Earning Respect


I think it's true that you have to earn people's respect.

You can't demand it. You can't guilt them into respecting you. You can't convince them that you deserve their respect.

You earn it by your actions, by the quality of your words and your actions.

Yesterday I played a show in Minneapolis at a big neighborhood arts festival.

First of all, they earned my respect yesterday because the scene they created was vital and fresh.

Rob and I walked around before and after our performance and everywhere as far as the eye could see there was live music and bright displays of original art.

The people looked happy and they looked healthy.

There were lots of people on bicycles. Lots of people with tattoos, some of them beautiful and original.

There were lots of hair colors and hair cuts that were creative too.

It was not as diverse a crowd racially as I prefer, but hopefully Mpls is heading more in that direction.

So, for the most part, NE Minneapolis had my respect last night, for sure.

What is wonderful and new for me in this city is that I had their respect last night as well.

Ah, to feel appreciated.

I felt appreciated last night for my musical performance. Rob felt it too.

It was a singer/songwriter/roots/americana primarily older white crowd at the venue where I was invited to play.

There were five bands on the bill I think.

Often those other musicians give me feedback after my performances that is insult thinly veiled as compliment.

I always dread talking to any of them after I play.

But this time it was different.

I could hear the appreciation in their voices.

I could hear their respect for what we had done.

I know a songwriter in this city who has made twice as many albums of original songs as I have made.

He writes often on social media that he doesn't get enough appreciation in his hometown for his music.

It's a constant lament of his.

But all of his lamenting only makes his people respect him less.

My dad was like Rodney Dangerfield, the old comedian who used to complain that he couldn't get any respect.

My dad would yell at me, "I'm your father and you need to show me some respect!"

I was nine years old when I responded for the first time what became my standard answer, "A person has to earn another person's respect."

I would say that and then run before I got hit.

I thought it was a brilliant statement then, and I still think so now.

A songwriter cannot yell at the audience to shut up and listen to him sing.

A father cannot yell at his child to demand respect and get it.

I could not get the respect of my peers in Minneapolis until I gave a performance that they could feel for themselves to be worthy.

Last night was a musical breakthrough for me.

Rob and I felt appreciated for the performance we gave.

The performance was worthy of appreciation.

The respect we felt from the audience was real and honest and the feedback we got afterwards was real and honest, and positive.

Hallelujah.

I love New York City

 

I LOVE NYC.

I can get perspective on my self in New York.

I have a ritual of buying the Sunday New York Times and reading as much of it front to back as time allows on a given Sunday.

If I'm in Europe I usually can't get a hold of an American version of the Sunday NYTs, and that's a total bummer, because the issue they put out in Europe is an international version that is very thin and doesn't include any of the coolest stuff.

But when I'm in America, I find it, I buy it, and I sit down and read it.

All these years of Sundays with the New York Times has taught me many things, but one of those things is that I love thinking of myself as a player on the world stage.

I love thinking of myself as a citizen of the world.

I love thinking about all the people who made mention on any given Sunday as my peers in the world of doers.

I look at the pictures, I read the articles, I think about the people.

Refugee, athlete, politician, banker, business owner, writer, artist.

I am their comrade in the Great Struggle.

On a rare occasion when I find myself in the midst of it all in Manhattan, the teeming madness of all levels of education, privilege, hardship, brilliance and insanity, all swirling around me, and I myself a contributor, an agent of my own personal brand of message and movement, in these moments I am lifted by the Spirit and I catch a glimpse of that which is profound in our collective motion.

I get on that god forsaken subway train, screeching with overuse and declining age, screaming out it's need of improvement, and I ride with every other Human taking the risk, once again, taking the leap of Faith, to be part of the New York experience.

It is gritty and it is intense.

You see a young girl sitting across from you on the subway from Brooklyn to Manhattan, or from SoHo to the Upper West Side, with gorgeously tended luxurious long blonde hair, flawless skin, the "J'adore Dior" wide strap cross body bag in white with gold lettering emblazoned across her slim chest; a teenage girl carrying a purse that costs twenty-five hundred dollars. You are disgusted? You are overjoyed to revel in the spectacle of her rare fresh beauty?

You see a filthy young man, grimy with the black soot of the streets, of the subway, with a big tabby cat in a dog harness, chained to a filthy bed pillow, a cardboard sign saying something about needing to buy cat food. You wonder whether people are calling social services for the young man, maybe as young as seventeen. You wonder whether anyone has called an animal rescue. You wonder if the NYPD take the animals away and bring them to a shelter.

The New York experience is alive and well if you want to partake.

It has not died, it has not moved elsewhere.

In New York, I heard so many young people speak of "changing the world for the better", "making the world a better place", that I believed them, I believed in them, I believed it was possible.

In New York you see the worst of who we are and the best of what we could still become, if we have time.

New York City is the capital of the world and I am and always will be one of it's grateful honorary citizens.

This photo is Sheep's Meadow, Central Park, New York City, May 18, 2018.

Momming it up

 

I am momming it up big time in NYC this week.

I am staying with one of my daughters, in her room with her in Williamsburg.

My son is graduating and there are festivities for two whole days.

I am basking in the glory of seeing all of my three children graduated from college now.

Wow.

I know that I have played my cards very close to my chest these past ten years, and that many of the people who have supported my music and my artistic career haven't been aware that I was also raising three children at the same time that I was making albums and touring.

It's fun for me to be enjoying the fruits of all of these long years of concerted effort on the home front and out in the world.

This graduation week is the end of an era but the beginning of a whole new life for myself and for my family.

Love to all.

hang on for the ride

My summer season is about to kick off!

Tomorrow, NYC.

Two separate trips to Chicago for performances in June.

LA at the end of June.

A North Country Tour in a 1970 camper van to play concerts from Lake Vermilion to Grand Marais in early July.

Germany for outdoor concerts, streetfests, beachfests, beer garden fests, the first three weeks of August.

I am interested to see how this all shakes out, personally, musically, and financially.

Full speed ahead.

 

Mother's Day

Mother's Day is today. I like it. I'm happy about it.

My mother is coming over to this sweet little house and I'm making a quiche.

Nina is here and she made some muffins with fresh raspberries and sour cream.

Rob is making mimosas.

My mother will be her usual self I'm sure. Smile face.

You've seen the front porch, but now I have the back little patio set up with umbrellas and outdoor furniture from my past life.

It looks fun out there too.

This is a fun place to live, that's for sure.

I'm grateful to be here and grateful to have a mom and a daughter on hand to celebrate the day with me. And a Rob too.

This week I go back to NYC for my son's graduation and Justin Trudeau is giving the commencement speech which is going to be awesome.

I'll sleep on an air mattress in my daughter's room in Brooklyn for three nights.

It is totally worth whatever discomfort must be endured.

I will make a pilgrimage up to Central Park.

When I went to New York four years ago, I thought I might never come back to Minneapolis.

In truth, I hoped I would never have to come back.

I love putting the past behind me.

And my time in New York was the greatest freedom I have ever known.

Two of my children were there, and Ava came out very often to visit, so everyone was always around.

But I went there to work at being a full time independent artist.

That part of it I found to be impossible.

I did a lot.

I made many inroads into the music industry that are some of my most valuable relationships now.

I toured the East Coast extensively and I made a kick ass rock record called "Red Letter Day".

I also had long hours to walk with my little dog in Central Park.

I walked The Ramble almost every morning.

Often we sat with a coffee and a croissant at the little cafe in the park and watched the other dogs and their owners.

We walked to the statue of Balto and I would read out loud to my dog the plaque with the story of how Balto saved the children of Nome, Alaska when the vaccine had to be brought through by dogsled.

Central Park was my moment of freedom in this life of mine.

I may never again feel as free as I did then, single, unencumbered, for the first time in almost thirty years living alone.

But strangely, and I didn't predict this at all, I felt frightened and lonely too.

New York didn't throw open all of it's doors and roll out the red carpet for me.

I felt isolated in my pursuit of a viable music career.

That feeling persisted and worsened as my money ran low, and then ran out.

I stayed, living off a line of credit, hoping my ship would come in.

In the eleventh hour I had no choice but to go back to Minneapolis, where I could figure out a way to live and keep going with my promising but not fulfilled dream.

So, I came back.

I knew I could live with my mother, but I also knew that might be too hard on both of us.

Rob said I could live at his house.

I said, "Okay, but just until I can figure out what to do next."

Well, here we are at Mother's Day two years later and I'm so grateful to still be here.

I have a clear mind and I am light hearted.

I have cast out much of the darkness that has plagued me most of my life.

All three of my children are unencumbered by the dark discouragements I have felt so often.

I see their light.

They are the great gifts of my struggles.

Thank God I was able to be firm with them, I was able to be kind to them, I was able to encourage them.

Thank God I didn't ruin them with the bad habits I knew so well but forced myself to gradually unlearn.

I successfully protected them from my darkest self.

When I couldn't protect them from it, I tried as hard as I could to make up for it.

And to their credit, through their parents' divorce and their mother's financial upheaval, they were true to themselves, true to their own courses.

They are individuals forged of their own steel.

I honor them this day.

They are the greatest gifts I have ever known.

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