Steve Cook's soul, song, and sweat.

Shinybass journal entry 01-14-15

Happy New Year! (This entry was started a few days ago, and finished this morning, on the 14th).


Where to even begin? I suppose a Happy New Year greeting is in order, and since it’s been a while since I’ve dropped some knowledge your way, then let me wish you a happy Wright Brothers Day (Dec 17), Merry Christmas (the day before that big shopping day), and for our Mike Tyson fans out there, Boxing Day. You thought I was going to say ‘Bad tattoo decision day’ didn’t you? Well, Mr. Tyson, I happen to dig your ink, and if ever I see you, I would love to shake your hand. BECAUSE YOU ARE MIKE TYSON! Anyhow, happy well wishes to all of you, my dozens of loyal readers.

It was an amazing 2015 – a roller coaster for many – and pretty much all over the map with happiness, sadness, crazy weather, crazy people, and crazy politics. I hope you got everything you wanted for Christmas, and if you didn’t get it, maybe you need to be nicer to Santa.

I felt compelled to write today, simply because this morning we woke to the news that David Bowie passed away. I felt like the rest of the world: shocked, saddened, and at a loss for words. He pushed music in so many directions, inventing and reinventing himself along the way. He was an inspiration to many, including this little boy.

When I was 13 or so, I went to a Junior High band dance. Back in those days, we brought records (remember those?) and the DJ would sometimes play your records. Well, the place was rockin’ to the bubblegum tunes of the day, and I showed up with my vinyl copy of ChangesOneBowie. I was very proud to hear my request of ‘Changes’, one of my favorite songs. You could almost hear the party come to screeching halt as the first piano chords eased out of the Peavey column speakers. There I was, on the dance floor thinking I had invented fire by playing the arguably coolest song of the night, yet the party faithful wanted more Cyndi Lauper. They had a few choice words for me, I had more for them, and I sulked off the dance floor, beaten by the masses, but the song did finish. (And true, the song is not a party anthem…) Needless to say, after that I realized my friend’s choices in music were not the greatest. Years later someone told me they didn’t get into Bowie until later, and they were sorry for not picking up what I was throwing down that night. Oh well, better late than, well, whatever.

(Another) thing I love about Bowie is that even though he was dying, and he knew it, he kept pushing and put out a new record. That is moxie, my friends. Think about that – what would you do in your last months? He poured his last breath into the recording, without letting on that he was in declining health. Incredible.

Which leads me to 2016. What are you going to leave on the table? Hopefully nothing. What are you wanting to do with the year? Do you think you’ll finish? Do you think you have the time left? Does that matter? Our time is not guaranteed, so you had better get on it. If you need encouragement, I’ll email you and remind you to get moving. (OK, probably not, but I will send a really clever tweet). Your songs need to be heard, your art needs to be seen, and your voice must echo through the mountains, for one day, time will finally cease giving, and all we’ll have left are the faint memories, unless you can show something. And something doesn’t have to be a ‘thing’.

So you’re not the artsy-creative type. So what. The greatest legacy we can leave is our children, and (hopefully) steer them down the right paths, to someday have your ideas echo in their kids’ heads. My nephew said something recently my Grandpa used to say – where he got it I have no idea – but those echoes are what make the years last beyond the flesh and bones.

And now it’s on to the next year, a reset button on the calendar, where the music industry takes a month-long hiatus, then reconvene in conference rooms to figure out your next years’ worth of listening material. Yes, Virginia, singles are planned out waaaaay in advance. They know what you’ll be hearing long before you do. The touring entities all get geared up as well, with rehearsals and production setups, where light walls and explosions are the order of the day, and bands just try to remember where the cryo cannons are located. (I took one while playing a Luke Bryan show, if you recall…) We are getting geared up with a fancy new piano shell, new lighting, and new songs thrown in for good measure. It promises to be amazing year.

Since most of us touring folks are doing new things, I put the question to you? What are you changing in the new year? Are you getting up earlier? Later? (Wouldn’t THAT be nice?) There’s the age-old ‘get in shape, lose weight, eat better’ mantra. Been there. Pizza is just too damn good, isn’t it? How about less time on the phone? WHAT? I dunno, maybe talk more, scroll less? I smell a new hashtag! (Did anyone catch the social media irony in that statement?) Anyhow, I thought I would share a few things that I plan on taking into 2016 and hopefully beyond.

Belts. Yep. I’m in my 40’s now, and it’s time I wore a belt. I see the kids with sagging jeans and cuffs, which I just can’t get into (why don’t you just pull them up and call it even?), and this inspired me to wear belts more often. Keep ’em up, America!

Spelling. I try, I really do try to spell correctly, and sometimes my fingers get ahead of my brain (see: poor bass playing), and spellcheck is definitely everyone’s friend, including mine. I hope I can keep this trend up for yeers to come.

Kiwi and avocado: More green things, less brownies. This is a good way to get all I need, and gross out my wife at the same time. I eat kiwi skin. Like an apple.

More postcards. You’ve been warned. I bought a box of vintage post cards recently, and for the same price as a new one, I can send a 50-year old post card to friends and loved ones for no reason. Isn’t that nicer than an email or text? Plus, if everyone in the country sent one post card a month, the Postal Service wouldn’t have to raise stamp prices. Much.

There’s my start to the year. Baby steps, right? Hug your babies, and tell someone who deserves it that you love them. Second chances may not come around, and we have to take this life by the burritos. Now start planning your spring break trip. It’s time!

See you on the road!






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