Monthly Archives: November 2010

Sweet and Sweet Dream

We’ve come along way together. You both came into my life within a few weeks of each other. I was in the middle of a year-long stint working on the road, living out of a suitcase. Daily life included glamorous duties like loading and unloading trucks, midnight crew calls, and carrying around large boxes. This is the year I learned to maneuver a fork-lift, read truck scales and truly appreciate the magic that is gaff tape.

This is also the time my Lucky ‘Sweet Dream’ and Big Star ‘Sweet’ jeans came into my life.

I didn’t realize they both had almost the same name until a few days ago.

New Years 2007, my great friend Kris and I were talking about buying jeans. She lives in Chicago and so we wandered over to the Lucky store and I think both had slight moral dilemmas on just how much money we were about to spend on denim. But I knew I was about to walk into a tour where I needed jeans that would last, and she was tired of jeans that just didn’t fit right, so we decided that for a holiday treat, we’d buy ourselves some jeans.

Then a couple of weeks later, on a day off in Nashville, I found these Big Star jeans and realized that maybe these were investment pieces, not just work-clothes.

‘Sweet’ and ‘Sweet Dream’ have survived a multitude of crew calls, causal business meetings, movie screenings and concerts. Bad dates, good dates, scooter rides and hikes. Baseball games, coffee shops and so many laughter filled happy hours with my favorite people.

In a highly technical mathematical formula, I’m guessing these jeans have survived around 85 trips to the laundry. Let’s keep in mind that much of my existence is living on the road, so the majority of these cleaning trips aren’t me with a bottle of woolite and the gentle cycle. This is drop-off-3-hour-fluff-and-fold service at a random laundromat somewhere where for 80 cents a pound your clothes cleaned, but not necessarily loved.

But I, I have loved them.

And honestly, every time I put these jeans on, I just felt a little bit stronger, a little more confident and arguably a little bit sexier. Lets not mince words – a great pair of jeans can do wonders.

On this past tour, the knees of both pairs of jeans blew out, and several areas are past thread-bare and becoming transparent.

But these jeans have been resilient and have stood with me, through thick and thin over the past 4 years, and quite honestly, they are both one of my longest relationships.

So to my Lucky ‘Sweet Dream’, and Big Star ‘Sweet’ jeans, I am putting you into retirement. No need to bother yourself with more suitcase life. You will now spend your days lounging on the couch and working around the house. Congratulations on your new life, but my bad dates just won’t be the same without you.



A blog for Randy

The road took a lot out of me this time – some I’ll probably tell you about, some I won’t.

During tour, I got a call to write an obituary. For a friend. It’s not an easy assignment even if someone gives you a list of facts and you write a paragraph for the local register-times-advocate. But this was different.

My friend Randy had been battling cancer for 2 years. If you scroll through this blog, you’ll find more about him, and his cancer treatments. But what may not come out through all that was not only was Randy a great musician with a huge smile, he was a soft-spoken man of God. He couldn’t help it, God built him to encourage and inspire like no other.

Randy was 2 months and 7 days younger than me.

And I was under the impression that I was still too young to have friends who were dying of cancer.

News of this sort does make one take a bit of inventory. I don’t have kids so I don’t need to worry about not providing for them, but it does remind me to squeeze my loved ones a little closer next time I see them. It makes the little arguments of life seem trivial. The misunderstanding between a few friends has suddenly taken a new urgency. I just want to shake them and say “Don’t you see? This life is just a breath. Get over it and enjoy that we get to do life together.”

Since Friday when he passed, I have been calling mutual friends and we’ve been sharing stories of how fascinating it is that God made a strong man, a monster on the drums, who had such a gentle spirit. It was like God funneled all his strength into one side, and all his peace into the other.

Thanks to a project I’ve been working on, I’ve been reading Hitch 22 – the memoir of Christopher Hitchens, world-renowned for his lack of belief. His book starts with talking about reading his obituary.

I hope my obituary reads like Randy’s. A flow of people telling their own stories of how they will forever hold his gentle care for people. Tales of laughter and tears, late night discussions and loud music. Friends and family, strength through trials. And faith that moves mountains.

Like Hitchens, I wonder if we would see our lives differently if we read our obituary.

In my conversations of the past few days, no one mentioned any negatives. What rose to the top were all statements about character and deliberate times of friends and family empowering each other. So why do we spend our lives dwelling on negatives? I’m a broken person, just like anyone else. But I hope that when someone writes my life in a few words, how I’ve treated those around me for good overshadow any negative I found myself in once upon a time. Or at least how I reacted to those hardships pointed others to Someone bigger than me.

Ironically, shortly after the book was released, Hitchens was diagnosed with an aggressive form of Esophageal Cancer. Hitchens, since that time, has repeatedly said that death will not change his mind about the existence of God, and that as he is passing away his writing is more important than his children. “’I’d have to say, not to be a hypocrite, that my life is my writing before it’s anything. Because that’s who I am and my children come later and that’s what they’ve had to put up with,’ he says.” – The Globe and Mail 10/22/10

Randy’s presence alone would draw people into understanding the existence of God. His gracious transition couldn’t help but point those around him to an assurance and strength that an only come thru faith. And his love for his wife and kids I can’t even express.

I guess a full life is up for debate, but for the past few days, I’ve been thanking God for allowing me to get to know a bit of the life of this saint who is now adding to the music of Heaven. And I thank God for the reminder that life is short, and every moment matters.

Rest in peace my friend. Randy Miller. Feb 9, 1971 – November 5, 2010.