I’m lucky to be alive.

We were in the studio last night in Santa Barbara, doing some prep work on the first three songs we are going to mix off of our almost completed second CD, unofficially titled, “Who Do I talk To About Getting This Year Of My Life Back?”

I was in a rolling chair, not a particularly risky mode of sitting. Kenny was in one, Georgia was in one. I wasn’t being daring or death defying. We were working on a lovely little number called, “Why Not,” sorting through hundreds of guitar tracks trying to find one or two that did not sound like they were played by someone with a canned ham taped to their wrists.

The studio had two levels. To the left of the mixing console was a step down that was a sheer drop of fifty feet if it was a foot. Okay it was a foot. Actually probably about eight inches. A dangerous eight inches. (Note to self… possible title for my memoir). I remember I was talking and being all “producery” (producerish?) when I rolled a bit to my left.

Ah, left. My nemesis. The evil cousin of directions. I was in mid sentence… some artistic insight that now will have to remain lost to the fickle winds of chance. I distinctly remember starting to say “guitar…” which quickly turned into the word “glurgggg” as my wheel went off the cliff, and I started to fall. Left. Always left.

It was just like the movies. Slow motion. I actually had time to think, “This is going to hurt.” There were speakers and large dark sharp things over in that corner that, before this second, I was cavalier enough to give no notice to. What chance was there that any of those pointy things were going to impact my life in any meaningful way? Alas, I had ignored them at my peril. I heard Kenny and Georgia both make their obligatory slow motion, “NOOOOOO,” and reach out to me in one last futile attempt to save me from the abyss.

I remember several things flashed through my mind as my body flashed the the air.

  1. When I was young I took seven years of judo. In judo, you are trained to learn how to fall and land in a way that lessens the shock and damage. I was about twelve, so I weighed sixty pounds. I could have been dropped from the Chrysler Building with little ill effect at that age. But I did learn how to take a fall.
  2. I remembered the old Dick Van Dyke fire awareness commercials in the sixties, where he taught us to “Stop, Drop and Roll.” I’m not sure how that helped me but it went thru my mind nonetheless.
  3. I remembered a story I read once about movie stuntmen, who said that when you hit the ground, you must never tighten up. You relax, loosen all your limbs. Tensing up means broken bones. Stay loose, baby… stay loose.

That’s how long the fall felt. I had time for all those thoughts to go thru my head, as well as the entire final act of The Mikado.

Right now I am typing this by dictation as I lie encased in plaster from my hospital bed. No, not really. I am actually on a plane flying home to Nashville. Here’s what happened: I hit the floor. I rolled. I relaxed. I missed the sharp, pointy things by a narrow but satisfying margin. I arose sore, rug burned and embarrassed. I was consoled tenderly by Georgia and ridiculed tenderly by Kenny. (It might have been the other way around. I was suffering mild trauma and shock.)

What have we learned from all this? (and by we, I mean I):

  1. Making records is dangerous work. You should all buy several copies of this CD. I almost died making it.
  2. I am old, but not too old to take a fall and get back up.
  3. The Mikado kicks ass.