Hi everyone. Relatively short post here today. I want to remind y’all that I will be playing some music live this Friday night at 8:30 Boston time on Facebook live. Here is the link to join in. I’d love for you to stop by to listen to some old familiar tunes and maybe a couple of new ones, and I also hope that you will consider clicking here to make a donation to the Glioblastoma Foundation, which does a tremendous amount of good work in caring for glioblastoma patients and working to develop better treatments. When (not if, I’m certain) the disruption and risk of the current pandemic subside, the doctors and researchers looking to beat diseases such as these will still need our help to do their good work. So please – for the sake of Donald, Neal, Gord, and tens of thousands of others past and present, give what you can. (There are also links on the Tunnel 18 facebook page)
Thank you, and I promise I will spend our time together on Friday in a spirit of celebration. And I will look forward to seeing all of you in person and singing together very, very soon!
First, it is my dearest hope that all of you are staying safe, and staying as healthy as possible. For those who can, please work from home, and certainly do what you can to both keep yourself from catching COVID-19 and help keep it from spreading further as well.
Second, I have some sad news related to Tunnel 18’s history. Donald Humphreys – my friend since our first day of kindergarten, the one drummer I have spent the most time with (we played together from about 1983-1996 or so), and the guy who came up with the name Tunnel 18 – died this morning.
He was diagnosed with glioblastoma (the same cancer that killed Neil Peart and Gord Downie) last spring and had been fighting the disease ever since.
I’m going to take this moment to renew my plea that if you can, please donate to any of the cancer societies who are doing good work and research into battling this disease. My favorite is Sunnyview, but there are many others.
Aside from this, I’m going to spend some time thinking of my friend and brother in music. I will remember building and then blowing up plastic model planes in his backyard. I will remember model railroading. I will remember riding bikes halfway across Bergen County. I will remember the very first days of Tunnel 18, of learning songs, sounding terrible and then sounding less terrible. I will remember playing parties where we eventually got police officers from four different towns in the county to come by to shut us down. I will remember meeting his kids for the first time, and him meeting mine.
We hadn’t been able to play music together for years because of the separation of a few hundred miles, but just like I have been playing music again, he was as well, shifting from drums to guitar in Outside The Lines, a band in northern New Jersey. I believe they will be soldiering on, and I strongly recommend you go out and take a listen if you can.
Farewell, my friend – thank you for all of the wonderful memories and for the impact that you made on so many of us.
A personal blog is often a place for many words about a lot of things: thoughts, reflections, and whatnot. Today, I will offer just a few words, about something that has affected me very deeply.
As I’ve said before, Rush was my favorite band growing up. Their music was the soundtrack I lived my life to. Their lyrics reassured the mind of a kid who was a bit of an outcast, and more than a little odd. And their music never got old – they continued to change with the times and with their own tastes. A lesson I hope to keep with me as I (hopefully) continue songwriting for many years to come.
Neil Peart died earlier this week after a three-and-a-half year battle with glioblastoma. If you don’t already know who Neil Peart was, all I can do is offer you just a sample of how the man played, and then urge you to read his writings. His lyrics are the liturgy of Rush. His own storytelling spoke of a humble but searching mind.
I would ask you to do one thing, if you can. Glioblastoma is a devastating and frighteningly unkind killer. Unfortunately it is a disease that I have more familiarity with than I would like, due to a dear friend’s struggles (more on him another time).
Glioblastoma of course also took another great songwriter, Gord Downie (of the Tragically Hip), back in 2016. On his passing, Sunnybrook Health Sciences Center in Toronto established a fund for brain cancer research. If you can, please donate.
I have to go now. It’s hard to type through tears.