Today Is The Only Day We Have

So this is the only day in my life, today….I am not dying or anything (I hope!)) but yesterday is gone, certainly not forgotten, in fact it was a very good day…We went to the zoo and had a good time strolling the zoo grounds and observing the animals as they observed us…Tomorrow is another day, it may or may not arrive, filled with hopes and promises and plans and things to do, but nobody is guaranteed tomorrow…

No, today is the only day we truly have, and we can make of it what we will…It is always been that way, and it will always be that way…How many people do you know that sacrifice everything today for the bright and shiny promise of some future tomorrow, which sometimes, in fact usually, never arrives at all?…Or when it does, it is somehow different and not all that we had expected it to be?…

Sometimes we forgot about that one true fact, the certain knowledge that we are all only guaranteed one day, today, and how we should be thankful that we even wake up each morning…. Be glad to take the time to smell the coffee and admire the roses before we rush off to begin our busy days….Take nothing for granted, because it can all disappear in a heartbeat…

Work world is a necessary evil, a voracious waste of time and energy but you have to pay the bills, you need to provide shelter for yourself and your children, you need to be able to put food on the table, you need to be able to pay all the bills that make life liveable, no matter what standard of living you are used to, you have to work to keep it all together…All my fellow baby boomers know what I mean….

I think the very luckiest people in the world are those people who actually enjoy their work, in fact I think that is the real secret of life, to find something you would do for free anyway just because you love doing it, and then find somebody to pay you do it! For me, that would be writing, be it blogs, short stories, magazine articles, novels or music, both composing lyrics and playing guitar…

I love to compose songs and accompany myself on guitar, my strength IS my lyrics so I would have to classify myself as an Indie/Folk type of musician…. I am certainly nobody as eclectic and eclectic as a Jimi Hendrix (a once in a lifetime prodigy) or a Jimmy Page or a Jeff Beck or an Angus Young, all men who can pour out molten threads of lead riffs that thrill and chill you to the bone and all at the top of my personal “must listen” to list of musicians…

No, my music, which is very important to me, is all about the words, maybe sort of like early Bob Dylan, although I truly admire Neil Young for his lyrical content and excellent musicianship too, and so many others…Joan Baez for her incredibly pure and angelic voice, Keith Richards for his dogged determination and dedication to rock and roll, Chrissie Hynde and Sheryl Crow for their feminine insights into the rock music world, Rod Stewart for his quixotic love ballads…..There are so many others….

So I try to take advantage of each day as it comes, to just roll with it…I am retired now, so at least I don’t have to deal with the 50 hour hole in my week from toiling in work world, where I spent 45 years in meaningless dead end jobs to support myself and my daughter as a single parent…I was all too happy to retire, to make the most of the time I have left…

So each day when I wake up, I pay any bills that roll in, I do my exercises, mostly walking, I play with my cat, and I write my blog….Then I post it on Word Press to express my ideas, my thoughts, my feelings, I am a very emotional person….After that I check in with my friends on face book, and then I play my music….On a good day I can play up to 2 hours a session, but I always try to squeeze in at least an hour, because something mystical and magical happens when I play music…

It is like time is suspended, there are no clocks, there is no sense of time, it is like that Leonard Russell song: “I love you in a place where there is no space and time,” hauntingly beautiful lyrics….But that is how I feel when I play my guitar and sing my own songs that I have written…

I feel exactly like that, there is only the music and the melody, and the words intertwine like lovers and make me feel whole and complete and it produces I guess what are called “alpha waves” in my brain, it is a similar state of mind like what you achieve through meditation, I am told…

Everything is beautiful and the cares and the worries of the day, all the bad things that may or may not happen become all irrelevant, and I am able to just relax and achieve an emotional catharsis from the sheer joy of playing my music….It sort of puts everything into perspective, and I always feel complete while I am playing and even after…..

I hope all of you have something similar in your lives, like my writing and music is for me, some safe place you can go to, somebody or something that makes it all alright…After all, we all have only this one day, today, to experience it and live our lives to the fullest….

I am enjoying my day, and I sincerely hope that you are enjoying your today as well….

Where Have All The Good Times Gone/A Nostalgic Look Back at 60’s Music

Nostalgia is a wonderful thing, and the older you get the more you tend to be nostalgic, because you simply have more things to be nostalgic about….My baby boomer core audience, because I am one with you, know exactly what I mean… I was born in the first wave of baby boomers so I know that what I personally miss the most is the incredible live music of the late 1960’s….

But I am sure we all, in our own way, wax nostalgic for many things from our youths…..Nostalgia is defined by my Google resources as: “A sentimental longing or wistful affection for the past, typically for a period or place with happy personal associations.” So many things have changed in the last 40 years since we baby boomers were coming of age, and the world we grew up in and the world we live in today are infinitely different….And yet, the world of today has been in so many ways, shaped, molded and influenced by the musical revolution of the late 1960’s….

Astute readers with a musical flair will note that part of my title refers to an old Kinks song, “Where Have All the Good Times Gone?”… The Kinks were an English band, part of the musical “British Invasion” of the 1960’s, spearheaded by the Beatles….Younger readers may have heard the Van Halen copy, as Eddie Van Halen must have grown up listening to the Kinks, they also did a cover version of “You Really Got Me,” another inspired song by Ray Davies of the Kinks….

I actually saw the Kinks once, in the now long defunct “Playland at The Beach” auditorium in San Francisco in the late 1960’s or early 1970’s, to tell the truth, it’s all a little fuzzy now, but then living in San Francisco during the “Summer of Love” I was at ground zero for most of the the musical cultural explosion that rocked our world, blew our minds, and changed our society forever…

Back in those good old days, concert tickets were a modest $2-$3 per show in San Francisco, so even living as a hippie without any real job I was able to scrounge up enough money every weekend to see nearly every major band of the time as they all passed through San Francisco, the mecca of the social and cultural revolution that was sweeping our country in the late 1960’s…

I am not just blowing smoke here, although i seem to recall i blew a lot of smoke back in those days!… My wife and I saw almost every famous band of that golden era, a musical cornucopia that still evokes strong and potent feelings of nostalgia in me…

Leading the pack in 1967 were of course the great San Francisco bands, The Grateful Dead, with Jerry Garcia on lead guitar playing incredibly long, spiraling virtuoso guitar solos that took you to never-never land, the Jefferson Airplane (before they became the Jefferson Starship) with a young, vibrant Grace Slick pulling “White Rabbits” out of her hat…

The unforgettable raspy, gravel voiced, down to earth, gritty blues styling of Janis Joplin, with “Big Brother and The Holding Company,” begging us to “Take Another Piece of my Heart, the “Quicksilver Messenger Service” who were a staple on the local concert scene…. Their most popular song live in concert  was always a  cover of the Bo Didley smash hit “Who Do You Love?”…I tell you, if you were not here then you missed so much great music…These were the staple bands back then in San Francisco, and I saw them all countless times….

And the ironic thing was, we took it all for granted at the time, we thought the shows would never end…I remember legendary rock promoter Bill Graham was outraged at that damn LA band “The Doors” asking for $10,000 for a concert, an unheard of price at the time….Bill grumbled, but he sold so many tickets they had to move the concert from the local musical shrine, the Fillmore Auditorium to the much bigger and nearby Winterland, a former ice skating rink….

So we all got to see the lizard king Jim Morrison strut his stuff in all his youthful glory in December 1967, with his skintight black leather pants and white ruffly pirate shirt unbuttoned to his waist as they belted out songs from their first album, including “Light my Fire” and “When the Music’s Over”….

We saw Jimi Hendrix play at Winterland too, this was in October 1968 when he was recording his famous double album “Electric Ladyland,” with Hendrix unforgettable extended version of Voodoo Chile”…Jimi, always at ease with his audience, exhorted the crowd to make a lot of noise, because it was a live recording, and nobody knew whose voices would end up as background noise on the finished album project….

I remember seeing Eric Clapton on his first American tour, indelibly etched on my consciousness, with his mind blowing psychedelic painted guitar and little Dutch boy wooden shoes, belting out “Sunshine of Your Love” with Cream in September 1967, “Live at the Fillmore” and the Who with the manic Keith Moon on drums playing “My Generation” as only he could do…..

The list of musical performers is virtually endless, and like the old saying goes, “If you were really there in the 1960’s you probably don’t remember it!” But these bands still jump out of my consciousness, as if it was only yesterday, and in many ways, the important ways, it WAS only yesterday….

Oh, and one other thing modern audiences would have a hard time grasping…. That the great promoters and impresarios like Bill Graham and Chet Helms from the “Family Dog,” who started out in the Avalon Ballroom, would astutely package what would be today 2-3 headliners in each show for that expensive $2-$3 ticket! That’s right, each band would perform not one, but TWO full sets of music each and every concert….We just laid back and took it all in….We took it all for granted, it was our birthright…

Talk about musical nostalgia! The late 1960’s were the epicenter of the musical cultural revolution, the music that changed the world we live in even today, and if you were there, you know what I am talking about….And if you weren’t here in San Francisco in the Summer of Love, I am sure there were other stops these incredible bands made on their tours all over America, hopefully in your area …But for me, I personally saw and listened to them right here in awe and sheer, unadulterated enjoyment….

That is the point, for me, I WAS here, and the musical nostalgia these bands and performances evoked have left a long and lasting, permanent imprint on my mind, my heart, and my soul….Yes, I definitely still feel thrills and nostalgia for all these musical extravaganzas I personally witnessed, and my one wish is that “When the Music’s Over, Turn Out the Lights!”