My last post was paranoid enough that I feel like writing something else tonight. (Although I am not done wondering about the seizure thing.) So, here’s an “everything/nothing” post, what with the Simpsons quote in the title and everything…
- I picked up a copy of Brian Wilson’s memoir “I Am Brian Wilson” last week (or the week before? I’ve already forgotten when it came out). I’m reading it a chapter at a time and absorbing it piece by piece before moving on. I’m enjoying it quite a bit. It’s written in a non-linear style. In the same breath he might mention his brothers dying in the 80s and 90s, then jump right to being backstage for the Smile shows in 2006. He jumps all over the place, like any of us might when we tell a story…or write an everything/nothing blog post…huh… Anyway, each chapter has a theme like “Fear,” “Family,” “Home,” etc. Each chapter has a lesson it’s trying to relay–or at least that’s how I see it. It’s a great read for any Beach Boys fan, even a casual one probably. I’ve long admired and in my own way identified with Brian Wilson, and hearing his story in his words (“with” Ben Greenman, who helped him put the book together…) is a reflective and rewarding read. …and if the part where Brian describes introducing his one year old daughter to her cancer-stricken Uncle Carl for the first time doesn’t just make you fucking sob, you’re not a person.
- I’ve also been trying to read Dennis Lehane’s “The Given Day.” I’ve really enjoyed my Lehane read-through up to this point, but I’m struggling with this one. It starts out with a prelude about baseball (of which most will know I’m not a fan) and it’s also set in a turn-of-the-century America I’ve always had trouble envisioning. It’s a tough read for me. It’s not a bad book or anything like that…I just like stories set in a more present-day (or the present day of when it was written, anyway) and that don’t count on winning me over to their metaphors. I’m through the first major section, but I’ve paused going into the second… And Brian Wilson is filling that pause more than ably.
- My brother and I went to see Nick Lowe play a solo set on Tuesday. It was just Nick and his guitar. It was a lot of fun and a wonderful set. Nick told some great stories and played some of his (and other people’s!) best songs. He knew right where to drop the hits and what people would think of them. His hands in the air “hurray!” pose at the end of “Cruel to Be Kind” was as funny as it was deserved, and he knew just how to play it…but he also slipped in some moments that I didn’t expect. His cover of the late Henry McCullough’s “Failed Christian” (which Lowe also did on his “Dig My Mood” record) was surprising and a moving rendition. His closing selection of Elvis Costello’s “Allison” was a fun surprise as well, considering Costello is best known for doing the Lowe-penned “What’s So Funny About Peace Love and Understanding?” (which Nick also played!). (Nick Lowe’s working relationship with Elvis Costello is probably worth a book or two of its own…as is his relationship with The Damned…) The only song he didn’t do that I was deeply hoping for was “The Beast in Me,” which Nick wrote and Johnny Cash used to do in the “American” era. (Holy damn Nick Lowe has a deep catalogue!) But you can’t possibly play everything, and ultimately, it was one of the masters of pop-rock reminding us all how to have fun. It was a great time…and Dave landed us SECOND ROW seats! I don’t think I realized that walking in, and it was a wonderful surprise.
- Halloween is coming up. And you can have it… Never really been a fan, except for the years as a kid and teenager when I thought I was supposed to be, before I realized it was okay to turn off the porch light. (And even as a kid, having fun…I was mostly scared that I was going to get scared…) Not that I haven’t had a few good ones as an adult. I enjoyed going to my friend Johnny’s party and reconnecting with some old friends a few years back. And two years ago, I adored spending the evening with my friend Amanda watching a band (The Station) play at Cicero’s. But I’m not really a costume guy, and if you’re not a kid you probably shouldn’t be wearing one… I’d go to a club with a friend again, though.
- Three years ago, Randy Travis had a stroke and lost his voice. This past week, at the Hall of Fame, he sang Amazing Grace. Kinda puts every time you thought something was too hard into perspective… I’ve never been a huge Travis fan, but I’ve respected him…and I sure as hell admire him after that. Bless him.
- Dave and the Not-So-Daves are putting the finishing touches on the record, now titled “Hits in a Perfect World.” I’m busting for everybody to hear it! Dave wrote some really fun songs and I enjoyed playing my ass off on them. Just need to finish the album cover, etc, and then start selling it.
- I’m also still working on the “Sorry, I Didn’t Mean to Shout” project. I think everything is recorded. I’ve got way too many songs at the moment. And mixing something that’s just guitar and vocal is harder than it probably sounds. You’ve got to put the songs in the right order and you’ve got to mix them in a way that the guitar helps the vocal and vice-versa. It’s a lot more personal and intimate than doing a full-band in a lot of ways… So it’s not exactly on pause…but it’s more work than you’d expect and I’m taking some time away from it to come back with fresh ears. Still hoping it’ll be out before the end of 2016 though. (As a side note, it still needs a cover, too…if anyone’s got any ideas, I’d be willing to pose for a photo…)
- I mentioned in my last post that I’m now in possession of my grandpa’s old desk. That’s nice. I need to finish fixing up the bedroom it’s in and give it the once-over with some Pledge. My “woke up on the floor” incident from Sunday delayed my progress a little… But I’m excited to have the desk and to have it turning into a workspace where I can sit and write or read or whatever, and feel connected to family while I do it. I’m going to move a comfortable chair into there as well and create a nice, warm, functional space…maybe a little record player in the closet, too… Very grateful to Dad for letting me have the desk and to Bruce for helping me move it.
- In the wrestling world, Bill Goldberg is back for one more match. I thought I was opposed to it. I thought it was a bad idea… Then I saw the promo on Monday night and Goldberg hit all the beats just right. His final stinger to Brock Lesnar was great. “Not only are you next…but you’re LAST.” I got actual chills. I liked Goldberg back in the WCW days and if he can bring one more good match, then sure I’m on board. It’s still a hell of a great gimmick/entrance and he’s got charisma that even Hulk Hogan can’t hold a finger to. (Yeah, I said it.) Good to see him back.
- Talking of famous Jewish guys I really like… Leonard Cohen has a new album out tomorrow that I’m looking forward to hearing. An interview he gave recently made me a little sad though. He spoke of being in declining health and “getting his house in order” in his old age, eventually saying, “I am ready to die.” And knowing his personality, I think that came from a place of peace, but it still made me a little misty… Then I saw a subsequent interview this week where he referenced those words and said, “I think I was exaggerating.” So who can tell? Either way, if he’s placing pen to paper, I’m interested in it, and I’m glad he’s gracing us with another, even if he’s ready to be done.
And I think we’ll call it there tonight. Wrote a lot about a couple things. Thanks for reading!
- Still buzzing on Nick Lowe a little, but relistened to Amanda Shires’ “My Piece of Land” driving in the rain a little bit today, and it was wonderful.