Uncategorized | April 10th, 2013

It’s been an interesting last few days. Last night, we played a club in Bend called the Horned Hand. The club was fucking awesome! Very comfortable, cozy, and fun medium sized club. Unfortunately it won’t be around in another couple of months, so if you have a chance to play there, do it. Even if it’s on a Tuesday night and your only audience is mostly your tour mates and Jasper. Jasper was the sound man/door guy/bartender.

We have about $160 or so left in our gas fund, and our next show is in Lander, WY. It’s about a 14 hour drive out of our way from any rational path of conserving gas, but is totally worth it. At least that’s what I’m telling myself, and no one else will stir me from that path of thinking. I have 1 fan in Lander, his name is Patrick. He has been super supportive of my music and adventures, and he lives in a place that is right smack in the middle of pretty much nowhere if you take a look at the map and see where all the main interstates are. He wanted to see me play, so I’m making it happen.

His mom is setting up the show for us at her place, and they are currently under about 2.5 feet of snow, and it’s still coming down. We don’t have chains, but we got weight and front wheel drive in our favor. I’m game, so onward we plow.

Salem was interesting…I’m still processing that fucking town. Salem, OR is the small, shit hole town that I was raised in, but it’s my shit hole. I hate it and I love it at the same time. Kinda goes hand in hand with the statement I frequently make, ” my sorrow is as great as my joy”, and this particular trip to Salem was no different.

I stopped at my Grandma’s mobile home around 10am, knowing full well my grandparents would not be back for a at least a couple of hours, so me and the crew could shower and do our laundry in peace. Normally, I don’t make coffee, but there’s something I’ve always found comforting about my grandma’s coffee maker, so I made and pot and drank most of it to myself throughout the next few hours. I was hoping to be out of there before they got back, but laundry couldn’t be finished in one load.

In gathering my things out of the van for the shower, I saw my Uncle walking up the road, so I went to greet him. This is the same Uncle I wrote the poem, “Cancer of The Rectum” about, if anyone is paying attention. The same one I’ve been bitching about not giving a flying fuck about when my family kept messaging me about his cancer updates.

Pam and Jeff had taken off to find a store, and without Gramma around to throw in her two cents and feelings of being left out, we finally had a chance to talk. My Uncle Louie has been sober for about 11.5 years, and has never once tried to apologize to me about the way he treated me as a child. For those of you just now joining us, I moved out at 15 years old because I had the audacity to ask my grandmother to choose between me or her alcoholic and abusive brother.

There was so many things I wanted to say, and things he tried to say, but we both got choked up. It’s weird how so much can be said in a few stuttered words, broken up over a lump in the throat. I didn’t need to say anything, your past has a way of catching up to you, and when you look at how empty your life is near the end of it, it’s obvious you didn’t make the best choices in human relations when you were younger.

I told him I had been sober for nearly 9 months (just hit the 9 yesterday), and he smiled through the tears…it’s a hard fucking road, and addiction is a wicked mistress. It destroys generations of lives and creates a different kind of normal in the way you treat the people that you supposedly love. Honestly, it’s no way to live if you want to achieve any real sort of happiness. The only reason he quit drinking is because it was killing him, I quit because I wanted more for my life. By the time he quit, his son was a man and years had passed since they had seen each other, and that’s all I feel I really need to say. He loves his son, but the life of addiction is also very selfish. For anyone who is struggling with that path, I hope the cloud lifts before you’ve lost too much of your life that matters.

So anyway, Louie and I got to talk, and I’m glad. My Aunt Lynn and Uncle Walt recently moved to Oregon, and lived just down the street from the 65+ trailer park my grandparents and Uncle live in, so Louie and I took a stroll down to their place, I hadn’t seen my Aunt Lynn since my Uncle Mike’s memorial service in 2006, and Uncle Walt since my Great-Grandmas funeral back when I was 12.

I discovered my Uncle Walt is quite the guitar player, and asked if he would be interested in jamming. “Well, I’m sure we wouldn’t be into the same music,” when I told him my project was blues, he raised an eyebrow…then he muttered something about not knowing if he’d really have any time to do it.

When I got back to my gramma’s, her and grandpa were just pulling up from their prayer trip at the hospital. I took a deep breath, here we go. I don’t know who the fuck got out of that car, but it was definitely nothing I’ve ever been accustomed to. Smiles, and genuinely happy to see me, without the birds eye view of judgement. No eyes sizing me up for anything they could pick me apart on, I kept waiting for the smiles to fade, and the eyes of disappointment to be cast upon me, but their eyes were bright and smiling. The hugs felt warm, and I almost started crying just from their embraces alone. The visit was nice. Genuine questions about how I was doing, how the tour was going, where it was going, etc…flooded my ear holes. I looked around the living room at my grandparents, my uncle, and my aunt Lynn, and inside I was scratching my head…”this is my family?” I thought to myself.

My aunt Lynn mentioned that if I still wanted to jam with my Uncle Walt, I had the perfect opportunity since she wasn’t over there, because she “just can’t handle the noise.”

I jumped at the opportunity. The jam session included Pam on harmonica for a little while, and Aunt Lynn and uncle Louie came and sat in for a bit. After awhile-when we were alone-Walt stopped playing and started talking. I stopped playing and started listening. He looked at me intently, and shared pieces of his heart and his past, then said, “look, if you’re serious about this, if this is really your passion, don’t you ever give up on your dream…” when I left him, he was wailing his guitar at the speaker while a live Skynnard song blared through the basement, and his head fell back as the crowd cheered from the recording. I wasn’t in the room anymore, just an old man and his dreams. It broke off a little piece of my heart. Upon returning to my grandparents, my grandma gave me a little bracelet that said “Hope” in both English and French. So I pulled out my bass and played the newer song, “After Trauma” for my grandparents, but mostly for my Gramma. She hugged me tight, and said, “I am so proud of you, and so happy for you are that you are following through on your dreams, because I never did.” This turned into another one of those quick conversations where more is said in the few tears that fall and the intensity of the eyes than what is said in the few words that manage to stumble out.

We hugged tightly, and like so many times before, I was on my way…this time without the bitter taste in my mouth. I’ve never felt like that before leaving my grandparents home before.

As the miles stretch on, so many thoughts have flooded my head. Happiness, disbelief, sadness, anger. It should not take 30 years to learn how to love someone just as they are, but better 30 years down the road than never.

So anyway, with all of this and more going through my head, I crazily scrawled out the following on the back of a random flier last night. I think it’s going to turn into a good song…


The assurance you crave
Will no longer be necessary
The moment it happens,
But it will still matter.

The moment you realize you don’t need it will empower you.

Go. Be. Do. Flow.

Accept yourself
Love yourself
And the rest will follow
The rest will follow
The rest will follow
The rest will follow
The rest will follow
The rest will follow
The rest will follow
Own it!

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