Steve Cook's soul, song, and sweat.

08/12/18 Shinybass Journal Entry

Living Vicariously


Happy Sunday to you all.. Present location – my living room couch. Sounds I hear: Dog snoring in the chair, the ticks and tocks of the clock on the which is doing its best to tell me it is time for bed. No such luck. I haven’t been in the writing groove lately, and now that the brood are all quiet, I am all yours. I hope. It could be a matter of seconds before someone under the height limits for the roller coaster comes popping out needing snuggles or a drink of water. Such is life. And I’m OK with that.

Yet, strangely (or not-so-strangely), many people areĀ not OK with their lives. You may subconsciously be one of them. We have become addicted with everyone else’s lives, and somehow, ours gets lost in the shuffle. Not you, you say? How long did you troll social media today? And then dare I ask why? It’s a great way to ‘kill’ a few minutes, for sure, and to catch up with certain folks.

Then, for some, I feel it gets deeper. Is life ‘out there’ better than life at home, or are you just getting recipe ideas? Do you get mad at the pretty pictures because someone is in an exotic local and not you? Are you upset when someone’s biceps a bit more beefy than your own? Or maybe (and this is the worst for us creative types) did someone else get the gig and play the huge arena, or finally get that role on Broadway, or get their book featured somewhere?

There is a great new expression that says ‘Everyone looks better on IG’. It should say ‘Everyone looks bitter when looking at IG’. It’s a natural reaction to get upset when someone else is at a cool party or hanging with a sports legend, and there you sit in your 2BR apt trying to figure out gas money. I get it, 100%. Maybe the temporary escapism is a good thing, from a sanity point of view. But where does the vicarious living stop, and our real living begin?

Beauty in who you are, and what you have in front of you are the goals for which we should be reaching. Pining for another person’s ‘whatever’ is never a good thing. Let me ask you this – do you look at a picture and say ‘That’s what I want!’ (Of course you do – it’s only natural). Now – what are you doing to get it? And before we start that – are you SURE that’s what you want? I look at a lot of vintage guitars, but do I REALLY want to get further down that path? Many of the things we ‘want’ turn out to be another persons’ headaches. Grass is always greener, but it is just as hard to mow.

I bring all this up because of the constant ‘I wanna be you’ things I hear when I post pics from the great expanse (OK, mostly the Midwest). Listen, I’m not special. (My kids think I am) I am no different from any other player who slugs it out every day on the corndog circuit. WAIT STEVE! Don’t say that in your blog -you’ll lose street cred! And what about your #brand? You need your #brand to get a gig!

First of all, I don’t really care about my ‘brand’. My life is sort of out there – husband, Dad, son, brother, uncle, bass player, coffee addict, and lover of life. There’s my brand. I play bass. I like to play bass. I like the power I have. I appreciate all music, and absolutely love others. I would much rather hear Duck Dunn crush a soul groove over a keyboard bass, and I can play bass anywhere, anytime: studio, live, underwater. There’s my brand. Cripes, people. Let’s take less pictures and make more music.

The brand thing on a personal level is funny to me. (My PR friends are CRINGING right now). McDonald’s, Ford, Toys-R-Us are brands. Is a brand important in the not-so-business world? Some would say yes. There are social media millionaires who are famous for nothing. As in, nothing. Where’s the talent? Then there’s the OTHER side of it (this is all so confusing – wait I need to tweet about how confused I am) Top folks have people that handle their socials, making life cheery for all to see, but the talent does, in fact, work so they can keep doing what they are doing. Sting doesn’t tweet ‘Wrote a hit today!’, and honestly, neither should you. PS- it ain’t a hit until it’s a hit.

And for the record, this kind of rant is sort of hypocritical, since we are all guilty of posting things online and wanting them to be ‘liked’. I’ve done it, and by posting this journal entry I am doing it. Believe me, I see it from all sides.

So I don’t know what got me so fired up about this subject, and rarely do I tackle big issues (and this is more of a two-hand touch than a tackle), but sometimes I see too much emphasis on the wrong things, and in those sometimes, I may need to spout off a little. I’ll let the rest of you get all political and junk. All this comes on the heels of my latest trip, where we visited exotic locales and I heard ‘MAN, I am jealous of you’. Ugh.

Our first stop was in Ohio. The Deerassic jamboree or something. Just a big ol’ camping area with a lot of America-loving folks. The day was interesting, to say the least. They have the biggest 50/50 raffle in the country. Someone left with almost $58k. Not me. I left with 20 useless drawing tickets. I did receive a tremendous present, however. These are guitar picks from the Big Oak in Shawshank Redemption. Ties in with my theme – get busy living, or get busy dying’.

We then eased on over to Binghampton, NY, where we played an afternoon show and watched some hot air balloons take off. I was able to tool around the town for an hour or so before we loaded in, which was a perfect morning. Strangely, Binghamton is what I wish Nashville still looked like. It looks like they haven’t torn down a building in 60 years. Downtown was still very much old school with lots of storefronts dating between 1870-1890. So killer.

Then we took a short drive across, oh, the entire country and ended up outside of Sturgis, SD. Leather pants, loud bikes. We were slated at the Buffalo Chip, which is a large, open makeshift amphitheater/motorcycle parking lot that houses some 30,000 people. We were the opening slot for Lynyrd Skynyrd (and Pittsburgh’s own The Hawkeyes), so whereas I am not a bike person, and don’t own chaps, I can say we opened for Skynyrd on their last tour ever.

Then we rode home. A long, long way. And you know what I did? Well, the satellite was out. And my computer power cord died. And I forgot my book. So, you guessed it. I stared at social media. I guess that’s why I got so fired up so quickly. After 24 hours on the bus, we made it home in one piece. You read that correctly. 24 hours on the bus. With no #2 on the bus. You don’t like truck stops? (Either do I..) So, you really want to be a rock and roll star? It was a long day, indeed, but what we do.


Now I take a break from my phone to write and work on some music and myself. Then hopefully my IG pictures will be better. Make it a great day, and be glad you aren’t on the bus for 24 hours.


See you on the road!



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