Reeling from a massive tear in my personal space/time continuum, this week I got the rare privilege to join truly one of my favorite bands, Thanks to Gravity, in preparation for their reunion concert on May 20th. In what might be the most flattering and humbling invite, my friends Andy, Drew, and Sean asked me to play percussion for this fantastically rare event. The meaningfulness of this reunion concert swirls at such a current, it’s hard to know when the “then” stops and the “now” starts.
After my graduation from high school, I moved from my hometown of Nantucket to the North Shore of Boston to attend college. My bandmate Billy Voss, fresh of our summer busking together on Nantucket, moved shortly thereafter to Boston proper to pursue his music career. Obviously, Billy’s gig offers were infinitely more interesting than Old and New Testament classes, and I joined him frequently to gig around the city. At the same time, just a bit north, Thanks to Gravity was cutting in to their craft and making fans and currents of their own in the process.
In the years that followed, Billy and I had to realize that we were just a few steps behind where Thanks to Gravity were treading. They frequented our island in the summers over a few years for shows, and last I looked, their 8×10 glossy photo was still hanging in the Muse. We were unable to succeed in the major mission to get a song placed on the latest AWARE records compilation that summer, but I’ll be damned when it was released, we saw TTG had the opening and closing track on the release! And, while we met and hung with all the cats that came through the island on their tours like Vertical Horizon, Dave Matthews Band, Edwin McCain, and countless others, we missed getting to hang with Thanks to Gravity. Now I know its because they all drank milk and went promptly to bed after shows.
After I left college due to excessive absences, my roommate Nate shared his love of TTG, as he’d grown up in New Hampshire, and still considers them the state’s greatest band. Nate just reminded me the other day of his original artwork that appeared on the cover of our college’s literary journal, IDIOM, entitled “Eating the Moon,” inspired by the TTG tune of the same name.
When I first met Andy Happel some 15 years ago, I never thought I’d have the opportunity to share a stage with his band, never mind have the friendship that this time has allowed. We’ve played countless shows together through the years with Don Campbell, Andy’s solo material, and now our band, Los Galactacos.
Somehow, I feel that I’ve been practicing for this show with Thanks to Gravity for 20+ years now.
Los Galactacos is thrilled to be engaging in a residency at Frontier in Brunswick once a month; every second Thursdsay.
Los Galactacos will be performing on Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve at Solo Italiano On Commercial Street in Portland. Please call ahead for reservations! Visit http://www.soloitalianorestaurant.com/ for details.
Please join the fellas (Andy Happel, Pete Witham, Drew Wyman) and I on Monday evenings for Mojito Monday Happy Hour at El Rayo in Scarborough, ME. We play music from the Americas, including Tex-Mex, Ranchera, Bossa Nova, Ol’ Time Country, Fiddle Tunes, Bluegrass, Jazz Standards, the Classic American Songbook, and more.
Los Galactacos plays Mojito Mondays
Monday Evenings from 5:30pm – 7:30pm
at El Rayo Taqueria
245 US-1, Scarborough, ME 04074
August 26th, 2016 | Portland Public Library Atrium, 5 Monument Way, Portland, ME
Irene Wanjiru was born in a small village on the slopes of Mount Elgon, an extinct volcano straddling the border between Kenya and Uganda. Irene has exhibited widely throughout Nairobi, and taught a workshop in wood carving for women at the National Museums of Kenya. She has been artist-in-residence for several summers at the Carving Studio & Sculpture Center in Rutland, Vermont, and is the 2015 artist-in-residence at the Spillway Fund in Southport, Maine.
Humans and animals both mythical and real interact in her art, inhabiting an imaginative, fecund world that is wholly African (the spirit and workaday worlds always just around the corner from each other), yet draws comparison to the surrealism of Max Ernst and the expressionism of Max Beckmann. Her work is at once dramatic and playful, revealing and life-affirming.
This Friday, I have the singular experience of DJing the music for the Maine Yoga Fest’s kickoff event.
“Electric Flow: An Uprising” will be led by one of my oldest and dearest friends on this Earth, Caitlin Marcoux. To say I’m honored to accompany her as her DJ is a gross understatement.
My friendship with Caitlin stretches back nearly 3 decades now, when we would race each other from the bus stop that we both shared in our hometown of Nantucket Island. As we grew in to middle school and high school, I admired her talent in everything she applied herself to. A fantastic dancer, vocalist, and pianist, Caitlin has always been a shining star and beacon for her friends and peers.
She probably doesn’t realize it, and might not ever cop to it, but Caitlin has influenced my musical tastes in major ways. Not only did she turn me on to some fantastic music (Seal’s first album is still one of my all-time favorites, and that’s just one) but conceptually helped me realize the art and the cool in pop music.
As we drifted in to our adult years, we lost touch for a spell, but were easily reconnected thanks to the gravity that Nantucket fosters in its own. I learned that Caitlin had, already in her young adult life, experienced the kind of loss and grief that most can’t comprehend. Through her struggles, she forged a new path for herself in healing and therapeutic arts, eventually landing in this fantastic career as a yoga instructor.
There’s no great way to receive the news that someone so dear to you has cancer. Since her diagnosis, though, I have seen something truly remarkable in this amazing woman. She has re-phrased the words of a diagnosis, and turned it in to a prescription for action and living, not only for herself, but scores of others who she has influenced and mentored in her classes and practice. It’s catching. People are taking notice of Caitlin, her work, and her advocacy for others. This might be the functioning definition of healing. She’s hardly a survivor. This one is a thriver.
On Friday, I’ll see Caitlin for the first time in quite a while. We’ll be celebrating life in all of its gloriousness. We’ll be finding the Electric Flow that binds us in moments together. And, we’ll see how much of it we can amass together, so there will be ample amounts for everyone to take a bit home. There’s much to celebrate. Let’s do that.
Get tix here: http://sched.co/2Owh