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My Dad and His Love of Music

My dad

My dad passed away last month, and rather than list facts here—that he was born in Kentucky to a German sharecropper and his wife, that he grew to be a successful man with a wife and six children, etc—I mention his love of music. I am grateful to my dad for many things, but I am most grateful for the love of music that he passed along to me.

In the earliest days of our family, Dad had an electric guitar and amplifier, and he enjoyed playing for fun. We watched Johnny Rivers on television and listened to Duane Eddy records on the stereo, and Dad thought Chuck Berry was the greatest. When I was six, he taught me to play “Secret Agent Man,” “What I Say,” and the Bonanza theme song on guitar, and I played those songs over and over. He sold that guitar one day and never played again, but he bought one for me soon after, and I’ve been playing ever since.

I recall the times Dad drove me and my musical equipment around to practices. I remember him taking a vacation day to watch my band play in a school talent show. I hear him singing as he walked through the house, and when I’m enjoying a tune, I tap my foot like he always did. I think of my dad every day, especially when I play guitar. Life’s better with music. Dad taught me that.

Starting the New Year With a Bang!

I started my new year off with a bang. Literally. I bought a new drum kit over the holidays: a Pearl Roadshow 5-piece fusion drum set in charcoal metallic. You’ll note the smaller tom is missing, with the larger tom in its place–I packed the smaller one away. I only wanted a four-piece kit, but the included hardware, cymbals, and throne made this set the one to get, and I’m glad I did. Nice!

Update on The Wind Cries Jerrys EP

The release date for The Wind Cries Jerrys, a six-song effort by The Jerrys, has been moved to early 2018. Originally scheduled to release this month, the EP took more time to record than I’d planned—backing vocals in particular. The good news is that, after recording 43 tracks during the past week, all recording has been completed, and it’s on to mixing and mastering. Here’s the track listing:

  1. Chicago USA
  2. Doo-Doo-Doo-Doo
  3. I Think About You
  4. Ms. Wonderful
  5. Another Glorious Day
  6. Anna Marie

Earlier this year, “Chicago USA” was released ahead of the EP and is available to stream or download. Check it out, and stay tuned for more music from The Jerrys.

Mixing “Anna Marie” for New EP

Studio laptop for mixing

Mixing New Song for Upcoming Release by The Jerrys

I’ve begun mixing “Anna Marie,” the last track appearing on The Wind Cries Jerrys, a six-song EP to be released later this year. This one may be my fave song ever by The Jerrys. Once mixed and mastered, it will be the third song ready for the new EP.

A single, “Chicago USA,” has been released ahead of the EP. Listen to “Chicago USA.”

New Single: Chicago USA

Cover art for "Chicago USA" by The Jerrys

My new single, “Chicago USA,” is now available as a free download. The song is a tribute to two of my favorite childhood songs, “Downtown” and “I Know a Place” (both made popular by Petula Clark), as well as my contribution to songs about Chicago. I’ve nothing against “Sweet Home Chicago,” but it’s time for a new Chicago song, and this is what I think it should sound like:

 

Chicago USA

There’s a place I know
where you can go.
Every time you go there
you feel good.
It’s a real cool place to be.
It’s the kind of place for me.
It’s where I want to be–
always something
to be found
always something
going down wow!

Chicago
Chicago USA
Chicago U-S-A!

There’s a place I know
where you can be
anything you want to.
It’s all good.
It’s such a sight to see!
It’s just right for me.
It’s where I want to be–
always something
downtown
always something
going round wow!

Chicago
Chicago USA
Chicago U-S-A!

Music and lyrics ©2016 by Jerry Schwartz

Go ahead. Give it a listen!

2017 Summer Reading

When I finish reading Beatles Gear and Stephen Donaldson’s The Power That Preserves, I’ll have to read two of these titles I bought recently at City Newsstand:

I’d already read the issue of Tape Op, as I’m a subscriber and read/save every issue, but my May/June issue was mauled in the mail and I wanted a clean copy. I look forward to reading the other two soon!

New Dandy Warhols Song Knocks Me Out

Still from The Dandy Warhols' video, "Thick Girls Knock Me Out (Richard Starkey)"
Yesterday I heard the new single by The Dandy Warhols for the first time. “Thick Girls Knock Me Out (Richard Starkey)” provides the perfect antidote to what seems to me to be a dormant time for good new music. In addition, the Dandys have created the video I’ve always wanted them to make—no goofy scenes or themes, just great music with the focus on what I consider to be one of the best bands around. March is in like a lion, indeed. I give the band bonus points for mentioning a Beatle in the song title. Give it a listen.

Jerrys Announce New EP, ‘The Wind Cries Jerrys’

The Jerrys drums logo by ScottyRocks

It’s official: The Wind Cries Jerrys, a 6-song EP containing new original songs by Jerry Schwartz, will be released by The Jerrys in 2017. Recording is well under way and expected to be completed by spring, with mixing and mastering to follow. A new single, “Chicago USA,” which the band previewed live on WZRD Chicago in 2016, will be released ahead of the EP.

Track listing
  1. Chicago USA
  2. Doo-Doo-Doo-Doo
  3. I Think About You
  4. Ms. Wonderful
  5. Another Glorious Day
  6. Anna Marie

The new release also features Robert Porche’ (drums), Jim Losby (bass guitar), and a surprise guest. Stay tuned for new music by the Jerrys!

(Image is a photo of original print by ScottyRocks.)