passion

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 Having a crush on the gal superseded the “Don’t leave the Fairgrounds” instructions that had been laid down by Ma.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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Inner Beauty…Everyone Will See it if You Lose Weight

Passion. Motivation. Inspiration. Sacrifice.

We see these words and what pops into your mind? Blue tinted glitchy films of athletes drenched in sweat while their faces scream of agony as they cross the finish line, or lift an unimaginable set of weights over their head.
I’ve read recently about a wave of body acceptance crossing the nation. Gas Station food, sitting on your ass, not getting enough exercise. I should be ashamed of the extra weight I have put on since my depression has subsided a bit. There is no secret to losing it. Eat less, move more.

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Dedication!

Exercise has never been my favorite thing to do. The thought of walking out the front door in 100 degree heat and running never crosses my mind. The thought of lifting something heavy over my head doesn’t seem like a priority. I don’t want the athletes to think that I don’t respect what they do. I do want them to realize there are other ways to sacrifice that are just as hard, take just as much dedication and don’t give you shin splints or constant surgeries to get there.

I’ve heard it for years and to this very day it’s brought up. “I thought you’d get in shape with me! You never want to do anything.”Inner-Beauty-Best-Demotivational-Posters

Not exactly true. They don’t see that I don’t like the gut. They don’t see me cringe when I have to buy clothes. They don’t see me taking a brisk walk or skipping the snack that I’m craving. They don’t know the ache I feel in my lungs and heart from my smoking addiction which I have avoided through will power and an electronic cigarette. Right now I’d love to light up and read what I have written.

I was married to an Ironman triathlete. She could swim 2.4 miles, hop out and ride her bike 112, and then run a full marathon, 26.2 miles. We have no love left between us but I’d never take that achievement away. I saw it; I was always in awe of her and the ability to do such an insane race. I was at the finish line every time. A few times she even appreciated it.

She had the passion, motivation, and inspiration. She sacrificed time with her family, with her kids, ballgames, proms, birthdays (yes she went to London UK over her daughter’s birthday, and she forgot mine totally on a race trip.) Is it sacrifice or selfishness that guided her? She didn’t feel like she sacrificed anything. Who cares who you neglect as long as it doesn’t inconvenience you? THAT is the reason no love is lost between us. Narcissism and selfishness. Life went on while she was sweating; just she wasn’t a part of it. She chose not to sit on her ass over the needs of everything and everybody else. The sacrifice was given by her family, not her.

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Success!

She couldn’t tell you the name of a single one of her “best friend’s” children, but she would work any conversation back to herself and her abilities. Which were being a damn good singer and an Ironman. It sure didn’t make up for character and honesty let alone respect.

Why do passion, motivation, inspiration and sacrifice only apply to athletes and upper management? Could it be that possibly my passion has nothing to do with being an athlete?

I’m passionate about art, learning new artistic abilities and programs, activism, reading, writing, songwriting, guitar playing, great movies, mentoring, and fighting for the rights of children, far out thoughts that lead to skills that I’d like to try. New things, new experiences, fresh ideas, wrongs that need corrected. Bad behavior that needs corrected. Documentaries about subjects I know very little about but want to know more. I have a passion for learning and exploring. I want to know how Ravens use tools, and why the laws of nature break down at the quantum level. I want to know how Robert Crumb thinks and what his process is when creating a comic.KK-254Who'sAfraidT.jpg

I’m motivated because I want to please myself. I’m curious. Recently I have tried and failed twice at sculpting and mold making. I know two ways NOT to make a mold. I know why and will solve the problem or realize I know how to solve the problem now and I might just move on to the next project.

I’m inspired by artists, writers, dreamers, good music, great songwriting, great animation, original ideas, and seeing an artistic medium that I’d like to try. I might not be the best at any of these things but I strive for them.

Sacrifice? Through the years I’ve sacrificed everything I’ve had at one point or another. I sacrifice my time to listen and laugh and cry with friends. I’ve sacrificed things that I love and moments of joy to do what someone else wants to. No one sees that.

I’m a guitarist and a bass player. I sacrificed every party, event, and good time to go out and entertain. I’ve sacrificed money and time to charities. I’ve sacrificed relationships and left myself open to ridicule by people I love. I’ve sacrificed time doing what I love because I have this built-in guilt that I’m supposed to be hiking backed up by society and friends who love to hike. I think hiking is ok, putting me down for not wanting to seems like a reasonable solution for not loving it though.

I write a new song. Record it and I can’t get anyone to listen to it. I recorded a whole album and even my best friends didn’t buy it. I’m giving it away now. Ask and you can have it. It took a year to make. It took a lifetime of heartbreaks and good times to find the words to write. Isn’t that dedication? I opened my veins and bled for you openly showing what goes on behind these tattoos. Maybe I should run along the highway with a sign advertizing my little collection of songs and a peek inside of me. If I show a little sweat maybe the songs will have some value.

v1_7Passion? I sat in my room as a kid learning to play a guitar. I still practice for the love of playing. Not for you but for me. No one saw it. No one heard the out of tune guitar trying to smoothly play Crazy Train. I worked for every note that comes from my guitar. Then through motivation I started working my way up the musical ladder until I was standing on a huge stage, or playing nose to nose with a guitar god and holding my own. You get to hear the results and never think about the dedication it took. Mainly because you don’t see the sweat dripping off a kid when he finally can play the opening lick from Layla.

My passions don’t involve a sport but unless they do, society, some friends, and strangers looks down their nose because I have a Buddha belly. I’ll finish with a true story.

I belong to a Facebook group of internet *Trolls. They gathered together to make fun of the Militia occupation of a bird sanctuary/gift shop in a Federal Park. Thousands of random people from all walks of life joined this group. No one trolls each other. They are just a group of clever, witty, sarcastic do-gooders. Many are activists and have been for decades. I have trolled hate groups for years. No regrets. These folks troll for good, not evil.

A young early 20’s gal hopped on the message board one day and started body shaming other ladies about fat asses, smoking, lack of will power, and no motivation. She’s a distance runner. She knows pain, she knows sacrifice, she knows dedication.

I came to the ladies aid and replied to her; “These people have been helping others since before you were born. From civil rights, to Save the Whales. Years of writing congressmen, marches, spreading the word and making the world a better place. Personally I researched and implemented a program that would help locate missing children after a tragedy in my old home town. I told them I wanted NO recognition. It was my duty as a citizen of the world.”
“What was it you say you do? Run really far? That’s nice.”

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Am I off base in thinking this way? Leave me a comment. Tell me what you think. You may get a discussion but you won’t be met with hostility.

Be sure to Follow, Like and Subscribe. I have low self esteem and could use the extra bump!

*Troll- (noun) In Internet slang, a troll is a person who sows discord on the Internet by starting arguments or upsetting people, by posting inflammatory,[1] extraneous, or off-topic messages in an online community (such as a newsgroup, forum, chat room, or blog) with the deliberate intent of provoking readers into an emotional response or of otherwise disrupting normal on-topic discussion, often for their own amusement.