Monday, January 14, 2008

Eric Clapton

Dear Boys,

Mommy has you brainwashed with Celine Dion's Taking Chances CD right now. First of all you should realize that mommy is so out of it, she still plays her music on CD! I guess it is time I intervene before the damage is irreparable. I need to introduce to you the biggest influence in my life musically.
First you have to understand how much Daddy loves music. Those big headphones he wears are not because he doesn't love you, and are not meant to be a punishment he just loves that song a little bit more than he should right now and mommy won't let him play it at the volume he wants.
I don't know how long ago I fell in love with music. I think I might have started in my Mother's womb getting down to my own heart beat and the liquid rhythms that must have surrounded that pre-birth experience. I confess that the first song I got down to was Michael Jackson's Billie Jean. I lived with my foster parents at the time and my foster sister Gracie would play music in her bedroom and if I hid in the closet I could hear what she was listening to. I fondly remember listening to the original MJ's Billie Jean. I guess you could say I was a closet Michael Jackson fan. Grandma Dean bought me that record when she found out. I listened to that thing like a 13 year old girl. I even used to enjoy pretending I was Michael singing against Paul McCartney on "The girl is mine" probably because I was more of a lover than fighter too.
From there on I sucked in any music I could get my hands on. I dreamed of being good enough to have a band of my own and my mom tried to foster this love, letting me listen to the radio for hours on end. She got me the Styx album because I wanted Mr. Roboto. If you think that is bad I won't tell you that in 5Th grade she bought me a Menudo lunch box, probably because I told her I loved Menudo and she thought I meant the band rather than the that delicious first cow stomach based soup.
I don't know how many people have soundtracks to their life, I do. I can't tell you the name of a guy I just met 5 minutes ago, but I can tell you that I was doing in 5th grade when Wham "Made" it big. I can tell you of the first time I heard many songs like Dead or Alive's "You spin me round round," Pet Shop Boys' "West Side Girls"
When I was in 6th grade I found Rap music on an AM station on a LA radio station. I used to sit in Great Grandpa's bathroom and listen to it. I would do so quietly because I wasn't sure if it was something I was supposed to be listening to, it seemed too different. Rap helped me get through the "hair" rock years which I thought was horrible, and I personally believe is responsible for one of the nastiest clothing mistakes since polyester, spandex. It eventually seemed to cross over to FM with bands like the Fat Boys, Run DMC, and the Beastie Boys.
Rap was also there during some hard years of my adolescent life, but that is a story for another time, when your older.
During all of this I was trying every way I could to try and play music. In 4Th grade I tried out for Choir 3 times, finally getting accepted probably because the teacher didn't know what else to do with me. I wanted to play an instrument but we couldn't afford the rental charge for an instrument, but in 7Th grade I finally got that wish and started playing the Sax and later the Tuba. I was never too good at either, but made some of the best friends and had the best experiences through it. (Yes that is why you have to play an instrument and not just sports!)
But the reason I write this entry is to tell you about Clapton. (I am currently in the middle of his autobiography and eating every bit of it up.)
The time I found Clapton was another dark part of life. It had been some time since Kim Johnson's death and I still had not figured out how to deal with it. I did not feel like I had the right to mourn his death as heavily as I did, I didn't know him all that well. Only a few snapshots in comparison to the mosaic that was his. Even though, the brutality of the loss of a man who was such a great father, something I had never had ate a hole in my heart. I couldn't figure out who to talk to about it, the only people I felt really understood needed someone to listen to them. I probably drove my best friends nuts. I remember doing a lot of journal writing at the time about it. (journals long time lost) I was also heavily burdened with the new religion I had found. I was not sure if I could be what it required of me. It made me change the way I viewed life, and I was not sure if that was something I wanted to do. I had many people who even though they loved me and wanted what was best for me in their minds or to save me from this new found cult, sometime myself. It was all hard.
Anyway, I had heard this song one day at work at Subway, half of it anyway, the store owner never could get the stereo to play correctly, so in the back you would only hear half of the song. I listened to Clapton's "Tears in Heaven" I wasn't blown away until a few days later I was sitting on the couch at home watching MTV when it used to still play videos, even if it was only 10 of them. I saw the Unplugged show featuring Eric Clapton. When I heard the song, I broke down, it was a great moment. In this song I found something for me to help me look at the death of Kim in a more positive manner if that can be said. Clapton was sad at the loss of his son but he found a way to be hopeful about it. It also helped me unite this world of pain and suffering with the unknown world of Heaven. Not only that but I started to feel like I was my father's son and I had work to do for him and a responsibility to do right for him and my family that were already in heaven. I felt like Kim and my own Father where together and Kim would watch over my family. Clapton's grief helped me rid myself of my own. There are not too many famous people I really care to meet, but I would like to meet Clapton to let him hear my testimony of what heaven really is and that his song helped a struggling 19 year old boy find his way. I guess that is what the Blue's are about right?
So yea, momma has you listening to some stuff that I don't really like, but if it makes her feel a bond with you boys, I will lend her your ear. Sing away little fellas, hope mommy is as understanding in 10 years when we are rocking out the house. . .in the white room. . .

Would you know my name if I saw you in heaven?
Would it be the same if I saw you in heaven?
I must be strong and carry on, 'Cause I know I don't belong here in heaven.
Would you hold my hand if I saw you in heaven?
Would you help me stand if I saw you in heaven?
I'll find my way through night and day 'Cause I know I just can't stay here in heaven.
Time can bring you down, time can bend your knees. Time can break your heart, have you begging please, begging please.
(guitar solo)
Beyond the door there's peace I'm sure, And I know there'll be no more tears in heaven.
Would you know my name if I saw you in heaven?
Would it be the same if I saw you in heaven?
I must be strong and carry on, 'Cause I know I don't belong here in heaven.
'Cause I know I don't belong here in heaven.

Picking a favorite Clapton song is like picking a favorite Son, I might have one, but I am never telling. . .Here are two to enjoy from Unplugged. Tears In Heaven and Old Love .


Emily said...

Great story. Thanks for sharing.

McD said...

Em, I think you meant great song. . .

Emily said...

Nope, although I like the song, I enjoyed reading about how it affected you even more.

**Liz** said...

You just brought tears to my eyes. What an amazing entry.

Good Job Mike.


gma dibb said...

I really enjoyed your thoughts. The words of the song are beautiful, too.

McD said...

liz- It's called Tears in Heaven, not eyes, but of course you're crying your pregnant.

Scooter said...

Great read. Besides all the touching sentiment (which I genuinely appreciate), I also enjoyed your Menudo reference.

Closet Michael Jackson fan--very nice!

By the way, hair beats rap every time.

mommyofthree said...

Great story-and great song. Thanks for sharing.

Michal said...

mike, i am crying right now. i've never heard that story. thanks for sharing it. and thanks for caring so much about my dad. and for recognizing what a loss it was for the world to have him gone.
i know that he's there in heaven, waiting for us to join him. and if there are any tears in heaven, they'll be joyful.

Martin said...

Clapton FTW!
Its not to late to nickname one of your kids slowhand, or blackie . . .

Have you ever listened to that Roger Waters album where Clapton played guitar? The hickhicking one?

McD said...

Marty, McMarty.

I was just reading about that experience with Waters in the autobiography. I had totally forgotten about it. I will be getting it in the next couple of minutes. I will let you know what I think. Clapton said he wasn't quite sure what Waters wanted or was up to, but he was a decent guy.

Martin said...

I always knew you took my dad's death hard, and I loved you for it.

What is so great about EC is how emotional his music can be. But there is a special spirit in that recording of Tears in Heaven.

BTW is he performing in New York soon? maybe we could visit Evan and see him.

McD said...


Thanks for the love, it flows both ways!
Clapton is supposed to be doing a concert with Steve Winwood. (Blind Faith)He performed with Cream at Madison Square Gardens last year. I am sure he will hit there again. I don't think I could get away with going to NYC without the Mrs. she would have my hide! BTW, I went back to read more about EC playing with Waters and he went on tour with him, he said, "I never saw what was up on the screens," but I heard it was pretty strange. Sounds like Floyd to me.

Scooter said...

So, MCD, you make this great entry and you think you can stop for a month?!

Keep feeding the masses.

Emily said...

Ditto to scooter. Come on now, it's been almost 6 weeks!