Thursday, December 24, 2015

Happy Holidaze

It's Christmas Eve morning and all through the house,
I hear fighting over video games and see cookie crumbs everywhere!

Ok - my try at being cute.

All of my kids are home for Christmas, it doesn't get much better than that.
We have lots of personalities to deal with and lots of fun to be had.
I am truly thankful for this life of mine, it's quite remarkable.
13 years ago I celebrated the Christmas season on the streets and running away.
14 years ago I stole a $5 bill from a friends wallet and ate Chinese Buffet by myself.
It wasn't enough to pay for the food, but the fine folks at that restaurant felt sorry enough for me,
they fed me and let me stay as long as I needed. I was so sad that day: no kids, no family, all alone
and it was freezing outside......but looking back I was blessed to be able to eat, and lucky those
people had a heart.
Many folks will pat me on the back for my current success in life.
They say it's the American Dream. They tell me things like "Mike you've earned it"
"You worked hard and got your life back."
I am always thankful for a good pat on the back and some "At-a-boys".......
But truth be told, I had very little to do with this current state of affairs.
I have had so much help in my life, it's crazy.
Even when I was down and out, God had a hand in making sure I didn't die,
there was always someone there to bail me out and keep me alive.
It has been no different in recovery.
My wife showed up at the absolute right time to save me.
The program was there and the door was open with a room of people just waiting for me
to walk in and ask for help. People took me in, accepted me and my flaws and troubles.
They supported me when I had nothing at all.
They saw something in me I never saw in myself.
They took me to meetings, helped me get jobs, fed me, clothed me, and supported my decision
to be clean and sober.
Slowly over a period of time, things got better.
I am finally able to begin to give back in my life.
These people have invested more than a decade in me and they are finally beginning to see
their return.

I get very grateful this time of year. even when these kids are driving me crazy,
I remember when I couldn't see them at all.
Today they're all here, screaming and arguing and laughing and having fun and fighting
and singing too loud and leaving food EVERYWHERE!
I love it. I am the luckiest man alive.

Today I salute the real hero's in my life.
You know who you are. My wife, my children, my in-laws, my sister and brother,
my sponsor, my home group, my ex-wives, my best friends, my manger.
Thank you for taking me in and giving me hope.
You've done all the hard work, I just showed up.
You deserve everything I can do for you, I hope to do more.
Today my life is about giving back and I am so thankful I am alive and able to do so.

These are the people that deserve a pat on the back, a big present, and a big ole' "AT A BOY"!

Finally I want to thank God.
Whoever you are, wherever you have always been there for me.
When I was ready, every door opened wide.
Somethings haven't made sense, but I don't need to know everything.
I trust you with my life and I am thankful for your will.

Today I no longer celebrate the Holidaze - I celebrate life.
I am home, not on the streets, not drunk or hungover, and I am doing my best.
thank God.

Now if I can just figure out how to win at Halo.......I SUCK!

Merry Christmas People :)

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

The sad awful truth

The death of rock singer Scott Weiland was yet another tragedy not averted.
I just read the article in Rolling Stone written by the Scott's Ex-Wife and mother
of his two children. It is heartbreaking and real and the downright truth.
I urge you to read this article.
I could not agree more with this woman and I feel so very sad for her and her family.
It is certainly not "Rock n Roll" to throw away a family for good and kill yourself
on the dark side of life. I do not believe that, not anymore.
When I was young, all of my hero's were drug addicts and alcoholics and most of them
had died from the stuff. I thought it was cool and romantic to let it all go behind a bottle
or some pills, but I absolutely do not believe that is cool anymore.
It is sad and awful and hurts so many others in life.
The honest truth is, being an addict or an alcoholic is the most selfish and self-centered,
egotistical way to live your life.
You care nothing of those around you, only of yourself and your next fix or drink.
It is a disease... cunning, baffling and powerful and to turn it all around and make the change
necessary you have to take responsibility for your actions and be willing to change.
Change everything.

Unfortunately, I have seen many people go out this way in recovery.
They just don't make it to the other side.
Families are left behind - mad, confused and heartbroken.

But I have also seen people change. They have given up the drink and drug game for good
and learned a new way of life. They got their families back and made a difference in their
It works if you work it.

Take a second to read this article and say a prayer for Scott Weiland's family.
These kids lost their father and will forever have to live with that cloud of bullshit.
Do not glorify his death or condone it to "Rock n Roll".
It's sad and awful.

Instead, help someone today and let's try and give back.


Thursday, November 26, 2015


Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours.

I am truly thankful today.
I do not have a worry that cannot be fixed by some money or a little work.
That is a good feeling.
Today I have my family and my home and that is all I need.
I have my music and my friends and they are a blessing.

I have made a commitment to turn off the news and stop the frantic worry
of fear that the media wants me to believe is real, it is not.

I am limiting my access to social media and becoming more social in my community.
It is much more enjoyable to see a face and speak with a human being in physical
form than just on a screen.

In this moment, right now, I have no problems.
If I look into the past, I can find things to be angry or shameful about.
If I think about the future I can become fearful and worried.
But I do not live in the past or the future, I live only in the present,
and it is a present.
My mind is "My" mind and I control it's thinking, when I begin to think of
things that are not "Reality", I can change the thoughts immediately.
It requires discipline and practice, but it can be done.
In this moment, I am at peace.
I am at the breakfast table with my two youngest girls.
They're watching cartoons and I am reading, no worries in sight.
I can't help but think of all the people in the world that are not so safe.
They are not enjoying breakfast, they have lost loved ones to war and famine.
They deserve this peace and love as much as I do, some maybe more.

I pray for the world and those that are suffering.
I vow to love my family more today and enjoy every gift I have been given.

Today I will do my best to not speak ill of anyone, to bitch or complain
of the politics or the world I live in, I will speak only of love.
I will try to give thanks in every word I say and stay silent when I cannot.

We are so blessed to be safe and have homes and families.
Many do not.
I cannot solve the worlds problems today, but I can be thankful and enjoy my blessings
to the fullest.

Happy Thanksgiving.
I pray that you have everything you desire today.

Peace, Love, Zito

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Fear and Loathing.....

Well I have a lot to write about and not sure where to start.

I want to let you know that I lost a dear friend on Sunday, Tonya Ross.
She and her husband, Doug, have been friends of mine going on 20 years.
They opened there home to me when I was down and out in Cape Girardeau, Mo.
I had nowhere to go and they brought me in and helped me the best they could.
She was a kind, sweet loving woman and is absolutely missed.

Obviously there is a lot of turmoil in the world right now and mostly made of
political rhetoric and fear based bullshit.
I am not a serious political person in public, mostly because I do not trust people.
I do have a strong opinion of what is right and what is wrong but I also remain open minded
and understanding, the latter of which I do not believe some people offer in return.
Facebook is a place for building fear and hatred and certainly not for spreading love.
But it is also a place to sell yourself, your music, your concerts, keep people informed of
your tour and stay in contact with your fans, your people.
In a way, Facebook is my business. How else can I reach people so easily and share my new music with them?  I want people to buy my new album, to come to my shows, and to support my cause.
This is my livelihood, my business. I am thankful for the opportunity to stay connected with so many folks all over the world.  But I found out early on, if I share my political beliefs or spiritual beliefs with folks on Facebook, I am excluding at least half of my people.
Not all people feel the way I do.
I do believe that everyone of my people are filled with Love, Compassion and Honesty,
but not everyone shares the same beliefs that I do. I am fine with this. Sure it makes me a little crazy once in a while,  I am certain they feel the same way about me, but I can live with it.
Some people get in there and really let me have it if I post something Political or Spiritual that they do not agree with. They begin sparring with me, and I don't like that at all.
I don't mind a good debate, but it usually gets ugly pretty quick.
Mostly, truth be's bad for business.
So I have for a long time, stopped sharing my beliefs on Climate change, the President, Health Insurance, Foreign Policy and so on, because I don't want to rock the apple cart.
It's best to just stay out of it and keep quiet.
I did this for about 6 months or more and I prayed about it too. I began to feel I was part of the problem. I don't want to express my true feelings for fear of losing customers? that is the problem.
I will say, for the most part my friends that don't agree with me are very respectful. They usually just don't say anything about my post, they don't argue with me and they leave me alone. That is respect.
I try to offer the same respect in return. When I read things that I absolutely disagree with, I just let it slide, especially if it is someone I love and care about. We just don't see eye to eye on everything and that is ok.
So I decided that I am in the wrong here. It's me, not you.
My ideals are not so far left that they're completely misunderstood.
I want peace and compassion for all. That is the America I believe in and love.
Keeping that inside for fearing of not selling enough cd's is absolutely wrong, and I admit my mistake.

So I have decided to share with the world how I feel on key issues that I think about daily.
I read the news, I know right from wrong and I know when something is bullshit or real.
I do not get my news from right or left wing think tank sites, or bogus news sites that spout
fake stories to scare everyone. Fear is all over Facebook and Social Media and it's there for a reason, to take the control away from you and me and give it those who want the power.

So, I will share my feelings politically and spiritually with my world.
Selling cd's and tours is the not the most important thing in the world and making money
isn't everything. Standing up for what we believe is more important.
I also think that I discredit most of the people I know when I think I better not share my feelings
because some of them won't agree with me and stop coming to see me play.......untrue.
Most people are smart enough to know the difference between belief and love.
They know I am coming from a place of love, not hate or fear.
They also love me enough to "let it slide" when they don't agree. The few that don't will get over it.
Maybe just maybe........something good will come of all this.
That is my hope.

Peace, Love, Zito.

Monday, October 19, 2015

Happiness and Death

Wow, that's quite a title huh?
Happiness and Death, not something you would normally order
off the same menu, but what the hell, it's Monday :)

I had a nice long talk with a friend yesterday and we were both in agreement of
how we felt about our place in the world and of course it always feels good to spend
Some time with someone who is like minded.
We both agreed there is a God and believe that it is our responsibility
to follow the Spiritual Principles in our hearts.
We know right from wrong, and for each of us that might be a bit different, but mostly similar.
There is no "magic show" in the eyes of God, no tricks to be had, just the truth.
If you can live with the truth, you can do what you please, as long as you do not harm others. was a nice Sunday discussion that ended well and felt good.

The bottom line is happiness and death.
We both absolutely agreed on a belief in a Higher Power, but neither of us claimed to know
The exact state of this being, or what it might look like or what gender it was,
We just agreed there was something there that we are all made of and it was pure love.
The trees, stars, moon, mountains, fish, cats, dogs, spiders,, woman, child
are all made of the same power and energy or love. We may not understand the place of everything
in this world, but that's because we are only man and we don't need to know everything and it would
be arrogant to think we could understand the makings of the Power of the Universe,
But we are connected, not separate. We are one with this Power, not apart, but a part.
The only thing we agreed to know about this life is that we will die.
After that, no living man can profess to know with any certainty what will happen.
Life after death is not of my concern, life during life is.
Which brought us to happiness.
Happiness is a state of mind, a state of well being and comfort.
In this day and age of constant social media, we are endlessly reminded to "BE HAPPY".
It is your duty, your cross to bare. Everyone MUST be happy, or else!
It seems that way, but that is not the truth.
Just as though people try to show us that Karma is some sort of revenge that the Universe uses to get back at bad people, which also is not true at all. The Power of Love knows not of revenge.
Happiness IS a personal responsibility, but not for every second of everyday in every situation.
That would not be living. Living requires anger, remorse, fear, grief, pain, suffering, laughter, hope,
Peace, ....the list goes on and on.
We are people. We are flawed by nature and life is painful at best.
We need to feel pain to find hope, anger to find resolution, grief to overcome.
Eternal happiness is knowing that we will die, and that's ok.
If we can come to terms with our own end now while we are alive, then we can take part in the life
in front of us wholeheartedly. This is our responsibility. To know that we will expire at any given moment, and accept this with peace and serenity, that is true happiness.
Once I have accepted that I do not know what life after death brings, but I believe in the Power of the Universe, I have faith that it will all be ok, I will be set free, then it is my responsibility to live the life I have now. To be faithful and honest, to love and forgive, to have hope and overcome fear.
To mourn the loss of loved ones and friends and know they have crossed over to a better place.
If we are lucky enough to have children, we have a responsibility to raise them to be good, decent members of society. To not be afraid and to have principles to live by, that is my responsibility.

If my own death does not bring about fear and anger, but peace and acceptance,
Life is easy.
If I realize I might die tomorrow, then I will do everything I can to live today,
to love today, to be happy today, to bring happiness to others.

It's a beautiful day, a beautiful life.
Thank God.

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Keep Coming Back

Shameless plug.......

Actually, not so true - but yes, my new album is titled "Keep Coming Back".
Right away some people get it, some people just thinks it's catchy.
If you're not in recovery, "Keep Coming Back" is what they tell you from day one.
No matter what, Keep Coming Back.

I had never had a true success in my life until I found recovery.
It's the first thing in life I stuck with and didn't walk away from,
and at 33 years old, I walked away from a lot.

But "Keep Coming Back" is not just for those of us that are in recovery,
it's really become a motto in my life that I live by.
Don't give up, Lifes too short, Keep Coming Back.
Walter Trout told me years ago when I started my music career again, sober this time,
he said "Don't quit, if you quit, the dreams over. You're the only one that can say it's over."
I'm in charge, I am responsible for it all, I can either quit or keep trucking.

Look, we all get it, life is not for the weak of heart, it's tough,
and just think we live in an easy world without war all around us and true poverty.
Buddhist teachings suggest that life is painful at best.
The attachment to loved ones who leave us, the material world, and even just the
pain of having a human body that gets old and weak and dies.
The only remedy for this pain is a spiritual connection with a Higher Power.
Whatever that may be, getting out of my head and into the spiritual realm eases my pain of living.
BUT, I can't live on a pink cloud, or high up in the mountains,
I live down in the valley where shits going on and I have to be there, this is my life.

In a Zig Ziglar world of catch phrases that are supposed to make everything better,
Keep Coming Back has stuck with me.
It means everything.
You get knocked down, get back up and get you some more.
Cause what are you gonna do? Throw in the towel and walk away?
What kind of life is that?
Get back in there and get knocked on your ass again!


To make it in this world, you need tenacity.
We must continue to exist until the day we exist no more.
So we make mistakes, so we have to try again, thats what it's all about.
If I did everything right, if I had everything I wanted, and if everything
hurried up and went my way........what would I do then?
Sit around and look at how great everything is?
No, thats just not how it works, and for the few of those have experienced that
grandiosity - they usually get their heads chopped off.

Bottom line is, I am here to do my part no matter how big or small.
I'm trying to raise kids that are not a burden on society and I am trying to leave
this place a little better than it was when I got here.
I have found my purpose in life, and it's not necessarily being a musician.....
it's to be a kind, loving, caring, understanding human being.
If being a father and a husband and a musician is the path I have chosen,
then my responsibility is to be a Kind, Loving, Caring and Understanding
Father, Husband and Musician.

We are flawed. We do not do everything "right".
We make mistakes, we fall down, we walk away,
the important thing is to get back up, try again, get it right,
brush it off, stop being proud and just be me,
and absolutely, no matter what......


Monday, August 24, 2015


It's back to school again.
I just brought the girls to their first day.
My youngest started Kindergarten today and my oldest daughter
started high school today.
All the kids are off and running and everything is getting back to normal.
The summer is over, but it's still really hot outside....of course it's Texas.

I love routines.
They work well for me and my obsessive mind.
I did a lot of work in the late 1990's for the DOD playing concerts for the
troops overseas. I really enjoyed my time working with the Military.
I loved the strict routine.
At one point in my life I was going to join the Army Jazz band.
I was at a pretty low point in my drug abuse and living with my parents.
I needed something, anything to get me on my feet.
I had some connections I had made in the DOD and I reached out and they set
up an audition at my local recruiter.
It's a big deal, it's not easy and they only hire like one guitar player every two years.
They flew in the guy that handled auditions from the DC area and he sat down with me
and worked me through the process.
He was very happy with my audition and told me he would recommend my enlistment.
My parents were overjoyed and I thought I would finally get my shit together and
get off of drugs. I was very excited about the "Routine" life, it's what I needed badly.
I would be the first guitarist in the state of Missouri enlisting as a guitarist in the Army Jazz band
in over 20 years.  My recruiter was very excited.
I had to do my physical and basic tests in one week.
So what did I do?  I went on a 4 day bender of drugs and alcohol.
I went in on Monday morning and took the piss test, all the paperwork, physical etc.
I had a very good friend of mine ask me while we were doing drugs
"Don't you have to take a drug test in a day or two?"
I thought yeah, but it'll be fine.
Long story recruiter picked me up two weeks later to drop me off for basic training.
I had my bags packed, my parents were proud and I was on my way.
When we arrived my name was not on the list. We were called into an office where
they told me that came up VERY hot for cocaine and marijuana.
They could not accept my enrollment for two more years.
My recruiter was crushed, and I was driven back home
I told my parents that something was wrong with the paperwork, but they knew better.
It was a huge set back and very upsetting......and then within less than a year we invaded Iraq.
I was told if I had enrolled, I would have lost my guitar position and been sent off to war.
Maybe things happen for a reason.

This is just one of so many stories in my life that started out with my intention for "Normal",
for "Routine" and ended in destruction.

This is my disease. I have a need and a want for "Normal"and I have a destruction that
wants to tear it all apart. It's so conflicting and so crazy.
I have always been my own worst enemy and for years I had no idea what was going on.
Luckily I found a program that helped me to change my way of thinking and gave me tools
to deal with my own disfunction, I also have a strong relationship with my Higher Power today.

That sabotage in my mind is much better these days.
I have learned from my mistakes, Thank God, and I make better choices today.
I have finally found the joy in "Routine" with my family, my music and my spiritual life.
Words like "Routine" and "Normal" seem horrible to many people, maybe they take it for granted.
I love new experiences, I am always for trying something new and mixing it up......
but I love the joy of being normal these days.
I go to bed early, I make my coffee every morning, I practice my guitar, we eat dinner as a family.....

Today I am thankful for normalcy, for routine.
I am also thankful for the ways things worked out in my life, even when I thought I was being let down....everything happens for a reason, even if I don't know why.
I am and have always been looked out for by my Higher Power,
for that I am grateful.

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Summertime Blues

It's gonna be 95 today in South East Texas, and thats just fine with me.
I will take the heat any day of the week over cold and snowy,  I guess I'm getting old.
Growing up in St. Louis, I got more than enough cold and snow for a lifetime.

Well, the summer has begun and we are knee deep into touring with the band.
We had a pretty easy spring and I was home much more than I have been in recent years.
But now it's on the road again and back to work.
We hit the ground running the past few weeks in the Northeast and then spent a week in Germany
and Poland, then wrapping up one more week in the Pennsylvania area.
Home for two days and we fly out today to Bosnia and Italy and end up in Norway with Ms. Samantha Fish before coming back home......the summer is in full swing!
I plan these trips 6 months or more in advance and you get everything ready and lined up
and before you know it, you are right in the middle of what you worked on, I love it.

When things get going this quick and we are on the move constantly, I need to remind
myself to pray and meditate everyday, or I am in for some trouble.
Like anyone, I can get crabby and tired and when I do, I start to take it out on those around me.
My problem is, I have mental illness and I take it to the extreme.
I get really worked up about nothing in my head and start to really resent anyone who says
something I don't like.  Then I spend the whole day or more arguing with them over and over.....
in my head :)
Of course they have no idea, I am the one suffering.
At the most, I might be snippy with them or ignore them because I am upset, but inside
I am chewing their ass out!
I'm sure most people can relate to this, this is not just an addicts mind, but consider this same
feeling times 1000%.
It's overwhelming to say the least.
What I have found to work best is to have a more personal conversation with the person or people and start to see them again as loving, kind individuals that are human just like me.
When I do, I start to forgive almost instantly and my mind begins to ease.
Again, most of all of the trouble centers in my mind, not from any real posing threat.
They have actually done nothing to offend me, I just created the problem in my mind.

So, since I am aware of this problem and that it happens mostly when I am very busy and gone from home for long stretches, I know I should pray and meditate more often to stop this process
before it starts.  It's amazing to me that by praying and making my spiritual connection, I can
almost instantly change my thought process.  What a connection I have made with my Higher Power!
Like most people, I wait until things get really bad before I reach out for help.
Just like when I was drinking and using, I wouldn't pray until I was hugging the toilet bowl
"Please God, I'll never do this again! Help me Lord!"

I still wait until I am hurting pretty bad to ask God for help and ease my pain.
SO......this summer I am taking it One Step at a Time and I am putting my good foot forward.
I am going to try very hard to pray everyday and meditate and give myself a break.
When my mind begins that resentful process, I am going to try and step in immediately and begin praying to change that pattern.  I am hopeful that this will be a success, sometimes my mind
is so willful it's hard to recognize the pattern, but I think if I stay focused and spiritual I will have
a more peaceful summer.

I must also remember to be humble and ask for help when needed.
As soon as I get some humility and realize I cannot do it all on my own, God sends people
into my life to help me.  This past week, I was constantly reminded of God in my life.
Dear friends in the program came out to my shows and gave me support when I needed it most.
I also met folks for the first time that shared their recovery with me, in fact one man
gave me his 27 year coin just minutes before we rocked the Briggs Farm Fest.
It was so inspiring and uplifting, I had the most fun ever on that set.
I am truly blessed with so much good around me, it's incredible........if I can just stay out of my mind!

Thanks to all of the fans and all of my friends for all your love and support.
It means a lot when people tell me they love the blog and I should keep writing.
I love writing and sharing with you and it certainly helps me.

I hope you all have a great summer, be good to each other and share the love.


Wednesday, May 20, 2015

The King has left the building......

I know this blog is mostly based on my spiritual findings as a recovering addict and alcoholic,
but other times it's just a place for me to write what I am feeling or share a story.

I would be remiss to not share with you the deep fondness and appreciation I have
for the now late B.B. King.

My father worked at the Anheuser-Busch Brewery in St. Louis, Mo.
He was 48 years older than me and needless to say, the generational gap was wide and long.
We did not have much in common with the years between us, but we both loved music.
He listened to Big Band and Swing music.......Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, Count Basie....
He loved Harry James, Gene Krupa, and countless other musicians from days long gone
in the mid 1970's.  Like any child, when you're very young, you listen to whatever your
parents listen to, you don't really have any taste yet and whatever is around you is what you soak up.
I loved my fathers music, still do today.  Then I got a little older and started to hear rock n roll
from the neighbor up the street and got really excited about guitar.
I distinctly remember making my father take me to Sears on Grand Ave in South St. Louis to
buy Kiss Alive 2 in about 1977.  We stood in line and he looked at the record in disbelief.....
he turned it over and saw the blood covered Gene Simmons and said out loud

"Jesus Christ.....What the hell kind of music is this shit? This guys all covered in damn blood.
You like this? These guys play music???"

It was the beginning of the end.  We were so far apart in age and when I got old enough to
start making my own choices, we grew apart. I was no longer a little boy and it wasn't the 1940's.
I fell in love with rock n roll and pop music and started listening to the radio religiously and never
turned back.  My father hated my music, he had no time for it and was not interested at all in listening
with me.....and God knows I tried.  No one played an instrument in my family, so me getting a guitar
was also not the most desired sound to have around. My parents put up with it all, mostly because I was the youngest and they were old and beaten down.

Eventually I got turned on in high school to Johnny Winter and Stevie Ray Vaughan.
I was just really into guitar and guitar music at that time, but also Prince, Michael Jackson,
and Cyndi Lauper. I did love good pop music.

I got a job at the music store in my neighborhood and got seriously turned onto B.B. King.
They played "Live at the Regal" damn near everyday at that store.
I fell in love, immediately.  The sound of his guitar and his voice and that band, just swinging.
It was the first time ever that I made a connection of my love of the guitar and my fathers music.
Thats what BB sounded like to me, like blues guitar in a Big Band.
I bought that record and played it for my father. He loved it too.
He knew BB had played with Sinatra in Vegas for years at Caesar's Palace in the late 60's.
He said to me..."Now thats music. Thats good. I can hear every note that he's playing and he's playing
pretty. Not a bunch of noise...and he can sing too. Thats good Michael, thats what music sounds like."

I was proud. I found something that we both liked and we listened to it a lot together.
We talked about BB and music and while he was always first to tell me that the "crap" I had been
listening to was no good, he would always say to me that this music here is what I should try and learn.  He also said the same thing about Country Music. He loved Glen Cambell.....because he played guitar for Sinatra :)

BB King became my mentor and I tried my best to learn from him, but I was still very young.
Finally, in about 1999 I think, BB King came to the Fox Theater in St. Louis.
It was his tour with opening acts, Tower of Power, Robert Cray and Indigenous.
My girlfriend at the time, knew how much I adored BB and she surprised me with front row tickets.
I will never forget that concert. I had never sat that close to the stage before and was in complete AWE of his performance. He was on fire and really doing his thing. The band was amazing and he was strong and solid and his guitar amp was hitting me right in the face, I LOVED IT!
At the end of the show he walked to the front of the stage and he shook everyone's hand and gave out guitar picks. He looked at me and said "here you go son"......I was speechless.
I looked at my girlfriend as we walked out and said "I don't care if we get a dog or have a kid someday, we are naming the first thing we get to name after that man right there!!!"
Well......not much longer after that we got pregnant and today she's almost 15 years old, Riley Zito.

Riley has a fabulous, huge photo of BB King taken by the great Jerry Moran at Jazzfest about 5 years ago, hanging on her wall in her bedroom. He's looking right at the camera smiling, playing his guitar.

My father passed away some years ago, but he got to see me get clean and sober and find success
for myself in the music world.  He became my biggest fan and was very proud.

It's weird to look back now and put the pieces together. The puzzle makes sense now.
BB King was such a huge inspiration in my life and brought my father and I together again,
even though we were so far apart in years.
I never played music with him, shared the stage or opened his show, and we never met....
he just shook my hand at his concert, and I think thats the best.

I am a fan of music and I believe in the magic, sometimes it just needs to stay there, in the magic.
Today, we know everything about everyone, and it's just not the same.
I did read his autobiography twice and loved it!

What a life.  B.B. King lived the life he loved. He played the music he wanted to play
and he gave the world so much love and hope.
It was not always easy, but it's not supposed to be.

Thank You Riley B. King.
You will continue to inspire me until he day we meet.

Tuesday, April 14, 2015


I am a pretty happy guy these days.
Why I wouldn't I be?
I have everything that a man could want and then some.
Most of us probably feel the same way, maybe not all.
But if we really took a moment to make a gratitude list, we'd find that we are
amongst the fortunate few in this world.
I am certain some of us are suffering losses and pain.
Some are sick themselves and dealing with some real life shit right now.
Others are depressed and lonely.
But overall, we are probably doing better than most in the big picture.

There is a website called the Global Rich List.
It is a website to bring awareness to poverty in the world.
You enter in your yearly salary and it will tell you the percentage of where you stand
financially in the world. This is always a go to for me with my kids when they
complain they need a new toy or don't have the newest bullshit thats out.
I pull it up and show them where they stand in the world.
Just for reference: If you made $20,000 in one year in the USA........
You are in the top 3% of the world.
That makes you the 219,013,152ndrichest person on earth by income.

How many people live on Earth?

7.125 billion (2013)
Earth, Population

That means you are richer than 6.9 Billion people.

Obviously, wealth does not make for happiness, but it certainly helps
in the material world. Besides, the whole point here is to raise awareness
of gratitude. We have food to eat, clothes to wear, a home to live in, etc.
A dear friend and mentor of mine always says 
"Just when I'm complaining about the shoes I don't have, in walks a man with no feet."
(and yes I always wonder how he's walking with no feet)
But, you get the point.

Gratitude is all based on perception and most of us live in the western world.
We are biased to perception due to conditioning.
We think if we don't have what they have on the Kardashians, we are just poor.
Obviously that is so grossly wrong, it's downright stupidity.
The problem is, we don't know it. We don't always realize how good we have it
and how amazing our lives are, we just see what we DON'T have.
It's part of the human condition, I am convinced.
We all pine for something or someone and have to get knocked back down to size
to realize we have all what we need right in front of us.
If you believe in any kind of a Higher Power, you come to the conclusion that we
are being taken care of and we have nothing to worry about.
We do our part and let the rest work itself out, and it always works itself out.

I know right now in the world, things can look gloomy or dark because of terrorism
and lack of concern for the planet or the mighty 1% grubbing all the money.
Politics is nonsense these days and it's hard to get a good read on anyone.
The horrific scenes of defenseless Black men being shot by police,
or the inane argument over who has the right to marry.
Why would any man or woman think they have the right to decide how another man or woman
can live their life???
All of this is such saddening, depressing news and information and seems so hopeless.

No matter where you stand politically or religiously or whatever, we can all agree that
life is best when we can just live our lives and love our families.
The Dalai Lama says "If you can, help others; if you cannot do that, at least do not harm them."

Again, I think perception plays a HUGE role in how we look at the world.
With Facebook and Twitter and Fox News and CNN and all of the hype and bullshit and lies
online about every angle to every story - we just never quite get the truth.
It all gets overwhelming and to me makes us all a little gloomy and depressed.
Studies have found that folks who spend too much time on social media are depressed and
more suicidal. They compare their lives with the lives online they are following and they
become depressed......instead of living the lives they have.
We are all guilty of taking pictures of every single aspect of our lives, rather than actually living
the moment that is in front of us - we feel the need to document it.

Ok - I am getting carried away here - my point is that we need to stay positive and look for
the hopeful and not obsess on the hopeless.
Happiness is a choice and we have to take action.
Very seldom do the stars align so perfectly that we are the center of the world.
So, instead I make a gratitude list in my head, almost daily and remind myself how lucky I am.
Where I have come from and where I have been and where I am going today.
I don't watch the news very much, just enough to keep in the loop.
I try not to spend much time on FB, other than to make the occasional Seinfeld reference or sell
you a t-shirt :)
The biggest thing is to look at these situations we are in right now and see them as hopeful.
Maybe, just maybe, we are seeing for the first time that Police Officers are being held accountable
for their actions. Maybe this will bring about a change that is so necessary for the safety of the Black community and for the Police Officers who do their jobs with respect and honor.
Maybe we are in the middle of a Gay Rights Activism that will forever change history in the USA.
We will look back on these days the way we look back on the 19th Ammendment; women's right to vote and the Civil Rights Movement.
Change requires CHANGE.
Shit has to happen for shit to happen.

I am trying my best to hope for the best. It's all I can really do.
Maybe, I don't have the power to change the world but I do have the ability to live
a good, clean life. I have the opportunity to raise my children to be responsible, productive 
members of society. I can give back and make sure I am not hurting anyone.
I can make amends where I have done wrong and I can do better in the future.
If we all did these things, this world will get better REAL fast.
But, there is no reason for me to concern myself with the rest of the world and whether
or not my neighbor is behaving properly; I just need to take care of me and mine.

Live and let live.

I am no different than anyone else, I need to be reminded to be happy and hopeful.
I need to take responsibility for my thoughts and my actions and be forgiving and understanding
of others. Today I will make the choice to be hopeful and happy.
I'll make a gratitude list and take time to give thanks for the wonderful life I have.

I sure don't know what all this means here on Planet Earth.
Why are we here? Where did we come from? Where are we going?
But I am going to make sure I look around as much as possible before my time ends.
Life is pretty amazing.

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Keep it Simple.....Stupid

I dedicate this blog to my dear friend, Mike "Mule" Johnson.
Mule is a big part of my recovery and was a huge supporter of my music.
He was a really good friend and I miss him a lot.
We played music for him just a few weeks ago at his house and I hoped that I would get the chance
to do that again, but he was gone before I got home from my last tour.
He was all about "paying it forward", and I promise to not let him down.
Here today, gone ya Mule

Keep it simple....stupid

I always like this catch phrase, because it plays to my inner turmoil.
It reminds me to stop being complicated and just for laughs it allows
me to degrade myself a bit, self loathing......mmm.

Even if you're not in recovery, you've most probably heard all of these phrases
and lines in movies or in everyday life. Recovery doesn't own the rights to clever
catch phrases, thats for sure. This particular one says it all to me.
Whether I am new in recovery and just coming off the streets, or I have been here 20 years,
it works all the time. It's also the epitome of the words actually matching the true meaning.
It is a simple, stupid reminder to keep it simple, stupid.

So while I know this phrase and the idea behind all to well, I forget about it, almost on a daily
basis. Thats why it's there, to "re-mind" me, and I need "re-minding".
My mind goes a mile a minute and mostly in the right direction these days, but sometimes it
runs away and hijacks my feelings. So I need "re-minding".
My sponsor told once, many years ago, that the mind is like a child.
Children like to go play in the street and we need to tell them to get back in the yard, where it's safe.
That sounds silly, but it is absolutely true.
Most of my crazy thinking is just that, crazy.
It's not based in reality. I'm having conversations with people about problems that have never occurred, but that doesn't stop me. I carry on with someone in my head, to prove a point or win
an argument that doesn't exist......thats crazy.
Most of the time my crazy thoughts are based in fear and ego. I am looking for a fight,
because I probably have not prayed or meditated and spoken with my Higher Power.
When I take time to do so, especially before the day begins, my mind is much more pleasant.
My biggest problem is that I forget whats wrong with me.
Thats when the shit starts to hit the fan.  I start to believe the thoughts in my head.
I create drama that is not there, I get very needy and also very people pleasing to manipulate.
Rather than just "be", I create being based on my emotional needs and irrational thoughts.
Somewhere along the way I am stunned to find out that nothing is wrong at all and I am just crazy.
None of what I was thinking is real and my mind has been playing tricks on me.
Thats when I get scared for a minute. My mind is so powerful that it can hijack my feelings and thoughts and I don't even realize that it's happened.  Luckily, I am in recovery and I am surrounded
by recovery books, emails, others in recovery, I go to meetings and eventually one of those things or people will get my attention and "re-mind" me of my predicament.
Once I am "re-minded", I suddenly give myself a break and those all around me.
"Keep it simple stupid" is such a nonsensical phrase that is so spot on with my thinking.
IF I can just let it all go, give it to God, and focus on whats right in from of me......everything will be fine. It's always fine, all the time, as long as I don't drink or put in.
My thinking and awareness today are so much better than they used to be.
I still get lost sometimes, but I am brought back to speed quickly and long before I go off the deep end.  Prayer is always the answer, yet it's the last thing I do sometimes.

Today I will take time to pray and to connect with my spiritual life, my true life.
I will do my best to keep it simple and walk the narrow path chosen for me, I am grateful.

Peace, Love...Zito

Thursday, February 26, 2015

My first and greatest success

It's been just a bit too long since I wrote my blog and today was the day I decided to get back to it and press on into 2015! I love writing and it always help me to clear my mind and get focused,
But I just can't throw something in there when I m not feeling it, but I'm feeling it today :)
My laptop has also taken a dive and I'm working on my iPad, so forgive me for the many mistakes I foresee.
We often consider success as "rich and famous", or having a lot of money and a big house.
I know growing up in the 70's and 80's, I was enamored with the glitz and glamour of Hollywood.
I wanted nothing more than to be a famous actor or singer on TV with tons of fans and plenty of money. But like any kid, I had no idea the mount of hard diligent work it would take to even get close. Mostly the misinterpretation of true "Success" is what I was missing and for some many years to come. I, like many kids and people today, expected everything to just happen for me.
I expected the world and it needed to hurry up and give it to me.
When I first came into contact with very good guitar players, I was in wonderment of how they could
Play the way they did no I could not. I finally got the news I when I was 18 and working at the local music store that I would need to "learn" to okay the guitar and it would take years, maybe a lifetime,
to aspire to the level of playing I was interested in, and even then, I might not every get there.
That did inspire me to work very hard at the guitar.
Along the way I became a husband, a father, an employee, and I never sought to be successful in any of these other areas like I did the guitar. I had one thing in mind and it was this dream of playing music.  Eventually my life became so unmanageable that I could no longer even play the guitar.
My point is, I did not try hard at anything in life other than seeking my own happiness.

My life is much different today.
I tell people that my first real success in life is my recovery program, and that's true.
I got to the point where I had nothing in life left to do but learn how to live.
I started from scratch and learned to be honest, respectful, trustworthy, hard working, forgiving, understanding......everything that kids should learn when they grow up.
I began growing up at 33 years old.
That's ok, I'm so thankful it even happened!
I began to have an intimate relationship with my higher power.
From this first success, I was able to take these skills I learned and applied them to everything in my life.
 I began to become a good father and put my kids first.
My kids love me, and it worked. My life as a father is priceless.
I learned to be a partner and a husband. I learned of true intimacy and the importance of the union.
My marriage means the world to me and I would not trade it for anything in the world.
I finally applied these principles to my music and consider having a career as a musician and a songwriter. I learned to have respect for what I did and for other musicians. My expectations became more realistic and I found joy in all that I was doing.
Success became a part of my life and is still a part of everyday.
It all starts with the spiritual principles and applying them in my life.
If I can stay grounded spiritually, I won't drink today and that is true success for me.
Then I can be a husband and a father. My family comes first, always.
My music comes next and it so benefits from the hierarchy of God and my family.
I have something to write about, something to sing about, something to play for, to work for.
Music means so much to me, I couldn't live without it, but I would give it up in heartbeat if I had to choose between my family or music, and the greatest gift of all...... I don't have to choose today.
My definition of success is much different today and yet it is the same.
Success requires hard work, diligence and focus, but it does not mean rich and famous.
Although, ironically, by applying spiritual principles to all that I do, to the best of my ability,
all I desire becomes available to me.......I just desire so much less today.
I am happy with what I have and so thankful.
I thank God for the first success in my life, it has afforded me all of the successes in my life today.
It's a great life, it's all in our perspective.
Peace, Love, Zito

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Brand New Blues....

Well, to borrow from my dear friend Cyril Neville,    Brand New Blues.......

It's a new year and an exciting one to say the least - 2015!

Wow- starting to sound like Back to the Future around here, or Back to the Future 2 to be correct.
I love the holidays, and thoroughly enjoy time off with my family, but like a lot of us,
I am also eager to get the holidays over with and get moving forward with the new year.
And we didn't waste any time - I am currently out in the cold northeast of New England on tour with
The Wheel.  This will be the first full year of touring with this exciting band.
We have a lot of festivals and tours booked and are working on a new studio album.
I think this will be a defining year for me and the band.
But as I read my daily reflections and give a thought or two to my spiritual life, I am reminded
that nothing is given or completed magically, it requires effort on all parts - especially from me.
Just like getting clean and sober, my problems do not just go away when I stop my drinking
and drugging - in fact when that all ends, I am left with the nothing but the problem, me.
My life required intense restructuring from the ground up!
As I have learned to trust in the spiritual process, I have also learned to get my hands dirty and
walk through all of the day in/day out struggles of life.
Nothing is handled until we handle it.
For example - I am so excited about the process of my new album.
The band is fired up, I have great ideas in mind and a conception and even quite a few songs
written - but I am far from ready.  I could walk into the studio this week and we could complete
an album, but it would not be my best album.  I need more time to do the work.
and a lot of the work in life is time. It takes time to get from one step to the next.
If I have done all I can do, I probably just need to sit on my hands and wait.
When I haven't found all of the pieces of the puzzle and I have looked everywhere,
I need to wait and with time the last piece will be revealed.
I do not believe that my God is a magician, but I do believe that I need to leave room
for "Magic" in the process. And most of the time "leaving room" means waiting.
My time is conceptual, God's time is not.

So I am taking time to pray and meditate and learn to love the process.
I know that more "Magic" is on it's way and will be revealed when THE time is right :)
I have faith that things will work out for the best and I am excited to see what the future brings.
I pull on my boots and get to work - more shows to play, more practicing to be had,
much more to learn and I learn to reach for help when I need it.
I cannot do this all on my own, I need the help of others and I need to help others
in the process.

Peace, Love, Zito