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)

Sunday, 6 February 2022

Change is in the Air

 i’m confused

i think i might be with the truckers

and then i see and hear racist shit

and i’m out

the quick digestion is the problem

i’m certain that the vast majority of the truckers are not racist

so blame the press

giving all the squeaky radicals the screen time

but look at the media names behind the truckers

they all come off like racists

so fuck that

but i think we should open up

it’s time

there’s so many hypocritical elements to this shutdown

but the doctors aren’t so sure

and i trust them

and the medical community

and most of the politicians


you know

it’s time

i do blame the politicians

hiding or blazing 

like my father used to say

they all piss in the same pot

the money that’s getting thrown around baffles me

the numbers

billions to disasters and incursions

millions in go fund me pages

big round numbers with no transparency or accountability

we roll our eyes

and scroll on

i live in a massively socially politically diverse neighborhood

there’s all kinds of things wrong here

i don’t understand how some people get left behind

and end up broken

i tell my son that they used to be somebodies baby

full of hope and love

the depth of this sadness is tangible

and it’s happening coast to coast

and what’s with all the behind door meetings?

if i were a politician 

i’d have a body cam on and stream my entire day

i’d turn it off when i went to lunch and the crapper

but other than that - the tax payer dollar is at work

full transparency

and lots of facebook discussions

cull the flamers and haters

and get down to some serious national discourse

canada has always represented common sense

as a corporation

i’m a capitalist 

as a musician

i’m a union member

i am equally proud of both these designations

we need to get back to work

i think i’m one of the top employers of musicians

in both canada and america

i’m really starting to feel a sense of urgency in my fellow musicians

i remind myself and others 

that fisherman, oil workers and many other trades 

have seen previously seen their career bottom out underneath them


change if need be

follow the youth

they are the way forward

i’m mad at the prime minister

running off to vancouver during the first nations ceremonies

then ducking off and not talking to the truckers

and i’m mad at the truckers

for not being more vigilant in getting rid of the confederate flags and swastikas

who’s in charge for christ sake!

i watch my son take it all in

he’s almost eighteen

the youth have been robbed of some very important life defining moments

us oldies

we’ve had our day in the sun

but the little ones need to find themselves

i hope they experiment and thrive with one another

i think they do

it’s not for us to decide 

i went through covid

and the one thing i learned is that no two cases are the same

i was lucky

but i was always aware that we become weaponized once the virus finds us

and we could kill someone - completely inadvertently 

no one wants that on their conscious

we’ve done a good job

our country is vaccinated and strong

you don’t want the vaccine


but you need to test and test

that has to be part of the equation going forward

and if you do get sick 

and end up in a hospital

canada will take care of you

no one gets left behind

and with that 

the thought of yelling at doctors and medical professionals

is completely horrendous 

again - why aren’t the truckers denouncing this?


every politician in the world has been dealt a bad hand

i like to think they did their best

but that time has passed

and it’s time for them all to step aside

and quit blocking up the hall

there needs to be new voices coming through

all of the old ways are exactly that

it’s a beautiful sunny winter sunday in toronto

change is in the air


feb 6 2022


Sunday, 20 June 2021



rock n roll is the story of bad fathers





it was the price of art

young men mostly

getting rich


and adored

plugged into the gravy train

and leaving a string of inconvenient children behind

time passed

and things changed

and as soon as their 40s kicked in

most of them became prodigal fathers

and invested in their kids lives

better late than never indeed

that said

some of them were better off staying away

for all you attentive dads

think of the mind set of your child if you weren’t around

i can’t fathom it

my saving grace as a father was that i showed up

warts and all

i kept showing up

and i’m lucky to have a circle of friends who do the same

show up

here’s your parents

we’re messy 

but we're here

lately i’ve been getting peace of mind 

by calling my friends 

and talking to them about choices i’m making with my son jackson

it’s somewhat of an informal mens group

where we speak with iron about our short comings

and occasional successes

it’s amazing how open we are

the stereo type denotes a tight lipped / keep it all inside kind of manly attitude

this couldn’t be further from the truth

hollywood has missed the mark on what it means to be a father

we’re no longer concerned with your dictating morals and personalities

we’re critical thinkers with compassion and somewhat verbose musings

i’m glad for this

i know of some estranged fathers

i have to be careful with this

having lost a son

i am unable to comprehend a scenario where you are not in contact with a child

who cares who did what

i would reach out no matter the circumstances

that said 

if you’re the cab driver i railed at a couple years ago

i apologize

i should mind my own business

when i was a young man of 20

i was with a woman

and we terminated a pregnancy

i was too young to understand the full impact of this

but i think about it almost everyday

and how different my life would be now

so when i say i’m pro life and pro choice

i mean it

these are changing times

and it takes a flexible mind to navigate through

being a father is the ultimate expression of love

it’s not for everyone


there are people i salute for not having added to the population

my father could catch fish in puddles

i’m good at bringing people together

just do what you’re good at

and do no harm

show up

and stay open to love

jackson’s readying the canoes

the lake is glass

the sun is strong

and i’m alive 


coffee and peanuts in the shell

Wednesday, 7 April 2021

Cocoa Beach

Cocoa Beach

it's beautiful here

lemon sunlight and 

slow breezes

i had coffee in bed for the first time in a year

that was nice

then i checked the socials to discover

it’s shain’s and bobby’s birthday

two good men

with soulful fingers

and ears tuned to satellites 

i posted about shain being with CAL since the 70s

and everyone started messaging me about my math and how that doesn’t add up

i realized that people don’t get me

or my sense of humour

that ripples into other parts of my life

i’ve been spending a lot of time with eric and his wife cindy

eric has all these fantastic stories about growing up in this unique part of america

i’m going to steal them and write a story!

he’s okay with that

cindy asked me if i had screamed at the ocean lately

so this morning i swam out far

and raged a bit

where’s my son?


salty tears and a return to the beach

cocoa beach is frill free

families come here to lounge in the sand

and play in the surf

kids everywhere

from all the different soups

it’s beautiful

and it works

some old guy on one of those fat tired bikes blasting a jeff beck cut from blow by blow

balls going missing

hovering birds

i don’t want to leave

then a rocket launch

just a couple miles away

a spark of brilliant orange and yellow


someone is going to space 

the best we can do

the summit of our humanity

having nasa so close is 


human beings are going to be okay

tomorrow i travel south to vero

and then to the keys 

where i’ll be playing guitar on the CCR show


i’m unsure of when i’ll return to toronto

jackson’s with a new puppy

ian’s at the house creating

my mum is cared for

i’m starting to feel the string unwind

time to spin free


april 7, 2021

starbucks coffee and scone