I didn’t know him well. I met him in the early ’90′s when he was in town recording an album with my friend Gman. All I can tell you is everything you’ve heard about him is true. He was a talented, gentle man, whose voice was truly great and unique. His gravelly vocals owned every song he sang. His open- tuning guitar style suited him perfectly. He chose his cover tunes well, taking them and making them his own. He never hesitated to tell a story, whether it be hanging with George Harrison, or playing The Village with Bob Dylan. It is said back in those early folk days nobody wanted to follow him, for it was certain to be a letdown. When the opening act was late for Woodstock, he played for 3 hours, cementing his place in rock lore forever. I’m glad I had the chance to meet him, I am better for it.
Today is St. Patrick’s Day. In years past that would mean much partying with friends. The bars would open early in the morning, serving green pancakes and beer, and people would actually consume them. Friends would drive up from Chicago, and the house would be full of bodies sleeping anywhere they could find a space. One year, the only space for me to sleep was on the bathroom floor. It certainly wasn’t the cleanest place to lay my head, but I survived without any consequences. That was then, and this is now. While I still have fond memories of my sometimes reckless youth, a more mature approach is now in order. I’ll be spending time with a few friends, enjoying the usual corned beef and cabbage, and Irish stew. A couple of Guinness’s to wash it down, but nothing too outrageous. Which is fine by me. Older and wiser? Maybe. Like I said, that was then and this is now. And I wouldn’t have it any other way.
This is the second Sunday since the football season ended. Much like any obsession, it requires a gradual withdrawal, and that’s where I find myself today. I don’t even remember what I did last Sunday. Probably not much. After five months of continuous activity with my Cheesehead brothers, it comes to a screeching halt. I miss the comrade-re, screaming at the refs, the thrill of victory, and the agony of defeat. No more NFL channel as background noise. No more surfing various NFL sites. I’m starting to realize how much football occupies my life. Not just Sunday, but Monday night, Thursday night, and Saturday afternoon. I’ve got a stack of Rolling Stone magazines, dating back to last November, that I haven’t even looked at. Guitars that get played too infrequently. Songs yet to be written. I guess there’s life without football, and it’s time to get used to it. At least until the draft!
Today brings the 2012 NFL season full circle. The game that all players aspire to win will be played in a few hours. While I’m disappointed that Green Bay isn’t playing, I look forward to a great game. San Francisco has been the most consistent team all year, and now have an added offensive weapon in the pistol scheme run by Colin Kapernick. The Ravens are riding a wave of emotion surrounding Ray Lewis’ last game, and the emergence of Joe Flacco. Both teams made it to the conference championships last year and lost. It seems like that is a common theme: getting so close, but needing one more year to finally make it. Here it is, the last NFL game until August. (Say it aint so!) May the best team win.
I’ve always respected Jeff Lynne. As founding member of ELO he’s responsible for for a number of pop nuggets that we all know and love. But after watching his new documentary last night, I’ve gained a new level of respect for the man. He lives and breathes music. His entire house is a studio, each room specifically designed for a certain ambiance and acoustic function. He’s proficient on any number of instruments: drums, bass, guitar,and keys to name a few. When the surviving Beatles needed a producer for “Free As A Bird” and “Real Love”, he got the call. I’m sure the task of turning John’s demo of piano and vocal on the same cassette into a record was an astronomical task, and he nailed it. As a writer he”s co-written some of my favorite songs, including “Don’t Come Around Here No More” and “You Got It.” As a member of the Traveling Wilburys he often gets over-shadowed by his more famous band mates, yet without him there is no band. Plus, he seems to be a nice guy who appreciates his station in life while not forgetting where he came from. Truly inspiring. And I want his house!
The year has passed quickly. Christmas is here, and I’ve been blessed with many fine friends to celebrate with. My Christmas song, ‘Have A Happy Christmas’ has been available as a free download all month, and I hope many have taken advantage of it. My love of a good beer has resulted in a stout supply of my favorite beverage, and I am determined not to disappoint my gift-givers by overlooking their generosity! My beloved Packers are heading for the playoffs after another challenging year. My family is healthy and happy, and I seem to be accumulating new fans regularly. I’m hoping to take a major step in the coming year with the album. In the meantime, my heartfelt wishes for a happy holiday season, and best wishes to all!
As a performer, the last thing you want to encounter is feedback. It’s annoying, and certainly less than professional when doing a gig. However, during our gig last night, we were bombarded with a fairly consistent barrage of feedback and it was kinda cool. We played a private party in a relatively small club, something we rarely do. Even though we brought our “small” gear, the logistics of the place dictated that a certain amount of feedback would occur. And nobody cared. Not the audience, not the band, and not me. I actually enjoyed it. It took me back to a more innocent time, when you’re just starting out and playing for the sheer joy of it. Trying to sing without being able to hear your monitor isn’t fun, and my voice today is feeling the affects, but it was worth it. Last night was a blast. Feedback rules!
Today the Packers play the Giants in a replay of their championship game from last season. The Giants ended Green Bay’s season in that one, bringing a screeching halt to a 15-1 campaign. Nine dropped passes, an unexpected death in the “family”, and a very good Giants team all contributed to the final result. The Giants pose a difficult matchup, and are coming off a bye following two losses. The Pack have won five straight, but are dealing with several key injuries. New York’s front defensive four are a formidable challenge, and protecting Rodgers will be paramount. Once again we’ll be watching on an 80 inch TV, which will only enhance the action. Good food, cold beers, and great friends make this one most enjoyable. Go Pack!
We hear a lot about social media. While I don’t doubt it has some value, I’m starting to question how much. I spend way too much time dealing with spam. Efforts to reach fans and subscribers often elicit little or no response, yet they’ve chosen to be there. I’m getting to point where I don’t care anymore. Oftentimes, the artists rated highest on sites such as Revebnation don’t even have an album out, they just play live frequently. Pursuing Facebook likes can be an endless endeavor, yet won’t guarantee album sales. Any idiot can tweet (Donald Trump, Ted Nugent,etc.) Who cares?!!
I’m glad Obama won. In my view, it was the only choice. Having read about Romney’s days with Bain Capital, there was no way I could support that. Plus, I think it’s time to move forward into the 21st century. Progress always happens. A look at history will tell you that despite the efforts of the conservatives, eventually things must proceed. And they do. Fighting it will only postpone the inevitable. America is a great country, but in many ways it’s too socially backward for my tastes. Change comes too slow. People who have money and power don’t want to relinquish it. Marijuana prohibition should have ended 30 years ago, and now that Colorado has taken the lead, the Feds already are threatening to fight. Let it go. Move forward. Progress!