Born in Claremont, David Brock has been immersed in folk music since his early childhood. David was largely influenced by his neighbors’ regular jam sessions in which Will and Jean Marcotte and Charles and Dorothy Chase, among others, would come over to the home of his neighbors Al and Peggy Hulse to play folk music. The three couples would later open the folk coffeehouse, The Golden Ring, in 1963 located in the old carriage house behind the current Sonja Stump Photography building at Harvard Place and First Street.
Brock started learning guitar, banjo, mandolin, and fiddle in his early teens. In the early 1970s, David joined the country/folk/rock group, Occurrence at Owl Creek, performing with David “Pope” Firman, Jim Cope, Gil Frazee, and Roy Durnal. Occurrence at Owl Creek toured regionally, performing throughout Southern California and northern Arizona.
In the mid to late 1970s, Brock, Firman, Frazee, and David Millard formed the folk/bluegrass band, Crabgrass, who performed locally in area venues. Brock and Millard later performed as a duo then added bass player, Pope Firman, forming the swing trio Hot Pecans. Following Firman’s departure to join folk ensemble, The New Christy Minstrels, Al “Smokey” Stover joined the Hot Pecans on bass. Brock, himself, left the group in 1986 to attend graduate school, replaced by Bruce Bishop and Roy Durnal.
Periodically throughout the mid-1980s, Brock performed with folk group, Music Americana. Featuring fellow folk musicians, Clabe Hangan and Joe Rael, Music Americana performed and recorded programs of historical interest in local public schools. In the early 1990s, Brock joined the bluegrass band, Alive and Pickin’, with Steve Cahill, T.J. Lyons, Dave Brown, and Bill Purcell. Alive and Pickin’ has played numerous bluegrass festivals and other local concert venues. In the mid-1990s, Brock began sitting in with Randy Holland and Marguerite and David Millard. Brock, Marguerite and David Millard evolved this musical endeavor into the roots band Squeakin’ Wheels, which now also includes additional members Steve Cahill, Roy Durnal, and Mark Takeuchi.
Since the mid-1970s, Brock has recorded sessions with notable artists from diverse musical styles. In 1978, Brock wrote and recorded string parts for rock artist, Iggy Pop, which were featured on his album, New Values (Arista Records). In 2009, David contributed string tracks for koto artist, Yukiko Matsuyama, on her album Crème Brulée.
Brock holds a Ph.D. in Musicology from Claremont Graduate University. His research in American shape-note hymnody earned him a dissertation grant and a nomination for a National Endowment for the Humanities Fellowship. Brock lives in Claremont and continues to perform with the Squeakin’ Wheels and other musicians.
Photography by Althea Sachs