Wednesday, August 25, 2010

the new york city strut....

I love New York City. It is the most kick-ass place in the world to friends have inquired about what I mean when I say I'm doing the "New York City Strut"'s the story...

The New York City Strut was a song recorded by The 24th Street Band on their "Share Your Dreams" album in 1980. Many of you have never heard of this band, but you'd be surprised at just how much you've heard this band - three of the original members (Will Lee, Steve Jordan and Hiram Bullock) went on to form "The World's Most Dangerous Band" with Paul Shaffer as the original Late Night with David Letterman house band. This band was one of my favorite bands as a kid (as I was usually staying up well past my bedtime on school nights to hear them!), and they had a lot to do with why I pursued my dream of becoming a me, there are no better musicians than studio musicians - they don't always get the credit, but they do a lot of the hard work behind the scenes.....New York City studio musicians are like heroes to me - I learned names of musicians the same way other kids learn players on professional sports teams, and you can only imagine the amount of listening I've done over the years to so many of these amazingly talented people. Some of the greatest singers of pop music started out as background/session singers in NYC (Luther Vandross instantly comes to mind), and the thing I love the most is the "New York City sound" that comes across on many of these legendary recordings......(sorry, went off on a tangent, but what a great tangent to go off on!)

Anyway, the 'Strut' comes from spending a day in the Big Apple, taking in the sights, the sounds, the tastes and the smells (good and bad) that are New York - its walking through Columbus Circle to listen to amazing jazz musicians playing right by the entrance to Central Park; it's going up to Harlem and walking down 125th Street, listening to all of the styles of music (jazz, hip-hop, rap, ol' skool R&B) played on the boomboxes of the different street vendors; its riding on the subway, just to ride on the subway; its going to Sylvia's for a killer soul food lunch and then walking over to the lobby of the Apollo Theater to admire the many musical giants who have graced the stage; its walking through all of the vinyl record shops in the Village trying to find that long-lost Ray Charles album that my mom would love to have; its sitting in front of the fountains at Lincoln Center and just watching people go by.......I guess when you get right down to it, for me the New York City Strut is feeling like the city is mine for a day, and I can feel as cool and carefree as I wanna feel.....I don't feel that way anywhere the next time you know that I'm in the big city, just know that I'll most likely be doing "The Strut", know that I'm happy, and know that all is well in my corner of the world.....

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

1264 miles.....

What an amazing weekend......catching up with friends, spending time in a part of the country that I've never been to before...and hey - racking up some serious miles on the Acura....

A recap:
Miles driven: 1264
States driven through: 7
CD's listened to (either in part or all tracks): 57
Dunkin' Donuts passed in the state of Massachusetts alone: at least 184 (I lost count)
Tires needing nail removal and repair: 2 (thank you Sears, for doing it for free!)
Prizes won: 0, but I had a blast at the arcade at Salisbury Beach on Friday night!
Lobsters eaten: 3 (Had lobster in Scranton today....Cooper's ROCKS!)
Movies watched: 1 (Eat, Pray, Love......very enjoyable, but read the book first)
Calories/pounds gained: For me to know, and you to never find out.....birthday cake doesn't count, right?

To all my wonderful friends (and new friends made) that I spent time with this weekend, a heartfelt THANK YOU for making this one of the best birthdays ever!

Saturday, August 14, 2010

another year older and truly thankful.....

Portland Maine, 8:20 pm - sitting here in my hotel, thinking about the past year of my life, and just how much things have changed since turning the big 4-0 last August....its amazing how you think you know just how your life is gonna play out (whether you expect it to be exciting or boring) and then BANG! You get hit with that curveball that shakes everything upside down, and every day becomes a rollercoaster ride....

I've learned about what is truly important this year - having family and friends that love you is a gift that should never be taken for granted. I've always admired my older brother Lee, but never took the time to tell him that, as we've always squabbled over stupid things our entire lives. Over the past year, he has really been there for me, and his actions have spoken much louder than his words in showing me just how much he's there. Seeing him now, I regret that I wasted many years not appreciating him for the man of great character that he truly is, but I'm very proud to say that I really appreciate the big brother he is, and that I look up to him very much.

My mom Katy has always been my rock - she has believed in me during the many times I haven't believed in myself, and she reminds me to have a little faith and enjoy life...she has been a shining example of strength, and I'm truly thankful that I have such an amazing mom!

To the wonderful friends who have really been there this past year - Jenn, Laurie, Liisa & Pauli, Natalie, Mike & Kendra, Brenda & Marc, Robin, Peter, Rene, Jennifer & Adam, Rob, Norma, Mark and others too many to mention - thank you for not giving up on've seen me at my best and my worst, and your unconditional love and support means the world to me.

Anyway, that's what's on my mind tonight.....thank you all for truly making this a HAPPY BIRTHDAY.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

50 songs that should never be played again......EVER....

The idea for this list started with a conversation I had with my buddy Rob Wrate, while we were hanging out in NYC a few weeks ago...we were thinking of songs that are either overplayed, are overrated, or just plain SUCK in some cases, I've listed the artist instead of a song, because all of their hits were, well.....let's just say they hit "TILT" on the suck-o-meter and leave it at I've had the pleasure (???) of playing most of these songs on gigs over the past 25 years, I think they should be treated like athletes in the Hall of Fame....RETIRED, NEVER TO PLAY AGAIN!!!

Here's my list....feel free to add or disagree....

50. Unchained Melody (Ghost) - please, somebody chain it!!
49. Songbird (Kenny G) - do I even need to explain why I hate this?
48. Afternoon Delight (Starland Vocal Band) - how they got a variety show out of this one hit, I'll never understand...
47. The Wang Chung Collection - and no, I never Wang least not in public.
46. Hells Bells (AC/DC) - Brian Johnson's voice will forever be like nails on a blackboard to me.
45. Kokomo (Beach Boys) - does that mean "jumped the shark" in Hawaiian?
44. I Ran (Flock of Seagulls) - two words....keep running!
43. Start Me Up (Stones) - the offical song of NFL kickoffs everywhere....enough already!
42. Everything ever re-recorded by UB 40 - WTF???
41. Pour Some Sugar On Me (Def Leppard) - gasoline might be more appropriate.
40. McArthur Park (Donna Summer) - I still have no idea what the hell this song is it about a park or a cake?
39. Open Arms (Journey) - I hear the piano intro, and I can practically SMELL the year 1982.
38. Rico Suave (Gerardo) - more like Douche-o Bag-o.
37. Superstition (Stevie Wonder) - a song that has earned its place in a true Hall of Fame....just tired of crapppy hip hop acts butchering it.
36. Mony Mony (Billy Idol) - the "Hey! Hey What? Get......." line gets very old very quickly.
35. Muskrat Love (Captain & Tenille) - the only thing creepier than this song is that it is one of Henry Kissinger's favorite tunes.......can't you just picture him getting busy to this? (Yuck!)
34. Walk Like an Egyptian (Bangles) - or as I called it "Suck, 'Cause We're Not Musicians!"
33. My Heart Will Go On (Celine Dion) - too bad SHE wasn't on the Titanic!
32. You're The Inspiration (Chicago) - if you listen carefully, you can hear Chicago founding band member Terry Kath rolling in his grave.
31. Play That Funky Music - is there anything worse than hearing a crappy-2-man-sequenced-Ramada-Inn-lounge band trying to play this? Makes my ears bleed....
30. MMMBop (Hanson) - MMM-Not!
29. Wind Beneath Mty Wings (Bette Midler) - everytime I hear this song, I throw up in my mouth a little bit.
28. We Built This City (Starship) - Seriously? The same singer who sang White Rabbit? No way....
27. I'm Too Sexy (Right Said Fred) - the new lyric must be "I'm too sexy to park cars...."
26. Wonderful Tonight - once you've seen "blue hairs" make out to this song on the dance floor, you'll wanna rip your eyes out, because you know you are scarred for life.
25. Brick House - once you've seen blue hairs "bump and grind" to this song, well, just see #26.
24. The Milli Vanilli Catalog - 'nuff said.
23. Ice, Ice Baby (Vanilla Ice) - I can't even type that without laughing.
22. Copacabana (Barry Manilow) - A song that has earned the right to be put out to pasture...
21. Paradise By The Dashboard Light - there is not a karaoke bar in the United States where this song hasn't been butchered by a group of drunk people.
20. Lady Marmalade (LaBelle) - Voulez-vous coucher avec-moi? Non, parce que cette chanson suce. (Translation: No, because this song sucks.)
19. I Will Survive (Gloria Gaynor) - You might, but will the rest of us, if we have to hear this song again?
18. Boogie, Oogie Oogie (Taste of Honey) - Annoying, oying, oying.
17. Bye, Bye, Bye (N'Sync) - Bye, Bye Bye? Good, and don't let the door hit you in the ass on the way out.
16. Smooth (Carlos Santana) - If only this song got more airplay....
15. Summer Lovin'/Greased Lightning (Grease) - they're all in their 60's now.....get over it!
14. YMCA (Village People) - just once, I'd love to see the Village People perform this and spell SPCA...
13. The Macarena/Electric Slide - to my musician friends....have some fun and play these songs in 3 or 5 instead of 4....its fun watching people trip and fall down on the dance floor!
12. Stayin' Alive (Bee Gees) - refresh my memory.....hairy chests and high falsettos were in style at what point in time?
11. Proud Mary - if I only had a dollar for every time I wanted to smack somebody for requesting this song while I was playing a gig!
10. Achy, Breaky Heart (Billy Ray Cyrus) - its only a matter of time before we have to endure the Hannah Montana remake....don't say you weren't given fair warning.....ugh....
 9. Oh What A Night (Four Seasons) - a night that makes me glad the sun eventually came up.
 8. Mambo #5 (Lou Bega) - thank God we didn't have to deal with Mambos #1-4.
 7. Can't Help Falling In Love (Elvis) - if I had to choose between hearing this song again, and being a fire hydrant in a dog park, that's almost a toss-up.
 6. Sweet Caroline (Neil Diamond) - the only fun thing about this song now is singing "Sweet Caroline,
(F#$%&#G SLUT!!)" during the chorus...and hey, when did Neil Diamond start singing like William Shatner?
 5. Lady In Red (Chris De Burgh) - I'd ask how did this song become popular, but the bigger question is WHY???
 4. Through The Eyes of Love - Theme from "Ice Castles" (Melissa Manchester) - a true suckfest, but the episode of Everybody Loves Raymond when Ray tries to cry to this song is priceless!
 3. Old Time Rock and Roll (Bob Seger) - if I ever meet Tom Cruise, I'm gonna slap him silly for making this song so popular again.
 2. Brown Eyed Girl (Van Morrison) - if this song disappeared tomorrow, every lounge band in America would lose the "crown jewel of their musical aresenal."
 1. Margaritaville (Jimmy Buffett) - this song has sold out in every way possible - restaurants, clothing, books, hotels, you name it....shoot me now!!!

Monday, August 9, 2010

what i've learned.....

Things i've learned in 41 years....

  • No matter how you season them, or what you eat them with, brussel sprouts will never taste any better than, well......brussel sprouts.
  • He who has the last word is also the most insecure.
  • Don't sweat the small stuff....because if you do, you'll get dehydrated trying to sweat the big stuff.
  • I will never be able to say "cinnamon synonym" as a tongue-twister.
  • I know I'm having a good day when I fear dying more than I fear living.
  • I will not feel like I've truly lived until I drive cross country and back without listening to the same song twice.
  • Stevie Wonder "sees" better than most of us BECAUSE he's blind.
  • No religion is better than the other, no matter how hard some religions try to be.
  • Real friends love you for who you are, not what you do, or the size of your bank account.
  • It doesn't matter if you're black, white, gay, straight, male or female....either you can play the gig, or you can't play the gig.
 Just my thoughts for the day.....

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Time to say what I REALLY feel....

Hello Everyone - a penguin, a nun, and a skunk walk into a bar.....

OK, now that I figured out just what the hell to write as an opening line to start this blog thing, I need to clear the air just a little bit....I'll be 41 next week, I'm in the process of getting divorced, and I'm about as mentally burnt out as you can be as a musician, but yet I've never felt BETTER.

The good folks in my divorce support group talk about the importance of "journaling", and even though I could write all my thoughts down in a three-ring binder, I feel better when I write and try to find the upside and/or humor in what could be the most depressing of situations, so humor me for taking my stream of consciousness and importing it into my laptop....dont worry, I promise not to move to Idaho, wear a grey sweatshirt and sunglasses and live in a cabin (although the "Lane ManifeStowe" would be a catchy title....)

Call me crazy, but life just seems way too short.....I woke up about a week and a half ago and wondered what it would be like if I couldn't sing or play an instrument, and if that was the case, what kind of person would I be......then I pulled my head out of my own butt to realize that I've ALWAYS defined myself by music.....I know......what a dumbass. That's why it is here in this blog that I'm letting everyone know that I've decided to take a break from music - perhaps even permanently. Don't get me wrong, I will always listen to music, and support my friends who are musicians, but I just dont have any fun playing anymore....its like in Forrest Gump when he finally stopped running....I don't feel like I have anything worthwhile to give musically anymore (you tend to notice these things when you see/hear other inspired musicians), and truth be told, its just not fun anymore. I'm not writing this in hopes of people saying "No Lane, don't quit".....I hope that you folks will realize that I'm trying to stop feeling so one-dimensional.

I'm sure some folks will look at this as narcissistic and maybe even self-centered and egotistical, but believe me, that's not why I'm doing this. At some point, I hope to find the courage to publicly write about the crap that has traumatized me for years (that some of you know about), and hopefully that will answer some of the "Why is Lane so.......?" questions that I know have been floating around for years. If I had a dollar for every time I think about what it would be like to go back and fix all the mistakes I've made and the feelings I've hurt, I could probably go out and buy a third-world country. So please, be patient with me....I'm trying to figure it all out as I go, and hopefully make the next 41 years a helluva lot better than the first 41.

And oh yeah.....the "Lane's Blog Page from Hell" title? I looked at other blog page names and thought, why come up with some sugar-coated, lame-ass, zippy-skippy title, when I can just shoot straight from the hip? Trust me, I'm sure as I take all these random thoughts in my head and type 'em down on the laptop, there will be days when it will feel like I've just escaped the gates from Hell for sure.

Anyhoo, this is the first post.....more to come.....