This is about Music, as it is with me.
While growing up I listened to 60's and 70's music. My step father had a whole wall of 8-track tapes.
America, The Beatles, CSN, and Y, The Eagles, The Rolling Stones, Doobie Brothers, The Mamas & the Papas, Led Zeppelin, the list goes on.. to Elton John, Linda Ronstadt, Kiss, KC and the Sunshine Band, Sonny & Cher, Donny & Marie, the Bay City Rollers. The list still goes on..
Once I was around Music being made, I became aware of 'music electronics'. How to hook things up right. Why stuff sounded like it did or did what it did, and not to trust atoms. They make everything up you know. Shocking, isn't it?
In the early 1980's I learned how to play the guitar.
I graduated in 1985. I knew what good Music was, and as far as playing the guitar, well I knew most of the basic chords and scales, and I knew how to play it and the importance of tuning, but I wasn't really into Making Music.
In late 1997, I moved to Southern Maryland.
Solomons Island, you know.
My life changed dramatically.
Soon I was making made Music sound good, and even making Music myself. I could go on and on and on, and on some more how I felt about Music, from the 'business' side of it (not necessarily the businass side, you know..), to performing live and reacting to reactions. She was with me when I woke, stayed with me all day and all night, and even came to hang out with me when I was visiting Morpheus.
It was just an outstanding thing.
Even though this long dialog is supposed to be about just Music and Me, well, I met Barb.
An outstanding thing became outstandinger.
I was mugged or something 13 years and 87 days ago. I was in a coma for a few days, and the doctors said a trauma common with brain injury is to lose the last 15 minutes of one's memory, so it is no suprise to me that my last memory after a night like this, is flashing my headlights to a friend of mine as he turned to go down his street, then waking up in a hospital.
Thanks Ricardo and Rosie for visiting me. Thanks also Steve, for visiting me, for the guitar, and definitely the crab sandwich! Which, needless to say but I'll say it anyway, was WAY better than the hospital food.. So I guess thanks are also owed to whoever let you bring that in.
Not only do I not remember the before, during, and after of whatever happened, I lost Music. More specifically, the Feeling of Music. I quickly re-obtained the recognition/logic/theory part, but the feeling part has become teasingly elusive.
On the 22nd of August, 2004 my friends organized a Benefit for me. Financially, it put a big dent in my medical bills. Who knew a helicopter ride cost so much? Mentally, it was super. In Southern Maryland, some of the best and dearest people in the world made their way into my heart. Again. They had to position themselves around, themselves.. Musically, well, I heard it and I saw it, but I didn't feel it. Not even when I saw and heard some of the coolest people in the world that I have ever grooved with making it.
I hooked up with a bluesy rock and roll band, operating their PA system.
It was good to be involved with Music again. I still didn't really feel it, but I was around good Music and some real good Music people again. It was a good thing.
I was soon working with Butch, the drummer for that band, in his daytime 'home improvement/repair' type of gig. I was the official wheelbarrow & shovel operator and brick cleaner. It was a great job. I liked the two guys I was working with and the homeowner & her caretaker very much. If my 'work time' would be or was affected by my 'band job', it was never an issue, because my boss was the drummer for that band!
On that job I met Andrew, doing stone mason operations there, who used to play the bass in that band. All in all a real cool and very good to know guy.
We talked about Music, and he turned me on to Music Night. A Soul Fix that has occured every Thursday night, for the past 25 years or so, in a living room, with a handful (sometimes a small handful, sometimes a BIG handful) of amazing people/musicians, acoustic guitars, whisky, sometimes a banjo or two, sometimes a mandolin or two, an upright bass, sometimes a fiddle or cello or flute or dulcimer, and always vocalists. Sometimes even an autoharp And/Or a kazoo or three. Soul Fixings are here.
It is absolutely the greatest thing. Even the chit-chats are often highlighting, enlightening and hilarious. I can not and probably never will be able to express just how important Music Night is to me or how much and often I think about it.
Being in this circle for the past 10 years or so, making music with and knowing the great people there is very similar to my move to Southern Maryland in that neither is just the start of another chapter, but each is a whole new damn book! I've learned quite well how to wreck a train.
I have stopped playing my guitar. I have been trying to play a Cabasa again. These same great people have had to hear me for about 2 years and 42 days, and for some reason at times it seems to be a very difficult instrument for me to play. As simple as it should be. Now, when I jam with the people that I've been grooving with, they may not mind or maybe they may not even like my 'contribution' at times to their songs, but they have yet to tell me to stop making so much noise with that thing. Maybe I'm not too bad, they're being patient, or they're just being very polite. Politeness and Music Night are two words that aren't two words and they'll never be in the same sentence, because we're not polite there, except when we are.
When I really get into a groove, and even though they say it isn't too loud, it is TO ME. Some songs though I just love and I play the heck outta that thing! Even though the Feel comes back occasionally, she rarely stays around for long..
I wrote this page about 3 years and 115 days before the first decade of the Benefit. It took me less than an hour to write it up, more than a few days to add to it, delete from it or edit it for whatever reason, but it has seemed like millions of lifetimes before I could 'publish' it. I wanted to wait until August 22, 2014, though, as sort of a thank you page for everybody (here's a few of you!) on this very special day for me. Which actually isn't much more special than every day, because of this.
So, after making a long story longer, all I can say is Thanks. You have definitely made your ways into my heart. Although you were already there. I do hope you have made it thru this barrage of text, links and image pop-ups.