Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Route 66

In December of 1980 Margot and I left Oswego for San Francisco, why? Because we could, and took the southern pass and picked up Route 66 in Oklahoma. We arrived in SF on exactly the same day that John Lennon was assassinated--December 8th,1980--we connected with Colorblind and his wife Janet on Waller St. Chuck was in the bedroom...inconsolably weeping, his hero had died. A sad day to be sure. Eventually Gene Tigh left the CBJE and a bass player was needed. I answered the call, having played with the original Colorblind James Trio w/G. Elwyn Miexner on ragtime Hawaiian guitar. As time wore on, we rehearsed tirelessly--well I did get tired once! Gigs were few and far between. Although we did make it to the "I Beam" on Haight St. in the pan handle of Golden Gate Park. As life would have it I got the call to play in a pit band up in North Beach at the Old Spaghetti Factory--a regular paying gig Wednesday thru Sunday (2 shows on Saturday night, and a matinee on Sunday)--I felt like Stu Sutcliff leaving the Beatles. But money is money and I needed all I could get living on the edge. Much to my chagrin the CBJE went on to play the "Peel sessions on the BBC" and toured Europe twice! I felt like a moax. But ya pays yer money and takes yer chances. I try not to look back, yet find myself on memory lane thinking about what might have been. The unique community of Oswegonians that lived in SF in the early '80s all looked out for each other, and we remained friends. God, those were the salad days. At 23 I felt invincible and the old adage is true :"Why is youth wasted on the young?" But such is life. Those were some of the best days of my life and I didn't even know it. I'm giging in a Big-Band now (Google the Do Good Swing Band) a 17 piece jazz band with a monster horn section...every musician has been playing for at least 30 years and smokes every chart. How I got the call is still a mystery to me...yet I find myself keeping up with some seasoned veterans that ramp up my game...I don't want to be the slouch in the rhythm section so I play with a quiet elegance. My motto is "Less is more." Athletes peak in their 20's & 30's but musicians seem to get better with age, I'm still learning and listening and every once in a while I get the eerie feeling that Colorblind is looking down on me from above laughing with love, and keeping me on the straight and narrow--well let's not get too crazy. Bfn, Thad