Things change. Nothing is permanent. Living beings die. A bug gets squashed on purpose by a single foot and 13,000 humans perish by accident in a single earthquake. Wow. Where’s the balance? Where’s the logic? Maybe there is some balance and logic and maybe someday we’ll be capable of understanding such stuff. But for now, if we’re interested, we can only guess. So much seems unfair, of course. But if we don’t compare and contrast and if we diminish our tendency to judge, we truly can alter our perception and possibly our attitude. Sometimes I’m pretty good at this. If the donut (our bus/van thing) breaks down, it’s either an enormous inconvenience or an adventure. Oh boy, an exciting adventure on the shoulder of I-40 at 3 am. Brave Combo changes too, occasionally. One time we were a four piece band, then a five piece, then a four piece, then a six piece and now a five piece again, toying with the idea of adding a sixth member again someday, or maybe having a guest musician sit in with us every now and then. The configuration changes, the sound changes and the personal dynamics change. And it seems that the most important aspect is that the band is focused and that the band members are all on the same page conceptually. Or at least that the members can come together on the important issues. I am ridiculously passionate about what Brave Combo is, and what it represents. I’m ridiculous about lots of things, actually, but Brave Combo is one of the big ones. We play music, but I also like to think that we challenge listeners to reexamine their perspective. Perhaps flexibility in this area encourages tolerance on many levels. I’ve been accused of being overly analytical at times. But how can you not be? At the very least, there’s a huge ball of dirt, called the moon, up in the sky. How can you explain the perfection of that? No matter what kind of dire situation we’re in, when we look up we all see the same moon. Anyway, back to the idea of the relentless nature of change. It’s inevitable. It happens. Let’s be thankful and celebrate.
Hey, the donut is going (coming) to the mighty northwest and equally mighty southwest this month, with us in it. It’s a pretty quick trip. There are shows in Seattle, Portland, San Francisco and Los Angeles, Then we hurry home for our annual performance with the Richardson Symphony. Check our itinerary for details about these and other fine Brave Combo performances. It takes a lot to satisfy our inflated egos, so please come out.
POLKASONIC, our new CD should be in stores very soon. As I mentioned in earlier newsletters, it’s on Cleveland International Records, a label that’s primarily devoted to polka music. We hope to reach all of the polka music fans in the USA with this and may even go for that elusive Grammy again. For all you collectors out there, the first 2000 copies of the CD will have a slightly different jacket than the rest. We wanted a more vibrant blue and a slightly brighter red, so after the first run this will be corrected, which means those of you who buy one of the first 2000 will have a rare item on your hands. We’ll have these at least through September and then the prettier version will appear. We’ll probably sell about a million of those.
Speaking of polkas, the Time/Life polka compilation moves forward. Licensing of the songs is almost complete. I really love polka music. We heard some great polkas in Chicago recently. I guess that’s totally understandable.
Here’s a Brave Combo fun fact. Danny O’Brien, our trumpeteer and office manager found a $100 bill on the floor of a convenience store in Big Spring, Texas one time. We were on tour and every member of the band was so happy for Danny. He told me recently that he used to go grocery shopping in his bathrobe. Danny contributes sparkling, precise sounds to the band. Here’s to Danny O’Brien.
We are just about finished with our new “pop” album. By the time you read this it will be mixed and sequenced and we’ll be busy writing notes, compiling credits, choosing photos and conceptualizing jacket designs. We don’t know the title yet, but it will be released on Rounder in January or February, 2000. Many of our current crowd-pleasers will be on this CD. I’m obsessing over it right now. My ears are trying to be microscopes and that’s not necessarily a good thing. Pop on.
Speaking of new albums, we are in the early stages of collaborating on a children’s album with our friends, Cathy Fink and Marcy Marxer. It’s a blank piece of paper right now, but it’s going to happen. The contract with Rounder has been signed by all. Cathy and Marcy are veterans in this field and are Grammy nominees as well. More on this as it develops.
Our new 20th anniversary shirt was designed by little Sammy Hurt of Austin, Texas. He’s a bouncy eleven-year old and loves to play with his wife and kids. Wait a minute, he’s not eleven. He’s much older than that. Congratulations to Sam. He wins some shirts. I think his design is posted somewhere on the web site. Or it soon will be. Look around for it. Thank you to all of our fans that took the T-shirt design challenge. For what it’s worth, if you ever have a cool idea for a Brave Combo shirt, let us know. If we like it and use it, we’ll definitely make it worth your while.
So, this is September, 1999. The year is zooming by even faster than I imagined it would. Clamp down on it, everybody. I’ll try to live more in the moment if you will, too. There’s something beautiful where you least expect it. In the darkest depths you may find a diamond or something slimy. There are no guarantees. See you next month.