As Martin Luther King said: "I have a dream."
Now, my dream pales in comparison to the historical significance and importance of King’s dream about the racial equality and the mountaintop that seemed so far away.
But my dream is very important, at least to me. It’s one that I’ve had for a long, long time.
My dream is that I am sitting on a stage, guitar in hand, people in the audience, and for an hour or two I semi-dazzle them with song. Nobody else on stage, just me and my guitar. I’ve been onstage many times in my life. Plays and a band. But all alone? Never. It has never been just me. Think James Taylor or Paul Simon. In this area think Willy Porter or John Sieger when he plays hooky from Semi-Twang.
Over the years, my dream had faded into the cold embers of the fire I had. But suddenly, things have changed.
I just finished reading the book "Guitar Man" by Will Hodgkinson, an Englishman who had the same dream I have. And he made his come true. He made a very public promise to family, friends and co-workers that in six months he would learn how to play guitar well enough to be able to do a solo gig at a local bar. Then he set out to make his promise come true, and he did.
Well, I’ve always said that anything Will Hodgkinson can do, I can do better. So, I am going to do it.
On Jan. 12 of next year I will be 70 years old. It’s a Sunday night. So I am going to move my one, and probably only, solo gig to Saturday night, the 11th day of January in the year of our Lord, 2014.
I won’t be one of those musical acts that starts playing at 10:30 at night. I’m normally asleep by then.
So at about 8 p.m., I will climb onto a stage, armed only with my Seagull guitar and three or four or five songs that I love to sing (a lot of the setlist depends on whether people want an encore or just want to get home or go to another bar where real musicians are playing).
There are only two songs that I’m sure will be part of this. "After Hours," a brilliant confessional by Sieger and "Just Some Girl" by Phil Lee, the self-proclaimed Mighty King of Love, a Nashville stalwart. They will be the major enablers of this entire farcical fantasy, although like sinners and addicts everywhere, I expect to pick up another couple of enablers along the way.
I can already play the guitar, a little bit. I know a few chords, cowboy chords I call them, but as far as anything truly approaching real music, forget it. When I was onstage with a band, my guitar was mainly for show. Sound men were instructed to kill the mic that was supposed to pick up the sound from my amp.
I was going to do this at Shank Hall (the perfect place because they book Pat McCurdy, and they are used to laughs there), but the costs there are pretty high for an act that is not going to charge admission (crazy I am not) or has a reputation that will bring people out on a cold night in January. So, I will still search for a place, for another three or four songs, and for a muse that will set my musical soul free.
I’m not writing a book about this or anything. But I will periodically update OnMilwaukee.com readers with things like the location and the time and the set list or whatever seems appropriate.
If you don’t care, that’s okay. I care enough about this for both of us.
With a history in Milwaukee stretching back decades, Dave tries to bring a unique perspective to his writing, whether it's sports, politics, theater or any other issue.
He's seen Milwaukee grow, suffer pangs of growth, strive for success and has been involved in many efforts to both shape and re-shape the city. He's a happy man, now that he's quit playing golf, and enjoys music, his children and grandchildren and the myriad of sports in this state. He loves great food and hates bullies and people who think they are smarter than everyone else.
This whole Internet thing continues to baffle him, but he's willing to play the game as long as OnMilwaukee.com keeps lending him a helping hand. He is constantly amazed that just a few dedicated people can provide so much news and information to a hungry public.
Despite some opinions to the contrary, Dave likes most stuff. But he is a skeptic who constantly wonders about the world around him. So many questions, so few answers.