Category: music

Sister Flute

Sam Cooke learned to sing in church as a member of the Soul Stirrers.  The goal of each performance was to get Sister Flute.  Sister Flute was the woman who gave herself, all of herself, singing, shouting and gyrating to the music.  It was the measure of their performance, and it was competitive.  I am not going to let you passively enjoy this.  I am coming to get you.

This is instructive to any performer especially early in their career when most opportunities to play are in front of people that have no idea who you are, and are listening to you while doing something else.  You must make them watch, make them give a damn.  The obvious answer is to be really good.  The better answer is to be passionate.  Passion is contagious.  They may not know your name or be familiar with the song you are singing, but they can damn sure see and feel your passion.

Passion is internal.  It exists whether you are performing in front of three people or three thousand.  It is yours to bring or not.

Musical Notes

The first time I noticed Elijah Grooms was around this time last year during a basketball practice at Winter Springs. It was during the time-honored zig zag dribble drill where a dribbler attempts to advance the ball against a defender trying to cut him off or turn him. Elijah had a low center of gravity, balance and lightning quick feet, and turned the dribbler effortlessly. This man can defend. At that point however, it did not appear he could do much else. He was quiet, not particularly skilled, and despite what appeared to be a left arm attached to his body, did not actually have a left arm. He played summer team camps, and showed some athleticism and aggression, but vanished….to play football.

My son Camden Pink’s first interest in music centered around The Beatles and 90’s grunge. He coupled this taste with an air of musical sophistication suggesting that any other form of music was simply beneath him, and perhaps not worthy of even being called music. In this regard his was quite compelling, and in deference “Yesterday” became a part of the Latin Music Institute’s set list.

In October of last year, Elijah returned to open gym at the end of football. To be honest, Mr. Charm and I were not even sure he would come out to play as we had heard so little from him during football season. He was a different player. His speed and tenacity dominated the freshman (plus Chicharito) games. He showed a capacity to hit shots and given his stature unlikely ability to rebound. He was on the map.

I was laying in bed one day, when I heard Camden playing “Baby” by Justin Beiber on the acoustic guitar with Holland and Bryson singing along. Not wanting to ruin the moment, the trio blasted through Bruno Mars, Maroon 5 and Stevie Wonder. A musical transformation was afoot.

Elijah had a terrific freshman season with the basketball team. He was a dynamic defender, rebounder and on the strength of his 280 shots taken a productive, if high shot volume scorer.

Camden, Steven Kench and Joe Peloso formed the band Man Down. They publicly debuted during the school’s accoustic show in the fall covering “Adam’s Song” by Blink 182. The picked up several gigs and local bars and coffee shops as well.

At some point late in our basketball season, I heard Elijah was a singer….and that he was cut from the school talent show. In a related note, Man Down was banned from said talent show for antics dating back to the acoustic show in the fall.

After the passing of Xiomara, Camden and I listened to a video Elijah posted on his facebook page, a heartfelt rendition of “Isn’t She Lovely”, and reached the conclusion that Elijah should not have been cut from the talent show.

Last Saturday, Elijah and Camden got together to jam. We started downstairs in the living room with “Thinking About You” and “I’m Yours”, then moved upstairs and recorded several songs on the computer. It was a great experience. On Monday, Camden and Elijah performed “Thinking About You” at the school

Next Thursday night Elijah, Camden and RJ Bradley are taking the act on the road to The White Cup Coffeehouse in Sanford for open mic night. Show starts at 8pm.

Ghosting the Legend

I caught up with Juan Bernal 407 Hood Legend last night at the Man Down performance, and asked him about his recent trip to Vegas where reliable reports had him conducting “business” at a casino sports book. I never bet.  I have a bad habit of investing too much of myself in the most meaningless games on the simple unassailable premise that I am involved. The Hood Legend has a different take, and I asked him to share some of his experiences in largely his words for the blog.

It’s 12:15am on Wednesday night and I am watching the Warriors and Grizzlies. I got the Warriors -2 and doubled up taking the Warriors in the second half. They are down 8.

I started gambling in 2007, at first as a hobby. Nothing like the thrill of betting a game for the satisfaction of knowing you were right, and if you lose not losing much on it.

The gambling became an excuse…an excuse to stop in Vagas for three days last week and go to a trade show. An excuse to go in December for five days every year to bet real money. An excuse to sit at home and watch an onbscure west coast game when there is nothing else to do. (Warriors down 18 now, I just lost 50 cents).

Now it’s a lifestyle because I’d rather go home and watch games with a few dollars riding than go out clubbing or getting into trouble. Besides everyday life brings constant thoughts of gambling; not in an addictive way, but rather because life in general is a gamble… you win some, you lose some.

In 2008, after not finding enough takers to throw down small change on a game, I was introduced to Immediately, I was hooked. My roommate and I became the most degenerate 10 cent a game gamblers in the history of the activity. Noise complaints came everytime someone screwed us with a three pointer or we got backdoored for a goal at 1:30am by an unknown Middle European douchebag.

Here’s a recap of the losses and the wins.

March 1, 2012- Thunder at Magic. I have $100 on the Magic, as they go from being one point to two point underdogs. Rule #1 is bet v. the public. Magic are up three at the half and I lay $100 on the Thunder -2 for the second half. If the Magic win, I leave Vegas a winner. Magic go up 13 with 5:48 left and my friend Bri can’t wait to “cash my $5”. Deep inside, I ask “Why don’t we have a million?” Harden hits a three….Westbrook a three….Harden and one..and the Thunder are within four. The Magic can’t score as Hedo looks more like a mason than an NBA player. Van Gundy goes zone and Durant hits a three, Royal Ivy hits one and Durant goes Kareem. Game over. I leave down $215 adn my flights delayed. I’m stuck watching the Heat drill Portland in a game I would have layed the 200 I’m down on the Heat.

December 20, 2010- Kings at Warriors. I have the under at 203. It’s a tractor pull for three quarters just like I wanted. The fourth quarter opens up to make me sweat. 98-95 Kings and Monte Ellis gets fouled shooting a lay up with nine seconds left. He misses the first, richochets the second off a teammate and out of bounds. Warriors foul. Kings miss both then foul up three (this is what bad teams do on nightly basis, it’s why they are bad teams). Warriors miss both free throws (coincidently they too are a bad team), but are saved with an offensive rebound that finds it’s way to Vladimir Radmonovic who removes the lid from the basket and hits an impossible three to send the game into OT where my under is busted. No one without money on this game could have remembered this sequence of events as long as I have.

December 1, 2010- The line is -3 Florida v. UCF and my buddy calls me up and wants $550 on this with a local bookie. At the time, the game looks like a lay up (I’ve learned some lessons since then). Chandler Parsons (Pedro’s Posse and Houston Rockets) goes 1/10 from the field and David “I barely survived a season at Rollins” Diakite hits two big threes. UCF wins 60-57.

I had the unders in UConn/Syracuse six overtime game and Texas/Oklahoma State’s four overtime game.

I do win to, cause this is life…you win some and you lose some.

December 21, 2010- Kevin Martin goes off for the Rockets, who beat the Clippers 96-92. I rob the Treasure Island Hotel blind for $500.

December 22, 2011- I get a tip from a “professional gambler” to take the 1-13 Colts moneyline against the play-off bound Texans. I was down $400 at the time. Go hard or go home. I put $500 on the Colts +7. 57 minutes of offensive ineptitude is quashed on a Dan Orlvosky (are you shitting me) touchdown to Reggie Wayne. The Colts win outright 19-13 and I break even after being down as deep as $600.

December 22, 2010- Utah and Boise State. Two evenly matched teams and I took Utah +14 for $50. They are down 10 at the half showing a complete inability to score so I break code and throw $200 on Boise for the second half. They cruise and cover with ease.

By the way Colorado just dunked with 10 seconds left to cover 53-41 over Utah. Spread was 11. In this lifestyle, no basket is ever meaningless.