A Cold Bender…

Cold Bender…

It’s time to confess. For the last couple months I’ve been going on a bender nearly every night, and they often last deep into the night. Can’t say that I’m ashamed, or that I’m even concerned. It’s not like I’m missing work or fouling up any relationships. I just can’t seem to stop.

I’ve been using once again, and using heavily. Cold Chisel that is…

I first learned of the band Cold Chisel from KAZY radio in Denver in 1978 or 1979. On Sunday from 10:00pm-Midnight a free-form rock show was hosted by an Australian DJ. I think his name was Walter, but I’m not sure. I’ll never forget though, the first time he played Cold Chisel, and how he built them up before he played the song Khe Sanh.

I was immediately hooked on Cold Chisel, Australia’s hardest working and hardest fighting rock band.

In the pantheon of my rock-band gods there are, in no particular order…

The Call
Los Lobos
The Waterboys
Steely Dan
and Cold Chisel

Of course there are many other bands and many solo artists that have inspired me, touched me, and that I have obsessed on. However, these are the bands that have moved and touched me in ways that others never could. Each, for very different reasons.


When I look at my love and appreciation for these bands now, I realize the biggest draw isn’t so much in the musicianship, in the personalities, or even in the production, though they are all great . The gravity that draws me in is for songs with well-crafted lyrics.

The lyrics to Khe Sanh (Don Walker) might be the most well-crafted lyric I’ve ever heard.

In the last few weeks I’ve completed two books written by Jimmy Barnes, Cold Chisel’s lead singer. I can’t recommend these two books enough — Working Class Boy and Working Class Man. They’re written in very linear fashion, very difficult to read due to their content, very grounding, and well illuminate what launched the fireball of Jimmy Barnes out of that rock and roll cannon so many years ago, to become one of music’s most notorious and dangerous frontmen. Jimmy is alive and doing fine these days, and has become a great story teller.


Over the last couple of months I have watched virtually every YouTube video available on the band, including interviews, solo performances, a six-part documentary series about the history of the band, and every music video they’ve ever made. Some have moved me to tears.

When I think about music – – bands in particular, I first think about magic. Magic is what happens when unlikely ingredients come together to form the perfect whole, if only for a few minutes, a few years, or for a few concert tours.

Please take seven minutes watch this from beginning to end if you have a chance. It brought me to absolute tears the first time I saw it, and I still watch it regularly. An incredible performance by Don Walker and Ian Moss, Cold Chisel’s keyboard player and guitar player respectively.



If you’ve ever wondered where magic comes from, I’ll say it again… Magic is what happens when unlikely ingredients come together to form the perfect whole. Cold Chisel was/is the perfect whole, if only for a few minutes, a few concert tours, or for few years — which have now turned into four decades.

Like a lot of bands that have fallen to hit the ground, bounced back up, hit the ground again, only to bounce back up again over and over, Cold Chisel has known adversity –– in spades, including the death of drummer Steve Prestwich in 2011. Still, the band and its remaining members are still active today, occasionally together, but mostly involving other projects.


Yes, I’m using Cold Chisel again, often late into the night, and I make no apology… Jhciacb

If you’re not currently a subscriber, please scroll up and do so. Please check back in a couple weeks to see what happens when I push the STOP button on the blender in my head. Oh, and here’s one more from Cold Chisel singer Jimmy Barnes, written by the late Steve Prestwich. Enjoy… 



My Road…

For the things that have mattered to me most; hobbies, interests, business practices, and even in matters of personal fulfillment, I have always preferred the path of being self-taught. That is, I’m at my best when I work within my own structure and on my own schedule.

Translation: I have an authority problem…


For nearly 2 decades I’ve been attempting to create and adhere to a personal theology. My own beliefs, practiced within my own structure, and within my own timeframe and schedule. During the last couple of years, I feel I have made significant progress in this area.

The beliefs I value, the rituals I practice, and the sermons I create and study on my own behalf, have become an integral part of my daily life. And I can say with great certainty that they have made me a better person.

Though this Religion Of One is something I am quite proud of, some part of me has always questioned whether it’s the correct path. In a world full of ornate houses of worship — great and small, paint by numbers acts of ritual and obedience, and volumes of scripture which everyone has read but nobody has written, to state that I have carved out my own theology can seem lofty, ignorant, and selfish – – even to myself.


Though I have mostly embraced my personal theology, I have also been skeptical of it.

This past Sunday I attended a structured house of worship for the first time in many years. It was with a small congregation in the small town where I live. Everything about it was cordial, charming, and peaceful. That is, I found the experience to be everything that is right with religion. It was pleasant.

As I took it all in though, that skepticism I’ve had of my own theology slowly and steadily began to flake off and fall from my skin. Though I greatly appreciated all that was taking place around me; the observance, the reverence, and the community, I felt uncomfortable and out of place. I was longing to be back out in the woods, conversing with my maker and contemplating my place in this vast and complex world.


Leaving that service last Sunday, and stepping back into my own rituals, my own forms of charity and community, and on my own schedule of observance, I felt for the very first time that my Religion Of One is not a path of blasphemy or guilt, but the most available and the most direct road to where I’m going. So I will just keep stepping – – left, right, left, right, left, right, down the center of my own little path, with the absolute belief that this is just right for me…. Jhciacb

If you have not already, please scroll up and  hit the subscribe button in the upper right-hand corner. Please check back in a couple weeks to see what happens when I push the STOP  button on the blender in my head. Oh, and there’s this from Shiny Ribs. Enjoy….