I’m off to the West Coast next week – it’s been a while. I’m looking forward to seeing my friends out there, and refreshing my frequent flier portfolio.Well, I am shocked and mortified, and hope you will be too. I was at a fundraiser, simply making some off-the-cuff remarks to a few of the high rollers, trying to explain my position on the state of the country. Well, it was captured by a hidden camera – the scallywags have no shame! I was being perhaps a bit too candid and now the whole thing’s been posted on YouTube. Very embarrassing! I probably could have expressed myself better, but there you have it. We just have to hope it doesn’t “go viral,” as the kids say. (I probably could have forged a link between the Club 47 and the 47%, but it didn’t occur to me until later.)
P. S. – I’m still working on firming up the list of guest artists for the Symphony Hall show on December 28th. As soon as that’s done – by mid-October, I hope – we’ll have tickets on sale at the Symphony box office, and the Kickstarter supporters will be notified. Thanks for your patience!
Quotes of the month: “A fool and his money are soon elected.”- Will Rogers
Also, “Anyone in the world wanting to understand American music could well start right here”- Pete Seeger, speaking of “Bossmen: Bill Monroe and Muddy Waters,” by Jim Rooney, now back in “print” as an e-book on Kindle at Amazon, Nook at Barnes & Noble and as an Apple iBook.
I’ve been studying what Old People do with the idea that I could learn from their example, so that I could fit in better, but problems keep cropping up. I don’t get golf, for instance (what’s up with those little waterfalls and windmills, anyway?), and shuffleboard is just plain boring. Napping, on the other hand, seems to be something for which I have natural talent, as I’ve discussed in a previous missive, and telling the same story over and over again is something that I’ve never seen a problem with, so perhaps there’s hope. I will report back from time to time on my progress.
Speaking of the perspective of age, the upcoming show at Passim on Sunday (the third and final installment in the series on my 50 years on stage – each one has dealt with a certain time period) will be on Modern Times and will focus mainly on the last 10 years or so, road stories and material from the “Trolling for Owls” and “What I Know” CDs. I’ll also be introducing a new song, written by my buddy Josh Brackett. It’s called “The Poor Have Too Much Money,” and could easily change the course of the upcoming election. (The documentary crew that will be shooting the show will try to get a YouTube clip out of this one, so here’s your chance to go viral, if that’s something that appeals to you.)
I’ll also be introducing you to a youngster I think has a lot of talent, Ms. Hayley Reardon. Be there if you can. If you can’t, be there virtually via ConcertWindow.com. If you’re on my Twitter list I’ll be sending out a reminder-tweet about an hour before the show goes up at 7:00 PM.
Enjoy the Fall!
Quote of the month: “Age is an issue of mind over matter. If you don’t mind, it doesn’t matter.”- Mark Twain; and, “True terror is to wake up one morning and discover that your high school class is running the country.” – Kurt Vonnegut
It’s been a while. The last time I wrote to you, nearly 2 months ago, I was apprehensive about chaperoning a 7th and 8th grade “Semi-Formal” dance – and I’ve left you hanging in suspense. I hope it hasn’t ruined your summer!
It actually wasn’t as difficult, or as dangerous, as I’d feared. The worst part, really, was the “dancing,” so called, which consisted of them all jumping straight up and down more or less in unison, more or less in time with the music. When they were all “dancing” at once I did worry a bit about the structural integrity of the building, but it seems to have sustained only minimal damage.
I didn’t get to use the cattle prod – though I was eagerly looking for opportunities – or the air horn. The referee’s whistle was deployed on a couple of occasions, during the slow dances mainly, but I found the most effective device for keeping our daughter in line was to threaten to get my guitar and sing some songs for her friends.
Speaking of guitars: back in the late ’60s in Cambridge I bought an Epiphone Texan for $179, brand new, with case. I figured it was cheap enough to take to beach parties, and if someone stepped on it, it wouldn’t be the end of the world … but then I kind of fell in love with the thing.
I started fancying her up – mother of pearl trim and whatnot. I asked a young lady named Chris Hayward to inlay a reclining nude entwined with a snake (Hey … it’s a Biblical theme!) on the neck. Well! She caused quite a sensation from the very first day, and was tagged “the Naked Lady.” I can tell you that when the roadie yelled to the stagehand, “Tom needs the Naked Lady in the dressing room right away,” heads would turn! Sadly, she burned up in a house fire in 1990 and I have missed her terribly for the past 22 years.
But wipe away those tears, children – there’s a happy ending! John Marr of McKenzie & Marr guitars contacted me asking if they could produce a “signature” guitar with my name on it. He brought me some samples of their work and I was very impressed. The discussions wound along and at some point I worked up the nerve to inquire if the top-of-the-line model could have a naked lady with a snake on the fingerboard. Yes! I’ve been playing the prototype on stage now for some months, and she’s a honey. Feels great, sounds great and looks … well, stunning! The production models have just arrived and they’re every bit as good. (There were also a few made without the inlay, for those shy persons out there.) In my mind this is a $5,000 instrument, but M&M are selling them for less than half of that. Check her out!
Shows coming up:
Thursday, August 10th at Infinity in Norfolk, CT. A wonderful hall with some real history. (Mark Twain stood on that stage!)
Friday, the 11th at the Rubin Museum in New York City. This should be fun! No amplification at all – no plugging anything in, no sound system. And I’m supposed to do at least one song that ties in – in my mind at least – to one of the artworks they have on display. We’ll see how that pans out.
Saturday, the 12th at the Stephen Talkhouse way out on Long Island in Amagansett, a great little club. I haven’t been there for some years and I’m looking forward to this!
Sunday the 13th at 4:00 PM at the Turning Point in Piermont, NY, just over the Tappan Zee Bridge. A Matinee! And in what is probably the most intimate venue I ever get to play.
And on Friday and Saturday, the 24th and 25th, the glorious Shalin Liu Performance Center in Rockport, MA. These are close to sold out, so don’t dawdle.
Come on by. If you can’t attend, send a friend!
All the best,
Quote of the Month: Regarding the dilemma of having to ride herd on a 13 year-old girl, the best advice I got came from a Texan, via Steve McCarty: “When the boys start swarming around, just shoot the first one … the word gets around.”
PS. I’m still rounding up guests for the Symphony Hall show on 12/28. The tickets will go on sale soon after I’m done with that, hopefully in September. Those of you who were part of the Kickstarter campaign already have your seats secured – they’ll be mailed out as soon as the show goes public. TR
I’ve been pounding you pretty hard lately, and I apologize. There’s been a lot going on, with a lot of deadlines. After this I’ll go tend my garden and give you a rest for a while!
Last callfor theKickstarter campaign for the Symphony Hall show on December 28th – 48 hours to go. It closes at 1:23PM EDT on Saturday, May 26th. There will then be a short hiatus before the remaining tickets go on sale at the Symphony Hall box office, where they will be charging an additional $6.25 a ticket. Ticket prices for some sections will also go up, and most of the incentives will no longer be available (though you’ll still be able to get tickets, posters, shirts and CDs on the open market.) But the special seats where you can join the band on stage for the finale (one left), the private concert (one left), and the bundles of seats + posters + tee shirts will be gone forever.http://tinyurl.com/7oar2qq
First call for my show at Passim on Tuesday, June 12th. You have a 48-hour head-start, starting now, and there are only 80 seats. Tickets will go on sale to the general public at noon on the 26th. This is the second in a series of three shows dealing with various stages of my 50 years in music. (The first one, back in March, on The Early Days sold out in a matter of hours.) This show will focus on My Middle Ages; Eric Lilljequist and Dean Adrien will be joining me to talk and sing about the Elektra and Columbia years, and all the madness of the ’70s – or as much of it as we can remember. http://tinyurl.com/7hnc8xj
That’s it! Thanks so much to you Kickstarter supporters – can’t wait to see you at Symphony Hall in December!
All the best,
Quote of the Month: “Gardening is not a rational act.” – Margaret Atwood
Spring Break for the 12 year-old, and yesterday we were in a huge mall somewhere and got split up. Recalling that the Kid said something about bras (it’s unsettling when your little Pumpkin Seed sprouts hairy legs and cleavage – it happens very abruptly), I wandered over to the lingerie section. When Renee called on the cell to ask where I was, I announced, loudly and brightly, “I’m in Women’s Underwear.” Caused quite a stir among the ladies within earshot, the highpoint of my day!
The Kickstarter campaign to fund the Symphony Hall Club 47® concert is off to a great start, thanks to the way you guys jumped in – check it out! I’m optimistic enough that I’ve started building the foundation for the show, recruiting artists who are also great sidemen – the ones who can brilliantly back up other artists when the occasion arises.
So far I have lined up David Bromberg, Buskin & Batteau, Eric Lilljequist and Dean Adrien. Trevor Veitch, my guitar honcho for all those wild years in the ’70s, will be winging in from the West Coast to dazzle us with his sensitivity. The next step will be to expand the list to include some other alumni/ae from previous Club 47® extravaganzas. There will be, of course, some brilliant new faces as well, because this is the heart and soul of the Club 47® experience. Go to the Club 47 web page for an idea of who’s been on board in the past and to get a feel for the history of our Club 47® shows.
The Kickstarter campaign is really the best way to get tickets to this show – better seats, lower price. The Symphony Hall box office will be adding a $6.25 surcharge per ticket once it goes on sale to the public. (If you can’t come to the show, there are still some other compelling goodies to tempt you on board.) If you’re so inclined, it would also be very helpful if you’d post the video on your Facebook wall.
Also in the news: some shows coming up this weekend. Marblehead, MA at the Me & Thee on Friday, 4/27 (they’ve had to reduce their seating capacity to make the Fire Marshal happy, so don’t dawdle on this one); Saturday, 4/28 at the Iron Horse in Northampton (close to sold out last time I talked with them); and Alumni Hall in Haverhill, NH on Sunday, 4/29 – back on my home turf!
Enjoy the spring!
Quote of the month: “Adolescence is when girls experience social pressure to put aside their authentic selves and to display only a small portion of their gifts.” – Mary Pipher
Things are popping around here, but I’ve been too busy with a lost dog issue to tend to the popper. In this household dogs are esteemed members of the family, held in as high regard as any human. (Sometimes higher, depending on what the human has been up to lately. “In the doghouse” can actually be an upgrade.) Suffice it to say that the pup disappeared on Saturday afternoon and wasn’t found until 22 hours later, a mile away, by a friendly neighbor. So Saturday night was sleepless, and Easter was spent plastering the town with fliers, including putting them in mailboxes. I know this is illegal, but I was planning to blame it on our 12 year-old who “didn’t know any better.” Once the dog was found I had to go back around and retrieve them all. The idea of a 12 year-old doing hard time was more than I could bear.
Back to the popping. The REAL BIG NEWS is that we’re making a run at doing a bash at Symphony Hall, Boston, on Friday, December 28th as the Grand Finale for my 50th year on stage. I’m envisioning this as a resounding echo of the shows I used to do there in the early ’80s, lots of guests, lots of fun. Now this is a huge undertaking, but I figure if we can get the folks who are interested involved up front we might be able to pull it off. And here’s how we do it:
There’s a website called Kickstarter.com that is dedicated to raising money for artistic projects – books, works of art, fun software, what have you. And concerts! You set a goal ($100,000 – this is my best guess at a break-even number) and a deadline (47 days, for the old Club 47), and offer rewards for different levels of participation. In this case the obvious reward is tickets to the show, the best seats priced slightly BELOW what they will be once they’re offered to the public. There’s other stuff, too – guitars, CDs, posters, tee shirts and so forth – for folks who can’t get to Boston on 12/28/12. IF we reach our goal by the deadline, then and only then will your credit card be charged. If we fall short the whole thing just disappears. No charges, no rewards, and probably no concert. Check it out atKickstarter.] Get on board if you can!
Also in the news, I’ll be going back to Passim for two more shows, one June and one in September – I’ll give you advance notice as soon as the dates are firmed up. Also, a Canadian outfit, McKenzie & Marr has created a dazzling reincarnation of the Naked Lady guitar that I played throughout the 70’s and ’80s. I do a whole newsletter on her soon, but you can visit her right now at http://www.macmarr.com/store/tom-rush-naked-lady.
One of the cool things about maple syrup is that nobody knows where it comes from. Kind of like subatomic particles, political candidates or the things that teenagers say. Well, actually we know that syrup it comes from maple trees in the form of sap; but what we DON’T know is why the sap flows when it does. Freezing nights and warm days seem to be a prerequisite, an “enabling factor,” as they say, but in no way a guarantee. Some think it’s a southwest wind that turns on the tap, others look to moon phases or barometric fluctuations but it’s all very anecdotal and unscientific. Music seems to have no effect whatsoever. At least mine doesn’t. Maybe they like rap.
Suffice it to say that this year nothing is happening sap-wise, for me at least. All my buckets are bone dry, though other folks are getting a little action. And yes, I did tap maple trees, not pines. (In my youth I used to hang a few buckets on telephone poles just to make people wonder.) Last year, when I didn’t have time for it, there was so much sap that one neighbor told me he just took down his taps after a while because he got tired of all the boiling. This year, nada.
It might be just as well, since I am again girding my loins to go out into the world, to play some shows, perhaps for you! Sellersville, PA on Thursday, 3/22; York, PA on Friday the 23rd; Alexandria, VA (the Birchmere!) on Saturday the 24th; and to round it out, Garwood, NJ, on Sunday, March 25.
Then there’s the “Tom Returns to His Roots at Club 47 to Kick Off His 50th Year on Stage” thing at Passim in Cambridge, MA on Wednesday the 28th. This sold out within hours of my announcing it in the last newsletter, but do not despair!! We’ll be webcasting the show for the unfortunate millions who did not get to pay $100 to be there. (It’s a fundraiser for the New England Folk Music Archives.) For a mere $3 you can be virtually there. Go to http://ConcertWindow.com/Passim and there will be two big sign-up buttons, one for just this show, one for a month’s subscription. (They also do webcasts from other clubs around the country.) The show kicks off at 7:00 PM on Wednesday, March 28th, but the webcast will start about 30 minutes ahead of that to give you time to get your equipment calibrated, the beer properly chilled and so forth.
One caveat: Concert Window is only set up for LIVE webcast – there are no re-runs or archives. So if you forget it, forget it. Also, you cannot sign up in advance, so set your alarm clocks for 6:30PM, Wednesday the 28th. There will be a link to my Facebook page there, and I’ll be checking comments and requests from time to time on stage so that I can reply with appropriate, or inappropriate, retorts.
This is where I’ll be introducing you to a new guitar and, hopefully, be making an announcement about a fantastic Grand Finale to the 50th year. Join me if you possibly can!
All the best,
Quote of the month: “We don’t stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing” – George Bernard Shaw (thanks to Gunnar Baldwin)
I think I’ve figured out why the YouTube clip of the Remember Song has been jet propelled lately (it’s logged about a half-million plays since the first of the year). You guys have been posting the link on your FaceBook pages! This is like having a hit on the radio back in olden times, so after 50 years of dogged slogging I have at last become an overnight sensation. Thank you – and keep up the good work!
In other news, a recent study found that the average American walks about 900 miles a year, while a different study revealed that Americans drink an average of 22 gallons of alcohol annually. I regret to report that I am below average on both of these indices, but if you do the math you will see that Americans get about 41miles to the gallon. Just an average, mind you, actual results may vary, but I thought you should know.
Off to the Rockies this weekend with a film crew in tow, starting the documentary process. They won’t be shooting the shows themselves but picking up “B-roll” footage – tuning guitars, sound checks, talking to folks at the vending table, trying to wheedle my way out of a speeding ticket, stuff like that. Thursday in Crested Butte, Friday in Denver, Saturday in Colorado Springs. Come on by. If you can’t attend, send a friend.
And stay warm!
All the best,
PS. Advance notice: on Wednesday, March 28, I’ll be doing a very special show at Passim in Cambridge, MA, officially kicking off my 50th year by going back to where it all began. (The space that is now Passim was, back then, the Club 47.) Tickets aren’t on sale yet, but mark your calendars. It only seats about 80 people … ‘nuf said.
Quotes of the month:
“Of all vices, drinking is the most incompatible with greatness.” – Walter Scott
“My rule of life, prescribed as an absolutely sacred rite: smoking cigars and also the drinking of alcohol before, after and if need be during all meals and in the intervals between them.” – Winston Churchill
Our landlady recently told me that the bed in our guestroom is the same bed used by Queen Elizabeth and Mick Jagger! Well – I can tell you I was stunned, and more than a bit thrilled to think that I’d been occasionally napping on hallowed, if somewhat sullied, grounds.
I inspected the bed and it seems to have sustained minimal damage. One of the slats is cracked and the bolts need tightening, but other than that it looks like it made it through the ordeal in good shape. I’ve been keeping the place picked up for a while now in case they might return for another go, but so far … nothing. I suspect she might have had enough and frankly I can’t say I blame her. If she’s come to her senses God may have in this instance, in fact, saved the Queen.
What Liz and Mick (I feel so close to them now) were doing at our house – other than the obvious – remains a mystery. Still, I’m thinking of putting a velvet rope across the door and charging $5 for the public to come have a gawk. “Pandering” is such an ugly word – but a fellow’s got to make a living.
Speaking of which, I’m off to Florida in a couple of days to play some shows. Orlando on Thursday,Clearwater on Friday, if it’s Saturday it must be Ft. Lauderdale, and then Sunday in Stuart. If you know anybody in any of those neighborhoods give them a heads-up. Come by yourself, of course, if you’re around.
In other news:
The Remember Song clip on YouTube has roared back to life and sailed past the 5 million mark last night. (It had been lumbering along for quite a while at a mere 500-or-so views per day, now it’s doing about 30,000. I have no idea why.)
The documentary project has also come back to the front burner, now with one Tod Kwait as the Head Chef. (He was also the force behind the Fish Story Song kids’ video.) We will be hitting you all up for memorabilia in the near future – posters, video clips, clandestine recordings, stuff like that. I already have all the albums, most of the 8-track tapes.
This is the kick-off for my 50th year of actually getting paid for making music (something that still astounds me), and I want to thank all of you for making this possible. I started writing a song for the fans once, but never got past “You’re heaven sent / You pay my rent.” Anyway, thank you very, very much, and here’s to the next 50!
Halloween is a very stressful holiday, or whatever it is, for me. With the kids it’s a quasi-religious occasion, and, not wanting to dampen their enthusiasm, I go along with it all, carving pumpkins and baking those nasty little orange cupcakes, pasting on my best smile and enthusing, “Ohhh, this is YUMMY!”
This year my daughter-dictated costume was in the theme of a “Devil Butler.” Black, slicked-back hair, red horns, red moustache, nose ring and tuxedo – nothing that would attract attention.
All the Trick-of-Treating here is done in the center of town – the rest of the hamlet is just too spread out. While waiting for the Kid and her hench-persons to pillage the village I, in all my costumed glory, stopped into the pub to console myself with a quick pint. Before I’d had a chance to consider how to get the foam past my dyed-and-spiked moustache, this woman I’d never seen before in my life comes running up to me and gushes, “Aren’t you Tom Rush?” Lord! What does a guy have to do to blend in?
But all that’s minor stuff in the greater scheme of things. The real trouble is candy. The aftermath.
We live at end of the road, at the top of the hill – no kid would dare come here. But nonetheless we get some candy every year, just in case some poor tyke screws up the courage to confront the great unknown. Of course they never do, and we have a pile of leftover Mars Bars, Skittles, Hershey’s Kisses, on and on. So what is to become of this stuff? I don’t want my family risking their dental health, laying on needless pounds … and think of the triglycerides! On the other hand, I’m from New England and throwing it away is not an option. It’s a real dilemma!
The answer, as in so many things, is, of course, self-sacrifice. I thoughtfully hide it away in various secure locations, and then over time – say, a day or so – when no one is looking, I consume it. I do this only to keep my loved ones from succumbing to temptation, gorging themselves on those vile empty calories, exposing themselves to the above-mentioned health hazards.
But am I appreciated for this selfless act of sacrifice and devotion? No! Words like “Pig!” and “Glutton!” are bandied about, along with dire premonitions about diabetes and heart attacks. But that is precisely the point, you see. I take the bullet for them! I throw myself in front of the onrushing train, pushing them to safety at the last possible second! Someday they will understand. Perhaps next Halloween.
I feel better, having gotten that off my chest. Now down to business. Or play – for me they’re pretty much the same thing. I’m doing a New York tour this weekend: Friday the 11th in Syracuse, Saturday the 12th in Mamaroneck, Sunday the 13th out on the Island at Bayshore.
The following weekend there are just two shows: Saturday the 19th in Chatham, NJ, at the Sanctuary, and Sunday the 20th in Philly at the World Café Live. Come on by or send a friend.
Oh! And the Fish Story Song Video should be available just in time for the holidays – it’s looking great! Little kids and grownups are loving it – it’s too “childish,” or so I’m told, for 12 year-olds.
All the best,
Quote of the month: “This Halloween, the most popular mask is the Arnold Schwarzenegger mask. And the best part? With a mouth full of candy you will sound just like him.” Conan O’Brien