We Are All Disabled - Part 12A


Hits Are Hard To Find






 The countryside between Seattle and Vancouver is well travelled in my memory. It marked the beginning of a journey around the world with Rick Hansen more than 25 years ago. We were young, ambitious and determined to make a difference.

On that road to Seattle with the Canadian border at our backs, I came to appreciate how hard it would be for my friend in a chair to make the world pay attention. And how hard it would be for me to keep up, physically and emotionally.   

Driving home from Seattle last week on that same road, my memories of yesterday slipped away. I was lost in the excitement of a performance the night before. Everything worked, it was a kind of magic that left me buzzing for days. That kind of feeling is a privilege and as much about the audience as it is about my music. 

But at one point on the drive home from the Seattle show, a song on the radio instantly transported me back to the old days. It was St. Elmo's Fire, the hit song David Foster produced with singer John Parr, inspired by Rick Hansen's journey. 


I laughed out loud when I heard it again. I love the song and I couldn't help but smile remembering how before there was Man in Motion, Rick wanted a powerful theme song for the tour. We just didnt know how to go about it.

During a  kick off party for the tour we met Terry David Mulligan, a broadcaster who knew many big time rock stars, including David Foster who he went to school with.


Terry really helped us and managed to get David's production manager Chris Earthy, CBC news footage of Rick wheeling. Chris promised Terry he would have David watch it during a break in their recording session in LA.

 

Terry pulled through, Chris pulled through and so did David who was so inspired when he saw the news footage that he wrote the song with John Parr. The rest is history. When we arrived in LA on the Man in Motion Tour, David and Chris took time from recording an album to make us feel at home and important as we pushed around the world.
A lot of people believed in Rick Hansen and helped him. I was one of those people and will always smile remembering how in spite of the exhaustion, we never gave up on each other. David Foster's inspired tribute to the Man in Motion ends as all hit songs do in about 3 minutes and when the real world returned, I'm back in my car, on that same road in northern Washington.

But this time, I'm going home and the music that plays in my head, is my own. That my life has been touched by David Foster, Chris Earthy, Terry David Mulligan, John Parr and others, makes me especially proud that like them, I've landed in the music business with so much to say and so little time to say it.
But there’s more to this story, coming next blog...





*To leave a comment please click on the orange title "We Are All Disabled" at the top of the post *

Don Alder is a musician and partner in a grand adventure - "Man In Motion" that forever changed the way we see disability. He lives alone in a basement suite over run by guitars, note books full of ideas for songs and everywhere, memories of going around the world with his best friend, Rick Hansen. 

We Are All Disabled - Part 11

She Loves You Ya, Ya, Ya...


How do you not love your mother? How do you not smile when you think about how much she loves you? How do you not tear up with the memory of her holding you close, kissing your tears away?


As Mothers Day's arrives, I'm hopeful the Post Office delivers the cards to my mother and my grandmother, both of whom were and are the best mothers a guitar player could ever have. 

Before the guitar came into my life, it was the Beatles. I can't begin to describe what their music did to my brain but I can tell you, somehow a little boy living in Montreal with his mom, (that's me of course), convinced that mom to buy a Beatles 45 record and a Beatles wig. Yes it's true.

Holding my mother's hand so tightly, her circulation must have been cut off, wondering why everyone was looking at me and smiling.  My mother, radiant as always and me, in my Beatles wig, awkward and embarrassed, wondering why everyone would look at me. We were all Beatles then, weren't we? 



I didn't know much about what being funny meant then and sometimes even today, I'm not sure, but I remember my mother cleaning our apartment in Montreal and holding a mop, smiling and asking, where the Beatles got their hair styles? You know, that mop thing is still kind of funny.

She Loves You, Ya, Ya, Ya was my life. I was forever a devoted Beatles fan . And then my loving mother got me a guitar. And then I heard another song on the radio called Satisfaction.  It shattered me and the Rolling Stones held me hostage. Or more accurately, they held my mother hostage because I must have played the same section from Satisfaction a million times or more. I could only play a few notes on a single string. But that didn't matter, I was playing alongside the Stones. 


It was not pretty but my mother held me close, whenever I would let her and she seemed so happy her little boy had found himself in music. What else does a boy need to love his mother forever?


I'm still a huge Beatles fan but have misplaced the wig. My mother and I, who had the toughest of times together and apart  - survived and are best friends. How else would you describe a woman who held your hand, singing 'She Loves You' ?


Sometimes while performing, I think about being that awkward kid in Montreal, wearing the Beatles wig and then I think about my mother, wanting to hold my hand and making everything right in the world..Ive been lucky, Mother's Day reminds me of that. And it reminds me how smart my mother was not caving into my plea for a drum set. Our apartment was small and my obsession to bring rock and roll into our lives would surely have put us in the street had drums been allowed to join our family. 


But what she didn't know was...





*To leave a comment please click on the orange title "We Are All Disabled" at the top of the post *

Don Alder is a musician and partner in a grand adventure - "Man In Motion" that forever changed the way we see disability. He lives alone in a basement suite over run by guitars, note books full of ideas for songs and everywhere, memories of going around the world with his best friend, Rick Hansen.