Friday, October 26, 2012

Tyrann Mathieu's Phantom Menace

One week after I received and read the Sports Illustrated cover story on Tyrann Mathieu and his attempts to redeem himself for a possible return to the LSU Tigers football team, he faces drug (marijuana) related charges in Baton Rouge.

Several questions are now (in my best Herman Cain voice) "twirling around in my head" concerning Mathieu:

1. Is Mathieu destined to be just like his biological father, Darrin Hayes- also a talented football phenom in his day, but now serving a life sentence for second degree murder- with whom Mathieu has virtually no relationship?

2. Even if convicted, simple possession of marijuana is not going to earn Mathieu a life sentence in prison, but is this the next step down a path to a life sentence from football and, more importantly, productive adult life?

3. Are these things hereditary? Does Mathieu's family history wreak havoc on his psyche and prevent him from realizing he does not have to repeat his father's mistakes? 

4. And, considering Tyrann's demonstrated troubles to date, was it prudent for him to only spend a month, or so, in John Lucas' rehab program in Houston and then return to Baton Rouge and LSU with no real, on-site support structure to keep him strong in moments of weakness?

The whole thing almost plays out like Star Wars, to me.  The character comparisons are very clear.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

A "Killer" Project to Support

"Seven years ago, I wandered into a musty blues bar on the outskirts of Tampa, Florida to hear a friend play a gig on his Hammond Organ. While I was familiar with the Hammond sound, I really hadn't paid much attention to it. There was my buddy Shawn Brown at the helm of this bulky two-layered keyboard, but he had morphed into this OCTOPUS -- pouring every once of his energy into his music. He was gliding over the keys, sliding levers, stepping on pedals, flipping switches with both hands. If this wasn't enough, he was singing too. Wow! I was simply floored," writes journalist Murv Seymour.

Seymour is a Southern University classmate and longtime friend of mine.  He recently told me about his "Killer B3" project that he has been working on with videographer Joe Bamford.  It's a project that has taken the pair on a seven year journey across America talking to fabulous musicians, young and old, about "a bulky 78-year old fluke invention that changed music forever."

Seymour and Bamford have listed their documentary project on Kickstarter, a website that helps creative people and entrepreneurs raise capital to take their original ideas from dreams to realities.  I checked out their page, played the introductory video-- which includes preview clips from the documentary-- and I was immediately sold!  There is truly something magical about music played on a Hammond B3, whether you hear it in a church, a jazz club or, for me, on the Every Woman's House/Club Remix of Whitney Houston's "I'm Every Woman."  It really does stir the soul.

"That night, I learned the Hammond Organ creates one of the most widespread sounds in music," writes Seymour on the Kickstarter page.  He also learned that, while commonly used,  "the Hammond Organ is one of the hardest instruments to conquer. Those (who) do devote their lifetime to it," Seymour added.

"Shawn told me each year, more and more of these "Old School" players are dying, Seymour writes.  "That was the trigger. I immediately knew the Hammond Organ would make for one hell of a story."  I agree.

I'm proud of my classmate and impressed by the preview of "Killer B3."  I encourage you to check out the Kickstarter page.  Read the background information.  Then, click on a link and contribute whatever you can to help make this documentary available to everyone.  Finally, pass this information on to people within your social network.

Oh, Good Evening!