I remember the day… We were walking around our neighborhood as we often did, looking at all the beautiful big houses just behind our condo… Ray Romano… supposedly Mickey Rooney… The Olsen Twins, who almost ran us down once… Seriously… They were barreling through the neighborhood in a big, black Hummer. The late, great and sadly missed J.T. Walsh lived back there… and so did the amazing, funny, also incredibly missed and super sweet Phil Hartman… His house was always one of my favorites… Now I cannot even look at it… Remind me to tell you the eerie story of the night he was shot… So sad… so sad…
So we were walking and noticed a couple, hanging out with their son, who looked about the same age as my daughter… We started chatting… Had a really nice conversation and struck up a friendship. When I asked John what he did, he sheepishly said he was a musician… gave me a CD, too… This was just before “Superman (It’s Not Easy)” really hit and he would become a superstar.
Five For Fighting – America Town
John is a singer/songwriter at heart… but the labels want a band, so he gave them a band… Five For Fighting IS John Ondrasik. If for nothing else, I knew I would like him for naming his band after a hockey term.
I am proud to say I knew him before he hit it so big… I say that for a few reasons… He is a sweetheart of a guy, as is his fabulous wife Carla and their kids… They are just good, decent people. Seeing that fame did not change him was heartening. I also got to get into the band a bit before he exploded and everyone knew and loved him. They would put us on their guest lists and always took care of us. Sadly, we don’t see them much anymore… Ironically we both moved into nearby areas, but there is not the neighborhood walking ease we had before. I miss that… and I miss hanging and having dinner with them and the kids. But that is life… you move away, you move on… people come in and out of our lives, but hopefully, at the least, enrich us and add to the mix.
For those of you who know me, you know I love my freebies, but I am proud to say I bought every other Five For Fighting CD. I went back to his first one, Message For Albert. I like it quite a bit… but this one… it just grabbed me from the go.
He is just a really smart songwriter and seems to know how to capture things the country and just regular people are feeling… His timing and talent are right on… “Superman”… “The Riddle”… “100 Years”…
“Easy Tonight” is probably my favorite of all his tunes… “Superman” of course… brilliant and amazing and fitting for all the 911 heroes.
I would like to add how much he does for the service men and women… That is a beautiful thing!!!
“America Town”, the gorgeous “Jainy” and “Love Song” round out my stand out tracks.
It’s funny… I remember talking to his Dad, who said… you know he’s really a math genius, right… right?! I did not, but finding out he graduated with a degree in applied science and mathematics from UCLA made that pretty clear. It’s like the shirts for the folks who work at JDL, that say “Why yes, I AM a rocket scientist!”
So for today’s lesson… I give you great music from a great guy… and math soooooper genius Wile E. Ondrasik!