Internationally acclaimed musician Danny McBride is this month’s cover artist. Being raised by a couple of artists who encouraged the arts, Danny recalls going to the symphony when he was young and being moved to tears. He grew up watching his dad sketch caricatures and his mom create watercolor and oil paintings. He and his brother both became musicians.
Danny always struggled in school, not realizing he was dyslexic. It was his English teacher who said, “Don’t you play guitar? Maybe you should be a musician.” That’s exactly what Danny did, dropping out of school at age 17, the beginning of his “invisible life in the fast lane.” That same year Toronto Star Newspaper labeled him as Canada’s No. 1 rock guitarist.
As a member of the house band for Toronto’s legendary ROCK-PILE, one of the most renowned venues in music history, he opened for names like Led Zeppelin, The Who, Jeff Beck and Rod Stewart, and that was just the beginning of a 40-year music career.
As his own harshest critic, Danny had a love-hate relationship with the stage, often struggling with stage fright as he performed in front of crowds of 200,000-plus people. That insecurity reminded him of his humanity, kept him from thinking of himself as anything other than a regular person, even as Supertramp, Tina Turner and Rod Stewart were trying to convince Danny to join their tours. “It has always been difficult for me to accept praise. I feel like I’ve been invisible in the fast lane; just a normal guy who fooled everyone and got invited along for the ride. I used to bring fans backstage to let them see we were all just regular people. Couldn’t stand the star tripping, but sometimes you just got lost in it all,” said Danny.
Everyone knew Danny had artistic talent. Known for drawing caricatures of people, he was given the nickname “Poison Pencil,” and no one wanted to sit in front of him at dinner. Back in ‘93, a friend suggested he try painting. He sat in front of a rectangular canvas and began sketching a familiar face, bearing a resemblance to his third grade crush, who also happened to be his teacher. He looked at the space and thought, “She needs a hat.” His good friend David Hasselhoff purchased his very first painting and the rest is history.
Having sold over 600 paintings of women in hats, it has proven to be a financially sound career, so he keeps painting her. Of course, I had to ask Danny what he listens to while he paints—books on CD. He’s making up for lost time and all the stories he missed out on all those years ago when he struggled to read. He spends his days painting and listening to Stephen King, James Clavell, Arthur Clarke and other mystery and sci-fi writers.
For more information or to purchase Danny’s art visit
www.whiterockgallery.com and www.stephenloweartgallery.com.