Wednesday, September 27, 2006

I just had an experience that MUST be written about. It must be remembered and re-lived over and over ... so unbelievably cool. I have the best feeling you can imagine.

It is my birthday ... and I'm old enough now (55) that birthdays are not particularly something to look forward to. But this was a surprise of all surprises, and, just like Brad said, we will [probably] never do this again in our lives.

The plan was for Susan and I to meet Brad and Jeremy for dinner at Rocky's in Jeff. I was really looking forward to it, of course. When we were on our way, I got a call from Brad - he said he was at Mom's Music buying me a birthday present. When he went to leave, his car wouldn't start! He was going to have his car towed, and asked me to come pick him up. I was bummed for him, but I was hoping we would still have a good time at dinner.

So, we get to Mom's Music. I don't see Brad, so we go in the store. Still no Brad. Then, Brad AND Jeremy pop out from behind a bunch of drums and say "Happy Birthday!" I didn't get it .... Then Brad says, "Any of these drums look familiar?" And I said, "Yeah ... those look just like mine." On closer inspection - They WERE mine! I still didnt get it. There were actually three sets set up in a row facing the front of the store.

Then Brad explains ... We have always talked about all three of us playing together on three sets of drums at the same time. We'd mentioned it YEARS ago ... but it just never was gonna happen. So Jeremy and Brad MADE it happen. They had gotten permission from Mark Maxwell (owner of Mom's), Brad snuck over to my house and loaded up my drums (so I could have my own set to play), set up two other sets, and had it all ready to go when I got there.

But that's not all ... Brad's friend Dan was also there - with his video camera - and was ready to video the whole event!! And they had ordered pizza and it was on the way! And, to top it all off, Susan opens a gift bag she had brought with us - and pulled out my tennis shoes that I wear when I play out!! HA HA! She had been in on it all along.

Well, let me tell you, you could have bowled me over with a feather. I realize now that I was kind of stunned by it all .... amazing that they would put this together ... and all for ME!

So, after a bit of drum tuning and rearranging, we started to play - and it was A BLAST!!! We played a nice rock groove with everybody improvising ... then a 6/8 feel ... then a shuffle ... then a half-time groove .... all with lots of fun licks and shenanigans flying around everywhere.

Jeremy has a lot of experience with a number of albums under his belt as well as loads of live gigs. He is a killer player with a unique style and some true Jeremy-isms ... nobody could sound or feel like him if they tried. He played his butt off. Fun!

Brad has less experience ... he's never had the chance to be in a gigging band. But he played GREAT. He's got a fantastic feel, he stayed with what he can play well, and it all worked. He has some cool licks and he held himself together and kicked it! We ended with the John Bonham groove from the beginning of "When the Levee Breaks" and Brad sounded just as good and Jeremy or me. It was a gas for all three of us to lock onto that groove and nail it. I would not have been surprised if stuff would have started falling off the walls.

We played and ate pizza for an hour to an hour and a half. The boys wouldn't let me help tear down or put the store back together ... it was all part of my birthday present. So Susan and I said goodbye and headed for home.

It was then, on the ride home, that the whole thing really came together for me. How thoughtful, how special, WHAT LOVE! For Jeremy and Brad to be so creative as to even think of this - then to actually DO it - left me in awe and amazement. Like I mentioned in the beginning, I have the best feeling you can imagine.

I challenge anyone who ever reads this to come up with something this cool to do for your dad ... because I can tell you, I will never, ever forget it. It is a cherished night and I'll carry it with me always. AND I 'll get to see it on video as well.

It is wonderful to have that undeniable truth that my sons really do love me that much. Thanks guys. I love you, too. That was the best present in the world. Amen.

Sunday, June 18, 2006

It has been a long time since I blogged and a whole lot has happened in that time - mainly, I got angry, decided to look for a new job, applied many placed, interviewed extensively at one place, was offered the job, and took it. I believe with all my heart that this was orchestrated by God Himself, for the good of me, the company I am leaving and the company I am headed to tomorrow. It feels so right.

To further illustrate the God thing, I used every connection I could muster, every on-line job search site, newspapers, etc. over a period of a couple of years ... without one single invitation to interview. Then this one comes along. It is 8 minutes from my house (compared to the 35 to 40 minutes each way I have traveled these last 15 years). It is the exact same size company I am leaving in terms of sales revenue and number of employees - so it is a culture I am used to ... except it has achieved these sales in 5 years as opposed to 30+ years. The owner and general manager are both Christians - and really seem to be the real deal - but both are also driven businessmen on a mission.

They have a style of involving everyone in the hiring process ... the people who work there really love it, and the management is intent on keeping it that way. I interviewed with 10 different people, and the top guys told me later that every one of them wants me to come to work there. Because of some things that happened at my old company, this means so much to me it is hard to put in to words. Then, on top of it all, when it came to the final negotiating about money, they ended up giving me a bit more than I was asking!

I'm talking about this because in life, I look for the real stuff ... I am not interested in fairy tales. I worked very hard during this time to submit my own will to God's and to be willing to stay where I was, to overcome my resentments, and to go to work each day with humility and a servant's heart. I worked hard to be polite, professional and exemplary in all ways every single day. And that is no small thing when you are hurt and angry.

But, in my (kind of) old age I can tell you .... this is how a real man conducts himself in the world. It has taken me a long, long time to understand it. Now I realize that my own father modelled this behavior for me all his life. Many times I thought he was rather weak, when in fact he was brave, diligent, and unbelievably kind, humble and loving.

So, this is my very real story ... this is what happened to me. It has increased and solidified my faith at a time when I really needed that. I hope it helps you, too. Of course it remains to be seen if I can behave correctly and maximize this opportunity for the benefit of the company and myself ... but I'm real excited for the first time in a LONG time, and I can't wait to have at it!

More later.

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

I just learned about a website that has me pretty happy. Here is the link:

This is Wolgang's Vault. You can click on Vault Radio and listen to selected songs performed live at Bill Graham's Fillmore (East and West?). Well, this was all going on in my younger days and it really takes me back. For any of you interested in music, it is quite a thrill to listen to artists you never got to see live, in all their extended self-indulgent glory. They change the playlist once a week, I'm told.

They also sell a lot of WAY overpriced t-shirts, posters, etc. I guess that stuff is worth it to some people, but not me.

But the music is great ... I'm diggin' it. It may get old later, but at the moment I'm having a great time.

Monday, February 20, 2006

Sometimes a song captures my emotions in a way that is so powerful, that it demands my total attention ... then it carries me along for a journey. "In Your Eyes" by Peter Gabriel just did that to me last Saturday. I know this song isn't new, but I only knew it from the movie Say Anything. I heard the live version on the radio, and man, it took me AWAY somewhere. Now, this is before I actually paid much attention to the lyrics ... it was just the rhythms, feel and performance that killed me. Now I've read the lyrics and I'm slayed all over again.

It is wonderful, almost magic that a song can do this to me. I'm going to try and find some part to play so I can play along with it at home. In the process of dissecting and formulating a part it will lose the magic. I'll have technical issues, stickings to master, etc. But I hope that I get all the way through that to play with skill and let the emotion return. That's THE BEST. The committment is not a small one, and it remains to be seen if my resolve is strong enough to really do it. It is so much easier just to listen.

I hope every one gets the chance to feel these emotions in real life - not from a song, but from the eyes of the one.

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Below is a link to a site of interest:

This is the home of the band The Trust formerly known as The Herbie Hinckle Ensemble (a rose by any other name .....). The drummer is Jeremy Smith - one of my favorite people in the whole world. I'm very proud to say that he's also my step-son.

I got to go see The Trust recently when they performed at "Live Lunch" - a radio show put on by WFPK - the Louisville, KY version of NPR. These guys are wonderfully dedicated and talented. They've been together for quite a few years now and they have that connection that only comes with a zillion hours of practice, doing gigs, and going through the ups and downs of it all together.

Jeremy is a fabulous drummer, with a style that really is all his own. His sound is such an integral part of the band's sound that they would be an entirely different band without him. This is amazing considering that his life has been incredibly busy as he fought to keep his own restaurant alive for several years, got married, had two children, and all the rest of life to deal with. He is worthy of respect as a man as well as being a gifted artist. By the way, he sings, too!

Be sure and check them out.

Monday, January 30, 2006

This is more accurately what I look like, or at least what I looked like at a Falcons gig last summer. Pretty groovy with the shades and all, what? For some of you this may come as a surprise since your memory of me is based on pre-gray hair, pre-gray beard, pre-pretty darn fat.

If you want, you can go to hear some bits of the band. I recommend the ones featuring "Carry On." That's one of my favorite songs that we do.

Man, now that I know how to insert pictures I'm gonna have to find some good ones to use in posts. Stay tuned.

Thanks to B. I now know where to go to post a new blog so I can include a picture. This is old hat to all of you, but new to me, so please be patient.

I decided that this is the official picture of Goostermon, even though it is actually a picture of Animal from the Muppets.

While this does not resemble me, I like the picture and he's holding drumsticks, so thats good enough for me.

Thats all for now.

Saturday, January 28, 2006

Has anyone else noticed that Blogging is the high-tech version of CB radios? We all have a "handle" and send our thoughts out into space for anyone to "hear" who is on our same frequency. The only difference is that we are not limited to real-time conversation. I guess instant messaging is more like a CB radio. Well also, a difference is that we are not ragged truckers with missing teeth making lewd comments to each other about chicks we pass in cars as we toodle down the highway. Well, okay another difference is that we don't give each other traffic info, or the location of speed traps, or opinions about the merits of the country fried steak at the truck stop in Memphis, IN. I guess another difference is that we are not all on speed just to stay awake, most of us know nothing about spending 18 out of 24 hours everyday alone in a moving vehicle, or the typical travel time between every major city in the country.

Okay, there ain't hardly nothing the same about us and CB radio users. Forget I ever brought it up.