Have you ever walked past the 200 building on the Chabot campus and heard someone singing and playing the guitar? If so, that’s Don “The Guitar Man” Fuller. He writes his songs and has been playing them during his lunch hour for the past 15 years. He sits on a bench between the 100 and 300 building singing and playing his acoustic guitar Monday through Thursday.
Fuller says he enjoys playing on campus. It’s his outlet. “I enjoy playing. The reason I’m out here playing is basically for my mental health. I appreciate people stopping by and giving me compliments it’s heartwarming.”
Fuller has opened for Country singer Dottie West, has played with the actress/singer Madonna’s guitar teacher, and with the San Jose garage rock band named Count Five. The group is best known for their hit single Psychotic Reaction. Fuller said, “I played with Count Five, a San Jose and the Cleveland Hall of Fame band. We played together at my house.”
“Love for Love”, “When You Woke Me Up” are the songs Fuller wrote. “Fluffy Monkey Butt” is a funny, unique song he also wrote with a student on campus.
Fuller stated, “It was eight years ago when a student was watching people walking by and saw them walking with their cellphones. I just started singing “Fluffy Monkey Butts.” We wrote that song to get the student’s attention who were walking with their cellphones. It caught their ears.”
Fuller can also be very serious about the songs he wrote. “Home on The Range” is a song he wrote. His song talks about kids that are losing to drugs, and it may cut to the heart of many people. It’s an Anti-Drug song.
One of the lyrics of that song is “…. The last straw was when I walked into the bathroom. You had a glass pipe in your hand; it was a stone reaction. When was the last time you just weren’t wasted, then you had the nerve to ask me if I wanted to taste it? Life is so strange, making me want to go back home. Back home On the Range.”
The lyrics talk about a person walking in on a friend using crack. His friend tempts him to use it but refuses. Fuller says he sings it twice a week. It’s his favorite song.
Fuller was born in Massachusetts but raised in the Bay Area. He was four years old when he first learned how to play the piano, then five when he learned how to play the Ukulele.
Fuller mentions, “at ten years old; I started playing the guitar. My family was all musical. My grandparents had a band. My Uncle had a band, and I was in his local band.”
He has written Over 100 songs and performs daily on campus.
His inspirations for writing songs are things that happen in day to day life like; driving a car, eating food, or birds. Fuller stated, “I write about anything that goes on, anything that’s around. It doesn’t matter if I write a song about a bird or a smelly trash can. I don’t have to be inspired to write songs.”
Fuller has also contributed background music toward multiple TV shows for Chabot TV Channel 27 Comcast. Chabot Television Studio Manager/Engineer Sujoy Sarkar mentions, “I begged him for it. When I first started, I was by myself, and we needed some background music to use. I saw him outside and asked him if he happened to have a way to make some background music for TV and he said sure. Ever since then, he gives us some background music, and so I have his music for background on TV Shows.”
It’s OK if you want to play your guitar and sing a song with Fuller. So, the next time you hear someone playing a guitar and singing, don’t be shy and walk on by. Stop and take a listen and lesson from Don “The Guitar Man” Fuller.