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Insomniac Minstrel

'The problem with music is musicians" is Aaron Bowen's motto on his page at myspace.com.

He took up the violin in the first grade, but the guitar became his instrument of choice. Aaron suffered a work-related injury in 1999, severing tendons in his right hand. After several surgeries and a lot of physical therapy, he regained 40 percent movement in his right thumb. Aaron had to relearn the guitar and come up with his own technique and hung up the electric for the acoustic.

Aaron often performs at Twiggs Tea and Coffee Company.

TRICKIEST PROBLEM PLAYING LIVE?

"My biggest problem is trying to keep my energy level up...I feel like I need to be pushed. If you put me onstage every night with people that could kick my ass, I could give 110 percent. When I play with people I look up to as artists, I feel like I play a lot better."

INSTRUMENTS AND EQUIPMENT?

"I have a Dana Bourgeois acoustic guitar, a Northwood 12-fret 000 acoustic, a custom handmade Tele, a 1923 tenor banjo, 1930s Electromuse lap steel, a cheap $100 Martin knockoff (one of my faves), a 1970s Japanese P-Bass copy, and an autoharp."

DREAM INSTRUMENT AND GIG DREAMS?

"My dream instrument is definitely a clarinet (and the ability to play it). I don't dream about gigs, but sometimes I write music in my dreams, or dream about writing songs, but I rarely remember them when I wake up. Actually I don't dream much at all because I hardly ever sleep. I'm an insomniac."

BEST AND WORST GIGS?

"[The best was] when I was invited to play at Grossmont College. I thought I was going to be playing for the recording class, but when I got there they had a stage set up in the middle of the quad. The previous night I had a migraine headache and had taken one too many Vicodin to knock it out. I was a mess that morning. When I started playing there were approximately 20 people; by the middle of my first song there were roughly 200. They stayed for my short set and then dispersed. My worst gig was definitely at the Mint in Hollywood. It went something like this: Gas, $20; lunch, $10; playing to a room of 30 people who wouldn't listen to me even when I screamed in the microphone, priceless."

BRUSH WITH THE FAMOUS?

"I seem to meet a lot of famous people under the strangest circumstances. I went to see Rufus Wainwright when he opened for Tori Amos a few years back. After his set I ran into him in the lobby. He invited me backstage, where he proceeded to hit on me. Let's just say that I like his music a lot, but I don't want to date him."

BEST FAN STORY?

"I was scheduled to play a show and put it on a website. Somebody contacted me and said they liked my sound clip and wanted to buy my CD (this was before I had a CD). The show got canceled, but I ended up meeting [the interested person] Kris at another one of my shows. I gave her a demo CD, and ever since then she's been my guinea pig for all my new songs, and boy, am I glad to have met her."

GINGER OR MARY ANN?

"If my memory serves me correctly, Ginger is the debutante and Mary Ann is the farm girl, right? Since I'm not big on high-maintenance dames, I'll take the farm girl."

TOP FIVE END-OF-THE-WORLD CDs?

1. The Beatles, Magical Mystery Tour. " 'I Am the Walrus,' 'Fool on the Hill,' and 'Strawberry Fields Forever' -- need I say more?"

2. The Band, "The Brown Album." "They are one of my favorite bands of all time, and the album is a timeless masterpiece. It feels like a piece of American history."

3. Stevie Wonder, Songs in the Key of Life. "I like to think of it as songwriting that is bigger than one man."

4. Paul Simon, Negotiations and Love Songs. "I know it's a best-of CD...."

5. "Choosing a final CD sucks. I'm going to have to say Rufus Wainwright's self-titled first album. I love that disc."

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'The problem with music is musicians" is Aaron Bowen's motto on his page at myspace.com.

He took up the violin in the first grade, but the guitar became his instrument of choice. Aaron suffered a work-related injury in 1999, severing tendons in his right hand. After several surgeries and a lot of physical therapy, he regained 40 percent movement in his right thumb. Aaron had to relearn the guitar and come up with his own technique and hung up the electric for the acoustic.

Aaron often performs at Twiggs Tea and Coffee Company.

TRICKIEST PROBLEM PLAYING LIVE?

"My biggest problem is trying to keep my energy level up...I feel like I need to be pushed. If you put me onstage every night with people that could kick my ass, I could give 110 percent. When I play with people I look up to as artists, I feel like I play a lot better."

INSTRUMENTS AND EQUIPMENT?

"I have a Dana Bourgeois acoustic guitar, a Northwood 12-fret 000 acoustic, a custom handmade Tele, a 1923 tenor banjo, 1930s Electromuse lap steel, a cheap $100 Martin knockoff (one of my faves), a 1970s Japanese P-Bass copy, and an autoharp."

DREAM INSTRUMENT AND GIG DREAMS?

"My dream instrument is definitely a clarinet (and the ability to play it). I don't dream about gigs, but sometimes I write music in my dreams, or dream about writing songs, but I rarely remember them when I wake up. Actually I don't dream much at all because I hardly ever sleep. I'm an insomniac."

BEST AND WORST GIGS?

"[The best was] when I was invited to play at Grossmont College. I thought I was going to be playing for the recording class, but when I got there they had a stage set up in the middle of the quad. The previous night I had a migraine headache and had taken one too many Vicodin to knock it out. I was a mess that morning. When I started playing there were approximately 20 people; by the middle of my first song there were roughly 200. They stayed for my short set and then dispersed. My worst gig was definitely at the Mint in Hollywood. It went something like this: Gas, $20; lunch, $10; playing to a room of 30 people who wouldn't listen to me even when I screamed in the microphone, priceless."

BRUSH WITH THE FAMOUS?

"I seem to meet a lot of famous people under the strangest circumstances. I went to see Rufus Wainwright when he opened for Tori Amos a few years back. After his set I ran into him in the lobby. He invited me backstage, where he proceeded to hit on me. Let's just say that I like his music a lot, but I don't want to date him."

BEST FAN STORY?

"I was scheduled to play a show and put it on a website. Somebody contacted me and said they liked my sound clip and wanted to buy my CD (this was before I had a CD). The show got canceled, but I ended up meeting [the interested person] Kris at another one of my shows. I gave her a demo CD, and ever since then she's been my guinea pig for all my new songs, and boy, am I glad to have met her."

GINGER OR MARY ANN?

"If my memory serves me correctly, Ginger is the debutante and Mary Ann is the farm girl, right? Since I'm not big on high-maintenance dames, I'll take the farm girl."

TOP FIVE END-OF-THE-WORLD CDs?

1. The Beatles, Magical Mystery Tour. " 'I Am the Walrus,' 'Fool on the Hill,' and 'Strawberry Fields Forever' -- need I say more?"

2. The Band, "The Brown Album." "They are one of my favorite bands of all time, and the album is a timeless masterpiece. It feels like a piece of American history."

3. Stevie Wonder, Songs in the Key of Life. "I like to think of it as songwriting that is bigger than one man."

4. Paul Simon, Negotiations and Love Songs. "I know it's a best-of CD...."

5. "Choosing a final CD sucks. I'm going to have to say Rufus Wainwright's self-titled first album. I love that disc."

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