Paul copy six string electric guitar and within a year I and a few of my friends had a punk rock band. We actually played a few gigs even though we were all under aged, it appears that neither the liquor inspectors nor the musician’s union characters peruse biker bars. After a few years of messing around on guitar I finally developed enough skill to start being noticed. I hung around Ostanek’s Music store and got various gigs all kinds of local bands and one day I met Terry and Billy Beechman.
The Beechman brother had a 70s / 60s pop rock Beatles like cover band with lots of originals thrown in, as good as the brothers were at singing the second guitarist, Mario Disimini was even better, they could all sing like birds and I was excited to join a real band. I was hired as the lead guitarist and like I said I was getting pretty good by this point, the only concern with the band was that they had two guitar players already so one of us would have to learn to play the bass. Both lead singers had trouble playing bass and singing so they were always switching the bass between them and one day we were going to learn the song “Every breath you take” by the police and they asked me to play bass on this song as there was no real lead guitar in the song. That became the end of my lead guitar playing as soon as I started playing the bass I loved it I wanted to play no other instrument after a few weeks I traded in my beloved Univox Les Paul for an Ibanez Road Star bass.
After playing with the Beechman brothers for a few years and finally realizing that a regular gigging band was not in the cards with these gentlemen so I set off to further my career. I signed up to do a northern Ontario tour with an Elvis Presley impersonator. We started in Wiarton Ontario moving slowly north until we arrived at Kapuskasing from there over to Rouyn-Noranda in Quebec and finally heading south back to St. Catharine’s. As fun as this was, school was calling and I went back to real life. High school and a grade school were pretty normal except that in the final year of high school I joined an art work-study program. This meant that I spent my whole first semester teaching Grade 9 students art class. I left high school during my Second semester when I was given the opportunity to join a touring rock band.
By the mid-80s pop music was doing really well and you could make a pretty good living as a touring rock musician. I joined a three piece new-wave dance band with all original material. We played all around the Niagara peninsula from Buffalo to Toronto, recorded an EP and even had a video that played on Much Music. After two years of playing the rock star I finally realized that even with more money touring as a rock musician was
not what I really loved about music, what I really loved was just playing in front of people without all the politics and lies that came with the Music scene. So if I wanted to continue doing that on the weekends I would need a “real job”.
I settled back in St. Catherine’s and after a few years of schooling and moving around to various jobs job I discovered the “Armed Forces”. I “signed up” in Aug of 1991 and after basic training in Cornwallis Nova Scotia I was sent to Borden Ontario to begin my trades training as a supply tech. By August 1992 I had sold my house in St. Catherine’s Ontario and moved to my first posting Comox British Columbia. After four years in British Columbia I was posted to 2 Service Battalion CFB Petawawa Ontario. After 13 years in the Petawawa Ontario I packed up and moved to St. John’s Newfoundland and 36 Service Battalion. I spent only two years there and then moved in July 2011 to Halifax Nova Scotia. I have been playing in bands all through my life and have played in almost every major city in Canada and a few in Europe. Now that I have retired from the Armed Forces I am looking for fun bands that I can play music with for people and just enjoy life.