Archive for October, 2006
This weekend when I was holed up in the medical research facility being poked and prodded in return for money, I got bored and decided to Google some people from my past. One such person was Dave Westerman. I first met Dave when he and Liz (his wife at the time) were in a theatre production with me. I believe it was “Law West of the Pecos”. I played Johnny Loco, the villain. I hit it off with the two of them very quickly and being that we were all musicians, we started jamming together. I Previously met Gary Tatum also through theatre and had been getting together with him for weekend jam sessions. The four of us soon had our own little band going playing covers of The Cars, The Go-Gos, Pat Benatar, Dire Straits, Boston, Bachman Turner Overdrive, Huey Lewis and the News, Bryan Adams, and more. Dave played bass, keyboards and sang, Liz played keyboards and sang, I played guitar, keyboards, sax and sang, and Gary played guitar and sang. It was my first band, and let me tell you, we kicked ass. A few years ago I contacted an old friend from high school, Jeremy Hyman, and he said that one of his most vivid memories of me was coming to band practice with me one time, and being astounded at the incredible sound being created in that room.
We practiced for a while honing our set, and ended up only playing a gig or two before Dave and Liz decided to start playing with an old friend of theirs again so our band kind of fell apart. At the time, I was pretty gutted about it as it was my first band, and we were so damn good. That and the fact that I genuinely loved everyone in the band. Really awesome people. We’d never even settled on a name. We’d bandies about many silly names like “Gary Tatum and the Tots”, and “Poodle Grooming”, but I think we eventually used “Making Waves” for our few gigs.
Dave and Liz eventually moved away somewhere, I can’t remember where. Over the years I ended up getting together with them and some other musicians a couple of times to play an annual golf tournament in the Baytown area. We would all convene from our various locales for one quick rehearsal the night before, then play the gig the next day. I think I played this even two different years. After that, I think I pretty much completely lost touch with them. The last thing I remember was that he and Liz had separated, and I think I learned that at the last golf tournament we played together.
When I Googled Dave, I eventually found that he had moved back to Houston and was playing in at least two bands. I also learned that on September 23, 2006, he died after a battle with some kind of cancer. Further investigation revealed that he apparently left a wife named Lisa and a couple of children, I believe. I wish I’d looked him up sooner so I could have shared at least a few more moments with him and learned about his life in the intervening years. I wish I could have said goodbye. It may have been a long time since we were really acquainted, but that doesn’t make his absence have any less of an impact on me. There’s a little bit of low end missing from the sound of the world today.
Goodbye, Dave. Sorry I just missed you.
Apparently “The Darkness” is no more. Singer Justin Hawkins went into rehab for a serious cocaine/alcohol problem, and when he emerged, he decided he could not live the rock and roll lifestyle any more and quit the band. After quitting, the record label promptly dropped the band (not surprising since Justin was the key member in my opinion). I am bummed. I think they were one of the best bands to come along in a long time. Many people thought they were a joke, but if you could get past the novelty you’d find some great song writing, catchy riffs, infectious melodies, crunchy guitars turned up to 11 and just all around great music that would rock your face off. Sure it was all done with tongue planted firmly in cheek, and maybe this was they’re downfall, but that’s one of the things I loved. It was entertaining as well as being great music.
Of course this isn’t really surprising to me as I think the music industry has become a very sad, manufactured, plastic beast where mostly only formulaic music for the lowest common denominator finds support. The Darkness’ second album, “One Way Ticket to Hell…And Back” did not have impressive sales, which is a shame since I think it’s as good, and possibly better than their first album “Permission to Land.” Sadly it seems that success or failure these days has little to do with talent or quality. The Darkness’ two albums will forever remain amongst my favorites.
Larry and I were at the deli counter at the grocery store procuring some lunch meat. We’d ordered up a half pound of Primo Taglio turkey breast when one of the other deli workers came over and informed us that if we bought a pound of Primo Taglio we would get a free calculator in our choice of red, green or purple. We were buying another half pound of ham anyway, so we did indeed get our free calculator. Not only was it a calculator, but it was a clip on calculator! The top was a spring loaded clip like those carabiner keychains! Wow! I could take my meat calculator everywhere!
This exchange pretty much had us puzzled for the rest of the day. Somewhere, someone had had to come up with this bizarre promotion.
“Hey, I’ve got it! Let’s give away calculators if people buy a pound our meat!”
I mean really, who doesn’t associate meat and calculators? It’s a classic duo, like Spaghetti and Ice Cream! We started theorizing how this might have come about. Perhaps some company had somehow ended up with a surplus of clip on calculators, and one day, the manager of this company had lunch with his pal, the manager of Primo Taglio.
“Damn, what the hell am I gonna do with 10,000 clip on calculators!”
“Don’t ask me, I just sell meat.”
“Say! You could have a promotion! I’ll sell you all these calculators, dirt cheap, and you can give ’em away if people buy a pound of meat!”
And here I am with a pound of lunch meat and a bitchin’ purple clip on calculator.