Jody Whitesides returns to Park City for a gig at the Spur |

Jody Whitesides returns to Park City for a gig at the Spur

Parkites may remember Jody Whitesides.

He grew up in Park City, graduated from Park City High School and delivered pizza.

What they may not know is he is now a professional, independent musician and an in-demand studio musician who has written scores for films, video games and exercise videos, including one he just completed for the Pussycat Dolls.

He also writes music for Fox Sports that includes segments for the National Football League, the National Basketball Association and NASCAR.

Park City will get the chance to see and hear Whitesides in a solo, acoustic concert at the Spur Bar & Grill, 352 Main. St., on Monday, Dec. 27.

The musician, who now calls Burbank, Calif., his home, began his musical journey in high school.

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"There was an air guitar/lip sync contest during my senior year and a few of my friends and I put an air band together," Whitesides said in an interview during a stop at The Park Record offices. "There were four of us guitar, singing, bass and drums, and we decided to do Ozzy Osbourne’s ‘Crazy Train.’

Originally, Whitesides was slated to play the bass, but when the friends rehearsed, the guy assigned to the air guitar couldn’t mimic the guitar very well. they switched roles.

To prepare even more, another friend who played guitar loaned Whitesides a Gibson Les Paul, which looked just like Osbourne’s guitarist Randy Rhoads’ model, and showed him where to put his hand as if he were playing real chords.

The air band ended up getting third place.

"People came up to me and said I looked like I knew how to play guitar and asked if I could play for real," Whitesides said. "In my head, I thought, I should learn and see how hard it was, so I did and I caught the bug and been doing it ever since."

In order to feed his new musical obsession, the budding guitarist took a year of classical guitar from Todd Woodbury, who is known for his work with violinist John Thompson in the Thompson-Woodbury Ensemble.

"Since Randy Rhoads was getting into classical music before he died in 1982, that’s what made me want to get involved with classical guitar," Whitesides said.

The initial lesson set the tone for Whitesides’ practicing.

"Todd’s first words after introducing himself was ‘If you don’t want to practice, I don’t want to teach,’ and that really made me want to learn," he said with a laugh.

From there, Whitesides took in summer sessions at the Musicians Institute in Los Angeles and Berklee College of Music in Boston the following year, before returning to the Beehive State to attend the University of Utah.

"After I graduated from the University of Utah I went back to the Musicians Institute," Whitesides said. "Originally I wanted to be Ozzy’s guitarist. I wanted to be one of the best guitarists in rock music on the planet and be a side guy to somebody who could sing their butt off."

The goal changed when he moved to Boulder, Colo., after getting his degree from Musicians Institute, and then moved to Florida after getting a phone call from a friend who attended Berklee.

"She was dating a singer named Jeff Scott Soto and they were moving to Los Angeles and asked me to go with them," he said.

Soto, who would go on to sing for guitar-hero Yngwie Malmsteen and Journey is now one of the featured vocalists for the Trans-Siberian Orchestra, was a huge influence on Whitesides.

"I became uber conscious about opening my mouth to sing, but I learned how to sing by living with Jeff," he said. "He would occasionally give me pointers, and I, out of necessity, became a better singer."

In the mid 1990s, Whitesides was courted by an assortment of major record labels, and decided to go the independent route. With his friendship with founder Derek Sivers, he became the first non-signed artist to have his songs appear on a new digital music site called iTunes.

"I’ve known Derek for awhile and it was thanks to him the iTunes thing happened," Whitesides said.

Although he didn’t land a major label deal, Whitesides still knew the quality of his music had to be at that level.

"It goes beyond the love of music and approaches sheer lunacy," he said with a laugh. "I try to compete on the major label level and go for that type of sound.

"While I have gotten discouraged, it has never stopped me from making music," he said. "There is some innate drive within my own person that makes me create, and I try to remain as nimble and focused as possible, but I do love to perform."

Although the musician/composer is excited about working on his deals with Fox Sports and video game companies such as EA Games, he still finds solace in making music for himself.

Whitesides is currently working on a new CD and is culling votes from fans who visit for the song sequence.

"I’m getting people to pick which 10 or 12 out of 70 songs that should be the ones to appear on the new album," he said. "The songs are already there, so the final cut will be a fan-generated album."

Jody Whitesides will perform a solo-acoustic show at the Spur Bar & Grill, 352 Main St., on Tuesday, Dec. 27, at 9:30 p.m. For more information, visit!/show/6039756