I started playing guitar in the 9th grade. When I graduated high school in 1967 I moved to California and played in a rock band for a few months. When I quit the band I sold my guitar, got drunk and went to Vietnam. Surprise! I made it home alive. That was it until 1993. After spending about 20 years of my life in deep depression I somehow landed in Fair Park, Dallas, Texas on July 4, 1993. In the afternoon I watched Sammy Kershaw and other country concerts and a military band. That had me feeling pretty good, and I was glad that I stopped. So, I went to the evening rock concerts - and had a blast!
First up was “America”. I have no idea how I remembered those songs. I certainly would not have connected the songs with the band, because those were my darkest years with the least amount of music. Thankfully, they reconnected me with Ventura Highway, A Horse With No Name and Sister Golden Hair.
Next up was “Stephen Stills“. Yeah, the hippie. He played more guitars that night than I even knew existed. For the most part he was the only one with a spot light on him. And, he did great with all of the Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young stuff, and his solo stuff. He has been in numerous bands throughout the years. I think he just gets bored if he is not in the spotlight. But, he is that good.
The show closed with about two and a half hours of a group spotlighted by “Joe Walsh and Don Henley“. From my position out in deep right field I could barely see any of these groups, but their music was the only attraction needed. Joe and Don, of “The Eagles” had that stadium rockin’. I was excited from the first notes of the entire show from “America”. I was simply amazed by the presence of Stephen Stills. And, my mind was blown away by “Joe Walsh and Don Henley”. I do not know if all of the members of “The Eagles” were present that night. But, for my money, it was “The Eagles”. These guys, collectively, have written and recorded my life - period. If you have listened to the “Long Road Out of Eden” the lyrics tell you that they have all matured well.
Needless to say, I liked the show. My entire life changed that night. For the next three months I was on a rock and roll high and just a bee-boppin’ down the highway in my big ol’ 18 wheeler. Within 6 months I was picking on an acoustic guitar. By the end of the year I owned an Ovation electric-acoustic, a Fender Stratocaster, a Gibson Les Paul, and a 60 watt amp. I carried all of them in the truck with me, plus all of my camera equipment. And for an eleven month period I had my youngest son on the truck with me doing home schooling.
Maybe I cannot say that this night brought me out of the hell I was living in, but I can say that it helped make my life worth living. My guitars disappeared by 1997, but I hope to get them back again someday. I actually smile sometimes. And, I learned what the gift of music could have done for me had I stuck with it. I had to work a little to play lead guitar. But, I was writing songs, and I was a natural at rhythm guitar. I was a rock star waiting to shine.
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