He can see for miles | March 15, 2013 | Palo Alto Weekly | Palo Alto Online |


Palo Alto Weekly

Arts & Entertainment - March 15, 2013

He can see for miles

A Palo Alto restaurant pianist as a teen, keyboardist Loren Gold now tours the world with The Who

by Nick Veronin

Some parents might have reservations upon hearing that their son, fresh out of high school, had decided to pursue his dream of being a professional musician, but not Loren Gold's folks.

"My parents have always been supportive," says the pianist, who's now been in music for more than 20 years. "I would never have made it here without their support."

The here Gold is referencing is actually more like everywhere, and could just as easily be a major city in Europe or Japan or Madison Square Garden — where Gold recently helped British classic-rock gods The Who wrap up the final set of their "Quadrophenia" tour.

"This is the biggest tour I've ever been a part of," Gold says. "It was definitely special."

These days, Gold lives in Los Angeles, where he moved to be closer to the music industry. But before he was rocking sold-out stadiums, he was just another Peninsula kid.

Gold was born and raised in Palo Alto. It was here that he learned to play piano — in music classes at his alma mater, Gunn High School, and from a local tutor who still gives lessons. According to Gold's former tutor, Paul Fink, it was quite clear from the outset that Gold would become a professional musician.

"He was very talented," Fink says. "Very quick to learn pieces. He had a real affinity for the keyboard. It just seemed like a natural extension of himself." But it was more than that. "He just sort of had the aura of someone who was already settling in to being a musician."

Indeed, Gold started his career as a professional musician when he was still in high school, in both ordinary and extraordinary ways. Like many young musicians, Gold played in a series of local bands, playing Top 40 covers at house parties and gigging around the Bay Area.

While Fink encourages his students to explore pop music, Gold's high school band wasn't what impressed him. Fink was wowed when Gold, while still attending Gunn, landed a gig playing piano at a fancy restaurant in downtown Palo Alto. (The restaurant was called La Tour and is long since gone.)

"It was quite an impressive thing," Fink says, adding that such a job is often filled by someone much older. "It was quite a feather in his cap at the time."

Still, looking back at his musical career, Gold says nothing ever really made him feel as if he had "made it" like sharing the stage with Who lead singer Roger Daltrey and guitarist Pete Townshend — whom he will join this summer for The Who's tour of Europe.

"It definitely makes me feel like all that hard work paid off — and is continuing to pay off," he says. And it's a good thing that it has paid off. Gold says he's never considered working in any kind of conventional job.

Though Gold says that The Who gig is by far his largest and most prestigious, he has worked as a keyboardist for a variety of artists, including Hilary Duff, Melissa Etheridge and Kenny Loggins — the last artist he played with before landing the gig that would ultimately secure him a spot on The Who's tour bus.

A friend of Gold's knew the man who was helping Roger Daltrey put a band together for a recent solo tour. Gold got a call and auditioned for the part. He said he was a bit nervous upon walking into the studio, but the feeling soon melted away as he and Daltrey played some songs off "Tommy," The Who's classic concept album about a deaf, mute and blind pinball master.

The two clicked, and so Gold toured the world with Daltrey starting in 2010. When it came time to pick a keyboardist for The Who's "Quadrophenia" tour, Gold was tapped again.

For someone who has played with some of music's biggest acts, Gold is incredibly unassuming — a trait he seems to have possessed for all of his life, according to Fink.

When Gold came through the Bay Area on Daltrey's solo tour, he invited Fink to the show. The two have kept in touch over the years, and Fink, who still teaches in Palo Alto, can't say enough about his former student and his family. Fink says he is doubly impressed now with the ability of Gold's son — who has taken after his father's love of the piano.

Info: For more about Loren Gold, go to lorengold.com.


Like this comment
Posted by Ari Gold
a resident of South of Midtown
on Mar 15, 2013 at 11:19 pm

As Loren's quite a bit older brother, I exposed him to popular music from birth, especially The Beatles. His favorite songs were Maxwell's Silver Hammer and Ob la di Ob la Da, and Paul McCartney quickly became his favorite artist. During his years playing piano bars in restaurants he learned to play circles around all the popular songs, and really mastered his craft. Congratulations, Loren on going for your dream and succeeding!

Like this comment
Posted by So Lucky
a resident of Community Center
on Mar 16, 2013 at 12:50 pm

Loren was so lucky to have family who were supportive. So many Palo Alto kids, especially the ones from foreign countries, are not allowed to follow their dreams; they end up well-employed, but frustrated and unhappy. We have a neighbor who is from India, and wanted to be a veterinarian, but his parents said,"MD or PhD!". He makes a splendid living as a plastic surgeon, but he does not find any fulfillment or happiness in his work. However, his parents are ecstatic and proud as can be, and he would never wish to "shame" his parents.

We also have some Chinese neighbors whose children do not want to go into the professions their parents want them to. The guilt trip laid on them is terrible. The grandmother of one told the parents that she was tired of going to "Chinese doctors who never wanted to be doctors. Let the children choose their own paths.". The voice of experience!

Happiness and fulfillment should count for more than money and possessions. You have, after all, to live with yourself in the end. How lucky Loren Gold was to have such
kind parents!