Saturday, March 3, 2012
He has the most marvelous eyes, crowned by strong dark brows. Perhaps not many people notice them, hidden as they are behind glasses, but I do. They speak of determination. Sometimes I think of Bill as pure determination, barely contained in flesh and bone. I look at the odds he’s faced and the things he’s accomplished and it’s clear to me that the first metaphor I came up with when I met him-- a human locomotive—is still the most accurate. You stand back and wave as he rumbles by. Or if you’re going along for the ride, you hang on real tight.
Seamus Waxwing, falling asleep in Daddy's warm hand
That such an imposing man should love birds, the most airily delicate of creatures, is part of his appeal. It’s the love of birds we share, and a mutual tendency to put that love into words, that threw me onto his train, a rather unlikely stowaway in his fast-paced life.
And then there was music. Birds may have started it, but music sealed the deal between us. He grew up immersed in it, just one in a series of great legacies from Bill and Elsa.
That's enough on that one. Don't even look at it.
Music's coming out of him in waves now, unleashed by a perfect cyclone of creative collaborators (Thank you, Rain Crows!!), new recording technology and years of pent-up desire.
Guitarzan, laying down one of approximately 71,000 guitar tracks for The Rain Crows' "Looks Like Rain" for David Traugh's discerning ear.
He's worked very hard and incredibly fast to realize this passion, and as you read this we just got eight big boxes full of our new CD to show for it. Sixteen songs, all original, in an album from a band that played its first barely-rehearsed gig in September 2010. We recorded rough tracks in a Lakeside hotel barely a year ago, and worked to refine them before going into the studio in December 2011. Determination. A product to show for it. Far and away the best birthday present a guy could give himself!
cover photo by Michael Northrup; design by Joe Parisi
All that, and a wonderful dad to Phoebe and Liam. It seems they got the best parts of him-creativity and music and art and humor and a dash of athleticism, too. In an ideal world, we'd all be at Pirates' Spring Training in Bradenton, FL right now, but there's lots of fun and work to do here. We'll look forward to a besbol summer.
I am humbled and grateful to still be riding Bill Thompson’s train, to be here to keep shoveling coal into the firebox. I’m not sure what his next destination will be, but you can bet I’ll be hanging on for the ride.
photo by Mitch Casey
Photo by David Tipling
Thank goodness for beer. It mellows him out. A bit.
Happy birthday, Bill. Best guy I know.