JOCK BARTLEY is known for his melodic, tasteful and fiery lead guitar style – his playing has influenced many rock & roll and country rock guitarists who have come in later generations.

Born in Hutchinson, Kansas, Jock moved to the mountains above Manitou Springs, Colorado in 1959. At nine years old he began taking guitar lessons from the jazz guitar legend, JOHNNY SMITH, in Colorado Springs in 1960, calling his five year relationship with his teacher/mentor, “about the best thing that ever happened to me.” He was playing Bach and Duke Ellington by the age of 11 and 12, but then in 1964 The Beatles played on Ed Sullivan and changed the world. “That’s when I knew I wanted to be in a rock band.” And when a few years later, hearing recordings of Eric Clapton and B.B. King, his musical focus sharpened. After graduating high school, where he’d been an Honor Roll student and top scorer on the basketball team, Jock attended the University of Colorado in Boulder as an art major. “When I had to finally decide what I was going to do with my life – art, music, writing, drama – it was quite an easy decision. Playing guitar was the single best thing I did, and most fun.”

Leaving college to pursue music, he joined the Boulder-based band ZEPHYR, replacing Tommy Bolin as lead guitarist (who joined the James Gang and later, Deep Purple before his untimely death in 1977). Months after the Zephyr “Sunset Ride” album came out, the band broke up. In 1972, Jock was asked to join the touring band of GRAM PARSONS & THE FALLEN ANGELS, featuring EMMY LOU HARRIS. Gram had joined the BYRDS on the groud breaking “Sweetheart of the Radio” album, later formed THE FLYING BURRITO BRO with CHRIS HILLMAN and was a pioneer of the new musical genre, “country rock.” The Fallen Angels tour made many memorable stops from Texas to Boston, including a show in Houston where Neil Young and Linda Rondstadt sat-in onstage (Emmy Lou and Linda met that night and sang together for the first time). At Max’s Kansas City in New York City, Jock met Boulder resident, Rick Roberts, who’d replaced Gram in the Burrito Bros and had two solo albums out.

In 1974, Rick and Jock began jamming in Boulder with MARK ANDES, bassist from the progressive L.A. bands, SPIRIT and JO JO GUNNE. When LARRY BURNETT arrived from Washington D.C., FIREFALL was formed. A few months in, drummer MICHAEL CLARKE (formerly of the Byrds and Flying Burrito Bros) joined the band and FIREFALL played in Boulder and Aspen, perfecting the songs and sound! Rick, Mark and Jock were on tour with Chris Hillman on the east coast when Chris became ill – Larry and Michael were flown in and FIREFALL finished the engagement at the Bitter End in NYC, where Atlantic Records came to hear, soon signing them to a long-term recording contract. DAVID MUSE joined the band in rehearsals with producer, JIM MASON. Firefall recorded their first album at Criteria Studios in Miami, FL in the winter of 1975, during which his guitar hero, ERIC CLAPTON, was in the control room while Jock played the ‘one-take’ lead guitar track on ‘Mexico’. Jock laughs remembering, “It was a good thing I didn’t know he was watching, I wouldn’t have been able to hold my pick or play one note.”