“Don’t worry.” This is always good advice. My mom always expressed her belief on this topic, as I remember she would say it does no good whatsoever to worry. About anything. She would talk about something, pray about it, and then leave it be.
We don’t always realize the influence our parents have had on us until later in our lives. My mom particularly, encouraged all of us kids to get into music. Of course we had to pass those elementary school music aptitude tests to even be eligible to enroll in the school music programs, but all three of us, my older sister Diane, my younger brother Larry, and me, each played instruments in the school marching and concert bands, right up until our graduation. And we all continued performing music to varying degrees throughout our lives. Mom made a lot of sacrifices in the interest of our music education; financially, she deprived herself of personal things so that we could have instruments to play, and with the dedication only a mother possesses, she went to every single event and concert we ever played in, though she did miss some of the foot ball games when the marching band played.
Music is not only entertainment, it is, or can be inspiring. It can reach to us on an emotional level when sometimes, nothing else can get through. Music has the power to connect us emotionally to another person, or to a time or person at some place in the past, it can soothe us, it can revive old memories, it can bring us to tears, it can make us shout for joy, it can make us want to dance (happens to me all the time), it can even make us angry. Yeah, there was one post I wrote a while back detailing how I once threw a Korn cassette tape out the window from the company van I was riding in with a bunch of teenage boys that I was working with. I was angry, and had had enough of that crap the day before.
I just found and read through that post; it was written in August of 2012. It’s a little long, but still interesting, and for those of you who were not subscribers back then, or anyone wanting to reread it to refresh your memory, it does give the background of when I first got out and cleaned up my drum set and where and how the “music bug” started in me. Or more appropriately, my music interest was reignited. Here’s the link: https://donbastianwetflies.com/2012/08/08/flytying-music-and-singing/
If you just want to read the part about me tossing some punk’s garbage band – yeah that’s right, garbage band, not garage band, cassette out the window of a van going 70 mph down the road, just scroll down, it’s toward the end.
I was writing something to a friend the other day about my mom’s love of music, how at her memorial service at my sister’s church in Jersey Shore, Pennsylvania, back in February 2005, there was a full representation of Bastian family musicians. In addition to my sister, organist and choir director at Jersey Shore Presbyterian Church, the regular members of the church choir for mom’s memorial service also included my late wife, Lou Anne; both my daughters, Kim and Lyneah; my brother, Larry; his daughter Emily, and son Dan, and me. Seven in all. One of the numbers we performed was Ralph Carmichael’s musical version of Psalm 23, mom’s favorite psalm. The love of music with the blessing of talent and learned ability to sing and play instruments was inspired and encouraged in all of us by my mother, Fay Sesinger Bastian. I even created a classic wet fly patterned named the Sesinger, after her, and in honor of my maternal grandfather, Lawrence Sesinger, who passed away in 1924 during a typhoid epidemic. My brother Larry, is also formally named Lawrence after him. Now I need to add the tying of the Sesinger to my “to do” list and post the photo and recipe here.
I’ve had a few people express some concern, maybe even worry, that my recently expressed renewed musical interest might be cutting into my fly tying time, or into my fly-tying-blog-writing-fly-photographing-pattern-recipe-etcetera stuff. Don’t worry folks! I just wrote to one of my friends telling him that the main reason my activity here has been slow was explained in my last post. It is mostly the result of being away for three weekends in November, the preparations of getting ready for those weekends, visiting my daughter Kim and new granddaughter Grace Louanne LeBlond, named in honor of my loving wife Lou Anne, in Connecticut over Thanksgiving, not having a camera, then the two weeks of the Pennsylvania deer season; these activities and events all kept me pretty well occupied. I’m still looking at the big picture.
Since I’ve been back home on Sunday December 15th, I have had to devote a considerable amount of time to listening to and “practicing” the drum parts for a local classic rock, rock ‘n’ roll, and oldies band, called Pepper Street, in preparation for a gig on New Year’s Eve. Here is a link to their song list:
They do a mix of a half-dozen Beatles songs, and then, not much more than one song by a whole range of different artists. Or so I thought. These guys are all experienced, very talented musicians, and I feel privileged to be in their company, playing as substitute drummer since their regular drummer and their backup drummer both have conflicts on New Year’s Eve. Lucky me! Last Friday I attended one of their gigs in nearby Lock Haven as part of my “practice” regimen. They played I’m A Believer, by the Monkees. After that song, someone in the crowd hollered, “Any more Monkees songs?” In less than a half minute, they were cranking out, (I’m Not Your) Steppingstone. Not only did they do it perfectly, but it reminded me that back in the sixties, when my brother Larry and I were playing in our band, The Heavenly Sent, we covered that song. I’m thinking, no fair, that’s not on your playlist! I also sat in and sang the lead vocal for Lynyrd Skynyrd’s Gimme Three Steps; that’s one of my favorite Skynyrd songs.
On Friday the 13th, I attended another of the Pepper Street gigs, at the American Legion Post in Hughesville, Pennsylvania, since that is where the New Year’s Eve gig is. I thought it would be good to find the place and check it out. Some guy in the crowd (who already had a tad too much to drink) yelled out, “Joe Walsh! James Gang!” Immediately the Pepper Street boys switched gears, and Dr. Dave Houseknecht started off with the lead guitar intro to Funk 49 and off they went. Dave also covered the high-voice Joe Walsh vocal and did the lead guitar part perfectly. I’m sitting there, smiling, jammin’ to it, but also thinking, “Hey, you told me you don’t play that song anymore! But before long, I got my chance to “practice” that song.
Last Saturday night I went over to the Loyalsock Hotel to hear another local band, Flipside. That’s the band that initially inspired me to get active and start playing again, beginning when I sat in with them last August on Mustang Sally. Dave from Pepper Street was also there last weekend, and the members of Flipside are always happy to have guest musicians. Their guest (possibly new?) lead guitar player happened to be someone I knew from years back, local rock band guitarist and singer, Bob LaCerra. Bob is another good guitarist. Dave and I sat in, starting off set No. 2 with, you guessed it, Funk 49, and Born on the Bayou. That was only the third time in my life that I played Born on the Bayou, and the very first ever, for Funk 49. It was great! I guess that’s the advantage a drummer has, you can get a song “learned” more or less, by listening to it over and over and / or just hearing it, even occasionally, over the years. We rocked that place! But I confess I missed the cue for the ending on Funk 49. Oops.
I was instrumental in making the contacts to book The Flipside Band on New Year’s Eve at a new local establishment, The Stable Bar and Grille. It’s right over the hill from where I live. Here is their facebook page link: https://www.facebook.com/TheStableBarandGrille
The Flipside Band: https://www.facebook.com/events/1431655570398095/
Pepper Street is also booked there on February 15th. The stage and dance floor at The Stable are bigger than most other venues in this area. I’m going to set my drums up for that gig and sit in some. I wouldn’t normally have to do that but their regular drummer is left-handed and everything is backwards. We could even, possibly, do a number or two with two drummers. Would that be too loud? I’ll also be sitting in on some lead vocals…potentially Van Morrison’s Brown Eyed Girl and Wild Nights; Margaritaville, Gimme Three Steps, 867-5309 – Jenny; and the classic Georgia Satellites tune, Keep Your Hands to Yourself. Thursday is karaoke night, so I get a chance to go over and practice some of these songs.
If you are in the Williamsport area, February 15th would be a good night to visit The Stable. They have a wood-fired grill and all their burgers and steaks have that great flavor that only comes from a wood fire. Their pizza is great too, excellent crust, baked on a stone hearth. There is also the possibility that some of my old band mates from the ’70’s will be there in February; the idea is to work up a few of our old tunes to play, either separately or with Pepper Street. We might even be able to get three talented guitarists onstage; personally I’d love to perform the Lynyrd Skynyrd classic, Freebird. I could drum or sing the lead vocal, in either case it would be a blast just to be onstage.
Question: What do you call a guy who hangs around with a bunch of musicians?
Answer: The drummer. Ha, ha!
That would be me!