» “I suppose I knew Bad Sneakers was over when Dale quit, but I remained in denial for a while. Making the ‘Big Ducks’ album was a miserable experience, and to this day I can’t listen to it. Within its tortured tempos and chaotic arrangements I can only hear the sound of our grand experiment ending – not with a bang, but with a quack.

Neal, 1984

“Having no idea what people who weren’t in bands actually did for a living, I decided to delay my entry into the real world another four years by returning to college. By the end of the first year my ears had finally stopped ringing. I was soon able to stay awake through an entire morning class, and certain portions of my brain that were unnecessary for rock ‘n’ roll (and had thus atrophied) were active again. Graduating with a degree in business and a vague idea of doing something with computers, I taught myself some basic database skills and launched a career writing business software.

“As it turned out, everything I needed to know about working in business I had already learned in Bad Sneakers. The discipline and focus required to produce three albums and 200-plus shows a year on a shoestring budget, all while negotiating with that volatile combination of highly opinionated, creative personalities, was perfect preparation for my career in technology.

“By 1999 I owned three business suits, was securely ensconced in the world of corporate software engineering as a senior programmer/analyst for ING, and was starting to get bored. Dale was involved in an edtech internet start-up called Epotec that looked like fun, so one day I went over there and met the CEO.  Two weeks later I joined the company, and Dale and I were back working together again.

“My wife Gwyneth and I launched a new edtech startup in 2017. For more on that, visit my website.

“Bad Sneakers was the best extended adolescence I could have ever hoped for. I feel incredibly lucky to have spent those heady years with such talented, funny people. There were moments on stage and on record that were thrilling and, at times, transcendent. The best work – “Beat the Meter” – still holds up very well after all these years. I can now look back on this material and see past the flaws and missteps to hear the excitement and sheer joy of creativity. We rocked, and I loved almost every minute of it. Even the stuff I hated.”