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Gary Burr

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Normal Vision Man

Posted: 12/11/2012 7:18 pm

Singer/songwriters Kenny Loggins, Georgia Middleman and Gary Burr have created the new band Blue Sky Riders, and were profiled by Huff/Post50 in February. The band will release their debut self-titled album "Blue Sky Riders" on January 29, 2013 and will be chronicling their experiences as a band in this blog.

The following has nothing to do with what I am getting off my chest in what I laughingly refer to as my "blog." Allow me to stray into existential territory for a moment. (And yes... I have no idea what existential means... it's one of those words that you drop into a conversation to make the chicks think that you are much, much deeper than you are. Trust me... I am paper thin.)

The latest Maroon 5 song may be the last reference to a payphone in music history. I can't remember the last payphone I've seen. If I HAVE seen a payphone... the headset has been gnawed off the end of the metal cable like urban beavers needed it to make a tele-dam somewhere. Every kid under 30 who is bopping their head to this song probably would have to ask their parents what the title means.... like we had to ask what "Living La Vida Loca" meant.

And magazines.... we are five years away from there not being magazines anymore. As a songwriter, this truly pisses me off because it is SUCH a great word to rhyme. You got "beauty QUEEN"...."girl I SEEN"....."In beTWEEN (the pages of)...". I will miss that word when Newsweek becomes "Newsweek Kindle Edition" (Sedition... Fruition... this is just unacceptable.)

I am through venting.

On with the show.

What follows are a series of awkward and humiliating confessions from my childhood and teens.

Oh, NOW you're paying attention.

When I was in the second grade I had one burning desire: I wanted a super power. I was 6 and I really, REALLY needed a super power. It seemed like every newspaper I read (and by newspaper, I mean comic book) had super heroes. I read comic books morning, noon and night; my only interruption being the school hours where I learned a miniscule amount of non-super power stuff that I promptly stored in the back of my brain in the event that any of it would be needed to pull off my secret-identity career. My best friend, Marty, shared my goal. He drank a vitamin drink every morning before school. His goal was super strength. There was a giant rock at the far end of the paved school playground (or "parking lot" as the adults called it) that I remember being the size of a Chevy. Since I was the size of a carton of eggs my perspective MIGHT be suspect.... but every morning Marty tried to lift the rock. He would strain and pull and turn bright red while I encouraged him and worried that parts of his brain were going to explode out of his ears from the exertion. Anyone over the age of 20 would have had a stroke doing what he did, but he did it every morning without fail. We would measure the rock's movement (there wasn't any) and his muscle growth (there wasn't any) and we just KNEW he was a few vitamin drinks away from throwing the boulder through the second floor window and showing a certain Mrs. Tuttle who was Boss.

At one point during that year I believed I finally discovered my superpower. I am not making this up. I sat in the back of the class and told Marty my incredible secret. I could SEE rain. When it was raining outside I could SEE the drops falling through the air. I truly thought that no one else on the planet could do this. I am not sure what I would have called myself... Rain Seer? Normal Vision Boy? I'm not sure how I could have saved our city from an attack of the Mole People with this fantastic ability. If I had to have an ocular-related power, why couldn't I have X-ray vision like every other boy on the planet wished for? I had to wait till I was 32 to see my first bra. With X-ray vision I would have known so much about women's underwear that I could have beat Victoria to the punch and had my own damn secrets.

Marty was enough of a friend to play along for a while, but soon, I observed enough classmates looking out the window and muttering, "ah shit... it's raining," to realize that the Mole People had nothing to fear from me.

I wanted a super power, though. Real bad. I don't know why I had this need to be special, to be different and have an edge on everyone else.

As I grew older I learned more and more about my classmates and realized I had less and less that distinguished myself from them. Same haircuts, (even the girls), same winter coats and boots, mostly even the same names. New Englanders like their traditions and recycle their names the way other people recycle... other things. (New Englanders are also terrible at similes). The only exception to this was my classmate, Lucian Doobie. Loved the name then and I love it now. He could have been named after a New England general or admiral in the Continental Navy, I don't know. If it wasn't the name of someone who had been bitten by a radioactive insect there was little chance of me being terribly interested in it's origin.

Here's the point to all this blathering. One day in my teens I discovered that I DID have a power. When I was in high school I was over at my friend Dean's house, listening to Beatles records. At one point one of the Fabs sang on a song and Dean said it was Paul. I knew it was George. I knew it. There was no question. I could hear the tone, the timbre, the phrasing... it was George. We argued for a long time with several others kids in the room siding with Dean. After I left I did a little research and found it was indeed George singing that part. And DEAN COULDN'T TELL. The other kids couldn't tell.

I heard music differently from them. I didn't know that people could hear music differently until that moment. That very moment was when I felt like my connection to music was my super power. It didn't make me better than anyone else... or a surer bet to pursue music when I got a little older... it just was something that was MINE. I wasn't going to lift the big boulder and throw it through a window. I wasn't going to leap tall buildings in a single bound (or even several bounds). But if you want to know what the fifth is in the harmony stack and how it would sound if you suspend the note over the chord change, I'm your guy.

Please don't write a bunch of responses to this "blog" telling me that I'm a bragging asshole claiming that I do indeed have a "super power." I am an asshole for SO many other reasons, but bragging isn't one of them. I am actually very careful to hide my "gift" from the rest of you mortals. Until the day the Mole People come and you are crying out "Why won't someone come and sing a third over the root and tell us who's singing the low part in "Teach Your Children?" We are doomed without them!!!" I keep my gift hidden and my loved ones safe.

Everyone wants something that makes them special and gives them a purpose. Smart, strong, brave... as we grow up, we search for it. I believe we all have something. The shame is that the world's greatest tuba player may never come into contact with a tuba in his entire lifetime so he never has that "moment" like I had. I wish that moment for every kid out there. It was an amazing feeling for a seventeen year old kid to find out that he had a super power.

Then I walked outside and got soaked cause no one told me it was raining.

See what I did there?

 

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