We played the Saban Theater last night in Beverly Hills. Doesn’t that sound high- falutin’? It was just nice to be able to play indoors where the sun couldn’t get at us. It’s a lovely old theater on Wilshire Blvd. It made us feel like we were truly in show business. Of course, the term “show business” runs the gamut from Frank Sinatra to juggling co-joined twins… so that’s not a major thing to brag about.

It did make me marvel at the arc my show business life has taken. One of the first gigs I played with my first band, The Martin Beck Theater Band (named after a Broadway Theater where a friend of ours was performing in Oliver) was at a place called The Black Light. I recently found the receipt for our pay. My Mom had kept it for years as a souvenir and it came to me after she died… it was for $75. Four players splitting $75. What an arc. That’s about how much I make per night with Blue Sky Riders!

The club (I use the term loosely) was a small, narrow room behind a convenience store. As the name implies, it had black lights all over the ceiling and posters all over the walls that would glow and entertain the adventurous. There is not a lot I remember about the gig except that our lead guitarist, Eddy, was so shy about playing in front of people that he started out the night sitting in a chair BEHIND his amplifier. He must have enjoyed that experience because soon after he taught himself the steel guitar so he could sit his entire career. It was either steel or ventriloquism.

I went back to my home town recently. It’s a small place called Meriden, in central Connecticut. When I was growing up it was known as the Silver Capital of the World. I grew up thinking that we had silver mines somewhere in the hills that no one spoke about, but I finally learned that we had an enormous plant that made forks. We were the fork capital of the world. We made fine silverware of international fame, all kidding aside, and to this day I will find myself eating a high-falutin’ meal in a fancy restaurant and I will flip over the fork and see International Silver stamped on the back. Our legend looms large. (Also… I have decided to try and work “high-falutin'” into this blog three more times as a personal challenge.)

I mention Meriden because I have been informed recently that I am about to be inducted into the Meriden Hall of Fame. I am thrilled about it. I would be more thrilled if I could actually BE there when it happens, but I will be in Arizona playing a show. But in the Hall I shall be nonetheless… among beloved teachers and politicians… and the fact that I’m a Hall of Fame Meridenite will allow me to strut the streets of my home town in high-falutin’ style. (Two to go)

The last time I went to Meriden I stopped into my favorite hang to have a steamed cheeseburger. Steamed cheeseburgers were invented in Meriden and remain a delicacy exclusive to that small town. It is a slab of beef steamed in a steam cabinet till it is a nice shade of gray… then placed lovingly on a hard roll that you only find in a ten mile radius of Meriden… covered with an avalanche of melted cheddar cheese and a slice of yellow onion jauntily placed on top like a hat. As I type it it sounds disgusting but they are unbelievable. As I finished eating, I waddled next door and realized that I was standing in front of the old Black Light! To be precise, I was standing in front of a porn store that USED to be the Black Light. The view from the window presented it to be a very nice store with a wide range of high-falutin’ sex toys. (one to go) Who am I kidding; I did go in but strictly for the nostalgia value. I went to the back and stood where I stood all those years ago with my band mates Eddy, Dean and Dennis. I picked out a feather boa and some wrist restraints and got the hell out of there before anyone noticed “Hall of Fame Boy” lingering in the back.

Today we drive up to San Jose and have a few days off before we play Northern CA. Once again the arc rears it’s magnificent head. That old band in CT eventually ended up in Santa Cruz, CA before grinding to a slow halt. Now I am back playing in this new highly regarded (so close) combo and it really feels great to look back and see the arc in all it’s glory. We could use a few days off. Catch a movie. Buy a new feather boa.


Nailed it.