Thanks to Chris Gray, the Houston Press, My Dad, Music and More

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Me and dad Christmas 2006. Photo by Katya Horner, who is the coolest.

I began to write this on the year-end “what we are thankful for” post I was editing for the Rocks Off blog on the Houston Press website, but I realized it was way too personal and probably better served for posting here.


I have come to referring to myself as the utility infielder for the Houston Press. John Nova Lomax, one of my all time favorite writers there, has graciously suggested that I have perhaps even elevated myself to the level of Bill Spiers! Truth is, I am tremendously blessed by the opportunity to work with such a wonderful group of people at a terrific publication. For that opportunity I am eternally grateful.

Over the past month, I have had the great pleasure of filling in for music editor Chris Gray, someone I not only consider a colleague, but a friend. I only wish my prolonged duties had come under better circumstances — he suffered a heart attack that has kept him out of commission for a while — but working in his stead has helped me to re-discover a love for music just as writing for the Press got me fired up about writing again. I find myself listening to more music, reading more news about it and practicing harder at the bass than I have in 20 years. I owe him a tremendous debt for this (as do the people who listen to my playing on a regular basis), but his healthy return will be thanks enough because I have no clue how he does it all. I’m seriously in awe.

And all of this reminds me of my dad. My father was a writer, a photographer and a teacher and my first real hero. He passed away almost four years ago and, as a result, never had the chance to read all I’ve written for the Press over the last two years. When I think about that, I’m not sad for what he may have missed — God knows, some of it, he’s better off — or that the man who was so supportive can’t share in it with me. Instead, I find myself grateful for what he gave me through love, jokes, wisdom and genetics. I’d like to think, of the hundreds of kids he influenced as a teacher over nearly 40 years, he would be happiest to know that his longest-tenured and, at times, most difficult student has not forgotten his influence and has made healthy use of it.

Finally, I cannot tell you how thankful I am for music this year. My long love affair with the bass was re-kindled over the past few months and it’s been surprising the discoveries I’ve made. It has restored my faith in an artform that admittedly I had nearly forgotten.

Oh, and I would be completely remiss if I didn’t mention a few other key contributors to my life. My mom is the greatest woman I know. Period. I cannot imagine who I would be without here. A very close second is my girlfriend, Cathy, who, with all deference to the Power Puff girls, is the joy and the laughter.

I also want to thank Cathy’s niece, Jade, who constantly reminds me how magical music can be and what a dramatic impact it can have on your life. She is WAY too smart and talented to be 13. It’s terrifying.

Finally, to my band — George, Chris and Joe — who have put up with my crazy for longer than most of my friends, you guys rock and I mean that literally.

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