Last weekend, I was in Montana...Corvallis, Missoula, and beautiful Bigfork at THE FLATHEAD LAKE LODGE. I got to play several duo shows with my very good friend, musical buddy, and guitarist extraordinaire JERRY DONAHUE. The occasion was a reunion of about half the 1964/65 class of Schiller College, a one year adventure in a Castle in the small village of Kleiningersheim, Germany. Back then, my roommate just happened to be Jerry Donahue (he had the top bunk!). Sometime during the first week of school, I borrowed a guitar from a friend down the hall (Jerry Jennings) so I could play a bit with Jerry, who had his own guitar and was much more accomplished than I, had already played in several rock 'n' roll bands, and I had played in none. As we jammed (I didn't know that term back then), I naturally shifted to the lower registers of the guitar and played rhythm and bass ideas, to which Jerry commented something like, "Hey, you're a natural bass player...let's get you an electric bass and we'll start a band". We did, got a Framus bass for all of .50 (it was 1964 in Germany!), got a drummer and a singer from the school, all played out of the same amplifier, named the band "The Avengers" (not a bad name for the time...we should have copyrighted it!), and my rock 'n' roll career had begun....my very first experience playing in a rock band....and I haven't looked back since!
So this reunion was a musical reunion of sorts for Jerry and me. But it was so much more than that; it was an amazing revisiting of the times back then with the students from back then in present time 2012 in a beautiful part of the world, Northern Montana...Flathead Lake Lodge. To be able to revisit old times almost a half century later, share stories, and most importantly to be able to share FEELINGS from back then....was truly incredible and very healing. Looking back from now to then, I can see what a scared young man I was, lost in so many ways, but actively searching for my muse, for my true path in life. And up to that point, I didn't have it...I was trying to find my direction in someone else's dream. In a most coincidental and synchronistic way, it was presented to me on a silver platter....but I didn't know it at the time....not until a few years later in a TV studio with The Edison Electric Band when I suddenly got it..."I don't know how I got here, but this is EXACTLY where I need to be". It was a lightbulb moment, a point of destiny, a fork in the road. I said "I'm a musician, I'm going to be a musician for the rest of my life", and I haven't looked back since. Playing music is a gift, I am blessed to have been given the talent and the foundation on which to build by my parents, and I've become happy with who I am, comfortable in my own skin. It's taken many years, many mistakes from which I've learned many lessons, much practice, and a good deal of inner work.
To be able to reflect these emotions with so many of the characters who were in that "play" so many years ago has been astoundingly healing and informative. We can never go back, but we can reflect on the past in present time. Sharing memories and intimate emotions with these beautiful folks in a beautiful part of the world, realizing how we were ALL so lost back then, how we all thought everyone else had it so together, and how that year in Germany affected us all in so many life-changing ways was better than any story I have read or could have written. And to play music with Jerry Donahue almost 50 years later, MY MUSIC, songs I have written that contain so much of my history, my lessons, my reality, with his amazing and beautiful guitar sounds adding so much, looking at each other with admiring and loving glances, both of us years better as musicians......was as good as it gets! To share the music, the stories, the smiles and the tears with my new old friends was also truly special. And all of this happening with perfect weather on a beautiful lake, boatrides in gorgeous settings while having great conversation, horseback rides through herds of elk and deer, and an evening of each person taking the stage to share their thoughts on how that year changed their lives revealing emotions and perspective we'd never have known.....was simply the best.
They say you can never go back, and it's true. But you can revisit the past with people who were in it and learn a great deal about yourself and about each other. Life is all about connection, and connecting then to now in a most personal, intimate, and educational way can be so powerful. This was certainly that, and I am so very grateful for the opportunity and to the wonderful folks with whom I shared that year in Germany and with whom I shared the most amazing weekend. I hope it was as good for them as it was for me!