Our Story Begins:
What Have You Done for Yourself Lately?
I did something spectacular this week.
It wasn’t a trip to Europe or a new car or anything like that.
I did something that, at least for me, is uniquely mine and is something I did for me.
I had help, of course. I couldn’t do it alone and certainly there was a ton of help that went along with the project. In fact it may the most proud I have been of a project in the last five or more years. It didn’t even have anything to do with the kids.
Several years ago I told my oldest daughter, about to embark on her life in college, to find what she loved, do something that she adored and do it the best she could and she’d be happy. She turned those words back on me and asked, “When are you going to do that, Dad? When are you going to finally go back into the recording studio?”
I couldn’t argue with her. It was my turn.
So I went into the recording studio and began making a solo album.
I should give you some background in case you haven’t read about me here before:
Five years ago my wife, Andrea, passed away. It hurt. Frankly, it hurt more than anything I’ve ever felt before. In the weeks after losing Andrea a few other things happened: the bank said that I couldn’t pay for my house . . . and they were right; my boss decided it was time to “make a change” in my management position and wanted to lower my salary by so much I’d never survive. I had been awake for almost a week straight with little more than nodding off here and there and even that felt wrong. I started out watching TV at night, having completed every single season of the HBO series “The Wire” in a binge-watching extravaganza that would make Netflix proud.
Then I did something that I hadn’t done in a long time, something my late wife wasn’t overly fond of my doing. At 3am I picked up a guitar and started playing. The words, the music, they all came out in a flow like a dam bursting. I wrote a very angry song that was totally from the heart. That’s when the writer’s block hit.
After a year of frustration the dam burst . . . and I wrote enough material to record a full record. For several years I held onto this material, waiting, watching . . . and then I joined a group of musicians who pulled out that potential in me.
A guitarist and bassist who have known each other since they were kids and recorded, played and made music together for decades. A drummer who has a knack for saying “who do you want this to sound like?” and making it sound exactly right. A keyboard player whose resume goes from Bowie to Madonna to anyone you listened to in the past 30 years or more. When I told them I wanted to record . . . they just asked “when and where?”
So we started on Monday . . . two days of recording that very first song and two others. I may be prouder of this material than much of the other stuff I have written in the past. In that studio we talked about what was good, bad, ugly, and beautiful. I told them about material that looked back in sadness and forward in anticipation and they all simply said “count it off.”
My kids helped load gear, listened to my incessant rehearsals . . . but in the end this was for me. When we finished, two full songs and an instrumental, I was so floored, the others helping arrange, produce, and create this small trio of songs in two days. I plan, in the next few weeks, to release my first single. The rest of the album will follow. You will all be the first to know when and where you can hear it.
I’m not telling you that you need to be ambitious, go to the Pyramids or paint a masterpiece . . . or record a record. But what have you done for you, just for you, a project or thing or trip that was for you alone?
As parents we focus so much on being a parent we forget that we’re human beings with talents, thoughts, and ideas all our own. We are certainly parents all the time, but parenting does not define us alone.
So I ask you . . . what have you done for yourself lately?