Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Oldies Lite

I'm out with a few friends from a professional association, and one of them asks me how things are going with the band. I tell her about our Fountains gig. I recount how they were playing oldies from KTUC-AM on the speakers, and how it made me think about what they'll be playing when I'm ready for the old folks' home.

"KTUC," one of my friends says. "Isn't that the really conservative oldies station?"

Huh. I have no idea what the station's political leanings are, but come to think of it, they do play a very specific kind of old music. I look up their playlist later online. Here are a few of the songs they've broadcast tonight:

"Beyond the Sea" by Bobby Darin
"Sixteen Tons" by Tennessee Ernie Ford
"Love and Marriage" by Frank Sinatra
"September Song" by Tony Bennett
"Teach me Tonight" by the De Castro sisters

You get the idea: oldies lite. There's no "Splish Splash," no "Rock Around the Clock," definitely no "Louie Louie," for damn sure no "My Generation."

If a station like this is around when I'm in my 90s, they won't be playing REM. They'll be playing Boyz II Men.

NOW I'm depressed.

Saturday, September 12, 2015


It's not like years ago
The fear of getting caught
The recklessness in water
They cannot see me naked
These things they go away
Replaced by every day

Kitchen chores beckon. Some people love to cook. I'm not one of them. To relieve the tedium of food prep, I decide to listen to an album as I chop and fry and clean. I pick REM's Automatic for the People because one of its tracks has been going through my head for the past few days.

It occurs to me that this album is more than two decades old. When I was a kid listening to the radio in the '70s and '80s, the stations that played '50s and '60s music were oldies stations.

Wow. REM is oldies now.

That doesn't seem right. 1992 feels like three lifetimes ago, but when I hear "Man in the Moon" it might as well be three days. For all it belongs to a distinct era, it doesn't sound nostalgic.

I had a similar line of thought last week when Ron the Drummer and I performed at the Fountains, an assisted living facility on the northwest side of town. Oldies station KTUC 1400 played on the speakers as we set up and broke down. The music of our audience's youth. What will nursing homes be playing when I move into a place like this? The Talking Heads? Nirvana? Sir Mix-a-Lot? Will those bands sound as hopelessly out of date to the visiting grandkids as Tony Bennett does to my generation?

Time marches on. I can accept that. I pretty much have to accept that. I just don't want it to march on without me.

Sunday, June 14, 2015

How to take a compliment

After a short performance tonight, an audience member came up to me and told me she'd enjoyed our set. The rest of the exchange went something like this.

What she said: "You sounded like Alanis Morissette!"

What I said: "Thanks!"

What I wanted to say: "Uh oh. Jagged Little Pill Alanis Morissette, or Alanis Morissette after she decided to start singing in key?"

Score one for knowing when to keep my mouth shut.

(P.S. I bought Jagged Little Pill in in 1995 and quite liked it, but as an artistic type I reserve the right to be neurotic about everything, including nice stuff people say about me.)

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

ME/CFS Awareness Day: Big data

"I really enjoy working on problems that others think are unsolvable."
—Ronald W. Davis

ME/CFS AwarenessAnother year, another ME/CFS Awareness Day, and we STILL don't have a cure. What's up with that?

(If you have no idea what ME/CFS is, this awareness-day post from a few years ago will catch you up.)

I've been feeling discouraged about the lack of progress toward a cure, which is a big reason you haven't seen one of these ME/CFS posts in a while. But a new organization has provided a tiny glimmer of hope:

The End ME/CFS Project.

They're doing medical research.

They'll be conducting a comprehensive big data study that includes housebound and bedbound sufferers. This is a big deal, as housebound and bedbound patients tend not to be able to travel to laboratories, which means most research leaves these patients out.

The board director, Ron W. Davis, is the director of the Stanford Genome Technology Center. His son suffers from a severe case of ME.

James Watson—one of the guys who discovered the structure of DNA—is also on the advisory board.

You can donate here.

Hopefully we'll have more good news to be aware of by next year's Awareness Day.

Thursday, April 9, 2015

Barry + Garry

Awww, belated congratulations to Barry Manilow. Last year he married his manager, Garry Kief.

The article I linked to says that people started speculating on Manilow's marital status several months ago, after he started wearing what looked like a wedding ring. Various articles say that while he's extremely private about his love life (understandably), he isn't in the closet.

And he shouldn't be. I mean, nobody should be, but Barry Manilow fandom is one of the last places I'd expect to find rampant homophobia.

With all the awful stuff going on today, it's nice to think that some corners of the world are becoming more accepting, one married couple at a time.

Sunday, March 1, 2015

Folk Fest, here we come ...

Hi! Nice to see you again. It's been a while, huh. Between everything and everything else, I keep forgetting that this blog exists.

But I didn't pop back in to talk about how much I suck at blogging. I'm here to announce that the Tucson Kitchen Musicians Association sent out their selection results for the 30th Annual Tucson Folk Festival today, and Cinder Bridge is playing on Sunday, May 3, 1 p.m., at the Courtyard Stage. ALSO, I made it into this year's Songwriting Competition.

Woo hoo!

Now I just have to remember which songs I submitted to the songwriting contest ...

Monday, December 22, 2014

With a little help from Joe Cocker

Maybe a decade ago, my roommate informed me that Cinder Bridge should quit playing "Layla." His reason? I sounded nothing like Eric Clapton.

It's true. I don't. Not even a little bit. And ...?

"You know the song 'Feelin' Alright?" I asked. "Traffic?"

He did.

"Okay. Then listen to this."

I put With a Little Help from My Friends in the CD player. Pressed play. Turned it up.

My roommate had heard it before, of course. And while I don't think I ever convinced him I was worthy of "Layla," he couldn't deny that Joe Cocker's version of "Feelin' Alright," totally different from Traffic's, kicked even more ass than the original.

Joe Cocker was far from the only artist who could put his own spin on somebody else's song. But he was one of the only artists I knew who could be consistently better. One of the only artists whose albums I'd buy even though he didn't write his own material.

I will miss him.

In the interest of not ending on a total down note, and because I can, I leave you with this.