You probably are aware that I have recently stopped writing in this journal. Maybe my thought was to hold it a bit closer and not give so much of myself. Maybe I just had nothing to say. I'll go with that.
Well, here we go. The wheels are starting to turn again. I won't even touch the story about the ‘right wings’ chosen candidates for president. They make it too easy. No I would like to talk about what is relevant in the art world. My daughter who is 23 yrs old loves the Rolling Stones. She also listens to Lady Gaga. All three of my daughters are going to see Madonna. My wife would just love to go to Pittsburgh Penguins hockey games.. I, on the other hand find myself immersed in old big band swing and jazz lately. I have driven farther and farther from mainstream pop music. And in the last few years find myself quite a distance away from where my mind maybe was 25 years ago. I guess that’s normal, but I doubt it. I never followed a pattern that I can tell.
I heard a live Robert Cray song tonight on the radio that moved me. I was at a small club where a young songwriter was playing to a handful of people and it moved me. I listened while a performance poet gave his all in between sets at a venue in Cleveland, and was moved..
The point I think I am trying to make is this. If a piece of art is created, performed, shown, acted out, or whatever, and is not seen or heard, or at least not heard by many, is it relevant?
What if the truth about God, or Jesus, or Mohammad or any other spiritual leader or ideology that entices a following, is only given to a few? Or none at all? Is the truth less relevant?
So anyway. I may not listen to much Beatles or Snoop Dog, Taylor Swift or even the new Springsteen but I still believe in the art form. I will however keep an ear open while walking through the forest. Just in case that great tree falls and makes a sound, and I am the only one who hears it..
It can be understood with great reflection, that what we have lived through will affect the path we take. The only problem with this theory is the folks who have past are not here to speak, and the folks that are here tend not to study what came before. So what we are left with is history destined to repeat.
I am sitting here watching my good friend, Tom Breiding on television talk and sing about the history of work in the steel mills and coal mines in and around Pittsburgh. I am touched by his knowledge of the plight of families affected by inequality and the struggle to bring some semblance of order to the lives of the hard workers who labored so hard for so long. My mind is turned now to the current situation of financial inequality in our country, and the plight of the current labor force.
I have watched the recent series on the History Channel called "Vietnam in HD". After sitting and looking and seeing the sorry war script and ineptitude from the politicians, I am brought back to Afghanistan and Iraq. History repeats, no question about it.
As Tom Breiding says," we owe much to the people who came before". Too bad bad we never seem to learn from them.....
Sometimes I worry about things. Things like paying the bills and such. Kids welfare, and whether the grandkids need flu shots or not. These are things I can do something about. Get more work, nag the children, and all that. But there are situations that really confound me. Shit I can't do a damn thing about. And I don't worry about that crap anymore. Now this is the stuff that pisses me off, because I don't mind worrying. Keeps my mind busy. When I pace, I get a bit of excercise as well. Now I'm more relaxed, but that ain't gettin me anywhere. No fun in that. Being relaxed and well adjusted does not give me that excuse to be a drug addict, alcoholic, or mad man..See, this would probably be good for my career. "Crazy Drunk Shoots Up On Stage To A Screaming Crowd'. Think Ryan Adams, maybe Shane MacGowan... So anyway, here I am listening to John Lee Hooker and Muddy Waters, soaking in the blues, and for some strange reason, it's making me feel better then ever. I don't get it..But my mojo is working better then ever..
Hope your doing well too.
Glenn Beck wants his flock to believe we have so much to fear. Although he'll say "I am no fearmonger'. If we don't go to church and get rid of our president, we are doomed. Who in their right mind walks this road?? Let me think. Is Beck saying, things can no longer exist with so much wrong? Our country (The U.S.A. by the way) was founded on the idea of diversity and freedom, but was labored and built by a people sold into bondage. Are things that bad? I must have missed something. Funny how this guy who is a millionaire (w/ healthcare) can move people with talk of doom, when in reality, he has no clue what doom is.. How old is he by the way? Did he march against Vietnam? Did he stand up for civil rights? Has he done any community service? I think maybe he and his pal Palin should walk desolation row before he defines for me what's doomed and destined for total collapse. This country (remember U.S.A) has seen about as bad and miserable situations as there is. Slavery, civil war, corruption, the great depression, two world wars, Vietnam, Iraq, the deplorable condition of labor in the mills and mines in the 19th and 20th century, the health care in this country, and it's treatment of the elderly, just to mention a few.. And there will be more. But the sky will not fall. The earth won't roll off its axis. The sun won't go out, ladies and gentlemen. Political activism is pragmatic. To solve any problems, such as unemployment, we need dialog, not threats.
It is also very convenient for Beck and Palin to use God as the source of this movement.
Think for a change....
But then again, it is the U.S.A. You are welcome to say what you want. But let's leave God out of it. I believe he has more important problems to deal with other then a bunch of middle class white people singing amazing grace (without much soul, by the way). Can I get an Amen.
This past week, one of my guitar students, and a fine young man, Wil Kondrich and his band, 'Hot Metal Bridge' won the battle of the bands contest that they were in. I could not be any happier for these guys. It is such a positive sign, that there are teenagers out there with guitars and drums ready to take on the world. . Congratulations men...
Yesterday, a very talented guitar player, Glenn Pavone passed away from complications due to cancer. Throughout the years we would share gigs together. Glenn with Billy Price or his own band, the Cyclones. Me with Joe Grushecky and the Houserockers. I can't say we ever became great friends, but we would always have kind words to say to each other. I last saw Glenn at the 'Guitars Over Cancer' benefit show in June. Again, he kindly asked if I was working a lot, and I asked how he was feeling. Small talk. He always seemed to be unselfish. Even on stage, he was more relaxed a little behind the front. Never a person who seemed to have to prove anything.
I feel deeply sorry for his wife and family, and all the folks he touched with his music. I know I feel it.. Peace now brother...
From the birth of one to the passing of another, we learn so much about this life.
When the world breaks in two
Red on one side, blue the other
I hope you are safe
Of course, I will long be gone
A soldier, was I, this is for you to know
For the hungry, orphaned, lonely, poor
The truth of all is this
Destruction rarely comes from outside
For it is from within, I believe
This is where fear drives its nail
This is where hatred is begat
This is where paranoia can seize
And destroy the basic assumption
That all are created equal
That freedom is divine
When the world breaks in two
It will not be of right and left
But rather nicely in the center
Fanaticism, without compromise
Religion, which takes Gods name
As well as peace
The common soul is filled
With indignation, but has no recourse
Only to pray and plead to
Their enraged creator
In the distance, someone is playing John Coltrane
It is narrowly known (only by a few) that I, with slight fanfare, celebrated my forty ninth year of living. This event brought me a surprising, feeling of comfort. I would have guessed, that standing next to fifty would be a time of great anxiety. But I believe, I am more content, and the ground beneath my feet more solid then ever. Not necessarily a pillar of concrete, but one that is more easy to walk upon. To all my friends, I thank you for making my journey worth the price of the ticket. I will look deep into the darkness, into the light, into the sadness, into the face of happiness, and know I am being, and living with purpose. I'll keep listening. I will also continue to report my findings.
Peace to all..
See you at the bar,
What's on my mind for 2010:
- When you live with women, they will always have the last say. So I will be the first to 'Shut Up'.
- I'll let them fight amongst themselves. They'll have less energy on me.
- When the tape is rolling, roll a big one.
- It doesn't take balls to get on stage, just social anxiety to keep you out of the crowd.
- I wrote a song once. Now I'm trying to figure out how it's going to end.
- I love to tour, but hate the travelling.
- I'll overcome fear. I won't leave the house.
- I won't say anything political, but I will politicize the words I use to describe the truth.
- I won't complain about the heat in the summer, cause I'm FREEZING my ass off right now..
- I passed the age to know I will never be a big league ballplayer. But haven't hit the age where I want my balls forgotten.
- I won't bitch about life, because I'm not so sure about the alternative.
The wheels keep turning....
Happy New Year
I know they're coming for my nuts. You know what I mean. The leaders of these fields are planning to send the farmers (armed with bigger nuts) to come and take away my nuts. The nuts our forefathers fought and died for, let me tell you. When they first came here, one of the first things they said was, "let all, who choose, possess as many nuts as they want." Well, maybe that was the second thing said, but no matter.
I am a responsible nut owner. My nuts are locked up and the kids cannot get to 'em. Of course when little Charleton turns eight, he will be given his first 'intro' nut. What's this land coming to when good, decent, nut owners are targeted like that. I see it now. All those left wingers out to grab my nuts.They'll have to pry my nuts out of my cold stiff hands before I just give them over.
I am a responsible nut owner. I am licensed and have had the required background check. For the most part, I don't use my nuts a lot. I just like to hold them in my hand once and awhile, just to feel that I have my manhood still intact.