Archive | May, 2014

Dad

25 May

I’ve recently started getting into the UFC/MMA. I admire these guys who get into a ring and give their heart and soul in the octagon and risk so much for their status in their sport. I have been following so many of these athletes lately that I began to think they were the cream of the crop of what human beings are capable of. Then–this Memorial Day weekend–I read a piece my father, Jerry Wood, posted on Facebook about his time in Vietnam walking point for his platoon.

Anderson Silva, Jon Jones, GSP…..true champions. They fought hard for the place in a sport that is very risky, but rewards them as legends. Meanwhile, my dad fought with his VERY life for our country for little recognition or pay or fame or fortune. I feel ashamed that I have been so enveloped with these athletes who are capable of so much more than the normal person that I began to think no other human is capable of enduring what they do.   Yet for 36 years, I have lived with a man–who not only went through something 100 times harder than they will ever endure–he also did it for a much more noble cause and was willing to die for someone other than himself—he was willing to die for all of us. My dad went to war for me, so that I could do whatever the hell I want to with my life. He was willing to give up his life for me, you and everyone in this country without a single camera or pay-per-view company cashing in on his sacrifice. He is taller, stronger and braver than any champion I have ever seen.

So Dad, Happy Memorial Day weekend to you, Champ. You deserve it!

Liner Note$

17 May

I’ve put out quite a few albums over the years and with each one, my list of “thank-yous” in the liner notes has gotten shorter and shorter. The liner notes is a space on the inside of an album that most artists use to thank those who worked with them or showed love and support during the latest musical outing. For my first CD, “Underneath Me”, I used an entire page to thank anyone and everyone I could think of—family, friends, fans, people who kinda knew my name or were sorta nice to me once. I even thanked my dog, Sugar. With each album since, that list has dwindled more and more. For my latest CD, “The Great Escape”, I just thanked my children and everyone who has ever believed in me over the years—which could round out to be everyone on the planet or no one at all.

I guess I’ve learned two lessons that have led me to shortening my thank-you list. First of all, it’s very self-serving to think that anyone out there cares about who I thank for helping me make an album possible. Long ago, I thought it was important for certain people to read their name on my “all-mighty” CD or for others to read that list and ponder “What lucky devils helped elevate this artist to greatness?” It took me years to realize this was only important to me.

Secondly, some of the people I’ve thanked on previous albums aren’t even in my life anymore and like a tattoo, those names are nearly impossible to erase. People like….oh, I don’t know off the top of my head….my ex-wife.

But there is a story behind this seemingly mindless rant—just because I’ve chosen to keep my liner notes short in the thank-you section doesn’t mean I can’t be bought to change my mind.

About a month before I released my previous albums, “Listen Closely” and “Keep Listening” (both available on ITunes….wink, wink), I was visited at a show of mine by some dear fans who some might call “rich” or “wealthy”–or as I like to call them “very good tippers”. They had brought another very pleasant couple with them that night and during one of my breaks, I went over to their table to say hello.

After they got through telling me “what an amazing singer I am” and “how I am so talented” (it’s my story to embellish if I want), my wealthy fans asked, “How’s the new album coming along?”.

I told them it was all done—the music, the artwork—and now I just needed to save up the money to pay for it. Putting out an album can be a costly venture and every album I order or reorder takes some budgeting on my part.

The man in this wealthy couple asked me, “How much is it gonna cost to get your CD done?”

I told him the going rate for the kind of album I wished to put out and without batting an eye, he turned to his wife and said, “Honey, hand me our checkbook.”

As his wife dug through her purse, I felt my eyes enlarge to the size of baseballs and my jaw drop like a draw bridge. As this man began filling out a check for the exact cost I quoted him, he told me his one condition for essentially paying for the production of my album.

“All you have to do is include my name and my wife’s name in your thank-you notes.”

“DONE!” I shouted, finding it difficult to control the volume of my voice.

While all of this was going on, the very pleasant couple they brought with them was returning from the bar with drinks and looking at their friends very curiously.

“What are you doing?” his friend asked.

“I’m writing him check to pay for his new album under the conditions that he adds me and my wife’s name in the liner notes.”

Without batting an eye, his friend turned to HIS wife and said, “Honey, get out our checkbook. I want to get our names in the liner notes too.”

AND HE MATCHED HIS FRIEND’S PRICE!!

That was the greatest break during a show of mine EVER! I tried to play it cool and I’d like to think I pulled it off, but I would have much rather started break-dancing and screaming, “I’M RICH!”. That would have shown more accurately how I felt at the moment. If you don’t believe this story, I guess you’ll just have to buy “Listen Closely” and read the liner notes for yourself. They are the folks I thanked at the very end, followed by…“FOR THE HELP WITH THIS ALBUM”.

So the moral of this story is……..is there a moral to this story? No, not really, but for me the moral is, I have a price and those people found it:)