People with strength of purpose have always fascinated me. Battling the odds and obstacles through perseverance. Finding refuge--as well as strength in purpose--an essential plateau to regroup and reorganize one’s thoughts when the voices of doubt threaten to overturn any sense of progress, is an art in itself. It takes a person of enormous heart and focus, whose basic concepts of how to live and thrive have been turned upside down and tested, at times beyond endurance, to regain momentum within to pursue the twin aspirations of hope and optimism.
Vancouver Island Music Fest 7-11-10
We were all in anticipation of seeing Richie. It had been almost a year. We traveled up to Vancouver Island to play a concert, taking the next day off to visit with Richie and his wife Shauna at their home. Throughout that long year I had many conversations with Richie on the phone. There was not one time I didn’t hang up without crying.
I was told Johnny Lee’s recording studio housed Richard Manuel’s piano. Paul Barrere had suggested we make use of Johnny’s place to record our next project. Not that I needed any persuading -- Johnny’s studio is legendary. It is a converted garage separated from his home in the back on a quiet street in Studio City.
When I was fifteen I nearly lost my life. Remarkably, I also found my life. I was unhappy for many reasons, but chief among them was moving from Ventura, California to Santa Maria, approximately 100 miles north on the 101 Freeway. I had grown up in Ventura. All my friends were there. I was entering high school—in 1964 high school commenced at grade 10. My music teacher, Ruth Neuman, had recently passed away from a heart attack, another devastating blow. I was angry, confused, and cut adrift.