Steve Cook's soul, song, and sweat.

Shinybass journal entry 03-25-13

Money changes everything.

Money is such a funny thing.  We all need it.  Some of us have it.  Some think that no matter what we have, it’s never enough, and others feel that they are comfortable with what they have.  Empires, religions, countries, record labels, and manufacturing are all built around money.  Who ever has the most wins.  Except that you can’t take it with you when you go, and therein lies the problem.  (Or solution if you want to get really in-depth about it.)  Dying creates an even playing field – we all have to go sometime.  And all your riches won’t another minute buy (I love that Kansas wrote like Yoda before Yoda came out).  But with lottery fever, my house hunting fever, and general life fever, money floats to the top of discussions. Almost like a fishing bobber – it disappears when there is success near, but pops back up when the line breaks.

I have tried, tried, tried to live richly without money.  I realized a long time ago that being on the road for a living enables me to see and do a lot.  Even while playing for lame cover bands, I was able to go places I hadn’t seen before.  But there are ways to feel rich without money.  Try walking by a lake or an ocean for a little while.  Watch how the world can melt away, and if you relax, you’ll see the beauty of where you are, and in turn, the realization that you would have to spend a lot of money for that view every day – and you just experienced it for free.  This isn’t going to pay your rent, but it may help clear your mind to figure out the next step.

Washington DC is a great tourist destination, and one that can make you feel rich (and very poor) at the same time.  The museums in DC are world-class, and most of them are free.  You can walk in every day, if you like, and gaze upon priceless works of art, historical relics, and slices of our country’s history that no billionaire owns.  But you do.  And you don’t have to keep the gallery clean.  We were hired to play a private function for the NRCC last week, and since it was in the heart of Washington, DC, I was pretty excited to get out and enjoy the day.  And also soak in all the ‘DC-ness’ that would hit us in the next 24 hours.


Our hotel was a mere 3 blocks from The Mall, which meant that we could get in some serious sight-seeing in a very short amount of time.  I was again 10, which was the year my Dad took me to DC for the first time without the rest of the family.  Our first stop was the Air and Space Museum, which of course, is one of the most popular museums.  I am always fascinated at the permanent displays: the Spirit of St. Louis, the X-1, and the Ford Trimotor (which was my grandmother’s mode of transportation in her first plane ride), but I also like the ever-evolving exhibits, and since it’s been a while since my last visit, I was happy to see the (original) Wright flyer in its own exhibit hall.


A quick walk across The Mall put us in the Museum of Natural History, home of the Hope Diamond, Henry the Elephant, and a really big squid carcass.  Here we found extinct animals (which sucks), animal pelts stuffed to look alive (which sucks), and fossils (which are the real winners since they were here for a long, long time).


I also found a rogue monkey.  See if you can spot him in this picture.


Then it was a short, brisk walk to Ford’s Theater, where President Lincoln was assassinated.  I have visited Dealy Plaza in Dallas, and of course Ford’s Theater.  I have also been on the corner where Reagan was shot, but as far as McKinley and Garfield, I have not visited their shooting locations.  Maybe they need better publicists.  Anyways, the museum underneath the theater is exceptional, and the boarding house where Lincoln eventually died is a somber experience.


Then 3 of us went back to the hotel, and I took in the Portrait Gallery, which was right across the street from the hotel.  I was exhausted, I am not going to lie, since I was working on a few hours’ sleep from the early morning flight.  I pressed on, however, knowing I could at least sneak in a nap before sound check.  I am glad I made the short walk.  It’s not every day you see 400-year-old works of art, and to see very famous Presidential portraits was a highlight.  And in a wonderfully random gallery, there were pictures of Amelia Earhart, and I thought a picture of her pilot’s license would be pretty powerful.


After my nap. we headed to the NRCC banquet, which was being held in the Museum of Architecture at some $32,000 a table.  It was a highfalutin affair, with a house full of Senators and Congressmen, so the necessary precautions were being taken.  Speaker of the House John Boehner introduced himself to us, which was pretty cool, and after hanging with some of the Republican folk, I realize again how the money plays out in our society.  There are gold diggers running around, then there are power diggers.  That’s a whole new ballgame all together… But the show was fun, dinner was tasty (yes, the same steak and wine other ate), and the after party was a sea of grey suits and business cards and white folks dancing.  But more free wine made the night turn out OK.


I bowed out rather early – like 12:30, and the rest of the boys stayed until a little later.  They were surprised in the lobby by an impromptu concert by Bernie Williams, the former New York Yankee now jazz guitar player.  So Brock ended up playing cajon with Bernie until the wee hours.  I guess sometimes you miss fun things when you go to bed early.  My bed was calling, though.  Maybe next time.

Again with the 6AM lobby call.  One day, when I get my own plane, I’ll fix all this early morning stuff.  Actually, I think it gets worse when you have your own plane.  See?  Mo’ money, mo’ problems.

After returning to Nashville, I realized my good friends from Sister Hazel were in town, so I took the missus and we had us a big ol’ time.  We saw lots of old friends, met some new ones, and helped Drew celebrate his birthday in dramatic, cake-to-the-face style.  Good times for all.


Which brings us up to speed in the week that was.  It’s still not Spring, so you have a few more weeks to lose those pounds for swimsuit season.  And start getting your party shoes on, we are about to head into the wonderful world of summer touring.  But more on that later.  For now, stay warm, stay calm, and stay focused, and remember – money ain’t the answer.


See you on the road!

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