Monday, February 5, 2018

Dreams in action

Here we are, already into 2018 and hurdling ahead like no tomorrow.
This year has taken off with a blast, and despite the News outlets determination to bring about
the end of the world, things seems to be going along just as they always do....

I am alive and well and on the road in Germany with Ruf Records "Blues Caravan Tour".
Ruf Records has been doing this tour for years and it features 3 artists and a rhythm section
on tour, playing each others music and spreading the gospel of the Blues town by town.
I have always wanted to run away with the Caravan, but the time was never quite as right
as it was this year. When Thomas Ruf asked me and my manager to be involved in this years Caravan, we both agreed it was time. But little did we know how special this event would actually be.

2018 is the 20th anniversary of the passing of the great Luther Allison.
Luther Allison is my absolute hero in the Blues. His music changed my life and his energy
and love for his fans has inspired me to take up his torch and give 110% all of the time, no matter what.  His famous motto "Leave your ego, Play the music, Love the people" is tattooed on my right forearm.  Words to live by indeed.

Bernard Allison is the real deal, and has been for decades. I opened for Bernard in Omaha, Ne. in 2006 and we hit it off instantly. I have loved Bernard's work as well, his "Higher Power" album is an absolute must for Blues Rockers.  When I was told that Bernard would be coming back to Ruf Records and joining me on the Blues Caravan, I was ecstatic. When Thomas Ruf told us he was releasing a new Luther Allison Box Set commemorating the 20th Anniversary of his passing and that the 2018 Blues Caravan would be centered around performing and celebrating Luther's music.....
I was over the moon!

What a dream come true for a guy like me. Who would've thought all those years ago living in South St. Louis, listening to Ruf Records of Luther Allison would I be on tour with the mans son, performing his music every night all over the world......WOW is all I have to say.
I have been nothing but humbled by this opportunity in my life.

Bernard and I share a common bond, we both LOVE his Daddy's music and what he was about.
We have known each other for years, but really never had much of a chance to play together until now. We knew it would be good, but maybe not this good. We have a chemistry that doesn't happen everyday. We don't talk about it, we don't discuss it, it just happens and we laugh while we are playing. We have so much fun, it looks like we are little kids.  He will tell me sometimes after the show that it almost sounded like James Solberg and his Father, quite a compliment.
We truly enjoy playing together, for me it is probably the best I have ever played with another guitarist. We just fit and compliment each other.

The Caravan is not complete without a new artist, eager to step out on the scene.
Vanja Sky is a 22 year young lady from Zagreb, Croatia. She learned to play the Blues and Guitar from an old man in a wheel chair in Zagreb who sat outside and played all day.
She has a very good voice and is a strong singer. I had the honor of producing her debut album on Ruf and I was most impressed with her songwriting. She has some of the standard fair we all bring to the Blues table, some good rocking Blues ala SRV and a great cover of Rory Gallagher's Bad Penny,
but for me her slower ballads are deeper than usual. She has a sadness in some of the songs that is very real and haunting. She is a great newcomer for the tour and brings a freshness to the show.

The rhythm section this year is intense and honestly so good. Roger Inniss from the UK is on the Bass guitar and he is something else. Roger has done many Caravan tours before, so he knows how to handle to load of dealing with three artists, and he does so with ease and class. He is a groove-meister with a lot of soul. Mario Dawson hales from Bernard's band on the drums. He jumped in with both feet and seriously lays the groove down. He is strong and rocking and has killer chops for days, but he can swing with the best of them. He also smiles all night long, which is a great quality in a drummer. Roger and Mario are super fun and have this great positive energy they bring to the stage every single night.

There are no egos in this group. No one is a primadonna, everyone works hard to lift each other up
and bring out the best in the group.  I think it is because it is based around Luther Allison and his music. It's not really about us, we do our thing, but the greatness comes when we play the Masters music and share our love for him. The audiences here in Germany have eaten it up.
Luther is a legend in Europe and the love is still so strong today.

I cannot thank my friend Thomas Ruf enough. He started this record label 30 years ago more or less
with Luther Allison. He has kept the fire burning and shares stories with me of he and Luther's travels and touring together. He tells me "I learned everything I know from the Chicago man."
His love and devotion to Luther Allison's Legacy is awe inspiring.
He loves him and misses his friend.

I just wanted to share with you where I am at and what I am doing, as I always do.
I am one of the fortunate few, I am living my dream in action.
The good Lord has blessed me beyond necessity and I am eternally grateful. I play this music
with all my heart, every night and we bring the joy to the people, just as Luther would want.

I haven't had this much fun playing music before, and I think Bernard would say the same,
other than playing with his Daddy.

Peace, Love, Zito



Tuesday, January 9, 2018

Breathing

Happy 2018!
I hope you had wonderful holidays with your families and friends.

When I got clean and sober in 2003, I had no idea how to live.
I had no idea how to function in life without being a thief, a liar, and a cheat.
I was very uncomfortable in my own skin.
I came to understand that I had a serious personality problem and was highly insecure.
Through time and hard work I began to understand who I was and how to live in society.
I began looking people in the eyes when I spoke to them and slowly became comfortable
with the sound of my own voice.  This has been an ongoing process for the past 14 years
and everyday I become more at ease with myself.

Playing music once I became sober was even harder.
I could hear ALL of the music. I could hear my "mistakes", others "mistakes".....
I could hear everything. There was nothing to hide behind anymore.
I had to learn how to perform and play my instrument all over again.
What sounded good to me in the past did not sound as good now and what began to sound
very good to me, I was not very good at.  I would get frustrated with myself easily and with others.
I also noticed that when I played my guitar......I held my breathe.

This was a HUGE awakening for me.
As soon as I stopped singing and began playing the guitar as a solo instrument, I held my breathe.
I held it all the way until I was finished or I could not hold it anymore.
The music did not flow out of me, it was stifled and stiff and choppy.
I couldn't understand why, I don't think I ever did this before......which is probably true.
If I was drunk, I was loose and carefree so it just all kinda came out. I was not so concerned with
how it all sounded, I just played what I felt because I had no inhibitions.
I tried to not hold my breathe when I played and it was awkward and out of rhythm.

I began to notice that I held my breathe a lot.
When others talked and I wanted to interrupt......I held my breathe.
When I had sex......I held my breathe.
When I prayed.......I held my breathe.
When I did not get my way.......I held my breathe.
I literally held my breathe almost all of the time, except when I needed air so bad I would let go and breathe....but only when it was do or die.

It was a revelation. It changed my life. I realized that it was me, I don't do anything until it's do or die.
I was so stubborn and self centered and rebellious that I couldn't even breathe properly until it might kill me to not do so. Everything slowly began to make sense.
I was not partaking in the miracle of life, I was holding my breathe like a spoiled child until I got my way......and I have no idea what I thought I wasn't getting.

So.....I began to play my guitar and breathe. It was like starting all over from the beginning.
I practiced breathing and playing. I would continue to hold my breathe onstage, but I was more mindful of it now and when I did catch myself, I would let the air out and take big breathes while I was playing. It changed everything. I began to play slower and more melodic. I began to take my time and not be in such a hurry, mostly because I could not be in a hurry with my simple, slow breathing. I did this with everything in my life, When I listened to others I diligently took slow, easy breathes in tempo. When I prayed, I would breathe slowly and deeply. It affected everything in the most positive and peaceful way.  My life began to change.......but this is one paragraph that is sharing 14 years of a process that is still ongoing.
I still hold my breathe everyday, but I am much more aware of this and I let go and breathe deep when I realize what I am doing. Slowly over a period of time, I breathe more easily and maybe more than I hold my breathe.

I have learned so much from breathing.
Air is life and without it we are dead.  I have to take part in the breathing process whether I want
to or not. My body will fight my mind on this one and do it all by itself when I am not looking.
This air is all around me and I cannot see it, but I am in the middle of it all of the time and I am breathing it in and out to stay alive.  When I breathe and realize the process, I am overcome with peace and calm. When I apply breathing to making love, the love comes through me.
When I apply breathing to playing my guitar, the music flows through me.
Love is like air, it is all around me, it is what this world is made of. Love is the 5th dimension.
When I let love into my heart and share that love with the world around me, I am taking part in the world and the world is taking part in me. When I cut myself off from the love, I am cut off. I am on my own, choking and gasping. I can't feel the energy and I have nothing to share. The music does not come from me, it comes from the Love. If I hold my breathe and play my guitar, it starts out ok but ends badly with a bunch of notes that make no sense. It doesn't move you and it serves no purpose other than my ego. When I breathe and let go and play what comes through me, I will become more open to what the Love wants to share. When the Love is shared through the music, you can feel it and it I can feel it and we have an other worldly experience. This is true with all of life.
Playing music isn't important, the Love is important.
Breathing is important, it saves my life every second.
When I stop breathing, I begin to die.
I am cut off of the Love, the air that flows through us all.

This may all sound very hokey and cheesy to some of you and maybe even silly,
but not to me. I used to idolize Jimi Hendrix, Miles Davis, SRV, and others for being crazy on drugs
and alcohol when they played music, thinking they were "otherworldly".
But I realize today, they were trying to find the Spirituality in the music, to play from somewhere
other than themselves. It's in the air, it's all around us, we just have to be open to accepting the Love.
The drugs and alcohol do not work, not in the long run. They might open your mind at first,
but they will only go so far and they will stop working if you use them long enough.

The deeper, more narrow path is spiritual. It is where the true Love can be found.
It all begins with breathing.

I try not to judge myself today, I play what I feel.
I breathe and let it go and be of service to the Higher Love.

Peace, Love, Zito















Tuesday, December 19, 2017

Faith, Hope and Love

We had a great midwest tour these past few weeks and it really hit home how
lucky I am to be playing music and having all these folks coming out to see me and the band.
The guys in the band have been working hard all year and it's paying off with a big sound and a lot of fun.  But it's mostly because of the fans and friends who come out and support us.

I remember meeting Tab Benoit when I opened for him in 1998 at the Broadway Oyster Bar in St. Louis, Mo.  I had been listening to his records and I wanted to do what he was doing so bad.
I had my cd released "Blue Room" and was playing gigs with the guys in the band all around the area. I walked up to Tab and said "Man, I want to do what you're doing. How do I do it? How do I get to do what you're doing? Please tell me...." He took a sip of his drink and looked at me and said
"Looks like you're already doing it to me."
He was right, I just didn't know it cause it was right in front of me. I was playing every night, playing my music and the music I wanted to play, selling my cd off the stage.
Then he told me the most important thing...."Just get out there man. Get out on the road. It takes about 20 years from what I can see. It's the 20 year plan. You get out there and tour for the next 20 years and don't stop and people will know who you are and you get to keep playing guitar."

That made sense to me, it still does.
I knew I was never gonna just become "famous", I wasn't going to suddenly have fame and fortune
and that has never been my motivator.  I want to play my guitar, just like he said.
I came from a working class family and I wanted to work, I just wanted to work holding my guitar.
Thats all that mattered to me.  So I had faith that this man was telling me the truth.
It was working for him, it could work for me.

Faith without works is dead.  You can't just believe, you have to do the work in front of you.
I do not believe God to be a carnival show or magician that does tricks at my whim.
I also do not believe that God has any concern or care if I am a musician or a doctor or a custodian.
That does not matter, it's how I treat other people that matters.  I am the one who wants to play
the guitar, God wants me to love and care for others.  I have learned that if I do the work, if I show
up and talk to the people, share love with the people, listen to the people, give myself to the people
.......I get my reward, I get to play my guitar.

I played a lot of shows over the years. Many shows to empty rooms and small bars, but I played nonetheless.  Just like many of you have gone to work and it was just ok that day, it was just the work, but you continue to go to work and do your job. Thats what I have learned to do with my music.  Do the job, go to work, show up. All along I have had faith that it would pay off.
All along I have had my guitar in my hands, day in, day out.

Nothing has changed over the past 20 years. Except that more people come out and it's way more fun
when you are all there. If you are not there, then we are just practicing for when you arrive.

I am so thankful for all of you. This is my dream come true. What a wonderful life to be the one to
entertain you for a few hours a night. I promise I will continue to work hard, to get better,
and to do the work.

I know that we are all made in the image of of God, and that image is Love.
Not what we look like, but what we are on the inside, pure love.
Love is the energy of the Universe.

Thanks for bringing the energy this year!
We will bring the Joy in 2018

Peace, Love, Zito

Friday, November 24, 2017

Happy Thanksgiving

Happy Thanksgiving!

I may be a day late on the calendar, but it's ok to give Thanks again today.
I am currently on tour in France with my group and our tour manager and things are going well.
It has been a very nice tour meeting new friends and playing music.
It never ceases to amaze me how far the Blues can take you in this world, quite literally if you allow it.  All of my musician friends are looking for their path, trying to find their footing so to speak.
When I let the Blues become a part of my life and my music, I become a part of a greater movement.
I did not create this music from scratch, I am a witness and a bearer of truth.
When I allow the greater good to take over and lead me, the outcome is so much larger than my single mind could imagine. It's like this with all of us all of the time in all of our work and lives.
We have a choice to be singular in movement or join the river that runs wide and deep.
When I let go and join the movement I begin to trust the Greater will at work.
I have my own ideas and my own will, but it is very controlling and when it is not met with perfection, I suffer. My expectations of life get in the way of the truth.
If I made all of the rules and my way was made true, I would know the ending all of the time and no Magic would take place, it would be 2 dimensional. But when I trust the Greater will and leave room for Magic, I become a witness as well and I am amazed at the outcome.
I know this all seems a little too much so early in the morning, but thats usually the best time for creative thinking......early in the morning. My mind is not yet plugged into the world as we know it and I am not yet concerned with the plans and obligations of the day yet....I am still a little bit free.
When the day gets going and I jump in with two feet it is much harder to get back to the creative free thinking mind, I am attached by noon.  More and more I am trying to not make all of the decisions in my life. I am trying to make an outline, a blueprint for what is necessary to be responsible to my Earthly life but leave room for Magic.  I try not to dot all of "I's" and cross all of the "T's".
I am very thankful for my life. I am thankful for my wife and best friend in this world, Laura and for my children and family. My family is the most important thing to me. I am thankful for my music and my manager and my record label and my agents and tour managers and certainly to the musicians who share their talent with me and my music. I am thankful for you. You who support me on this endeavor, buy my music and my goods and help me to stay focused and support my creativity. None of this would be possible without you.  Life is fun when we have an open mind and a purpose, even if the purpose is the be helpful and kind today to those around us, that is the ultimate purpose. What we do in between is really what we want to do. 

"I believe that the only true religion consists of having a good heart."
His Holiness the Dalai Lama

Happy Thanksgiving!

Peace, Love, Zito




Thursday, November 2, 2017

Always do your best

Well, I don't know about you but I went to Catholic School and heard "Always do your best" pretty much all the time. (Along with, always do your best or you're going to Hell....but thats another story.)
I kid the Catholics because I can and they can take it, they're built for it.

I was very fortunate to go to private school my entire young life considering the most money my Father ever made was $33,000 in one year, and that was after 38 years of employment.
I was encouraged much more than I was discouraged.
The teachers were personal and the education was way above par. I was a bit "Class Clown" and talked way too much in class, so I got in trouble often but never for anything serious.
I did well in school until High School where I spent way too much time goofing off and entertaining the classrooms than doing the actual work.  I was smart enough to get by and pass the tests but rarely turned in the homework or did a fair job. I can honestly say that I did not always do my best.
I could've done much better, but my parents did not expect much from me. They were old and tired
and just wanted to get me through so they could take a nap. They were not bad parents, just older people from another time and we were fairly poor, so as long as I graduated I could get a job and pay the bills and that would be good enough. My mother did always tell me to do my best.
She told me that everyday in our lives together. When I told her I had done something wrong, she'd asked me "Did you rob a bank?" and when I said no she'd say "Well it couldn't be that bad then dear, just do your best next time." So there you go.....as long as I wasn't a bank robber, I would be fine in life. I did not do my best at much except music and acting. I loved music and I loved acting and entertaining and that is where I did my best. I had no skills whatsoever, no teachers to show me the way, no formal education in the subjects at all. I just had a strong desire in my heart to play music and to entertain. I was in every theatrical performance in my high school, 16 productions in 4 years. The most that any "male" had ever done in the history of the school. I graduated high school with a whopping 1.6 grade point average and a scholarship/grant for theater to college.
That is insane. In on area I was way below average and in another area I was way above average and no one seemed to take the time and figure this out for me and help find balance along the way.
It is no ones fault, again my parents never dreamed in a million years that being a professional musician or actor was even a remote possibility. They were very simple and lived through the Great Depression and World War 2, much different people that just wanted to get by and go to work. If you had a job and food on the table, that was very good. They lived through a time when both were hard to find and it made a mark on them the rest of their lives.

None the less I continued to devote all of my time to learning to play music and entertain and it continued to befuddle my parents. They were not opposed, they just did not understand.
I was not the most gifted individual born with unique otherworldly talents and understanding beyond my years, I was if anything below the average line, but I had such a strong desire to do these things since the moment I was born, I couldn't help but always do my best.

I have learned through years of working harder than I have ever worked in my life that the only way to ever really do your best, is to do something you love. Do something that does not seem like work to you. Talent is biased, some have it and some do not, and some have just enough to learn and get better and develop. This development is the most important of all. It is the true desire and commitment.  Once this commitment is made, it is very rarely unbroken. Even if a person gives up their hopes and dreams and does something else in life, they never forget the loss and usually are not satisfied with the choices they have made. It will haunt them forever.
Success is doing something you love.  Even if you are not the best, you will be better than most and rewarded because of the commitment and the desire. When I play music, I am in Heaven. It is not about the financial success, it is about the feeling I get when I play my instrument and sing my songs. I would do that for free and still be very happy. (Do not tell any club owners this please!)

This commitment is ground rule for everything in life on planet Earth.
If I can make the same commitment I have made to music with other aspects of my life, I will have the same results, success.  When I made the commitment to my wife Laura and our marriage, it became very successful. Sometimes saying "I do" is not the total commitment. It takes time to understand and process. Some people get married for no reason at all, they just think they're supposed to.....they don't really know why and they're not sure if they want to, but they do it anyway. They do the same thing with a job. They take a job and work there for a long time and they don't really like it very much. They don't like the person they married very much either. So they don't really ever do their best, they just kinda go along half-ass and give about 60% all of the time.
60% does not get much back in return, there isn't much reward in those kind of numbers.

Bottom line, is the difference between "Have to" and "Want to".
When I look at my job and think I "have to" do this, it's gonna suck.
When I see my partner and think "I have to love this person"....not really love.
This desire I have embraced for music in my life has taught me to go for it all. Whats the point of giving 60% to anything, that is such a waste of time.
When I "Want to" love my wife, man I love her with all of my heart 100%.
So I married a woman that I had the desire to marry. The person that would challenge me and make me work hard and do my best all of the time. I may not have had the natural talent for being a great husband at first, but I had the desire to be a great husband. I wanted to do my best.
Over the years I have learned that when I want to do my best, I will do my best.
When I do my best, I will always get the return. It is inevitable. Life is easy when I am doing all the things I love to do, because I will always do my best. 
I love being a Father to my children. I can't wait to spend time with them and do things for them.
It makes me so happy and joyous inside, I was born to be a Father and I always do my best.

There are times in my past when I was not well and did not do my best.
I was not a good Husband or Father and not a good musician or entertainer. But I wanted to be,
I was dealing with the disease of addiction and alcoholism, but maybe that was the best I could do
at that time. I struggled but always wished to do better and in the end when I got the help I needed I learned how to do my best spiritually. 

When I do my best spiritually, I do my best.
It all starts with me praying and meditating and getting centered for the day.
I always do my best when I apply the spiritual principles to my daily life.
I am a better Husband, a better Father and a better musician.

Life is short.....Life is REALLY long.
However you look at it, I am here and living so I will do my best.
When I do my best I have no inner dialogue running through my head.
When I do my best I am at peace with myself and those around me.
When I do my best I sleep wonderfully at night.
It's all about getting a great nights sleep. That is the absolute truth.

I am thankful to have brought the desire to play music that I have felt in my heart as a small child
to my entire life today. I certainly "have to" do things I don't always "want to" do, but I know they are necessary to being able to do the things I really want to do.
My best may not always be the same. Sometimes I may be tired or sick, but I do the best I can do
with what I have to work with.

So, I do them all and I do my best and the reward is I get to do the things I love the most.

Thanks Mom

Peace, Love, Zito










Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Defense.....

The more I play offense these days and the less I play defense, the happier I am by 100%.

This is absolutely true. It has been a work in progress for years but it is paying off big time
and I am thankful for the peace of mind it brings.

I am like everyone else on this planet, we are all exactly the same people with the same needs.
It doesn't matter if you think kneeling for the Anthem is wrong or you think President Trump is
so horrible......you are the same person. Get over yourself. No one is better or worse, no one is the "good guy" or the "bad guy". We are just "guy" or "gal" to be correct :)
Anywho, I am like everyone else. I want peace and quiet, time with my family and security.
I want to live and let live.  But I get "offended" by people and what they say or believe some times
and it gets me very upset and I want to argue my point of view with them......just like you do.
I have taken an initiative this year to work on myself getting offended.
I have come to the conclusion that the person who gets offended has the problem.

I will repeat this for myself : The person who gets offended has the problem.

So, I have decided that I will no longer get offended. It is not easy and it takes practice, but over the course of this year I can say with some truth that it is beginning to work nicely.

First of all I start by making sure that I don't have the need to explain myself anymore.
It's the hardest part of all, but the less I feel the need to explain myself to another person about how I feel about something, the less offended and defensive I get.
The biggest choice in this matter is the decision to "Not Draw a Line in the Sand".
Thats the ticket right there, I will not pick a side.
I am going with the "Human Being" experience.
If someone comes to me and wants me to agree with them about their view on a cultural or political subject, I do not agree with them. I also do not DISAGREE wth them. I just use the good ole catch phrase of Al-Anon "I understand how you feel."
This is the ticket right here - it's me washing away my need to explain myself and offering to try and understand how the rest of humanity might feel. Whats it like to be in this persons shoes?
I am only me, I only have my experiences. I know what I believe to be "right or wrong" for me,
but I really don't know if it is right or wrong for anyone else. Obviously there are certain truths that I have to assume as a society we will all work with "Don't kill" "Don't Rape" "Don't Steal" and so on.
But as far as how I see a cultural snafu or a political belief is mostly based on my experiences and there is a good chance that I do not know it all. I might not know everything.
So I just listen and learn and most importantly I do not argue with anyone, not anymore.

Some would say not picking a side is a lack of integrity, but I absolutely disagree.
I pick a side, I am just not telling you or anyone else.
I don't have to tell anyone how I feel about anything.
It's not important. It doesn't matter who I vote for or how I feel about anything.
What matters most is the 99% of life I share in common with my fellow man, not the 1% I disagree with. Don't let social media or the news fool you folks - if you disagree with someone over kneeling for the National Anthem, you still share 99% of everything else in life with that person.
Don't let the details keep you from living a life full of joy from all of the human beings around you.
We are exactly the same.

Those of you who call people "Libtards" are exactly the same people who call people "Trumptards".
You have more in common with each other than anyone else I know.
Politics is bullshit.

Why make a choice on a certain ideology and decide thats it, this is how I believe.....
so now anything that falls into this category, I believe this way, details do not matter.
Thats just dumb and lazy.

Bottom line here is being selfish, thats what this is all about.
It's about me being selfish and so are you, we are all selfish beings that want the same thing.
So, in the spirit of being selfish, I do my best to not get offended by anyone or anything they say or believe. I just let it roll by me like a plastic bag floating in the wind......
Not giving a fuck is the most selfish feeling in the world.
I try my best to see where they're coming from - and let me tell you, I can always understand both sides. You can too, you may not want to, but you certainly could and would be happier for it, trust me.  I do not share my belief on the subject and I do not explain myself.

As a result of not being offended, I do not get defensive. I play the offense as much as possible.

I am not drawing a line in the sand anymore. I am working on a case by case basis.
I am not making up my mind immediately, I reserve the right to be considerate and think about things.
I will give everyone the benefit of the doubt, because we are all human and deserve respect.

In the end, I just don't care enough about most of these arguments to really give away all of my energy. I need to use my energy to take care of my family and give back to those who so generously
have given to me. When it comes to right or wrong, it's all about the spiritual principles.
Is my belief in an ideology blocking my belief in the spiritual principles?
If my ideological beliefs are keeping me from loving my fellow man, then they are not spiritually correct.

It is more wrong spiritually to hate a person because they believe different than I do,
than the difference we share in belief.

My mind is made up about one thing, I will do my best to not be offended.
Other than that, my mind is open and trying it's best to understand where everyone is coming from.
It's not that hard.

Peace, Love, Zito




Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Sadness

I just got home from a very nice 3 week tour of Scandinavia with the band.
We had excellent shows, and the audiences were strong and loud.
It's always hard to be away from home, and it certainly doesn't get easier over time.
But all in all, I do my best. I take time to pray every morning, stretch, and meditate.
That always seems to help get me focused and feeling positive.
I stay in close touch with my family and work on the music and my guitar playing.
I follow Facebook and the news and social media and try keep things positive.
For a moment in time everyone was very angry about some football players who took a knee
and that was the big conversation. It gets ugly and I try my best to stay out of the ugliness.
I have a horrible disease called "Understanding" and it's effect on others is astounding.
I seem to be able to see both sides of the story and do my best to "understand" where everyone is coming from. I am a true believer that neither side is the "Bad" guy. It's just misunderstanding and closed mindedness that keep people separated and at odds.

Anyway, for the most part the "kneeling" argument was the topic for a few days there until Las Vegas made the news.
Terry and I were in the lobby in the early morning which was right around the time of the shooting. (We were 9 hours ahead of PST) We both mentioned seeing something about a shooter at a concert
in Las Vegas and it said there was 2 confirmed deaths and we shared regrets about hearing this news.
We then headed out on flights and traveling. As I checked the news throughout the morning.....the death toll kept rising. When we landed in the afternoon in Denmark the headline read "Worst US Mass Shooting Ever" with over 50 people dead........whoa. I was awe struck and overcome with sadness. The band and I spoke of it and read the news and tried to get as many details as we could.
It was on my mind all day. I could not imagine the horror and terror these beautiful people felt and it made me very angry and very, very sad.  It stayed with me all day and after our show that night we heard of the news of Tommy Petty's passing as well.
It was a very sad day.

I awoke the next morning and was feeling good and saw the sun shining and smiled and then it hit me.....the "massacre in Las Vegas" and I immediately was reminded of the tragedy.
It did not sit well with me and it hurt deeply. I  was sad most of the day.

I am fully aware today that it is ok and good to grieve and be sad, in fact it is necessary.
It would be inhumane to not feel this loss in my heart. Other human beings were killed for no reason.
I should feel the pain when others are suffering. We are all connected, we are one.
Of course my next thought was how many deaths happen everyday in other parts of the world that I may not be made aware of? The answer is: A Lot.
It should hurt inside when other human beings are killed, abused, and treated poorly.
Because we are the same, no matter where we come from, the color of our skin, the language that we speak, our sexual preference......thats all details, bottom line is we are all human beings and we are connected as a species.

I prayed for the next week for the families that lost loved ones and I prayed for the family of the shooter as well. They sincerely seemed shell shocked and I am certain they feel ashamed and somehow guilty, even though they are not.  Everyone loses in this situation.
Praying is the only thing that helped me to feel better and as the days went on I began to feel happy again and sincerely excited for life, hopeful.  Stories of all the helpers and heroes began to surface and it was inspiring.

I have no answers on how to change the world or stop these things from happening, I am just a simple man with a simple mind.
I do know that this man that killed those 58 beautiful people was mentally ill.
No one in their "right mind" would do such a thing, it's not normal.

Some have spoken of a lack of morality in our country as a reason to explain such horrible behavior, but I cannot see this as a truth.  Morality has nothing to do with metal illness.
I know first hand.
When the mind is sick, it is not functioning properly. This horrible act was the work of a "Crazy" person, pure and simple.

As far as regulating gun laws, it seems very simple to me and with common sense.
Mentally ill people should not be able to purchase guns.
Now, how does this work? I HAVE NO IDEA.
Seems there can be some simple gun control that does not affect lawful gun owners and helps to deter
the mentally ill from getting their hands on this machinery.
NOW - thats all I have to say about that.

The bottom line is when we are looking at these events and specifically looking for blame,
we might be missing a chance to do what we are supposed to do - grieve. Be sad.
This is a sad event and it requires a human response of sadness.
When we do not respond in sadness, I think it makes us less human and we become more tolerable of future events.

The world isn't going to hell. In fact it's safer now than ever before.
Thats a hard pill to swallow, but it is the truth. The numbers don't lie.

Just be sad. Cry and let it hurt and have sympathy and empathy.
Hug your loved ones tighter and longer and pray, or just be still and quiet.
If we can all grieve as a people and then take some deep breathes and start to figure somethings out,
we might be able to work together and that is where the healing begins.

I am ok with being sad today.
It is a part of human life on planet Earth.
Life is painful at best.
We are all exactly the same people, none of us are different.
Don't let the news or social media or politics divide you from the rest of us.
We are all connected and one, we are human beings.
Everyone counts, no one is better than or less than, we are all equal to.

Today I will love like there is no tomorrow.

Peace, Love, Zito