Baby Boomer Concert: Meet Phil Hoffman | Local

KISS, Quiet Riot, Twisted Sister. These groups caught the attention of 6-year-old Phil Hoffman. At that young age, he already knew he wanted to be in a band and play music like that.

He decided to play guitar but soon realized that almost every other musician he knew was also aspiring guitarists.

“So I decided to play bass because nobody was looking for a guitarist, but almost everyone was looking for a bass player,” he said.

Hoffman’s decision to play bass has proven beneficial as he has been working almost continuously since 1990.

“The bassist who was – and still is – my main influence is Steve Harris of Iron Maiden,” Hoffman said.

Hoffman, of Park Hills, grew up in rural Washington County and attended Caledonia’s R-6 Valley. He played trumpet in a college band that taught him to read music in treble clef. Later, he taught himself to read music in bass clef so that he could further progress as a bass player.

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He took bass lessons for less than a year from 1984 to 1985. Afterwards, he learned to play on recordings and all his favorite songs. He never took formal guitar lessons. He learned the instrument simply by playing bass in bands and watching guitarists. He would watch the musicians, maybe ask questions, then go home and try to play these songs on the guitar.

After doing this for a few years, Hoffman said he was a “mediocre guitarist at best”.

“It wasn’t until I joined Dr. (Kevin) White’s classic rock band ‘Heritage’ that I really progressed as a guitarist,” Hoffman said. “He didn’t need a bassist, but he needed a guitarist.”

White continually challenged Hoffman on the Heritage and Baby Boomer shows.

“It allowed me to become more and more proficient on the guitar,” Hoffman said.

He plays electric bass, double bass, steel string acoustic guitar, classical guitar and electric guitar.

He has been working as a professional or semi-professional musician for over 30 years. He played in a few teenage garage bands until around 1988. Playing in these garage bands was a form of networking, and these connections eventually led to the formation of Triple XXX in 1990.






Phil Hoffman has been making music since 1990.


Submitted


With Triple XXX, Hoffman played every club in St. Louis and toured the Midwest from 1991 to 1993 with stops including Minneapolis; Denver; Casper, Wy.; and Killeen, Texas. After another tour of the Midwest in 1993, the band went on temporary hiatus.

Hoffman joined the United States Army in 1995. He auditioned and won a special assignment in 1997 to play bass for an Army music unit called The USAREUR Band & Chorus, located in Schwetzingen, Germany. In addition to playing at various military functions, the band also played city festivals throughout Germany.

“It was a really great experience,” Hoffman said. “I played for this unit for two years, after which I left the army.”

After the army, he returned to the county of Saint-François where he has been since.

From 1999 to present, Hoffman has played bass for Triple XXX, Pantheon Pros, Joker, Milestones, Crossroads, Ear Candy, and the annual History of Country Music show. During this same period he also played acoustic and/or electric guitar for Hawgstomp, Mofo Jones, 80 Proof Outlaws, Sidetracked, The Baby Boomer Reunion Concert and various MAC ensembles and musicals. Additionally, he plays classical guitar at St. Joseph Catholic Parish, and he occasionally plays solo classical guitar for weddings and other special events.

Hoffman attended the MAC from 2001 to 2003. Although not majoring in music, he played electric guitar in White’s classic rock ensemble called Heritage, later renamed Studio Music. It was around this time that White created the first Baby Boomer show. When he asked Hoffman if he wanted to participate, Hoffman obviously said yes.

He’s been a part of every baby boomer gig now since the first show. That’s 19 years of Baby Boomer gigs, and he’s loved playing in all of them.

“While there are always standout songs that I enjoy playing, it’s the overall experience of the show that I enjoy the most,” he said. “Working with some truly exceptional musicians, playing music that I probably wouldn’t have been able to play otherwise, the level of professionalism of the performers and the family feeling of the whole event make this one of my favorite musical experiences of every year.”

Since performing at baby boomer gigs for so long, Hoffman has gotten to know each of the performers.

“Every year is like a family reunion,” he said. “Seriously, it’s like a reunion of siblings and cousins. Every show we do together is a memorable experience.

Hoffman said he usually has about three to four weeks to prepare for baby boomers.

As for the baby boomer audience, Hoffman said he’s “always grateful and supportive” of what musicians do. He saw people of all ages in the audience.

“They’re all there to enjoy great music from local musicians,” he said.

When Hoffman isn’t playing music, he’s an accountant and IT coordinator at Crouch, Farley & Heuring, PC, where he’s worked for 16 years.

Hoffman said that each year artists are introduced to the audience during the show. When introduced, the emcee usually tells the audience that Hoffman is an accountant at Crouch, Farley & Heuring.

One year in particular, an audience member heard Hoffman’s introduction and apparently found it hard to believe that “the very conservative John Crouch would hire that long-haired guitarist.”

The following Monday, the man showed up at the office and asked to meet Hoffman.

“I think he needed to see it for himself,” Hoffman said. “We all had a good laugh about it.”

This weekend is the Baby Boomer Reunion 2022 concert series “The 20th Anniversary Spectacular”. Shows are Friday at 7 p.m. and Saturday at 1 p.m. and 7 p.m. Call the Farmington Civic Center at 573-756-0900 for ticket information.

Pam Clifton is an editor for the Daily Journal

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