Monday, September 25, 2017

The Music

I am currently on tour in Europe.
We played a show on Friday in Germany and then in Sweden on Saturday.
Today we head to Denmark for a weeks worth of shows.
It's not terribly cold, in fact it's a bit warm, in the 50's and 60's.
I am thankful these folks love American music and give me a stage to make my living.
I am slowly understanding, that while I still feel young, I am getting older and the music I
play and sing is not so popular. But I sing it because I love it and I am thankful to do what I love.

Sometimes I think if I had played more Country music I might be more successful.
My father always told me if I wanted to make money, I should play Country music.
I do love Country music, it's American music and is based the same as Blues music,
but it's just not ever been my whole heart.  To me it would seem funny to have grown up
in South St. Louis and be a Country music singer. We didn't live in the country, we lived in the city.
I also did not hear much Country music growing up, I got into it after high school.
What I heard was Blues and Rock n Roll and Big Band music.
My Dad played all of his Big Band records and Swing music and Jazz.
St. Louis has a feel to it and it's not Country music in my opinion.

Anyway......I made a choice to play Blues oriented music and I have stuck with that
and it has served me and my family well and I am thankful to those who came before me.
I have learned a lot along the way and I am realizing that I still have so much more to learn and that truly excites me.
I understand now more than ever, that it is my duty to pay tribute to those that created this music.
To let people know who wrote these songs and where they come from.
This is not my music, it's our music.

Even when I write my own lyrics, the music is from another time.
I am taking my experience, my story and applying it to "our" music.
Music which has already been written and rewritten.
Howling Wolf said anybody can have the blues, doesn't matter what color you are.
The Blues is when a good man is feeling bad.
But Blues music should make you feel good, make you forget your problems.
This is why the Blues will never die.

I am so thankful for the music in my life today, it means so much to me.
I am a Father and a Husband first and foremost, then I am a musician.
When I am gone for long periods of time away from my family, the music is all I've got,
and it means everything to me. It makes me feel alive and excited.

I can't take credit for much, you cannot be better than those that came before you.
But I can play this music with pride and share my love with the people.
Thats what the Blues is all about, it's not about me, and it's not about you......
it's about us.
We can get together and confirm our shared experiences in life and try and forget it all
for awhile. We acknowledge the great artists of the past that created this fine American Music
and hope the tradition continues...and it will.

If you're feeling like you need a kick this week.......turn on some Blues music.
Listen to the words and the feeling and the raw emotion.
Identify with the lyrics and story and let it feed your soul.

Peace, Love.......

Tuesday, September 19, 2017


I went to Catholic school for 13 years of my life.
My parents didn't have a lot of money, we were fairly poor, but it was very important
that we went to Catholic school, mostly because we lived in the city and the schools
in the 1970's in St. Louis were pretty rough.
My family was not overly religious, although my mother did have an altar in our apartment
and plenty of "Bloody Jesus" pictures.
I am not opposed to the Catholic religion at all, it is really the only one I know.
I am not a practicing Catholic, but that is mostly based on my own choices, not true opposition.
I say that because many people are either very religious or strictly opposed, I am in the middle.
As long as you're not hurting anyone, I think I am ok.

Anyway.....I went to church 6 days a week for about 9 years of my life.
We went everyday before school and on Sunday.
It was all I knew and it was more or less......scary.
It was frightening. Men and women dressed in black and plenty of pictures and statues of bloodied
bodies. As a small child, that is alarming and scary.
I was told from a very early age by these people in black that God loved me, but only if I behaved.
If I did not behave, I would be sent to "Hell"......and the "Devil" would obtain my small soul and it would burn for eternity and I would never see my loved ones again.


It scarred me for the rest of my life. I lived in fear for years. As a small child I laid in bed at night
afraid to go to sleep for fear that the "Devil" was going to come get me or a "Demon" would enter my bedroom and take me to "Hell".

I do believe that the above is basically torture and child abuse.

Why would grown men and women teach small children this shit if not to scare the "Hell" out of them???
I understand that the majority of what I was taught was to love one another, treat everyone the way I would like to be treated, to be fair and honest and generous.......but there was always this underlying
message of "sin" and "hell".......the "gnashing of teeth"....good Lord that one always sounded so awful it made me shutter.

It created a fear of the unknown that would last well into my 30's.
I was so fearful of what I could not see and of what was coming for me if I did not "behave".
It created these mental problems that would take half a lifetime to overcome.

I realize today that it is all bullshit.
There is no such place as "Hell" except maybe here on Earth.
There is certainly no "Devil" or "Demons" that are coming to get me or anyone.
That is crap that other men have invented to control other men.
Fear is a useful tool when you are trying to rule and oppress.

Most important today is that I realize I have nothing to fear but fear itself.....(thank you President Roosevelt)
It is true to the core. Fear is born of loneliness and being tired.
The mind will play tricks one us if we do not stay sheltered in love and the spiritual principles.
When we do not spend time helping others and doing service work, we become very selfish and self centered....and there is nothing more self centered than thinking that something is trying to "get you".

Whatever your religious or spiritual beliefs, that doesn't really matter.
No one should have to live in fear, and many people on this planet live with real fear today.

Fear of not eating today,  fear of an oppressive government or rogue army coming to chop off heads and kill everyone, fear of losing everything they own....again, Fear that a loved one will continue to abuse them......the list goes on. There is real fear in this world and it stinks.
Life is painful at best. Adding to this pain with mental fear is useless and morbid.

BUT......I did not just decide to release myself from this bondage of fear overnight on my own.
This is called "conditioning" and it is a form of mental illness.
The same way we could alter the physical shape of a living animal by keeping it in a cage or by trimming the limbs of a shrub, the world around us shapes our mind from a very young age and often times not for the good.  Belief, Racism, Sexism, Hatred, are all forms of mental illness.
No one is born with this thinking, it is taught from a very early age.

My "conditioning" began to change when I turned my will and my life over to the "God" of my understanding. When I worked the steps of a recovery program that brought about a psychic change and spiritual awakening. This psychic change made new beliefs possible.
It helped me to question my old thoughts and my old beliefs.
Maybe everything I knew was wrong.

Slowly over a period of time I began to understand that most of these fears were based on things that other men had told me. Books that other men wrote to make people believe a certain way.
I learned I did not have to count on other men anymore to be my guidance, I could have a direct
conversation with my Higher Power and listen and learn all on my own without any indirect contact.
None of the fear I had lived with came from "God", they came from man.
My Higher Power would not ever do anything to harm me or scare me into submission.

My Father told me something when I was young that I will never forget.
When I was about 6 years old we drove by a cemetery and I got scared and hid under the seat.
He said "What? Are you scared of the dead people?"........I said yes.
He said "What the hell are scared of them for? They're dead! The only ones you need to worry
about are the ones that are alive" true.

Fear is not necessary for me today. I have concern, and I have worry from time to time,
but I do not live in fear. I know that I am safe and that nothing is "coming to get me" that is not of this world.  I am one of the fortunate few. I live in the western world with food and no war on my doorstep. My children are not being taught to live in fear of some childish, made up monsters....
the cycle is broken.  I pray for those in this world that live with real fear today.
I pray that those that fear having no food will have food today.
I pray that those that fear war will take their loved ones, they will be spared today.
I pray that those that live in fear of continued abuse will be set free today.

Free your mind and the rest will follow.

Peace, Love.........

Tuesday, September 5, 2017

Thank You

Well it has been quite a crazy couple of weeks here in Southeast Texas.
I had a bad feeling about Hurricane Harvey from the beginning. I warned my wife and friends
that it looked like it was going to be bad.....and it was.
No on ever expects what happened to happen to them. We see mass flooding in India, and we think it's horrible, but it will never happen here.  We see hurricanes rip apart peoples homes, but it's
always somewhere else, it's not our house.

We sat in the house for days watching it all happen, the devastation come to life.
We got anxious and fearful and slept very little.
I had an overwhelming fear the house would flood........but it did not.
In fact, nothing happened at all. We must live on the one block that is high enough,
we had no water on our street at all.

As soon as it passed, everyone sprung into action to start rescuing and helping.
It was quite remarkable how it all came together so quickly.
Laura worked night and day volunteering, along with our two girls.
It finally made sense to me the idea of having the "Big" Texas trucks!!!
Every other man in SE Texas owns a boat and they were all heading out into areas
rescuing folks and saving lives. Black, White, Asian, did not matter.
We all came together to save lives and hep one another.

I asked what I could do, and Laura said I should go to work.
I was lucky enough to have work out of town and if I could get there, I should go to work.
As I left last thursday morning, I basically snuck out.. It was still too soon, the damage was
unbelievable and authorities did not have time to assess the situation yet. Both sides of Interstate 10
were under water, but luckily eastbound had the remains of one lane barely drivable.

When I got to the airport in Lafayette I looked at Facebook.
I saw my people out volunteering. I saw musicians out feeding the first responders,
gathering supplies at the local shelters. I kind of felt like a heel.
These guys and gals just lost all of their work and they were helping our area.....
while I was leaving Dodge to go make myself some money.

Thats when I decided to set up the Gofundme for the SE Texas Musicians.
It was to help get some of these folks some money for the loss of their gigs and so they
could continue to volunteer and help our community without having to worry about money.

THANK YOU!!!!!!!!!!!!!
I set up a simple goal: $500 each for 25 musicians = $12,500

Between the generous donations online from all over the country and amazing blues fans
of Florida - we surpassed our goal. The remaining balance will go to local folks in need.

It is awesome to see everyone come together to help one another.
It is overwhelming the support and love you have all shown.
I cried more than once, and it felt good.

Thank you all so much for the donations and financial support.
Thank you to all of my friends who took a loss and instead of crying, took to the streets
in our community to help others.

Peace, Love....Zito