First off, Bin Laden is dead. I would be remiss if I did not mention this momentous event. For a more detailed thought process on it, check out my political blog at Band of One. It will be up later today!
I have many regrets in life… some of which occupy way too much of my time and others are more easily passed out of my brain… only to resurface here and there. Not buying Apple stock at 13 and not staying with the Second City program in Chicago are two biggies… But life is what it is and it takes us, hopefully, to where we are supposed to be… That’s my mantra, dammit!
Missing a concert or a show also poses moments and pangs of frustration, especially because of the power and immediacy of a live event… it is basically capturing space and time in a never-before-seen-like-this-exact-way-again kind of thing. Every concert or show is truly a “once-in-a-lifetime.”
One such event was the Broadway musical Passing Strange. I am not sure if I was in NYC during the run of the show, but I know I really wanted to go and did not. Big mistake! AAGGHH!!!
Great artists are also great historians, and it is not a coincidence that Adam Duritz of Counting Crows has not only given me great music, but provided me with other great musical moments. In an interview he discussed one of his favorite bands and artists… a guy named Stew and his band The Negro Problem. I will freely admit that putting the words “Negro Problem” in a blog header would open myself up to some interesting web searches and could get me in a lot of trouble, so I am a little gun-shy, which is why the debate for today’s album came down to the soundtrack for Passing Strange or Stew’s fantastic Something Deeper Than These Changes. Stew is African-American, which while still raising a few eyebrows, allows him to get away with naming his band that.
Regret #2… Stew and Heidi played in LA a few months ago and I could not make it to that show. AAGGHH! I promise, come hell or high water… sorry friends in the South… I will not miss another show.
Stew is a large teddy bear kind of man… fiercely intelligent, a brilliant artist and musician and someone you just want to hug. If I passed him on the street, I would never have thought for a moment that we would share such a love for classic rock and roll… but his musical upbringing and tastes are really, really similar. I guess that explains why he almost immediately became on of my favorite artists. And it goes to show you how similar we all are… or at least the common ground we all can find.
Passing Strange is a fascinating Broadway production that was filmed by Spike Lee. It is simply staged, yet powerful… a rock concert feel, along the lines of Spring Awakening, and a look at a life and a journey, on an almost bare stage. Powerful and funny and an absolute delight. Stew won the Tony for Best Book and the writing is really witty and smart! Watch it! And any and all of Stew’s albums or The Negro Problem have so much to offer. I know I am being a bit general, but I was inspired and uplifted by both today and last night, so there you have it.
As we journey through life, we have many loves and many regrets… many joys and celebrations… many triumphs and many falls… but keep in mind that all of us, and I mean all of us, will at some point pass through strange. May your path be beautiful, filled with discovery and wonder, and may your heart be filled with love and bliss.
Thanks for reading… thanks for being my family and friends… and thanks to all of those who give their lives for our freedoms, liberties and pursuits of happiness.