2007: Rock Walk of Fame

Michelle Phillips, Otis Redding's daughter, Karla, Big Al, and Zelma, Otis Redding's widow.

So there I am being schooled how to put my hands in cement properly at the Guitar Center in Hollyweird on May 11th 2007. I am being inducted into the Rock Walk Of Fame along with Michelle Phillips and Otis Redding. I had a lovely chat with Reddings widow and sister. They are wonderful, down-to-earth folks from Macon, GA. Michelle was a little late and we never knew each other very well, so we had a short, awkward conversation. I arrived with my son and daughter-in-law Brian & Jackie, and my dear friend Evil Wilhelm (don’t ask!) Our driver, sent by the RockWalk, unbeknownst to us, spoke no English, so he just ignored us when we addressed him.

Once I got there, a completely surreal feeling came over me and I basically followed the dots and just walked right through the whole thing like I was on another planet. It was certainly not my average day back in Somerville, MA. When it was over, I had to rush back and change hotels so I could get to sound-check on time for that evening’s performance at McCabes in Santa Monica. It was one of those days.

I was a little jumpy that my tour-opening solo show that night might not be up to par as I felt a wee bit under-rehearsed and also that show was to be attended by royalty - songwriters Gerry Goffin & Jerry Leiber were to be in attendance. I actually was nervous ! Before I went on, Gerry Goffin came to visit in the dressing room and said that Leiber had not felt well that afternoon and probably would not attend. That took a little pressure off. Ten minutes later, Leiber showed but no one told me as I was onstage. Everything fell into place and I got comfortable and the show was going well. My plan had been to introduce Leiber to the audience and try and coax him onstage to tell the story behind the song “I, Who Have Nothing” - he’s a wonderful speaker and it’s a very interesting story. Thinking he was absent, I told the story as I knew it and sang his song which I am covering on my next album. I had no idea he was there and relaxed into it. Goffin told me later he left gruffly after the show saying “That’s not how it happened at all !” If I’d have known he was there, we ALL could’ve heard the REAL story. Ya just can’t win.

All the shows went well on the entire tour averaging about 2 1/2 hours onstage with no intermissions. I guess I was on a roll. It was great to play Seattle and Portland because I had never done solo shows there before. The audiences were wonderful, but there’s no American cheese in the Northwest for a common Easterner.

I’m back home now gearing up for the next set of problems that present themselves in my quest to stage amazing 2008 presentations in celebration of my 50th year in professional music. I’m deep into working on the next as yet untitled album, and planning live shows.

The book contract is nearly signed, so have patience, and don't buy those $100 Ebay copies. The library is actually a sane, inexpensive way to read the book until the next edition is most likely published in 2008. There’s a good chance I might join the cast of Levon Helm’s show in Central Park (NYC) on June 28th. Stay tuned for details. Well, I’m off back down the basement to the studio to sing some background vocals now. Speak with you again next month.