I am happy to say that I have published a young readers book. It is titled Three for One. This has been a long time coming. Let me tell you how it all began. In the summer of 2015, Jennifer Batten and I took off on a national tour to bring our Self-Empowerment for the Modern Musician seminar to musicians around the United States. Along the way we managed to connect with many friends and fellow musicians. Along with making many new friends. It was on one of those stops that some new friendships were made and a seed was planted. After a seminar in St. Louis, Missouri, we were invited by some friends and incredibly talented, accomplished musicians, to have dinner and stay at one of their houses that night. Rob Silverman, Michael Silverman, Randy Hetlage and Casey Adams are the aforementioned badasses.
Upon arriving at the house and entering the front door; we were greeted by an expansive great room with a beautiful grand piano. We were given a tour of the house and one of the most intriguing spots was the basement. Entering the basement and seeing wall to wall drum kits all lit up with stage lighting was amazing. We were taken to some side rooms that contained a control room for a very nice studio and another room with two drum kits set up beside one another. Being the drummer that i am, I did not hesitate when Rob invited me to a little drum duet. I had always wanted to sit behind a kit that had a big gong behind me. Mission accomplished.
We all went back upstairs to enjoy some beverages and grill steaks. The mood was quite light and jovial. Subject matters traversed vast territory. At one point, Casey and I were talking about drums and raising children. We were talking about drummers we liked and at one point we talked about Neil Peart and his incredible drum set. I had always thought of drums and percussion as a lot of contraptions. As we were also talking about raising children, it made me think of Dr. Seuss and the contraptions that were incorporated into some of those stories. I thought it might be a cool idea to have a children's picture book about drums and percussion. Well, I kept that in the back of my mind along with some rough sketches and notes.
After a long time had passed and I found myself with some time and inspiration, I began to write a story about three boys that discover a guitar, bass and drum set in a loft above a garage at one of the boy's houses. I was thinking about my own journey from childhood into adulthood and all of the friendships, adventures and plans that I had made. I was thinking of names for my characters and I kept coming back to the band that had the biggest impact on me as an aspiring musician trying to make my way through the stages of adolescence. Rush. I had found myself inadvertently finding what could be references to Rush songs while I was writing. I decided to go all in and follow the muse. I was after all, a fan of double entendres and had been using them in so many of my creative endeavors: lyrics, band names, song titles, logos, album covers etc. I had always been amused and entertained at finding the meaning in so many of the things that Rush had created, I began to think that if I could offer some of those same things to other Rush fans, and possibly Rush themselves along with their associates if they ever got wind of this story, it would be fun to have some conversation and camaraderie. Here, it should be noted that this story was written before Neil had passed away. I purposely put it on the back burner as we developed the illustrations for the book. I didn't want it to appear that I was in anyway trying to benefit or exploit a tragedy. One that rocked me to the core and still does. I do feel that now is the time. As I developed this story and characters, I found myself in that world. Not only from the perspective of the main characters, but all of them as well as the locations. I realized that I had so many people along my own journey that were important to my growth, that I wanted to have them depicted in some part. When I looked back on this story, it was important to me to keep it in a fairly raw form and not get too caught up in any major critique. It has a lot of “Easter eggs” for Rush fans. Probably some criticism of “inaccuracies”. But, it is not intended to be historically accurate or definitive. It's simply inspiration for me and the reader that has not a clue of Rush will read this story the way it is intended to be. Entertaining. I was happy to realize that I had a number of themes that had been touched on. Things like manners, respect of elders, humor, friendship, loyalty, dedication. sportsmanship, competition, disappointments, winners, losers, recognition, parental support, encouragement, creativity, obligation, follow through and through it all, FUN. I pictured the look and atmosphere as I wrote. I had a pretty good idea of what I wanted to illustrate. That was a major step in the creation of this book. I had a friend, Christine, that I knew from her taking classes at my Academy of Guitar. I had remained friends with her over the years and had admired her as an artist. It was her tenacity and fearlessness that always stood out. Characteristics like her dedication to her family, martial arts, fine art, fitness and love of music. I ran the idea of illustrating the book by her and a rough draft. She was game. Even though this was an area of art that she wasn't familiar with, she dug in and created some sketches for me to see. Over coffee and iced tea on a patio, we met a number of times exchanging drawings and ideas. Once Christine hit her stride, the illustrations were on their way to reality. While the process was long and tedious at points, the result is spectacular. Catching the ultimate vibe. I am incredibly proud of the work we did together and to see it result in a beautiful full color book is fantastic. The last thing that was needed was to have a title cover and back. I reached out to my good friend and trusted graphic artist, to create the cover design and add a couple of little touches. He delivered in a big way. It brought it all together for a final product.
I was encouraged when I had finished the rough draft of this book and my 12 year old Grandson read it and told me some of his favorite moments in the story. One of the underlying goals of this book, is to have everyone want to get this book for a young person in their life and read it to their own children. I would especially like to see it inspire more men to want to share in the joy of storytelling with young people. Everyone knows that I believe in the power of music. I do believe the same can be said of an early appreciation of literature. I hope this story will empower young people to have ambitions and go towards them. To not be afraid to dream big and emulate the things you respect and not be afraid to fail.
This is a big step in another direction for me. I am grateful for all of the support that I've received. I am looking forward to seeing where this story can go and hearing from all of you. I need all of you to keep this moving along. Thank you!