By MEL RHODES
Sometimes you come full circle – get the chance to return to your first love. That's basically what local bass guitarist Frank Dison did. After decades out of the music scene he's back to thumping out bass runs on area stages. And people are noticing. He just placed second in the bassist category of the East Texas Music Awards.
I know this because I bumped into Frank at the recent Crazy Water Festival. I spied him in animated conversation with someone in the sound stage area. I recognized him because I went to school with Frank... a hundred years or so ago.
In 1966, Frank the kid came to town with a military family. Fort Wolters was a beehive of activity in those days of the Vietnam War.
At age 14 he started doodling around on the bass and playing in local garage bands. This was a time of bellbottoms and paisley print shirts, of black lights and long hair – if you could get away with it – and a time of classic rock-n-roll. Through the late '60s and early '70s Frank played local venues (The Bag ring any bells?) with bands such as the Mystic Bank, Wicked Truth, Odessa and Blackhorse.
"These were really silly names back in those days," he said.
Frank said another local band and guitarist – The Visions and Gary James – were strong influences. The Visions cast pretty long shadows around here in the 1960s.
But for Frank, one day the music just stopped.
"I got out of the music business years ago (1980s) and got into the remodeling business around here," Frank said. "I did that until '08 when my back gave out big time."
Disabled, and unable to continue his construction work, Frank gravitated back to his roots – back to music.
"I got back into it three or four years ago," he said, "playing a little bit here and a little bit there, mostly with Blackhorse. (Yes, they're still around!) And then I started sitting in with some of the best around, like Rusty Burns, Donnie Pendleton."
Pendleton is up for Guitarist of the Year in the LA Music Awards.
Frank says he placed second in a field of 80 nominated bassists in the recent East Texas Music Awards.
"There's always next year," he said with a laugh.
"I guess I made a splash over the last couple of years," he continued. "I'm just blessed! It's an overwhelming feeling, you know. As far as I'm concerned I won regardless, just being nominated for something like this. It's an amazing thing."
At 61, Frank plans to play as long as his health allows.
"It gives me something to do, and I'm really enjoying it," he said. "I'm blessed I can still do something I have a passion for. It's all I had left, really. I just put my cane down and stand up there and play like it doesn't hurt."
Rock on, Frank!