Steve Cook's soul, song, and sweat.

Shinybass journal entry 10/19/17

How’s that bucket?


I made a list years ago of things I wanted to do in my life. I wrote it some 15 years ago (or longer), probably while riding in our Ford 15-passenger on the way to a gig somewhere in the Southeast, and recently found it in an old notebook (more on this in a second…). When one is in an independent band, where fate and luck sort of have their way with you, and you are moving about the country for days on end, there is a lot of time for dreaming, speculating, contemplating. Over time, I sort of let that list go (since I hadn’t seen it in a decade and a half), and sort of chuckled as I read it, because whereas I had only checked off a few things from the original list, I realized I had done so much more than I could have dreamt years ago.


I think this is sort of where the shortfall lies. As we make these lists, we (at least I) don’t realize just how big this world really is, and how many experiences are offered to us. We are meant to see and do a lot in our short time on this planet, and we shouldn’t be limited by our own minds. Let me explain: My list was like ‘visit Paris, learn Italian, have dinner with a sitting president, etc.’ Well, I’ve never seen France, I know my numbers up to 20 in Italian, and I’ll just leave the last one right…there. But would I have imagined I’d be on stage with some of my musical heroes, been on a mountain road in Kosovo in the middle of the night trying to cross the border without incident? Piloted a WWII airplane? My ‘new’ list, which is my list of accomplishments, far outweighs what I thought I would ever do. My life has been a blessed and wonderful one.

And more than that, I feel more humbled and blessed by my friends. I can’t ask for better ones. The ones that say ‘What can I do’? when I ask for help. The ones that say ‘I’d love to play on anything you record’, or ‘Let’s coffee anytime’. That’s a great feeling. I realize that not everyone in the world has this going for them. (and for the record, I am about to be off the road for a solid month, so let’s record and have coffee!’


Yesterday we were in Albuquerque (holy crap I just spelled that correctly for the first time…) playing Balloon Fiesta. This is like the Woodstock of balloon festivals. We had the night off, so Jake and I headed into Old Town for an amazing sunset dinner and walk around the square. We met a descendant of one of the original 7 families that settled the state. Pretty cool.

So about these balloons…We were offered a ride in a balloon (Humpty Dumpty, no less), and I have to admit, I was a bit scared. Me and untethered heights, well, we have an understanding. I love to fly, love tall buildings, but if a railing isn’t above my waist, I get a little squeamish. The baskets on a balloon aren’t much better, but you know what – it was amazing. Really. The 4:45 lobby call, the lack of sleep from the night prior, the waiting until 7:30 to finally go – it was all totally worth it. And these pictures…

One of the balloons had ‘Bucket List’ on the side. That’s where all this jibberish stems from – it made me think of my list again, and from different angles. I’ve always wanted to do a balloon ride, but never really made it a priority. Now, it seems, I realize just how many other people wanted to do what I did. Again, this makes me feelawfully lucky.


So we were airborne for about 35 minutes, and then touched down in a parking lot in the industrial area just off the field. These things sort of land wherever, which is really funny to me. The best part was that there was a watching party going on, so we made a bunch of new friends, had our balloon initiation ceremony, then had some of the best burritos ever. Oh, then we had a show to play.

We opened for Billy Currington, and sadly, we weren’t able to stick around for the show. It’s always a treat to see our touring friends in other states, however, and I can imagine the show was great. As they filled the high desert air with music, we drove to Tucson, a short 7-hour drive through some pretty areas. The best part? No, not Hatch (home of the Hatch chili pepper), but stopping in the middle of nowhere in pitch black to see the night sky in its entire splendor. It’s pretty humbling seeing the edge of the galaxy…


Until this past week, I don’t recall spending much time in Tuscon, but I really dig the town. Great coffee, sushi, and the Rialto Theater was fantastic. I love the old Vaudeville theaters. It’s a real treat to hear these rooms. And how about this for advertising? Pretty sweet!

So the lesson here? Well, don’t limit yourself. Fill out that list of things you want to do, but also take stock in things that you have experienced. You will probably be surprised at how far you have come, the people you have met, and the things you have witnessed. Tuck it in, soak, cherish, repeat. That feeling is what life is about. Now go conquer more mountains, overcome more fears, and get on those back roads. And stop and stare at the midnight sky. There’s a lot of truth up there.


See you on the road.

1 thought on “Shinybass journal entry 10/19/17”

  • What a great post!! Interesting to see your view of the bucket list. Nice work, Steve. You are a GREAT writer. The few posts I have read keep me intrigued! I am looking forward to seeing y’all in Lowell ( it’s been a while, for Lowell). Put a WORD in for me…do, “Party people” LOVE, Love, love it…

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