Used Cars – Drive on Ric Ocasek
I was saddened to hear of the sudden passing of Ric Ocasek. I handle these kinds of passings a lot better than I used to, but somehow this one got under my skin more than I thought it would.
I remember very well when the !rst album by The Cars came out. I was 16 years old. It was highly successful, and of course, I bought it immediately. The album had a fresh and clean sound that was unlike a lot of what you heard on the radio. Being a huge Queen fan, I was also excited that Roy Thomas Baker had produced it.
I liked The Cars a lot, but when their second album “Candy-O” came out in 1979 I was in love with them and totally hooked. I wore that 8-track out. I still have memories of my first summer out of high school, laying by the pool with my girlfriend and listening to it over and over. And it was a staple in my car stereo from 8-Track to cassette to CD. I remained a big fan and followed them until they disbanded. Last year I purchased all of the reissues on colored vinyl, and The Cars got a LOT of new spins on my turntable. It felt good to give their music a lot of attention again.
Ric reminded me of Joey Ramone. If you had met them both before their success, and basing them only on the physical appearance you would have thought they would have been the last people in the world to become rock stars. But they were both brilliant, quirky songwriters who gave us some of the timeless rock and roll and pop music of their generation. Damn, where does the time go? To quote the late great Eddie Money, “I wanna go back...and do it all over.”
Remembering Blue Jeans and Tom Petty
To me, the music of Tom Petty has always been like an old pair of my favorite Levi jeans. The kind I wore when I was a teenager and a young man. They always felt good, and the more you wore them, the better they felt. If you gained a little weight, then they would stretch with you. If you lost a pound or two, you could just tighten your belt and get on with the game. They never let you down. Of course, as time moved on, you might have taken them for granted when your Mom, Grandmother, girlfriend or wife had you try some brand new so-called designer Jeans. But you quickly learned the truth and went back to the real thing. As the good times and bad times moved on with life, they would hang right in there with you. A little worse for wear, showing some holes and a bit frayed at the bottom, but still fitting, hanging in there and keeping you cool. Or as cool as you thought you were, which was quite important, you know. They almost became a part of your body, a part of you. So much so that you could never dream of parting with them. You found comfort in knowing that you always had your favorite jeans to keep you comfortable through the day and that they would forever be there. Until one day either your Mom, Grandmother, girlfriend or wife throws them out, or they just finally fell apart with no warning. One day they are here. Next day they are gone. That is how I am feeling today about the sudden passing of Tom Petty.
A daily comfort that I thought would always be with us is now gone forever, unannounced. Tom gave us pure and intelligent heartland rock and roll. He always delivered. He never stopped. He liked to play in jeans. Tom rolled with the changes like the coolest dude in school, man. For many like myself, he was a large part of the soundtrack of our youth, even if it was only on the perimeter, he was always there kicking serious ass with serious coolness. I got turned onto Tom Petty in 1978 with the release of ‘You’re Gonna Get It,’ but it wasn’t until the release of ‘Damn The Torpedos’ in 1979 that his music hit me right between the eyes and I was forever hooked. I remained a huge fan ever since, and you know, I always thought he would be around. Hell, he’s Tom Petty. American and indestructible.
During my first year in college in 1979, I wore one pair of jeans all the time. In fact, I had them for years. I had a small promotional pin for ‘Damn The Torpedoes’ that for some reason I always pinned next to my left pocket right after I put them on. I still have the pin. I wish I still had those jeans, and I wish we still had Tom Petty.
“Maybe somewhere down the road aways, you’ll think of me and wonder where I am these days. Maybe somewhere down the road when somebody plays...Purple Haze...”
One warm spring evening in May of 1978, May 5 to be exact, I first heard the music of Dan Fogelberg. I was on tour with my high school choir attending a mixer in Mobile, Alabama and I was 16 years old. I still remember vividly the house, the room, the moment, the turntable and the emotion I felt after hearing my first Dan Fogelberg song. The song was ‘There’s A Place In The World For A Gambler’ from his 1974 album ‘Souvenirs’. I immediately forgot about the party and sat down in front of the turntable for the rest of the evening playing ‘Souvenirs’ over and over until someone insisted that it was time to put on ‘Born to Run’ by Bruce Springsteen. I succumbed to ‘The Boss.’ No worries I thought because by now my life had already been permanently altered and I was in another mind space and musical world. I had a new path and a new star to guide my way.
Music has been my lifeblood as far back as my parents, and I can remember. Those who know and understand me are aware of how many musical artists have strongly a!ected and changed my life. It is just a large part of who I am. Some are impressed, and some roll their eyes, but there is no denying that for better or for worse my soul is the amalgamation of many musical artists and styles. I could list dozens upon dozens of musicians whose music is ingrained in me forever, but very few have given me serious life changing moments that forever a!ected my path, music, soul, and spirit. For the sake of keeping this short, I will share with you today that Dan Fogelberg, Gino Vannelli, The Beatles, Alice Cooper and David Cassidy top the list.
When I returned home from that 1978 choir trip, I was a di!erent young man. My vision of the musician and artist I wanted to be had now completely changed, much like it had in 1975 when I first heard the music of Gino Vannelli. The very next day I went out and bought every Dan Fogelberg album, cassette and 8-Track I could get my hands on, and they immediately became my Bible. I asked my parents for an Ovation acoustic guitar for my Birthday that summer and my life changed forever.
The first of many times I had the opportunity to see Dan Fogelberg live was at The Fox Theater in Atlanta, Georgia in April of 1979. His performance that evening is one of my most cherished memories I have, and it completely cemented his permanent influence in my spirit and my original music. Like so many people his music went on to be a soundtrack to my life with many select memories only I can cherish. I cannot express in words how much Dan’s music, message, and life has influenced me. To this day it has never waned.
August 13, 2017 – Today is an extraordinary day for it would have been Dan’s 66th Birthday, and tonight at Fiddlers Green Amphitheater in Colorado, Dan Fogelberg, Joe Walsh, and Caribou Ranch will be inducted into the Colorado Music Hall of Fame. I am quite sad that I cannot be there in person to share in this long awaited celebration, but I will be there in spirit.
I ask you today to celebrate and enjoy the timeless music, message, magic and spirit that was Daniel Grayling Fogelberg.
Let it Shine....
I have returned from one of the most amazing musical, spiritual and life learning weeks of my life. For 5 days in a row, 7 hours a day I was part of a class of 5 hand picked students blessed enough to be personally taught voice and songwriting techniques by one of the !nest musicians, vocalist’s and songwriter’s of the past 40 years, Gino Vannelli. I will share more with my blog, photos and music in time. But this morning, I just wanted to let all who were interested know I was home, feeling, blessed, grateful, alive and in a very new and improved space.
Many personal thanks to Gino and Ross Vannelli, Phyllis and Ed at Brickhaven Bed and Breakfast, Kathy Mullen and Stephanie Ranker for help making this past week possible for me. Also, a very special tip of the hat to the good friends and memories I made this week with my new classmates.
HAPPY BIRTHDAY DAN...THANK YOU
On May 4, 1978 at an evening High School Mixer in Mobile, Alabama, at the ripe old age of 16 I first heard the music of Dan Fogelberg. There is no way I could have known that night what an effect this event would have on my music, my spirit and my path of life. From the very first song I felt like I had been hit by a ton of bricks. I promptly wondered, “Why have I not heard this mans music before?” and immediately took it upon myself to absorb every lyric, note and passage of every piece of music Mr. Fogelberg had released up to that point. That has never changed, and on days like today I miss his presence even more; and like many I mourn the music he could have made had he lived.
Music has been the driving force behind my life, heart and soul of my being ever since I can remember. From what I am told, pretty much ever since I came out of the womb; and while I greatly enjoy a wide variety of music, (My album collection can attest to this) the musicians and artists whom I admire, respect and hold in the very highest of esteem are few. Those who have impacted my life like Dan Fogelberg I can count on less than one hand. I had the pleasure of being in his presence for a short while back in 1991, but I never had the chance to meet the man and spend just a few short minutes thanking him – and that is really all I wanted to do. To thank him. Thank him for drastically changing my music, my heart, my life and my musical soul with class and grace for all eternity.
Happy Birthday Dan. If your spirit has not moved on, I am pretty sure you are having an amazing day.
Booking The Great Gig In The Sky – A Fond Farewell To Reuben Kincaid – RIP Dave Madden
I was very saddened to hear about the passing of Dave Madden yesterday. Most people who are familiar with Dave Madden remember him best as the stressed out and lovable manager of The Partridge Family, a television series about a !ctitious Pop Group starring David Cassidy and Shirley Jones which ran from 1970-1974. Through all of the days of my youth, the music of David Cassidy and The Partridge Family were an enormous and moving in"uence on me, my music and my spirit. They were in fact, a very large part of why I chose my career as a musician. Those who are very familiar with my life and my original music are aware of the enormous amount of real estate the music of David Cassidy and The Partridge Family hold in my heart. For various reasons I have been badgered about this by many people for my entire adult life. In response, I wish it to be known that I am of the mindset that sometimes real talent gets a stereotypical bad rap for all the wrong reasons. More often than not artists in this situation are never given the respect they are due. I have always felt that way about David Cassidy.
As for Dave Madden, his character of Reuben Kincaid and the relationship he shared with Danny Partridge ( played by Danny Bonoduce ) was a very large part of the comedic humor of the show. He was a !ne actor, a kind and good man, and a wonderful comedian. He might not have been the best !ctitious agent in the world, but he was warm, loving and hilarious. It is funny to think back on my childhood when I used to watch The Partridge Family and believe that what Reuben and The Partridge Family went through was how show business really worked. Today, after being in the business for 30 years, what a joyous and jaded laugh I get out of that. I occasionally scratch my head in disbelief when I realize how long ago that was. My how life, society, culture, innocence, youth, the world and music have changed since 1970 was a new year.
I am constantly reminded by my girlfriend on how I spend too much time looking back and that I should only look forward. I know she is right, but on days like today I !nd myself thinking back with concentration and energy. What I would not give to go back to those times – if only for a day – a good day. A day where music, youth, innocence and hope !lled my world; where days of wonder and imagination would always leave a huge smile on my face and a strong dream in my heart. A good bit of my youth went with Dave yesterday. He was the !rst Partridge to leave us. Come on Get Happy? No, not today...in time. That vacant seat on the bus looks pretty lonely....My condolences to the Madden family, Danny Bonaduce, David Cassidy and Shirley Jones.
SO LONG ANDY....
I am extremely saddened to hear of the passing of Andy Griffith today. Mr. Griffith had and extremely long and fruitful career. I enjoyed everything that he ever gave us to no end. But like many, I will always remember him as Sheri" Andy Taylor.
It is no secret to those who know me that The Andy Griffith Show has always been my favorite TV Show for all of my life. Not only because of the amazing writing and comedy, in that respect the show was magic beyond belief, but because of the simpler and more wholesome way of life the show betrayed. A show of love, decency, morality and family.
I was a part of that kind of life through my Grandparents on both my Mother and my Fathers side. It has remained a part of me that could never ever be removed or altered, and I go there when I want to think of peace, innocence and extreme happy moments in my life. Like Mayberry....Just like Mayberry
When I became a Father, as odd as it may seem I looked to Andy Griffith and the many life lessons he taught his young son Opey to help me with my road map to cover that journey.
I knew Andy was getting up in years and would not be with us for long, so I was expecting this. But I didn’t think his death would hit me as hard as it has....Mayberry and the world has lost the best Sheri" we ever had. So before I get too sentimental and mushy I think I will go down to the diner and shed a few tears for Andy. I hope Juanita is working.........
Thanks, Andy....Say hello to Barn for us....
"Ramblings From Jeff" - is a dedicated personal blog page within JeffPike.com written and posted by Jeff Pike.