Don’t look now, but it’s entirely possible that EVERYTHING MIGHT JUST BE OK. 

I want to tell you about last night’s gig.  It was awesome.  Not me, the gig.  The people. The experience was awesome.   It was a small-scale outdoor affair; maybe a couple of hundred people at the most, seated at tables having dinner.  When people finished eating they just wouldn’t leave.  They hung around, ordered drinks and just sat soaking in the music.  And I want to stress that it had nothing to with me.  It was suddenly so palpable to me how much people needed music - and each other.  It was like they were so stunned by what’s happened to us all this year, they were like, “Holy shit – live music.  Remember this?  Can this be possible?  We are ENJOYING OURSELVES. Let’s just sit here for a while and just catch our frigging breath.” 

It made me realize two things; first (and selfishly), live music is NOT going away.  Secondly, and on a larger scale, humanity itself is not going away.  I daresay that I think we’re all going to be OK.  So I'm placing my bets where I always have: on music and humanity.  I've always shoved my chips to the middle of the table on those bets, and they haven't steered me wrong yet. 

Back in the darkest days when we were all locked down tight and all my musical colleagues were doing these live-stream-from-home things, I refused to do them.  Don’t get me wrong; I think it was good and healthy that others chose to do that in a time of unprecedented isolation.  I watched them myself.  But it just didn’t feel right for me to do it.   I said, “Screw that.  If you miss me, you’ll have to come to a show when this is all over.  You’ll just have to…um, WAIT.”  How un-21st Century an idea. 

Perhaps this was because I am always paranoid about the devaluation of music as well as human interaction and humanity itself.  That wolf always seems to be at the door these days; we keep refining these amazing feats of hand-held technology - which means retreating into them - further and further.  I feared that everyone sitting at home looking at a screen, watching someone play their guitar on their couch would result in the paradigm of live performance being defined even further downwardly, and become a “new normal” (can we PLEASE get rid of that phrase?).  I viewed this as another nail in our cultural coffin; we’d now be retreating further into those handheld devices, and further still from each other. 

My dad was a professional musician and a combat veteran (wait, isn’t that redundant?!)   Sometimes he was a great guy and a lot of fun, but he was often quite difficult and sometimes a regular pain in the ass, mainly because he got beaten down and allowed himself to become a pessimist.  He would always find a way to anticipate and extrapolate the worst possible outcome in any situation.   Children always rebel, and I had no idea what PTSD was, but I guess I found the ultimate rebellion; at some point I decided to be an optimist.  “Oh yeah?  Well fuck YOU - maybe everything IS going to be all right!”  If I had been on the Titanic, I wouldn’t have been rearranging the deck chairs as the ship went down; I would have been ordering new ones. 

On the way to last night’s gig I saw this cloud with sunbeams piercing it.  To me it looked tenacious, almost rebellious, like great possibilities refusing to be restrained any longer.  A light that would not be denied.  I was driving, so I just spontaneously aimed my phone up at it without looking, and snapped a photo of it.     I had completely forgotten about that until I saw it on my phone this morning.  I got in from that gig a little after midnight last night, and I’m writing this at 6am.  I awoke a while ago filled with so much optimism and hope, I just had to get out of bed and get this down, so I could share that optimism and hope with YOU.  Call me an idiot, call me naïve, but I really do think everything is going to be all right.  And I needed to tell you all that.

Live to fight another day... 

While 2020 has been a complete dumpster fire, 2021 is already shaping up to be the busiest live season I will have ever had in my life. All the spring 2020 European tour dates have now been completely re-booked for next April and May

Meanwhile, lots of studio work is coming this fall, so recording-only guitars going into the shop on Monday include: 1951 Gibson Southern Jumbo, 1959 Vega E-40D, 1939 Gibson L-7, 1958 Epiphone F-20. 

I can't guarantee what 2021 will have in store for us, but it is going to SOUND fantastic

NOT a murder hornet... 

I started the day my usual way; early morning reading with coffee on my rooftop, which features a panoramic view of once-great New York City. I heard what I thought was somebody's weed-whacker across the street. Then the hairs stood up on the back of my neck as I suddenly noticed that buzzing was not a distant weed-whacker, but the SOUND OF THE WINGS of an enormous evil-looking thing trying to carry the huge CICADA it had killed toward...ME. 

Of course, as we now live in the age of one panicked over-reaction after another, I immediately thought, "Murder hornet? That was like ten scary-things-that-are-going-to-get-us ago. Murder hornets are SO late April or May, and we're only into July. What the fuck is NEXT?" 

I came downstairs (OK, I admit - I actually RAN downstairs) hoping to research what I'd seen. And then I decided to go back up to try to snap a photo or some video of it so I could properly identify it (OK, I admit - I wanted the photo or video to SHARE, because as much as I might pontificate on the perils of social media addiction, I'm often as guilty of it as everyone else). 

The insect-bigger-than-some-pets-I've-owned was already gone when I got back up there. However, now having researched it, I had completely forgotten about these since I became an oh-so-sophisticated city-dwelling pussy. They were around bucolic upstate New York when I was a kid. Having parents that didn't try to protect me from everything, for all I know I probably ATE one of the damned things. 

Anyway, nature is always there to teach you things, and to remind you when you’ve forgotten them. Today's lessons/reminders:

  • CHILL THE FUCK OUT. Not everything in life is a murder hornet. Sometimes it's just a cicada killer.
     
  • EVERYTHING IS NOT ABOUT YOU. Who needs to fear a cicada killer? Not YOU. But cicadas best be rollin' wit da safety off.
     
  • MIND YOUR OWN DAMNED BUSINESS. As with most living things, the cicada killer has shit to do, and it doesn't have time for you. It is however, a species of wasp, which means it will sting your sorry ass into next week if you fuck widdit.
     
  • DON'T BE SO PREDICTABLE. Cicadas appear every seventeen years. I bet cicada killers set the alarm, sleep in for sixteen years, then BEEP BEEP BEEP..."All right, everybody up and at 'em - them cicadas ain't gonna kill themselves." Life should be interesting. Mix it up a little!
     
  • STAY ON OFFENSE. Life is simple.  You can be the cicada killer, or you can be the cicada.

CLICK HERE



 

CD players in cars? That was centuries ago! 

A throwback from the COME ALIVE album/tour. I dropped by WCQL to hang out with morning drive host Shawn Kelly. Featuring "Mary's Night Out." Shawn implores you to throw out whatever CD you have in your player and pop this in. Wow - remember WAY BACK when cars had CD players in them?



 

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