Stars

originally published in Sound Waves Magazine February 2020

Every Winter in New England I go outside onto my deck and look up. The stars are so bright this time of year. I see Orion’s Belt, the Little Dipper and as if on cue, I turn to my left and see the Big Dipper. In high school, I received an A+ in Astronomy (don’t fact check me!) as I was quite fascinated in what else was out there. I loved Star Trek, Star Wars, Close Encounters of the Third Kind… all of it. The course itself called for a lot of math and physics with discussions around clouds of dust and nebula and gravitational attraction, protostars, the Milky Way (such an awesome candy bar) and nuclear fusion and hydrogen and helium. Astronautical things. Rocket Science. I thought stars were so cool to look at (while actually superhot inside their core). They’re shiny and bright and they twinkle. They stay alive for hundreds of billions of years. But what I remember most through my studies was how I felt: incredibly indelibly irreversibly teensy-weensy; you know…small. There’s a whole lotta stuff up there and I’m just me. I’m just particles and atoms and molecules bouncing off each other, as it were.

Gazing up at the stars, I pondered things. I wondered, so what makes a rock star? An athletic star? A star CEO? A star politician? Particles and atoms and molecules yes, but what else is it? What astronomical reactions are at play? Some would say what makes the human kind of stars are charisma, talent, likability, accomplishments, notoriety, personality and such. The majority of the humans who come in contact with these “stars” agree they are indeed, stars. So therefore, we call them stars.

In the music biz sometimes we call each other “rock stars” I think to make us feel better about ourselves, to not feel so insignificantly small. But the truth of the matter is, everybody can’t be a star. There’s not enough room on the planet. Or is there? I think if you want to be a star, whatever your field, if you simply allow the things inside your soul (what is a soul made out of?) to come out freely and truly, to want to be somebody, to want to “matter,” you can become, the perfect human star, whether or not the majority of people in the universe agree with your own assessment.

I like stars. I used to want to be one (the Rock Star kind.) But now I’m happy with a nice warm meal once in a while, plenty of toilet paper and a couple gigs a month. You can go ahead and call me a Rock Star if you want though.

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Noise

*originally published in Sound Waves Magazine June 2017

From out on my back deck in the woods of Stonington, CT I hear all kinds of noise.  Tractor trailer truck tires hitting the highway’s shoulder rivets, dirt bikes whirling the grounds of a backyard, Ninja motorcycles racing for a thrill, various yelps and squeals from the woods which could be a deer giving birth or a human working an electric saw for a tree house.   An 8-year old kid learning the saxophone, coyotes fighting, the boom of a fireworks finale, my dog whimpering in the closet, weed whackers and water cannonballs from a nearby pool.  A camera drone, a piper twin, a generator during a power outage.

I can deal with all these noises.  But one I cannot fathom, or accept, is the thunder of a suicide bomb inside a concert venue.  Or, the sound of my 22-year old daughter who has already attended over 50 concerts, telling me she’s afraid to go to concerts now.

STOP THIS NOISE.

My first concert was The Beach Boys at the Yale Bowl in New Haven, CT.  Everybody remembers their first concert.  I plan to go see Brian Wilson’s Pet Sounds tour at Foxwoods Resort Casino in September to make it all come full circle.  Concerts are sacred things.  When I saw Bruce Springsteen in concert for the first time, it changed my life.  (This happens to a lot of people.)  The hope – the joy – the energy – the feeling you get that life is worth living, worth celebrating, worth screaming at the top of your lungs for.  That’s what concerts are for.

BUT NOT THIS.

We simply cannot let them win.

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