Monday, 25 July 2011

Rock n' Roll Parenting

i've told this story before
but it's worth retelling
when my oldest son was nine
he wanted to buy the green day american idiot album
first song there's swearing
'dad - why are they swearing'
they're a punk band
'what's a punk band?'
kind of like a protest band
'what are they protesting?'
listen some more and you tell me
we listen
'the war?'
sounds that way yes
'why is there a war in iraq?'

and there it was
one song
a couple questions
and i'm talking foreign policy with my son
i tell him about other protest songs
he asks if bob dylan was a protest singer
i told him he was not

my kids are being raised in a split family
no one ever thought this would happen
but things just get in the way
and one day you're afloat in a sea of mistakes
mostly mine
so i live with this guilt of splitting up my family
once at a dinner party i was talking about this with a shrink
i don't do the shrink thing
but it was uncanny how acute her quick observation was
and how she offered one little piece of advice - apologize to your kids
i did
and still do

i know a lot of people from split families
i think that there has been a new way of thinking about this
i don't know why but i think that sharing music with your kids
is like a warm fuzzy bandaid
i'm not talking about the banal baby songs during the formative years
i'm talking about putting on some beatles and singing along
or telling them the smoke on the water story
i feel like this gives them a true insight into who their parents are
everyone's got song stories
sometimes they're the best stories to tell

and so there we were
hiking and climbing
sleeping under the stars
eating what we could carry
my and my two boys
scraped up knees
and arms covered in bites
we swam out into the middle of a lake
my youngest - jack - the adventure boy - always taking the lead
my oldest - luke - by my side - wary of the weeds
'dad - have you ever smoked pot?'
oh boy
i run a tight ship
there's lots of rock n' roll stuff
but it's not like the corner of haight ashbury
there's a part of me that wants to lie
and there's a part of me that can appeal to his rebellious side
i opt for the truth
yes i tell him
'a lot?'
no i tell him
i tell him that i was more into making money and meeting girls
and that i had my own car when i was seventeen
and that was a ton of responsibility
no pills no powders son
doing anything like that is telling me that you've decided to become
financially independent
and won't need my help anymore
i think he got it
the lie would have been exposed
i'd got enough to atone for already
we swam out to a small island together
he smiled at me in the water
his beautiful eyes full of love
i felt it
a quiet bond
rock n' roll

later that night
by the fire
the three of us sat close
i had my guitar
and played them workingman blues
and clay pigeons
they rubbed their eyes
kissed me
and both crawled into the tent
i stayed awake a while longer
took a small flask of whiskey from my pack
played a couple more songs
watching the fire ebb
and in that moment
i forgave myself for previous transgressions

july 25, 2011
coffee and blueberries

Friday, 8 July 2011

Entrepreneur of the Year Wrap Up

i'm out
i did not make it to the entrepreneur of the year finals
i called it all along

i did not connect with the judges
one of them was scared of me
another told me that he didn't like music
one cat smiled politely and nodded

a lot of the entrants were variations of
resource capital trust income merger fund
all good people providing jobs

i just wasn't in their league
nor were they in mine

i never do things that don't feel right
i can tell the way a shows gonna go
from the get go

and i always get into trouble when i follow instead of lead

i got a nice call from chris at ernst and young
hope to see him at some shows

right now i'm working out the details
on which musicians play on which album
i've got a massive column of shows
lighting up north america
lots of work for lots of players
note for note perfection
sublime moments
that moment of shivers when for fifteen seconds
a musician soars

no imitations
no costumes
no cheese
and certainly no more competitions

july 8, 2011

Warren Hudson

good lord
it's all going on today
the band is phoning and sending a flurry of funny emails to each other
jimmy cassells is supposed to be working
he works at long and mcquade's office
but i don't think he's done squat all day

and the spinning wheel spins in mysterious ways

we grew up in scarborough
a blue collar working class united nations suburban neighbourhood
moms stayed home with their kids
and the dads all left in the mornings to go to work
there were lots of kids

warren hudson was one of our gang
it was 1965
golden summers
i have movies of us all
moved over from 8mm

warren moved away by 68
maybe 69
the years get fuzzy
i have fleeting memories of him
but he moved to the other side of the tracks
to rick vatours neighbourhood
which was basically a mirror image of ours
and they all hung out like we would of if we lived closer

warren went on to play with the cfl
that's canadian football
and there is a difference
he had a couple defining games
he lit up the field more than once
i was always blown away that i knew someone on the bombers and the argos
it was a proud moment for many of us

now warren's sick
so rick phoned me up
and put together a fund raiser
to help warren's family out during some tough times
i can't say enough about how beautiful a thing this is
they booked a club
sold tickets
and now not only is it sold out
but it's oversold
and we're ready to rock

we have the midnite ramblers reforming
with rick on drums
it's important to note that these guys all grew up in scarborough
if fact i have a saying:
if you want something done - give it to a middle aged man in scarborough

i haven't really seen warren in about 42 years
he showed up at one of the phoenix gigs
it was heavy
i was at the sound board
and i got that feeling that someone was staring at me
i turned around and there's this guy looking at me smiling
40 years later i can connect him to the face
big smile
i asked about his family
and then had to get back to the mix
tonight i'll really connect with him
and we'll rock the house
because that's what we do
we do what we do best
can't wait

july 8, 2011