Thursday, February 20, 2014

Tommy Lund, my brother


I usually use this blog to share my feelings and thoughts about living clean and sober
in the weird world of rock n roll......

But, today I will share my feelings and story with you about my dear friend, Tommy Lund.

Tommy Lund was a very close friend of mine and many in this world that has left us too soon.

   I met Tommy in 2009 while on tour in Europe. Our first meeting was at a club in Holland.
He was very nice and excited and gave me his card. He had taken pictures and offered to send me
the images in an email.  I met Tommy again in 2010 at the Moulin Blues Fest in Holland.
This time I knew who he was and he came back stage before the show. We spoke about music and
such and really hit it off. He was very excited about me, my band and my music.
He offered to help me in anyway possible with building my career in Europe.
He told me he wrote for Bluesnews in Norway (where he is originally from) as well as other mags and online websites devoted to blues in Europe. He was also a tremendous photographer and always
had his camera with him to capture the shows.  We began to stay in touch regularly online through
email and of course, Facebook.  Every trip I made to Europe, Tommy found a way to get to a show and take pictures and write about the show or my new albums.
It didn't take long for Tommy and I to become fast friends, not because he was offering to help me,
but because we shared an awful lot in common.  I was very happy that Tommy had taken an interest
in helping me with my career, very grateful, but very happy to have a new, real friend.
It is not easy to make friends later in life, you know what I mean.
With family, work and such, you really don't get much time to find new friends and seek out
people with similar interests, that is for the young.

I am not always a good friend. I am so busy with my touring and writing and 5 children, I do not
always reach out to people or take time to ask how they are doing. I forget to write people back, call people back and that rubs some folks the wrong way. I understand.  I just don't have as much time as I wish I had for a vibrant social life.  Tommy was the kind of friend, who understood and didn't really care about all of that. He would work past my shit and keep plugging along in our friendship.

Within a year or so, I was talking with Tommy everyday, every week, via Facebook, Skype, text, emails, you name it!  We loved a lot of the same music and he had a wide appetite for the arts.
We both agreed that "reality" in art was most moving and really appreciated the artists that didn't hold back. The ones that shared it all and were themselves, not trying to put on a facade.
We quoted Bruce Springsteen to each other and lines from 80's movies.
Before I knew it, I had a new brother in life.

He really jumped into my career and took over posting on Facebook for me and starting my fan club,
"Zito Nation" with my good friend Joan.  The two of them became a force and worked together
night and day to promote my music and new albums and endeavors.
Tommy continued to attend any european tours he could and promote me like crazy.
The BEST photo's I have of me performing live are from Tommy Lund.
Tommy's photo of me at Moulin Blues became the photo of the Blues Music Award Nomination and Win in 2010 for "Pearl River".  It was also the Fender Musical Instruments photo on their artist website.
He got great shots of RSB and of me performing with Warren Haynes.
All of this time over the past 5 years, we spoke everyday in one form or another.
We joked, teased, laughed, argued (not really) and dreamed together.
Tommy had this belief in me and in my music that I don't think I had.
He convinced me that what I was doing was worthwhile and necessary.  He encouraged me
to let it all out.  Every time I thought I was sharing enough with the world, Tommy told me I was holding back and needed to share more.  He got me to believe in myself in the biggest way.
He saw something in me that I did not see in myself and he made me a believer.

But Tommy did not just do this for me....... he did this for many, many great artists.
He was a TRUE BELIEVER.  He saw through the shit and found the diamonds.
He promoted many new and unknown artists.  He lived for turning people onto new music,
new art.  He was a gentle, kind, sweet, warm and funny man who wanted world peace.
He pointed out when the world was wrong politically, racially, ethically and stood his ground.
He believed in the power of music and he was my friend.

Tommy was not well this past year.
His back was really hurting him and he had to stay in bed or laying down for quite a while.
He had a hard time walking or getting out and it really bothered him.
He couldn't get out to the shows like he wanted to, so instead he worked harder online,
bugging the shit out of me everyday!!!   I miss that.....

We spoke so much that I took for granted our relationship. It would last for a long time I believed.
He was one of maybe 5 people that I spoke with everyday for the past 5 years.

The last I spoke with Tommy was on February 10, 2014.
Ironically that is 2/10 - 210 is a song I wrote that I have never recorded for fear that it was too personal,
but Tommy LOVED and BEGGED me to put it out someday, now I guess I have to :)

He sounded weak. He told me his back was really bad and needed to stay in bed for months.
We laughed at how much that sucked and he said he would get through it.
We made plans for him to come on tour with me in the fall in Europe.
He was sweet and said he would get better soon. We laughed and said goodbye.....

I received a message on Sunday Feb 16th in the evening that Tommy Lund had passed away.
I was in shock and total disbelief......and then it hit me
He had not sent me a message in days, he had not texted me or called me. He had not posted
anything online.......thats when I knew it was true.

Tommy Lund left us the week of February 10-16th. He died in his sleep.
It was of natural causes.  He is being cremated and brought back to Norway to be buried with
his grandfather, his hero.

Tommy was my same age.
He was funny and vibrant and strong.
He was a true believer in life and in music and the arts.
We laughed a lot, and he believed in me.
He encouraged me and promoted me.
He pushed through my wall and got very close to my heart.
We made plans to rule the world.
He was my friend and I miss him.

Tommy would not want us to cry or be sad.
He would want us to celebrate life, listen to music and especially take time
to appreciate the lyrics. Seek out art in all forms and encourage others.

God bless your soul my brother. I know you are at peace in the warmth of the Spirit.

Please take time to look at Tommy's personal photography and writings:

Saturday, February 1, 2014


Happy 2014 to all of my friends out there!

We made it and we should be so lucky :)

This year has taken off with a bang. So much to do, so much traveling already and
plenty of work ahead.  All of this is great and I am very grateful for my gift to work
and take care of my family, but sometimes it's just one day after another - hurry hurry hurry,
try to keep it all in line - balancing a checkbook, picking the kids up from school, getting the bills paid,
feeding the animals, getting to the gigs on time and keeping the schedule organized.....
I am sure you all know what I am talking about.

Sometimes I need a confirmation of all things good and amazing in my life.

Maybe I should say - reconfirmation - but it seems as though every new confirmation really
seems to supersede the last one and bring about even more awareness.
Fear usually brings this confirmation around.
I step into a fearful situation, which is usually not fearful at all, but from my past experience
has caused me pain and suffering and I immediately expect the same experience.
But why would it be the same experience? I am no longer the person I used to be and things
have changed. If  I have truly forgiven myself for any of my wrong doings, then I have nothing
to be fearful of - especially if I have practiced the principles in all of my affairs.
Once I examine my feelings of fear and find that they are the same deep rooted feelings based
in old shame and remorse, I begin to forgive myself all over again.
I don't have to feel this way anymore.
But my mental illness always looks for a way to beat me up and beat me down so I will start
feeling sorry for myself and possibly consider taking a drink again. This disease is cunning, baffling
The next step for me is to call my sponsor, read some literature, go to a meeting and ultimately
deal with my fear head on and take care of business. In the meantime I learn, yet again, that I am a child of the Universe and I have a right to be here, just as the mountains and the stars above.
I need to learn to be nice to myself.  Stop judging myself so hard and give myself a break.
I am doing the best I can, and that is all I can do.
Once this feeling of true love comes over me, I start to see the world as beautiful all over again.
We are here for such a short period of time, it will all be over soon.
Every word and every breath should count. I start to take notice of every detail and more from the
observers view and not my judgmental ego.  
The observers view is the greatest feeling in the world. To let go of myself and become a part,
rather than apart.
A new confirmation is necessary from time to time, to keep me grounded in my spirituality.
It's all a process and soon I will leave this mountain and come back to the valley where the work is needed to be done......but for now, life is beautiful.

Peace, Love, Zito