The other night Rick called me on the phone. We had traded music tapes for the first time over 12 years ago, meeting through our mutual music interests on the internet. I think we met in person for the first time before a Neil Young concert at the Fox Theater in Detroit in the spring of 1999. He had front row seats and I took a picture of the back of his and his wife Susan’s head & Neil Young.
The next show we were at together was John Hartford at the Ark in the fall of 1999. We were able to go back in the dressing room of the theater, which is never allowed, that’s because John had problems with his leg and had trouble walking. He wanted to meet fans and sign autographs but it was difficult for him to get to the public areas, so he had the public come to him. The Ark dressing room walls are covered with autographs and notes from the artists that have performed there over the years, it was very cool to see that!
I forget how many shows I saw Rick and Susan at after that, but we are mutual fans of Buddy & Julie Miller, Fred Eaglesmith, Steve Earle, Lucinda Williams, Iris Dement … I could go on … there have been countless concerts that we have crossed paths at, mostly at the Ark. We have met for meals before shows, exchanged Christmas cards, shared losses … his mother & father died within the last few years, my father 8 years ago.
Anyway, he called on the telephone, maybe the second time we used that technology, it’s always email. He wondered why I wasn’t at the Iris Dement show at the Ark and asked how I was doing. He inquired about my brother, who I attend concerts with, he knew John had been unemployed since October of 2007. We talked about many things, just catching up, hadn’t seen him in a years time. It was good to hear from him.
That communication with Rick came while I was working on writing this:
“After reading an article that contained this quote “the internet has turned listening to music into a very solitary pastime“ got me thinking about how the internet has actually brought people together, not isolating individuals. In my own internet experience, going back 15 years, I have corresponded and met with people from around the globe. It all starts with a common interest, in my case it’s been music but then expands from there. One example were exchanges with someone I share the same last name with, he resides on a South Pacific Island and works in the local government there, we mailed each other copies of Neil Young shows on cassette tape and frequently a memento from our region was included like a post card featuring a local artists painting or even a beer label.
The sharing of the mutual enjoyment of music started when I connected my computer to the internet for the first time in 1994. My first searches were my favorite artists, Frank Zappa was number one. My next search was Neil Young, which led to joining an email group of fans, trading live music tapes and meeting at concerts.
Before a Detroit show in 1999 I met Mark from Boston & Andy from Toronto, a few long term friendships started there. That’s how I met Rick & Susan ten years ago, also Bill and his wife Julee in addition to Dan and his wife Kris six years ago. My brother and I occasionally meet with them before concerts.”
That’s where I had stopped writing about the subject at the time before hearing from Rick, his call speaks for itself and I feel no need to elaborate further on the subject … that’s all I have to say about that.