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Thursday, September 12, 2013

Old friends

So, Gary Daigle just had another birthday. We don't usually make a big deal of these rapidly accelerating birthdays, but we managed to get together for lunch at our local pub and hash out the mediocrities of life, commiserate over work, brag about kids, wonder about the future, and have a few laughs. There would have been more laughs if it weren't the middle of a work day and we had imbibed in some of actual beer available in a pub that has Guinness, Harp, and Smithwick's on tap, but that was ruefully out of the question with the day's schedule. Shoot, with a few black and tans we probably could have solved the Syria situation, reformed the reform of the reform, and finished an album we don't have an offer to start yet. 

It just made me think again, though, about what a great life we've had since we met on that auspicious evening in 1985 when he and Maria, newlyweds, first moved to Arizona and he took up residency as the music director at the Franciscan Renewal Center (Casa de Paz y Bien) on Lincoln Boulevard. I had been at St. Jerome's for a couple of years before that, but Jack Gallen's presence and influence and our collaboration would change both of our lives for the next (almost) thirty years.


Memorable Gary Daigle moments:

  1. Meeting in John Gallen’s class, and my not believing how young you were (1985; you were 28, I was 33). I had already been a fan for seven years.
  2. First time playing together, the Casa, 1985 Diocese of Phoenix priest’s retreat. Had we been drinking? We had all the music ready, sound system blaring. We had not tuned the guitar to the piano, and the first “G” chord of “Here I Am, Lord,” frightened coyotes all over Maricopa County. 
  3. Saranac Lake, 1989 (?)...the remnants of Hurricane Hugo blowing the crap out of upstate NY, alone in the Guggenheim cabin with Donohoo, and the power is out. A knock at the door in the gale, fearsome as a ghost story, turned out to be our host from town, bearing Jameson’s. It is for moments like these one is born.
  4. Working in London for Forum (1987?), and sneaking out from Strawberry Hill to get pub food, otherwise, the image of fish and milk stew with cheese would never get out of our heads.
  5. Sneaking out from Trinity College in Dublin to get pub food a week later for similar reasons.
  6. Singing Beatles songs to stay awake driving from Galway to Dublin. Two cars, you and Sita driving them, because I would have gotten us all killed. Had we been drinking? Or was that just you?
  7. Concert with the Dameans in Gonzales after one of the Hoffinger concerts one year. Buddy, Gary, and Darryl were there - really, one of the really best concerts we’ve ever been part of.
  8. Too many East Coast, LAREC, and Hoffinger concerts to name or remember, but you always look like y
    Gary's 50th birthday (2007)
    ou’re as high as a person ought to be able to be without pharmaceutical enhancement.
  9. Flying over the glaciers in Anchorage in a three-seater Cessna with Joe’s wife piloting the plane; later, walking along the boardwalk with beluga whales just a few feet away, and damage from the earthquake back in the 60s still visible.
  10. Hawaii, 1989 - for all the obvious reasons. Just being there.
  11. My 50th birthday.
  12. Your 50th birthday.
  13. My 60th birthday. (We've got to stop meeting like this. Our lives are nearly half over!)
  14. Making the album Keep Awake, when you lived in Louisiana in your new house-with-a-studio and we lived in Barrington. You sat with your tape recorder listening to me play through the songs and making notes. Next think I knew, we had a record. This arrangement worked so well for us that I never went back to the studio. I was saved from the agonizing gruntwork epitomized by your constant "can we listen to that snare for another hour", and you saved from me bitching about your meticulous care for detail.
  15. You living with us on your commutes from Louisiana to Chicago when you were doing studio work here for GIA, and sleeping in Claire's "bed of dreams," waking up with a stunned look every day at the vivid nocturnal realities conjured in her proto-wiccan lair.
  16. Unfulfilled bucket list item: performing Randy Newman's "I Love LA" with altered lyrics at the Religious Education Conference.
  17. Prescott woods twice, writing the music that would become Vision and Praise the Maker's Love. Singing "I Am for You" to Donohoo over the phone, and "Covenant Hymn" too, with Ginny and Gallen in the room. Well, also seeing Basic Instinct at the movies when we'd had enough of the liturgical music.
  18. Hating you say the words, "It needs a C section," when 90% of the time you're right. In the world of song crafting, you're a creepy obstetrician.
  19. Telling people he's a the most generous and professional musician and collaborator they'd ever want to meet, and having them say, "I know," and telling me why.
  20. Cubs, behind the dugout, with Desi and Grant at about 7 or 8, or as I like to call it, "the birth of the blues."
Well, enough nostalgia. Happy birthday again, bro. When we get a taker and figure out how to make this new recording, come over and I'll show you how the songs go. Bring your iPhone. Then don't call me until you've finished the damn thing.