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 album, "Finally Home" on January 22, 2013 and will be chronicling their experiences as a band in this blog.
I was in a nice lady's house in Meriden, Connecticut, putting in a burglar alarm system in 1982 when I got a phone call from the office telling me to call home. This was pre-cell phone. How retro is that? I was 30 years old. I had dropped out of college, gone to California, come home, gotten married and had two kids and was now making $278 a week. I was also writing songs in my basement every night after the kids were asleep. In my heart of hearts I knew that THAT was what I was put on this planet to do. The phone call was about to let me know that the universe agreed. One of those songs had just been recorded and was going to be on the radio and change my life forever. I raced back to the office and quit.
I was then informed by ASCAP that when you hear your song on the radio you don't get the money for nine months. I went in the next day and begged for my job back. (I kept it for nine months and one day. Nine months ended on a Sunday and there was no mail delivery.) I have been a professional songwriter for 30 years. My two sons are older now than I was when my life changed that day. I still feel that this was what I was meant to do.
My point in this little trip down Lane D'Memoire is that my new band, Blue Sky Riders (I probably didn't have to type that. If you are reading this you probably already have our poster on your bedroom wall. No? Awkward) recently played a couple of shows in Connecticut, near my home town. The audience was filled with old high school friends, hometown buddies, parole officers... quite amazing. Bruce was there, president of my senior class and great pal...he always threw the best parties when his parents were out of town. (Sorry Bruce... busted!) Mike... I met him first day of kindergarten and we used to work at the Y together earning spending money by playing ping pong seven hours a day. It was quite amazing finding myself in the Hometown Boy Makes Good category. Nights like that make you appreciate how unpredictable life can be. As John Lennon said: "She loves you, yeah yeah yeah." Yes, fate did indeed love me, (yeah yeah yeah.)
I probably would have stayed working for my father if that call hadn't come. He would have retired and my brother was already working for him. He and I would have taken over the family business and ruled the electrical world together! Hell, I would have retired from THAT by now. I would probably be working on heart attack number three (my Dad had five) after a lifetime of eating steamed cheeseburgers, a local delicacy.
Looking out into the crowds on those nights it would be easy to think of my life as one big thrilling ride to the middle but it had its awful parts too. After the first song hit I had a few more that did well. I was sending them through the mail and crossing my fingers. I started going down to Nashville where they were being so oddly receptive. One trip every few months became a trip a month and then a couple of weeks each month until my wife and I started talking about relocating there permanently. Then one morning she decided that she DIDN'T want to move after all (but it was okay if I did. Yikes).
Boom. Suddenly I lived in Nashville and my two sons lived in Connecticut. I told myself I was teaching them that you must follow your heart whatever the cost... but in reality I was just missing their first dates, their soccer goals, their driving lessons... little things like that. Every dollar I have made from music has come with a regret tax.
It was great having all my friends come see us. Hell, we're all still on the right side of the grass... that alone is worth celebrating. My sons are happy, healthy adults with a great love of music and, unfortunately, MY sense of humor. One of them even lives in Nashvile and runs my publishing company for me!
Their mom was the photographer at my recent wedding! (seems she finally saw the allure of Nashville when a grandchild was born here amongst the kudzu and the moon pies).
Let me leave you with this:
Life's a risk...you never know
What road will fork, what wind will blow
But on the day when heaven comes....
We'll all have candy
Yum yum yum
It's amazing I ever got out of Connecticut.