John Lennon’s 70th birthday

I kind of said all I wanted to say in one Tweet but I guess that’s not really true or I wouldn’t be posting about it.

When Danny Gatton died, I was working at Country Guitar magazine, and we threw a benefit show at The Bottom Line in NYC. And while a lot of major-name guitarists — Arlen Roth, Greg Martin, all three Hellecasters — flew in for the night, said nice things in his memory, and played some great and touching music, the one that stuck with me was G. E. Smith, who was leading the SNL band at the time. At that point I only knew him as “the guy who mugs mercilessly right before commercial breaks” and I wasn’t expecting much. But he put on his guitar, looked at the crowd, leaned into the mic and said one thing: “We do not come to mourn him.” And then he fucking burned the place down with a rip-roaring uptempo number. It was exactly what I needed to hear — and when I turn to worm food, I really hope someone says it when they stop to think of me.

And yet, I’m sitting here listening to “Nobody Told Me” from Milk & Honey and there’s this gigantic lump in my throat and I’m fighting back tears and losing. And that makes no sense. It’s one of my favorite songs, and I did not come to mourn him.

Strange days, indeed.

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