Last night, Cindy and I had dinner with old friends – Kurt and Pat Kaiser.
Kurt was one of my mentors coming out of college. My mother practically worshipped his recordings when I was kid. I was lucky to produce Kurt’s last record for Word. (“The Lost Art of Listening”) It is always fun to catch up with him and his lovely wife, Pat.
Kurt has been in the music business since – well, almost forever. His career dates back to the late 1950s. And it’s easy to forget that he knows almost everybody. (And not just the folks in the Christian music world.) He is totally blase` about all the big name musicians (from every genre) he’s met and worked with over the years.
So, I shouldn’t have been surprised (but still, I was) last night when I learned that he worked in the studio once with Billy Preston. THE Billy Preston. The Fifth Beatle. (Preston played electric piano on “Get Back,” for crying out loud.) One of the truly distinctive keyboardists of the last generation.
Kurt was totally cool about this, of course. No big deal. He said Billy was wonderfully nice, and a fantastic B-3 player. And though Preston passed away not too long ago, in a way, this made me only one degree of separation from the legendary musician.
Being a musician is like that, though. We all know people who know people who know people. In that way, I am probably only one or two degrees of separation from just about every well-known musician in America. And being the father of a musician is doubly like that. (Why “doubly”? Because he’s my kid, and that officially makes it’s twice as cool.)
My younger son, Aaron, is currently recording and playing live with mega-musician, John Mayer. Being slightly removed from the world of All That Is Currently Hip and Cool, I wasn’t aware until recently just how big a deal this is. But apparently, John Mayer is a Big Deal. People know him. You might have heard of him. He still makes records that lots of people buy.
Now, the important part of this connection is not that John Mayer is famous and popular. Fame is fleeting. And popularity is deceiving. (Just ask the former head cheerleader from your high school.) The important thing is, John Mayer (like Billy Preston) is a good musician. The guy plays well. Really well.
So, I am now one degree of separation from John Mayer. Not bad for an old has-been drummer like me, right?
But think about this – I am zero degrees of separation from Aaron Sterling. And that’s really impressive if you ask me.