I actually never wanted to learn to play the piano! An exceptional coincidence started the stone - or better, the keys - rolling.
After my first encounter with really beautiful harmonies (my mother had successfully played me to sleep in my cradle to the sound of Chopin, Liszt & co.), I developed an aversion against the piano when I was registered to attend music school, at the age of 8. My interests were 100% unmusical, no sign of talent, and the etudes from Czerny and Bela Bartok were not working out. The music school adhered strictly to the curriculum: nice classical music from Chopin and Liszt, had absolutely no room for jazz, or at least boogie woogie!
Sometime near the end of the 70`s, Vince Weber`s "Boogie Man" moved into my still classical household, a Christmas present from my aunt, allowing a peculiar, subversive force to enter my music school day. Bartok and Czerny were seriously neglected, and the results of my studies became undesireable. After 7 years, my worried mother received a suggestion not to torment her obviously sport talented son, and let him learn something else.
Freedom! It became so much fun without the pressure, and soon, there wasn`t a school outing where my piano playing wasn`t needed to create some atmosphere.
The greatest coincidence that started my career, occurred after my graduation in 1986. The Innsbruck College for Tourism requires that a practical summer course be completed. This lead me to become the windsurf enthused beach bartender at the Hotel Schloss Seefels on lake Woerthersee. One day, during the cleanup after the preparations for the inofficial opening of the nightclub, a piano was delivered as decoration to this noble hotel. I had been appointed to the vacuum cleaner. While testing out the decoration during a cleaning break, the boss of the hotel coincidentaly heard my playing. He immediately had the idea to use the decoration to change the entrance room of the club into a piano bar, and the "Commis de Bar" Loidl was to be hired on the same night. The invited guests, including the overall popular Austro-German star pianist and entertainer, Udo Juergens, appraised the idea as a good one, and the evening turned into an unexpected legendary session....
Right after that, I became the official programme act of the official opening. That was my first gig, June 1986 - and for the first time, an invited guest asked me for my card :-))