Raggin' Piano Boogie

 

 
HIS SPIRIT LIVES ON! ... BONER, THE PIANO DOG ... November 27, 1994 ... February 20, 2010

Use the links to the left to read a past Month or Year... and then there is always your Backspace to return to a past page.

June 30, 2006

Pennsylvania

I went to the river to play because I wanted to look at water while I was performing. The water was high and I could see where it had overflowed the banks. I decided not to go play in the Yardley PA flood area today maybe I will next week. I can sense that everyone is uptight and the people are not even allowed to get to their homes. What a state of the world. I played through some of my repertoire to make sure I can remember it for the fourth of July bookings throughout the next couple of days. I still get nervous about performances. I take my work very seriously. I said this before but I need to bring the energy level of the improve up to the Ragtime and Boogie energy level. Self-motivation is not easy for me.

June 29, 2006

Pennsylvania

The need to get up earlier in the morning is shoving itself into my face theses days. By nighttime my energy level is just not "cutting the mustard" if you can catch my drift. Especially when it comes to performing. I went to Tyler Park in Newtown and played on the open field with the direct sun on my thinning head. (I am losing weight and my hair is also slowly falling out) It was ninety degrees. I did not feel the heat at all because I was having so much fun. Actually, after an hour and a half of sitting in the sun, I felt a "runner's high" coming on. A woman with her two children stopped by and I started to tell about what is going on in my life. If this happens watch out because I cannot stop. I want people to tell me to shut up and play because I want to channel all the passion I have into my music. The park ranger Vince stopped by and said I should go to Yardley and play for the flooded people. Why didn't I think of that, it is exactly what I want to do. It is what I did in New Orleans and Mississippi a few months ago. It took all of my willpower to not go right then and there. I have way too much work to do at home especially in getting ready for the fourth of July gigs coming up. I was going to spend the day tomorrow getting ready but now I defiantly am going to pay my neighbors a visit to play some for them and maybe do some grunt work in-between. I think Bo had difficulty with the sun. After about five minutes he started to freak and just came down from the piano not caring if he was stepping on the keys or not. I did not question him I set the rug up on ground beside the truck in the shade with water. He chooses to lie on the stones under the back of the truck and there he stayed while I practiced. It was as though something scared him and the only thing I can think of is a scent as there was nothing around. This was a first, I think it was the sun.

June 28, 2006

Pennsylvania

To the back of the high school parking lot tonight it is just me and Boner with two kids in a car practicing for their driving exam with a clear crescent moon above. What I like about this spot is the open area. The school is far enough away that the ugliness of the building does not bother me. I am playing with fresh blisters from cutting the hedge in my backyard today. To keep from falling asleep while playing I keep telling myself to, "care! care! care! ... about what you are doing." Bo wants to go for a walk...

June 27, 2006

Pennsylvania

Bo and I went ventured out to perform between today's rain showers. I was jonesin' because yesterday we could not go out to play because there was a steady rain. It is becoming more difficult during the day to find any new spots and while driving in and out of streets looking, Boner really got into it like we were on a hunt together. We both love to explore. You can tell how excited Bo gets standing, sitting, sniffing at attention out the window. I gave up on finding anyplace new and started to head towards the river, I didn't want to waste anymore time and then a new spot came into my head. We made an immediate right into the Cornwells Heights train station and drove to the far end to park. We were overlooking a lot full of parked cars with route 95 traffic streaming by to my left and an occasional train zooming by on the right. I parked in front of a small tree with was a nice patch of yellow wild flowers growing on the grassy curb behind and I was near one of those roadside memorials. I thought, "how could anyone have died from a car accident here"? I got all setup, started to play and then came the showers. Bo jumped off, I covered everything up and of course, the sun came out. Bo jumped up; I set up and then came the showers. I decided, "I'm not doing this I don't care if I get soaked and the equipment gets ruined and I focused on playing. I ignored the drizzle. I stopped after a few minutes to take advantage of the keys being wet and cleaned them with my tea shirt. Then I went on playing and the drizzle stopped and started until finally the sun won out. It was a really comfortable breeze and creatively I produced some new ideas. One of the Septa bus drivers for the lot passed and waved. I had a "flashback". The environment reminded me of one of my very first ventures in exploring performance outside. In 1987, I drove to the Lindenwold Speed line in New Jersey to play for commuters coming home from work. The police stopped and detained me for an hour and a half trying to find something on my record because they thought I was crazy. Two years later I was performing at the Pacto speed line entrances in New York city but this time I was given "star treatment" and paid big bucks from the city to do it.

June 26, 2006

Pennsylvania

Yikes, it is wet outside. It does not look like I am going to get a break with the weather so I will practice indoors and get some of my old repertoire into better shape. I will also take advantage of days like this to tell a "flashback"! During yesterdays performance a clown reminded me of one favorite past creative performance environments. It was indoors. You can find a picture of it in the photo gallery. I helped to create the celebration openings for many Acme supermarkets in my day. One year the store in Mooresville PA wanted to extend the promotion for two weeks and asked if I would play for it. It was Christmas time and too cold for the customers to enjoy me outside so they fork lifted the piano and me on top of the freezer cabinets where everyone including myself could have the best view. I perched up there performing wild Ragtime and Boogie Woogie piano music for two weeks while watching people below pushing their shopping carts around wondering where the piano music was coming from. To experience their amazement in finding me up among the Christmas decorations was priceless. Luckily, my hot music did not melt the food in the freezers underneath.

June 25, 2006

Pennsylvania

The humidity was really getting to me today. I knew it was a mistake in not having had some nourishment before I left the house. I went to help some friends at the Langhorne Historical Association in Bucks County. They were having a strawberry festival to raise funds for the building and their planned entertainment flopped at the last minute. I pulled right up on the lawn under an old English Oak tree that was brobdingnagian. It sheltered Bo and myself from the on off drizzle of rain. I had not played my Ragtime and Boogie in a while and was amazed at how much my repertoire had deteriorated as a result of the improvisation I have been doing. The flexibility, attack and approach of my fingers to the keyboard have changed. I have been concerned about the energy of the improvisation and that really showed itself when I went into full performance mode. I had to "snap to it" with effort to bring the performance up to any kind of acceptable energy level. It was interesting to weave my improvisation throughout in-between the regular set that I do at the high level especially with the improv at top sound level for the first time. I was able to focus better front and center on my musical intention. It is still such a relief every time I play my own music to not worry about if it is good enough.

I have been notating different comments made about my music and every time I hear a different one I share it. The following came with photos via email last night. This guy is just too cute not to share. John and Lisa wrote... Boners biggest fan!!! He loves hearing the music on the videos. Giovanni is 5 weeks old and loves music he quiets down when i play it yay for danny and boner!!! LOL

June 24, 2006

Pennsylvania

I am grappling with a trade off of losing some eye vision permanently from an operation yesterday but I am not going to let that stop me today. The impending thunderstorm was not going to stop me either. Bo I went to the closet spot we have been, behind an officeplex on Humeville road in Bensalem. There were two cars parked there that made me hesitate but I decided to do it anyway and prepared the truck for a quick escape with the first drops I felt. I realized the piano has a metronome that plays through the speaker. Duh, it only took ten years to realize that one. Bo was like, "whats up with that"? Realizing that my music needs to expand from its one-dimensional state I started to work my improve with a walking octave bass using the metronome to help keep my steady. Without it I would just speed up and up until my hand got too tired to continue and that just would not work. I am realizing that I am getting better because the music did not sound as stupid to me as it used to. It is all about my mindset right now more than the musicality. I had to consciously create interest in what I was doing for myself. After about twenty minutes, the first raindrops started and I was outta there.

June 23, 2006

Pennsylvania

I am out of commission today due to an eye operation so I will take this opportunity to log in my first "flashback"! The first time I went outside to improvise on the truck was in June of last year. I did it at two in the morning and decided to drive to a nearby cemetery. I parked on an open grassy area. It was an amazing and beautiful experience on a quiet, spacious rolling lawn with a full moon, millions of lightning bugs and zillions of mosquitoes. I could not believe I was doing it. This was so much fun, it was so freeing. After about fifteen minutes of playing a carload of kids drove into the other end of the cemetery. I'm sure it was kids doing what kids do in cemeteries when no one is around. They parked and I watched the two of them in a distance first discover the music and then ever so slowly inch there way closer step by step, stop... start... stop... start towards the dark silhouette of a piano man playing quiet soft music on the back of a truck in the middle of the night in a cemetery with a dog sitting on top of the piano looking at them very curiously. You never know what you will find in a cemetery in the middle of the night eh? They never got close enough for me to see their faces because they turned and ran like there was no tomorrow. They tore outta there with car screeching and I thought, "damm I wish that had been on film". Funny, it was so funny.

June 22, 2006

Pennsylvania

Back to the high school parking lot again but this time, it was dark. I have not played in the dark in awhile. Two walkers came around several times. While wondering why I feel a comfort in this one spot that I park in I remembered that when I was twelve years old I explored and fished in a pond with a big willow tree that used to be at this parking spot. I thought of the buddy I used to hang there with. I was improvising while focusing on one star. I started to ponder it and everything got too complex so I started to think about the snap, crackle, and pop behind me. It was a grassy area and there is a lot of life and stuff going on in that there grass. The nightlife is wild. I'm a piano man experiencing a wild nightlife.

June 21, 2006

Pennsylvania

I really didn't want to bother with people today but I did not want to be alone either. Bo and I drove went to the Bensalem PA high school back parking lot and played while watching parents teach their kids to practice for their driving test and while people played tennis in the courts about a quarter mile to the front of us. When walkers passed, I gave a polite nod and went back to trying to focus on music. I need to expand my thoughts and ideas and get clearer with some technical flourishing or I will bore myself to death. I am trying to relax when I am recording but it is not working. I am trying to motivate myself from the "outside" using the fact that I am recording, "so don't make a mistake and make it sound good". I need to motivate myself from the "inside" as in, "feel free to explore with my spirit" and "don't worry about the results".

June 20, 2006

Pennsylvania

My high school music teacher, we are still friends, lives in a development where the neighbors get together on Tuesday nights to eat dinner in a grove of trees near their condos so I thought I would show myself a vote of self-confidence and offer them some improvisation. Along with being older folk, they all know me with the Boogie and Ragtime piano so the change of musical personality that I was offering I knew would be a challenge for them to except. It was a real stretch for me to trust myself because I knew it would be a difficult crowd. There was a big black lab running circles around the truck while I played, he wanted to play with Bo. A birdhouse hotel was in front of me with all these sparrows popping in and out of it, one hole to the next. It looked very funny. It was a luscious evening and I think it went well. They wanted to relate to it and I appreciated that. They gave comments like, "perfect dinner music" (maybe I shouldn't have included that one), artsy, easy on the ears, almost classical, I noticed a lot more right hand verses the usual fast boogie left hand, it was very nice". I will take all of that and am very proud of myself that I did not ask once, "did you like it?" Ha.

June 19, 2006

Pennsylvania

Bo and I went to play in the Pennypack Park, Mayfair section of Philadelphia. I lived in that area until I was ten years old and my parents are buried there. I have taken Bo to swim many times in the creek and I have fond memories of childhood picnics where there used to be a big waterfall. No more. Each year more rocks tumble away from people climbing all over them and the water quality is deteriorating with dirty people swimming in it. There is a shopping cart in the middle of the creek. There are groups fishing with their hooks to catch dinner next to little kids swimming. I watched some guy fill his bag with about twenty water bottles from the creek and then he started drinking from one of the bottles. People are living in the bushes. One would think they would use something other than bright blue plastic tarp or set up camp farther away from the main path but I suppose no one is bothering them. The space did not feel good anymore so we left.

I drove and snuck onto the grounds of an old mansion on state road in Bensalem PA and settled in a clearing off to the side of it. No human made sounds of boats, trains, planes, cars etc... only air made sounds, strong and breezy sounds of leaves and grass telling of an oncoming storm. I am having a difficult day and the green all around me helps numb my brain into contentment.

June 18, 2006

Pennsylvania

Raggin' Piano Boogie went backyard house hopping in the heat today stopping over at friends of thirty-five years (ouch!) and twenty-four years, contributors to the recent tour. I am realizing if people are looking to be entertained, they will not want the improvisation but it is not difficult to hypnotize them if they sit and listen long enough. I get the same reaction when I am done every time. With an almost glazed look they nod their head approvingly up and down while saying, "that was beautiful". One of the people I played for was Aunt Marge and I was wondering how she would react as she is one hundred and five years old. She was one of the head nodders. Marge is more alive and kicking then some seventy year olds I have come across with all her real teeth, one hundred percent brain function, she walks, does exercises and still cooks her Italian pasta. Is that unbelievable? She is a hero.

June 17, 2006

Pennsylvania

Bo and I discovered a new space last night while taking a walk so there I went. It is behind an officeplex two minutes from my house and very private. The back of the truck was bordered by tall marsh grass and the traffic sounds were blocked by the long office building. It has always interested me how something can be so invisible in the middle of everything visible. There was an owl present. All the birds came out and lined the treetops and the roof of the building when I began to play but they soon got bored and left except for the dancing pairs that continued to fly up and down and all around. I became adventurous and decided to play in a new musical key for the first time. It was A flat and very strange to me. My hands were landing as usual on the keys but the sounds were as confusing as hell. I'm glad for bug spray because it's getting very buggy outside.

June 16, 2006

Pennsylvania

After driving around in Newtown PA, lost over an hour while looking for this wonderful place on top of a hill were I was to meet a group of people, I finally gave up. I settled in a shady spot under a small oak tree with branches like an umbrella 2 feet over Bo and my head. There was a comfortable breeze on this sunny day overlooking the edge of a green, leafy, tree lined meadow of wheat grass. There were many black birds with red stripes on their wings flying around us with trails of white butterflies. We were next to a covered bridge that I had not visited since I was 18 years old.

I was playing musical thoughts of last night's memories. Bo and I went for a walk about two in the morning last night and crossed through a new housing development going up in my neighborhood. We heard strange, pulsing shouts. It sounded like a large exotic bird on the ground screaming for us to stay away from its nest. It was just too loud and odd to not investigate. I told Bo to stay close as I edged forward in the direction of the sound. The shrill was incredibly loud, I thought it was enough to wake people from sleeping blocks away. I look up on this dirt incline and I see in the moon light the most amazing side silhouette of a handsome red fox at least four feet long, tail straight out, head cocked perfectly towards us. We are talking here in Bensalem PA people. Bo was unfazed but the fox and I were freaked. I picked up a stick to hold while leaving the area and the fox followed us while continuing to scream for at least a half mile. As we walked towards my house and by my secret neighborhood performing spot, I hear huffs as I witness two young dear jumping into the brush. There is hardly any space for them to live here as it is only about a quarter of a neighborhood block size wooded area between a parking lot and the highway. It felt really sad that our social system cares so little for these animals. "They will be extinct soon", I thought. A church area nearby just cleared an entire 10-acre unused area from all underbrush leaving just the trees and no place for the many animals to survive in. I thought, "this serves no purpose unless people think of these animals as pests because they eat the garden marigolds or they afraid kids are hanging out in there doing dirty little things while thier parents and authority figures don't really care enough to spend time with them. It is not like these animals are bothering anything important unless the backyard flowers are more important than their life. Where is St. Francis when you need him, he was a friend to these animals, he even fed them.

So that was the music I was creating until two little girls came by with their mother and that jarred me out of my thinking into a better place. They had lunch on a nearby picnic table and then came over for pictures with the truck. A middle-aged couple came out of the woods huffing and puffing all dirty with mud on their nets and pails full of frogs collected for their backyard pond. I could tell they definitly had fun down there in the mucky waters below. They proudly showed me all the frog eggs they had collected on their nets. Now here is a visual for this period of civilization. Two adolescent girls came riding by on their horse oblivious to the truck, Bo, the music and I'm listening to the clip, clop, clip, clop of the horse while at the same time hearing the girls with fuckthis, shitthat, fuckthis, shitthat while they talk on their cell phone. My mind tried to blur them out as they rode by totally self absorbed. Ahh yes.... I did not want to come home today I just wanted to continue playing the piano around with all of this outdoor stimuli.

June 15, 2006

Pennsylvania

It is bing cherry season and I have bing cherry on the brain. I talked about them a few days ago and my niece mentioned them last night. I decided to go to a family run pick your own fruit orchard in Langhorne PA as they had a few ripe cherry trees and I want some cherry pie. I went to play the piano and pick cherries. Failure. I started to talk to the woman and her son running the place and after one sentence; it was the beginning of the end. Would you like some piano music? That was about all I was able to say. There was about a two-minute interaction and I am not exaggerating when I say I could not get a word in. I heard the words like "worth", phrases such as "what's in it for us", "not unless there are enough customers around like on the weekend", "we will decide when". There were phrases from the son like, "I couldn't be legitimate because of the way I was dressed", "I was a nut" (not said affectionately). I stopped them and said, "I just want to play some piano under the cherry trees not make this into a big deal, this is about spontaneity and contribution not about what will it cost you or what you can get from it". They might as well have been from another planet their radar antennas were perked as high as an elephants eye. (farm, country, corn, Oklahoma song... remember?) The feeling was like I had a stretched rubber band at the end of my finger and it was pointed at them. I got away from them as soon as possible. It was not like I wanted to pay for my supper. For Christ's sake, just a few cherries. I escaped feeling triple "ugh"...

So onward I ventured into a new area of nearby Core Creek park. I parked on the grass overlooking the lake. A few people who were finishing lunch nearby welcomed me and told of a special place that would be perfect. We arranged to meet there tomorrow. The park ranger drove by and waved. I played for a while thinking everyone was gone and then turned around to find Jen sitting, listening to me on a nearby park bench. She is a piano major from West Chester University. Of course, I made her jump onto the truck to play some piano. I was treated to some beautiful Debussy from her. We talked about having a piano jam in the park with some of her friends and I hope she gets in contact with me about it.


June 14, 2006

Pennsylvania

There have been so many days I have complained about in the past that it feels good to say I am glad I to be alive today. I went to check out a park area by the Riverview Home in Northeast Philly. This is one of those end of the line shelters next to the prison. It is a pit. The home is fenced in around the park so I thought I would drive into the fenced area to play for any residents who were able to wander outside but of course, the bureaucracy of the place would not allow it. Reminded me of a religiously run school group last week afraid of me because my dog is named Boner. Bureaucracy verses Anally Uptight. Thank God, it takes all types to run this world so I can choose these two types, not.

I drove into the park and there was a group setting up for a picnic so I decided to ask them if they would like some piano music and they said, "sure", and I thought, "this was my kind of people". It is the first day for improvising around a group chatting in the background. I am a natural for creating music for this kind of environment. I wasn't totally secure so I started out with some Boogie rationalizing that I would use it to learn how to segue in and out of improvisation. I found out the crutch was not necessary as they were responding to my improvisation even more than the Ragtime or Boogie and I was completely comfortable creating my unique sounds. One lady asked if I could bring some of that Romantic Music to her house. Cool. A group of about six children got up on the picnic table to dance artistically to the improvisation. Every once in awhile a big fat raindrop would plop on the piano but that was not going to stop me. The breeze was delicious overlooking the river. It was not as delicious as were Sylvia's homemade ribs. She cooked them last night and I was the first to get at em'. I joined the picnic and they all encouraged me to stuff my face. This was a department picnic from the Prison full of guards, administration and office workers. They were loose and welcoming and I really had a good time. I felt secure that I was not going to be chased off the grass area so I just pulled right up to the pavilion. I lost the computer recording I made because I ran out of memory but I reminded myself there is plenty more music where that came from. I am just getting started.

June 13, 2006

Pennsylvania

Beyond gratification hardly describes today while playing in Core Creek Park PA. Bo and I could not have been more comfortable with the temperature and humidity as we sat parked under a shady tree overlooking a beautifully huge lake. There were little motorized distractions of planes flying overhead, highway sounds, boats, vehicles etc. only the rhythmical sounds of nature. I pushed myself into this park today because I could feel myself retreating in past days to perform in areas away from where I would be assessable to people. For the last few days I was starting to become fearful because my mind, body and soul have been vibrating like crazy. I have been criticized for that my entire life growing up by others who have had difficulty tolerating it. Last night I realized that it had been a full moon and that does affect me big time. I thought I would go out mid-afternoon today while my energy was high and practice channeling my vibrating positively through music and to do it while not shying away from other human beings because of past experiences. I just want to fit in, have a voice and be part of.

I reached a new level of feeling "part of" and "one" with nature in creating space within myself musically for all the sounds around me, the birds, children in the distance, the splash landings of the water foul on the lake, even for the canoe paddling on the lake that I could not hear. The reality of me and everything I was experiencing was being expressed musically in total harmony. Wow.

And now for the people response. Ken and Millie approached me to say hello and tell me how much they were enjoying seeing Bo behaving so well and also the music. This is the third time in three weeks that my past has crossed my path. They turned out to be the parents of Ruth a girl who I went to high school with. I think I still have her graduation picture with a typical note on the back, "take care, I'll remember you always". I was about to leave for home and some guy pulled up in his car and pulled out his blanket to spread himself out nearby so I felt obliged to stay a little longer. I am glad I did. Another guy came from a distance who had been listening for about an hour, he was shy to come forward so I motioned him to come over. He was trying to figure out what he was seeing and hearing the whole time, it sounded so beautiful like those tinkley things in the wind (windchimnes). I had to meet Ed, before I left he sat on a nearby bench with his dog for the entire time. He said he had been feeling sick that morning so he came out to just chill and was reading, listening and watching people react to the music and what they were seeing. He said he really enjoyed it, that this has made it really a special day for him, and he said something else that several others have said in the past. "You never know what life will bring you", referring to this experience we both have had together with all of its creativity and uniqueness. He said I reminded him of a phrase, "find out who you are, what you want to do, and do it on purpose". I said, "that's what I'm doing, how cool is that"! Two people asked if I had music to sell.

June 12, 2006

Pennsylvania

The Delaware River Access area was my spot and I decided to go out this morning before the rain and of course, the sun came out. I cannot stress how dysfunctional it is to get caught up in the news weather hype. I could count on ten hands the number of events that have been destroyed in the last ten years by sensational weather reporting and the acceptance of it by the public. Then I could tell you about the loss of my employment bookings because of it! I still sometimes get caught up in these reports when my guard is down or when I am susceptible to needless distractions into my life. I listened to the news helicopters going back and forth to over the river as they all hope to be the first to find the guy lost from a drunken boat accident on the water the other night. On this website's daily musical recordings, every time you hear one of my hands not hitting a note on the piano it is probably because I am using it to smack a bug that just landed on my head.

June 11, 2006

Pennsylvania

I went to my neighborhood-hiding place today. I have to rethink travel time, cost and exposure with what I am doing. I cannot afford a half hours time back and forth each way to practice in my favorite spots every day. The cost for the Ocean City NJ trip the other day with gas and tolls was forty dollars not to mention the wear and tear on the 200,000-mile truck and equipment. It is practically impossible to tune out people standing to listen while practicing musical thoughts or ideas. Maybe I can work at making my practicing fun to listen to can't be be worse than some of the ongoing ramblings that happen.

June 10, 2006

Pennsylvania

What a windy day. It felt like fall; I wanted my candy apple but I had cotton candy instead. I performed for Buckingham Township Community Day in Bucks County PA While I performed at the park I interspacing my own music with the Ragtime and Boogie Woogie when I thought no one was listening. As I drove through the neighborhoods to perform in them I was thinking these are not housing developments this is just tons of castle like mansions, a very well kept "neck of the woods", full of regular neighborhoods also. There was more of a response than I expected as neighbors came out of their houses with all their kids gathering around the truck to talk and listen. I needed to tell people to shut me up when I started to talk because once I start talking about the last year I could not stop! I felt like the local ice cream truck. It was fun to pull up to a yard and watch about ten kids on a trampoline choreograph their jumping and somersaulting to the music. Corey, Erica and Cody had the opportunity to play some piano on the truck.

June 09, 2006

New Jersey

Beautiful day, beautiful venue, Sayan Gardens in Hamilton NJ. Took me awhile to get there. I asked someone at a red light for directions and they had me pull over to the roadside got out of their car and described the route in great detail for me. There was no place to really drive in; the parking was on the outskirts. Harry, who runs the place let me perform behind the park office, thanked me for my music, which felt very good. A couple of girls came by and called it all, "cute" the word used to describe me physically all my life... ugh. I knew it was a well-meaning description. The catering/wedding/gazebo garden area guy came over. He thought I was there to play for a wedding in the afternoon and that I had the wrong time.

I am changing some terminology as of today. My piano improvisations are now called ramblings. That is what I'm doing, I am rambling outdoors with expressions of musical idea and thought, just like the song birds in the trees chirping away. Anyone who has a negative thought after just reading that, deal with it. Ha. I could balance it all out with something hardcore right now but I will resist. I can be very hardcore.

I am starting a non-profit to continue what I did in New Orleans and Mississippi and what I am doing now. "Have Piano Will Travel". I am also going to create "Piano Jams" where other piano players come outside with me to play all levels, all ages, all types, all backgrounds. Do you know of anyone who might be interested?

June 08, 2006

New Jersey

Ocean City New Jersey was the place for me to explore today. There are very few spots to perform on the truck while looking out over the ocean. There are places along the beach to park and perform if I want to pull into a spot and watch a large sand dune grow its grass. I think not. I ended up parking at the end of a residential street overlooking the bay. The screen door was open on the nearby house so I went up to ring the doorbell and tell the lady of the house what was going on so she wouldn't freak out. I said I was going to play a piano for a while and record some music. She was ok with that. Everyone was there, me, Bo, a crow, a seagull and the woman from the house milling around on her back porch for a little bit to listen. She said she like it. I know one of these days someone will say my playing stinks. It has happened in the past. I was thinking about how an hour ago, I found a boat dock company that might have a floating raft I can use to float the Raggin' Piano Boogie truck through the bay lagoons while Boner sits on the piano and I perform. The city would like me to perform for A Night in Venice a 100,000 spectator annual boat parade event in July.

June 07, 2006

Pennsylvania

I want to go outside and play today. I really do. The denial that it is raining just won't work so I will just have to sit inside and play for myself. It will be a lonely job but we all gotta do what we gotta do. I have been enjoying my music and exploring conation from within while trying to connect and understand my feelings.

June 06, 2006

Pennsylvania

Well, I went to Tyler State Park, PA today and met up with Steve. He had his guitar with him and I jammed with guitar music for the first time ever. After that, he sat and listened to me for a while then jumped up on the piano himself and played. Three guys stopped in a car for a few minutes. A couple of people honked their horns as they went by. The park rangers all came buy. One ranger was a musician himself and suggested I get a piano amp. I did not even know there was such a thing. They thought the concept was really interesting and I felt compelled to impress them with some Ragtime and Boogie Woogie when they asked for it. They were very receptive and that felt good.

Now here is a little oddity. I have been thinking about bing cherries (sour) because my mother used to make cherry pies at this time of the year and I loved them. The last time I was in this park I went over to a row of old trees about five hundred feet form the truck to relieve myself and I was amazed to find a family of bing cherry trees. The older ones were incredibly large, as high as some oak trees. I have never seen a cherry tree over 20 feet tall. There were not that many cherries on them but I considered having a ladder at hand next time I came to the park for when they were ripe. I re-thought that idea as I realized I might be taking the food from the beautiful bluebirds that were flying all around so I decided to opt for trying to find them for sale at a local agricultural school where I found them about two years ago. Then last night I went to the local supermarket and they had them for sale. I had never seen bing cherries in a supermarket; they were from California and a ridiculous six bucks a pound. I tasted one and they had little taste but it reminded me to call the school to see if they had them because they are in season for only two weeks each year. I did that before leaving the house today. They were on my mind and during my conversation with the ranger, I asked him if he knew that there were huge cherry trees in the park and I pointed towards them. He went over to see for himself and was also fascinated the trees were so tall. Then he showed me a bag of bottled water that he had found and asked me if I wanted them as I turned at the same time to discover a nest in the cherry tree area. It had empty bottles of water, used tissues and an empty box of baby crackers. The water he found was ice cold and no one was around. It seems someone had been in the cherry trees feeding a baby only minutes before but there was no place they could have run to hide. Hmmm... why am I telling you this? I guess I just want to share my curiosity and observances.

June 05, 2006

Pennsylvania

.... Things have been sizzling and now they are beginning to pop. Bo sat on the piano while I played with cars whizzing by on Route 202 in Buckingham PA today to let the residents know that I will be participating at the park and throughout the neighborhoods on Saturday for the community day. I was also making music with jackhammers jacking away next to me on the road in Bensalem PA.

June 04, 2006

Pennsylvania

.... The words to describe what I offered today at Tyler State Park were awesome and perfect. When people say this stuff to me, I say it right back to them. There is total lack of ego in these situations, I'm really into that fact, it just feels sooo.... good. Performing outdoors hit a new notch today. I am up on this hill overlooking the tall grass in a field playing... I figured out how to officially hook the piano up to the computer so the music I upload onto the site daily is now being created from whatever location I am describing in this blog and not from at my home. This guy pulls his up gets out of his car and sits down on the ground in front of his car leaning against the bumper to just chill and listen with me. He plays guitar and later he gets on the truck to play for awhile. Then two muscle shirt types come up in a silver bronco type pickup truck to check me out we talk a few minutes, real nice guys, I go back to playing they get out and start playing Frisbee in front of me for about thirty minutes. It was so cool all of us just doing our thing together. The Frisbee playing became like a dance for me improvising. Then a carload of artsy type kids pull up, set down a blanket and they all begin to work on a painting together on the grass. All of us together doing our own things. I like it. I like being part of along with everyone else all enjoying just "being" together. I like what I have to bring to the table. I'm good at what I do and more importantly to me is that the music is without question crossing all stereotypical boundaries of age, type social class etc....

June 03, 2006

Pennsylvania

.... Ahhh, I did a full circle today. I spent the day celebrating a very special high school graduation in Wilmington Delaware. No truck, it was about 12pm and everyone started to help clean up, especially in the kitchen. As a ten year old, when I first started to play the piano I would get out of doing the dishes by asking if I could practice. It was the only time I asked to practice. My brothers hated me for it because Danny never got his turn at doing the dishes because he had to practice and they did not want to play the piano. Well, so it goes as a child.... tonight I did not feel like doing the dishes in the kitchen so I went and provided music instead on the most untuned piano in existence. I created untuned music for everyone until the dishes were done. I think it worked for everyone all around.

June 02, 2006

Pennsylvania

.... I was down by the river today playing up against the back of the parking lot as to not be intrusive and noticed most of the fishermen were gone. I realized that there is a buzz in my speaker that is being recorded. I need to figure that out. When I was done I took Bo to the water for a swim because he loves the water and I wouldn't need to worry about his getting caught in any fish lines with hooks. A guy Mike reached out his hand to introduce himself and said, "you know the fisherman like it when you come around here, next Spring you'll need to bring the truck up to the front here with us and play on the loading dock, we'll set up a pole for you and call you off the truck when there is a bite." I said, "now that's a visual." He told me that they are gone for the season, they come only in the spring for the stripped bass and the fish are all gone by June 1st back to the ocean. He said he has caught two 40lb fish at this spot in the past. A mother and her daughter came running up to ask me if Oprah called to have me on her show yet. They want to see me on Ellen.

June 01, 2006

Pennsylvania

Today was one of those "god like" awareness days. First, it is the one-year anniversary of pursuing my wildest dream. Improvising my own music officially started one year ago today as part of that. I have NEVER continuously pursued anything in my life for more than eight months straight. I went to my secret spot the "small unused parking lot" to find it was filled with employee vehicles from a nearby local school. I just pulled into an empty parking spot. It was hot and sunny so I let Bo stay on the ground for the first time to stalk whatever he could find in the shady bushes below. Boner stalks like a cat. A women came up to the truck and said, "I heard this music and was wondering where it was coming from and here you are this is so wonderful. You have made my day, this is so inspirational." We had a little chat about what we have in common. I just loved it! I may also have found an opportunity, this woman as a catalyst, to perform some of my improvisational music for a group or two, for the first time, and even get some work done on the truck in return. We shall see. The best part about today's playing was that for the first time I was able to pursue and complete the simple task of transferring my computer music recording application onto my labtop. I was then able to connect the labtop to the piano on the truck so I can make the daily recordings that I upload onto the web from outside on the truck! This would be a simple task to figure out for many people but for me it is a major accomplishment. I found by accident that I can record sound straight from the computer like a regular tape recorder. I learned that I grunt, moan and hum while I'm improvising and they are not pretty sounds to listen to so I will need to keep my trap shut so listeners can hear the birds with the music instead. I can also record direct from the piano as well.