My first memory of music was when I was eight years old. My dad was stationed in Wiesbaden, Germany, and my uncle was on a smaller army post nearby. We would visit, and my older cousins would play The Coasters, Bill Haley, and Little Richard. Keith and Sharon were Cool, and I wanted to be too. Later, I’d visit another cousin, and we’d listen in the middle of the night to KOMA as The Four Seasons sang Sherry. It hooked me then and still am today.
On a recent morning walk, I considered the impact music has had on my life and all the wonderful performers I’ve seen in concerts or festivals. Each brings back many memories.
The performers and bands I’ve seen and heard, and what is connected to each performance.
The Dick Clark Caravan of Stars – Del Shannon, The Zombies, Paul Revere & the Raiders, and The Shirelles. Amarillo, Texas (I was 15 and hitchhiked from Dumas, TX., to see the show.)
The Beach Boys – Amarillo Texas (Perfect bubble-gum music to make you feel cool.)
Johnny Burnette Dumas, Texas (You’re Sixteen and it was a year before he drowned.)
The Crickets Borger, Texas (Buddy Holly was already dead)
Jimmy Gilmore & The Fireballs Dumas, Texas (Sugar Shack)
The Astronauts Amarillo, Texas (Baja is still one of the greatest surfing instrumentals ever)
Les Brown and His Band of Renown Camp Eagle, Vietnam (Zip-a-Dee-Doo-Dah didn’t seem to us grunts the cool new song Brown thought it was.)
John Denver West Texas State University (I know it’s not cool to say, but I did like him.)
Ike and Tina Turner WTSU (Before Ike became a villain.)
Olivia Newton John WTSU (RIP)
Delbert McClinton Soap Creek Saloon, Austin, Texas (Ken and I watched a couple climb in the back of a pickup and get it on.)
Neil Diamond San Antonio, Texas (I know, another I’m not supposed to like)
Moody Blues San Antonio, Texas (brought back a few nights sitting in Happy Valley in Vietnam) (I didn’t inhale)
Stevie Ray Vaughan San Antonio, Texas (My boyhood band mate, Tommy Shannon, made it big playing bass for Stevie Ray.)
Jimmy Buffett San Antonio, Tx.(The audience showered the stage with joints.)
Dire Straits San Antonio, Texas (Mark Knopfler one of the three best rock guitarists, who are the other two?)
Jackson Browne San Antonio, Texas (1st. concert with my youngest son)
Melissa Etheridge Salt Lake City, Utah (Concert with my oldest son, and about 6000 lesbians – they were using both men’s and lady’s restrooms, we politely waited our turn)
Natalie Merchant Boise, Idaho (I had such a crush on her.)
The Eagles Boise, Idaho (The Hell Freezes Over tour. What could be a better name than that?
John Fogerty St. Paul, MN. (He was Creedence Clearwater Revival, the other players were unnecessary.)
Johnny Lang St. Paul (That kid can play a guitar.)
.38 Special St. Paul, MN. (Hold on Loosely – iconic of the country rock sound)
Matchbox Twenty Rochester, MN. (Listen to Rob Thomas sing Fire on the Mountain, a great tune.)
Bare Naked Ladies St. Paul (Maybe the best Canadian band ever)
BoDeans St. Paul (Everyone knew and sang the words to every song.)
Eric Clapton Minneapolis, MN. (What can be said except the old line about him Clapton is God.)
Robert Cray Minneapolis, MN. (He’s still a Hot Smoking Gun.)
Charlie Musselwhite Minneapolis, MN. (What a blues harp player. Old School)
Walter Trout Minneapolis, MN. (Walter plays blues like there will be no tomorrow.)
Big Brother & the Holding Company Tree Frog Music Festival Faribault, MN. (Janis was long dead by then.)
Hubert Sumlin Minneapolis, MN. (Howlin’ Wolf’s guitar slinger. He was near 80, had lost a lung and played like he was a king.)
Los Lobos Tucson, Az. Tucson Blues Festival (They didn’t play One Time One Night, pissed me off)
K T. Tunstall Hotel Congress, Tucson. (She played with the best female drummer I’ve ever heard, and Suzanne and I were the two oldest people at the show.
A lifetime of music has brought joy to my life and to my soul. I’ve also been lucky in that I’ve played music since I was fifteen. Our first band was named The Avengers. We were later more cool and became EKOS in Dumas, Texas. Later with The Eddie Haskell Band in Twin Falls, ID., then 2nd. Exit in Northfield MN., then Linden Station in St. Paul. I’ve met, played with, and been friends with great music people throughout my life. There are few joys as ubiquitous as music.
Songs are the memories we hum and sing. What songs take you back to a time that was, or never was?
“When I die, they’ll say he couldn’t play shit, but he sure made it sound good.”
Hound Dog Taylor
“Rock n Roll might not solve all your problems, but it does let you dance all over them.”
“I been in the blues all my life. I’m still delivering cause I got a long memory.”