love

Project:Holiday Cheer and Update on Lies, Gratitude, and Love.

My ex-wife had a few (very few) redeeming qualities. She is a teacher and I can’t tell you how many times we would run to Wal-Mart to buy school supplies, shoes, and tee shirts for a kid who was behind the 8 ball when it came to extra.

The next day the parent/guardian would get a call about the extra pair of flip flops or shorts that we had accidentally received and couldn’t return and wanted to know if the parent would mind if we sent them home with Jr. because she thought they might fit him and we didn’t want them to go to waste.

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Santa just rolled into town

It’s about helping someone knowing that someday you might be at the mercy of your fellow man. I have been there, Hell I am there! I found out there are millions of wonderful people in the world. The same ones I complain about constantly.

There is a local Facebook group that I belong to. It’s kind of a buy/sell page… plus. It’s called the Perpetual Bargain Fair. They have ran a project called Holiday Cheer for the past few years.

I get to know the Lopez family. They live in Salinas and Ms. Lopez has recently become unemployed.  She has three kids, ages 7, 12, and a special needs 17 year old. Ya know what she wants? Groceries.

Here is what we do, it’s fairly simple;

I get to know the Lopez family. They live in Salinas and Ms. Lopez has recently become unemployed.  She has three daughters, ages 7, 12, and a special needs 17 year old. Ya know what she wants? Groceries.

Rice-A-Roni

From all of us, to all of you. Merry Christmas!

So I’m going to wrap up a box of Cheerios, a can of sardines, and a box of Rice-A-Roni (the San Francisco Treat) for the 7 year old. No need to thank me kid. It’s the least I can do. And never let it be said that I didn’t do the least I could do.

OK what I’m really going to do is track down an I-Pod from someone who has one in good condition and will give it to me so that I can give it to them. I also have a page set up on Amazon.com with grocery store gift cards, Visa gift cards, Walmart gift cards. Anywhere you can get a sweater and a can of chicken noodle soup. Plus I’ll find out what a Dora is and give the kids something to open that they can’t eat. Then I’ll have somewhere to spend my Christmas.

CLICK HERE FOR THE WISHLIST Plus I’m looking for an IPod

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Yeah…I still love them.

They have teamed me up with a wonderful woman named Amy. She’s hopefully helping with clothes since my choices in girls clothes might not be the best, and I have no idea what ‘Dora’ is. Most of my choices would have the Planet of the Apes printed somewhere on it.

In the past people have donated a set of breaks and installation for the car, or a mattress so you don’t have to sleep on the floor. This is the community I live in. Just like the one I moved moved away from. Great people just being great each in their own way.

That’s it. Simple.

The Outlaw Josey Wales lives around here somewhere and so does the guy who pumps his gas. If either of them needed a ride it really wouldn’t be that big of a deal to give them one.

The Outlaw Josey Wales lives around here somewhere and so does the guy who pumps his gas. If either of them needed a ride it really wouldn’t be that big of a deal to give them one. They are both my neighbors and until I hear differently, my friends.

It reminds me of a favorite memory.

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I’m dreaming of a white Christmas

It’s the middle of winter in Illinois. It’s pissing rain and the Christmas snow is melting and turning black from wood smoke and car exhaust. It’s cold and nasty with a little fog thrown in for good measure.

I came upon a kid, probably 19 or 20 years old who was out of gas along Highway 130. I told him to hop in, and we ran about five miles to the gas station and I got him ten bucks in gas and a ride back to his truck. He put the gas in and came back to pay me and I replied “Pay it forward.” and moved on. I’m not the only person ever to do that BTW. Most folks do that.

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That’s the dude who picked me up!

Later that summer I’m opening for some country guy who I didn’t know at a good size concert venue. I finished my set and was heading to the merch table to beg people to buy our album we were promoting at the time. I hear “HEY! DUDE!” being yelled at me from a guy on the other side of the concert fencing. So I go up and say “Hey.”

It was that kid. He told me his girl friend made him come to the Famous Country Guy show and when we came on he said “Hey! That’s the dude who gave me a ride!”

Small world… But I wouldn’t want to paint it.


 

 

I don’t really celebrate Christmas. Maybe I’ll give the cat a can of tuna if I have some but usually it’s just us two.

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My Christmas buddy

If I had any kids I would hope that I could pull off Christmas like my Ma used to. We weren’t loaded but she always had the best Christmas for us. She made awesome stockings with candy and comic books. She got me an A.J. Foyt race car one year and I got a hell of a lot of good out of it. Hot Wheels and of course the obligatory Planet of the Apes toy.

If I can help facilitate even a tenth of what Ma made for us, to the Lopez girls I’m going to have one hell of a nice Christmas. Thanks Ma. Feliz Navidad.


Update on my last post.

I was overwhelmed once again by love and support, questions and caring, by people I know and love and by strangers who dropped me a line or a private message telling me that they were there for me or asking where to get help for themselves. Christ people! My cup runneth over already.

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Would you like to go to coffee? And I need a quart of Quaker State

I’m feeling great. I finished up the boat with Eric AND without falling in the ocean. Only one argument and it was small. What a great experience. I found out I suck as a sailor but I’m pretty good at making new friends and keeping old ones. I did get to drive the boat and Eric did send Sarah my message about ice cream and petting puppies… But I’ve moved on Sarah…Ya snooze ya lose.

I’m now in love with the girl at the gas station off of exit 399C. I’m going to ask her for coffee. If she doesn’t shoot me down immediately, she probably will when I ask her if she can pay.


This is the album we were promoting and this is the song I wrote for the album. This song was inspired by a picture on the wall at a now defunked bar called Daddy Rabbits. My friend Mandy was dancing on the bar in the photo. I’d like to think I helped defunk it a little.

Nobody rips off the Stones like I can. Three chords A/G/D.
“You can even play it on the saxophone”~F. Zappa

 

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What Was the Best Day of Your Life?

The election has taken its toll on me. I look at people differently. Maybe this simple question will realign how I look at the world.

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My 2000th Sound Check….Ugh!

I’m pretty lucky to have had a life of being an entertainer. My job is to make you happy. I’m in the smile business. I’ve always given 100% when it comes to me giving you your money’s worth. I didn’t hit it on the head every time but I sure as hell came into the game with that on my mind.

I picked up my guitar and played it and winked and smiled. I slapped hands, snuck people backstage, told stories, and wrote songs. I juggled; I did magic tricks (I’m a fairly good magician in case you didn’t know) I did it even when there was a party I wanted to go to, or my depression had kept me in bed until I left for the shows. Hiding anxiety and sadness many times so that I wouldn’t let down my band mates or my audience. Some days I hid it better than others, but those are stories for another time.

So let’s think about this. What were the best moments I have known….

My first kiss. I won’t embarrass the young lady that gave it to me. As they said in Stephen King’s “Hearts in Atlantis”; It is the kiss that all other kisses will be measured by.

I was at the Cumberland Co Fair when a girl I knew asked if I wanted to go uptown with her other two friends. I said ‘Sure!” Having a crush on the gal superseded the “Don’t leave the Fairgrounds” instructions that had been laid down by Ma.

3cb9dd7c4449b87759645e740542e92aWe hopped in the back seat and somewhere along that ride she laid a kiss on me that curled my toes. I was so scared. I didn’t give her a feel up or anything, just kept kissing.  I was IN LOVE! I couldn’t sleep for three days. I wasn’t hungry for a week.  It was the last kiss I ever got from her. I’m not sure why? Like it matters. It was perfect for a few minutes.


For my birthday my Mom bought me a boom box. I was about 13-14 probably and was obsessed with music. I listened to the radio constantly. The radio tuner quit working after a few months.

My Dad wasn’t around much and when he finally came home I asked him to fix it. He’s a handy guy. Got it to working in about ten minutes. About a week later it quit dialing again. No telling when the Old Man was going to show back up at home.

Ma got the screwdriver out and took the boom box apart. She fixed it.

14938220_10211416113624679_3024598311309867963_nI guess it was at that moment I realized we were going to be okay without my Dad around. Mom and Michelle and I were going to be OK because we didn’t have to wait around for the old man to reappear when he decided to.  Fuck him. The three of us were a pretty good group of people. Better than the barflies and whores my dad spent most of his time with. We didn’t have much but we never felt unloved. Mom made sure of that and I know sacrificed a lot for us and still does to this day.

I played a lot of gigs in my day. Some with huge arena crowds and some to the bar staff. The ones that stand out were the ones that happened when I was coming up.

My first band Bootleg, were playing a little knife and gun club outside of Greenup, IL called El Patio. I had found two huge bags full of these hollow plastic balls with faces on them. They were like a whiffle ball in size and weight. They were called “Ugly Balls”

832d925da7220111148bb36d5ef3e285Bootleg is pumping out tunes like  “All right Now” and “Saturday Night’s Alright for Fighting” while dodging  Ugly Balls that were being tossed full speed across the bar. I was playing with my best friends Rod, Doug, Bugsy and George to about 50 people who were having a ball. It was the first time I found out I could make OTHERS happy with my limited knowledge of the guitar.

I have always believed that every night the best band in the world is playing their best show ever. The band changes from night to night. I’m happy to say I feel like I have played in the best band in the world a few nights.

My first big indoor show was opening for the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band in Mattoon, IL. Sold out show and my R&B band Dr Wu was opening the show. That band had a great set that we had honed to a razor’s edge. Pat the sax player always said, “Give this band 45 minutes and we could take on anyone.”

fee9bef7a4073cae14a2db0a60049c2fRight before we were about to go up the ramp to the stage, Doug Evan’s, my best bud from High School and band mate shook my hand. We started playing together knowing two songs. “Wipe Out” and “Paranoid” All that work was paying off with high paying gigs all over the country and then some. Doug’s handshake that night was different. An epiphany that we had surpassed our dreams. The next 45 minutes we tore the stage up with swinging horns, great tunes, pounding drums and classic R&B music blasting out as only a clueless all white rock  band could. A standing ovation for the open band.


I met a gal in San Francisco. We saw a jazz concert featuring Esperanza Spalding. I could have sworn once those lights went down, Esperanza played just for the two of us. Lisa agreed. Amazing feeling.


My main girl Susan came over for my birthday a couple of years ago and made lunch and spent the day just talking stupid stuff. Meeting Susan was one of the best days of my life.


A buddy sat in on bass one night at a show in Greenup. I asked a girl to dance. It was the closest dance I ever had. Silently two people held on for dear life as we danced to Van Morrison’s ‘Into the Mystic’


Hands down though, the best day I ever had in my life was the day my girlfriend and future wife, Shannon told me she loved me. She was painfully shy and quiet and the nerve it had to take to say those words had to be one of the toughest things she ever had to say. It was returned in spades.

57d19a2c7af888af166edd1cde724a91I will always love her even though we aren’t together anymore. Shannon is one of the greatest women on the entire planet. I miss her sometimes at unexpected moments. She loved me without condition. I screwed it up and a lot of self loathing comes along with it. If I had only not been so scared to get help with my depression instead of running from it till it was too late. She’s living a better life than I could have ever given her. She’s remarried to a good man, she has adopted two babies and I have no doubt those kids won the lottery when they came home with Shannon. A mom who knows nothing but love.

I have love for all my friends, some helped me get up when I was broken down I treasure them for it. I do have the best friends.

So there it is.

Tell me about your best day and let’s forget about hating each other for a minute just to relate a story. I’ll protest tomorrow. Today is all about us. We are all on the same side of the fence when it comes to the best day ever.

Below the video is a link my last album. It’s your’s for the taking. I hope you enjoy it.


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