Won’t you play with my….

This bell has rung for the last time. A true legend has died.  You ever have one of those albums…well for me it was an album, for others maybe Cassette tape, or CD, or Replay on your playlist that you just wear out from playing over and over and over? For me, that was Chuck Berry. The man was one of several on my 50 by 50 list to shake hands with and to meet in person. Another scratch off the list I guess. I’ve done some searching of the internet on Chuck over the 90 year span, and his music career covers a wide swath of that same timeframe. You see…Chuck continued to play almost all the way up until his death. I’ve seen some videos from performances as recent as a few years ago on his 87th birthday. I’m 40 years of age now and I’m exhausted after a 2 hour show. And to still do it at 87 is amazing. Was he the best guitar player…no, not really, there are others who are much better such as Clapton or Chet Atkins, but he did mold the shape of Rock n Roll into the form it is today. Chuck had stated his first love was the Blues, but he was never good enough to play it. So he made his own way. And that he did. Influencing a number of players, including myself. Now was he the greatest roll model. That leaves much to be said. His life was riddled with several arrests, drug use, and sex addiction. So in other words, he molded that into Rock n Roll too, in a way. But his contribution to the music world overshadowed his remembrance as a sex crazed out of control druggie. I spent several hours scouring through articles and videos and reading comments that people left. One video that stood out was a show he did on his 87th birthday. The comments were all over the board such as he sucked and was overrated, he should have retired long ago, and that he sounded like a dying cat trying to mate when he sang. But you know what…he’s 87. I hope I could do half that at 87, besides Shart myself and hope that my nursing home worker decides to change my diaper in a timely manor. He played guitar…somewhat.. and sang his tunes….somewhat, and you know what…people loved it. They were there for the experience of it. To say they were a part of an iconic piece of history. People ridiculed the band for not keeping up or stopping him, or overshadowing him. It’s Chuck…you just nod and keep playing. You see, Throughout most all of his career, Chuck never played with a touring band. He picked up locals and union players, most of whom had never played his music before or even seen any of his sheet music until that day. And to play like that is a feat in itself. Let alone with someone who created their own style and changes performances each night. I’ve played with most of my bands for 10 years+, so I know most of all the little nuances and quirks of each of the members and what we each are going to do next. With a new band and new song each night you don’t have that luxury. But still pretty cool to know that even to his death he would still use pick-up bands. I’ve had a few friends that were lucky enough to have been in a few  of those pick-up bands, and their stories are priceless. A timeless challenge to play with an icon, who’s music molded an era and legacy. From his legacy, his contribution to the era of Rock n Roll, all the way to the Duck Walk. Let’s hope someone carries the tradition of the Duck Walk. In tribute to a great legacy and musician, I shall honor him with My Ding-A-Ling. My Ding-A-Ling Johnny B-Goode 2014 Johnny B-Goode 1972

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