A letter from Dirk

dirk

ELVIS, THE BEATLES, BOB AND THE BIG BANG

    So the Rangers and the Giants were in The World Series this year. For me, it was home team verses home team. I live in Texas but I grew up in California. My kids are born Texans but I left my heart in San Francisco. It’s the old Civil War conundrum; “One wore blue and one wore grey”.

    I always have been drawn to the dream of being born and growing up in the same place, even the same house. I’m not sure why. Maybe it’s because it’s the opposite of the life I’ve actually lived. I was born an Indianan, grew up a Californian and have lived as a Texan for the past 17 years. Where’s home? I don’t feel like a Californian, an Indianan or a Texan. I’m an Un-ion… an Onion! I like that. No… with all the time I’ve spent in Europe and all the traveling I’ve done, I should call myself a rolling stone. That’s better, I’m a Rolling Stone! I like that. But then, imagine me with The Rolling Stones. I’d look like Gulliver towering over the tiny Rockyrollians. The Stones wouldn’t dig it. They’d treat me rude and shun me. I’m sure of it.

   Through the mists of early childhood I remember Elvis Presley. Even at 7 years old I could sense how deeply he scared all the adults around me. They were always making fun of him and putting him down. Their put downs were lame, though, and only made them look stupid and weak in my eyes. I loved him. He scared me a little too, but it was a mysterious, luscious kind of fear. I knew I could trust him. I knew he was good. I wanted to hang out with him, to ride on the back of his motorcycle and have him teach me everything about everything. This guy knew stuff! Elvis set me on my life’s path. He showed me something better was out there, something mysterious and fun.

   Years later, like a soul lost in dark, wet woods is drawn to a campfire, I was drawn to Bob Dylan. My dad laughed and said he was just a hillbilly but like with so many other things to come, my dad was wrong. Dylan taught me that serious words could work with simple music and make fine art. Dylan lit a fire in me that burns to this day.

   I vividly remember The Beatles bomb dropping and the world exploding from black and white into color. I was, as usual, hanging out at Tower Records/Ye Music Shoppe in Sacramento with my young band mates. I remember the label of that 45 spinning on the turntable and the incredible, chaotic joy of “I Wanna Hold Your Hand” dancing through those little two-toned grey and burgundy speakers. Hope was born and the world transformed. Things started making sense for me.

   The power of these artists eventually toppled the entire established music busyness and we kids literally took over. What was a gas! Music writers and lovers of this new music were all a-titter about the record album being ‘the new art form’. Everyone was saying that the new songwriters were the Hemmingways and T.S. Elliots of our generation and they were right. For a brief moment real creativity became popular in our culture and it spread from music to literature, film, dance, theater and the visual arts. It was a period of true exploration and excitement and hope. Even thinking came into fashion!

   Alas, it took only a year or two before our consumer society, like the giant sponge it is, sucked all this beautiful stuff up and squeezed it back out as tawdry, imitative product. The world has gone back to black and white. ‘Hip’ used to mean ‘conscious’, now it means only ‘stylish’. Now, we are witnessing the death of the album as an art form. It’s a microcosm of human history. The wiliest of the power obsessed always seize control and darkness drops again.

   But here’s the good news: There’s a power so powerful that the Power Guys can’t even dream of it (because they are incapable of dreaming). This power is first and final and infinite. This power is not phony. ‘In the beginning was the word’… at least this much of that book was true. This is the power that stands the green grass back up after the hurricane has passed. It’s the naughty boy who lit the fuse that ignited the Big Bang. It’s truth, it’s beauty and it’s love all rolled up and swirling and circling around with colors and music and emotions unimaginable and, “Who dares utter the name of God? Who presumes to know His mind?”

Not me, but Hallelujah, Anyway!

Speaking of which…

Have a look at the gigs up top of this email. I'll have the Dirk Hamilton Band with me in California for some gigs. I hope to see you and all your friends there.

Fondest regards,

Dirk

 

 

DIRK HAMILTON BAND CONCERTS

FRI 11/12

Blackwater Café, STOCKTON, CA
912 N. Yosemite Street, Stockton California 95203
(209) 943-2968
blackwatercafestockton.com

WED 11/17
Don Quixote's, FELTON, CA
6275 Highway 9, Felton, CA 95018
(831) 335-2800
donquixotesmusic.com

FRI 11/19
Palms Playhouse, WINTERS, CA
13 Main Street, Winters, CA 95694
(530) 795-1825
palmsplayhouse.com


 

 

For more information: dirkhamilton.com

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