Thursday, December 27, 2012

Cold, Tired & Hungry!

Driving up through Florida
Through South Carolina
All the way up to Pennsylvania where it snowed!
Freezing in the snow with Francis and his sister Fay
(Reference to "Cold, Tired & Hungry", is an old It Bites song of Francis's)

Drove up from sunny South Florida to get a dose of Winter weather! I spent X-Mas with Francis Dunnery and his family up in the Poconos mountains. It was his 50th Birthday as well but a very low key gathering. He considered the CKDCF charity gig we played in Cumbria in October his official "birthday celebration" because there were many fans, friends and family there. Plus, you don't get a better present than playing a gig with one of your childhood music heroes, Steve Hackett of Genesis, and a stage full of great musicians, an incredibly warm and receptive audience and the whole thing benefiting children with severe illnesses. He was especially moved when he received over a hundred thank you messages on his birthday after the CKDCF gave the sick children Christmas presents. He showed me the pictures of kids, some of them with cancer, filled with joy opening up presents with their families. He said, "This is what you did, Dave. It's what we all did."

I was thinking about the value of everyone who bothered to contribute toward that event in whatever way they could (some sponsoring the walk, some contributing their time and effort to the event, some paying to travel from all over the world and go to that amazing show). It could have just as easily not happened. But it did and these were very real results to see. What is the value of joy especially for a child who has a terminal disease? Priceless. Heart-breaking to think about any child suffering. After some very sad recent events in the US, my love, appreciation and hope for all the children has only grown exponentially. They come to this world ready to love and be loved, to learn and to teach, to PLAY and experience as much joy as possible. So did we! We were all children once. Our progress moving forward has a lot to do with reconnecting with the child within us... to look for and prioritize joy in life and to continue to be playful! I'm a big kid and I play all the time. I seek out the good things in life that make myself and others with similar taste smile.

Speaking of taste, when I travel I like to take advantage of some local cuisine. On the way up to PA there were some cool places to stop. One of them was Charleston, South Carolina. Paid a visit to the Hominy Grill for breakfast by recommendation and had something called "The Big Nasty" which is fried chicken, gravy and a biscuit. It's not something I'd eat often as I do prefer to eat more healthy but this was not to miss. When in Rome!

The Big Nasty

Francis's Studio

Alright, so for anyone wanting the skinny on musical activity on the travels of a man called Squids I've got some cool stuff to share with you. Besides dinner, table tennis and laughs with the Dunnerys I am also here playing on a new album from Francis. I can't really talk about it in detail because it's his production not mine. So I'll share more about that later. Here's a picture of my Nord Stage keyboard that I drove up with. What a workhorse! That and my laptop with Sonic Reality sounds and IK Multimedia software has the main staple sounds I need.

Here's another cool thing that happened over the holidays. I got a really nice email from Steve and Jo Hackett wishing me Happy Holidays and New Year. That alone made me smile. The guitarist from one of my favorite bands EVER sending me a nice message for the holidays? How cool!!!??? I emailed Steve back wishing him and his very sweet wife Jo the same. We talked about him guesting on a track in January that I'm producing for the Sonic Elements Rush Tribute "Moving Signals & Waves". I was originally going to ask him to play on the Sonic Elements film score style tribute of "The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway" that I'm doing with Francis Dunnery and friends. But, then I thought that was too obvious and plus he just did the "Genesis Revisited 2" album of his own (which Francis, myself and Simon Collins guested on). So, I figured it'd be interesting and different if he played on a Rush song featuring Neil Peart of Rush on drums (via his sample library "Neil Peart Drums by Sonic Reality") plus Keith Emerson and myself on keyboards and Bill Sherwood formerly of Yes on bass... talk about "Prog Heaven"! For one song at a time I'm producing and playing with the ultimate "Prog Super Groups"!!!! Emerson, Hackett, Sherwood, Peart & Squids!!!! (Neil is the only one who doesn't know he's played on it directly... he only knows that his sample library that features his drumming is going to be used by many musicians for both originals and covers... however, this one I think he'll really get a kick out of when he hears it!) Actually, I might have Francis play guitar on it as well today and when I get the tracks from everyone in January I may also fuse it into another original track that I co-wrote with Billy Sherwood. I know that sounds bizarre and vague right now but when the album is released I will explain what we did, how we did it, why we did it and MORE on video! 

So, that's what's happening in my world. I'm VERY excited about the coming year for many reasons. I've set up my studio specifically for the projects I'm producing and playing on. Actually, I'm still in the midst of getting it all wired up but once that's done it's going to be very conducive to the way I like to work. There are a number of creative projects I'm involved with and I couldn't be happier about that! I'm really looking forward to 2013 and I'm enjoying the rest of 2012 now. Happy New Year to you all! Thanks, as always, for taking an interest in my Squidly adventures. I hope you continue to find it entertaining and inspiring. Don't forget to go have some fun! Be safe, kind to others and optimistic! Enjoy the now and be eager about what's coming. Focus on what's positive to you. That's my 2 cents worth of advice anyway... 

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