the one that got away.

It’s not about a girl….

It’s about a ‘68 Chevy Impala.

I saw this car at a car show in Maine this summer.

This is my dream car….not because of value, but because of nostalgia.

Growing up, we had a ‘68 Chevy Caprice, and it was EXACTLY like this car. I remember a lot of car rides and trips in that car, listening to music (on 8-track) that would end up being such an incredible part of my life.

The car reminds me of my mom and dad, who I miss every day.

The owner was awesome – he let me sit in the car for about 30 minutes, while I put my headphones on and listened to some of the music from my childhood….it was fantastic to go back.

The owner called me last week to see if I’d be interested in buying it, for what was a very reasonable price.

If I had a garage, this car would be mine….it does not deserve to sit out in the elements.

I hope whoever buys this gives it the TLC it deserves.

for “miss vitriol 2019”…

“I’m still standing, better than I ever did. Looking like a true survivor, feeling like a little kid.”

I won’t mention you by name, but I will respond to your venomous comments, because I doubt you will see this anyway.

Yes, I love music – I don’t sit in with other bands to say “Look at me!”…it’s a great way of networking and learning, and it doesn’t matter to me if there’s an audience. And I truly enjoy when people sit in on my gigs…in fact, i ENCOURAGE IT. People sitting in is pretty much a given when you play in a wedding band, and if the late Larry Hoppen hadn’t sat in with my band, I wouldn’t have had the opportunity to play with Orleans. So yes, that’s how I feel about it.

As for why I sang at Ellen’s Stardust Diner in NYC – on the night of our wedding (you know, the day you came to our Today Show wedding and mugged for the camera), we went to Ellen’s for dinner, and the manager invited me to sing that night. When Jenn and I went back for our first anniversary, I was INVITED to sing again, and it was something that meant a lot to Jenn. So incredibly sorry that it didn’t meet with your approval. (Enjoy the sarcasm…it’s free.)

I actually thought that we had a genuine mutual interest in music, and that’s why I invited you to gigs, not for your approval or because I would think we were “besties” – I know you think highly of yourself, but I’ll ask you the same question….SERIOUSLY?!??

You won’t have to worry about this “lowly musician” being in your vicinity….if this was your reaction to someone who was trying to apologize, I don’t even want to know how you’d react to somebody ripping you a new one.

Just remember – the people you step on while you’re climbing up are the same people you see when you come crashing down. Enjoy the ivory tower…I hear it gets really lonely up there.

onteora.

“You take the high road, and I’ll take the low.

It’s time that we parted much better so.”

B’Bye, OCS.

Although I’m proud to be an alum, and I’ve participated in a few Homecoming events, I have more bad memories than good ones, and it’s not a part of my life anymore. Being on social media with a lot of my former classmates made me feel like I was back in high school, and I don’t want to feel that way EVER again. No more reunions, no more alumni gigs, no more anything. I have my few friends with whom I’m still in touch….that’s more than enough. I wish my classmates well, but unless it includes ice skating in Hell, I have no reason whatsoever to go back for anything Onteora related. I’m DONE.

for unlawful carnal knowledge.

Thank you, Van Halen.

Thank you for naming your album with the acronym of one of my favorite curse words in the English language.

I used to be so afraid of using vulgarity…..FUCK THAT.

I used to be so worried about people looking down on me condescendingly if I used a curse word…..FUCK THEM.

It’s nice to hear “great job” or “nice performance” during a gig, but any ol’ skool jazz or R&B musician will tell you straight up that there is no greater compliment than “Man, you played that shit like a motherfucker!” (I get goosebumps just WRITING that.)

I guess I’ve lightened up as I’ve gotten older, and stopped caring as much about what people think…and if you’ve got a problem with that, (fill in the blank….it’s pretty obvious.)

Being 50? It’s fucking awesome.

it’s truly all about the music.

There are two types of teenage boys that start playing in rock bands….the guys who do it to impress girls, and the guys who try to act like they didn’t do it to impress girls.

I TOTALLY started playing in a band for this reason, and I offer no apologies. In high school we tried to impress our peers and be popular, and this was a great way to do it….in college, it was pretty much the same, except the girls had sorority sweaters, and there was always the smell of beer in the bars in which we played. In my 20’s through my early 30’s, it became about impressing older musicians and trying to get my foot in the door for a great gig.

I was lucky – when I was 31, I ended up getting a regular gig with Pat Cerello and the All-Night Band up in North Jersey. It was in this band, working with top-notch musicians that I realized just how much it could be about (and should be about) the music. I was truly lucky to work with sidemen from Hall & Oates and The Rolling Stones while working with the ANB, and being the young pup in the band made me grow up a LOT faster! There wasn’t a song I could name that these guys didn’t know or didn’t know how to play…..for each and every gig, I had to bring my A+ game! And that’s when it became about the music – I learned how to listen to a song in five or six different ways, so I could better appreciate the harmonies, the melodic structures, and the instrumentation. I’ll be damned if I know the lyrics to a Steely Dan song, because there’s so much happening besides the lead vocals on their albums!

This was a blessing….sadly, Pat is no longer with us, but I can say without a doubt that this experience changed my life – I have a tremendous passion for music now, because I love to listen to and truly appreciate songs that I ignored when I was younger. And yes, 50-year-old me would probably smack the crap out of 16-year-old me for being so clueless about what I was listening to, and what I thought that I knew everything about!

PC – thank you for “saving my life”, by teaching me that it’s all about the music. Love you and miss you, my friend. ❤️

Yup.

L Train.

This nickname was given to me by Jeff Butash, when we worked together at Prudential Investments in 1997. I had all but forgotten about it for 22 years.

This spring, I started playing with the Ryan Forrester Band in the DC region, and I decided to bring this nickname back. As this band has some incredibly badass musicians, it feels a lot better to be known as “L Train” than Lane Stowe. I know I’m no Gordon Sumner or Patsy McLenny (Google it), but it’s feels really cool when I’m on a set break, and I overhear someone say “That L Train guy grooves his ass off!”

So unless I’m singing in church or at a funeral, I now go by L Train when I’m performing….and if you call me Lane on a gig, I will not answer.

I’m 50…..deal with it.

The Ryan Forrester Band!

purple.

Prince.

Grape soda.

Barney. (OK, maybe that’s pushing it.)

Purple……I don’t have any bad feelings about purple…..from a music and color point of view, I always hear a Gb Major 7th chord in my head when I think about purple, but I digress….purple is very peaceful and serene, and there’s something truly badass about seeing deep purple used in artwork or design.

Why am I talking about purple? Because its the combination of red and blue. And after all of the red-state/blue/state arguing and finger pointing, I’d rather stick a fork in my eye than watch a second of the 24/7/365 “news programs” that do nothing but stir the pot and make the two sides more fired up against each other. Ask yourself, are we the United States of America or the Divided States of America? How did we go from being so unified after 9/11 to being so angry and hostile? The divide gets wider every day….I already dread the election process next year, because it truly brings out the worst in people.

So I’m happy to feel purple – the unified color of red and blue. we have so many colors and backgrounds in this country, and here we are in 2019 acting like it’s still 1955. I sincerely hope there’s more purple in this country by 2024 and beyond, and that it doesn’t take something as tragic as 9/11 to make that happen.

kenny rogers was spot on.

“You gotta know when to hold ’em

Know when to fold ’em

Know when to walk away

And know when to run.”

This is the perfect description of how I currently feel about social media. After 10 years of Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and Snapchat, I had enough. I had nearly 2,800 “friends” – people from grade school through college, former work colleagues, neighbors, musician contacts, you name it….but I still didn’t feel a connection of having any close friendships strictly on social media. I remember being at my 30th high school reunion two years ago, and the conversations didn’t start with “How have you been?”….they all started with “Hey, I saw on Facebook the other day that……..”

When people leave social media, do we truly miss them, or do we miss being entertained by them? This was my “come to Jesus” moment….how many opportunities for real friendship did I miss because I was constantly posting and chatting? Although it would be very easy and cliche to say that I gave this all up just because I turned 50. I had been thinking of leaving for quite a while, and it was actually the vitriol of a former friend that was the deciding factor. (That’s a whole other post waiting to be written. Stay tuned.)

Here’s what cracks me up – if you leave social media for longer than two weeks, people think you’ve died. They’ve forgotten the ability to pick up a phone and call (ironic, as they’re on a smartphone), or e-mail or write a letter….have we become that dependent (lazy?) that we can only communicate on social media platforms?

Although I haven’t completely deleted my accounts, I’ve deactivated them, and I have no idea when/if I’ll ever use them again. Jenn says that I’m “more present and in the moment, and less distracted” being off of social media, and I’ll add to that that I feel less excluded and less stressed….that makes it all worthwhile.

This blog is so that I can still have an outlet to express my thoughts and my feelings, and not deal with the “IMHO” responses like when you post on Facebook and Twitter. Just a heads-up….my language might not always be rated PG, so if you don’t like it, don’t read it! This is a gift to myself….after 50 years of feeling insecure, of worrying about getting approval, and focusing on my failures and not seeing successes, this is where I’m gonna say how I REALLY feel.

Thanks for coming along for the ride.