Happy New Year…? 2021 didn’t turn out to be the “comeback” year we all hoped, which only serves to remind us how deep the 2020 hole really was. On a personal level, I thought with the vaccines coming out, I’d be getting back to work full time, and that didn’t turn out to be the case. I honestly never would have anticipated the politicization of a freakin’ VACCINE, for god’s sake—truly one of the stupidest and most senseless phenomena I have ever witnessed. I am grateful for all of my family and friends who seem to be pulling through without getting sick or dying.
2021 turned out to be another terrible year for “heroes lost.” I’m trying to remember, and the list is so long, good lord, it’s depressing. Charlie Watts, Sanford Clark, J. D. Crowe, Michael Nesmith, Stonewall Jackson, Sonny Osborne, Billy Hinsche, Keith Allison, Lee “Scratch” Perry, Bob Moore, Don Everly, Tom T. Hall, Rose Lee Maphis, Dusty Hill, Biz Markie, Lloyd Price, Shock G “Humpty Hump,” Bunny Wailer, Robbie Shakespeare, Joe Simon, Mary Wilson, Louis Armentaro, Jimmie “Honeycomb” Rodgers, Mike Mitchell of the Kingsmen, Sylvain Sylvain, Gerry Marsden, Rupert Neve . . . and I know I’m forgetting a few. Man, that’s depressing, especially since I got to hang out and perform and correspond with people like Rose Lee Maphis and Lee “Scratch” Perry and Louis Armentaro not long before they passed.
Trying to make a point here, so bear with me. When I messed up my knee back in November, wow, it hurt! I wanted it to get better Immediately. The doctor told me I just had to let it heal, and gave me no more instructions than “If you’re doing something that makes your knee hurt, DON’T DO THAT.” It was hard and it HURT and I was really impatient—I wanted instant results.
That just isn’t how it works. Every day my knee got a teensy-tiny bit better, somewhat imperceptible, but every day was a positive step (no pun intended) towards a pain-free future. I just kind of kept going, and tried not to cause any more hurt. A few days ago I realized that my knee felt 99% fully recovered. But my point isn’t really about my knee.
My point is, 2021 wasn’t the best year ever, but it was better than 2020. I’m guessing that 2022 won’t be the greatest year ever, but here’s hoping It’ll be slightly better than 2021. And even though we’re not going to get that magic snap-back to “normal” we all hoped for, if we keep working toward a better future, and thinking “if it hurts, DON’T DO THAT,” eventually we’re going to be in a better place. I guess that’s a cautiously promising view of the future—the best we can hope for, at this point?
Tonight, despite almost every other New Year’s show getting cancelled, I have a good paying gig. I’m playing at the Regent Theater In downtown LA, hired by a successful Grateful Dead tribute act called “Grateful Shred.” I couldn’t have predicted that a Grateful Dead tribute act, of all things, would have come in and saved my January finances, but ain’t it funny how things work?
I sincerely hope the best for all of my friends out there. I hope that your 2022 is better than your 2021. We’ll get there, eventually. Let’s just all keep trying to help each other Instead of hurting each other, shall we? In that spirit: Happy New Year to you all!