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Thursday, March 10, 2011

Thursday Thinkin's

editors note: I got nothing. I am feeling a bit down. I am definitely feeling mortal, kids. Whenever I read this Post, I always feel better. and although you long term followers have prolly read this, more than once you newbies may have not.

Hope YOU all are well!

Here is prolly my favorite post ever!

Well, definitely top 5...

1.Adam Lambert (is a jackass)
2.Tony Danza (is not the boss of me!)
3.Chuck Norris (has a new series called Walker, Texas Ranger)
4.Kelly Preston (had a baby)
5.Cap’n Crunch (is filing a lawsuit)
6.Ashley Olsen (killed the triplet in the womb)
7.Great white shark (gets braces)
8.guess who (will not be named…sick of these two attentionwhores)
9.Gabrielle Giffords (still recovering!)
10.Stonehenge (knocked over by vandals)

this week the JADIP blog is sponsored by
a collage of words and images that make you think and feel!

I have always been an applause junkie.

I have always had the travelin' bone. Even as a little kid running around the neighborhood sans diaper and turning on the neighbors hoses, I have craved attention. High maintenance has been a word to describe me. I have been mistaken for Richard Dreyfus. Not the old guy in his later years, but the guy that played Hooper in Jaws.

I am not sure it that is a good thing or a bad thing...

Actually, the young Dreyfus does look a little like me. “Hey aren’t you Richard Dreyfus?” “No, but he looks like me.”


I was that street musician that played in Saugatuck.

As many of you know, I used to be a street performer. That is not to say that I was a great street performer, I didn’t juggle or swallow fire. I did not do magic. It was not as daring as that. It was simply a venue to play my music; you know those simple folksy story songs. I did not do it for the money. Although the money was sometimes pretty good, I did it for the fame, the applause, the notoriety.

And, as I love to attest to, I was mildly famous.

It had its ups and downs like anything else. I choose to remember it as a great time. Not just to look at it thru the old rose coloreds, but because it mostly was. I had quit smoking dope, and saved up enough to hit the road in the converted Chevy van with my dog Busker. Life was good! I also had the SEAMONKEY my sailboat to live in…Yeah, it was the shit!!

I was Hey aren’t you???

I was THAT guy.

Nonetheless, I was a street performer. I played in any town I could find that would allow me to play from Saugatuck on down to Key West. Which, BTW, were few and far between, but then again, I did not look very hard.

It was more about being on the road than the destination. It was more about the music than the venue, but I even played on Mallory Square before they made it a bastardization of street performing with rules and auditions.

I played in Pennsylvania at some college campus. (Turned out it was Penn State, which has a beauty of a campus in Wilkes- Barre.) Don’t ask me how Pennsylvania could possibly be on the way to Key West from Saugatuck, but suffice it to say it was long before the invention of Sheila, the girl in my GPS. Even back then the shortest route was always the one I missed a few turns back.

I played in rest areas.
I played in St Augustine.
I played on the beach as well.
I played anywhere at anytime.

I played at the Toledo Zoo on Thanksgiving week end. Damn it was cold, but I made a few bucks and so it was alright. Somehow on this same trip, I also got kicked out of a head shop. Not that I was still smoking dope, or that there is anything wrong with dope...

I needed some papers to roll a cigarette.

They kicked me out for saying, "Hey man that is a sweet bong!!"

Apparently the term “bong” is not cool, or as they said, illegal...(as opposed to “water pipe” which is fine...just fine???) BTW...The LIONS even beat the vikes in a shootout that year on turkey day.

There was a great article written featuring the street music scene in Saugatuck, in the Kalamazoo Gazette. It included my picture and a few quotes. It was a nice little publicity thing. Once you become an applause junkie, it never stops.

You need the attention.

"Hey aren’t you that guy in the paper?" Holland’s little news paper also did a little blurb on me and the street scene as well. I was always getting peeged as hey aren't you.

“Hey, aren’t you that street musician in Saugatuck?”

Mostly, I played on Butler Street in Saugatuck, next to the Sand Bar, and On Duval Street in Key West, anywhere I could find a spot. Eventually, the Saugatuck gig became political and they moved us down to the gazebo, where it ceased being street performing and became a stage act. Some how the intimacy faded when I got on stage, it really lost the flavor of the street, even though we were only 50 to 100 feet from the street.

And don’t get me started on Mallory and all that, let alone House Boat Row.

And then I got remarried.

Hey aren’t you mildly famous is now a dad.

Scary, Huh kids?

Shortly after I re-married, Roxy, the kids and I were down in Key West. I ran into an old acquaintance, who asked me to sit in for a song or two. I, of course, said

"Hell yeah!"

As I was playing, the song Prisoner, someone walked by and said,

“Hey, Aren’t you that guy that plays on the street in Saugatuck?”

I smiled and said yeah.

Mildly famous.

Jus' sayin'....

Time passes.Again I took to the streets. I played in Rockford and again someone decided to write about me. “Hey aren’t you that mildly famous street music guy?” I guess being pegged as a street musician is better than being pegged in America’s Most Wanted, or in the Arrest News.

Mildly famous is not enough, but it was all I could do.

I figured really famous was a lot of work. Anytime your passion becomes work, it becomes a job and I really do not like the business side of music. Hey, I also love to fish, but I do not want to join the Bass Tourney circuit.

Like anything else, the street gig came to a close; it became a struggle to maintain the purity. I did some coffee houses and a couple gigs at One Trick Pony. I played at the singer song writer’s gig at Schuler’s Books and Music. Mildly famous. It is tough to be a “where are they now” street performer.

Time passes…

Hey aren’t you mildly famous is now a dad, a soccer coach, and the Regional Commissioner of the Cedar Springs AYSO. Hey aren’t you mildly famous became “Hey aren’t you that soccer guy?”, and a lot of other names I won’t mention to try to keep this blog close to PG. Yeah, being Hey aren’t you... backfired in that little trip down the parenthood path.

It was nearly as bad as being on America’s Most Wanted.

Time passes.

Years go by.

I have packed away all of “Hey aren’t you mildly famous” in a box in the basement. I have also packed on some pounds. Now I am “the Fatty”, Roxy’s (sometimes jackass) husband; Chris and Libby’s step-dad, Rich’s Friend that did this or that in stories for his ninth grade class, and a lot of other things; some that are nice...

and some not so nice.

Years roll on by.

I now look more like Dreyfus in Mr. Holland’s Opus than Hooper in Jaws. I have a new gig. I do the best I can. I am sometimes not very good at my new role, but oh well…I do try...

“Hey aren’t you mildly famous” is gone to live with Mr. Mo Jo Rison…

Recently, I was at the Kalamazoo Home Builders Show, doing the working gig I do now, selling and remodeling. I was standing in the booth.

A lady walks up to me and asks,

“Hey, aren’t you that guy that used to play on the street in Key West? You’re a little older,” she says, “and less hair, I mean no pony tail, but that was you, right?"

"I was doing an internship down there and saw you all the time”

I am kind of taken aback.

“Yep” I reply.

Mildly famous.

Just another day in paradise


  1. Mildly famous---hugely awesome. Great post.

  2. Nicely captured; interesting & thought provoking.

    Thanks for penning that down. You shoes feel snug, pal. :)

    If you're really into music and all, you could check out this show called 'Treme' (HBO). The shows situated in post Katrina Treme and portrays among other things, the music scene of New Orleans. It's from the makers of 'The Wire' (Best show on TV as per Obama and me). Got me wondering about lives of people like yourself..

  3. As they says, "It's not the destination, but the journey". You, my friend, have had many interesting journeys. Oh, and thanks a lot for putting that "my Chevy van" song into my head.

  4. I love Saugatuck and now that I know you are a famous figure in the history of the town, why I can only love it all the more! ...Maybe your chance meeting with that lady was a little reminder from the universe that you have a special talent that deserves some attention from time to time. I hope you keep on playing your music.

  5. What a moving trip down memory lane but why so glum my friend? You've lived a richer and fuller life than most. When I think of life I think of Frank Sinatra’s song “My Way” (my all time favourite song when I’m in a melancholy mood).

    And you certainly have been living it your way - with passion, heart and a whole lot of kindness (which you've bestowed upon my blog and me, and now CP) but most importantly Bruce you've made a difference in the lives of people that really, really care about you – Roxy, the kids, all of us here and even the woman that remembered you from long ago. (And let’s not forget Tucker)

    Maybe your not famous according to your idea of fame but to me, CP and I’m sure a whole host of others you are as famous as it gets!

    If you're missing your music, then make it happen for you. Figure it out and do what you need to do to get your groove back on!

    Be Happy,

  6. wow!! Mildly famous and an awesome guy :) Sorry you are feeling a bit low right now, it sucks.

    Never lose sight of the music my friend, it's part of who you are.

  7. sending you big hugs and smiles sir bruce. Hope you are feeling a bit brighter tomorrow.

  8. I once lived in the mountains of California. It was breathtaking, beautiful, adventurous and I made the most of it while I was there. I never forgot those mountains and yearned for the chance to return. I finally did years later and you know what I found? Just big piles of rocks with trees growing in it. I should have never went back because my memories were much better than the return. Now instead of trying to go back to that same mountain I search for new ones!! Keep it simple my friend!

  9. mildly famous and a great writer you rock

  10. I am sorry that you aren't feeling well right now Bruce. I wish there was something I could do, but please know we are thinking of you here in the pond and sending you good thoughts.

    Hey - aren't you....that guy that's supposed to get on a boat with two crazy ladies to go to Aussie land to visit the third? :)

    Hugs my friend.

  11. *huge applause*

    This was a beautiful post about the evolution of how we define ourselves. Whether it's mildly famous or soccer dad or (jackass) husband, you awesome, boss.~

    Hope you are feeling better soon. *hugs*

  12. thanks everyone!

    *ginormous grinning*

    i went to see the greatest blues musician of all time, bb king, play once. he was in his 80's and his first few minutes he just thanked the audience...

    i felt honored to be was like he was talking just to me...

    but i understand. to a performer, the audience is the most important thing in the world. and if/as it changes, be it your spouse and kids, other family, or the GREATEST group of people, i call my friends, you all,

    i still love the applause...

    *huge bow*

    Jewels- thanks doll! i live to make you happy! You are one of kind, and do not change! (even if you are a flyers fan! hehe!)

    hands off zues- thanks for stopping by..i will check out the treme show...i never made it to NOLA to play the street, i just got sidetracked...

    on my soapbox- "...chevy van and that's all right with me" sorry...but hey, i could not find a decent ford or dodge...

    Empress- thanks...i should go back and just set up for a weekend, just for kicks...i actually had my guitar (fav) out the other day, gonna take it to get a tuneup and get back to playin. mebbe not out , but definitely just play! it is a great town, Saugatuck, but the art scene was in turmoil when i fianlly many poeple arguing about what is art and what is not!

    Jenny- health issues and no insurance...nuff are too kind, i am so appreciative of your kind words and thoughts! and i have made some real connections in the webberworld! i am glad i found you and CP... you always are a hand up and a great have made some great deposits in the karma bank!

    lyndylou- thanks... someone once said...cry or laugh you choose! and she is an inspiration to me! this was a tough week for many of my cyberfriends... and i feel bad for them as well...

    milady mynx-y- sunshine and happy thoughts! you too should have a great day! seeeing you with your mojo back is awesome! and i love your purple hair...and i am so feeling the hugs!

    bushman- i miss the simplicity. and i hear ya on the rocks and trees...i know i remeber the good, much more than the the idea of finding new mountains!

    becca- aww shucks thanks becca! you rock too...i get little chunks of awesome from your blog, every time i stop by!

    skippymom- life is rollercoaster...and if anyone understands the frustration of illness, well, i know you do...i am riding it as best i can...thank you for the kind words...and yes tucker and i are packed and ready to go! we are picking you and barbie up and going to see mynx-y! hugs back at ya!

    kat- *bowing with a huge grin* you are too has been a wild ride...i will leave it all on the table when i snuff the mortal coil... i appreciate the new life, but miss the old...some days i am just a little lost...i was burning discs yesterday for the contest winners and i just got to thinkin'...

    thanks all!

  13. You sound pumped - that's fantastic Bruce!

    Sometimes we just need to do a littl "soul" baggage clean-out in order to make room for new energy to come in.

    Sounds like this outing was the ticket!

    Happy thoughts,

  14. Sometimes people who deserve recognition for being great only get to be mildly famous. But that's okay. It still means that people recognize you for what you give...

    ...rather than, say, being on MTV (seriously, where does the music in that come in?) in fuzzy slippers complaining about how horrible your pampered life is...

    ...not that I would ever stop on those shows for a few minutes.

  15. I know it can be hard to put the 'Hey aren't you....' stuff behind you. But its really a nice surprise when someone recognizes you still.

    I love that you played in Key West. Did you ever meet Buffett (JImmy not Warren his uncle) while you were wandering about. He did the same thing for quite a while. I love sunset at Mallory Square and have some friends that have been performers there for a while. I'm just full of love for you today.

    I've missed you so since I"ve been on the forced sabbatical of moving. But I'm back now and can't wait to get caught up on everything I've missed.

  16. Sorry you're not feeling well Bruce...and hope you feel better soon.
    Got to agree with some of the comments above - you're a great writer and more that mildly famous in my household lol

  17. jenny-thanks to the kind words of many friends i feel much better mentally. and right now mentally better is totally awesome

    kara-i know, right? i look terrible in fuzzy slippers. i am not sure how great i am, but i appreciate the kind words. mtv = many trashy vamps...

    tory- missed you too, babe! but i understand that your new adventure is gonna be excited for you guys! a move is never fun!

    g-thanks you for your kind will never know how deeply i apreciate them!

  18. Sorry you're feeling down, my friend, but it's always nice to be mildly famous. Once upon a time ago I was mildly famous for having my senior picture taken in a bath tub, half naked, with a monocle, and a gigantic martini glass.

    I also demand to see this tie-dye marriage that was on television. Is it on youtube yet? Everything's on youtube.

  19. beeer 4 shower- i contacted them a few years seems to be gone..

    i have the blurb they did and have yet to figure out how to get it from vhs to 'puter

  20. That's pretty cool that that happened with that woman! haha.


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