Jan 242015

“Me and some guys from school/ Had a band and we tried real hard
Jimmy quit and Jody got married/ I shualda known we’d never get far”                               
– Summer of ’69 by Bryan Adams (.2, .3)

Six months ago, I emailed Rob, a former guitarist band mate to see if he wanted to play music together again. Shortly afterwards, we jammed during an impromptu “open mike” session at the London Music Club (LMC). We hadn’t played together since the ‘60’s; however, with me playing bass (along with a volunteer drummer), and no practice, the chemistry between Rob and I was still there… after all these years. We even laughed at our own mistakes and the audience loved it.

Soon afterwards, my wife Judi and I visited Rob and Jackie – still a couple back then. And, just like a friend said of our relationship: theirs was meant to be.

Since we all grew up in London, we shared many common musical experiences of bands and musicians from the ‘60’s /’70’s era – some of whom reached international success.

 “And now the times are changin’/Look at everything that’s come and gone” (.2)

I was saddened, however, to learn that our original bass player, Warren (‘Zeke’), had passed away. I also found out that our former drummer, Robert, had called Rob, years earlier, but had all but disappeared since.

“I guess nothin’ can last forever, forever… no” (.3)

Despite this, we approached LMC co-owner, Pete – who was very supportive – to do a “re-union” gig at the club. As he said, this is why he and his wife, Jan, started the club – for moments like this: using the power of music to bring people together.  

Fortunately, the music community is really quite small and we ended up (through mutual friends) practicing with the fantastic Sandy MacKay (voted “London’s jazz drummer of the year”). After the show – which was well received – it turned out that Sandy’s wife was a close friend with someone who knew our former drummer’s sister, who – on our behalf – got in touch with her (in Arizona). His sister then got in touch with her brother, Robert, who then emailed us.

It’s been my experience that, it doesn’t really matter what happens in life, next, because it’s the step after that that’s more important: if we hadn’t had our re-union performance, we never would have gotten in touch with our former drummer.

When I think of what a miracle it is: of all the people who helped us… it’s humbling that they should have cared at all. The first heart-felt “OMG!” email of joy I received, says it all. Who says there’s no such thing as second chances?

“Oh, I get by with a little help from my  friends” – by The Beatles

To me, this is more than a band re-union: it’s a relationship… one that’s stood the test of time. Something Zeke would have approved… it’s real!

“Nothing to get hung about / Strawberry fields forever” – by The Beatles


Fred Parry

www.fredparry.ca                   The Music In Me        January 2015

Jan 222015

I think we’ve all known folks who fall under the category of ‘Everyday Heroes’. It could include family, friends or complete strangers – doing things for others.

However, I would like to expand that list to include those who carry on despite what, in the normal scheme of things, would debilitate most others.

This is marvelouslly illustrated in the 2014 movie, ‘The Theory of Everything’, about world-famous theoretical physicist Stephen Hawking and his fight with (ALS), or motor neuron disease, that has gradually paralyzed him over the decades – only able to communicate now though a speech-generating device. 

The Theory of Everything Wikimedia Commons

The Theory of Everything Wikimedia Commons

“When I find myself in times of trouble
Mother Mary comes to me/ Speaking words of wisdom
Let it be”
– Let it be by The Beatles

And, most of us never fully understand how some people suffer from non-visible afflictions, every day.

I talked to some folks in a pain clinic waiting room – all of whom have some internal issues not normally experienced by the general population. One thirty-something woman spoke of having to “divorce” herself from the person she was in her 20’s. She said that it’s taken ten years to realize that simple fact. She had a top laboratory job as a forensic scientist and that she, and her teacher husband, had an active outdoor sports lifestyle: skiing, running, canoeing, and trips to expensive resorts in Europe.

Then she developed kidney stones that just seem to materialize over night – leaving her incapacitated. Normal laser treatment to crush the stones isn’t effective and her body keeps producing them non-stop… meaning the pain is non-stop. 

She said that although her friends have been supportive, they can’t possibly understand why someone who looks so “normal” can’t do the things she used to do. In fact, going out socially is something that requires special planning, as well as, good luck.

“And after it rains, there’s a rainbow/ And all of the colors are black
It’s not that the colors aren’t there/ It’s just imagination they lack”                                    
– My Little Town by Paul Simon

Her family and friends never see the consecutive “down” days – days whereby she finds herself confined to bed – immobile, waiting out yet more excruciating rounds of piercing pain. Most can’t go far beyond their pharmaceutical tether or their medical support team: risking certain daily deterioration of their physical condition. 

They’re so finely attuned to their powerful drugs, that even a slight formulation change can aggravate their overall condition – mentally and spiritually – not wanting to talk to anyone.

And, the strange thing is, that when they’re having a “good” day, they feel guilty. Why? Because, these days are so rare – so fantastic by comparison – they feel like imposters when with others.

“Give me hope/ Help me cope, with this heavy load
Trying to, touch and reach you with, heart and soul”                                                            
– Give Me Love by George Harrison

Nietzsche said, “He who has a why to live can bear with almost any how.” How can we be a bigger part of their “why?”

Fred Parry

www.fredparry.ca              The Music In Me         January 2015