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

pandemic?

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

everyday

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


and

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


but 

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

so

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

fine

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?

shame


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



craig

feb 6 2022

coffee








Sunday, 20 June 2021

Fathers

 Fathers

rock n roll is the story of bad fathers

gone

drunk 

high 

missing

it was the price of art

young men mostly

getting rich

famous

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

thankfully

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 



craig

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?

why?

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

thunder

someone is going to space 

the best we can do

the summit of our humanity

having nasa so close is 

affirming 

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

outdoors

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



craig

april 7, 2021

starbucks coffee and scone

Thursday, 18 March 2021

Reflections On the Past Year

 Reflections on the Past Year


1. My internal voice has turned into a press conference. I envision a panel asking me if having a smoothie for dinner is a wise choice?


2. I’m good enough on piano now to play with a heavily drinking bar band that performs to people who are also drinking heavily.


3. The vaccination was painless. I felt euphoric afterwards - so much so that I’m flying away on 

Monday. But I’m going to treat the world like I have not had a vaccination. Dez experienced a tinge of lethargy after his vaccination but I put that down to his being exponentially older than I am.


4. CAL has been powering through. After launching concerts off my front lawn we were able to make the jump to the Empire in Belleville and stream 20+ shows from there. Mark Rashotte and I have the best partnership I’ve ever encountered. Nothing signed. No long winded conversations. In fact, here’s a little inside scoop: this summer we’re performing at a drive-in in Toronto, very close to water with a very large esteemed symphony orchestra from Toronto. I wanted to make sure that everyone who attends has a clear view of the orchestra so I called Mark: 

Me: Any chance your guys would like to help us out broadcasting a performance onto a drive-ins screens?

Mark: Absolutely!

Me: Great.

And that was it. This is the way the world should work.


5. Plain organic yogurt. Fresh orange pieces. Blueberries. Squished nuts. Crumbled oat cookie. Maple syrup. Mix. Call me and thank me.


6. ‘Call Of the Wild’ is the best movie available for you to watch tonight. 


7. I think the Grammy’s proved that celebrity culture and worship is not only dead but vapid. I realize that I’m no longer being marketed to, but it feels like celebrity entitlement is on the downslope. Health care workers and those on the frontlines are worthy of our thanks, adoration and love. Next time you’re going to buy a product slammed down your throat by a so called influencer, spend that money on a coffee gift card and drop it by your local healthcare unit. (it feels good to do this). Need more proof? Next time a celebrity is speaking, listen for how many sentences start with “I”. Next time a health care worker is speaking listen for how many sentences start with “we”.


8. I’m at the age where I’ve noticed that many people who continually do a lot of exercise that puts stress on their body are having pain. Entropy is creeping in. Walking is nice. Some gentle stretches. Light weights. Don’t hurt yourself. And don’t push it if you’re over 50. So many people are chiming in with exercise related ailments. I’m no expert but there seems to be cause and effect within this tiny study of mine.


9. I should be bald. Balder. The one thing I liked about Trump was his combover. He had that shit down. I aspire to that kind of art. But man, all this time in the house has really shone a light on how much hair I shed. I’m a mess of a man.


10. CAL is more than a concert series. It’s a social gathering. I miss the musicians so much. And I miss watching the crowd from the back of the room. The bobbing heads. The hands clapping. The smiles on people leaving the theatre. The feeling of being in a room together and experiencing the greatest music ever documented. I recently gave a lecture for UCF and the students asked ‘why wouldn’t we just stay home and listen to the album?” A valid question. I rationed with that thinking there would be no reason to not visit art galleries or vistas or architecture or cinemas. The communal feeling - this is he current that our lives need to feel connected. And isn’t that the point of it all?


I send love to everyone’s family.



Craig

Plain organic yogurt. Fresh orange pieces. Blueberries. Squished nuts. Crumbled oat cookie. Maple syrup.

March 2021







Sunday, 1 November 2020

Animals

 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

wow

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



craig

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



craig



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