05-21-14-My Morning Thoughts: “wishing out loud” We all should be able to splurge a little every now and then ya know, this is what I’m thinking about next payday, …nice big steaks on the grill, big baked potatoes, peppers onions and mushrooms with olive oil slow roasting, Italian cut green beans and some garlic butter chargrill shrimp on the side…screw waiting for payday, Honey I’m cooking tonight!!!!...plain and simple.
05-20-14-My Morning Thoughts: I am so into controversy this fine morning…watch out. Is there a reason why when two people or two groups or two anything not agreeing on a particulate subject should end any said argument/disagreement with conflict or anger? I mean one believes what he or she believes and that’s just the way it is. So often these things end with conflict or hostility when in reality they both still believe what they believe…right? If you’re arguing a topic and no one compromises or leans to the other side then you should be just the same way you were before the topic started I would think. Nothing’s changed so why get-worked-up? You still have your beliefs and they have theirs and they didn’t change your mind and you didn’t change their mind and there ya have it…a stalemate a draw a deadlock a tie a standstill a logjam…shake hands and try again another day, if your beliefs warrant it…still friends forever…plain and simple.
05-19-14-My Morning Thoughts: “it’s long overdue” It seems strange to me that we often drift away from family and friends only to reunite at weddings and funerals. I know there’s a reason for this and it’s called…LIFE!...But, when you catch up at these events and see these people that you haven’t seen in years and it clicks like you never left each other’s side it just makes me stop and think…WHY do we let this go!...I mean these are people that help me become me!...I do try and stay in touch however I know I should be doing more…this fine Monday before the day is done I’m calling, not texting or e-mailing or FB or snap chat or tweeting but calling somebody important to me while I still can!!…it’s long overdue…plain and simple.
05-16-14-My Morning Thoughts: The Gig Stories: #5 no real order… The first time I ever played solo at Ohio University was at a bar called Swanky’s. It was my first week of my freshman year at OU and I hadn’t met all my professors yet. I was playing this open mic type thing and there were about 5 people in the bar (other than musicians) when it was my turn to get up and play. When I get on the stage about as nervous as one can be and get ready to take the world by storm (in my mind) my very first strum of my very first song I break a string!!!! I didn’t have any extra strings so I just kind-a-froze for a moment and then started to get off the stage and look for a corner to hide in…I was thinking to myself that’s it, I’m never doing this again it’s just to frigging embarrassing! As I stepped off the stage another guitar player walked up and said where ya going? I said I’m done, this aint for me…he replied…”you can use my guitar if ya want”…now I’m thinking how cool is that, I guy that doesn’t even know me has offered me his guitar to play my set. It completely and absolutely changed my perspective of the entire incident in a split second as my emotional state went from no self-esteem, to at least some level of normalcy self-esteem I would say…anyway, I play the set with his guitar, I walk off the stage and thanked him for the kindest he offered to me in my moment of despair…and when the night was over and I was walking back to my dorm I was actually saying…man I was ready to quit playing forever because of one stupid embarrassing moment and if it wasn’t for the kindest of a perfect stranger, a fellow musician, I might have walked out a never played again. The next morning I get to my Psych 101 class for the first time and who do you think my professor was?...Yep, the guy that graciously lent me his guitar last night!...now this was a good thing and a bad thing at the same time because good that there were plenty of musician’s and places to play in Athens however bad because there were plenty of places to play in Athens if ya know what I mean…I did stay there around four years writing and playing songs but I retired early from the school part…anyway, guitar players normally don’t offer their guitar’s to perfect strangers to play but at that moment in time I realized there are good considerate genuine people in this world and don’t let anybody tell you different!...well I have years upon years of gig stories and I may revisits’ the topic in the future but until then, have a great safe weekend everyone and enjoy every moment you can…plain and simple.
05-15-14-My Morning Thoughts: The Gig Stories: #4 no real order… While waiting in line with probably a hundred bands or so to audition at a place called Ponderosa Park we had way too much fun! This place was an outdoor venue and had the history of every country act you could name or think of play there at one time or another. Willy Nelson, Dolly Parton, Kenny Rodgers, John Michael Montgomery I mean every country artist from old to new (at this time) played this place!...we were the only Rock band auditioning but it didn’t matter cause I had written a bunch of country rock type songs and we had plenty of material to give it a shot…We decided to camp out at the place and hang out there the night before because it just made sense because auditions started at like 8 or 9 the next morning….maybe not such a good idea. We camped, we drank, we ate and played songs around the camp fire till it was daylight! At some point one of the guys said hey, we got to get to the auditions we only have a few minutes before we thought we had to go on! So we grab what we needed ran down to this stage and proceeded to stand in line backstage with all these bands. This backstage long hallway was kind of like a long enclosed shoot that once you’re in, there aint no turning back. Did I mention we were up all night eating drinking and playing music…anyway, this audition took hours to move all the bands along and of course we had no shower and no water and no bathroom accessible since…whenever? …all I can tell ya from this point on is there aint no band in that confined space hallway that would ever want to be around our band ever again…if ya catch my drift!!!!!...well after we played and started to leave, the running joke by this time was…Man that American Front Band (that was our name then) was really really good…but man do they stink!!!!...plain and simple.
05-14-14-My Morning Thoughts: The Gig Stories: #3 no real order… When we entered the “American Dream Festival” in 1989-1990ish (kind-a like and early American Idol thing) we had high expectations. It was a battle of the bands throughout North America and me, Steve, Rick & Al wanted to win! We played in clubs and you had to keep winning week after week club after club until the finals, and we made it to the grand finale and won the Cleveland section that allowed us to move on to the Las Vegas competition. Every finalist came from Canada & the US from winning their battle of the bands from which the cities they came from. We all played at a place called the Shark Club in Vegas for the semi-finals and I thought we played great! We didn’t really know what was next so we flew home Sunday night and thought we represented Cleveland proud! On Tuesday we got a call and they said you made it to the top ten and you have to return Friday and perform with the other finalist at the Stardust Casino in their Sahara Club…now this was pretty cool because there were hundreds upon hundreds of bands that started this competition and we made it to the top ten!...anyway, I “borrow” money from my parents and we fly back again that Friday. Each band played one song and there were other acts competing in different categories; comedians, models etc….Dick Van Patton and his wife were the MC’s of the show and as we were waiting in the wings for the outcome…Dick Van Patton leans over next to me and said “I thought you guys were the best band”….well anyway again, we didn’t win but we got the bronze medal in the North American Dream Festival…what a gig and not to bad either to be third in all of North America!…and it was cool at the time to receive the award from Dick Van Patton cause I was a big Eight is Enough fan too, LOL…plain and simple.
05-13-14-My Morning Thoughts: The Gig Stories: #2 no real order… While playing some Club in Chardon Ohio to over 250 of our wonderful fans (which pretty much packed the place) and just rocking our butts off, on one of those nights that everything was just rolling perfect, a funny thing happened. Well maybe not that funny but anyway, when we were done I went into the back room to get our big 250 bucks. The manager of the place handed me an envelope with 50 bucks in it and I said…what is this? The manager proceeded to tell me that all the people in the club came to see the other band so this is what you get! Now I use to have a short temper back in the day before I gained all this wisdom of age but for some rare reason (and I don’t know why) I just said do you really think that’s true? And of course he said, yes. I said are you sure? He said yes!...so I walked out, told my band mates and we all comely started telling everyone that came to see us that we got stiffed! And we also told them that we were leaving and we are going to E. 219, build a fire and have an unplugged jam…every single one of our fans walked out of the club and started following each other to E. 219. It looked like a presidential motor cade!!! The manager runs out of the club and we were just about done loading up our equipment to leave and said Larry why are all the people leaving just when the “headliner band” started playing? I just said, “a deals a deal and our fans are faithful fans and I guess they just came to see us” …the place was empty but I got to tell ya I felt really bad for the other band, however I did get to tell the other band what was going on and why everyone was leaving…and their singer told me, “that’s the coolest thing I ever saw, it sucks for us right now, but it’s the coolest thing I ever saw”…plain and simple.
05-12-14-My Morning Thoughts: The Gig Stories: #1 no real order… We had just started our first song at this big club (I think it was Flash Gordon’s) on the far west side of Cleveland one night and two members of Kiss walk in the place. Now we were opening for (oh man I can’t remember his name, he wrote or sang “He can’t love you like I love” when he was with the Michael Stanley Band) anyway, we only had limited time and so many songs we could play within like a 45 min set or something. So the guitar player from Kiss (won’t mention any names…) wants to play my lead guitarist (the amazing Steve Martin) guitar…now any other time this would be kind of a cool thing but at this particular time I’ll tell you why it wasn’t. We had to pre-sell tickets for this gig and we sold like 175 tickets to our ever supporting fans that paid 8 bucks to hear us for 45 min! I remember Steve trying to explain to this guy something like listen after we do our set you can do what you want but we only have so much time and during this little, I’ll call it a commotion (which was cutting into our time) one of our friends and biggest fans (Kelly) said to this guitar player listen, you get to play for thousands of people all the time just let the band here finish their set and we’ll go from there. Now those weren’t the exact words and it wasn’t that cordial but at the end of the “discussion” Kelly walked over to me, took off his red bandana from his head, wrapped it around my boot and said…these are the only rock stars playing on this stage at this time!...we finished our set, including an all-out-rocking encore of “Someday”, and while we were breaking down our equipment off the stage that guitar player walked by and said…”man your someday isn’t that far away and you got a nice sound”…now that was definitely worth all the commotion a the start…plain and simple.
05-09-14-My Morning Thoughts: “the gig stories” I have met so many musicians through the years, some famous but normally just non-famous musicians like me. The experiences shared are vast when you really get the time to listen. Almost every working musician has a bad story about a gig that went wrong, or how they got stiffed by the club owner or how a fight broke out and fell into the band! But all those musicians I’ve met and had some serious conversations with always come back to the one common denominator…”the love of music” and that’s why we do it! We all have our war stories but we also have hundreds of great stories at a moment’s notice….I really should write some of the stories down sometime before I forget-em all…I wonder if there’s any place a musician could write down stories of past gigs?...LOL…plain and simple.
05-08-14-My Morning Thoughts: You guys do know that yesterday was a “what if you only had one more post in you what would it be” ????...and thank you all for your warm responses but I hope you know I can’t really stop just yet because “WE” haven’t corrected all the wrong in this world! But I got say we are making our little dent in it…and I just thought of one that may help out………….Higher Education? I’m wondering if the politicians of today should start campaigning about how this country needs tradesmen. Seems like the work force is dwindling in these very lucrative much needed areas. I heard there are like 600,000 thousand trade jobs and apprentice positions out there that can’t be filled because more and more high school students are told they need a college education to succeed in the world. The councilor’s need to change their tune in a hurry! Just ask all the college graduates that you know that owe 50 or 60 thousand on their loans and paying 4 or 5 or $600 bucks a month for the next ten years! Oh, and did I forget to mention the majority have jobs that pay just over the minimum wage for the first 3 or 4 years!...I’m not dogging college per say but I am here to tell ya, not every high school student is made for a 4 year college and that’s not bad or good that just is…plumbers, carpenters, electricians and welders all have apprentice positions that provide a direction and a knowledge for students to achieve success after high school. After these apprenticeships some of these students go on to make over 100K a year. Now that is serious money (that I never made) that can add up to that big slice of the American dream to be sure!...when I hear that shop class and woods class are being cut from school to school across this country it makes me ask the BIG question…who’s going to know how to work with their hands anymore? And I don’t mean hands on a computer, I mean working with their hands and their ‘construction knowhow brains’ to figure out how to get a job done like building bridges and laying sewers and hanging power lines…this is kind of important stuff don’t ya think? Anyway, in your travels if you know of some young people looking for advice for their future, don’t be afraid to let them know…there are options out there that don’t require starting out thousands of dollars in the hole…is education needed, absolutely! Does all education come from a 4 year degree, absolutely not!...some need to try other things, find their own niche and work at it…plain and simple.