Eric J. Charles
Eric was born in the town of Lancaster, Pennsylvania. Eric was not very musical at a young age, when he was 13 years old he began taking trumpet lessons and played with the middle school band, much to the chagrin of the bandleader. Eric was 36th out of 36 trumpet players. He worked on his trumpet skills to minimal success. At age 15, Eric heard the song Black Dog by Led Zeppelin and decided he wanted to be a guitar player like Jimmy Page. and traded his trumpet in for a guitar. In 10th grade, he dropped German III in favor of the optional elective of guitar class. Got to love the 70's. Thus began his formal guitar training, which consisted of a mostly unmonitored classroom setting in a room full of guitars, which everyone helped themselves to and took home. They were Teisco guitars. Eric was given a Fender acoustic guitar for his High School graduation present by his parents and promptly began his in the park education. As Eric's influences developed, his favorite guitar players were Steve Howe from Yes, John Mclaughlin of the Mahavishnu Orchestra Al Dimeola of Return to Forever. Eric graduated from high school in the class of '76, and his life was not unlike the movie, "Dazed and Confused." Eric Attended Franklin & Marshall College in the summer of '76. Eric began his College career taking courses in Philosophy, Composition, Music and Literature. Interestingly enough Eric was exposed to Steve Liller ( His songwriting and Animation Band partner and creator ) for the first time when Steves' band Stratus played in one of his music classes. Eric remembers the instructor asking Steve if he could make the sound of the wind on his synthesizer and was impressed that he could. Feeling that Franklin and Marshall College did not have a modern enough music department, Eric was off to Berklee college of Music in Boston Mass. Eric attended Berklee College of Music because he heard that Al Dimeola studied there. Difficulty in financing brought Eric back to Lancaster, where due to the fact that Eric's' older sister and Steve's' older sister were friends, and decided their respective younger brothers should meet, they met officially in December of '78 at the farmhouse in Wrightsville where Eric had set up a music house with his friends. Eric began writing and playing with Steve Liller and suggested to Steve that he too should attend Berklee so communication would be possible, it was back to Berklee with Eric and Steve where they honed their respective transcription and harmony skills.
It was initially in 1979 Eric and Steve began jamming with Drummer John Mosser and the first incarnation of the music began to take shape. In the summer of 1980 after another spring semester at Berklee, Eric and Steve ran an add for a creative drummer and came up with Greg Barninger who had a friend named Allen Swope who played bass. Hence the first Animation was born. Animation rehearsed faithfully for several years and finally added a singer, Dave Wilson, who helped shape the concept from an instrumental band into a vocal band. Many songs were written at this time and although the band played out in many local venues, success for the Animators proved to be illusive and thus began the many years of continued pursuit of the original progressive rock Dream. Over the years Eric sponsored many lineups of personnel with the band members coming in and out like a revolving door. Not really thrilled about sacrificing too much artistic integrity Eric pressed on with his Dream with bands such as Dragonfire, Hauntz and Ocean Thunder, as well as his acoustic acts, Eric Charles and Co., and Eric Charles and Friends. Playing local venues to unfortunately mixed responses, Eric continued on with his career in restaurant work, and continued to produce and finance his rock career on a server and bartenders salary. After years of frugal saving, he was able to build over a period of ten years, his current recording studio, where he boasts 32 independent inputs and unlimited tracks using Cakewalk software and the computer based digital recording medium upon which the current Animation release was recorded.