I am in my hotel room in Stockholm, feeling a very long way from home. Sometimes the road can be a lonely place even when you’re traveling amongst friends and colleagues, but it feels particularly lonely right now. The sad, tragic events in America two weeks ago heighten the degree of homesickness that I am feeling. After growing up and living in New York City for 35 years it is heartening to see, amidst such devastating tragedy, the genuine empathetic concern and support that Americans and people the world over, with a few notable exceptions, have shown towards their fellow men and women. But watching the news still continues to be just overwhelmingly heartbreaking and fills me with an inexpressible sorrow. Knowing some of the people who perished high up in the South Tower, I find it still grips me with horror as I try to imagine what must have been going through their minds and the thousands of other poor souls in those final moments. I still seem to have very little control of when these thoughts will randomly grab and shake me down. The paralysis and powerlessness that many of us feel through our inability to change such an inexorable event is tempered, I suppose, by the knowledge, that to ultimately give in to those feelings would mean that we really have lost to those evil bastards. Most people are far too hurt and angry to allow those emotions to gain a permanent foothold, although the process of grieving and rebuilding is going to be a long, slow, painful one.
Oh, the changing fortunes of traveling musicians. One minute Donald Trump’s white stretch limo is shuttling you silently into New York City in garish and slightly embarrassing style with a full refrigerator of drinks and hors d’oeuvres and the next moment you’re in a tin can of a taxi, held together with bungee cords, wire ties and superglue, hurtling through the streets of Tijuana in one gut wrenching swerve after another. I’m not sure if sitting in the business class section of the Sea Cat ferry from Tallin to Helsinki getting tossed from side to side by the rough waters of the Baltic Sea are any better however. It’s just a more European version. The sea hostesses were considerately handing out sick bags to any needy passengers while kindly informing them that it was “going to get a bit worse”. Typical European understatement. This is a bit like the doctor informing you that ”this is going to hurt us a little bit”. But I’m getting ahead of myself. The long, slightly perilous and at times even comical journey from Los Angeles to Oslo was an adventure worthy of an S.J. Perelman travelogue. I am not being dismissive of or minimizing the incredibly sad events that necessitated such a journey as it certainly was not one I would have freely elected to undertake in less stressful times. But we had a tour that we were committed to doing.
We had a fantastic European tour taking in sights and places, old and new in Western and Eastern Europe. This time we had the colorful and charismatic Young Dubliners with us, introducing them to a new Euro audience who seemed to take to them as instantly as they took to the local beer. I had the dubious distinction of being the official Young Dubs tour photographer by default, as all their cameras seemed to break as soon as they got to Europe. Must be the voltage. Never mind, that gave me a good excuse to break in my new digital camera and turn into a really intrusive nuisance to one and all. In the process I got some really good shots and some truly awful ones which you can probably find displayed on the Dubs and our website.
2001 began with a series of interesting and varied musical assignments. NAMM came and went with an enjoyable series of appearances with keyboardist Vince DiCola and “Chicago” lead vocalist and bassist Jason Sheff for the Alesis folks. Once again I found myself probing the depths of the new Midi machinery that Alesis came out with and praying to the Patron Saint of Midi to bless me with divine inspiration or at the very least, intervention. Sandwiched in between was a real highlight and a breath of acoustic relief for me. I found myself playing real acoustic drums behind the unlikely aggregation of lead singers Jason Sheff and Bill Champlin (Chicago), Alex Ligertwood (Santana), and Bobby Kimball (Toto) playing songs from each of their groups. They were kind enough to lend their vocals to a couple of pieces from the “Thread” record, which they performed beautifully. Vince performed on keyboards of course and rounding out the group was Lance Morrison on bass and Doug Bossi on guitar from Don Henley’s band and Whitesnake respectively.
Smithsonian Air and Space Museum- here’s a little synopsis of some highlights.
I was astonished to discover that the bottom diameter of the Hubbell Telescope is only marginally larger than one of my big Paiste concert gongs, which is also made from considerably sturdier looking metal than the outside of the Hubbell, which looks to be primarily constructed out of Reynolds Wrap. Possibly designed in one of those phases where NASA was facing nasty budget cuts. Could this have anything to do with the constant maintenance that this fantastic telescope seems to enjoy?
This is really very strange. I am sitting in my hotel room in Tel Aviv overlooking the beach promenade below and the Mediterranean beyond. Inside my room I have CNN purring quietly on the television with a foreign correspondent updating me about the latest Israeli-Palestinian conflict in Jerusalem, the Gaza Strip and the West Bank. This has resulted in some small explosives being detonated, the inevitable human casualties and much rock throwing. Jerusalem officials are on high alert while Yasser Arafat is in Washington seeking support from the USA.
OK, so it’s October…no need to work yourself up into a lather. There’s a lot of stuff going on and I’m a “bit” behind with the update on my activities. We’re going take a little journey in the Way Back Machine, so stop complaining about my tardiness and enjoy the ride!
Well hello there!
It’s been a little while. Work, both at home and on tour has a way of rudely encroaching on one’s own personal free time, swallowing it up into a black hole vortex of space/time continuum never to be seen again! Now that I’ve succinctly explained my tardiness in updating my very cobwebbed diary page I’ll try to catch up.