Happy February, calendar month of Cupid, god of “desire, erotic love, attraction and affection,” according to classical mythology. We literally feel these passions in our hearts, as anyone knows who has ever “fallen” in love. When passions go awry, we have “broken hearts.” And of course, so go the Valentine hearts, with the many, many songs, works of art and great romances throughout history. Love is powerful; and romantic love is “pointed.” Cupid’s lips shape the bow and love is the arrow.
Four years ago, I met Rock and Roll Hall of Fame legend, John Durrill, and the first time we got together to write, we wrote “Cupid.” This was the first of many songs we wrote together over a 3+ year period. Recently, Paul Candilore suggested we get “Cupid” into our van Gogh Brothers performances and our “Salon Series” trio shows. Ever since Paul mentioned it, the song has been stuck in my head, just in time for Valentine’s Day. Please click your “arrow” on Cupid!
My mother was a romantic– of the hopeless variety– made more so by her fragile psychological state which magnified everything in her world. Born on Valentine’s Day, her heart forever seeking what seemed like an unattainable love. I suppose it’s no wonder I would become a songwriter, chasing the “muse” across romances real and imagined. Isn’t that what we do? And in the moment of creation– in that song, painting or work of art– we try to capture that elusive feeling for all time to be listened to or touched like a talisman of love. We attempt to “evoke” these feelings in our works so we can return to them over and over again, like stalkers, and, hopefully, bring others in with us. A form of insanity? Probably!
And the insanity continues as we rehearse this month for shows in Cambridge, Malibu and Worcester, on March 1, 15, and 17. Our “Salon Series” continues on Thursday, March 1st at Toad Cambridge for the early (7:30) show with Paul, Clayton and I, as we dig deep into our extensive catalog of rarely-played old and new songs. On the 15th, I return to LA to open our Composers Breakfast Club monthly music night, “Samplifier,” at Soho (Little Beach) House in Malibu with an all-star LA-based band featuring Scarlet Rivera (Bob Dylan) on violin, Brian Jenkins on bass and backing vocals, Michael Carey on lead guitar, and Jonathan Smith on drums (we call this the “Soho House Band,” so named after our first gig at Soho (LB) House last May). And, in an.act of true love, I’ll fly home in time to play our favorite spot, Vincent’s Worcester, on Saturday, March 17, St Patricks Day 2018, with the O’Gogh Brothers. If that’s not romantic, I don’t know what is.
In the midst of this sound and fury, we return to Woolly Mammoth with Dave Westner at the engineering helm to start tracking more new material. Stay tuned for details on these fresh tracks.
In other romantic escapades, I was thrilled to be asked to write another article for the Music Museum of New England, this time on Vincent Hemmeter, owner of Vincent’s, Nick’s and Ralph’s Chadwick Square Diner, which together make up a huge portion of the Central Massachusetts music legacy with names like Dennis Brennan, the Smithereens, the Neighborhoods, Living Colour and others. Vincent is a true artist and imprimatur of bohemian culture. While Vincent has been a central figure in music and arts for 25+ years, I actually think the story on Vincent is just beginning.
This post would not be complete without recognizing the short lives of Ho Blair, who we lost last year at this time, and Beth Widisky, whose life was tragically cut short this month. Beth was part of a band family which began with the Swinging Steaks and grew to include us. Beth was a loyal supporter, a dedicated music fan, a friend, a mother, a wife and a beacon filled with life and hope. Beth will be missed by many.
Life is sometimes shorter than we expect and I feel incredibly fortunate with the life I have. The loss of friends reminds me how important it is to remember that we only get one day at a time. May your days bring love and joy, on Valentine’s Day and every day. I’m looking forward to seeing many of you both here and in LA in the weeks to come.