Concerts and Mass Hysteria versus Lounge Gig


In many ways, a large music concert of today is a species of mass hysteria, and the performers must at times be like conductors.

I’ve attended more than my share of musical concerts in their several varying types: intimate coffee house shows, stadium tin can blasts, mid-sized halls, garage rehearsals, opera houses, and festival-tent outdoor shows. And I’ve even been a performer in one or two of those types of venues as well, with varying degrees of reluctance. But as I reflect on those few shows that I genuinely enjoyed, and even in recalling several that made me wish to be elsewhere and yet were still being “enjoyed” by the crowd at large around me, the idea of a mass hysteria keeps returning to me.

Something about how many concert goers say something like, “Man, it was, like, you know, yeah, no, …. It was just… soooooooooo much energy. Man that band was just, like, really rockin’ it and …” – Often they speak of how the lead performer was “giving it their all” and many performers speak of being exhausted after they have given their energy to the crowd. And they are not wrong, it is exactly their energy which they are transmitting into the crowd. Often skillfully, a lead vocalist “star” can conduct a crowd into something that no one of them listening to the same song a thousand times would ever feel. The addiction to live performances, even if the music is wretched, is an enjoyment of the hysteria that often will prevail in that dynamic.

Compare contrast that to a lounge concert. There may be hundreds of people in the room seated and enjoying the “show”, but then again they are at tables of 2 or 4 and microcosms of conversation are not “massed” together. And if the music sucks, no amount of pogo-sticking or hair-tossing by the lead vocalist will generate a mass hysterical reaction that provides the energy to overcome the lack of music. But in a lounge setting if the music is outstanding, table conversation dims and sometimes even ceases and all eyes and ears may tune in – if dancing ensues a different form of grouplets of couple hysteria may exist.

There is beauty and reward in each of the types, I suppose (though I retain the right to personally feel that stadium shows lack such for me). Yes, I want a performer to “give” some of his energy to a performance; to invest sincerely in the message of his song. But for this old cowboy, I wish that songwriters would save some energy for the song and spend a little less on chumming up hysteria about things other than the music.



Norman Rockwell Small Town Irony

It sometimes seems like everybody wants to live in a Norman Rockwell type of small town, and yet too often those same people also want to have the convenience of downtown Manhattan. They reminisce about Mayberry and the little family businesses run by loving and caring people who know each other. But then they complain about a penny difference in price at a locally owned hardware store when compared to an online juggernaut competitor.

5765.Dixie Restaurant, Reynolds St. (no date)

Part of the experience of living in a Norman Rockwell type of small town, and doing business in one is the often seemingly inconvenient moments when customer service must take a moment longer because it is being lovingly bestowed upon someone else who was ahead of you in line. Sometimes the wait in customer service is caused by how the purveyor knows what they are talking about and is giving genuinely excellent instruction to a customer about how to maximize their value in their purchase. Other times it might just be a cantankerous old fart who is gonna finish his cup of coffee, and “you whippersnappers” need to “hold on a second”.

And while you are in a Rockwellesque moment of slowing down just a bit, or paying a fair price for superlative care and concern for the service a local may give you, you might instead listen to them and learn something. The pace being a tad slower is not only a fact, but it is actually a blessing that creates the pace and feel that are, deep down, the heart of why you longed for the Rockwell moment anyway.

Sad but true, the hurry up and wait mentality of many metropolitan areas is not something one should long for when in small-town rural America. The world has no shortage of places that are fast-paced and convenient. But when in the region of reasonably paced life of rural America, don’t long for the convenience of Manhattan, just move there, and leave Mayberry alone.  Randy Newman / James Taylor song “Our Town” covers it well.


April Fools – Pranks Gone Wrong

LLL Header w address revised copySome pranks I am seeing these days on social media are very wrong. Now April Fools can be fun. Yet with the advent of every cell phone having a pretty good video camera and the ever-present hunger of social media for content that shows people being silly or embarrassed, there has been a rather sizeable increase in the number of “pranks” that people are playing on each other. And the creativity and artistry of many of them are rising – but at the same time a great many of them are downright cruel, traumatizing at the least, or even flirting with people being physically injured.

Sure, I remember having a prank or two foisted upon me when I was a kid at summer camp. Or in college there were certain “jokes” that were played on people – where maybe someone opened a door and a 50 gallon drum of water flooded their room, or a bucket of water doused them from above. And yeah, there was a guy with an MGB convertible that wound up being carried partway up a staircase to the landing halfway between the parking lot and the front door. But generally property wasn’t destroyed, and people didn’t have their entire life altered.

When I see some of the video pranks shown now such as having a blindfolded man drop a cinder-block unto a shovel wherein the handle racks his nads while his buddies laugh, I’m thinking to myself, ‘self, those buddies would be leaving behind mourners’, and revenge would be thorough indeed. Or when it involves pretending to be a kidnapper or gun-toting murderer and a scared witless victim runs into the next room to retrieve a weapon or delivers a well-thrown shuto uchi a shutoto the throat of a prankster’s larynx in a moment of reflex survival, it just seems to me like the danger of reaction is greater than any pleasure or art of the prank.

People, prank prudently and think before you set yourself up to be the target of well-planned vengeance or accidental survival reflex that could hurt somebody you love.


What does being a baby boomer mean to me? Part II of II

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I’ve met a great many baby boomers who have learned how to sacrifice and manage their time and efforts with discipline. Yet sadly, there are many of them who also have buried treasure inside their youthful passions so long denied; those many things they dimly recall as being part of the “why” of their living life.

This is not to say one should cast off all balance scaleor semblance of work and duty. And of course, I agree with Mike Rowe in how one cannot just “pursue your passion” with blind faith that all things in life will magically come together to give you success in life that way. Surely the metaphorical highways are littered with many abandoned dreams that people sought after with great passion, and they crashed and burned with them. Yet to me, more sad is how many baby boomers just won’t even take a small step to begin to investigate their artistry or passion.

Looking over the past year, I stumble back upon my budgets and plans to spend time inside my passions. One of them has been my steady and increasing focus into my music of past and writing new music as well. My church, my music, my aerobatic flying, my sailing, and others all were given slivers of my time and budget as an investment by me to remember why the living can be such a blessing. And now, as I look back unto the past 12 months and recall 24 original song releases, 4 cover song recordings, working to learn the beginnings of playing the Hammer Dulcimer, IMG_20150114_113934_190and putting forth a slice of my time to promote a web page and better tell a story, my story, I am so glad that I didn’t wait for a more “perfect” time to begin.

Could I have done more? Sure. Can I do better? Sure. Do I wish I had waited another year or 3 before making the time to get off my butt and take those next, first steps? No way. If you had told me in the summer of 2009 that I would be now still taking joy-filled steps towards my 125th songwriting copyright, or working on a 169th recording, I would have likely said “yeah right.”

Sure, don’t kill yourself on the alter of passion out of proportion, but don’t rob your life with no portion towards your passion.  Video Snippet on this topic.



Song Within A Song : Notebook

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It is especially nice when someone from far away pops me an encouraging email regarding a song of mine. It happened recently regarding this song, “The Road We Didn’t Go”. It was actually written during a time when I was waiting to enter the recording studio to record a DIFFERENT song of mine. Funny how that works.

I was killing an hour or so while waiting for my producer to pick me up from the hotel. And the day’s plan was for us to work on an entirely different song. But as I pleasantly and aimlessly roamed around in solitude in a “new” town, watching the shops open and begin their day of retail, etc., the lyric and melody for this song came to me. And I plopped down with my notepad and pen (nearly always with me for just such occasions) and I worked out this song’s basic structure.

Many times, such songs never make it to production, but this one did and I’m glad. And so is someone about 2,100 nautical miles away

Fl to Ca


New Song Etiquette

Ed Verner Sheet DWTW 01

A pet peeve of mine is when people are sometimes totally disrespectful in how they listen to a song new to them, even when they have specifically asked to hear one.

There are several variations on a theme of how it can happen and how the scenario starts, but allow me to describe some “typical” situations:

Scenario #1 – Somebody hanging around the studio says something like, “Hey dude, have you heard anything cool recently?” Or, “Hey man are there any songs you really like that are, like, you know, indy… you know something different maaaan?” And so then I will take a second to find something that fits the bill in my music library and say, “yea, here listen, check this cool song out.” And the music begins to play — and they listen for anywhere from 5-12 seconds as the song begins to unravel itself and get going. Then right as the intro is wrapping up and the song is going to deliver its first line or melody, the person blurts out something relevant like, “dude, that reminds me, did you see that cool commercial with the fat guy and that pregnant cat?”

Scenario #2 – Somebody hears that I play piano and write songs and while at my home they ask with genuine sincerity, “He man, why don’t you play me one of your songs, man?” I try to let them off the hook with, “tell ya what, here’s a disc with some of my better works so you can listen later.” And they insist now with, “No man, I want to hear you play something live guy.” So I go sit on the bench, crack my knuckles, and start into a song – to which after listening for 5-12 seconds they blurt out something about how the song sounds great and then they ask me some sort of question as I’m playing the melody and singing a line. Something like, “That is cool, man, it kind of reminds me of… oh what is that song about the bull horn humping the unicorn? — You know!” It’s as if, to them, that my providing a radio quality performance of an original song is only taking maybe 10% of my mind and surely I can answer a question on a non-sequitur topic while I’m doing it.


Scenario #3 – A fellow musician who is going to play on a song of mine asks me to play it for him one time, “so that I can hear it man.” — To prevent their pissing on my peeve I say, “Ok, but do me a favor and listen to it all the way through one time before you doodle around with it, ok?” They agree. I relax into performing the song as if I am at a coffee house style soiree’ setting. Less than 30 seconds into the song, and long before the 8 key-change bridge that will totally surprise them and make it impossible for them to just “wing it”, they say something like “Oh, that is cool” and then they start jumping in – though not really jumping in, but rather smearing over (since they have no idea where the song is gonna go – even though they may have already complimented my songs on being “unpredictable” at times).

FOLKS: If you have requested to hear a new recording, or a live performance, please be prepared to listen with quiet attention for at least 30 seconds before launching into turning the spotlight back unto yourselves. Just sayin’ – really. OK OK, rant accomplished.


The Week After Valentines Day

I recall quite well being younger and times when it almost felt good to be single and unattached during Valentines Day.

Ed hobie cat 1981

And then I recall also how it could be a very lonely holiday indeed; full of reminders of past loves gone wrong, or simply just gone.  I also look back and reminisce about the joyous activities in my life and how glad I am to have someone with whom I have and can share those times. Of course there are things that are a pleasure to share, or a talisman of remembrance of trips together or romantic moments of the past. But so too it is hard sometimes to conjure up the urge to provide a romantic “thing” on cue. 


When asked about Mother’s Day, my father used to say how he tried to make every day feel like Mother’s Day. In many ways I think about trying to make the feeling of Valentines Day extend out to be a lifelong habit. Of course it doesn’t always work out, but so too how often does the idea of a particular day being forced on you in a holiday like this coincide with your feeling perfectly romantic about a loved one?

I think the main point for me now is how Valentines Day feels different to me when compared to how it felt when I was younger, or compared to how it felt when I was single, etc. And so be prepared for how the way it feels for you will change too over time. Just what does it mean for you these days? … Think about it.


Liberal Versus Conservative II

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After writing a blog about how labels can be needlessly divisive and/or polarizing and thus destructive to robust political debate; let me now proceed to pontificate about “liberals” versus “conservatives”.

First off, please know that I would label myself as a fiscal conservative with Judeo/Christian underpinnings and as such, I’m pretty well right of the political center if you believe there is one. Yet I have more than a few friends who are left of the center and healthy debate sometimes springs up between us. Unfortunately, unhealthy spitting at my opinions does sometimes occur from some left of the center, with generally some completely baseless attack on one moral lacking or another they feel must be the center of my motivations.

As I’ve gotten older, I watched several classmates or cohorts migrate from being very liberal in their politics while in undergraduate college, only then to become more conservative as they deal with the issues of marriage, business, parenting, death, and other aspects of (dare I say it) maturation. Similarly, I’ve noticed how few former conservatives migrate to become devout liberals. With obvious and sometimes bold exceptions, I still anecdotally observe how “liberalism” seems to speak most effectively to those who are young, and/or who have come into a large fortune suddenly and with little effort on their part to “earn” it. Sports celebrities, overnight Hollywood celebrities, or a Nouveau riche trust fund kid, all seem to help deal with their inner guilt at “unfairly” having something many deserving people want by embracing a liberal political agenda. It seems to be an emotional thing to them, as opposed to their conservative counterparts who often base their political beliefs more in an intellectual scrutiny of history’s examples.

I do not imply that there is a differing degree of intelligence involved in separating the two camps, rather the motivations draw majorly from emotion on the one hand and from history and experience on the other. Yet I’ve met many absolutely brilliant liberal defenders, and many brilliant conservative ones. Likewise, I’ve encountered more than a few painfully stupid ones in either camp as well. The difference between them is most certainly NOT one of intelligence, or even the desire to do a greater good in one versus the other. The main difference I can observe, once the name calling and attacks on character have died down, is a difference in the belief as to which will bring more prosperity for more people: government edict or freedom.

The balance between too much government and anarchy demands that both liberals and conservatives do their job, yet the balance is best when they are about equally unhappy and find compromise.


Serious success potential from a practical joke?

Serious success potential from a practical joke. Sometimes the fluff flies higher.
serious success potential, ed verner

Serious success potential from a practical joke.

I sometimes have this nagging little fear of success striking my music as a result of the wrong song. As a songwriter I have my favorites which usually have some subtle musical innuendo or some sort of beautiful moment of complexity that I relish.

Whereas I also have written a song or two that stand as a farcical protest against complication. By that I mean that while it is an effort for me, I can actually force myself to write something banal, commonplace, and even boring. Lifting up the curiosity and possibility of some kind of serious success potential from a practical joke.  And every now and then I do exactly that just as a silent rage against things I sometimes hear “out and about”.

Could there be serious success potential from a practical joke.

I can be in a retail outlet somewhere and wind up listening to something that is wildly popular and equally inducing of a nearly uncontrollable urge in me to wretch. And after such an exposure, I smile to myself thinking how some record label somewhere is receiving a royalty payment for THAT.

And though I smile about it, and tell myself something like, “well, Ed, ya gotta love it… life is funny that way,” etc. I also sometimes find myself at the piano thumping out a dull lifeless 1,4,5 blot on the ears. I’ve even gone so far at times as to write an entire song around the idea of trying to make myself fit into kitsch like that.

Serious success potential from striking the most (non-serious)  and most familiar chords?

I actually record one of em every now and then; and then comes the fear. Just my luck, or the sense of humor I know is in the Divine master up above, it will be one of those songs that somehow strikes a chord with an sudden windfall of notice. And then I would be trapped always having to play that one if I were out giving a performance.

In my fear, I take it a little further in my mind, just to be prepared. I see a coffee house performance one day, where I’m partway through playing my “As If You Said ‘Yes”” or “Abandoned and Forgotten” and someone interrupts to yell out “Play ??? – Come on man” (insert banal protest song – and I ain’t tellin’).

I suppose the alternative of no one ever noticing anything of mine, versus their noticing one of the “wrong songs” should make it tolerable. But still there is the last question: If a tree falls in the forest and no one hears it, did it matter if it was a beautiful tree or a crappy one?

serious success potential, ed verner

Serious Success Potential in any of the simplicity?
Well, I guess we’ll see…

Lyrics, Logic, and Lullabies are delivered from baby boomer singer songwriter Ed Verner. Weaving together lyrics from personal experiences and tales from a life of people watching, these Lyrics, Logic, and Lullabies present contemporary younger songs from a salty renaissance man.

For more information on Ed and his Lyrics, Logic and Lullabies, visit:
Serious success potential from a practical joke?


Musical Pothole Filling. Romancing existing creativity

Musical Pothole Filling. Romancing existing creativity
musical pothole filling, ed verner, sailing, lyrics logic lullabies

Musical Pothole filling. Romancing existing creativity.

An interesting little game to play happens sometimes when I mix and match instrumental music of mine with visual images and great film making work.

Musical pothole filling. for example…

If you follow this link to an instrumental piano work of mine at for the soundtrack, and then also follow this next link to the first 2:05 seconds of YouTube video of a fantastically beautiful modern interpretation of a classic vintage sailing gaff rigged schooner – mute the video sound and engage my audio song and waah laah – a music editor revisited.

Musical pothole filling…in reverse.

Sometimes this little game of mine plays out in reverse in that I see something beautiful or emotionally stirring for me in a film or a piece of photography and I find myself conjuring up a musical melody for it. And even more often I may witness a moment in a major film where something beautiful visually is accompanied by musical kitsch on the verge of being crap – and the irony of visual beauty in concert with auditory ear vomit can also drive me into a creative mode. Much like how I enjoy fixing things that are broken, or restoring things that have been abandoned I like to create music where the need for it is on full display in the contrary example.

There is something romantic in the musical creative art when it is put to the task of filling a void; or in some cases I would call it fixing a pothole in the road of life. Now it may not be the romance of lovers, or the back seat of a car at a drive in type of love-rut… but writing music in that frame of mind is indeed romantic.
musical pothole filling, lyrics logic lullabies************************************************
Lyrics Logic & Lullabies
Lyrics, Logic, and Lullabies are delivered from baby boomer singer songwriter Ed Verner. Weaving together lyrics from personal experiences and tales from a life of people watching, these Lyrics, Logic, and Lullabies present contemporary younger songs from a salty renaissance man.
For more information on Ed and his Lyrics, Logic and Lullabies, visit:
Musical Pothole Filling. Romancing existing creativity