Born with an extra, perfectly functional finger on each hand, Minnesota musician Stan Cloverear, has taken advantage of one of nature's strange anomalies.

"Of course as a child I suffered all the inevitable cruelties and ostracism from the other children," Stan recounted. He wrapped an oddly large hand around his cup of tea and spoke to me one rainy afternoon in the kitchen of his modest home. "In the end, I feel that all my childhood trials have made me a stronger person and maybe even a better musician."

The guitarist maintains a healthy good humor about his abnormality. "My extra fingers have never prevented me from doing anything -- except wearing gloves off the rack." he said, chuckling.

Apparently the superfluous digits were an important factor when deciding he wanted to learn the guitar. "I started fooling with my dad's guitar at the age of 11 and remember a lot of people telling me that it would be a huge waste of time to try to play it. But I really loved music and wouldn't listen to them no matter how awkward it felt at first."

"Now I find the additional appendages totally advantageous to guitar playing. I can play complex chords that a 'normally digited' player would find impossible to finger. People have told me that when they close their eyes, I sound like two or three guitarists performing." Although Stan would welcome a recording contract, he insists "the music is really its own reward." ___ Les Rutson