What’s all the hub bub about these periodical cicadas? Legend has it that once every seventeen years, these little buggers come out from their little hole in the ground, make a bunch of racket to attract a mate and then disappear for another seventeen years or so.
Well, we’re well past their arrival time here in the northeast and so far, I haven’t seen a single one. Curious, I decided to do a little research and find out a little more about them. I got this information from Wikipedia:
Magicicada is the genus of the 17-year periodical cicadas of eastern North America. Although they are sometimes called “locusts”, this is a misnomer as cicadas belong to the taxonomic order Homoptera, while locusts belong to Orthoptera.
Magicicada spend most of their 17-year lives underground feeding on xylem fluids from the roots of deciduous forest trees in the eastern United States. After 17 years, mature cicada nymphs emerge at any given locality, synchronously and in tremendous numbers. After such a prolonged developmental phase, the adults are active for about 4 to 6 weeks The males aggregate into chorus centers and attract females for mating. Within two months of the original emergence, the life cycle is complete, the eggs have been laid and the adult cicadas are gone for another 17 years.
What a boring description. I’ve always been more into relating something with sociology rather than science. So I suppose that’s why this funny thought occurred to me. Even though I’ve yet to see one of these little creatures, I began to contemplate the possibility of their behavior pattern existing in humans.
Think about it. What if a man lived in his man cave and only ventured out once every seventeen years for a little nook-nook? As long as the bills were paid and the lawn was mowed, I wonder how many married women would mind?
The pattern would probably go something like this:
Dude comes up from downstairs after watching nearly two decades worth of Fast and Furious movies and sports. He starts singing a Justin Bieber tune (an annoying sound similar to the one the bugs produce). Then the woman says, “It’s been seventeen years already? Oh, alright! You’ve got ten minutes. But then you better get your ass back downstairs and not come back until your kid graduates high school.”
It could happen.
They say imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, but I beg to differ. Quite often (and more often than not), it’s annoying. When I was growing up, it wasn’t good enough to just go to school wearing Members Only jackets and Jordache jeans. In the 80′s, a lot of the kids at my school routinely liked to show up at our educational establishment mimicking their favorite entertainers.
I kid you not, some girls would actually come to school with the exact same haircut and wardrobe ensemble as Pat Benatar or Madonna. Then there was a section of the student body who felt obliged to pay homage to Boy George from Culture Club on a daily basis. And don’t get me started on the dudes who came to school wearing a replica of the jacket Michael Jackson made famous in the “Beat It” video.
Which leads me to yet another atrocity of copy cats I’d like to discuss - the doppelganger world I see whenever I stroll down the cereal aisle at my local grocery store.
As if it weren’t already bad enough that I can only get Count Chocula at Halloween time, half of the shelves that once housed such morning goodness as Quisp, Frute Brute and Waffle O’s are now home to the wannabes; generic cereal that’s been cleverly disguised as some of my all time favorites.
You don’t fool me.
Sure, grocery chains tout that by purchasing generic brands, consumers can still enjoy their favorite breakfast cereal and also save money at the same time. Although there is some truth to that statement, these same people who claim to know what’s best for Americans seem to have forgotten about one very important thing – the fun factor.
Time is a precious commodity in this day and age, and there’s only a certain amount of it we get to spend using it on breakfast. Personally, I’d much rather spend mine with Lucky the Leprechaun, Toucan Sam or Fred Flintstone than with some stranger trying to imitate my homies.
I find it funny how these generic brands of cereal attempt to make themselves out to be alternatives to the name brand by using slightly different names (and characters) in their promotion. For instance, compare the use of the word “swirl” in Fruit Swirls with the “loop” in Froot Loops; an obvious Jedi mind trick. Oh, and look! How convenient…a monkey pitching the product. Could it be that both a monkey AND a toucan might be found in the same deep jungle? I’m sure it was just a coincidence. NOT!
Sometimes, the characters used to pitch generic versions are more blatant than others. As is the case with “Fruity Bits”; a knock off of my beloved Fruity Pebbles. You’ve got to give them credit for using a dinosaur to appeal to the Jurassic customers who’ve regularly indulged in the name brand for years. Sorry, but eating a bowl or these bits doesn’t even come close to the euphoria I’ve experienced by having breakfast with Fred and Barney over the years.
And what’s with the word “bits” anyway? Bits sounds like something you’d give to your dog. It’s not as manly as “pebbles”. Sure, it might sound like you’re eating rocks (and who knows, maybe you are), but this is the stone age we’re talking about, right?
If it were me and the decision had to be made, I’d go with the name brand cereal every time. If for no other reason than I would much rather be sitting at the table in the wee hours of the morning reading about the games Fred and Barney have in store for me than contemplating if it was really worth it to save thirty cents just to buy some knock off. You can’t put a price on happiness.
And as for the grocers who think it’s cool to not stock Count Chocula and some of my other favorites in order to make room for products like these, there’s a special place in Guantanamo for you.
It’s milestone Monday, and this one is a doozy for sure. Raise your bottle of Zima and break out the Bon Jovi! Twenty-five years ago this very day was my first EVER gig with a band.
On April 29th, 1988 my band, “Silent Rage” competed in the Bath Firehall Battle of The Bands. I know this not because I have a perfect memory (hell, I can’t even remember what I had for breakfast some mornings), but because I was smart enough to keep a journal of my musical exploits.
I actually formed Silent Rage in March of 1988, and can remember vividly how much we busted our asses. Sometimes we would rehearse four nights a week for hours at a time. Eventually, we got our very first show.
It was an under-21 Battle of The Bands gig in the town of Bath, Pennsylvania and needless to say, with my band’s first gig now officially booked, I was stoked. Although I honestly don’t recall who won that night (it wasn’t us), I do remember the names of the bands we competed against: Lethal Tender, Cobalt Blue, Mizery and Detour.
But as I sit back and remember this day, I do recall a bull-headed, 18-year-old guitarist who thought he knew everything. There would be a lot of growing pains for me over the next twenty-some-odd years. Pains that began that very night. For while in full rock and roll mode, I neglected to realize that timing was everything. So when we were approached by the promoter asking if we wanted to go on last, I jumped at the chance. I thought “Now THIS is a rock and roll dream!”
With the 8pm start rapidly approaching, I remember being downstairs proclaiming to anyone who’d listen how WE were the headliners that night, and how WE had that coveted final spot. Little did I know it, but my hasty decision likely led to our own undoing. For by the time we went on to perform, it was already well past midnight and most of the under-age crowd had already headed for the exits.
In true Hair Metal fashion, this was our set list that night. The first set list I ever played:
1. Crazy Train (Ozzy Osbourne)
2. You Shook Me All Night Long (AC/DC)
3. Talk Dirty To Me (Poison)
4. Pour Some Sugar On Me (Def Leppard)
5. I Can’t Drive 55 (Sammy Hagar)
6. I Won’t Forget You (Poison)
I liked the idea of “I Won’t Forget You” at the end. Kind of made the whole thing sentimental, in a rock and roll sort of way.
Here is the journal entry I wrote after the show was over.
4/29/1988: Well, the Battle’s history. We didn’t win. We were on last and I think that was the biggest factor, because everyone was gone. I think we did extremely well and I was sweating my ass off under the lights. The songs really sounded good. The sound man even told us that ‘Pour Some Sugar On Me’ sounded great. I threw out all of my picks. We had fun. I remember looking out and seeing people singing along to the first three songs we did: ‘Crazy’, ‘Shook Me’ and ‘Talk Dirty’.
I was so nervous until we finally started ‘Crazy’, then all hell broke loose. My guitar solo was great. Even though we didn’t win, I’m so happy to have done it. Winning is shit, I did what I do best; I want to do it for a living.
I learned a lot that night about what to do and when to do it. I also learned the importance of group decisions when it comes to being in a band. One member shouldn’t speak for all. And I believe that had I asked what the others had thought about going on last, the outcome that night would have been different.
In the end, it was one of the best nights of my musical career. For with that killer opening guitar riff to Crazy Train, my rock and roll dream began.
When I heard my very first KISS album back in the 1970′s, a seed was planted and I realized I wanted to be a rock star. I remember picking up my grandmother’s hand-held potato slicer (which kind-of resembled a guitar) and played it til my fingers bled. Which come to think of it, happened rather quickly. Those little metal tines sure were sharp.
In the mid 80′s, I seriously began working on my craft. I’d sit up in my bedroom and play guitar for hours after school. I even remember getting mad at myself if I fell short of my set goal and only practiced for 2 1/2 hours instead of three. I couldn’t let anything (not even dinner or mowing the grass) interfere with my progress. Whether it was trying to figure out the lead to ‘Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap’ by AC/DC or mastering a section from my guitar lesson music book, I accomplished it.
Back then, I had no fear.
It wasn’t until 1987 that I had my first chance to actually get out of the bedroom and play in front of an audience. I was the sole guitarist in the pit band for the school play and also performed the song “Flashdance” on stage with the school choir. That’s where it all began.
Over the next few years (oh, ok… decades… I’m 43) I played in no less than seven different bands with various degrees of success. I remember a lot of the lows, like playing hair metal in dive bars for 6 people. I also remember the high: performing in front of 6,000 people at Musikfest. But whether it was six or six thousand it didn’t matter. The message was the same:
I had no fear.
I’ve never really been concerned about playing my music in front of an audience. Nope, no stage fright here. Whether they loved it or hated it, I didn’t care. As Frankie said, I was doing it “my way”.
Which leads me to the real meat of this post.
Last month, me (along with a great friend and artist) had the opportunity to write and publish my first children’s book. I was interviewed by the local newspaper about it (piece of cake) and did an on camera, live TV interview (ok, I’ll admit, that one was a bit scary). I was even offered the opportunity to read my book to a group of children at a bookstore next week to help raise funds for a local organization, and I jumped at the chance. Not only would it be for a good cause, but it would also be a good outlet for the story. In retrospect though, as the day beins to draw closer, I’ve realized something:
I have fear.
There is something about reading in front of children that intimidates me. I could bring my guitar and sing songs all day long without worry. But reading a book (MY BOOK) is a whole different story (literally and figuratively). It’s funny to think that I can already tell I’ll be looking for reaction from their faces; hoping that my book will be worthy enough for them.
It’s odd how someone my age, who’s played so much music in front of people of all ages, would suddenly be nervous when it comes to a small amount of children. But I think I know the reason. When we’re kids, we discover early on how much it means to fit in with others. We all grow up wanting affirmation from our peers that what we’re doing is cool in their eyes. It’s important to kids that they feel a sense of belonging with each other, and I think one of the reasons for my own “cold feet” about reading the book has something to do with my subconscious mind still wanting to fit in too.
Regardless, I know the event is going to be fun and I’m really looking forward to it. Although some of my fear may rest with the fact that this whole experience is something completely new to me, I’m going to face it. For as is the case with music, the show must go on.
See you there.
A lot of people have been asking about my interview with Eve Tannery of WFMZ. So for those who may have missed it or just want to watch it again, here it is. Enjoy!
Thanks go out to Eve and everyone at WFMZ for taking the time to hear about the book.
You can read more of the “Doodle” story and purchase your own copy
by Clicking Here
My job in information technology requires me to every so often take a trip out of state for a three-day educational class. Usually, the topic is something bland that would bore the average person to death; myself included. I mean let’s be honest, is there any sane person who would want to travel to a major city and then have to spend the better part of the next three days stuck inside some old stuffy classroom talking about databases and SQL queries?
I’m not a big fan of these excursions, and I’m what you call a last-minute person when it comes to preparing for these kind of trips. Call me a homebody or whatever but the truth is, I’m not one of those people who starts making plans and packing a week before leaving. I also don’t research the city I’m going to very much and always wait until the very last-minute before digging out the small suitcase that’s just small enough to be used as a carry-on (yeah, I’m cheap that way). Considering that the weather was going to be beautiful and that I would be making the trip to Atlanta solo this time around, it only made me lament having to go even more.
My arrival in at Atlanta on Monday was pretty uneventful. I rode the Marta from the airport to Dunwoody station with the biggest bunch of Louisville basketball fans I had ever seen in my life. These folks were on their way to the NCAA Championship game and were dressed all in red and whooping and hollering about how in just a few hours, their team would be crowned king. It was pretty cool to watch them.
It wasn’t long before I arrived at the hotel and took to my room. The first thing I noticed after dropping my baggage onto the bed was this giant device sitting next to the nightstand. It was a piece of technology that I had never seen before. An electrical, unplugged contraption that had more knobs and controls than the space shuttle. It didn’t take long for me to realize that this thing that was almost as big as a toaster oven was actually some new fangled, 21st century alarm clock. But rather than try to figure out how to work it, I thought it would be easier to just use my phone’s clock to wake me up each morning. I set the alarm for 6 am and used a song from my music collection as the alarm. I knew that I would probably never needed it though. I don’t sleep well these days and would most likely be up before the alarm sounded and turn it off.
The class itself was as you might have expected – dull and boring. I met some interesting people who worked at a hospital in Alabama, took long walks with our 90 minute lunch breaks and hung out in the outside gardens enjoying the crisp, spring Georgia weather in the late afternoon. It wasn’t until yesterday that things started going south.
During class, someone mentioned that there was a huge line of rain and thunderstorms that would arrive in the area on Thursday, just as class was getting over and I had to make my way back to the airport. Wonderful. Being the worry wart that I am when it comes to airline flights, I could already see that long delays at the airport were in my future and my 8:55pm flight home would be pushed back to well after midnight… or later.
Then on the walk back to my hotel after class, I began to have this weird feeling in my right foot and when I touched it, a sharp pain ran up my leg. I took off my sneaker and sock to discover that the pinky toe on my right foot had turned into a purply, blistered mess from all of the walking I had done the last two days. (Note to self: get better sneakers)
Remember when I said that I don’t sleep well most nights? Well, last night was one of the worst. I kept dreaming that I had left my wallet at the airport security checkpoint and when I went back to retrieve it, all of my money and credit cards were gone (hopefully not an omen of things to come).
This morning, I woke up in a daze and jumped out of bed at 4:45; nearly ninety minutes early. I decided to clear my head and take a walk to the local Starbucks before class. But just to be safe, I checked my wallet and confirmed that I still had money and a usable line of credit. All good.
As I’m leaving the hotel I start hearing music coming over the intercom. It’s Jimi Jamison’s song, “Never Too Late”, one from his recent solo album. “WOW”, I thought to myself. They actually have that song playing in the hotel mix in Georgia. Pretty cool. I continued my short walk to the coffee shop next door enjoying the music playing off in the distance.
It wasn’t until I walked up to the Barista that I noticed something wasn’t right. Everyone in Starbucks was staring at me. It was then that I finally felt the vibration in my pocket. I pulled out my phone and noticed that my alarm was going off and was playing (you guessed it): Never Too Late.
In all of my worrying about getting to the airport, having my wallet hocked and a delayed flight, I was oblivious to the alarm that had been going off in my pocket for the last ten minutes.
Yeah, I think it’s time to go home.
Guitar Center’s Blues Masters, through a partnership with Joe Bonamassa, is offering ten musicians the chance to perform in Los Angeles backed by Bonamassa’s band as well as provide one undiscovered blues guitarist with a career-altering opportunity for development and exposure under the tutelage of one of the biggest names in blues rock.
Now through the end of April, guitarists can submit videos of their best lead guitar performance to one of ten official Joe Bonamassa backing tracks. The videos will then be judged through a series of selection processes by both industry professionals and eventually, Bonamassa himself.
The grand prize winner will receive an opening slot at Bonamassa’s headlining show in Los Angeles this fall as well as a cash prize and gear from Gibson, Ernie Ball, Marshall Amplification and Dunlop. In addition, the winner will also receive an in studio mentor session with Bonamassa and producer Kevin Shirley, who has worked with the likes of Journey, Led Zeppelin, Iron Maiden and more.
I spoke with Bonamassa about Blues Masters as well as some of his latest projects.
GUITAR WORLD: Tell me a little about your involvement with Guitar Center and Blues Masters.
I’ve been involved in Guitar Center’s King of The Blues Competition for the past several years and it’s been a lot of fun. Everyone is playing so well that it makes me wish I was 18 again. These guys are so unbridled and enthusiastic. The Blues Masters is a chance for aspiring blues guitarists from across the U.S. to submit their best lead guitar performance to one of my tracks. There‘s a submission and selection process and I’ll be getting involved more towards the end of the year when they finalize the selection, and then we’ll pick a winner.
Check out the rest of my Guitar World interview with Joe Bonamassa Here.
For official rules and other information concerning Guitar Center’s Blues Masters, please visit: http://www.guitarcenter.com/bluesmasters.
I really am grateful that I took the time to semi-regularly write a journal during my high school days. It gives me the opportunity now to look back and see where I was and just how far I’ve come. Back then, the future was bright and there were no limitations. Oh sure, there are definitely some things I lament doing and not doing, but all things considered, I wouldn’t change a thing. The good, the bad, the mistakes I’ve made – they’ve all made me into the person I am today.
This was my situation 25 year ago this very day: I had just graduated from high school nine months ago and was already a college drop out, living at home and without a job. Most of my time was spent either practicing my guitar, driving a beat up 1974 Ford Torino, bumming money off of my mom and grandmother and doing anything I could do to make it to the big time.
One of the biggest regrets I had musically in high school was not being able to participate in my senior year Battle of The Bands competition. It was an annual event held in the high school gym every spring, and gave students the opportunity to showcase their musical talent in front of the greatest audience of all: their peers. Even if you didn’t win, just being in the battle was a right of passage for future rock-star musicians.
At the time, I had no band and thus couldn’t participate. But for some reason that now escapes me, (I blame it on the ten Zimas I drank on my wedding night), I was somehow able to submit an entry for the competition the following year, 1988. By this point, I had already formed my first three-piece band and had begun the process of taking over the world with our brand of face melting metal. Needless to say, I was elated to have this opportunity (albeit a year later) and wanted to really shine.
Reading this journal entry now, a quarter century later is surreal. I was (still am) a huge Ozzy/Randy Rhoads fan and at the time must have played the song ‘Crazy Train’ a million times. I was also hugely into Poison and AC/DC, so those songs also had to be included on the live demo tape we recorded for the judging panel to see if we had what it took to compete. We never did get a call back about being in the battle that year, and I never followed up on it. By that time, my band had already started playing real gigs and the battle (much like the reason we could compete in it in the first place) soon became a distant memory.
Even better than the entry I wrote about the battle of the bands was the question I posed to myself afterwards. I asked myself what it was that was making me so happy in life. My answer is pretty cool.
Here’s my journal entry from 25 years ago: March 30th, 1988:
3/30: I attended a meeting of the Battle of The Bands. It will be quite a competition. I think we’ll get in. They only take eight bands and I’m confident that ‘Silent Rage’ will be one of them. We have a demo and I think it is really good. My situation has really changed since last year at this time. Back then, I was the high school student who dreamed of being in the battle and now I’m actually living the thing I should’ve done last year. Even if we’re turned down, at least we tried.
All I know is, the other seven bands they choose better be extremely good. We played and recorded Crazy Train three times on my cassette player and kept the best version; the one that’s there now. The first attempt had no bass, then too much bass and on this one, it’s an even balance. I swear, some parts of that song make me think Randy Rhoads was controlling me. Even the Poison shit sounds professional. Where it goes “I’ve gotta have you, oh yes I do!” I swear, that little lead I play is C. C. Deville. My original is quite good too and Shook Me by AC/DC is kick ass.
Why are you so happy lately?
The band is the reason. For once in my life, I’m doing something that I really want to do. I’m in my career. No one understands why I talk about it so much. They think it’s probably a phase. It’s not.
I didn’t want to play guitar to be a hobby. I wanna be the best. I want to someday look in a guitar magazine and see my picture as an artist and be recognized as a guitarist and songwriter. Sure, in the beginning everyone gets into it for other reasons; like girls, money and fast cars. I originally thought girls were the reason I got into it too. But deep down, I had this weird feeling and as each day passed, I fell more in love with music than ever before.
Before my junior year in high school was over, I was taking Music Theory. But even that wasn’t enough. In my senior year, I took Music Appreciation, Choir and Theory II. During that time I had guitar lessons and sometimes practiced for five hours a day. Now, the girls don’t matter. As long as I can live normally, I don’t care about the money or the fast cars either. I’ll drive a Torino until I’m 90. All I wanna do is play and make money that way. I want to write songs and have money to go out to dinner. After three long years it’s starting to happen.
I’m so happy about my life at this point, I can’t help but talk about it. Someday, my hope is that everyone else will understand it too.
I should have known better. No, really I should have. I was the one who spent the last few dollars I had at the store last week with no concern of replenishing my supply. I have only myself to blame.
Last night, with empty pockets and time to spare I could have easily made the quick trip to tap the MAC machine. But I was too lazy sitting in my nice, comfy sweatpants and t-shirt. “It can wait until morning.” I said to myself.
I really should have seen it coming. The fact is that even though I work with them all day long, machines don’t like me for some reason.
Every so often my procrastination leads me to have to go to the bank early in the morning on my way in to work to get funds. And in order for me to avoid getting dinged with outrageous service fees by using a foreign machine, I am forced to visit one of my bank’s local branches. But ever since my bank consolidated offices, the “local” isn’t so local anymore, and the trip ends up taking me well out-of-the-way of my normal route.
There are two ATM machines I can go to on my way in to the office; neither of which is very convenient. But in the end, I decided to choose the one that had drive-up service (you know, so I wouldn’t have to leave my nice warm car). As I pull up alongside of the machine, I am warmly greeted by the familiar neon “Welcome” that’s glowing off of the terminal in the early morning light. I eagerly insert my debit card to begin the transaction.
What follows is a dramatization of the conversation between me and the machine:
Machine: “Hello James, you handsome devil. Would you like Fast Cash? If so, how much?”
Me: Why, yes. Yes I would. How about $80?
Machine: “You’ve got it James. Would you also like a receipt?”
Me: No thanks.
Machine: “Ok… I’m sorry, temporarily unable to complete this transaction. Want to try again?”
Ok. no need to panic here. The machine probably just doesn’t have enough funds for $80….
Machine: “Hello James, you chisled abbed male model. Would you like Fast Cash? If so, how much?”
Me: Yep. Uh how’s about $40?
Machine: “Sure. Would you like a receipt?”
Machine: “Ok… I’m sorry, temporarily unable to complete this transaction. Want to try again?”
The realization that I may be screwed is starting to set in….
Machine: “Hello James you….”
Me: Look, shut the hell up you piece of sh$t! Just give me $20 NOW!
Machine: “Sure. Sure. Would you like a recei..”
Machine: “Ok… I’m sorry, temporarily unable to complete this transaction. Want to try again?”
At this point it is all I can do to not scream. This particular machine has screwed me over many times in the past, but it’s usually when I drive up and see the “Out of Service” sign in my time of need. This is the first time I have ever been duped after first being welcomed.
Moral of the story? I don’t know, I’m too pissed to think of one right now. But while I do, can someone do a brother a solid and lend me a buck for the vending machine?
It doesn’t take debit cards.
I suppose it’s best to start from the beginning. It was somewhere in tenth grade when our paths crossed for the very first time. Now, thirty years is a long time to hold on to such memories but bear with me here. It was definitely the first year of high school; a time when the future seemed oh, so bright and the feeling of being in the home stretch of public education was finally starting to settle in.
Although I had just started playing guitar and dreamed of one day being the next Eddie Van-Halen, my original intent going into high school was to become a doctor. I had even taken some courses to help prepare me for my journey, including algebra and Latin. I really wanted to help people.
Anyway, I was sitting in tenth grade history class; a required subject, but one that I fell in love with right from the start. It was the only class in all of my years of education where I actually sat in the front row. I know this not because I was a nerd or anything (seriously, I wasn’t), but because last spring, Michele reminded me.
Michele, who also happened to be in the same class, could tell you exactly where I was sitting in proximity to her location and the classroom door. She has an amazing memory (in fact, when we reunited with each other last spring after too many years, it was one of the first things she pointed out remembering). I’m sure that if she thought long and hard about it, she could probably even tell you exactly what I was wearing. My guess is that it was a J’s Subs T-shirt and Lee jeans that I liked to wear religiously in those days.
High school years can be trying times, and mine were no different. But with all of the peer pressure and trying to find out where I fit in, I always found solace in art and music. And although we had never become friends and were nothing more than “another classmate” to each other, I do remember that Michele was also in my art class at one time too. Perhaps it was because she had written the word “Dokken” or “DIO” on her math book that jars my own memory about it. After all, she was a “metal head” too!
I always enjoyed doodling and writing poems in those days, never realizing what it might eventually turn into. But as the years went by, the hunger to become “Eddie” soon began to outweigh the desire to take the Hippocratic Oath, and music and art would become my life.
After high school was over, Michele and I both went our own separate ways. She would go on to become an educator and artist. As for me well, I did what most struggling musicians often do: bounce from job to job, attend community colleges and play the occasional bar gig or party. Eventually, I was able to balance my love of art with steady, full time employment.
Over the years, I have been extremely blessed to have been able to write and record my own songs and interview many of my favorite musicians for news articles, but there was always another dream I had running in the back of my mind: to one day write a book of my own. But as is often the case, life always seems to have other intentions and the dream would always wind up being placed on the back burner. Then last year, I began to have this idea for a rhyming story about a little girl and a dog. It was a spiritual story; one where both characters wonder about how things were made. The time was finally right. It was something I knew I had to do, but what I really needed was someone to come in and do the hard part: the illustrations. That’s when fate stepped in.
With our “big” 25th high school reunion approaching, the class of 1987 students began reuniting with each other via Facebook. It was there that Michele and I connected again. She was now living in Ohio but mentioned that she was going to be visiting the area and (along with another amazing friend) we all hooked up for dinner one night. I bounced the idea off of Michele, who coincidentally, also had the same dream of publishing a book. After a series of back and forth emails and months of organizing, proof-reading and spell-checking, “Doodle” finally came to life. It may be a children’s book about innocence, spirituality and wonder, but on a personal level, it’s also about friendship, reunions and good memories.
But the story doesn’t end there.
Shortly after the release of the book, Michele asked me if it were possible to donate her share of the profits of the book to her friend, whose daughter Ashley has been ill for quite some time. Ashley will soon require a bone marrow transplant and her medical bills are astronomical. Without hesitation, I decided the best thing to do was to donate 100% of all of the profits we make from the book to Ashley.
Check out the video of my interview discussing the Story Of Doodle and our mission:
The cost of each book is $7 and can be purchased online via Create Space or Amazon.Com. Depending upon where you order, we will receive a different royalty rate per copy. If you order through Create Space, we receive a royalty of $1.95 for each book. Purchasing through Amazon’s website will give us a royalty of .55 cents per copy ordered.
If you get a chance, please check out our “Doodle” Facebook page. Even if you don’t purchase the book, please consider giving the page a “Like” and share it to help raise some awareness. We’d greatly appreciate it!
Because in the end, while creating this book has fulfilled a life-long dream for both Michele and I, there is nothing greater than accomplishing that dream than with a true purpose.
For more information about Ashley’s Army Click Here
Click here to purchase your own copy of “Doodle”.