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Freebo's Blog

Thoughts from Freebo and Others

My amazing Schiller College Reunion

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!

Peace,

FREEBO

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A New Day In Freebomusic Blogging!

Hi Everybody,

I now have all blogging technicalities in place and I'm ready to begin blogging, complete with your ability to respond to any blog, as well as to each other, creating an online community. My friends ROY VAN TIL and MICHAEL JOCHUM will also be blogging, both interesting people with different styles of writing and hopefully compelling, provocative, and stimulating. We're looking for agreement, disagreement, other points of view. I look forward to your reading my blogs as well as Roy's and Michael's....and to your comments.

Thanks you so much for being a part of my world, my music, and being a difference in making this a better place for us ALL.

Peace,

FREEBO

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The Gulf

Hi Everybody,

So BP has "plugged the hole", capped the well, and everything will be OK......I WISH!!! If this whole thing isn't a huge wakeup call to all of us, to speak out, to get involved, to cry out for change, and to continue to be the change that we wish to see......I don't know what is or what will be. We are truly at a crossroads, at a point of destiny, and the choices we make now as a society and a country will effect all those who come after us. We need a new direction, and we must demand it. I know it won't be easy, I know its frustrating for each of us "little guys", I know there are powers that be who will stop at nothing to make greater and greater profits at the expense of The People. But together, we really can make a difference, by speaking out individually and in great numbers. We can be MAD AS HELL AND NOT TAKE T ANY MORE if we really want to. We can choose NOT to be lulled to sleep by those forces who wish us to be unconscious. Because if we don't, this will not be the last disaster, or the biggest. If we cannot see the madness of the direction in which we're heading, then we're no different than the Captain of The Titanic.....full speed ahead on an unsinkable ship, intent on breaking the trans-oceanic speed record in a sea known to have deadly icebergs, unable to stop or change direction once an iceberg is sited....THE TIPPING POINT. And I firmly believe we are indeed very close to that tipping point, and if we don't slow down and/or change direction, the ship will hit the fan! DRILL BABY DRILL.......NOT!

Peace,

FREEBO

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Thoughts on The Healthcare Bill

My father said to me many times while I was growing up in a small Pennsylvania coal town, "Change comes slowly". And my own personal experience over the years suggests that this wise man was so right. As human beings, we seem to have an innate chip that inspires fear of anything different from what we know, a natural protection, I suppose, from the many dangers that could threaten us in the wild of our caveman days. One would hope, of course, that our experience, our intellect, and our knowledge of history would overcome that inherent fear in situations where the facts suggest otherwise. But The Status Quo is a powerful drug, and if you have something that seems to work for you, it's only natural to not want to give it up for an unknown. Thus the dynamic of the Power Brokers, The Haves, the upper tiers of society.....any society! For the rich who can afford the best healthcare, the Staus Quo works. For the powerful insurance companies, healthcare companies, and those politicians who are in their pocket, The Status Quo works. But for so middle class, poor, and disenfranchised Americans, it is not and has not been working.

So this dynamic makes it all the more interesting that The Good Old USA has finally embarked on a different path when it comes to the healthcare system in this country. No matter that every other "developed" country in The West has Universal Healthcare, "Socialized Medicine"...whatever you want to call it....a system where everyone pitches in to help everyone else, and a system that most folks in these countries will tell you works quite well, thank you, that very few if any would give up for a system like ours. But we have finally made a move toward CHANGE with this healthcare bill. In the scope of things, we made a "LEFT TURN"......yes, LEFT.....because LEFT suggests change....RIGHT suggests Status Quo, "conservative...to conserve, to hold on to, to be wary of change". The only real constant is CHANGE. And to resist any change simply out of fear is to be stuck in that caveman mentality, to be in fear of one's own life...or in the case of many, fear of losing one's identity.
The forces that have been against Healthcare Reform seem to be those who have had the most to lose.....(1) Healthcare Companies whose obscene profits would become less and (2) Republicans who see their party as losing to The Democrats, Republicans whose prediction of "Obama's Waterloo" not coming true, of Obama winning the battle of healthcare and by definition, Republicans losing the battle. Quite simply, this greed dynamic has been framing this thing for the past year....for the past 50 really.
So we are at a new juncture, one of change. Yes, as my father said, change does come slowly. This healthcare bill is far from perfect, has much to be desired as far as covering all Americans with insurance, is a very long way from Single Payer/Universal Healthcare, and a very long way from getting the unnecessarily huge profits of a few giant healthcare corporations over the needs of The People. But it is A START. This is not about a victory for The Democrats or Obama...it's a victory for The People and their needs. It's a moment where The Little Guy triumphed briefly over The Bully. It's a moment of Change, and in that respect, it's a good thing!

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Climate Change and Talk Radio

My cross country drive/tour in my mom's '97 Taurus continues with an added house concert his Tuesday night in Nashville put on by my friends Meg Hilly and Samantha Newark. It wil be a 7 PM show, over by 10:00 at the latest for those of you who have work or school the next day (I'm a musician, no such choice....that's why I decided to become a professional musician over 40 years ago!). Besides Samantha doing a song or two, I hope to have several of my other very talented Nashville friends join me as well. If you're anywhere near Nashville or know someone who is, please let them know. You can get the info of my Myspace.

..The Atlanta show was unfortunately snowed out...several inches making Atlanta drivers unable to cope with the highways! I have compassion for those of you in the North East with record snows still digging out.

Which brings me to make an observation and a statement about GLOBAL WARMING....or CLIMATE CHANGE!! I find it fascinating...and frustrating...to hear the Conservative Pundants point to record snowfall as proof that there's no global warming. "How could there possibly be global waming with all this snowfall and cold....rediculous!" Of course they make it a point to specifically call it GLOBAL WARMING..... never using the phrase CLIMATE CHANGE. An overwhelming percentage of scientists agree and reliable statistics confirm that the earth is indeed becoming warmer, that the icecaps are melting, and that this warming trend is in fact causing bizarre weather patterns. So it's certainly not a stretch for any half-intelligent human being to come to the conclusion that there is a connection between the two.......UNLESS YOU SIMPLY REFUSE TO MAKE THAT CONNECTION.
Listening to so much local radio as I make this drive across The Good Ol' USA (for the umpteenth time!), I find myself innundated with Right Wing Talking Heads...Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, Glenn Beck, and many more....as they continue to push their radical agenda...yes, RADICAL. I believe for these folks, it's deeply personal, not in a way to make the world better for human kind, but to make it better for themselves and their immediate friends. For them, it's really all about money and power, both the same really. To make themselves right, they constantly strive to make others wrong. The facts are bent to fit the agenda, and the agenda becomes exactly the opposite of what their "enemies" believe. Because SEPARATION is key....."divide and conquer", an age old strategy. It is a war to them, a big game, where there are only winners and losers. To be wrong is to be a loser, and losing is intolerable, devasting, and annlhilating. Their fragile egos cannot take it...they'd feel personally destroyed. So to avoid this awful feeling of being less than, they constantly strive to be better than. And what better way to do that than to put somebody else down, to make the other person wrong, to attack constantly, pre-emptively...it is war, after all. If you once spouted and loudly shouted to the world that global warming doesn't exist, you can't go back on that.....you'd be admitting that you were wrong, and being wrong is losing, and losing is intolerable. So they continue to insist they're right, even if the facts don't support that. But facts can be cheery picked, so cherry picked they are. "Look at all this snow (show snowman in TV news picture)....no global warming here! Al Gore is wrong, see, his whole movie is a Left Wing piece of propaganda...I told you so.....I WAS RIGHT ALL ALONG!"
That's the beast that has emerged in the past 20 years, it's self serving, it's everywhere, and it's destroying the country. The truth has become a casualty of personal greed. The ego has triumphed. The other side, unfortunately, in its attempt to counter the falsehoods, engages in a similar energetic, and the escalation continues.
To me it's very sad, to watch our beautiful planet cry out for help, and to have the powerful few ignore our Mother's pleas, because to do so might take something from them....money, power, everything they've been able to accumulate. But mostly it's a sense of self that they never really had, a sense of self that had to be created on the "outside" with material gain, all feeding the ego. "INNER WORK....what's that? Hey, I'm fine....just look at me, I'm really successful!"
Yes you are, Rush. Yes you are, Glenn. Yes you are, Sean.You're all really successful on the outside. But in my book, you are all losers. Because you're not team players, you're selfish, you're greedy, and when it comes to Global Warming, or shall I say Climate Change........YOU'RE WRONG!     Peace,
FREEBO

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Garbodog

Here's a piece i wrote in 2005 about my late golden retriever Garbo, i hope it touches any of you dog people out there.

After almost 15 years in this realm, Garbo, my beautiful Golden Retriever, has crossed The Rainbow Bridge into another dimension. It's been about 10 weeks since my wife Laurie and I took Garbo to her vet, my good friend Neil Bodie, for her final visit. It was a difficult decision, but one with which I remain at peace. Garbo had lost almost all ability to navigate with her hind quarters, was in more pain than she allowed us to see, and could no longer enjoy any of the activities she once did with the greatest enthusiasm....running, fetching, swimming, or simply walking. We tried everything, improvised slings to carry her back end, pills, vitamins, etc., but it became obvious she was hanging on for us, not for herself. Animals seem to know when it's time, but we want them to hold on. I believed she felt this and did her best. When she couldn't even get in position to do her business that last morning of May 4th, I knew it was time.

I talked with Laurie, who was in complete agreement, called Neil, made an appointment with him for that afternoon, took her to the "U Wash Doggie" place, carried her in, gave her her final bath, picked up Laurie, and the three of us took our final ride together. There was still a part of me that was in denial, a part that hoped Neil would see the light I saw in Garbo's eyes and come up with a miracle fix for her aging body. But when we arrived, Neil reminded me of Garbo's failing kidneys and residual damage from all the cortisone we had been giving her to help with her pain and her several strokes. We all agreed it was truly the humane and dignified thing to do....put her to sleep.

As we held her, she was completely accepting of the process...shaving, needles, etc.... Garbo had always been very high on the Acceptance Scale. It was not so easy for me. Yet as she took her last breath, eyes rolling back in her head, an amazing thing happened; there was a beautiful sense of peace as she passed…not so much in me…but in her essence and in the room. Everyone felt it, but I was so overcome by grief that I am just recently beginning to go back to that moment and experience it with a different perspective. Time is an amazing healer. After Neil and his wonderful wife Renee left the room so Laurie and I could be with Garbo's still very warm body, I put my head on hers and cried like I haven't cried since I was 5 years old...not just tears, but sobbing like I thought I would never do as an adult....another one of the many gifts Garbo gave to me. It was difficult to leave her, but her soul had passed on, it was only her body that was left, and it was time for me to begin my healing process. I do believe that was the saddest day of my life.

Ten days later, when I returned from a short tour to The East Coast, Laurie and I took Garbo's ashes to Leo Carrillo Beach, perhaps her favorite place, about 45 minutes north of LA along Pacific Coast Highway. We scattered her ashes into the ocean and along the beach where the three of us had spent some of our most treasured times together. Garbo was at peace, and I was finally at peace as well. The journey was complete.

The almost 15 years Garbo gave to me were as sincere as any relationship I have ever had. The love was unconditional. The acceptance was 100%. Her friendship was unwavering. She held my deepest fears, my anxieties, shared my joy, shared my friendships, shared her love with everyone she met. Garbo was not the smartest dog, but she was the sweetest. Fighting was not in her nature. If another dog wanted to fight, she'd simply wouldn't. She was not exclusive with her love...she shared it equally. Every day was a new day, and it was contagious. This is the gift animals give, and Garbo was magnanimous in this regard.

I'm OK now, 10 weeks later. I felt my feelings around her passing, felt them deeply, and moved through them. The sadness has been replaced with acceptance and with a loving smile whenever I think about her. While driving from Sante Fe to Kerrville Texas about 6 weeks ago, I was listening to a Tom Kimmel song called "Angels", and I started thinking about angels, the concept, and wondering which ones I was connecting with. At that moment, a huge hologram of Garbo appeared on the horizon, right at the end of the ever narrowing highway in the late afternoon. She was smiling, tongue hanging slightly out of her beautiful mouth, and looking at me with that loving look...as big as the sky! Would anyone else have seen her there...I doubt it. But perception is reality, and that was my reality. Garbo is my angel, my Angel of Love, my reminder to practice love whenever I fall out of it, my reminder to stay in the moment, to accept things as they are.

It was a beautiful moment, a beautiful sign, a beautiful gift. Garbo has given me many, and continues to. As she touched me, I have been able to touch others through songs she inspired. I'd like to leave you with perhaps my favorite, a song from my "Dog People" CD which I wrote with my good friend Robert Tepper. It is entitled "More Like You"

Soft and tender, tough as steel,
Here and now, you know what's real.
No one tells you how to feel.
You lie there so peacefully,
Loving unconditionally.
I wish I were less like me.

What can I do
To be more like you?
When I get in my way,
What would you say
To get me through?
Days like these,
I know I need
To be
More Like You.

As I try to beat the clock,
That voice inside my head won't stop.
You just sit, no need to talk.
As the sun is going down,
You just smile and I just frown.
I'm so lost, and you're so found.

What can I do
To be more like you?
When I get in my way,
What would you say
To get me through?
Days like these,
I know I need
To be
More Like You.

All the commotion,
All the Human misery,
In a world that's so confused.
But your love and devotion,
Such a perfect mystery,
Guiding me to someday be...
To be more like you

Life is short, here and gone.
Through the tears, I'll carry on.
Give me hope and keep me strong...
To face my trouble, to know what's true,
To treat each day like it's brand new.
I know that's what you would do.

That's what I'll do
To be more like you!
When I get in my way,
That's what I'll say
To get me through!
Days like these,
It's hard to be...
Yes days like these
I know I need
To be
More like you.


Peace,
FREEBO

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Keep the Light Alive - A benefit to assist Eric Lowen

http://keepthelightalive.org Keep the Light Alive is a benefit project to assist Eric Lowen with his fight against ALS (Lou Gehrig's Disease). This video features Freebo, along with Dan Navarro, performing the Lowen & Navarro song he did for the benefit CD. Filmed aboard the Music Fog/Celebrity Coaches bus during Folk Alliance in Memphis. (2/20/10)

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Freebo's on Tour

Freebo is currently embarking on a intimate tour series across several states of the US. Starting tonight in Georgia and then heading through North Carolina, Tennessee, New Mexico and Colorado Freebo will be doing a series of intimate house concerts and venue shows showcasing his talents and bringing his music directly to the people. Check the calender for details or the Myspace and Facebook for further information and to hear his music. Don't miss out on what will surely be a lot of fun and a great listening experience.
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