Self described ‘band guy’ and local colorful character ‘Crazy’ Dave Hoffman attributes his survival instincts to his hard-scrabble childhood spent in and out of institutions in upstate New York. His first guitar was given to him by a neighbor and that guitar represented a point of light and music became a way to escape. The first song he taught himself to play was Elvis’ “Burning Love”.
Dave eventually met Larry Potts, a singing guitar preacher, who allowed Dave to use his Martin guitar. He learned to play “Wildwood Weed” and knew he wanted to play guitar for a living. He spent hours practicing the ‘necessary evils’, rhythm and scales. In his early 20’s he spent time with guitarist Bob Piper who taught him how to bend notes, use effects and sound original.
Over the years Dave was a volunteer fireman, an outdoor survival instructor, and a stunt man (hence the name ‘Crazy Dave’), but it was in Buffalo, New York at Club Utica where he got his musical break. Surrounded by local musicians he describes as ‘country swing monsters’, one day they invited him on stage with his Gibson Explorer. He recalls visibly shaking and thinks he did ‘just okay’, but he obviously did something right because he went on to play with many others at Club Utica, like Ray Price and Johnny Paycheck.
In the early 2000’s Dave went on a tour of Florida working Bike Week gigs and other motorcycle events. During that tour, he found himself in Daytona during the winter. When the last gig ended, he couldn’t ride his bike back north, so he decided to head south, and that’s how he ended up in Key West. Twelve years later he stills considers Key West home, while he’s not out touring the country in his RV during the hot summers.
Dave is very appreciative of the Key West music vibe and fellow local music greats like Caffeine Carl and CW Colt. Dave can be seen and heard playing in various ensembles around town, and as of late, has been playing and touring with fellow local musician Wyatt Hurts. They’ve toured everywhere from Key West to Alaska and cover everyone from Merl Haggard to The Who. Their upcoming performance schedule can be found at wyatthurts.com.
While Dave prefers to be on stage ‘feeding off other musicians’, his advice to others getting started is to ‘leave the band at home’ and try to make a solo act, and also to learn as many styles of music as possible.