Sunday, 28 August 2011


when i was little
my dad called me in from the front yard
he knew i liked music
on the tv was a clip of the rolling stones
it was the 60s
and the clip was black and white
i can't remember the song
but i remember the feeling

a couple years later we crowded around
to see the beatles do hey jude on david frost

after that some of the older boys made fake guitars for us
and we started a pretend band in my garage

by the time i hit junior high i was distributing chum charts
they were a weekly mini foldout of all the songs on the radio
and their chart positions
i knew them all off by heart
still do

by high school i was in deep
banging away on a kent guitar that my dad traded a broken lawn mower for
we all traded licks in stairwells and burger joints
i remember my case open on a pinball machine
some older boys told me to move it
i told them to wait
i was busy learning the riff to china grove

a friend of mine in high school's cousin was jim kerr of simple minds
jim would send scott the papers from across the ocean
we were freaked out by the punk scene
the pictures were very much different from the kimonos and silk blouses
that were fashionable at that time
then one day scott brought in a sex pistols 45 jim had sent
god save the queen
we went back to my house and put it on
we had never heard anything like it
we didn't know anything about mosh pits or slam dancing
but we immediately started jumping around and banging into each other
i maintain that i was one of the first people in north america to ever hear
the sex pistols

our family vacations were spent wherever there was a beach
one of my parents favourite places to go was asbury park new jersey
beautiful beaches
the four of us would cram into a motel room
and hang out at the beach all day
i was always allowed to buy one album on family trips
i remember holding a copy of greetings from asbury park (springsteen's first lp)
i choose tommy instead because it was a double album
later the greetings album would have a deeply profound affect
on the way i listened to music
and the meaning i sought in it

as my father's business started to grow
so did our family vacations
but then i was old enough to be left at home by myself
my parents would return from jamaica
tanned and holding a stack of reggae 45s
big thick chunks of black vinyl
i used to listen to the music
and groove
at first it scared me
it was 1975
reggae was a term that very few people in north america knew
but i knew it
i was taken with the heavy dub
and the madness of the echo on the vocals
i thought nothing of it at the time
but now i wish for those singles
they've been left behind in several shuffles

i was a nobody in high school
average marks
no clique to hang with
a loner
i read a lot
and listened to a ton of music
playing along with what i could
then a band i threw together played at the high school
and everything changed
girls started paying attention
i knew the line was drawn
the cast was set

i stuck it for a year in college
then my band won the battle of the bands for all four campus'
and i knew there was no turning back
i quit college
quit my 4 year job at the hudson bay company (i sold albums)
broke up with my girlfriend
and hit the road

i was lost in bars for all of my 20s
all of them
non stop gigging
it was the 80s
and you could play seven nights a week - no problem
i had cash
a car
a cool place of my own
and i slept in every day

the girl i was living with at the time was from arkansas
originally from chattanooga tennesee
we spent a lot of time traveling down there
and so began my love of the south
and all the southern accents that blanketed life there
the flavour
the music
the pace
the vibe
i dug it
and the south began to weave into my dna
and the music i listened to began to change

when the 90s hit
i was unprepared
i got my heart broken
i was broke
my van was broke
and the gigs were drying up
i'm glad for this time
because this is the time for learning
i moved to the west end of the city
and did what all broke musicians do when the gigs dry up
i read philosophy
that went on for a couple months
then one day i got up and changed my life
got some money
fixed my van
made some band promo
and hit the road again
always heading for another joint

i met a beautiful girl
got married
had kids
i made a good living playing live music on the weekends
and composing music for television during the week
i arranged local cabaret shows that brought all the different artists
of my little italy neighbourhood together
money was good
and i was able to flex some muscle with my composing
i still receive royalty cheques
now and then i'll see a movie
or a show
and hear a piece of something i wrote in the background

when i came up with CAL
i knew immediately that everything in my life had led to this point
i was blind with ambition
and forceful with what i wanted to achieve
that was nine years ago
i remember telling everyone about it
i talked about it non stop
i had an idea and i shared it with everyone
everyone was supportive
that was a big part of the initial success
having everyone telling you to go for it

now my life resets
the series is just taking off
all of her
and we'll be there for her
with note for note accuracy

i'm about to put my family home up for sale
and do a brady bunch move with shari
i getting my will together
and i'm taking out life insurance
i'm filing corporate taxes in the united states
i'm hiring more musicians
i'm looking for a new house
and i'm starting a brand new venture
a very exciting jump forward
it's something that my entire live has been travelling towards
it's never been done before
like CAL
it's a brand new idea
i can't believe it's never been done

there's a cool wind creeping in tonight
the air is fresh with crackle
i have some early dylan on the turntable
change is coming
and i'm thinking about my life
and all the turns
they call it middle age
i think it's my third act
not quite winter
i turn fifty on friday
and this is my blog

august 29, 2011

Wednesday, 3 August 2011

The State of Rock n' Roll

i just watched the tom petty documentary
it was about four hours long
and it recharged my rock n' roll clock

tom tells it like it is
he is america's troubadour
he had this quote about today's rock stars being made on game shows
i thought that was exact

i have people in my life who love the idol shows
and all the banal derivatives
i can't see it
i can't hear it
there's no heart
there's nothing real
it's smoke and mirrors

i realize i'm from a different time
and that i'm no longer being marketed too
that's okay
because the world is mostly for young people to enjoy
that's always been the way it is

but right now it's about speed
how fast can i get there?
when do i get my reward?
what can i do to stay relevant?
speed kills
you wanna get there?
take the high road
and take in some sights along the way
the high road ain't the easy road
the high road means you gotta work your ass off
and practice
and play with lots of different musicians
no free rides baby

i have people in my life who like the kings of leon
they sound like a good bunch of guys
and some of them have beards
they probably took the high road for a while
now they just cancelled a major tour
and this affects me
because our agency in canada works with their opening act - the sheepdogs
i like the sheepdogs
they have a decent sound
and some solid writing
and beards too!
and they know how to stink up a cross country van
for me
that gives them credibility
the kings of leon cancelled their tour because one of them has exhaustion
you're on stage for 90 minutes a night and you have exhaustion?
i watched two guys tear down a roof in 90 degree heat today
i bet they do that at least three times a week
you'd think they would be pretty tired at the end of an eight hour day
i wonder if they phone in sick with exhaustion ever?
could you imagine?
'i can't come into work today - i have exhaustion'
pass the pink slip
the sheepdogs were all set to rock the world opening for kings of leon
now they have a massive task of finding new shows on short notice
this makes my agent tense
i like happy agents
happy agents are good for the series
at least they have some good news by being on the cover of rolling stone magazine

right now the music business is full of strong beautiful women
lady gaga - beyonce - katy perry - rhianna - clifton david
i don't know any of their music
but they all have sexy videos
with lots of boobies and bums
but this is not rock n' roll
i've been left behind
i figure that's the way things are supposed to be
but i have CAL
to remind me that true talent will always find a place in the world

this past weekend we played two flawless dark side shows in florida
i don't know if pink floyd classifies as rock n' roll
i always think of rock n' roll music as little richard or the stones
or the beatles
maybe rock n' roll is an attitude
a way to get through life
question authority
work hard
pursue happiness

august 3, 2011
milk and a peanut butter and honey sandwich