Conner and Dan in the Studio I was at the Patrick McGuire Recording Studio last Friday, working on songs for my new CD. Randy Talbert, Steve Smith, and John Tepper of the praise band at church played on three songs. My oldest son, Conner, who also plays with the praise band when his schedule allows, played guitar on several songs. Cameron, the middle son, helped with taking pictures, videos, and assisting the engineer. He also plays with the praise band and helps with sound. The session went well and I’ll discuss it later, perhaps, but I want to back up a bit.

While I was getting ready to go into the studio, I naturally thought about Joel Nichols, my musical partner of twenty-five years until he died in 1999. We recorded our last CD in 1996. My wife, Cyndy, introduced me to Bruce Gibson, and later to Joel when he came home from college at Scarritt in Nashville. When the three of us began to gel as a band, I moved out to Nashville while Joel was attending his last year at school. We lived with two other people in the top half of a house that had been around for fifty years, had been home to a hippie commune, and no longer exists.

Joel and I were driving around Nashville in his car one morning. After stopping for John Tepper in Studio coffee, we continued on our journey, going over several bumps and through several turns. Throughout the drive, I managed to keep from spilling my coffee by acting as a human gyroscope. Then I made a mistake. After we we went through the next dip, I turned to Joel and opened my mouth.

“I haven’t spilled a drop. I’m pretty good.”

A short while later, Joel grinned and slammed on the breaks. Coffee soaked the front of my last clean shirt. And going to the laundry mat had not been in my immediate plans. I objected, but the more I objected, the more he laughed. Seemingly in an increasing vindictive manner.

I was somewhat used to taking crap for my stuttering. But a prank like that from someone I considered my closest friend was painful. It illustrated that even the best of friends have a few, even if small, irreconcilable differences. The darker side of their personality that you hope you seldom see and avoid if you see it coming. Joel’s vindictive prankster side was one of those sides of his personality that switched my defensive tendencies into high gear.

photo When I continued to object, Joel realized how much it bothered me, and he apologized. Despite the times when our personalities conflicted, there were more good times than bad times in our twenty+ years of making music together. Going into the studio reminded me of the good music we made together. When I play the old songs, I can still hear him playing his part. I am playing both parts in the studio and I hope I do him justice.

Peace be with you.

Advertisements