Today's my dear old friend Pete Downes' 50th birthday! I guess we all knew he'd be wild and rockin' forever, but I'm still glad we all get to experience it now. His Cinnamon Jack channel on YouTube has over a hundred videos, including his latest moody piece "November". His website has CDs for sale.

Pete and I have been making music together since we both learned back in 1978-1979. There's no doubt we've been big influences on each other. We were in a band together in junior high school, Voyager, and recorded one epic eponymous album, then he left Ithaca. We had several Voyager reunions in Ithaca and Chicago, in 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, and 1997. Those inspired me to get back together with E.B.A. to do total improv like Pete does so well, which led to some E.B.A. reunion improv jams and eventually the expanded lineup and new name: Killer Whirlpool. Then when Pete came back to Ithaca in 1997, 2000, 2001, 2003, and 2009, we called the massive improv troupe Killer Voyage. And I visited Pete in Chicago a few times for improv recording sessions that we called White Trash Waterpark and Kentucky Jelly, in 2002, 2005, 2007, and 2012. (Too much of this music isn't online yet!)

I had literally hundreds of songs to choose from to highlight his brilliant, twisted, absurd, and beautiful sense of music. But I chose this one because we were thirty years old and Pete's lyrics talk about the struggle we've both had all our lives of wanting to find a way to play music all the time. This song is far from a masterpiece, but has such a warm fuzzy vibe and cool vocal delivery that it felt like an appropriate tribute to my musical brother.

Recording notes: Pete was visiting Ithaca in June 1995, and spent an afternoon in mangobananas studio. We put together a drum loop with Pete hitting Jon's old hi-hat and me thumping the hi-hat stand with my foot. On top of that, Pete laid down acoustic guitar while I played bass, then Pete improvised the vocals while I played electric guitar. Ended up on The Andy Band album flipping bits.

Thanks for listening!


fun work

there is one thing that I have got to 
I've just gots to figure out a way-ay-ay-ay 
to pee-paw-piddle-da-play-ay all day
do you know what I mean?
do you see what I say?
I wants to have it my way-ay-ay-ay

I wants to do it for fun
all diddle-da-dih-da day
I have not got time to work my life away 
gots to piddle-da-pee-paw play hey hey

cause you see right now I'm thirty year old 
and I'm closing in tight on thirty-one
and it's become clear to me
that I gots to find a w-w-w-way to play-ay-ay

I know exactly what I gots to do
I gots to get me back self into school 
find a way to play
have fun all di-da-day working 
working fun in the sun

there's all kinds of people in this world there's 
doctors lawyers construction workers too
it's all kinds of play
that makes the world this way
and I think that that is A-OK.

that's what I say
my music is my fun and my play
I still gotta work all day
even if it is my own play
but I still would rather have it that way 
so go foom it on daddy-o

that's what I say
my work is my game
music I saw-say
was I wrong?

Pete Downes (improvised) June 23, 1995

download: fun work.mp3