Last night in Alpine we played under a full moon at Veijas to another great crowd of fans who came to enjoy the sights and sounds of STYX outdoors in Southern California. The temperature dropped after the sun went down and we were all surprised when we took the stage and found our floor wet with condensation. If you saw me sliding my left foot a couple of times during the first song it was me trying to assess the conditions. Nothing like slipping and busting your keister in the first part of a show to throw off your concentration, and I wanted to know what I was up against. After a couple of trips from one side of the stage to the other, I, like the other guys in the band, made a note to tread carefully the rest of the night, then turned my thoughts to the music.
It was an evening with a mind of its own, which we all agreed was more than likely the effects of the full moon. But if there's one thing we don't shy away from it is a challenge. I love that about this band. "Adaptable and flexible" is a key mantra in our camp and just knowing this makes every night, everywhere a blast. What happens is a positive diversion, keeping us from ever getting into a rut or too much of a routine. By the time we got back to the dressing room it was smiles and reviews of all the unspoken experiences we'd all taken in.
Saul and Dean from Center City Music in San Diego closed shop early to come out with their better halves and a bunch of their friends and made it a STYX night we'll all remember. I keep looking at that photo of me with the blue Gibson 336 they took of me in their store and thinking how good it would look under the lights on our stage (strapped over my shoulder, of course). It's a sickness, I know, but as you guitar fans probably know, Gibson is on an unprecedented real roll with the quality of their instruments and it's impossible not to have the "I wants" whenever I see such a fine example. There's probably a support group I can join for this.
We drove overnight to San Jose, and about two hours into the drive, after discussing the release of Brian Wilson's "SMILE" CD, I finally realized Todd had it on his iPod. "LET'S LISTEN TO IT!!!" I declared, with no objections. After digging through my computer bag to find a Monster Cable that went from the iPod to the stereo in the front lounge, we listened from top to bottom. Now as I write I am listening again to my version I just downloaded from iTunes. It truly is a timeless work of art, and most important because it could have been a missed masterpiece had Brian and his friends not endeavored to recreate, complete and record in a massive work of love last year and this year. It's easy to misunderstand Brian Wilson if all you have to go on is Larry King or other soundbyte driven interviewers out there who only seem interested in the stories of his tortured past and his ongoing inner struggles to fit into the everyday world. What you may not have seen is the lucid, brilliant Wilson with his band, the ever enviable creator and producer who these days has the dream band he always wanted and is joyfully sharing it with fans worldwide.
"SMILE" was to be Brian's answer to The Beatles' "Sgt.
Pepper," which ironically was The Beatles' response to Brian's "Pet
Todd's lovely and talented bride Taylor Mills is featured on "SMILE" and we could not be more proud.
Thanks again to everyone who made last night such a blast, and congratulations to Brian Wilson, Taylor and company. Thank you for your wonderful gift to the world.
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