1967 and I’m a busboy at Zorba’s standing behind a keyboard player, entranced. Various bands would haul Hammond B3’s and Leslies down 2 flights of stairs for a gig that likely paid them about the same as what I was making- and why?
1967 and I’m a busboy at Zorba’s standing behind a keyboard player, entranced. Various bands would haul Hammond B3’s and Leslies down 2 flights of stairs for a gig that likely paid them about the same as what I was making- and why? Because it was magic. I had a $50 organ then, and a band too- so it was a big deal to me. Not long after that I was at a street dance in Garneau standing behind a musician I had not met yet, also playing a big Hammond with Hot Cottage. Bob Derkach and I have been brothers for over 50 years now. It was my fault that he left his gig as composer for the planetarium in Edmonton(which eventually led to his CD actually flying to Mars) and left for Toronto to have a career with Second City. He was my understudy, and when I quit- he made history by staying with it for longer than anyone, truly defining the art of improvising live music for theatre, and influencing MANY who came after. We are still connected at the hip, brothers forever. This is a recent photo from his current tour. Pure genius and a truly enlightened soul.
Vancouver music legend Brandon Isaak invited me to sit in with his trio a few nights ago for his show at Hermann’s and magic was made.
This month has kicked off with a blast!
Vancouver music legend Brandon Isaak invited me to sit in with his trio a few nights ago for his show at Hermann’s and magic was made. The killer grooves supplied by Jack Lavin and Ross Hall paved the road to glory with bass and drum gold, and solid local ground as could ever be found made for a joyous night indeed. Brandon has a one man show featuring his dexterity on acoustic guitar and banjo but he also has the super power of being able to lead and trade licks with ease even while he is simultaneously singing or playing the harmonica. This was just one stop in a tour that continues to lead his adventure to audiences around the world, and I feel very blessed to have crossed his path.
None of this would have happened if I hadn’t met Jack Lavin over the summer and through his support started getting involved in some of his recording and performing project. He is a MONSTER and one of the nicest guys I have ever met.
What does a flying banana have to do with boredom?
I think we can all agree, life is short. Other well worn adages resonate equally well: “Time is Precious”, “Live for the Moment” , and so on. Groucho Marx said “Time flies like an arrow, but fruit flies like a banana.” Once one of the most recognizable names in comedy, his joke slides into obscurity as easily as he might have predicted when he thought of it. And you might well now think, who is Groucho?
This July I turn 69. That’s five years older than Paul McCartney’s young fantasy of turning 64. I can still remember what it felt like to turn 20 shocked that a decade had sailed by since I was 10. I knew then that our perceptions of how quickly the clock spins around is somehow skewed. Good times seemed to make an hour or even an entire summer melt away. If only I could somehow slow things down I might be able to wring out some extra life out of this mysteriously rigged system. “A Watched Pot Never Boils.” Aha! I had found the key.
This said, it is hard to enjoy “Watching the Paint Dry.” The edge I had discovered quickly fell flat under its own tedious gravity. It’s now been nearly five decades since I discovered my destiny as a musician as a twenty something. Whenever I play the piano, I might as well enter a time tunnel and wake up on the other side in what feels the blink of an eye. It’s the opposite of boring. Always. And I can’t help it, I have to play.
So I admit I have tried cheating time from time to time. I learned that a nap in the middle of the afternoon can make one day feel like two. I’ve tried multi-tasking but I am terrible at it. A minor victory over the perception of time could be the ultimate definition of a losing battle.
Time itself is not the enemy. We are all united in this plane of existence in a very one sided alliance with the rules of reality as we march towards the unknown. Boredom is a gift that should never be squandered, so let’s just fill it with love and relax, shall we?