Empty yesterdays

Life’s great lessons have always been taught to music.

Sometimes these lessons are obvious. But often, they’re hidden deep in the third act or the bridge, where they leap out and smack you round the back of the head to make sure you’re still listening.

In The Music Man, it’s this:

“Pile up enough tomorrows, and you’ll find you are left with nothing but a lot of empty yesterdays.

Don’t delay the chance to make a little bit of progress towards your goal, however small it may seem.

It doesn’t have to be full. Just don’t leave it empty.

If you put in just a little bit today, you’ll end up with a very full tomorrow. 

 

His name was Earl

Earl was a troubled child of no determinate birthplace.

His teenage mother would frequently take him to the ER with severe bronchial asthma, probably worsened from sleeping on the floor with the roaches.

By the time Earl was old enough to start school, his mother had knocked out his two front teeth.

When Earl was 7, his aunt got him drunk.

When Earl was 9, his mum locked him in his room all summer.

When Earl was 10, his mum sent him to an orphanage.

When Earl was 14, he was stealing a living on the streets.

When Earl was 16 he was sent to prison.

There, he committed to music and began selling mixtapes on his release.

When Earl was 28, he released three albums in two years. They all went multi-platinum.

Earl was imprisoned 30 times. Earl was a pastor. Earl was bipolar. Earl loved dogs and orchids. Earl was an artist.

Earl was a very troubled man who turned his hurt into some of the greatest, most honest art ever made.

There’s a lot to say about Earl “DMX” Simmons. But nobody can ever say he didn’t give us everything he had.

X gave it to us.

And for that, we’ll remember him forever.

 

 

The dead guitarist

You might not know Wilko Johnson is but he was a pretty cool dude back in the 70s.

His band — Dr. Feelgood — was so cool that it inspired some people you probably have heard of: Paul Weller, The Who, The Jam. The list goes on.

Back in 2013 he was diagnosed with cancer and the Doc gave him a double-fistful of months at most. 

He said, “It was like my life was complete. The idea that death is imminent makes you realize what a wonderful thing it is to be alive. By the time I’d walked home, I was almost euphoric.”

Wilko then did what any self-respecting punk guitarist would do. He turned down chemotherapy and went on tour. 

“If it’s going to kill me, I don’t want it to bore me,” he said.

Wilko is still touring today — more than seven years after his date with death. That raging punk rocker just wouldn’t put down his guitar and die. 

We are vividly alive.

Take a moment today to enjoy it.

Music is magic

Words are great, but music is the best thing we’ve ever made.

Hands-down.

It took me a long time to realize what a powerful tool it is.

We’re the only animal that responds to music at a physical level.

It’s so powerful that it can even relieve the symptoms of neurological diseases like Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s.

Music fuses to our core. It entangles our emotions and weaves through our memories.

In many ways, the music you listen to is you.

I bet you even know what tracks would change your mood right now; to put a swagger in your step or a tear in your eye.

Or go back to a time in your life. Like time travel— our brains whisked through time hitched to a couple of bars of The Libertines or No Doubt or Bob Dylan.

Maybe people who “don’t listen to music” are a bit scared of its power, and they’re probably right to be. It’s light we can feel — and it’s powerful magic.

Careful how you use it!