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The Great Annoyer

I think I’ve annoyed at least 3, maybe 4 or 5 famous people in the last 60 days. My apologies to:

1.) Richard Foos - Millionaire Music impresario, once owned Rhino Records and now of Shout! Factory. I wrote you, you wrote me saying you’d get back to me, 2 weeks later I wrote again, you wrote me back saying you’d get back to me, I wrote back a month later, then after hearing nothing I wrote back another week after that. Then nothing. Ugh. I feel pitiful.

2.) Deborah Liebling - 20th Century Fox producer, exec producer of South Park for years, now Film Director/Producer, lately of all stuff Ben Stiller, post-college roommate of mine, who put me in touch with Richard Foos. I wrote you with a cc of my fourth letter to Richard Foos. You said “yeah, you should probably cool it. Famous people like this just get so busy...let me talk to him when I see him next..” Oh dear, sorry I put you on the spot. Ugh again.

3.) John Gorka - I wrote this new song called "Hitman" that I thought sounded like something John wrote. I got a kick out of the fact that my approach to this tune brought me to such a wondrous sound, and I thought he’d get a kick out of it too. So after texting him twice he got back to me with an email address, I sent the song. Crickets. Oh man.

4.) The principal casting people for The Voice - I’ve written them twice thanking them for the opportunity to “make 2 rounds before chairs” of the show. I asked that they give me a shout and let me know how far down the pecking order I was before they said “No, we won’t be using you”. Nothing yet. That note was going on 2 months ago.

OK. So I’ll be 56 on Saturday, and I’m still forging ahead trying to get more exposure, stay relevant, write new songs, sing and play better than ever, and tour like a twenty-year-old while I talk to some folks my age that are looking at buying retirement properties. All while trying not to look like a gray, grizzled never-quite-made-it, and avoiding the bitter that can come with that.

When I went all ballistic about a NYC show turnout a few months back, I got a personal note form a guy who said the nastiest things to me, aggressive enough to the point that I reported him to Facebook. Granted, I asked around and found out that the guy has some mental/people issues, but his shit stung. “Nothing more than folk famous” and “who do you think you are?” were the kinder parts of his missive to me. Sometimes i wonder - is there something in even the most caustic and egregious tap on the shoulder...

A few weeks ago at a coffeehouse I was killing a version of "For The Good Times". There was a young man in the audience in a wheelchair, - I believe his name is Chris(?) - I’m guessing he had cerebral palsy, and who had so far during the show been a fun foil for me....We were teasing each other about the root beer he was sipping through a long straw. I told him he was taunting me with my favorite drink. He slowly, cautiously, with great effort, reached onto the table to wrap his gnarled fingers around the can and bring it exactly 2 inches closer to himself. We all howled. He then punched up his speaking computer to ask in a computerized voice for me to play "Stairway To Heaven". We all cracked up again. He laughed in that unmistakeable way my godchild with CP Maria does when something is funny - that late-timed, joyous, half-scream, semi-screech of utter hurrah.

So I start this song and early on, he let’s out an unbridled “harrooooouuu” at an early long note I wrap myself around. I get to the near-end of the song, repeating “for the goodtimes” in a high quiet falsetto. I look over to him and say “join me on these Chris....”

and he harooued, we harrooued together in unison, right on cue, and then he held out the last one with me, me climbing up, doing the higher harmony above whatever that note he was living in.

Everyone was standing, bunches of folks weeping openly, passing tissues and napkins from take-out meals from table to table. It wasn’t even the end of the show. But somehow it was what that evening was about.

Richard, Deborah, John, Voice Folks, I’m sorry to be a seemingly pathetic pest. I’m guessing it won’t be the last time. Chris, if that’s your name, thanks for making those follow up letters I send to famous people bearable. And thanks too for showing me that what I do right now today is bigger, far bigger than any unanswered call, unrequited letter, or nasty missive I could ever get.