Hoffman began performing acoustic music while still attending junior
high in Eugene, Oregon in 1960. The vice-principal caught him singing
a Tom Lehrer song (Be Prepared) at the Eighth Grade school
dance, dragged him into the office, called his mother, and expressed
deep concern about his future. Students again invited Hoffman to
sing at the school dance the following year, at the inception of
the dreaded "Hootenanny Era." Taking no chances this time, the vice-principal
made him stand in the hall and recite the lyrics of the song he
planned to sing (all 28 verses of the unabridged version of Michael,
Row the Boat Ashore), before permitting him to return to the
Hoffman continued his music throughout high school and college,
singing at many coffeehouses throughout the Boston-Cambridge area
in the late 1960's. He was a regular performer at the Nameless Coffeehouse
in Harvard Square and appears on the first two albums of The Best
of the Nameless Coffeehouse. A significant number of coffeehouses
throughout the Boston metropolitan area and, later, the rest of
the country, closed their doors shortly after Hoffman performed
in them. During his college years, his screen career began and ended
with his appearance in The Way West (1967), starring Kirk
Douglas, Robert Mitchum, Richard Widmark, and Sally Field--a movie
which one critic perceptively described as, "The worst movie of
this--or any other--season."
In 1971, his hit single, The Talking Eugene Cross, electrified
several fans throughout the upper Willamette Valley and sold literally
tens of copies throughout the greater Eugene metropolitan area.
Some have credited this song for the City's decision to remove the
neon cross from public property just short of two decades later.
Hoffman's quest for commercial stardom ended the same year he released
his hit single--1971--after a Los Angeles record producer determined
that Hoffman's repertoire bore absolutely no resemblance to Sugar,
continues to write music in relative obscurity. In other words,
most of his material remains obscure even to his relatives. Most
of his newest material captures the warp, the woof, the yin, the
yang and the clang of decrepit baby boomers and their detritus.
Hoffman now lives in Portland, Oregon, with his wife Susan and their
dogs, Watson and Cricket. His four children have grown up and moved on, but Cricket remains somewhat fond of several of Hoffman's songs.