I so wish… But sadly, I have not been asked… even though I play a mean harp. Seriously. No, seriously… Dan Aykroyd needs to watch his vodka making, blues club owning, harp playing back!
The unemployment part… well… I am in the middle of a copywriting gig for Disney, so that’s good, but fortune and fame are still (Cue Bette Midler) at a distance. Either way, if anyone asks, I’m on a mission from G-d.
The Blues Brothers – Briefcase Full of Blues
The first five years of Saturday Night Live are peerless. I remember sneaking out of bed and staying up late just to watch the show. That was what I wanted to do when I grew up… Okay, tuck that dream away for the next life… But I am thinking of getting back into the improv and sketch comedy game… somewhere, somehow, even just for fun. I truly love it and find great bliss in it.
The Blues Brothers were born from a 1976 SNL sketch called “Killer Bees” where my hero John Belushi sang and Dan Aykroyd played harmonica. Both were dressed in bee costumes and Slim Harpo’s “I’m A King Bee” was the tune they played. After the tapings, many of the cast members and hosts would go hang out at Aykroyd’s Holland Tunnel Blues Bar. There was a jukebox full of songs and instruments for those who would want to jam, and it was there that Dan taught John about the blues.
What’s funny is that it was The Blues Brothers who introduced me to the blues. For a while, I erroneously assumed that the songs were originals. I am sure I heard blues on the radio and obviously as influences on many artists of the day, but I was not fully aware of it. Going to college outside of Chicago changed everything for me. I took classes at Second City (so should have stayed…) and got deep into the Blues… Kingston Mines, Blues, etc., Mama Rosa’s, Biddy Mulligan’s… clubs like these became second homes to me, and oh, the blues folks I saw live… Koko Taylor, Albert Collins, Willie Dixon, Buddy Guy, James Cotton, Sugar Blue and Junior Wells to name just a few. Man!
I would have gladly sold my soul at the Crossroads for a little guitar playing genius…
Briefcase came out in 1978 and the classic movie came out in 1980. That’s another one I can watch anytime and any place. Then on March 5th, 1982, I had my heart broken. I was so pissed off… so much talent and raw, beautiful, edgy humor gone. I still miss him and wonder about the greatness we would have been witness to.
This album is so much fun and the musicians who make up the band are the best of the best… Paul Shaffer, Tom “Bones” Malone, Matt “Guitar” Murphy, Donald “Duck” Dunn, Steve Cropper, Tom Scott, Alan Rubin and “Blue” Lou Marini, et. al…
Of course, going back and discovering the originals is an amazing lesson in the Blues and a journey I continue on to this day. But for me, it all started with The Blues Brothers.
It’s 2077 miles to Chicago… “we’ve got a full tank of gas, half a pack of cigarettes, it’s dark and we’re wearing sunglasses.”