The song is done. The video is done. Phase I is done. Now to raise enough money to give a gift to the family. (And hopefully a gift for all Bostonians…and Americans to pay tribute to those taken from us so unfairly – in the form of a statue.)
I last left off after the most beautiful experience of recording with the kids from BYPC with the help of Jeff Davison (The teacher!)
Here is the link to my first blog on “Martin”, written after Memorial Day.
After the first recording session, I had to go back to New Jersey to continue my book tour. We had recorded drums, bass, acoustic guitars and the chorus of kids.
I could have easily recorded more in New York, or released the song with just those elements, but I heard a distinct sound. An accordion. It’s Boston.
And as I wanted to keep this song in Boston, I drove back to finish the track. And more people stepped up to the plate to volunteer their time, hearts, and amazing talent to contribute to the project.
People from my high school, churches, kids from Dorchester, where Martin is from, and my old band mates from my days in Boston.
Okay. Now I need another studio…and an engineer.
Tom Holmes, the gentleman who owned studio 101A, where we did the first session, recommended a student at Berklee to do the engineering. And it was a great recommendation. A kid named Brian Phillips came on board as my second mate. Sweet disposition, and astute ears. Ready, willing, and able. Wow!
Brian had his homegrown studio in his apartment…dorm room! It had been a while since I have been in a dorm room. Oy vey.
But the gear was top-notch, as were the skills. We laid down my lead vocal, rightly so, in Boston….on the Fenway. But I needed more voices!
I aimed for a Sunday for folks to gather in Copley Square to join us in the chorus of the song.
It was a stunning day. I had folks from all around Massachusetts ready to come in and sing at 1:00.
Then there was a glitch. A planned power failure. WTF? The Mass Pike was CLOSED…traffic lights out and backed up for days.
So, suffice to say, not many people made it. But enough did! Even folks drove all the way from New Hampshire to be a part of it, from the BYPC school, including the adorable Tucker, and precious Zach, who sings the solo. And we gathered near the memorial.
I didn’t want to intrude on the space of the memorial, and figured we’d sing on the lawn near by.
I talked to a couple of cops on the premises. I wanted to just give them the heads up and make sure it was cool to set up recording.
The one officer said, “Why don’t you do it right here at the memorial? It’s Martin’s birthday today. He would have been 9.”
What? OMG. I had no idea it was his birthday! A feeling of sadness, and at the same time, magic, came over me. A pure coincidence that this was the day I scheduled for the event.
One of the singers, Kathleen, from a church in Scituate, made the trip, and copies of the lyrics:
BOSTON LOVES YOU
BOSTON MISSES YOU
BOSTON WILL REMEMBER YOU
YOU ARE THE FACE OF BOSTON STRONG
We handed them out to anyone who wanted to sing along. And there were many! Unfortunately, I only have two hands, and there weren’t enough people filming all of this. It was another beautiful experience. At one point, I actually took my iphone and recorded while I was singing, with my headphones, recording the music. (Low budget…all out of my pocket.) At least I was not chewing gum.
Then I took some other footage of what moved me in the memorial. (I obviously wanted to make a music video.)
Classmates from Sudbury showed up after the recording all sweaty and stressed from the ride from hell in. Since Robbie Jacobs, his wife Elena, and Robin Boots made the effort, we went back to Brian’s dorm room and had them sing the chorus as well.
Then I drove to Dorchester, where Martin is from, to shoot footage of his parish, and a couple of landmarks I thought were important to include in the visual. I wanted this to be personal….and respectful.
On Monday, Brian and I went to Fenway to do a little footage, and that evening a non-profit studio in Boston, who’s rate is ridiculously low, The Record Company, generously donated the studio for our next session.
Slated were accordion, (Alizon Lissance) bass, guitar, (Tommy Baker), and some vocals. With Brian Phillips at the wheel, we finished tracking! Again, all musicians doing it on their dime. The heart that went into this project was huge.
Next step, call the mayor!
Ring ring….”Could I please speak to Mayor Menino?”
“What is this in reference to?”
Had to do my shpeel, the song – the goal to have the statue of Martin in bronze holding the sign, “No more hurting people”…etc.
“Please send email to so and so….”
Sent it. No response.
Called again. Did you get the email?
No – send it again.
I send again. Nothing.
I speak to the mayor’s assistant. Same deal – explain my goals again….Send me the email, he says.
I send it.
“I didn’t get it. Send it again.”
“Okay. I’ll send it and call you back in 5 minutes to confirm.”
I call back in 5 minutes. “He’s out of the office.”
“Well, can I leave a message?”
Sure. (I could hear the tone of ambiguity, as she tried as quickly as possible to hang up.)
– Don’t you want my number?
Uhh, okay. (Such a chore.)
I gave it to her. No response from email or phone.
If this is the indicative behavior of government, no wonder nothing ever gets done.
Well, I am not the government and I will get something done. I have a back up plan. (Though I am not giving up on the statue.)
But for sure, I am going to have a portrait painted of this photo, and give it to the family.
And no, I am not painting it. I happen to have a friend I have known since I was ten, who is a world renown artist. His portraits are superb. And he also has a heart of gold. And he knows what it is like to lose someone in his own family…taken away unfairly, too young.
So he, David Wells Roth, has stepped up to the plate. As I type, he has begun the portrait.
You can see one of his portraits at The Federal Court House in Boston. And the two below are his wonderful work…which is usually megabucks, but he is willing to do it for whatever!
This joint effort is so inspiring to me.
I edited the video, and made it myself on imovie on my little lap top. David even shot most of the footage of me in Boston. Here is the video. I just posted it last night (June 19th).
Over 200 people watched it last night….and 5 people downloaded the song. And this morning, another 180. – and 4 more downloads. And one from England.
So far, that’s about enough to pay for one tube of paint. Ugh.
(I had to laugh – I got 1 thumbs down. Must be some terrorist asshole.)
So, please, if this video moves you, and you want to be a part of something very special, it’s $1.29 to download the song here. All profits will go to the cause. And by all means, please share the video.
Regardless, the painting will get done. I will continue trying to cut through the bullshit at City Hall, and Boston will Remember all who suffered.
Thanks again so much for everyone who is making this happen, and has made it happen. Your love is felt.