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[1990, in an AP interview] "Yakety Sax" will be my trademark. I'll hang my hat on it. It's kept me alive. Every sax player in the world has tried to play it. Some are good, some are awful.
As a child, he learned to play music with his family's band. He wasn't sure where or why he acquired the nickname "Boots", although it may have served to avoid confusion since his father and he had the same first name. He started out playing the ukulele and trombone, but switched to tenor saxophone when his father unexpectedly brought one home.