Championship Ring 85 Bears
Life of a musician … I was playing a wallpaper gig the other day. A wallpaper gig is one of those gigs where I’m just playing in the background and everyone is just doing their own thing, talking and networking or eating and drinking or whatever. It’s cool with me. I don’t mind.
Because with live music it’s not like you can turn your back on me. I’m not a painting or a dance troupe. If you turn your back on one of those pieces of creation, you won’t get the effect. But music will get through no matter what you’re doing. That’s one of the many reasons why music is called the Universal Language. It reaches everyone even if I’m playing piano music in the background.
But my deal is when I am one of the featured party entertainers, and the emphasis on FEATURED, that I want everyone to notice me. So it is a bit of conundrum on one of these background piano music gigs. I am such an ego maniac, which serves me well in front of a rockin’ party room, that I suffer on a wallpaper gig.
But I have a solution, a secret weapon I have designed specifically for these kinds of gigs. What I’ve done is I’ve composed a number of songs on the piano just for such occasions. They range anywhere from jazz tunes to funky mid tempo grooves. Some have melodies others are just a pulse within a harmonic framework. Anything goes – from a wistful pentatonic melody to flat out boogie rockers.
So I was at this one gig where there were literally thousands of people meandering through all day; people from all walks of life and every possible demographic you can think of – old, young, rich, poor, white, black and brown.
I spotted this one black man in the crowd because he was “getting” the music. He heard it and felt it. I was playing a funky little blues tune with variety of shifting grooves that had also attracted the attention of several little ones at the same time.
This man looked successful in a confident way. Dressed smartly in a sport coat and open collar, he had his reading glasses on a string around his neck and (this is always the tell with anyone) he had expensive yet comfortable shoes. This was a man of style AND practicality.
When he was finished with the people he was talking to, he came right on over and introduced himself. “Hi. I’m Roland Harper,” he said extending his bear-like hand out to me that engulfed mine up passed my wrist. “I’m a real fan of the blues. Where else are you playing these days?”
We got to talking for a few minutes, exchanged cards and agreed to keep in touch through our email newsletter which we send out about 2 times a month. (Be sure to sign up … )
As he was leaving and I was preparing to sit back down behind the keys again, he said, “Do you recognize the name?” I told him yeah but I didn’t want to assume anything.
So I asked him, “Weren’t you the guy who plowed the field for that Hall of Famer?”
He said, “That’s me!”
So I asked, “Can I see the ring? I’d love to take a picture and send it to all my Packers fans friends.”
But I didn’t send it to them right away. First I sent it to Amber and our two sons.
Roland Harper (85 Bears) and Dan Gillogly (Pianist Extraordinaire)
Murphy wrote back “Dad you have the sweetest job in the whole world!” Keaton was broadcasting so we didn’t talk until the next day.
Of course, Amber knew exactly who he was too. She’s a big fan as well. I waited till I got home to show it to our daughters. The older one got it. The younger not so much.
3 out of 4 ain’t bad.