Friday, August 11, 2017

Give The Drummer Some

Clyde Stubblefied...the man!
'Give the drummer some' was a shout out by James Brown in the song The Funky Drummer. James also guides drummer extraordinaire, Clyde Stubblefield at the beginning of the solo.

He tells him, "Don't turn it loose, just keep doin' what you're doin' cause it's a mother..."

James was giving his drummer some love and baby he had it right!

I've got an amazing drum student named Logan. Not only is he an amazing player, he's got a truly strong character and what you'd call, grit. I want to put the spotlight on a particular situation that he handled--masterfully.

He's sixteen years old, which makes him the oldest member of his hard rock band. The band has a unique situation where one of the parents manages the band; they have a paid band coach and all parents get together with the band at rehearsals. Is this helicopter parenting? Or is this a level of support that all young rockers deserve? You decide. I'm not getting into that here.

A few months ago I had the opportunity to see the band live and was blown away. These kids are playing challenging material and doing it very well--better than some bands with cats in their twenties. They cover everything from Deep Purple to Metallica to Van Halen and beyond.

At our first drum lesson after the show I told Logan he should be doing a drum solo. It's hard rock music and in my semi-biased (and scientifically based) opinion Logan is the most proficient on his instrument. Logan, the ever fearless cat that he is smiled and said, "O.k."

We discussed his set list and found the ideal spot in the set for Logan to rip it up. He'd come out of Black Sabbath's War Pigs and go into his solo. Then he'd open Van Halen's Hot For Teacher, which is perfect because the Halen song starts with drums. At the following week's drum lesson he told me that the manager or (Mom-ager) and band coach tensed up and gave him the empty calorie response,

"Ah, not on this gig maybe on the next one..."

I dropped a few expletives then immediately apologized to Logan--he was cool with it. I was not surprised by the response Logan got from his camp because this is a typical response we drummers get.

I pondered it and thought perhaps this goes back to a time of bebop free-jazz where everyone took twenty minute solos and when it came around to the drummer audiences just got burned out. Or perhaps it was during 60's acid rock where drummers took, again, twenty minute solos because, well, they were on acid and time just sort of flies...or drags on acid. (Or so I'm told).

Either way people's eyes glaze over when 'drum solo' is mentioned. To be fair it's also due to the fact a lot of drum solos are poorly executed.

"How many guitar solos are there in your two sets of music?" I asked Logan.

"Every single song."

"Precisely," I said. "Yet a brother can't get a two minute drum solo."

Logan and I discussed the solo, the art of building the solo. I stressed how it's necessary to have one ready because P.A. systems and guitar electronics go down all the time at shows, so the acoustic drum solo keeps the show rolling while roadies figure their sh** out.

I then let the issue drop and we carried on with the lesson. What I didn't realize was that Logan looked at the problem and took initiative. He grabbed the bull by the horns. This didn't surprise me. Logan is a confident, intelligent and thoughtful little (6 ft. tall) dude.

During the week he prepared a drum solo. Then at the next rehearsal with band members, parents and coach he told everyone of the idea and where to put the solo. He then said,

"Can I at least show you my idea? I'll play it for you and if you don't like it we'll move on."

The coach and Mom-ager agreed. 'Oh how big of them...don't get me started!'

Logan clued the boys in on the transition between the songs and played the solo. Everyone in the room went nuts. Logan was then granted permission to play the solo at the gig. This is a victory for all drummers but still the situation is pathetic. He initially was told 'no' based on prejudice and preconceived notions. Human nature 101: I don't understand therefore I say no! Oh, how I grow weary of the small minded.

I admire how Logan didn't give up yet did not bully his way into a solo. And never once did he take the typical millennial route and claim entitlement to his idea. No, he essentially created an audition situation for himself. It was a very mature move not to mention downright shrewd. The cat's a stud, I'm telling you.

Note to: parents, teachers, band members, soundwomen, soundmen, producers etc: Use your ears first before you strike down a drum solo or any musical idea for that matter...ya friggin' dummies!

I was unable to attend the gig as my nephew was in town playing in a basketball tournament. But I turned Tyler, one of my other younger students onto Logan's band and both Tyler and his parents said Logan 'killed it' with his solo. Tyler and his guitar shredder brother, Noah have a gig coming up and guess what's been added to their set? You got it baby...a drum solo. (Tyler played it for me, it's awesome).

We all know the old phrase 'act your age not your shoe size' right? Well in music,  'use your ears not your pea brain'. James Brown had it right back in 1970 and ain't nothin' changed today folks, you gots ta give the drummer some!


Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Wholesome

As I was training a client this morning during a boxing workout we had the local news station on in the background. Unfortunately the stories wouldn't stay in the background. In between rounds we'd glance at the news.

The first visual showed a woman that had been abducted escaping out of the trunk of a speeding vehicle. She then ran into a gas station in search of safety.

"Who could even conceive of kidnapping someone?" My client asked. The question obviously rhetorical, I didn't answer. Next break we saw a brutal hit and run caught on surveillance camera, the break after that showed a shooting during road rage.

At the end of the workout we chatted about the world's current state of 'heading to hell in a hand
Weapons of Peace
basket.'

As I drove away I moved my thoughts to the positive. Recently a neighbor of mine who is a pastor brought his grandson to me for drum lessons. As of late I'd been considering moving on from teaching. Most of my students are Middle schoolers and Highschool kids. But the drum pool has been thinning mostly because D.J.'s are on the rise and much of modern music is built at the computer, not behind the drum set or on the guitar. (This could be an entirely separate blog post b.t.w.)

But I accepted because my neighbor actually approached me over 5 years ago and I promised him I'd be there when he's ready. His grandson is an amazing dude and extremely enthusiastic about the drums. To ask him he'd probably say he's 'stoked.' As a result of his 'stokeage' I too am stoked.

Two weeks into his lessons his mother called and asked if I'd take another student. Turns out a friend of my student heard how much he'd improved in such a short time and wanted to start.

"By all means," I said. "Bring him over."

Fast forward to present day and I've now got 5 students all from the same church. I got them all because each drummer heard the improvement in the other. I take very little credit in how well these boys are doing because they all love drums; practice daily and dig music all around. Did I mention, I'm stoked? I love teaching again! I owe these lads. It's a refreshing sight to see one lad finish his lesson, walk outside and embrace his buddy (and his parents) that's up next. This is what community is all about: drums, family, friendship and huggin' it out.

When I was coming up in the 70's grownups often preached wholesome living. As kids we acted as wholesome as we could but we never admitted to it on the playground because--come on man, being wholesome wasn't cool. Still, we dotted our i's and crossed our t's baby, you best believe that.

If one enters the word Wholesome into the Google machine the second definition reads: conducive to or promoting moral well being. That is the word I'd use to describe these kids. They are all so polite. Some even shake my hand at the beginning and end of each lesson! And these cats are ages 8-16. That's just cool baby, that's just old skool!

Are they wholesome because they attend church? I'd say that's a big part of it. Are they young gentlemen with great manners due to good parenting? You're darn skippy. It's a breath of fresh air in these violent times.

The point of this post if you haven't picked up what I'm putting down is that good old fashioned wholesome living is going on right here on my block and I'm blessed to be part of it.

Finally, if ever you get the urge to shoot a passing vehicle during road rage; flee the scene after you've driven your car into somebody or get a hankering to kidnap someone, give me a call. We'll set up a lesson and I'll show you how to work it out behind the drum set. Or I'll hold the focus pads, you put on the gloves and blow off that steam. Until then, get out there and be kind to someone!

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Alternative Facts

Hard working, blue collar dad, Bob Sims, was outraged. "Timmy Simms, you better get down here right now!

Dutiful son nine year old Timmy slammed his bedroom door and vaulted down the stairs. His grin is huge. He looks up to his dad. "Hey daddy, what's going on?"

"What's going on? Your school emailed me a copy of your Current Affairs test today. You didn't get a single question right. Zero percent. How do you explain this?"

Timmy kept his chin high and met his dad's stare eye to eye. "Actually dad, I got a hundred per cent on the test."

"Timmy, I'm warning you," Bob scowled. "Look at this, every answer is wrong."

Timmy pumped up his little chest as big as he could. "With all due respect daddy I gave alternative facts, therefor every answer is correct."

Bob ran a hand through his graying hair. "Timmy, I'm just about out of patience here. There are facts and there is fiction and your answers were one hundred per cent fiction--total crap!"

"Where have you been Pop? Alternative facts are the new facts...or are also facts so I nailed it daddy, I nailed it."

"Son, where are you getting this stuff?"

Alternative facts are hot!
"We studied it in class daddy, a woman named Kellyanne Conway who's very close to the most powerful man on the planet said so."

"Look Timmy, you're only nine and maybe you're getting a little confused. Sometimes in politics people say--"

"But neither the President or Kellyanne walked the statement back. And if they're my role models and he's the most powerful guy on the planet, why can't I use alternative facts on my test?"

"Oh boy," Bob sighed and began pacing. "Son, the President and his staff aren't always right ok."

"So why did you vote for him daddy?"

"Well that's because--I didn't know the--you see, the choices in the race--which is to say that if I could do it again--"

"Are you ok daddy, you're kinda sweating"

"Yes, yes I'm fine. Let's get back to this test," the proud father said rolling up his shirt sleeves. "Level with me here Timmy, how could you get every question wrong?"

"I learned in my class that when that Sean Spicer man said the President's inauguration was the biggest of all time, he was wrong."

"That's right Timmy, he was wrong."

"But then Spicer-Man said the President believes...what he believes. And so, well, I believe in the
alternative facts that I wrote on my test."

"Holy-moly. O.K. Timmy in's getting late let's pick this up tomorrow."

"O.k. daddy. Do you want me to Brexit back up to my room?"

"Hardy-har-har son," Bob said hugging the boy. "By the way son, what do you think of your Current Affairs teacher?'

"I like her. She's very pretty. I think I might grab her by the pu--"

"TIMMY!!!!!!!!!"


Monday, December 19, 2016

Raccoon vs. Tough Guy

Who wins? Who loses?

What you are a bout to read is a true story, so you might as well keep on keepin' on. The tale took
place back in the 1980's when I was in my early twenties and darn near invincible--weren't we though?

I had a 1981 Ford F150. We got along great. She had an old school 3-in-the-tree standard shift which I dug. I pulled up the back alley to my place and shut her down outside my garage. I walked through the garage as I had  hundreds of times. The sun vacated several hours earlier. Something was in the air that night as I walked across the back lawn but I couldn't put my finger on it.

Trucks have your back!
I climbed the back stairs and found a mother raccoon and her three cubs on my porch. Ah ha! That's what was in the air. Mother turned to me hissed then approached. In true Canadian fashion I apologized and hightailed it back down the steps. The kids seemed cool but mom was pissed.

On the grass I turned back to check her progress and thankfully I didn't trip on a tree root and roll my ankle the way distressed damsels often did in bad 70's flicks. The furry mother was still coming with a quick waddle. My ego was shot. There I was a 200 pound red-blooded black Canadian ultra-male turning tail from a carnivore a tenth my size. In that moment I wondered if I'd lose my place at the top of the food chain table.

 In my defense I wasn't scared I was merely respecting family...and hissing, fangs and claws. Honest! As momma accelerated I did the same and emerged into my alley. I peaked back with a chuckle thinking she was done. Didn't they have a home to get to? As it happened she came barreling out of my garage. We now ran toward each other as I was heading for the box of my pickup truck. (A pick up truck always stands by his man by the way).

Terminator or Raccoons
The raccoon nearly got to my ankle as I hopped into the box. I stood back at the cab and listened. Suddenly a (normally) cute paw peaked over the lip of my tail gate. Seriously?

She was now in the box and coming in hot.

"By momma," I said and hopped onto the cab's roof. Trucks are awesome. The raccoon wasn't done. I didn't even know what the hell the beef was about but she didn't seem the type to calmly explain it to me. She got the end of the box and began scaling the side where the side panel meets the cab.

Ok it was on. Now I was pissed. Nobody and nothing runs me off like this. Does this little mammal know who I am, I thought as I leaped up to my garage and pulled myself up chin-up style to the roof. I considered making a stand. I could jump back in the box and kick a field goal with that little thing. Nobody humiliates me like this.

However, that's not my style. Besides it would have made for a horrible barroom story.

"Say fellas I kicked the crap out of a mother raccoon last night. Cool huh?"

Do you see my dilemma? I thought you might. Now on the roof I was king. I'd read Sun Tzu's Art Of War. I had the high ground. I had the vantage point. I could do recon and the whole bit. I out smarted my furry foe.

Alas, my self back-patting was short lived as a familiar (now angry) paw crested the roof. Are you like the friggin' Terminator of raccoons? Geez Louise baby!

There we stood: mano-a-raccoon-o. I straddled the ridge in a fighting stance. She held her spot briefly before waddling forward hissing and whining at me.

"You're lucky I don't hit ladies," I said, turned and leaped off my garage. Two hundreds pounds came down on the lawn with heat. I did a shoulder roll because I was young and that's how they did it in action movies!

The cubs stood on the lawn and stared at me.

"Hi kids. Stay in school," I said as I ran passed them and up the stairs. Ha! The high ground was mine again. Not only that I'd retaken my castle and secured my spot at the top of the food chain table. Ha! I say again Ha!

I stood at the balcony's railing and surveyed my land. The raccoon waddled out of the garage and stood with her cubs and stared up at me. She eyeballed me and I eyeballed her right back. She made some sort of squeaky sound then turned and took her family back through the garage. I'm sure she told me to shove it or something like that.

Back in the castle I grabbed a remaining half bag of chips and cracked a cold Kokanee beer. Once in my Lazyboy all tilted back and chillin'' I asked myself aloud, "WTF was that all about?"

Blogger's note: No raccoons were harmed during the forging of this blog post.

Monday, October 24, 2016

Noir At The Bar...Los Angeles

Cheers Mandrake
We cruised up La Cienega Blvd. The Waze App promised us the bar was on our right-1500 feet up. The App held up. We saw it at the same time. A building with no name but it had a marking we could
comprehend; a neon cocktail glass. And beneath that a pleasant three letter word: bar.

Simple. So simple it was perfect. We shut the ride down, locked her up and slid inside. Many would put this joint in the Dive category and I wouldn't argue with them. I said it was perfect, didn't I?

It wasn't until we got eighteen feet into the place that she told us her name; Mandrake. The joint was divided into two sections: bar,  hooch and old school turntables up front; tables and chairs in the back as if department heads or board members would meet back there to hammer out deals. That was the look she had. But this night would be different. A group would gather. Some would read from their works while others listened.

It was a new gig for me which meant I was the new kid in town. I'd been here before. Forty some-odd years ago I was the new kid in school. "Everyone say hi to Jonathan," the teacher sang. Now, on the brink of the big Five-One in years and comfortably nestled at Two Hundred and Two pounds I was the new 'kid' again. I was about to read a passage from my book DRUMROLL, PLEASE...A
The new gig baby!
LOU CRASHER MYSTERY to a bunch of good looking strangers.

Back in the day my gig meant loading six drums and the hardware along with it into my ride and hittin' the road. I'd set up, count to four and bash them drums like they owed me money. Tonight, it was a plain black bag bustin' at the stichin' with books, ten of them. I was nervous which was ok. It's when you're not nervous that the shit happens, shit goes wrong or should I use the word 'awry?' what with being a writer and all. The bar was stocked just right and the booze did as she promised. Somewhere during the hugs, handshakes and back slappin' I was informed that I'd be up first. I wouldn't have it any other way if the choice were mine.

I stepped to the mic with book in hand. I intro'd myself with light humor (if I may say so myself). Then I donned my 1.0 magnification friggin' readers. (Ah the joys of being 50 and 9/10ths). The reading came of without a hitch. The highs were high, the action was meaty and the sprinkling of jocularity did what I intended her to do. Six minutes later I was done. I welcomed the applause. (I'd be a friggin' psychopath not to right?). I can't say I was great or amazing, far from it. Getting over the finish line was the goal and that was achieved, baby!

But I must say it was easy because of the community. These mystery/noir/hard-boiled cats are so
Vinyl be slick baby!
dang nice and so dang supportive I don't know what to say...or write. So, let a brother end it this way: this is the new gig, the new home. A home where we write about hard-boiled P.I.'s, society's underbelly, fast talkin' dames and everything else that pops off within the perpetual rolling waves of crime. Ha, I love it here. I love the new gig. Thank you Noir At The Bar cats, I'll see ya down the road. Hold it between the ditches and stay outta the crosshairs.
Sweetest fan ever!

Friday, May 13, 2016

Trouble With The Food Chain

I'm not usually a cat who watches videos on Facebook. It's not that they're beneath me but I've been known to sit down with the intent to watch one video then come up for air 90 minutes and 12 videos later. Dang, time wasted again. However, the other morning I clicked on a video where a group of people protested a bullfight in Spain. Sixty or so protesters charged into the ring just before the 'festivities' were about to start. They sat in a circle and linked arms.

The plan seemed sound. There was nowhere for the matador to stand (and preen). And surely humanity would prevent the event hosts from loosing the bull on innocent people, right? As I said: the plan was sound. I'm happy to say that the bull was not set on these people which puts them a half notch above the (alleged) Romans of yesteryear that released lions on the defenseless christians. The good news is that those in charge of the 'sport' didn't let the bull into the ring with those people because they were human after all. The bad news is that well, they were human…after all. The organizers and fans of the bullfight game went to that deep primal place were some believe evil may rest.

The first man to attempt locking down the situation was a large security guard. He tried to break the human chain. When that failed her went to plan B which was throwing overhand right punches--what those into the human fight game refer to as 'haymakers.' The protesters were at a distinct disadvantage as their circle faced inward so their backs were to the security guard. Oh yeah, and they were seated. As with many protest sights one can see on the daily news next came the water hoses. Anybody remember the civil rights days of the 60's in this country? Um Hmm, we're talking learned behaviors here folks.

By this time more security guards arrive along with growing numbers of bullfight supporters. Tempers flared. The guards and fans weren't having anything to do with this protest nonsense and thus stepped down to the next rung of the those-without-conscience-ladder bringing them closer to indecency and cruelty. What is the next rung you ask? Simply put; when water and fists don't work its time to put the boots to work. I mean heck them boots are already on the ground for heaven sake. Let the kicking and stomping begin. Ironically the fray is now more brutal than the actual bullfight would have been. No? I lost you? I'm speaking from a psychological aspect. You might feel that slowly skewering a bull to death is gruesome and it is but this is man-beating-man in broad daylight with impunity. Still unconvinced? Ok read on.

Here is where my blood boiled and my stomach began to turn. A healthy 99% of those attempting to protect their 'sport' were men. And let's say a conservative 85% of those attacked were…wait for it…women. Don't get me wrong I despise what would have happened to the bull but this? Men in cowboy boots kicking seated women, yes SEATED women in the backs of their heads? So add to my boiling blood; hands locked into fists, heavy breathing and a jaw clenching so tight that my back molars begged me to knock it off. I continued watching.

At one point a man in a suit literally pulls a t-shirt from a woman's torso. Now this was not done in the style of asking her to lift her arms so he could gently remove the garment no, he yanked from above until it tore. But this esteemed prick wasn't done yet. In his mind he hadn't taught her the entire lesson. Just when I'd seen it all the S.O.B. doubled back and grabbed her bra and pulled with everything he had. I'm no woman but obviously this would be extremely painful and terrifying.

Man. Man vs. Animal. Let's take a look shall we? When lions attack a herd of wildebeest, let's say, the  lions will target the weak--the young or the slow. Prior to flight the herd tries to keep the weak to the center and hold the herd tight as a massive unit. The male protesters did their best to retrieve the women that were dragged (often by the hair) back to the group. The protest busters continued to hammer, beat and humiliate the women (and some men).

Here's where there's trouble with the food chain and where the lion rises above these particular men in the food chain. The lions are hunting for their survival. These dimwitted brutal characterless bastards are what? What's their excuse? They are operating from something down deep within them and that is hatred. A hatred of women. It's open season on women and keep in mind this video is mere minutes. This means that these abusers went from "hey, don't interrupt my blood sport," to "Bit** I'm going to make you pay…in broad daylight…in an era where every phone has a camera and a thousand live onlookers are present." Is that hatred enough for you?

Also keep in mind that each and every one of these men have mothers; some have wives or girlfriends and some even have daughters. And still--

This putrid hate is actually not buried deep, rather it  runs deep and simmers just beneath the first layer of skin. These abusers are not men. They are not boys and they are certainly not toddlers because toddlers start out from a place of innocence. I don't know what they are to be honest; can't get my head around it. And if they hold a spot on the food chain their position is not only beneath the lion it is far beneath that of the cockroach.

I have no solution to this problem but I do have a suggestion as to where we could start. Parents. Parents all over the world need to take young boys by the hand and teach them that women are human beings to be loved and respected and that without them that little boy would not exist. Also parents, if at any time your boy shows the slightest sign of aggression aimed at women or girls: DO SOMETHING ABOUT IT!
I'm movin' up the food chain, baby

Obviously it's not good to have hate in the heart and God and the Buddhist in me keeps that hate at bay... not to mention a little thing called love. But if I were granted a one day pass to Hateville I'd have to say that I absolutely hate bullfights. But not nearly as much as I hate men that abuse women. Furthermore, if I were granted a day to meet each and every one of those abusers in a different sort of combat ring...


Friday, April 15, 2016

Get Your Rhythm Right!!!

In 2003 my mother passed away. As we were planning her funeral with the funeral director I asked if he could rent me a drum set. He said yes. After the meeting my brother asked if I was going to play a solo. I responded, "I guess so. I think that's what mom wants me to do."

The ceremony went ahead and somewhere in the middle of the speeches I got up and played. When I was finished the tears came on strong. After the ceremony was done and people hugged and consoled--my father approached. He paid me a very nice compliment about my piece and then he blew my mind.

He said, "Son, that was excellent but I feel that it was a duet."

"A duet? What do you mean?" I asked.

"I think your mother was playing with you, it sounded that way," he replied.

Naturally more tears came and for two reasons. Number one was that my dad was never really the type to talk in such spiritual terms, at least not to me, and I'm a real spiritual Cat. And two; in the middle of my solo I remember (like it was yesterday) looking at my hands with the sticks in them and they just floated across the drums…but I wasn't the one playing. I wasn't in control. How the hell did my father hear that? It's because my dad had a very strong rhythm beating within him and he knew what he heard. That is the only explanation.

My father passed away a few short weeks ago. When I was a kid my father told me that I marched to my own drum. I was too young to know what he meant but I loved the sound of it. My wife and I returned home and began planning for the service along side a whole host of amazing participants. My initial plan was to play an African Djembe for my father but the only rental drums available were 12'' in diameter. That wouldn't cut it…not for what my dad deserved. Then it hit me; duh…why don't I rent a full drum set again and play my dad on into heaven? Again; duh!

With my mother's solo I had a loose plan of what to play before I sat down. With my dad I went without a plan. I knew that one or both of my parents would join me on that stage and we'd make music with the gift they and God gave me. I wasn't worried at all about stage freight or freezing up or not being able to see the drums due to tear-filled eyes. (It can be done with eyes closed if necessary).

I sat down and let my hands and feet do what they wanted. I threw in some jazz because my dad was a huge Big Band kinda guy and then moved into some African rhythms with an audible, "Let's go Daddy-O!" (Not sure where that came from but I felt as though I was leading our two-man rhythmical platoon. All I had to do was get him to Heaven's gates…and my music would suffice as cover charge).

I called my solo "For Daddy-O" because that's what I called him even though he didn't really approve at first. I wasn't worried about whether the solo was going to be good or not. I knew it was. That's not a brag, it's a comment about rhythm. I'm not the world's greatest drummer, far from it. But my rhythm is right. I have good rhythm. My father had good rhythm. He had a rhythm to his walk that was cool; a rhythm to his speech that was musical and thus also cool. My Pop was just plain cool…because his rhythm was right. He was more charitable then even I ever knew. Why? Because his rhythm was right.

Rhythm is in everything we do. It's in your walk, how you brush your teeth, how you run, it's in your pattern of speech and it's also present in how you treat others. Rhythm is also beating inside that chest of yours at this very moment. You literally have a bass drum pounding inside you keeping your pilot light on.

Have you ever had a day where you felt you were 'out of sorts?' Guess what? Your rhythm was off. Have you ever done something you knew was wrong but did it anyway? You probably thought it was your conscience nagging at you while you did it. Well, I'm here to tell you that your conscience has rhythm and when you're acting 'wrong' that bad music in your ears is your off-beat rhythm baby!

There are a million more examples where rhythm rules the day but I won't go into them here. But getting back to my solo I knew my rhythm was right because my dad and I had many ups and many downs but we survived them all to come out smiling on the other side. And in his last remaining years we smiled and laughed for the majority of our visits. Our rhythm…was right.

 I did not feel as though my mother or father took over my limbs when I played for my dad at his service. However, I did feel my parents hovering just above my head watching; toes tapping, heads bopping and smiles bigger than Buddha's. I know they were proud. I know this because of the love and support they'd given me over the years; and believe me it couldn't have been easy to love a struggling musician, Yikes!

I've missed my mother since the day she left and now I miss my dad--Daddy-O as well. But I will move on as a better man because of everything my folks gave me, taught me and sacrificed for me. I'll aways be thankful that they let me march to my own drum…that they let me find my rhythm. Because when the rhythm is right, then there is love. And when there is love...