Mike the musician is dead, played his last professional gig Monday, September 2, 2013. With a good run of performances in early-July, and a beautiful evening at Marks Ridge Winery in Sweet Home, Oregon, August 2, he crooned his way along a three-day run (Labor Day Weekend) at TeBri Vineyards and Lavender that will stick in his memory forever. Nothing follows.
For the past twenty-five years, I have told my students there are only three plots that convey the human experience: 1) you wake up in the morning feelin’ good, and you wanna sing about it; 2) you wake up in the morning feelin’ bad, and you wanna sing about it; 3) you wake up in morning, old like me, and that’s good enough, so you sing about it. Three plots to our human story. I told my students that was all.
For the past twenty-five years I have been wrong. There is a fourth plot: you wake up in the morning, and everything you thought was true is gone. Funny, we know it will happen, but it comes as a surprise. You don’t feel good, you don’t feel bad... you don’t anything. You’re just here.
All weekend, the sun danced between heavy curtains of white clouds. But yesterday, the sky cleared to spotlight the sunset. At the first approach of evening, the Labor Day Weekend came to a close, and the folks sitting around the patio of TeBri Vineyards and Lavender began to collect their things for their journeys home. As a farewell, and as a tribute to myself, I finished the evening with the first song I ever wrote (1988). I will play again before a live audience, but not as a professional musician. My next performance, whenever that happens, will be just something that I do on a free night or weekend of particular opportunity.
There are no longer enough gigs available for the musician to pay his rent or feed his Chihuahuas. His wife is flabbergasted by how little he contributes to the family income. The self-imposed copyright police (ASCAP and BMI) have galvanized the nails of his coffin. He wakes up in the morning and realizes he has nowhere to go—has nothing to do. He sits on the porch and watches the rising sun cross the sky toward sunset.
And as stars begin to blink into life, one-by-one, he does what he has done for the past forty-three years: he opens up his journal and begins to write. It is the only thing, besides his marriage, that has not changed in the past thirty-four years.
He’ll run with it, as he pounds the pavement looking for a job, for the first time in twenty-five years.
I'll catch ya'll down the road.