Dana Starkell began playing guitar somewhat unintentionally. Growing up in Winnepeg, Canada meant cold winters with heavy snowfall. The Christmas of his tenth year, Dana wanted to be like the Indians and so his dad went looking for snowshoes for him. Unable to find snowshoes, his dad noticed a guitar hanging on the wall and thought it was as close to the same shape as a snowshoe would be, so he took it home, wrapped it up and gave it to his son Christmas morning. At first Dana was disappointed, but soon his disappointment turned to curiosity and his dad signed him up for lessons within the week. He took lessons for about two years. For the rest of his teenage years, Dana self taught.
At the early age of 16, Dana was accepted into Berkelee College of Music in Boston. He was set to graduate a year early and would have attended but was distracted by the allure of a two year canoe trip his dad was planning with his brother, Jeff and him. This canoe trip would ultimately change Dana’s life in so many ways. He chose the trip and the rest is history.
Dana, Jeff and his dad embarked on a 12,000 mile canoe trip from Winnepeg to the mouth of the Amazon which landed them in the Guinness Book of World Records for longest canoe trip. Their story has been written into a book “Paddle to the Amazon” by Dana’s dad, Don Starkell.
Although, Dana suffered from terrible allergies and asthma growing up, constantly taking medicines with uncomfortable side effects, being told he would never lead a normal life and doctors urging him not to go on the canoe trip, even going so far as to say he would not make it back alive, Dana went anyway. What he found along the way, with much research and trial and error was a way to naturally cure his body without synthetic drugs. Dana has not taken asthma medication since August 1980.
Dana currently plays in Wicked Wishes, a heavy metal band out of Winnepeg. He has a son, David, who is three and his wife Stacey also teaches in the Moline West Music Conservatory.