So I guess another year is wrapping up and, once again, a new one is ready to take its place. I’ve seen this before. Everyone looks back at the previous 12 months because we, apparently, can’t help it. I suppose it’s important to us to assess what just happened. The older I get, the more I feel like everything just happened. Twelve months feels barely longer than two. Plus, I’m just not past-oriented. I don’t long for the good ol’ days, whenever they were. There are certainly many events I remember fondly and I suppose, if I could hop into a time machine and walk around my hometown in the 1960s again and look at it with modern eyes, it would, admittedly, be entertaining. However, I have somewhat recently cataloged all of the Brave Combo videos, going back to our first rehearsals, and I gotta say, I don’t want to relive a single minute. The experience was pretty overwhelming and, ultimately, rather nauseating. Too much to take in. Lots of places and miles and situations and people. I was surprised at my reaction. I probably tried to watch and label too many at a time, but boy-o-boy did I get tired of myself. There were moments it didn’t look like anything to me. But mainly I was just happy I still had a reason to keep making new stuff, because I love making new stuff. And I know I drive everyone crazy with my desire to constantly create and change things up and, on top of that, be as perfect as possible, but that formula seems to work for me. In just a few months Brave Combo will be 40 years old. That’s four decades of imagining what doesn’t exist. That’s a pretty long time, right? I mean, that’s nothing compared to how long dogs have been domesticated. But compared to how long it takes to eat your average meal, it’s an eternity. Plus, most of our songs are on the short side, so a night of Brave combo involves roughly 45-50 songs. Multiply that by 40 years. Okay, I’m starting to feel nauseated again. Whatever, if I were to do a year-end round-up, I think it would be something like, “We live in a Twilight Zone-style cartoon and 2018 was full of stupid shit!” But with the new year comes new hope and, I must say, I am sorta optimistic about 2019 and very grateful that Brave Combo still has so many opportunities to perform and to be self-indulgent. We’re so appreciative of the support which continues to come our way. I’m always amazed I actually make money doing this; enough money to support a bunch of animals, including several who don’t live at our house. They have no idea how expensive they are. They don’t even know what money is. They just know I am, somehow, there to take care of them.
Speaking of 2019, we will be updating our itinerary soon and adding lots of new dates. As usual, we are on vacation for most of January and February, but on Saturday, February 23, we will perform in concert with the Odysseus Chamber Orchestra in McKinney, Texas. Symphonic arrangements of Brave Combo songs, with us playing along! We seriously dig hearing our music played by lots of violins and oboes and harps and french horns and then singing along with it, karaoke-style, in front of an audience. Pretty thrilling stuff for us. Mark it on your calendar.
LET’S GO SHOPPING. We ordered a bunch of IT’S CHRISTMAS, MAN! CDs (1990 release, contains original BC recording of “Must Be Santa,” which our friend, Bob Dylan, covered) for the season and they were a hit, so we are going to try expanding the BC store to include vintage vinyl, cassettes, publicity photos, posters, and myriad oddball things. The Brave Combo office/studio is about to pop with stuff. Jeez, that TV show, HOARDERS, even called about shooting an episode (just kidding). We’ll let you know when the inventory is ready to check out and clear out, hopefully by mid-January. Start getting excited now, though. In the meantime, we do have a few copies of IT’S CHRISTMAS, MAN! still in stock. It’s a classic album and, as Brave Combo says, “Christmas is always just around the corner.”
JOE CRIPPS’ BIRTHDAY PARTY. Our friend, a comrade in music and fellow traveler, Joe Cripps, has now been missing for about two years and two months. In October of 2016, he just disappeared. He was living in Little Rock at the time. Joe played percussion with Brave Combo for over two decades and was a partner in the band, as well, for several years. We toured the world together. January 5, 2019, is Joe’s birthday and on that date, an army of his fellow musicians will gather at Dan’s, in Denton, for the second annual commemorative blow-out. At that event, an announcement will be made about a scholarship which is being established in Joe’s name. Although the reason we will all be getting together is sad beyond words, Joe was bigger than life, so we plan to rock out and make a lot of noise in his memory. Several bands are playing. You should come out and party with us.
I am working diligently on my new project, The Carl Finch Sound, and now have about 60-70 new songs/ideas/pieces almost ready to perform. As well, I am returning to the studio in January to finally finish work on twelve new tracks. I remember, when I was about 11 years old, realizing I wouldn’t have time, one summer, to do all I wanted to do. I made a list, including lots of fun stuff, and barely accomplished anything. It’s still the same, over fifty years later. Forever hard to complete things. This is everyone’s burden. Revved-up in the beginning, worn out halfway through. You gotta dig deep to tie up all the loose ends and when you’re dealing with something like music, it has to be, at least, recorded and performed well and should be, at least, a little interesting. This is a tall order these days, considering how much music and art is being produced. Here’s a shocking fact which should discourage anyone from considering a career as a musician/artist. Spotify uploads 20,000 new recordings every 24 hours.
Hey, Bubba Hernandez and Jeffrey Barnes are still hanging around, playing fantastic shows with Brave Combo. We do three-part harmony, like the Chordettes. Or were they four-piece? Well, we can do that, too, if we want, like the Chordettes, in case they were a four-piece ensemble. Speaking of the Chordettes, here’s a song by another singing group from that era which probably wouldn’t fly in 2019. HAPPY NEW YEAR to one and all!