Monday, January 6, 2020

New Year...Not So New Me

The Holidays were a whirlwind of cooking, entertaining, gift procurement, decorating, music making, and catching up with family and friends - all while being in the studio and on and off the road. While all of this was going on, I was slowly making an increasingly daunting list of things I would get around to when normal life resumed. Tomorrow is that day and I’m out of excuses. There are old debts to pay, old habits to break, and new obstacles to overcome, and I’m not quite ready to face it. Scrolling through yards of new-year-new-me positive aspirations on social media have not inspired me so much as they have filled me with the usual existential dread. But I’m game. Despite a healthy dose of late-middle-age exhaustion, I am still eager to learn and love and make music. And however it goes for me, I wish you all the best year, and the best you. 🖤

The After Christmas Blog

Christmas is over...but merry Christmas to you. And Happy Hanukkah! I hope your holidays were wonderful, and that your heart grew three sizes, and that you carved the roast beast.
You are the people who keep me going when I want to give up. When you tell me my songs got you through a hard part of your life, or made you happy when you were sad, or made you sad, but in a good way. When you show up to hear me play when I leave my cozy home and my wife and my cats to go on the road and live in hotel rooms and airports for half the year. Yes, I also have a nice gig playing big stages with a rock legend, and I am lucky to be there, but that is only part of my musical story. The other half is the part that you make possible. Have a safe and happy new year, and enjoy the song below - technically it's a tune about Boxing Day, but really it's about love, and how amazing it is when everyone is compelled, if even just for a minute, to be a little more kind to each other.♥️

Monday, September 24, 2018

Happy Birthday Mr. Springsteen

Happy 69th birthday to Bruce Springsteen!

Yes, it’s true I got to play a tune with The Boss when he sat in with John Fogerty in London back in 2012, but what’s meaningful about him to me has little to do with that career moment and everything to do with being a fan.In 1981, I was 15 years old and living in New Jersey, where I was born and raised. My friend Janeen - who was two years older than me, and therefore knew stuff - was a true Springsteen fanatic. She began my indoctrination by loaning me “Born To Run,” “Darkness on the Edge Of Town,” “The River” and that bootleg of the 1978 Winterland Ballroom show. On vinyl, of course.

I lost all of my shit. There was absolutely nothing like being an introverted hormonal teenager and hearing “Born To Run” for the first time. It made me want to be a rock and roll musician. It made me want to live.

Fast forward a couple of years later, I had all of the records and knew all of the words. My best friend Buzz had this beat to shit Volkswagen (you could look right down through the floorboards and see the highway roll by!). The car had no radio or cassette player, so we would just drive around singing “Thunder Road” or "Atlantic City" acapella. That’s always been one of my greatest memories of being young and living for rock and roll.

So thanks Mr. Springsteen for all you’ve done, and all you are yet to do. I’ll always be a fan.

Saturday, December 23, 2017

I Wish I Had A River - Christmas Feels 2017

“It's coming on Christmas, they’re cutting down trees
They're putting up reindeer, and singing songs of joy and peace
Oh I wish I had a riverI could skate away on.” - Joni Mitchell

Since childhood, I have spent most of my days in a constant state of low-grade existential dread, but usually, from Halloween through Boxing Day, I happily go basic and spend the holidays playing the part of a well adjusted person. I carve the pumpkins, brine the turkey, light the Hanukkah candles (my wife is a member of the Tribe), decorate the tree, send the Christmas cards. Standing in that river of tradition makes me feel connected to the human race - and that is a good feeling. It is my once-yearly ticket off the Island of Misfit Toys.

This year, for a lot of reasons, it’s mostly just been that feeling of unease, and I can’t seem to shake it. But still it’s Christmastime, and there are good people everywhere. I have found true love, and it has lasted. My friends - who have their own problems - always make time to be the best friends a person could ever hope to find. I suck at showing it, but I don’t know what I’d do without them. I don’t know what I’d do without all of you. I know how lucky I am.

I hope your holidays are happy, and your homes full of laughter. And here’s to the new year being better than the old one! 

Monday, October 2, 2017

Straight Into Darkness

On top of the unbearably tragic shit show in Vegas, hearing the news about Tom Petty dying, and then not dying, was just too much to bear. I wandered through the day hopeless and helpless. And now it’s official - he’s gone. 
We didn’t know it at the time, but just a week ago, my wife and I saw Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers’ final show. The last of three sold out nights at the Hollywood Bowl. It was as much celebration as it was concert. And it was not an aging act phoning in their old hits, it was a great rock and roll band at the top of their game. Karen and I stood in the cheap seats, held hands like teenagers, and sang along to every song. It was magical - and for this 51-year-old teenager, magic like that is a lot harder to come by than it used to be.
Like millions of others, I grew up on Tom Petty’s music. I can’t count the amount of times I reached cathartic car-stereo nirvana shouting along to “Here Comes My Girl” or “Even The Losers” or “Refugee” or “The Waiting” or “Straight Into Darkness.” The amount of times I have cried happy to “Learning To Fly” and “Wildflowers.” And I’m damn sure I’ve never made it past the bridge of “Southern Accents” without losing it.
Tom Petty songs used simple words to state complex and universal truths - the hardest kind of songs to write. They were anthems for 10,000 lighters held high and a whispered confession for your ear only, all at the same time.
During that concert, Karen turned to me and said: “he’s in my heart. Tom Petty is in my heart. I feel like I’ve known him all my life.” I felt the same. We lost an old friend today. Rock on TP, wherever you are, and thanks for the music. It will never die.