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Published: July 10th 2009
The shows I have attended while on the road have really brought me back to my formative years. First, seeing Willie Nelson performing ‘Angel Too Close to the Ground’, ‘Whiskey for my Men, Beer for my Horses’, ‘Always on my Mind’ and of course, ‘On the Road Again’ under a picture perfect sky in Louisville, Kentucky brought me back to those years when we used to visit my grandfather and my mom's family in San Jose. That drive to San Jose from Auburn seemed like an entirety back then. The whole grueling 3 hours of it. Back then I thought San Jose was the end of the Earth. It was soooo different than Auburn and soooo far away. Funny to think about that now when I just drove 2500 miles in a few days and have taken planes, trains and automobiles across this world and back.
Then you have John Cougar Mellencamp singing songs like ‘Small Town’, “Little Pink Houses’ and ‘Scarecrow’. These songs remind me of my dad’s side of the family. Specifically my cousins Jimmy and Diane (no relation to Jack and Diane ;-)). My cousin Jimmy used to play the Scarecrow album all the time and then
when The Lonesome Jubilee came out I played the cassette over and over again on my little yellow Sony Sports Walkman. Remember cassettes? Remember Walkmans? Those things will be ancient history by the time Nikki reaches Jr. High!
Last night’s show I didn’t except much from. It was Ed Kowalczyk, the lead singer of the 90’s band Live. Back in the early 90’s, when I still lived in Auburn, I pretty much thought I was cutting edge because I listened to Nirvana, Pearl Jam, Soundgarden and Temple of the Dog. But this other band, Live, put out an album called Mental Jewelry and I prided myself on being the first one to get into it. It was a great album and they went on to release Throwing Copper and become a household name with “Lightning Strikes”, “I Alone” and “Selling the Drama “.
I had just moved to San Diego when Throwing Copper came out and I went and saw them at the World Beat Center. I was fresh off the highway from Auburn. I was so nervous to go to this show by myself…in the city no less!...I gave myself so much time to get there I
got there 3 hours early. The security people felt bad for me and let me come in for the sound check. It was so exciting to see them right in front of me and after the check Ed came over and shook my hand. He was 23, I was 17. He had long hair and so did I. That was a long time ago.
I haven’t listened to Live since not long after that show 15 years ago. They kept releasing albums, but I moved on to Sublime and the pop-punk thing that Blink, Unwritten Law, Lagwagon, etc were doing...and later to funny bands with names like Sunset Rubdown, Wolf Parade and Okkervil River. But I never forgot that show.
I think if I were to die today there would be 2 things people would remember about me and that is music and travel (and maybe my laugh that saves me from getting my ass kicked…right Kev?). Well, I know the travel bug started when I dragged my dad out on that jungle tour in Sinaloa, Mexico back when I was 10 or so…and was solidified when I saw Lisa coming around that corner in Koln, Germany on
my way to India. But my music bug, my “live-show” music bug, started at that Live show in San Diego in 1994. It was the first show I went to alone and my first ‘club’ show. The next week I saw Meat Puppets at the same venue, and then Sublime the week after…and hundreds and hundreds of shows followed.
I shook Ed’s hand again last night at the Bijou Theatre in Knoxville, TN. 15 years and 2500 miles away from the first time. He is bald now and so am I. And pretty much everything has change since then. But he's still doing what he loves and I'm still doing what I love.
I know this blog is long and not really about travel at all. But I came on this trip because I was having a hard time with things going on with my house, etc, etc. But now I know that I have nothing to complain about. I have lived a full life…I have done things in my 32 years that most people don’t get to do in 80.
Sure, I never got to see Michael Jackson and I still haven’t been to the Middle
East…but I have been around the world multiple times and seen many bands of the world multiple times. I have a beautiful fiancé, a beautiful daughter, a great family and amazing friends. It’s all good. This house thing will work out or it won’t… it’s really not THAT big of deal in the long run. (at least that's what I say until I start getting on the phone with plumbers, attorneys, etc again next week...but I will try to remember how fortunate I am when I'm yelling at them!)
Anyway as Drew would say…thanks for listening.
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