*originally published in Sound Waves Magazine December 2017
I woke this morning to an overwhelming sense of optimism. My pre-programmed cynicism toward the impending gluttony of the holiday season and all things doom and gloom had vanished without a trace. Sounds crazy I know with everything that’s going on in our world, but if you look back through history, has anything ever been completely right in this world? Individually, it’s all how you look at it. Today, all of a sudden it’s clear to me, that I think we all do what we can to make the world a better place. If we stay generally positive, get pissed off when we have to, work for change when we see something awfully wrong and do our best with whatever talents we have been given, our little worlds can be personally rewarding which as a whole, makes the world a better place.
So this morning I decided that no matter what, I was going to make chocolate banana toffee muffins even though I have a hundred other things to do: columns to submit; set lists to prepare; promo packages to drop off; gigs to get; melodies and lyrics to get out of my head; strings to change; equipment to unload; trying to find last year’s winter coat; changing some men’s old-fashioned attitudes toward women; that sort of thing. But by golly, something had to be done about the brown bananas! I simply will not waste a brown banana!
I prepared the mixture, got flour all over the place and popped the little beauties into the oven. While they baked I pondered further about my little world. How long should I wait to put up the Christmas decorations? How many parties should I attend? Who should I splurge on? What do I do for my Jewish friends? What do I do for my Atheist friends? If I give something to the garbage collector, will he just be insulted? How broke should I go?
Although my back was already aching from all the hams and turkeys and cookies and dishes I had slaved over through Thanksgiving, I was determined to bake these muffins even if it killed me! I loaded up a second batch.
That’s the power of the human spirit you see. Sometimes you gotta just say screw it and forge ahead.
While the muffin aroma filled my yet to be decorated home, my mind wondered again. Should I perform Joni Mitchell’s “The River” at holiday gigs or is it too depressing? Is “Run Run Rudolph” simply ridiculous or do people like it? Should we just incorporate the sound track from the movie “Elf” and call it a day? When John Lennon’s “This is Christmas (War is Over)” is playing do you really just want the SONG to be over? Should I wear a Santa hat or elf ears on stage? Should I literally arrive with bells on so I jingle with every strum? Do people really WANT to rock around a Christmas tree?
In a musician’s world, these are very important issues to resolve. Yes, yes there are many other things to contend with and we often wonder: can music change the world and does it have to; are we making a difference in the lives of others in any way; or in my case, can baking chocolate banana toffee muffins make my world a little more grand?
We’ll see how long this strange but lovely optimism lasts and if I ever come to any conclusions worth telling you about. I’ll keep you posted, and see you at the shows! By the way, most people didn’t even like the muffins. But I did. Happy Holidays everybody.