Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Inner Light 1973-77

This is "Inner Light," the band with which I played a total of 362 jobs from late 1973 through April 1977. I'm the one seated in the middle with the leather top hat, which was my trademark.

We were (from left to right behind me) Steve Boyle (bass), Carol Kozelzky (drums), Susan Frazier (vocals) and Jerry Kozelsky (guitar).

We cut our teeth playing Friday and Saturday nights from 8:30 to midnight at the historic Olney Inn in Olney, Maryland during 1974. [The Inn burned down a few years later as the result of a suspicious fire that was later discovered to have been set to collect insurance.]

Here's my then 3 year-old daughter Sheri standing beside me with a melodica.

After Olney Inn, we signed on with Washington Talent Agency in early 1975 and quickly became one of their top bands. The highlight for me was playing Jimmy Carter's Election Night celebration for the Democratic National Convention in November 1976 at the Statler-Hilton in DC. The picture was taken during 1976, when we were at our peak.

Here I am at a video shoot in October 1976.

We played many weddings, bar mitzvahs, bat- mitzvahs and country club dates in suburban Maryland. Each job was a one-time show, requiring us to set up and tear down our equipment. I hauled my Wurlitzer Electric Piano (weighing over 100 lbs. in its case), Peavey Musician amp (also weighing close to 100 lbs.) and other gear in my 1972 Plymouth Custom Suburban station wagon, which must be one of the biggest station wagons ever made.

Here I am mugging at the camera while playing a wedding reception in suburban Maryland.

I look back with fond memories and also with the perspective of 30 years since these pictures were taken.

I resigned from Inner Light in April 1977 to spend more time at home with my children (7 and 5 at the time). My marriage was on the verge of breaking up due to my extended absences on weekends. I thought I would never play professionally again after that, but through a series of "fortunate events" I got back into music in 1988. My marriage did eventually break up, but not until 1994 when the kids were on their own. A second marriage to and the lure of Music City brought me to Nashville in 1998. My second wife died in 2003 of leukemia, and later that year I married for the third time.

Music and love remain central to my life.

What a long, strange trip it's been!

Monday, September 25, 2006

Mirage 1988-91

This is "Mirage," the classic rock band in which I played keyboards and served as leader during 1988-91. This picture was taken early in the band's development, before we headed toward classic rock. I'm the one seated on the right, with my "Freddy Kruger" hat (I never saw the movie, but people told me my hat looked like the one Freddy wore).

I had been out of music professionally for 11 years following my 1973-77 stint in "Inner Light" (see previous post). During a fortuitous vacation to North Carolina's Outer Banks in the summer of 1988, I sat in with "The Wilder Brothers." I thought I would never play again, but lo and behold, my fingers remembered how to play!

Upon my return from vacation that August, I searched the Washington Post classified and found a band that was auditioning keyboard players. I passed the audition.

I remember during the audition the band asked if I could play "Old Time Rock & Roll" by Bob Seeger. I said, "sure, what key?" The bass player, Steve Bray said, "Let's play it in F Sharp." I said to myself, "Whaaaa?" but quickly found the right notes in that weird key and started off the song.

The band was originally going to play pop country, but as the months went on, the band found itself heading toward classic rock instead. This development prompted our leader, Chelsea Gahar, to quit. Thus I found myself not only the keyboard player but also the leader of the band. Since Chelsea had owned the PA and light system, I sold all my AT&T stock (about $5,000 worth), purchased PA and light systems and over the next 3 1/2 years marketed the band to local clubs. We did fairly well, grossing about $50,000 during that time. Mirage enabled me to put my daughter through two years of college.

Our name: We were originally going to call ourselves "Change of Pace," but after we took the picture above, someone noticed the brand name on the prop ("Mirage 1000"), and we all agreed that "Mirage" was a better name for us anyway. At the time the picture was taken, we planned to target the country club/wedding/corporate gig scene, which is very profitable. That's the reason we are pictured in tuxedos, which we almost never wore except for the occasional wedding reception.

Some day I'll write a post about choosing a band name. It's always a hilarious process, usually involving many obscene choices and resulting in much laughter and little progress. When musicians get together, they have a hard time getting serious about anything other than music. Thus after several unsucessful sessions devoted to picking a name, the photo shoot proved to be the source for the name we chose.

We really did play some kick-ass classic rock.

Monday, September 18, 2006

My nerd score

I am nerdier than 28% of all people. Are you nerdier? Click here to find out!

You can tell that I'm not much of a nerd, although my son (now 34) might dispute that.

When I hired on with C&P Telephone Company of Virginia in 1969, they were just completing conversion to a new computer-based language called "USOC" (Universal Service Order Code). Before that, a service representative might type "Black wall phone" on an order for service. Orders were transmitted from the Business Office to the Assignment Office (where cable pairs and central office equipment were assigned), then to the Central Office (where the wires were hooked up) via 5-channel paper tape. It was about 1 inch wide, and the machine punched it with a system of holes that were read by a tape reader. The reader transmitted the orders over a multi-point, hardwired network including terminals each Central Office. After the Business Office was notified that the work was complete, a completed order notice was sent to the Comptrollers in Richmond, which caused a series of punch cards to be created that represented the customer's account. Each month at billing time huge carts laden with these cards were rolled down to the computer room, which had a raised floor and special air conditioning. The mainframe, which I believe was an IBM 640, had an amazing 16Kb of memory.

I was programming linear and multivariate models in VM/CMS on mainframe terminals back in the late 1970s, using a Fortran-based language called Statlib, which meant "Bell System Statistical Computing Library."

In 1984 I purchased a Sinclair on which my son and I used to write little programs. Later that year I bought a PC-1, the original IBM PC with 64Kb of RAM that could be expanded to 640Kb. It cost about $4,000 including a dot-matrix printer.

I remember taking my son to a meeting of the Washington, DC Capitol PC Users' Group. There were less than 100 of us in attendance.

So I suppose I should get "honorary" nerd status. But then, maybe I'm really just a poser.

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Jonell Mosser at the library

One of the great things about living in Nashville is that many world-class musicians make their homes here. Today at Noon a friend and I walked a few blocks from the office to the public library to hear Jonell Mosser perform.

Jonell has sung in the studio with Etta James, Rodney Crowell, Patti Smyth, Vince Gill, B. B. King, Wynonna, A. J. Croce, John Gorka, Waylon Jennings, Trisha Yearwood, Maura O'Connell, Lee Roy Parnell and many others.

She recorded and performed as The New Maroons with Ringo Starr, Don Was, Benmont Tench and Mark Goldenberg, including a performance at Farm Aid, and has also performed with Delbert McClinton, Levon Helm, John Prine and Keb Mo'. Bonnie Raitt brought her on stage at the Saratoga Performing Arts Center to share the lead vocal on Prine's "Angel From Montgomery". Jonell has appeared on TV shows "The Road", "Austin City Limits" and "American Music Shop", and on the movie soundtracks for"Hope Floats", "Boys On The Side" and "Look Who's Talking Now".

And I just got to see her perform live, free.

What a great city I live in!


I took this picture last Saturday in a friend's front yard in Kokomo, Indiana. It was a brilliant September morning on a country road, surrounded by fields of soybean and corn. I was crouching very still, trying to get the best picture of the flowers illuminated by the morning sunlight, and the little guy just flew right into my field of vision, maybe six inches from my camera lens.

Tuesday, September 05, 2006


In response to Prairie Bluestem's post of 9/4/06...

1) Are you happy/satisfied with your blog's content and look?

I’m okay but not particularly thrilled with it. I’d spend more time designing it if I had more time to spend.

2) Does your family know about your blog?

My wife and son know about it but not my daughter.

3) Do you feel embarrassed to let your friends know about your blog? Do you consider it a private thing?

I’m not embarrassed to let my few friends know about it. Sometimes I post my private gnashings of teeth and later realize they sound very self-serving or whining. I hope my readers will forgive me.

4) Did blogging cause positive changes in your thoughts?


I’ve journaled most of my 60 years in the old fashioned way with pen and paper, capturing private impressions and insights one at a time as they occur to me. I nurture the belief that if I write all this stuff down, someday I’ll be able to make sense of it all. I describe this gradual development of insight as like assembling a complex puzzle. You discover each piece of truth one at a time, then you gradually understand where that piece fits in relation to the others. But there’s more: Many times you grasp the same truth from different perspectives, and you realize that each understanding is correct within the context of its own perspective. In this way the analogy expands from assembling a two-dimensional puzzle to constructing a hologram.

Whereas journaling is private, blogging allows me to write for an audience. It has widened my literary creativity, provided the opportunity to venture into photojournalism and allowed me to indulge in more humor than is usually present in my private journals.

5) Do you only open the blogs of those who comment on your blog or do you love to go and discover more by yourself?

I have a limited amount of free time, so I tend to visit the blogs of those who have left comments on my blog. My wife has also turned me onto a number of blogs.

6) What does a visitor counter mean to you? Do you like having one on your blog?

I love the visitor counter and like to examine the details. I’m always amazed at the number of complete strangers, some from faraway lands, who read my blog.

7) Did you try to imagine your fellow bloggers and give them real pictures?

Yes. I have posted a real picture of myself, and I enjoy seeing the faces of other bloggers.

8) Admit. Do you think there is any real benefit in blogging?

Yes. I have always enjoyed writing, and the positive feedback I’ve received through blog comments has encouraged me to write more. Writing is one of my primary skills, so any way in which I can exercise it is beneficial to me. I hope my writing benefits my readers, but that’s for them to say. One of my dreams is to write professionally, and I see blogging as a kind of practice journalism.

9) Do you think that bloggers’ society is isolated from the real world or interaction with events?

For starters, would someone please identify the "real world" for me? Which events are "real," and which are "non-real?" What is the "bloggers' society?" Somehow I've missed the meeting dates. Maybe I haven't paid my dues.

Now that I've made a mockery of the question, let me attempt to answer it in the spirit in which I believe it was intended.

I can’t speak for other people, but I’m sure that bloggers are a diverse lot like the rest of us. I imagine that some bloggers are isolated and some are completely involved with the "real world" (whatever that may be).

I have known many non-bloggers who don't live in the real world (or at least not in the world I inhabit). Some people live in the world of alcohol, some live in the world of music, some live in the world of ideas. Some live in the world of politics, and some live in the world of corporate power. I live in the world inside my head and find myself constantly exploring its outer reaches.

It might be argued that people who take time to blog aren’t really contributing to the welfare of society, but I believe that any forum in which people are allowed to speak their minds is healthy for society in general.

10) Does criticism annoy you, or do you feel it's a normal thing?

I don’t think I’ve ever encountered any critical comments, even on some of my more opinionated posts.

11) Do you fear some political blogs and avoid them?

I select what I read based on my interests, and I don’t waste my time reading crap. Time is our most precious resource, so why should I waste it reading things that make me feel bad? I suppose you could call that “fear,” but I call it selectivity.

12) Were you shocked by the arrest of some bloggers?

I view blogging as a form of free speech that should be protected as part of U.S. First Amendment rights, and therefore I do not believe that bloggers should be arrested for what they say. Free speech can threaten those in power, and people who live in totalitarian societies do not enjoy the same liberties.

Nevertheless, like any form of free speech, what you say can get you fired. If people have things to say that might get them fired, they should be very careful how they say them and to whom. It’s just common sense.

13) What do you think will happen to your blog after you die?

It will probably melt down in the coming global catastrophe. Seriously, I hope to save my more poignant ramblings in a less volatile format (e.g., paper) before I leave this world. As of this writing, I expect that my son may continue my story.

14) What do you like to hear? What song would you like to link to on your blog?

I love many types of music, but I hate to hear the same song over and over again. So if given the chance, I would like to link XM Satellite Radio’s XM CafĂ© to my blog.

15) Five bloggers to be the next "victims"?
Mean Things They Say to Me
Life of a Capriquarian
Annie's Blog
A Day in the Life of Me
Dream Mom

Busy weekend

Wife and I drove 5 1/2 hours to Indiana Friday afternoon, then partied hard into the night with great friends Friday night.

Had lunch Saturday with deceased wife’s parents, who are in their last years.

Drove home Saturday afternoon to host wife’s mom and two nieces (8 and 2 years old).

Entertained the girls Sunday with a visit to the Adventure Science Center,

then Hendersonville’s public park where the girls played and fed the ducks. The 8 year-old enjoyed throwing bread to the ducks, while the 2 year-old enjoyed eating the bread. I forgot how tiring it can be to keep track of an extremely active toddler.

Monday we cleaned out the garage.

Now I’m resting at work.