Sunday, June 11, 2017

That's life..........

I feel like I was born at a perfect time. Maybe everyone feels like that. I hope they do. I was just old enough to watch the formation of the sixties with the innocence of pre pubescent eyes. Music was everywhere. The Everly's morphed into Jan and Dean into Motown into Dylan explosion.
   I was fortunate enough to have been playing guitar for about four or five months before the Beatles turned everything upside down on that snowy February night. Now I was calling the shots. At least till everyone caught up; which they soon did. My guitar teacher was a folkie and The MTA and Walk right In and Hang Down Your Head Tom Dooley had been ok but now when McCartney sang, "She was just seventeen. You know what I mean," I wanted to know what he meant!! I played at my first party when I'd just turned thirteen. We had three or four songs we could stumble through including an elongated version of Gloria. Just three chords and the truth, man. That was a big night. Playing onstage a corner of my buddy's basement. And experiencing my first kiss. I want to shake the guy's....or girl's....hand who invented spin the bottle.  Life was becoming a lot more interesting.
   I played guitar in a number of bands through Junior HS and HS taking a sabbatical during my first year of college. I'm not sure why. When I started playing again there were a lot of really good guitar players around...and very few bass players. Hey Ma, look! I'm a bass player. I have to thanks the sales guy at Hi-Way Music in East Brunswick, NJ for staying open a little later that night and allowing Mike, Rock and me to make some noise. My first attempt at bass. It felt natural and easy. Within a week I had a Fender Music Man bass and a Fender Bassman amp. Our search for a bass player was over. Life is full of crossroads. It was end of summer and I'd been offered a job from a high school friend who was managing a company in my home town of Piscataway.  I hadn't finished signing up for school yet. And I had a fairly low draft lottery number. We were practicing a lot and we decided to go all in with the music thing. Ah....youth. A lot of unhappy parents.
   I didn't get drafted, didn't take the job and for about the next ten years played the NJ music scene. Again the timing was right . Urban Cowboy was happening and our rock.... was the thing. That band  eventually wound down and I was ready to pack it in. On the night of our last gig, at The Red Fox inn in New Brunswick, NJ, I was approached by a woman who asked me if I'd like to join their band. And so it continued. Of course, bands come and go and I wound up playing everything from bluegrass to new wave to blues to wedding material and all that encompassed, with lousy bands, good band and great bands of all shapes and sizes including a few forays into musical theater. Leader Of The Pack was a hoot. I faked my way through that  one. I told the director I could read music. I couldn't. About halfway through the run he came up to me and said,  "You can't read music, can you." ( can't) "Well....just keep doing what you're doing. (ok).  Annie Golden, Ellie Greenwich and Darlene Love came to see the show on the last night.  It was so much easier being in the band in the show than being the actor in the show. I saw lots of throwing up . After our first half hearted attempt at stardom didn't pan out  I was never really interested in anything more than making a living playing music. I thank my parents for always having a room ready when called for. An early eighties two month gig in Bermuda finally led me back into the work force. But I never gave up part time music. Now I drive a limo by day, do a radio show one day a week and gig maybe two or three times a month. For the last few years as a solo player. Hello guitar. Where ya been?
   I have to tell you I wrote this entry mainly  Self serving? Yeah. I guess so. George Harrison sang, "You can't know where you're going if you don't know where you've been."  Just a little taking stock. Roads not taken. Opportunities missed. Or not. I'm trying to keep it all straight. I have this strange feeling that I can see the end. Not in a bleak maudlin way. But in a bright celebratory way.  We all want to feel as if we've made a difference. Left a mark in some small way. I know a number of couples who've met and gotten together at one of my gigs. A few wound up married!  I've gotten many calls over the years on my radio show about how a song I played or an anecdote I told stirred a memory or made a difference.  Is it curing cancer? No. But as Robert Redford said in The Sting after they'd conned the guy who killed they're friend out of half a million dollars, "It's not enough......but it's close." Sometimes close is all we have. I was doing a solo gig at a restaurant about a year ago. A young Asian couple was there for a couple sets. As they left they handed me a napkin. On it was written, "I loved the music. Thank you for giving us good time!!" Smiley face. It's framed in my music room. Is it enough? No........but it's close.     Peace.

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