Expectations, Curve Balls, and Reality


I started the year with such grand designs. I was going to do so many things. Like focus on social media, my website, and writing this blog. I intended to promote the music I had spent the last year recording, and record new music this year. There was enough material written for another EP and a vision for a follow up full length. There would be touring and recording projects with the bands I am working with, and more performances of my own works. I would do all of these things and still have time for family and even down time for myself. It was going to be amazing! I was on a roll and this time I was going to ride that momentum. These were the expectations I set up for myself.

Curve Balls

The first couple of weeks of 2019 were on track when I was hit with a triple whammy. The sore shoulder that had been bothering me blossomed into a constant, debilitating pain that made it hard to concentrate on anything else. I could not use a computer for more than a few minutes at a time, if at all. Playing guitar was excruciating and required hours, sometimes days of rest. I only touched an instrument when absolutely necessary. The doctor said it was a repetitive motion injury, brought on by too many hours on the guitar and it was heart breaking to realize that it was my beloved Furch acoustic bass that did it to me. The way I have to hold my arm when playing that bass is different from my other instruments, and turns out my connective tissues didn’t like it much. I was wearing sports tape 24/7 and eating 2000mg of ibuprofen a day for enough relief to function. 

The second curve ball was that my father became very ill. His health has been decidedly poor for many years, I would not categorize him as having been healthy. When he was hospitalized with pneumonia I knew it would be rough for him. At his age with his condition pneumonia was dangerous at best. His hospital stay lasted more than 9 weeks before he passed away. It was hard dealing with it long distance, I couldn’t be there for him, I couldn’t be there for my family. It was hard to know when to go, it was supposed to be the “end” several times. I went to sit with him and my mom in the hospital for a week, came home, and went back for a week when he passed.

Then there is the decision that has dominated my life these last six months. I decided it was time to get sober. For real, not just taking a break, or detoxing for a while, or whatever else an alcoholic tells themself to justify not drinking for a period of time. I wanted to get help and learn to live a sober life which is so much more than only refraining from alcohol. Thirty five years of drinking was finally enough. Yesterday marked six months of sobriety and I passed it with my band mates doing a show in Rochester NY, socializing for a minute afterwards, and retreating to finish the book I was working on. (If you get a chance, Dark Days by D. Randall Blythe is great, highly recommended).


So this year has not gone as planned. Life never does. All I can do is adjust, re-adjust, and then do it again. I’m finally getting back to a place where I can sit a computer, and sit with an instrument without pain. Although not healed, the pain has shifted and restricts movement in other ways, it’s manageable enough to not be eating ibuprofen all day. I am on the road doing shows, we are just outside of Buffalo getting ready to do a show right now. Joining Pale Blue Dot has been greatly rewarding. The music is interesting and fun to perform, we are having a great time getting the material tight, and the reception from audiences has been overwhelmingly positive. Sobriety has been a challenge. I was really worried about being in music venues and especially doing the local “bread and butter” gigs at breweries and wineries but everyone has been really supportive and respectful of this new me. Having a new attitude and a clear head has improved my performance on the bass and I’m enjoying playing in a way I didn’t expect. My writing has been slow, but better. At least I think so. We’ve started recording Rob Williams’ next record, and Pale Blue Dot sessions begin the first week of August.  Nothing on the books as far as recording my own material, but it’ll come.

Overall, life is good. I feel more changes on the horizon. The main feature of sobriety so far seems to be re-introducing me to myself and it’s a slow but interesting process. Whatever else goes on, staying sober right now is my top priority. Anything else will have to happen on those terms, and that’s okay. It seems to be impacting my musical endeavors in a positive way so I’ll keep following that lead. 


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