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About Me...

Hello from east county San Diego which is where I live as a singer, jazz guitarist and pop songwriter. And, as you can most likely tell, I am an older guy, who’s a retired music professor but still active as a performer, singer and recording artist mostly in the San Diego area. 


I have played and studied guitar since I was 18 years old. Back then - in the late 60s - I was living in Lansing MI and began as the lead guitarist in an early punk band called “The Plagues”. Two years later I went on to form a jazz/rock group call the “Plain Brown Wrapper” who at the time performed in outdoor festivals with many other Michigan rock bands such as Bod Seger, Ted Nugent, The MC5, and many of the Motown groups.


Tired with the Michigan music scene, in 1976 I moved to LA and formed a new band called “Departure”. Departure gigged and struggled for seven years trying to land a lucrative recording contract but with no success. And, shortly after our 45 record was released (“When?”), which did receive airplay on the several local LA stations, the group disbanded.


At this point (1985)I threw in the towel on the LA music scene and decided that a college degree might take me  to a more satisfying and lucrative career in music. And I was right, because after receiving a Bachelor and Masters Degree (CSULB), and a Ph.D. from UCSD, I soon became a full-time music professor with tenure at

Imperial Valley College (Imperial, CA) for 15 years. 


During these teaching years I had the honor of playing jazz guitar (and piano) with various ensembles and, while I was a professor, I became a proud member of Jimmie Cannon’s prestigious

“Valley Jazz Band” of Imperial Valley.

Over the years the following original songs have been

recorded and received local & national radio airplay.

Badlands - The Plagues (1965) (Movie: Parasomnia)

And Now You Dream - Plain Brown Wrapper (1966) (WILS/WJIM)

You’ll Pay - Plain Brown Wrapper (1966) (A cult classic))

When? - Departure (1980) (KMET/KCLA Radio) 


Currently, since I retired, I have five solo CDs released of original material which can be heard on most of the internet streaming platforms. The first two albums are jazz/rock instrumentals

and feature my guitar & piano playing.

The last three albums feature me on vocals, keyboards and guitar.  

My song-compositions are a bit longer than most pop music. Why?  Because my style is a combination of pop melodies with instrumental improvisations. You can hear any and all of my recent music - and see music videos - on my channel:

"Van Decker Music"

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