into each life, an assload of rain must fall…



now playing: walter egan, “magnet and steel”


i’d say “when it rains, it pours”, if it weren’t such a trite pun in the face of the events of the past 48 hours.

yesterday, i had a couple of conversations with people who’d had serious problems as a result of the merciless pounding we took here on monday from the weather. some areas got as much as a foot of rain in a 24 hour period. one of the ladies in HR had a puddle form in her living room, via a leak in her roof.

i remember thinking as i was hearing all this, “man…i’m really lucky that i didn’t have to deal with any of that….”

it’s ironic as well that one of the first conversations i had with my next-door neighbor concerned the same subject…i had mentioned that i was a musician, just like the previous occupant, but that the kind of music i played was a bit tamer than his – and she mentioned that justins’ music never once bothered her, and that the previous occupant had, in fact, had a grandson who was a DJ who’d been louder than justin was…but anyway, the talk turned somehow to finished basements and water and the like, and she mentioned that it had been over a decade since anyone in the neighborhood had any serious problems with their basements, and that was when a sewer main had backed up and some of the folks had water coming in as a result.

flash forward to last night, when wendy was on the phone with her dad, who’d called because he saw a news story about a reading woman being washed into a drain of some sort. i’m not sure why it occured to her to do so, but she went down into the basement and checked everything out, and sure enough – the carpet in the back room of the basement (the room that happened to be housing my entire guitar collection, as well as the console for my studio and much of the other recording equipment) was absolutely soaked. soaked through to the point that the bottoms of a number of the cases were wet, as well as the guitars inside them.

i was on my way home with dylan at the time, and she called me on my cellphone…very excited, to say the least. i got home and immediately began what she called “triage operations”, while she drove back to the old chestnut street house to retrieve the dehumidifier from the basement there.

the final analysis of the damage has yet to be rendered – i called justins’ parents and told them what had happened, and they’re coming over today to take a look at the basement. i’m not sure if the carpet will have to be replaced or not, but i’m leaning in that direction. had we not gotten the dehumidifier in there when we did, it’d have been a lost cause without a doubt. as it is, we may get enough of the moisture out of it to save it, but i’m not optimistic about it.

i’m just happy at this point that nothing was seriously damaged that couldn’t be replaced. the water itself reached about halfway across the room, coming in off the outer wall of the basement into the middle room (and, to a lesser degree, into the front area of the basement where the oil tank resides…but this area is behind a door, out of sight and away from everything else in the finished area of the basement).

the long-term damage, if any, is to my faith in the sanctity of the basement…whereas i hadn’t given any thought or concern at all to the possibility of this happening before, it’s now a very real part of my planning for setting up shop there. i will definitely end up rethinking some things…for instance, i’ll probably build a pair of very shallow platforms of some sort to store things on in that particular room, as to keep them off the actual floor. i don’t think it’ll be that difficult to move ahead with my plans for the studio, i’m just going to have to keep this particular possibility in mind as i go.

the silver lining here is that this kind of rain doesn’t exactly happen on a regular basis…so i think that, passing natural disasters notwithstanding, i should be rather safe in this space…once we get it squared away.

in other news, nik everett has asked me to play in his band.

nik was the host of the songwriters’ night at the grape street pub before i was, and has an amazing voice. i have his song, “love equals blue” on a bunch of my winamp playlists to this day, as well as some other stuff from his first two albums…and he’s always been a good friend to me, although i generally don’t travel in those circles at all anymore. what he’s looking for seems to be right up my alley, though – i downloaded all the songs from his new album as we were talking on saturday, and at some point this week i’m going to burn them onto a CD and bring them to work so i can start absorbing them. he sent me a short list of what parts he wants me to learn and such, so there’s no guesswork involved…

it’ll be fun to take on something fresh…but it is an original project, and as such, i have to temper my expectations in certain regards. i’m afraid that i might’ve been spoiled from these past few years of playing covers…will i be able to drive to god-knows-where and play a 45 minute set for no money on a weeknight and come home without an attitude problem? there was a time when there was an easy answer to that question, but times have changed.

the weekend that broke my resolve as a songwriter/purveyor of my own original music occured in the first week of february of, i believe, 1999 (possibly 1998…i can’t remember for sure. i can double-check it if it’s that important). i was booked to play on friday night at picasso’s in elizabethtown, KY and the following night at the common ground coffeehouse in louisville, KY. i left reading at 5am friday morning and drove straight through to the gig, picking up a ticket in western PA that eventually led to a court appearance that i had to go back for…but i digress. i played to less than a dozen people that night and slept in my van behind a convienence store on bardstown road. the next day, i bummed around town a bit, stopping in at guitar emporium (where i bought my once-trusty les paul standard that i later sold to todd bartolo of the youngers, who has made it his main gigging axe…basically though, i spent the day walking up and down the street talking to people, ducking into record shops, and the like…mentioning that i was playing that night, if you’re not doing anything, etc…(i also spent a chunk of the morning in the park there, finishing nicholas sparks’ “message in a bottle”, which outclasses the movie in a major way…and yeah, go ahead and get your digs in now. i can already hear it.)

so i show up for the gig, and with the exception of a few people who i knew would be coming, there were less than a dozen people in the audience yet again.

it probably goes without saying that i received no financial compensation for either of these gigs.

so, that night i left the venue after my set and pulled over at a rest stop to sleep before heading out for home….

…now, i mentioned it was the first week of february, right?

i slid into my sleeping bag in the back of the van and slept comfortably in the receding heat left over from the initial part of the drive…but i woke up some hours later, with my face sticking out of the tiny opening in the bag…i was warm enough over most of my body, but my face was numb with cold. literally.

it took every bit of willpower i had to climb out of that bag and into the front seat of the van. my hands were shaking when i fumbled the keys from my pocket and started the engine.

it had gotten so cold overnight that the inside of the windshield was covered with frost.

yeah, really.

i had to scrape the inside of the windshield before i could pull out of the rest stop.

i could probably point to a number of causes or incidents that i could single out as bellwethers for my departure (in earnest, anyway) from that particular sect of the music business, but that particular trip stands out in my mind as the most obvious breaking point.

so do i have it in me to take on another original music project on this particular rung of the food chain?

i guess we’re about to find out.

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