Based in the San Francisco Bay Area, Dave Sampson is a freelance guitarist, producer, multi-instrumtentalist and music instructor. Drawing from his experiences living and playing in the music scenes of Austin, Los Angeles, Seattle, and Memphis, Sampson put roots down in the Bay Area in 2004. Dave's vibrant and versatile style supports a wide range of genres and artists. His work can be heard on a variety of records, major films, and national radio and television shows.
Always favoring taste, melody, and finding the perfect complimentary part, his approach to playing has been compared to Mike Campbell, David Lindley, Mark Knopfler, Daniel Lanois and Lindsey Buckingham.
Raised on a steady diet of classic rock, his dad's extensive collection of country-western and rock & roll records, plus his mom's favorites- Neil Diamond, John Denver, and The BeeGees- helped form his musical style. Born into a military family—he hails from Ankara, Turkey. He began teaching himself to play guitar at age 12, and only a year later, while attending junior high in Germany, he formed his first band (unless you count the 6th grade lip-synching to "Surrender" by Cheap Trick). Shortly after, his family moved to Texas, where he spent his high school years playing in bands doing originals alongside classic rock covers. After graduating high school, he moved to Los Angeles to attend the Musicians Institute in Hollywood. Although he received his formal music training at MI, his real education was about to begin.
The whole 80's rock spectacle pushed Dave far away from wanting to play rock music-temporarily anyway. So, Memphis saw him playing in an R&B band in 1989—“I was the only white guy in a seven-piece soul band”—and he even backed Rufus Thomas (look him up!). Soon after, Sampson moved to Austin and formed a high-energy eclectic band that played around the Texas region, resulting in lifelong musical connections that continue today. His four-year stay in Seattle further pushed his stylistic boundaries. “I didn’t know Seattle was blowing up at the time I moved there,” he says, meanwhile he ended up in one of Seattle's top 10 most successful local bands- a hard-edged funk project.
Tired of the rain, Dave spent a summer in Phoenix to film the independent movie DeathSweat with his old high school buddies. Sampson then found himself back in Austin, this time he was introduced to his now lifelong friend and guitar-slinger Danny Click. Dave joined Danny's band, and toured extensively in Italy, Switzerland, Fiji, New Zealand, and northern California. During this time he also formed the band International Scouts with his good friend Scott Laws, and moved to California.
An unfortunate accident while engaging in his favorite sport, BMX dirt jumping, he fractured his left wrist (not so good for a guitar player), necessitating surgery and leaving him with a titanium plate and nine screws holding his wrist together. Unable to wrap his hand around a guitar neck, he found satisfaction in learning to play mandolin and lap steel, both instruments now a regular part of his arsenal.
While still recovering from the busted wrist, Dave crossed paths with up-and-coming singer/songwriter David Luning. They immediately hit it off, and soon started recording, playing in the Bay Area, and touring the western US. He has been David's guitar player since 2010.
Dave is the owner/operator of the north bay recording studio- StudioSecti West, where he produces and records many local singer/songwriters and bands.
He's also lucky enough to keep a full roster of students at the best music store in northern California - Tall Toad Music!
Here's a partial list of some artists Dave has worked with:
Danny Click, David Luning, Adrianne Serna, Old Jawbone, Lansdale Station, Natasha James, Jill Cohn, Luke Erickson, Amee Chapman, George Merrill, Highway Poets, Jeff Troiano, Jesse Brewster, Victoria George, Sean Garvey, Araan Harris, Em Rossi, The Incubators, Alison Harris, Wayne Haught, members of Jackson Browne's band...
One of these is NOT a true fact about Dave:
-1/16 Cherokee Indian
-middle child of 5 siblings
-won a spelling bee
-never had a sip of alcohol
-attended 12 different schools
-mother was a professional clown
-descendent of Daniel Boone
-lived in 4 different countries