Sunday, 1 November 2020


 roger waters saw it all

very early on

decades ago animals was released

and today it sounds all the more vital

this is not an album to take lightly

it’s a serious piece of work

lyrically sharp and strong

sonically it’s a stunning landscape of thought and sound

when i sing dogs

i get a tangible shiver

the power of the song resonating in me

i feel like news reporter 

telling it like it is

i can’t think of pink floyd 

without being reminded of my dear friend nicole

i put her on the dark side show

she was unfamiliar with the album

she called me soon after and said

that dark side mirrored exactly where she was with her life

it embodied all she felt and lived at that moment


that is a testament to and enduring work

decades after it’s release it finds a warm soul and connects

i feel that way about animals

i feel like this is the time for this album

rob phillips knows all this

and he will ably lead CAL through the 3 different acts within this album

i urge everyone to visit and revisit this album

giving it attention will be more thoughtfully rewarding

than any book you read

or any movie you see this coming week

and what a week to come

i send love to everyone’s family


coffee and toast with jam

Wednesday, 7 October 2020

On Streaming

it’s a good experience

the employment element alone is soulful

in the beginning russell gray and i had chats

about how many people would tune in

we thought tens of thousands

i may have got carried away and dreamt of hundreds of thousands

we get about 450 people

it’s a happy place

lots of people getting in touch

wanting to know how to do it

i’m hesitant to advise

military surgical protocols of course

there’s a lot of links in the chain

you need a good team

my first conversation with mark rashotte at the empire

lasted about 2 minutes

we both wanted to get things done

it was that easy

we’ve never talked about it since

we just tell road stories

i think all the bands should create their own streaming platform

and book it themselves

create a season’s worth of presentations

from one location

indie pod

metal pod

folk pod

rock pod

tribute pod

create your own infrastructure

book shows

it’s a ton work

we didn’t bother with the pay wall

we just counted on people’s goodwill

this is a very organic heartfelt experience

the donations are churchlike 

the musicians have purpose because of goodwill

outside of that

deep breaths

lower your expectations

enjoy the ride

i send love to everyone’s families



Monday, 23 March 2020

The CAL State of the Union

i want to thank everyone for reaching out
so many messages coming in
i started replying individually
then i had to do a format reply
that felt fake
so i’m addressing a few things in this blog

i don’t think we’ll be back in business for a very long time
i can’t imagine a large public gathering in two months
maybe six months
probably more
but even then - who’ll have money to spend?
i hope i’m wrong about this
but as soon as the big sports teams get back to normal
so will CAL

despite the song
i do trust our governments
i don’t believe that anyone will go hungry or get thrown out onto the streets
the change coming is severe
but the humanity of the crisis is starting to take hold
and people are going to be taken care of
it’s a time of trust and awareness

i don’t think we’ll be doing a live broadcast anytime soon
i have been in talks 
and we agree that when the time is right - we’ll do it right 
until then 
we can’t gather
it’s just not responsible
we’re abiding by the protocols and doing our part to flatten the curve

and having musicians all stream together online is extremely problematic
sound and sync
mics and mixes
too many moving parts
it’s classic albums live
not classic albums digital

i do applaud all the musicians that have been doing their thing from their pads
they’re joyous and connecting
i’ll post more of those as time passes
right now my feed is full of living room performances
rob phillips did one with his daughter
they wrote a hit song!
i’ve been humming it all day
i hope to see more of these
they restore our connections to one another 

it’s dark days for us all
and yet
in isolation there is a certain peace
all the alumni are practicing 
and learning things
i do chores and cook and crosswords and compose
i put on some doobie brothers from time to time 
i’m learning french through the duolingo app!
mostly i play guitar piano and sing
while music is not an essential service
we do have a silver lining in that we have our instruments
to guide us through the uneasy unclear path

my mother is a world war two survivor
she was in london
a child 
she was evacuated to the country
where it was rations and drills and uneasy expectations
her stories of this time
filled both my childhood and my adult life
i’ve learned that 
the stiff upper lip can really make a difference
she came through the experience and is living a life full of love and appreciation
i look at that time from the comforts of my home
and reflect on her and my father’s experience
and i stiffen my lip and get on with it
i abide

when the curve disappears
we will all be amidst the roaring 20s once again
people will be warmer and more empathetic 
borders will just be lines on a map - but respected
and the world will appear like a mirror to us

and when this happens
it will be the musicians who will make a difference
it will be our time to share what we have committed to 
we’ll show the way towards love and goodness
we will be harbingers of soul defining life experiences
we will be at our best 
me and my crew
we’ll do it with classic rock

i send love and hope and harmony to anyone who reads this

craig martin
classic albums live

(glenfiddich with apple and cheese)

Thursday, 7 November 2019

The Lithium Experience

time for change
a new project
the lithium experience

this show differs from CAL
in that it’s a show

my generation is quick to dismiss the 90s
but the grunge bands brought real change
a sincere shot of integrity
eddie vedder radiates integrity

when grunge first hit
we all sensed the shift
all the silly hair bands collapsed
people became aware

the lithium experience debuts in florida
the casino on dania beach
jan 4
joe - the cat that books the venue - understands how serious this music is
so we launch in tandem

the band is nicky h kara shain joe colin
with a canadian line up soon to come
perhaps a return to the phoenix!

sirius has a channel called lithium
named after the nirvana song
it’s a fantastic station 
this music is thirty years old now
it still grips

this is a nice time for change
something about a new year
a fresh page

wishing everyone peace and prosperity

nov 7 2019
perrier nuts

Friday, 25 October 2019

Elton John's Farewell to Toronto

i went to see elton on wednesday night
the world’s greatest solo artist
a case could be made for michael jackson or prince
but elton survived
and he shines brighter than ever before

the show was joyous
hit after hit
the cannon fully loaded 
with the band firing perfectly alongside of him

this was my 6th time seeing elton
previously i wore a pink shirt and sat about 7 rows back
after every song he looked down at me and waved and was me sending love signals
later i learned that i was sitting right behind his husband and family!
i thought my pink shirt was a calling card for elton and i to be best friends forever
not so!

but we are friends
i think that kind of success is telling
the audience - the mass of millions - become an entity
and that entity is loved by elton
a couple times throughout the evening
elton addressed the audience
and in a casual way - radiated love
it was deep, profound and warm

for the record 
he has said goodbye before
all the greats do it
it allows them to close a chapter 
and move on
we allow for it
because like family
we are understanding and forgiving
and happy to have them back in our lives
but old elton - he’s a sly one
he’ll pop up here and there in the years to come
the light just finds him
he can’t help it

elton is a player
a serious musician
his career is garnished with garish
but his heart is that of a musician
that night he made the piano his bitch
and he made the piano his baby
he’s rock’s greatest piano player 
we use the word ‘awesome’ without thinking
elton is an awesome musician

vocally he was strong and emotional
connecting to lyrics that were written for him decades ago
he didn’t phone anything in
he worked hard 
his falsetto is gone - vaporized on 100,000 microphones
but he’s more committed to what he sings now - than ever before

he was somewhat all alone up there amidst the circus
he drew us in 
during levon i thought of my son
during daniel i thought of my father
during rocketman i thought of bandmates
i went back to a time long ago 
when his songs were currents running through my life
guiding streams of beauty
educating me 
challenging me
flickering notes on a road
that i wished would run on forever

oct 24 2019

orange juice and a power bar

Sunday, 20 October 2019

Troy Feener

woke up to this email from troy
troy and i go way back
i first met him in the early 90s
we joined the same band 
and wound up together in dubai for 3 months

i get a ton of drummers emailing me
looking for work
and i wish that i can accommodate them
but we have a troy feener
he puts in the hard work
and likes to hang out and get his groove on post show

800 shows troy
good work old freind

I have charted and performed 52 albums!!!

Yes - Close to the Edge, The Yes Album
Pink Floyd - Animals, Wish You Were Here, Dark Side of the Moon, The Wall
Queen - A Night at the Opera
The Eagles - Hotel California, Their Greatest
Pearl jam - Ten
The Police - Outlandos d'Amour, Regatta De Blanc
The Doors – The Doors, LA Woman
U2 – The Joshua Tree
Nirvana – Nevermind
The Who – Who’s Next
Supertramp – Crime of the Century, Breakfast In America
Led Zeppelin – I, II, In Through the Outdoor
Michael Jackson – Thriller
Prince – Purple Rain
Fleetwood Mac - Rumours
Aerosmith - Toys in the Attic
Deep Purple - Machine Head
The Beatles - Rubber Soul, Revolver, Abbey Road, White album
Jimi Hendrix - Are You Experienced
Black Sabbath - Paranoid
Janis Joplin - Pearl
Boston - Boston
Bruce Springsteen - Born to Run
Bob Marley - Legend, Exodus
John Lennon
Van Halen - I
The Rolling Stones - Let It Bleed, Some Girls, Exile On Main street, Sticky Fingers
Best of Woodstock
Saturday Night Fever
Elton John -  Greatest Hits
Paul McCartney - Band On the Run
David Bowie - Ziggy Stardust
ACDC - Back In Black
The Allman Brothers - A Decade Of Hits

Tom Petty - Damn the Torpedoes

oct. 20, 2019
starbucks coffee orlando airport

Sunday, 28 July 2019

Summertime Rolls

i’ve been streaming summer
in real time
lots of sun
and i’m happy that i’ve been social
concerts and dinners
chats with strangers about my dog
interaction is the new currency

we did our first boat cruise
with the CAL zep band
it worked!
maybe more of these going forward
nick walsh and myself are not sailors
but we were even on the horizon
and enjoyed a barf free day
funny bit - nick - mid song - pretending to puke over starboard
nick hildyard’s the same way
something about the name
i must ask nicole
and i’ve resolved to start calling everyone in CAL nicky

the upcoming CAL season is getting tricky
we’re growing so fast
a nice interaction with tom barlow - he did the cruise with us (he’s great!)
he said that he knew of lots of musicians
who all spoke about how great a gig CAL was
that made me feel  good
it’s nice to know that other players regard us like that
perhaps our paths will cross
it’s tricky with cats that write their own music - tom’s won junos!
but we’re a safe place for musicians to dock 

chalking up the air miles this month
in and out of airports
i used to think it was exciting but the routine is…
—no - it’s exciting
alex once said she likes airports because adventure awaits
i feel the same way

saw the stones about a month ago
very pleasing
at my age the bonus came in the form of VIP parking
we zoomed in and out
the stones were great!
glad they’re still at it
i hope to be shuffling off to a pub to play when i’m in my 70s
hell - dez manages just fine

the stones shows and rehearsals have been good for the soul
my body kicks into a memory 
and once the light hits
i thaw
and melt away hesitation
it’s always good to keep a foot in the game
it reminds me of how much work it takes to do what we do
troy told me that i belong on stage
he’s usually right about things
we’ll see

and soon we’re off to san diego to do a few pepper shows with the symphony
this is important 
we know how to do this
and plan on many more symphony shows
in some ways - this is the future of CAL
even without an orchestra
we’re our own orchestra
the modern day orchestra

in canada 
the four seasons are distinct
but summer’s the sweetest
it’s difficult to imagine our streets blanketed in snow
but not too difficult
as if it wasn’t hot enough
i’m about to land in florida
100 degrees baby
have a little sympathy
have some taste

july 28, 2019
vegetarian mushy airplane food and coffee