Steve Cook's soul, song, and sweat.

Shinybass journal entry 01-19-15

Don’t leave anything on the table…

Good morning! It’s Monday. It’s nice (here, at least). We just wrapped up a tremendous run of shows, and the shows coming up are pretty darn cool. We’ll get to that in a few moments. First, the deep thoughts for the weekend.

First order of business: a shout out to Mary in Mansfield, OH, who went to great lengths to assure me an air conditioned, private restroom facility when we played there this past summer. She even printed out a picture of a ceiling fan and taped up to make me feel a little better. I’ve never had my own port-a-potty before, so thanks for making me feel special. And thanks for reminding me that I was rude and didn’t give you the proper shout out. At least we had chips and salsa.

Mary, I am glad you came out to the show, and glad we could catch up. You were the inspiration for today’s message.

It seems in the past 6 months or so we have been losing many of our great performers and artists. Sadly, we at that phase where guys who started back in the 50’s and 60’s are leaving us, and all too soon. We lost everybody’s friend Little Jimmy Dickens, who was always gracious and sweet to us back stage. We just recently lost Bobby Keys, who played sax on damn near every rock song out there, and Nashville most recently lost AJ Masters, who was a great songwriter and friend to all. This just scratches the surface. We lost people like Robin Williams, Ian McLagan, Jack Bruce, and Joe Cocker. Sheesh. I’m not going to run up and down the lists, but what a huge chunk of our cultural history.

When we go, we can’t take anything with us. That is a fact. What we leave is the important part. When our Grandpa died, we couldn’t take 1/5 of what he left behind. To him it really didn’t matter, but for us, I know we all wanted a small something to keep us thinking of more innocent days. But again, those are just things. I was able to spend a few hours with him in his hospital room the night before he died, just watching a Pirates game. We had said all we needed, and it was amazing to just to ‘be’. As I think about it, there are a few more questions I would ask, but just doing something sort of ‘ordinary’ was about as good as it gets.

We are in such a wonderful time to be alive. Really. I have scorned technology before (or the misuse of it), but to be able to capture a picture instantly (and hopefully you save the best ones for yourselves and NOT social media…) and hold on to the moment so much easier than before is priceless. I have old photos of my family from back in the day, and there are maybe 100. I took 100 photos in the last week. See what I mean? You CAN use the power for good! Just remember on which hard drive you saved them.

My Grandpa played guitar at the World’s Expo in Chicago in 1933. I have no pictures of this, no letters, no records of any kind except the words of my relatives. At this stage in my life, I have played a lot of great stages, and taken a lot of great pictures. Now with little man in this world, I want to have some record as to why I disappeared for a few days at a time. Not that he will remember, but I will.

When I talk about my Grandpa leaving Garrett, PA for the big town of Chicago in 1933, it has a romantic flair to it. He may have been set up outside of the waffle cone stand in freezing temps, but that doesn’t matter now. This past week we were at BB King’s in New York City. BB’s club is wonderfully New York: a minimum drink purchase, a basement room, smaller stage, yet the biggest names in music have graced this stage. Mongo only pawn in game of life, but I’ll take it. I get to tell my boy I played the big city.

We had a lot of friends in town for the show, and it was great to be able to spend a little time with them afterward, which rarely happens. And although cold, Times Square is like no place on earth. Simply amazing. And if you need a hamburger fix, Shake Shack is effing amazing.

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And don’t mind Jake creepin’ on my selfie…
The next day we had to drive all of 60 miles to Ridgefield, CT, a quaint little town with charm, grace, and a fantastic venue called the Ridgefield Playhouse. This was the first time I actually ventured into town, and I was happy I did. No big box stores or chains are allowed in the historic district, and I love that. I found old houses, an old clock, and seeing a few blocks of just local businesses is refreshing. If you ever need a distraction and want to get off the beaten path, there’s your spot.


After another packed house and way too much fun, we were off to Rootstown, OH for a sold-out show at the Dusty Armadillo. This place is in the middle of nowhere, but people flocked to the bar to warm up and roll with us until the wee hours. We play a lot of theater shows, but the occasional club show, with the drunks and the noise and the people in your face is a lot of fun too. Thanks to the staff and to Mary for making the trip great.

And there we are. The week that was. If you plan on seeing us anytime soon, then you’ll be in for a treat: we are sneaking new songs into the set, as well as dusting off album cuts. The latest album cut, ‘I Would’ off Prayer of a Common Man is really going over well with the die-hard fans. It sounds silly to talk about single songs from the set like that, but I notice everything, so thanks for rocking with us.

So our lesson ends today with a parting thought : Whatever it is you do, whether painting, music, auto repair, cooking, etc, don’t leave anything on the table. Paint until you can’t, hand down your recipes, and teach the next generation your mechanical prowess. We can’t take anything with us, but if we pass along our song to the next round, we leave something better than a few shiny coins.

See you on the road!!


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