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2007 - A year of changes...

It was a tough year for a lot of people. People lost loved ones, there were national disasters, people lost jobs, and their homes.  Some people moved for good reasons.  I decided I HAD to move for survival reasons (but haven’t done so yet)  – not financial but because of growth of my business operations.  I guess that WOULD be financial.

I continue in my daily duties as one of Specs Howard’s tech guys, but I took on at least two major radio projects.  One was out of town and one in town:  Motor City Casino’s “Radio Bar” became another of my “babies.”  Also, a few trips to Charlotte NC would result in a new FM transmitter site and amazing signal coverage that I played an active role in achieving.  You can read about it as part of the ERI Antenna article in the December ‘07 issue of Radio World.

As those of you know who read this semi-regularly, I’m both a radio guy and musician.

Playing music this time last year… One year ago just before Christmas 2006, after a fall out with my friends in the band, “Impact 50,” we got back together and did a holiday gig with the original line-up.  It just felt right!   We would all continue to stay in touch and get together every so often. The band itself would go through member changes, but I was no longer a part of it except as a “third call” bass player.  We would however, actively support each other and sit in at each other’s gigs.   

My own band “Wherez My Limo?” would evolve with me mostly on lead guitar – a role I was handed by default.  As part of the fallout, the original Impact 50 singer, jumped in with the “Limo” band after our original lead singer had to leave the state.  Our old singer simply couldn’t keep a job in Michigan.  Also, we had to say goodbye to our other guitar player, but that move was by choice.

In early winter, I was asked to sit in on bass with another guitar player, Tom Scola, best known for his local work on the blues scene.  His musical aggregation had some big pluses for me.  Apparently, I brought something positive to the party, too.  I guess it’s a minimal requirement that those of us who play actively MUST be in a minimum of two bands at all times.

As far as the Beginnings and Ends in my playing world, for me personally, at least in ’07, there really weren’t any.  They just evolved from one era to another, and there were lots of OTHER players I worked with as well.  

Meeting famous players…

This year I also met some great LEGENDARY musicians after their Detroit shows:  Saxophonist David Sanborn and keyboard legend, George Duke.  George’s music but especially his “groove” has been in the back of my mind since the 1970s.  If you were around during the 1980s, you may remember his charted song, “Sweet Baby,” and the fact he was in Frank Zappa’s Mothers of Invention going way back.   The man hasn’t lost his touch.  In fact, even with his stripped down band, he “has it” more than ever. The show ended with an unplanned (and very EXTENDED) encore during which George invited members of the audience to sit in on one of his rigs and jam. 

At the beginning of the 2007, we traveled to Philadelphia to catch “Fourplay,” a jazz-fusion “super group” in their only U.S. show for the entire year.  Fourplay features Nathan East, my all-time favorite bass player (best known in recent years as Clapton’s bass player), Harvey Mason, one of my favorite drummers, Larry Carlton, guitar groove-master, and Bob James on keys isn’t too shabby either.  Didn’t get a chance to meet these guys, but it was one of the best shows of the year for me.  

Speaking of legendary players, Mark Pasman’s “Supersessions” also brings to mind locally several memorable shows this past year at Memphis Smoke. At least a couple come to mind where I was again invited to sit in on bass with the best musicians in town.  Thanks Paz! 

And On a Less “Happy” Note…

Toward the end of the year, I went to two funerals only about a week apart for first for an uncle, then for an aunt (his sister).  I never know how I am supposed to feel at these things.  They had both lived fairly full lives and had been ill for some time.  The best way is to think of these events is as celebrations of the lives of the departed.  At least that’s the way my uncle felt and it makes sense. Go in with that mentality rather than be sad.  But when the U.S. Army shows up and gives full military service with the flag presented to the wife, it’s a little tough to handle for the on-lookers.

Anyway, as I always say, everything has a Beginning and End.  For these people, who knew me best before I was even a teenager, it was their time to go – their End.

Computer End Time

At my home office, I had made the decision to replace some computer equipment.  Since 1986, I had Apple Macintosh, but now it was time for the last of the Macs to go.  It was more than eight years old and I had thrown various upgrades at it over the years but it was too far gone.   Hundreds of catalogs, my entire customer database, video and audio databases, entire books and a good part of my life was developed on Macintosh.   But my home network was fighting Mac.  The audio software I was using was available on PC (not Mac) only.  My laptop was PC.  It was just a pain, so I went all PC.

The Gateway blew up after six months.  Gateway replaced the motherboard, and I threw 3 gigs of memory into it, the complete Adobe Creative Suite, FileMaker database software and everything it needed to do everything the Mac did.  It has been a workhorse ever since.    My main audio computer (custom built from components) grew a couple more hard drives.  An aging Sony VAIO got replaced with another custom built computer it does everything the others are too busy to do.  With the growth of my business, it was not just a convenience to multi-task, it was a requirement.

So it was End Time for both the Macintosh and the Sony VAIO at my office.

And to wrap it (like a Christmas Present) up on a positive note…

I have been lucky to have and expanded the friends I have at work and play.  They are all important and valued.  I can always fix equipment (or send it back or replace it), but people are the reason we have equipment to begin with, and for that matter, the reason for music, radio and everything I rant about.  I try to keep this in mind, along with the realization that nothing lasts forever.  Change is constant.  Everything has a Beginning and an End.  Phases of your life and everyone else’s, including Life Itself has a start and finish.  Mine is far from over, at least as far as I know!

Now that 2007 is at its End, let’s work to make everything we did this past year (and to date) equal out to an even better 2008. 

Sound good to you?


John O'Leary
12/28/2007 06:05:40 am

Hi Bob,
I just found your blog...great stuff!
I had no idea you were involved with Specs Howard.
Have a great 2008 and maybe I'll run into you when I drop by Specs.

John O'Leary WCSX

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