Sunday, 28 August 2011


when i was little
my dad called me in from the front yard
he knew i liked music
on the tv was a clip of the rolling stones
it was the 60s
and the clip was black and white
i can't remember the song
but i remember the feeling

a couple years later we crowded around
to see the beatles do hey jude on david frost

after that some of the older boys made fake guitars for us
and we started a pretend band in my garage

by the time i hit junior high i was distributing chum charts
they were a weekly mini foldout of all the songs on the radio
and their chart positions
i knew them all off by heart
still do

by high school i was in deep
banging away on a kent guitar that my dad traded a broken lawn mower for
we all traded licks in stairwells and burger joints
i remember my case open on a pinball machine
some older boys told me to move it
i told them to wait
i was busy learning the riff to china grove

a friend of mine in high school's cousin was jim kerr of simple minds
jim would send scott the papers from across the ocean
we were freaked out by the punk scene
the pictures were very much different from the kimonos and silk blouses
that were fashionable at that time
then one day scott brought in a sex pistols 45 jim had sent
god save the queen
we went back to my house and put it on
we had never heard anything like it
we didn't know anything about mosh pits or slam dancing
but we immediately started jumping around and banging into each other
i maintain that i was one of the first people in north america to ever hear
the sex pistols

our family vacations were spent wherever there was a beach
one of my parents favourite places to go was asbury park new jersey
beautiful beaches
the four of us would cram into a motel room
and hang out at the beach all day
i was always allowed to buy one album on family trips
i remember holding a copy of greetings from asbury park (springsteen's first lp)
i choose tommy instead because it was a double album
later the greetings album would have a deeply profound affect
on the way i listened to music
and the meaning i sought in it

as my father's business started to grow
so did our family vacations
but then i was old enough to be left at home by myself
my parents would return from jamaica
tanned and holding a stack of reggae 45s
big thick chunks of black vinyl
i used to listen to the music
and groove
at first it scared me
it was 1975
reggae was a term that very few people in north america knew
but i knew it
i was taken with the heavy dub
and the madness of the echo on the vocals
i thought nothing of it at the time
but now i wish for those singles
they've been left behind in several shuffles

i was a nobody in high school
average marks
no clique to hang with
a loner
i read a lot
and listened to a ton of music
playing along with what i could
then a band i threw together played at the high school
and everything changed
girls started paying attention
i knew the line was drawn
the cast was set

i stuck it for a year in college
then my band won the battle of the bands for all four campus'
and i knew there was no turning back
i quit college
quit my 4 year job at the hudson bay company (i sold albums)
broke up with my girlfriend
and hit the road

i was lost in bars for all of my 20s
all of them
non stop gigging
it was the 80s
and you could play seven nights a week - no problem
i had cash
a car
a cool place of my own
and i slept in every day

the girl i was living with at the time was from arkansas
originally from chattanooga tennesee
we spent a lot of time traveling down there
and so began my love of the south
and all the southern accents that blanketed life there
the flavour
the music
the pace
the vibe
i dug it
and the south began to weave into my dna
and the music i listened to began to change

when the 90s hit
i was unprepared
i got my heart broken
i was broke
my van was broke
and the gigs were drying up
i'm glad for this time
because this is the time for learning
i moved to the west end of the city
and did what all broke musicians do when the gigs dry up
i read philosophy
that went on for a couple months
then one day i got up and changed my life
got some money
fixed my van
made some band promo
and hit the road again
always heading for another joint

i met a beautiful girl
got married
had kids
i made a good living playing live music on the weekends
and composing music for television during the week
i arranged local cabaret shows that brought all the different artists
of my little italy neighbourhood together
money was good
and i was able to flex some muscle with my composing
i still receive royalty cheques
now and then i'll see a movie
or a show
and hear a piece of something i wrote in the background

when i came up with CAL
i knew immediately that everything in my life had led to this point
i was blind with ambition
and forceful with what i wanted to achieve
that was nine years ago
i remember telling everyone about it
i talked about it non stop
i had an idea and i shared it with everyone
everyone was supportive
that was a big part of the initial success
having everyone telling you to go for it

now my life resets
the series is just taking off
all of her
and we'll be there for her
with note for note accuracy

i'm about to put my family home up for sale
and do a brady bunch move with shari
i getting my will together
and i'm taking out life insurance
i'm filing corporate taxes in the united states
i'm hiring more musicians
i'm looking for a new house
and i'm starting a brand new venture
a very exciting jump forward
it's something that my entire live has been travelling towards
it's never been done before
like CAL
it's a brand new idea
i can't believe it's never been done

there's a cool wind creeping in tonight
the air is fresh with crackle
i have some early dylan on the turntable
change is coming
and i'm thinking about my life
and all the turns
they call it middle age
i think it's my third act
not quite winter
i turn fifty on friday
and this is my blog

august 29, 2011

1 comment:

  1. "....i'm starting a brand new venture
    a very exciting jump forward
    it's something that my entire live has been travelling towards
    it's never been done before
    like CAL
    it's a brand new idea
    i can't believe it's never been done"

    Sounds mysterious and intriguing. I suppose we'll all find out about this in the fullness of time.