Everyone has a hero. Everyone has a scapegoat. Everyone ultimately has themselves.
We all want to have a family. We all want idols. Influences. Positive forces. Believers in us. Proof positive we are who we say we are… or at least who we believe we are.
memories may persist as everyone knows from an even earlier age…but they seldom stand out through a whole life like spots of light out of darkness, like a corner torn out of a huge picture which as faded and disappeared except for that cherished fragment – fydor dostoyevsky
I’m very luck to have my dad. Despite his flaws, his bad judgments and poor decisions, his failures, his less than desirable attributes, his flukes and quirks and things about him I’ll just NEVER understand, he’s still provided continuity and stability and a devotion that allows me to be who I am. Then again, in some ways, I don’t have a choice, we share DNA, but in those not-so molecular structures are the purest bonds one could hope to have.
He is at the heart of my music, for, if it weren’t for him believing and pushing and being a bull-headed ass in forcing me to follow through I wouldn’t have the love and devotion to music and the arts as a whole as I do now. I’ve grown up as a lover and supporter of the arts from a person who learned how to “tune” by twisting a radio knob. He took from his dad, I’ve been told, a love of the arts and it showed in some way in cooking and the visual arts, but the support for music and later writing, is his alone as I don’t associate my grandpa with it the same as I do other people. My dad was the ball-and-chain force to make me practice and the father that showed up at late night practice to set up field lighting or tear down big stages or drive the bus when no one else would.
He brought me music in all styles. Sure, he didn’t get an interest in rap and hip-hop and reggae or some of the ultra-extreme and artistic metal stuff but he never suppressed trying new things and I learned as much about jazz and blues as I did from rock and classical and folk. He recorded everything he “heard” on reel-to-reel for years from AM broadcasts to early FM-free form and even my sister and I in the basement attempting a ca pella – which sure the “tone-deafness” (sound-internalization-deficiency as it really is for me) aches me – but his library is classic, for that which is preserved at least. I wouldn’t know Benny, or Duke, or Ella, or Satch, or Miles without him and I think that is what make my early musical exposure so cool and inherently influential. I can’t imagine a world without sing sing sing or take the a train or autumn in ny or what a wonderful world this really is…
I also remember all the other things my dad taught me … I learned how to look at a pool table, three shots ahead of where i was from him. I suck at it, for sure, and can’t shark a table based on his strategy for sure, but I know how to look at the idea and can plan my opponents as well as mine as much as not only 3-6 shots but in some cases into the next game-or-two. I might not be able to execute my shots, but I know how to see “it”
My dad’s made mistakes, sure, shitty career direction, business decisions, family params, but somehow, he’s managed to positively support those around him. I never question his motive, for if you took things as they were there’s few motives other than the best possible offering for those around him that would make sense, as he’s sacrificed what seem like selfish ideas to get to where he is. I’m mildly jealous in saying I can’t imagine he’ll ever retire so we can ultimately fish together through the world but I respect the fact that he’s as happy as I’ve ever seen him despite bad turns in the idea that he can still live life his terms and as i discuss my own next steps he’s always accommodating and fulfilling in his support
for someone that could have every reason to look over his shoulder, and probably should, he’s retained his fatherly disposition, it’s not his dad’s, that’s always been for sure, grandpa is inapproachable in that regard, but what my dad has, I’m happy to have had him in my formative years and am more than ok with calling him my dad on father’s day. I wouldn’t be the man I am without his influence
He sat for hours-on-end in the basement with recording equipment