I can’t sleep. Nearly every night, the same thing. I awake around 2, and am up for several hours. Not up enough to do dishes or file, to do the things that need getting done. This would be the perfect time, but I just can’t seem to summon the resolve to do anything. Before I admit my defeat to insomnia and commit to getting out of bed, I just lay there for a while and follow my thoughts as they traverse my life again.
Sometimes it seems the better part of my life was ‘back then’. When exactly was back then, I muse? While there was a long and happy window, I decide I know when ‘back then’ was. I was in my early 30s, in three bands I enjoyed, and was busy. Playing every weekend, rehearsing all week, had lots of side recording jobs. Lots going on. Felt great, looked great. My current life with chickens just doesn’t compare. I spend a lot of time trying to sell myself on my new country life, but when my mind wanders like this at 2 am, I just miss it so.
Here begins the monkey mind. Tonite’s perigee moon had prompted me to show Elihu a vid of Starbuck performing “Moonlight Feels Right”. He dug it, I dug it. Who were those guys? And the marimba player wore a unitard open to the waist. He had chops; was he like this skinny North Texas music major in a jumpsuit who only in that moment had became remotely cool? What were the stories behind the band? I remember so many of my own… then my mind wanders, turns a corner, and I’m reminiscing about the gear of my past.
It started with a red and black Farfisa combo compact with a knee reverb when I was 17. My mom was surprised when I told her I’d also need an amplifier with which to hear it. So came the Peavey duece with that crazy spring reverb that sounded like a thunderstorm when you moved the amp while it was on. My mind flashes forward. I’m at the Wild Hare reggae bar in Chicago. It’s a sunny afternoon, and I’m rehearsing. I took pride in my setup then. I remember I had structured soft cases for my keyboards which fit just so into the trunk of my boxy 80s Corolla. Hmm, what was that one that played the great (in its day the absolute bomb) piano sound? Ensoniq. Yes, an Ensoniq EPS. I remember how we’d all have to stand around and wait for that piano sound to load. And if I didn’t have enough room on board for the set’s ‘patches’ (yes, it’s all coming back – that’s what we called sounds!) then you’d have to re-load it, and usually during a song. Or in between songs, and the front guy would have to know where in the set that happened so he could rap a little to the audience, buying you time to load. I remember at that rehearsal saying how one day we’d tell our kids it took 3 minutes to load a piano sound and they’d just laugh at us. No one but me thought this was interesting. I remember being surprised at that. Imagine, a piano sound which took up nearly an entire 3″ floppy disc and took 3 full minutes to load. Hmm.
“You’ll love them, the vocals are so compressed” my girlfriend enticed after I turned down her invitation to see a show. That got me. I liked punchy vocals you could really hear. I ended up going to the show with her that night. Had a good time. The scene just pops into my head as my brain scans the past for tidbits. I remember Conley. I’ve never had real girlfriend. She was one of the few who kinda came close I guess. Always liked her name. Sounded like she was from the South, with a first name seeming more like a sur name. And I liked that she actually knew what compressed vocals were. She and I had a lot of the same issues. Insecurity, being a cute woman in a man’s world (music, gear, shows, etc. – even 20 years ago it was much less a woman’s place) and yet needing to be taken seriously, as a peer. Yeah, I remember all that. You want to be sexy, but you also want them to know you know. Are we FB friends, she and I? Yes, I remember, we are. But I have never communicated with her. Maybe now I will…. maybe…. here goes my monkey mind, hopping up to the next branch….
I just got it – the guy in Starbuck singing “Moonlight Feels Right” looks like Joe Zawinul. I remember meeting Joe in a cave-like restaurant in Perugia, Italy. His wife/manager was sitting next to him. My husband presented me, and Joe looked down at my boobs. I remember thinking 1) you dirty old man, and 2) you must be disappointed. Not much to ogle. Yeah, the guy in Starbuck looks like Joe Zawinul.
My mind stops. I get out of bed. I watch a Japanese cartoon on TV. I eat jalapeno soy cheese and flax pita bread. I pour a glass of wine. I look at the perigee moon for a bit. Then I post my link to the Starbuck video on Facebook. I play the video again, then proceed to choose a related video from the list that pops up. I enjoy a Starland Vocal Band performance. Next up, The New Seekers. “I’d Like To Teach The World To Sing”. Hmm. I was how old then? Man, they had a Coke endorsement back in the day. Pretty big. I search images and see them now. I ponder the changes in them. I ponder the changes in me. I am no different. I am aging. My ‘day’ seems to be a decade in my past. I wish I had a cigarette, I really do. Man I want one right now. I’m restless, I’m unsettled, what can I do? I sit to write. So many other thoughts fly through my mind. The to-do list, the money situation, The Studio, the divorce… It will all keep. I take 4 over the counter sleeping pills plus a homeopathic pill too, just to make sure. I finish my post and I’m still not remotely sleepy.
Maybe I’ll FB Conley (look – it’s become a verb!) and then go see where the members of Starbuck are today. There’s still time – the full moon has a few more hours in the sky before she sets….