Friday, March 27, 2009

I'm Not A Bass Player, I'm A Bass Owner

My good friend Steve Devlin is the most productive person I've ever met, and I've met a lot of productive people. I'm sure when he passes away, he'll still help them screw down the lid, and show them how to soap the screws to make driving them easier.

He builds houses on Cape Cod, in Massachusetts. He helped me to build my house, and we've worked together many times. He's made his Central Cape Construction into that rarest of things: a success that deserves its success. Look out for flying wood! he says, and means it. To paraphrase, Steve is halfway round the foundation while the competition is still lacing its shoes.

We used to play in a band together, back in the day. It was the same way. If it needed doing, Steve was doing it while you decided, and laughing the whole time. Every once in a while he calls me and I hear the Blues Brothers yell in the receiver: I'm getting the band back together, man.

We were atrocious back then, but sublime. I can't describe it any better than that. In entertainment, you simply have to give the audience a compelling reason to look at you. We always did that, one way or the other. There's lots of ways to accomplish that. I suppose you could try learning to play your instruments properly, but that sounds hard. Steve used to say we were the band you had to see twice. The first time to have the most fun you ever had, and the second time to figure out we stunk.

Steve has done another thing which is rare and wonderful. He started a real, live tradition. Someone has to be the guy that says: You know, I think we should have a parade on Saint Patrick's Day. People might come. Steve is that man.

Only with him, it's hockey, and the The Lobster Pot Tournament. Steve was a good hockey player. He taught his sons in their turn to play, and helped the area he lives in to teach their kids, too. Like a true good citizen, he didn't lose interest just because his kids were too old for it after a while. He kept going.

I remember when he first tried to put together the tournament. He beat the bushes and worked like a slave and paid all sorts of money out of his own pocket that no one knew about because he thought it mattered. Then that rarest of things I mentioned happened. Everyone else embraced it, too, and it's become a tradition.

"I took my sons to a college hockey game, and they really liked the whole atmosphere," said tournament director Steve Devlin. "And on the way home they remarked how great it would be to play in a game like that. So when we started this tournament, we wanted to bring that kind of fun to our games. We want this to be a fun tournament for the kids and for the fans."

The action started last night and runs through Sunday afternoon with the teams combining for a total of 64 games.

Teams will be competing in four divisions: Crawfish (Mini Mites), 1 1/4 Pounders (Mite C), 2-Pound Broiled (Mite B) and 3-Pound Baked Stuffed (Mite A). Of the five BYHA teams in the tournament, four will be competing in the 2-Pound Broiled division with the fifth squad in line to contend for the 3-Pound Baked Stuffed crown. (The Enterprise)

So Steve got us all out of bed on Sunday morning at hockey mom hours, year after year, and we stand on the mezzanine freezing to death and watching the kids bob like buoys across the ice. Steve's son, who we told you about here before, is playing music with us in the pick-up band instead of hockey now. That's him over on the far left, along with my friend Chopper and another fellow from the band Cape Fear. They're the ones that sound like they practice.

I'm getting old, I guess. I'll still show up, though, if Steve tells me to. When the sun comes up, the birds sing, though they don't know why.

Arena Rock from sippican cottage on Vimeo.


Tom L said...

Never tried soap, but spit works good.

Janet said...

You know I love you, Greg, but I long ago decided we would agree to disagree on musical tastes.

I mean, how can a man who has his head so together in so many ways...

Ruth Anne Adams said...

So then you really didn't agree, now, did you, Janet?

Janet said...


Sure I did, Ruth Anne, but that doesn't stop me from wondering. Of course, it's always inexplicable when somebody's taste differs from mine... I can usually chalk it up to bad judgment, but that's much harder with Greg. With him, it's just inexplicable. Life is full of such mysteries.

Jennifer said...

I just wrote that you were probably going to build an entire house this weekend (over on my blog). I'm in such awe of people who can make things out of wood. I guess you'd better make it a three-day weekend.

I'm off to play Dead Space

Andy said...

I once caught a bass, which makes me neither player nor owner.

SippicanCottage said...

Janet's is an interesting comment.

What does what I'm playing in the video have to do with my musical taste? I'm playing what the audience wants, and the other players know how to play.

It is assumed that musicians should inflict whatever they like on their audience.

The kids are six. Their parents are thirty six. They want to hear the intros to all the songs on Guitar Hero. Makes no nevermind to me.

We did play one Badfinger song all the way through, so it wasn't all bad.

Janet said...

Ah, guilty as charged. In my defense, I've got a couple of musicians in the family, and neither play in cover bands. Unless you count all the playing we've done in church over the years... Hmm. I get your point.