Steve Cook's soul, song, and sweat.

Shinybass journal entry 08-18-15



Be the lion.


Happy Monday! I had the good fortune to have dinner with some friends in Las Vegas this past weekend, and they made the comment that I haven’t been writing as much lately. Duly noted, my dear friends, duly noted. I have been stretched a bit thin lately, and the back burner is full of my back burner projects. I think I need to move some to the warmer, let them coagulate, scrape the fat, then repeat. Or maybe just set them all on the front burner on high, fire extinguisher in hand. It’s such a tough call.

I am actually in the process of moving this website into some new, uncharted territory: usefulness. I love writing these journal entries, and sharing some travel stories with you, however, there are some things that can be done a little different, and honestly, my schedule will slow as the months turn cold, so the tales of deep fried butter and broken port-a-johns will give way to useful information, some that may actually help someone.

But that day is not this day, and for now we will speak of things happy and sad, and mostly inspiring. I love the expression ‘Be the lion’. The lion is truly king, and although recent headlines have shown being the lion means being shot illegally (shame on humans, AGAIN), the act of being boss is not difficult. To be a lion, one does not have to father 24 cubs (hear that Shawn Kemp?), tackle the weakest in the herd, or even be majestic. To be the lion, one simply has to be he or herself, and embrace life with all it has to offer.

Did you laugh today? Really laugh? Did you cry? Did you get outside? Did you do something to make someone else’s life better? Did the walls fall down around your ears? (Let’s hope not). There’s a small list of things we should each try and do every single day. That’s the start. The small victories. There’s an old camping credo to leave the site better than you found it. That principle should apply to everything we touch. Imagine if all the trash in the world found its way to the can? Did you push in your chair at the library, or did you leave it for someone else to do? The small niceties list turns into the big list, which then leads to an embrace of life that I have a hard time putting into words.

I can look at wildflowers on the side of the highway and get pleasure from seeing the colors bloom, even next to that toxic of an environment. Am I a hippie? No, I don’t think so, but I’m appreciative of little things, which then add up to many things. I think it’s the appreciation that was shown to me at an early age that has led me to get out and live while living. It’s true my job allows me to get out more than the average bear, but that’s my fault, not yours. Are there days when I don’t want to do anything? Absolutely. I can’t be full-bore 24 /7. There’ has to be a reset of sorts as well.

I am currently typing this at 37,000 feet over Memphis, I believe, on a flight that originated in Las Vegas. Our trip doesn’t start there – it starts in Nashville, then hopefully, with a decent tailwind, it will end there as well.

We flew out to Salt Lake City on Thursday for a show in Wendover, NV Friday night. Wendover is just inside the Nevada border, and is the first town you hit when you cross. The 100-mile trip from Salt Lake is beautiful. At least I think it’s beautiful. There are mountains, flats, some desert, and lakes (especially one very salty one), and the beauty is endless. Some may look and call it barren, but like I said before, appreciate all of it, and life gets much happier.

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We were playing at the Peppermill Theater, which is part of a larger casino network, including the Montego Bay Resort, which is where we stayed. The hotel is nice enough, and the restaurants are decent. The Paradise Grill has video walls built in the décor to resemble windows, and they show HD footage of exotic locales from across the globe. I may have commented on this last time we were there, but it’s pretty sweet to see some of the great places I’ve been able to visit pop up on the video screens. It also makes me want to get out even more (yes, more travel) and share them with my family.

Last time we were in Wendover, we were given the grand tour, which included the Salt Flats and the airfield, which was a major base during WWII, developing and training to use the atomic bomb., as well as a top-notch gunnery school. Cool stuff, indeed, but since that one-horse town really hasn’t expanded much since our last visit, there wasn’t much to do. So I practiced. A lot.


I was up early the next day (and practiced more), and actually went for a swim to get a little exercise before sound check. Once show day hits, it’s pretty much the same: lunch, sound check, eat again, maybe a shower, then the show. We’re awfully predictable that way.

The show was packed, which is nice for us, and my 9 AM lobby call the next day was a wonderful change from the ones where the sun is still sleeping. The drive back to Salt Lake was great as well, and I think prettier than when we arrived. We flew to Las Vegas for our Saturday show, and had to get right to the Railstop theater inside Boulder Station for setup and soundcheck as quickly as possible. To say our time in Vegas was fun would be an understatement. The town is always a good time, and although not the knock-down-drag-out Vegas we all know and love, a great time was had by all.

The beauty of this trip (and the bad part, I suppose) was a 10AM lobby call, which is a bit shocking, since usually we are on the first plane out of town. I like getting home early, but as they say, everything happens for a reason. We get to the gate where we see our friend Ayla Brown and her guitar player. I happened to sit next to her guitar player on the flight home. Now, despite my usually outgoing ways, I am generally in a cocoon on an airplane. I just sort of put on my headphones and sleep or work. This time I leaned over and asked what he was listening to. The song he played for me may have changed my life. Or at least my week.

He hipped me to Blake Mills, who I should know about (along with 100 musicians I have yet to discover), and now for the introductory learning session of the new and improved website. Below are two sensational videos of some guitar bad-assery.

So there you go. Two new directions for you today. Unless you are already down with Blake, then I will be quiet and patiently wait for you to hip me to some new new music. For now, I have a lot of soaking to do.

Enjoy this beautiful week, and try and seek some new adventure, even if it’s just a new place to eat. You deserve it, and guess what? You don’t get the day back.

See you on the road!

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