Thursday 23 November 2023

 the 11th month


i’m all fucked up

i miss my son lucas 

it’s almost been eight years

and the hole is sucking in 

much of my will to at least try and be content

fear not i tell myself

i insist on living as glorious life as possible

but the years play tricks on me

there is no rationale to be taken from the grief

i thought i was past this

i thought time would smooth

i’ve never been more wrong

i tried shrinks

but the task at hand proved too great for them

the dire pointlessness of their sorrowful ears

couldn’t be articulated


the same old versions echoed

‘how does that make you feel?’

paper tigers with academic validation

the real world is fire

the crippling begins with lucas’ beginning

i was the first one to clean him

and in the end

when he was home in my care

i was the last one to clean him

this is one of the mind darts that stings with precision

i don’t retreat to music or art in these moments

i leave the house

sometimes the city

sometimes the country

i bravely run away

hollow eyed and hearted

i put on my mask and have weightless conversations

with old friends


and bartenders

never letting on that the grey tarp above the black dog

is drooping 

fucking november

the worst month of the year

even before luke’s passing

i hated november

the only thing it ever gave me

was the will to quit smoking

other than that 

november remains the most isolated month

i would smoke right now

just to spite the 11th month

perhaps i’ll choose never to say it’s name again instead

i like caring for my mum

she’s close

she gets rubs and pets and kisses from me

and i feel like we’re both rewarded 

that’s the love i’m capable of right now

divine is patient and thankfully wrapped up in production


she’s too smart for my phoniness 

she gives me space

and she in turn is affectionate 

mostly patient

and that’s a good thing

i blend into my company

taking on tasks and annoying my staff with my suggestions

and a squirrel like attention span

i know there’s still a few nuts buried in my garden

i’ll find them and grow them

i have never lost vision

or passion

or context

but i’ve lost so much more

my wife - susan - we’re still married

(divorce is pointless)

i know she sinks towards the abyss

she has little to do with me

stray conversations and quick texts

we’re the only ones who know

our sorrow mirrored

who wants to be around that?

i’m glad she’s mostly with jackson

all of his strength of character should be credited to her

i’m the wanderer

he gets that from me

tonight i lied to divine

i told her that i was going to the show in kitchener

and i pretended i was

but deep down i knew that i was going to make dinner

drink half a bottle of wine 

and hit the couch

what i didn’t plan on 

was this blog 

it’s strange

but feels good to get this out

i am well aware that no one will read this

i think that’s the point

craig martin

nov 23, 2023

cheese pasta with olives and red wine

Tuesday 14 November 2023

the socials

 i quite like the socials

i’m on all of them

i’ve stopped watching tv

i’ve stopped listening to radio

it’s all about the socials for me

my attention span has indeed shrunk

and yet i’ve been far more effective with business and life in general

most importantly

i like the connection

there’s a bunch of donuts

and we send each other all kinds of shit

it started off inappropriate and funny

and now it’s morphed into meaningful memes

all about positivity 

we’re connected in a meaningful way

the socials renew my faith in humanity 

especially the funny ones

think about the work involved:

you have to conceptualize

then film it edit it post it share it repeat

all for what?

i’ll tell you what - it’s to make people laugh

that’s upside 

sure there’s some commerce 

but mostly people are going to a lot of trouble

to make us laugh

well done i say

i visit my local market daily

i buy what i want for a 24 hour period

i waste nothing

and with that comes a different kind of social

the fleeting moments of daily human contact

a familiarity 

chit chats

during the pandemic

it was this kind of social that cemented me to cabbagetown

of course the shows

are the best socials

the musicians are a tight squad

and please know

that we truly a feel a connection with everyone 

the importance of the shows

intensifies with each passing year

we’re all relying upon one and other

it certainly feels social for anyone who attends live music

will hare has given up music!

everyone is freaking out

will says that it’s time for something new

and he’s making a clean break and selling all of his gear

simple dimple

there’s no bad blood anywhere

in fact will is the bravest man i know

it will be exciting to watch what he left turns into


everyone is freaking out

but not me

time passes 

things change

stay social san diego 


nov. 14 / 23

red wine and bone broth stew

Wednesday 8 November 2023

massey hall

 massey hall the greatest venue in canada

it’s the kind of place that can change you

tonight we sold it out

and the musicians were glorious

we’re closing in on a eighty shows at the hall

there’s a feeling of community here

the techs

the staff

everyone is familiar 

i like that

seven years ago

just after my son passed

massey hall reached out and asked me

if i wanted a couple tickets to see louis ck

he was doing a pop up show

they figured i could use a laugh

they were right

when i got there

a couple of the staff came up and hugged me

i can’t even type this without welling up

but in that moment

i felt 


november is the cruelest month

if you’ve got an inkling of bad vibes

november will take them

supercharge them

and then cannon-fire them back at you

to see what you’re made of

the grey weather

the grey clothing

the grey heart

it can pull you down

i live in cabbagetown

a 20 minute quick walk from the hall

i always walk home after the shows

as i stepped outside the stage door

the cold rain surged and needled down on me

a lone cab parked with his fare ready light lit

I walked past

and beat on

and as i walked

and froze

and stung

i confronted the black dog barking inside of me

the circle of my life

the fleeting faces 

the cowards and the malcontents

the glory seekers and the vain

i am all these people

and i am none of these people

i beat on

up jarvis

the naysayers

the apathetic

the greedy 

the cut of the weather

pounding on a 62 year old man

i am all of these things

and i am none of these things

finally on carlton

i realized that

i need to be more like divine

she gets a task

and she makes it her entire world

she goes all in 

and it’ glorious to watch

i need to get back to that

i need to go all in again like i did 20 years ago

profound change

revitalizing change

invest in a future

i beat on

i hired good capable people to run my company

i reasoned that it gave me more time to paint

but as the rain sliced into me

as the cold bit me

as the wet seeped into me

i knew my resolution was to call nick and cynthia

book a lunch

and start aggressively planning 

for another 20 years

I've given so much

a son

a marriage


a relationship

and then another relationship

and then another relationship

all of it in wake of my company

I felt like lieutenant dan up in the crows nest

yelling at god

my original vision came to fruition

now i have to ensure it’s resounding future

- get government funding

and establish ourselves as an orchestra

- hire more musicians and get them on the road

where they can remind people of just how great these albums are

- and promotion! constant content creation is my new favorite term - lots of interaction on all the socials - lots of musicians directly connecting with fans via videos and chats etc

i am forward thinking again

that’s what an evening at massey hall can do

awaken you

inspire you

pull you out of the rain

and warm you with reminders of who you are

i am alive 


homemade sheppards pie

coppola red wine


Monday 28 November 2022

in dreams

 i’ve been polling the musicians

it turns out we all have variations of the same dream

all centered around a CAL gig

and all of the dreams are chaotic

my dream involves never being able to make to the stage

and if by chance i get there

i’m not prepared

or the gear is not working

or it’s a band of strangers

and everything is impossible

versions of this dream 

with all the other musicians is rampant

and i think that speaks to commitment 

we’re obsessed with getting things right

so much so that often - our worst nightmares manifest in dreams

and they’re the opposite of what’s expected

of course there’s a part of me that thinks 

this warrants a case study

that we should all check into a dream institution

and wire in together 

and create our own matrix

here we help each other through the 

subliminal quagmire of disrepair

you can also find hints of this self unrelience 

in our post show backstage discussions

we’re quick to hone in on the one bad note or missed cue

rather than the overall glory of a joyous performance

this also speaks to professionalism

we’re incredibly accountable to ourselves

this is a good thing

in the new year 

i’m going to be recruiting for new members

young musicians who want to do the hard work

and strive 

for a professional future as a full time player

i’m going to analyze their dreams 

once they’re plugged in

if they don’t have chaotic stress filled dreams 

about gigs going wrong

i’m going to wonder if they have what it takes

to go the distance

so here’s to the subconscious

and all of it’s unknown motivational ways


nov. 28, 2022

(coffee and cookies)

Sunday 13 November 2022

nick walsh

 just back from our first show at canada’s national arts centre

nice to get paid in federal dollars

and be presented by the theatre as part of their programming

that means something


we brought our very very best

and did not disappoint

the band was on point 


it all goes without saying

most of you have seen the CAL zep band

and know how passionate they are

there’s a reason i prioritize road work with them

they’re as much fun offstage as on

positive and kind loving musicians

of course nick walsh arrived early

and scoped everything out

introduced himself and starting making decisions

i arrived and butted in

telling nick that i just wanted him to be a singer tonight

he got it

nick and i push and pull each other 

it’s healthy and i like the way he asserts himself with me

it denotes a professionalism

and more importantly

a friendship


he became the singer last night

and i stood in awe of the near young lion

roaring and commanding the show

the work of an absolute master

again - i’ve said this about bobby

that the scene in the avengers movies

when faced with impeding doom

when iron man says ‘we have a hulk’


when i hear about about lesser bands

taking on full albums

i laugh and say

‘we have a nick walsh’

christ i’m a snob

craig martin

nov 13, 2022

ipa and eggs benedict

Monday 31 October 2022

bruce on stern

 rock n roll saved me once again

halloween is the day i first brought lucas to the hospital

the memory of this is crippling

today i finally got out of bed just past 1pm

wade texted me reminding me that springsteen was on stern

i wasn’t in the mood

but i threw it on during coffee prep 

just for distraction

and of course i was pulled in

he sounded good

strong and wise

he reminded me of triumph over adversity

of the power of love

and the importance of a good work ethic 


jackson and i were talking about the rock n roll death cult

kurt and jim and jimi and all that

i told him it was all romantic bullshit

and that being your best for your family is what’s important

bruce said very same thing during his interview

and i was elated

i met bruce

backstage at madison gardens

i’ve written about this previously

i’m pretty sure we’re best friends now

and that my yearly birthday card just gets lost in the mail


the stern interview was like having an old friend over for lunch

as we age 

it’s confirming to see many of our similarities converge

we are not in it alone

in fact we are often all able to connect through conflict

having bruce articulate this was healing

i fucking hate halloween

but not as much today

rock n roll saved me 

once again


jack daniels and chips

Sunday 10 April 2022

19 Year Anniversary

 happy 19 year anniversary

quite a feat

it’s a life and lifestyle for many of us

where our social circles and professional lives blend

currently i am the number one employer of musicians in canada

not so much in the states - with the theme parks / cruises etc

but i’m working my way up the list

sincere thanks to my assistant

cynthia cake

she keeps us all organized

and content

to my friend and road manager eric

keep fighting old friend

I will see you in a couple days

nick walsh is going to be our general manager going forward

it’s his vision and integrity that will help steer the company 

he’s a good person

and he understands what needs to be done

he’s been there for us in many different ways

i trust him with my company

nick - make sure to have fun 

in a years time you’ll have a brand new set of skill sets

i hope they carry you through the remainder of your life

and help to confirm that a lifetime of music 

is a life well lived

there’s a lot of talk about mental health

some people close to me are aware of my struggles 

all of them based on the loss of my son lucas

lucas passed five years ago

he had a rare and aggressive cancer

he was eighteen

since then i wrestle upon waking every morning

i spoke to a couple shrinks

but it really didn’t help

how do you fill a hole like that?

a parent should never outlive a child

lucas did leave behind what i call ‘gifts’

small life lessons that help put things in perspective

i don’t sweat about things going wrong


missed flights?

cancelled shows?

no catering backstage?

none of these kind of things bother me

i’m instantly able to contextualize any situation based on it’s severity 

and deal with it

i thank my son for that

but i’m short fused when it comes to people complaining 

and i lose my shit if there’s ever a sense of entitlement 

that’s why i need to take a step back 

and let nick run things

i’ll always be the founder

and the ceo

and i will guide CAL on all the big picture stuff

i like playing guitar in some of the bands

on the east coast tom petty tour

i felt moments of joy being on the road with my friends

and being in a band inside a van

so more of that 

providing it doesn’t take work away from a musician

mostly i paint

i think i’m getting good at it

at the beginning of the pandemic

my relationship with amanda ended

her parting words were ‘make art everyday’

i took that to heart

and i do


in these moments i find peace

and the truth of my life opens up before me

in these silent moments of brush strokes

i make life decisions

i wrestle out whatever is upsetting me

confront it on the canvas

and deal with it directly the next morning

last night 

i was at massey hall

wade called me late and insisted i meet him at the stage door

he was playing in the opening band

i was in my painting clothes

but he wouldn’t take no for an answer

so i walk down to the hall

go in the stage door

and steve mcgrath is there

he’s the hall’s media guru

he gives me a warm smile and a big hug

and tells me i’m family there at the hall

then as i was making my way to my seats

a number of people stopped me

to tell me how much they enjoyed the graceland show

and how much they’re looking forward to the aretha show

those brief moments are enough to fill ones soul

and share a sense of purpose

i care about the music we perform

i believe this is classical music and that we are the modern day orchestra

i care about the people that come to our shows

they connect on the socials about how much the music means to them

and thank us for performing it note for note

i care about the venues we perform in 

and the crews that get our shows up and running

i’m always content to see a stage full of workers

all doing their jobs with an eye on the finish line


i care deeply about the musicians i work with

thank for a remarkable nineteen years

i hope you feel a sense of accomplishment today

craig martin

ceo and founder

april 10, 2003 - april 10 2022

(coffee and toast)