Ride & Showtime

September 15, 2010


I woke up early, not the best night of sleep as I was bitten by something and then my mind kept creating crawly things biting me all over. But when I wake up, the sun’s out, Oh that California sun… I’m in the mountains, I hear music in my head start to hum then sing and the shower is nice and hot. What more can one ask for?

We headed down the mountain after a delightful breakfast at Cafe Aroma. There was a classical guitar player there, we had a table outside in the shade of trees on the patio, the light is magical, the air… Wish we could just linger here… But I got to go and so does my friend. I have to be in Altadena around 1 pm to rehearse the songs one more time, do sound check and be ready for a 7 PM call.

We wound down the mountain 6, 5, 4, 3 thousand feet. The air warms up as we descend. We stop to see the edge of a wind farm poking between hills in the distance.

All those wind mills Don Quichotte would have had a field trip…

2, 1 thousand feet, down to the desert floor. We stop. Discuss road choices. Say goodbye now as later it won’t be possible.

I’m not good at goodbyes so I’m glad to have a tinted face shield on that helmet.

Off we go, up unto the I-10 my friend revs up his bike, the front wheel up in the air, like a horse rearing and blasting into a mad gallop, I rev up, speed up, the Suzuki is gnarly. Power, speed, unchecked energy flowing into the burning sun. I ‘m fired up, any fatigue has vanished, the bike just bites the road in big hungry gulps.

210 Passadena ¾ miles… Oh already… I pull to the right to get the exit, my friend looks back, he waves… a semi goes by as I wave. Bye bye Blackbird. Maybe I’ll see you soon.

I get to Altadena at 1:00 PM I made it in an hour and a half even after being stopped by police for speeding… I got away with a verbal warning, the funny thing was that at that point I was just following traffic… Thank you officer Milliken.

As I arrive I am greeted with big hugs, loud laughing, huge smiles and an amazing energy. Bo the bass player sits we me, we go over some stuff, chat. Then Forrest, the drummer arrives, and Duane makes his entrance. I still cannot believe all this incredible good feeling, good will and energy. wow…

We set up in the backstage, we have to rehearse the whole second set just to make sure everyone knows their parts. It’s brand new material for them and we need to tighten up the stuff. I did not even have time to get out of my leathers.. Justin peeks through the door, comes and sit along with Donna, their smiles tell me we’re doing the right thing.

Suddenly it’s 6: 30 OK, gotta get changed, I jump in my jeans, change shirt (another black shirt!) as people start to stream into the Coffee Gallery Backstage. I need some time to focus. I went to sit outside the back door. Feel the air, try to relax, get my mind on the songs, chords, lyrics. Sometimes my mind can go blank if I don’t do that, as if I knew nothing… scary.

The first half of the show is going to be just Forrest and me playing delicate material, mostly new songs that have not had much stage time. They are new and I’m still finding the right inflections, notes, dynamics for them… Inexperienced babies, so it’s a bit nerve wracking.

Duane opens the show. I look in and there are a lot of people, all the tables are occupied. Re-wow… that is very special. Duane shines. I’m so happy to be here…. Then it’s my time to get up on stage.

I guess that is all about the changes that have taken place within me in the last year, the last 3 months, the freeing, the finding, the seeing. I don’t know really. But I’m up there and I feel so damned lucky, blessed, happy, to have these people there with me. I mean, these guys came out of their homes, took their own time to come share this moment… My heart brims with something I can’t quite describe.
Maybe that is what love is?

I started to play, Forrest was right there, playing a sort of mix of a drum kit and percussions : Kick drum, high hat, djembe, cahone, shakers… Forrest is amazing. He does not realize how much he brings to the game I think. He plays and the whole structure grounds deep into the earth so it can rise higher. The sound sculpture can grow, elevate and ultimately fly off and out of the stratosphere because of his heartbeat. Everytime I turn around he’s right there, a fabric has been woven between the guitar, the voice, our souls, the percussions and the audience. So many angles to form a perfect circle. He is masterful.

Second set, Bo and Duane join us and two more souls, double squared the root of the amount of energy put out there and coming back to us. In simple words, it rocks.

I’m sweating. That’s good. I’m beating the crap out of that nameless, brandless wall decoration guitar that was hanging on the wall of the Coffee Gallery Backstage forever and ended up in my arms as I was guitarless…Poor thing, ignored, unplayed. Kind of like my bike come to think of it. Their motorcycle hearts and guitar hearts allowed to be what they were made to be. The strings snap, buzz, creak but they do not break. The stories flow, the voices rise, the harmonies work. The bass & drums groove and I can fly. Thank you.

The night came to a close and after all the goodbyes, the thank yous and the sharing the stories I realized I had nowhere to sleep. With all the preparations, travel and rehearsal I had forgotten to handle that minor detail. Bo, the bass player invited me over to his home. I slept in the “healing room” his wife Revvell is a healer. Wood floors, wood walls, countless vials of essential oils and their essences flowing, a fibre mat. I get to use a double decker air mattress. Pretty cozy.

I pulled Leo out of the bag, hugged him and slid in my sleeping bag.

I slept like a rock.


One Response to “Ride & Showtime”

  1. steveslaughter Says:


    Good morning.

    An early coffee… another reading of more experiences shared. Motorcycle, guitar, the stage and audience – not allegory; and yet…

    …so much to feel

    Thank you for including us all

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