Everybody Needs a Support Group

This year’s Thanksgiving was special.  All of us can think back to Thanksgivings in our lifetimes which were unpleasant or downright awful.  When asked about our favorite Thanksgivings, some of us may be hard-pressed to answer.  I can say that Thanksgiving 2012 is near the top of my favorites.

As we get older, we also find that Thanksgiving often makes us a bit reflective -- maybe even saccharine.  Even though it is giving way to Black Friday, it is holiday which has not been overrun by corporate greed and banality.  Given its secular and historical origin, Thanksgiving is not filled with tensions created when religion, tolerance (or intolerance), gross commercialism, and political correctness collide.  It simply is a time for family and friends to gather and enjoy each other’s company.

Perhaps that is why Dick Dale was particularly sharing and verbose at the Press Club.  He was especially effusive about his wife, Lana, who nursed and supported him during his ongoing health issues.  While he carried on, she was busy laying out items on the pool table which would be the Dick Dale merch table.  Multiple styles of tees.  CDs.  Posters.  Drum heads.  Frisbees (“very rare”).  Photos.  Prices ranged from $10 for Dick Dale to autograph something that an audience member brought to the show to $100 for an “really big” autographed poster.

His words, thoughts, and feelings were genuine.  Lana has been the anchor in Dick Dale’s support group, and he is demonstrably grateful.

At some point during his performance, Becky and Lana began to talk.  Then, they were embracing.  They had found a common bond.  As I watched, I reflected on how Becky is, among other things, our biggest fan, often times promoter, advisor, and reality checker.  And she is the anchor of our support group.

As a sexagenarian musically-impaired guitarist, my support group necessarily has to be large.  But, as I sat in the back of the Press Club and watched Becky and Lana, I thought about some of the advice guitar teachers gave me along the way.  After all, without them and Becky, opening for Dick Dale would not have been an obtainable dream.  Here are just a few of the nuggets:
  • Dave Lynch:  “What’s the worst thing that can happen?  You make a fool of yourself in front of a bunch of people who don’t know you and really don’t care about you.”
  • Mark Gamsjager:  “Play like you own your solos and, above all else, look like you are having fun.”
  • Mark Gamsjager:  “Nobody wants to see a shoe band -- one where everybody looks at his feet and not at the audience.”
  • Bob Bitchin’:  “It’s okay to be apprehensive, just don’t be afraid.”
  • Paul the Pyronaut:  “No matter what, just go out there and have fun.”
  • Paul the Pyronaut:  “When things happen, it’s what you make of it.”
  • Robert “Kool Kat” Kuhlmann:  “Your audience really doesn’t care about whether you play perfect.  They just want to have fun with you.”
Words of wisdom and support coalesced to make Thanksgiving 2012 truly memorable.  Thank you.

Leave a comment

Add comment