Stumbling across this ridiculous photo today (31 years later), I'm overwhelmed with gratitude for GRANT WOLF, who somehow was able to see past the silly clothes and cocky attitude, and steer this kid onto the right path to a beautiful life in music. Wolf was an inspiring teacher and was one of the first adults to take my jazz aspirations seriously. His encouragement was profoundly important to me at a critical time in my development. I wish he were here so I could thank him.
Here at the Maricopa Cabana, Hoppin' John is one of the ways we celebrate the beginning of a New Year. Traditionally served with cornbread and greens (collard greens, mustard greens, chard, kale or cabbage), the main ingredients in this delicious winter dish are black-eyed peas, rice, chopped onion, country bacon (ham hock or fatback), green peppers and spices. Sassy always adds a little Arizona Gunslinger for an extra kick. Enjoy Hoppin' John on New Year's Day for good luck and prosperity throughout the year.
Be sure to eat your fill: the peas represent coins, the greens are cash, and the cornbread, gold!
Practice what matters. Make each concert better than the last. 10,000 hours, 1,000 true fans, 100 shows. Be a citizen of the world. Make friends everywhere. Strive for authenticity, sincerity, sustainability. Hustle relentlessly. Be a hard workin' dog. Maintain momentum. Stick to your guns: don't get a smart phone. Increase touring income by 50%. Advance every detail of every show. Twice. Release the new album, no matter what. Do what it takes. Stay hydrated, eat right and walk every day. Forget the other guy. Focus on margins, not market share. Learn, earn and return. Give back. Don't neglect the minutia: clean horn, clean house, car in good repair. See the best in people, but be careful. Somehow get health insurance.
It's that time of year! When I file away the holiday music, deposit my seasonal gig income, realize that I once again didn't make enough to buy Christmas presents, and decide to count my blessings anyway.
I'm back from my adventures and it's time for a trip to Higley Hotdog, y'all. How can I express the profundity of my loyalty to this joint? Higley is, for me, what Barney's Beanery was for Columbo, and what the Sand Castle was for Rockford.
Henceforth I ask not good-fortune, I myself am good-fortune, Henceforth I whimper no more, postpone no more, need nothing, Done with indoor complaints, libraries, querulous criticisms, Strong and content I travel the open road. —From Song of the Open Road by Walt Whitman