Dear Mom,


This will be my first mother’s day without you.

So I thought I would write and thank you for something.

Thanks for my love and passion of music.

It was you.

You brought home “Meet The Beatles” and left it on my toy chest while I was asleep and only 3 years old.  I woke you up at about 5 am and made you read the back of the album’s liner notes to me. “They wear “pudding basin” haircuts that date back to ancient England”…Never forget that.  Last I ever heard of a “pudding basin” haircut.

After that it was you that bought me my first cheap guitar.  After I made up my own “chords” and was singing at the top of my lungs, it was you that decided I should take lessons. Even though I was only 5.

Of course, I think you tried to trick me by taking me to an old lady teacher who only taught classical.  I wanted to play what I heard on the radio, and I had never heard “Malaguena” on the radio.  I stuck with it though, but when you could tell I was discouraged you took me to a young, very hip teacher.  I walked in and he had dark longish hair with a cool mustache.  His first question to me was “Do you like The Beatles?”.  I don’t know to this day if you told him, and it didn’t matter.  Granted, it was still a trick.  He was teaching me “classical” versions of popular songs, but that was okay.  When I learned my first barre chord it was all over.  I was off on my own.

You would drop me off at Rumore’s Record rack for an hour or two while you got your hair done and shopped.  The ladies that worked the shop didn’t mind, so I guess you worked that out too.  They let me know the release date of every record that I might want to buy.  That way I could plan and cut the grass to have enough money to buy them.  Yes, I know you let me cut the grass a bunch of times when it didn’t need it just so I would have the record money.  Thanks.

When I was 8 and older you would listen patiently as I would play my own songs that I had “written”.

I know now that they were terrible.  But whether you thought so or not, I’ll never know.  You always seemingly loved them.

I had my first “gig” at the age of 15.  It was playing happy hour at a lounge of a hotel.

You had to drive me to the gig.  Not many moms would have done that.  And not many moms would have made sure her father in law (who could kick anybody’s ass) was always there as the only person really listening.  He would ask me if I could play “far, far away”.  I asked him to hum a bar and I would try to fake it.

When I got out of college I told you I wanted to try to make a career in music.  You didn’t blink.

The only thing you would occasionally say is that I sure picked a tough way to make a living.  You were right.

You came to see every incarnation of any band I have ever played in at least once.  Maybe other people would have been embarrassed.  I never was.  It was kind of funny looking back.  One of the classiest, prettiest, most overdressed ladies anybody would ever meet hanging out in a smoky dump of a bar.

You never got to see the Black Jacket Symphony though.

You were getting sick when it was being put together.  You had macular degeneration, leaving you basically blind and you had some dementia.

We were working up our first BJS performance three years ago.  It was Abbey Road.  I had gone through most of it, and was in the process of trying to learn it as close as possible.

I visited you and told you about The Black Jacket Symphony.  That we were going to perform albums “note for note” and “sound for sound”.

Then I grabbed that old cheap guitar and played “Here Comes The Sun” for you, because I knew you always really liked that song.

You told me something was off on the “sun, sun, sun here it comes” part.  I laughed and talked to you about something else.

Later that night I put Abby Road on my headphones and started working again.  When I got to “Here Comes The Sun” I skipped ahead to the bridge, the part you were talking about.

I’ll be damned if I wasn’t hitting one note that wasn’t supposed to be there on the guitar.

Thanks Mom.

And happy mother’s day.

Now this may seem to be more personal than our usual blog, and it is.  But if you are reading this blog you must have a passion for music yourself.  Take the time and thank whoever it was that fostered it for you.  If you are a parent, take the time and get behind whatever passion your kids have.  They will thank you later.


10 responses

  1. Boy, it’s dusty in here. I think I have something in my eye…*sniff*

    Great show today, buddy!

    May 13, 2012 at 3:37 pm

  2. Bill Ezpeleta

    Nicely done… my memories take me back to falling asleep with the guitar on my stomach only to find it on the side of the bed in the morning. I didn’t get started as early in life as you and my Mom would rather I play piano because she did. I didn’t understand the words to “Don’t be Cruel” until I was 13 or so… the disadvantage of being from another country. It’s refreshing to know that your Mom supported you all the way with what you wanted to do… you obviously had a wonderful childhood and you gave your Mom the credit she deserves…

    May 13, 2012 at 4:03 pm

  3. Marsha

    What a beautiful Mother’s Day message for everyone and I thank you! You were very blessed to have had such a Mother and I know she enjoys each performance to this day.

    May 13, 2012 at 4:24 pm

  4. mark lanter

    ok J. that was the best ever, thank you

    May 13, 2012 at 5:51 pm

  5. Susan Merrill

    What a beautiful picture and tribute to your mom! It brought back so many memories of growing up!

    May 13, 2012 at 7:18 pm

  6. Mary Kat

    I honestly can’t stop crying. (good crying). So beautiful! What wonderful memories of a wonderful Mom. If there’s a heaven, to look down from,…. she hasn’t missed a show.

    May 13, 2012 at 7:20 pm


    She was beautiful and so are you, J. Thanks for sharing this with us.

    May 13, 2012 at 7:53 pm

  8. Connie

    WOW! I never knew all this about your mom. Even though I was around her only a few times, I could tell she was very proud of you!!! It’s neat to hear all this about her. Sometimes we forget all that our mothers do and have done for us. Thanks for reminding me to reflect on what my mom has done for me!!!

    May 13, 2012 at 11:45 pm

  9. Rob Thorworth

    great tribute. great pic of her too – love it!

    May 14, 2012 at 1:28 am

  10. Janet

    J., what a beautiful tribute to a beautiful lady. I know you must miss her terribly but I am sure she has always been so proud of you and your many talents. She is an angel in heaven now and is always watching over you. All my lovin to you!

    May 15, 2012 at 4:50 pm

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s