“I’m having a midlife crisis, do you want to go see Eddie Money at the Chumash Casino in Santa Ynez?” read the email from my childhood friend Lisa.
“I have an important meeting from 1:30 to 2:30 this afternoon, but if a car just happened to be driving by and I somehow fell into the front seat…” I wrote back.
So by 3:00 that Thursday afternoon, I was sitting shotgun with my buddy Lisa doing the speed limit up the 10 freeway, which for those who understand Los Angeles traffic, a very good omen this was.
When dealing with a midlife crisis, in the great state of California, it’s very important to immediately drive up Pacific Coast Highway—the moment one’s car emerges from the tunnel, which transitions traffic from the 10, the symptoms begin to fade.
If I may wax clinical for a moment, there are two types of midlife crisis that are most prevalent. The first: a fairly minor case that comes and goes usually triggered by one particular aspect of a person’s life. “The I hate my job!” kind of thing. The second: a major systemic failure of a life—the kind of midlife crisis that I can personally speak to in great detail. Now the great thing about suffering from the latter is, that it is fairly simple to cheer up those that suffer from the former. And I personally find some satisfaction in the circumstance of being the guy people want to hang with when they think, they’ve got problems…
After driving a few miles up the coast the thought, “What the f*** I’m I stressing about dancing in your head,” it’s time to stop at The Fish Grill, in Malibu, and get some fish tacos, which Lisa and I certainly did. There’s something about eating at an hour that’s too late to be lunch and too early to be dinner, which is highly beneficial. The food should be great and the atmosphere should be zero—there’s no other agenda in a place like this, just food and good conversation!
On a philosophical note: because Gen X is the only generation to come to age in a time that straddled the transition from the old school to the digital age—Gen Xer’s are a complex bunch of people. Hyper achievers that were raised to believe that there is only first place and that every other place is just a euphemism for loser, “No pain, no gain!” “Work hard, play hard!” “Sex, drugs, and rock n’ roll!” and so on, were the Gen X credo’s. Or more simply put, Gen Xer’s love freedom and hate entitlement!!! And given the namby-pamby world now presented to all by the Baby Boomers, it’s easy to understand why many Gen Xer’s have early onset midlife crisis going on.
The ride from Malibu to Santa Barbara is filled with an amount of beauty as vast as the ocean itself. This vastness puts the silly, little people that so bother Gen Xer’s, into perspective—they came from nothing and they’ll return to nothing, soon.
“Pull off here, I want to show you one of my favorite spots on earth,” I said, pointing at the exit.
I’ve driven all over this great land of ours and suggest to all, to do the same. What you will find is that there are spots, which are uniquely yours. Not that there aren’t millions of great places, but there are a few places where each of our individual, unique souls are most comforted. And because Lisa is born of the same earth, air, and water as I (Montebello) I was reasonably sure that my spot on the beach in Santa Barbara would resound, as lying in fields of grass had years ago in our childhood.
From the beach we drove over the San Marcos Pass leaving behind the worldly world for a Garden of Eden that offered a very different kind of Money—the kind of Money that is music to one’s ears. Since we were early for the show at Chumash, I pointed this way and that way causing our path to wind through Los Olivos. Vineyards are of great comfort to the soul, which has been most recently swept clean by the winds of the sea—the grape by itself is a metaphor for that which we call our being.
I cannot explain why, that out of all of the people in line for tickets, the plump, little lady walked up and handed Lisa and I the two that she had in her hand. “I’m not going to go to the show,” was all she explained before walking away. We hi-fived and headed straight for the showroom—which was quite nice, I should add. And given the cost of the tickets (0) I had given no thought whatsoever to where our seats might be. But as the planets were lined up perfectly for us—they were great seats a few rows from the stage, the proverbial Two Tickets to Paradise.
The band, looking pretty good for 33 years of wear and tear, started playing and out came Eddie. I was never a big Eddie Money fan, don’t get me wrong I know most of his great songs by heart, Two Tickets to Paradise, Baby Hold On, Think I’m In Love, Shakin, I mean that I had never bought one of his albums or gone to one of his concerts, which in my mind distinguishes whether a person simply appreciates an artist’s music or is indeed a bona fide fan. Lisa, on the other hand, had attended an Eddie Money concert in 1978 and it was a discussion about this moment in history with our mutual friend Dennise that had triggered her to ask me to share her journey forward—Eddie Money revisited, and because Lisa is the brainy type she knew every known fact about the man and his music.
I had heard that Eddie had had his challenges over the years—drugs, alcohol, 23 million albums sold, but money gone, that kind of thing. I had also heard that he’s one of the nicest guys on the planet. Finally, and troubling so, I had heard that the years of hard living had taken an awful toll on his voice. You know, the hardest part of a midlife crisis is this, “Can I still finish strong?” the question that determines ultimately how we take our last breath—content by what was or betrayed by what could have been. Can Eddie still write one more hit and sing the hell out of it? Can Stan write a book that sales 50 million copies or wins the Pulitzer? Can Lisa become another writer, from that most unusual city known as Montebello? Can you be, what in your heart, you always thought you would be? Can you see that it all came down to Eddie Money for Lisa, I and the entire universe?
Two Tickets to Paradise, Eddie sounded okay, a little timid about going after the notes, but not so bad.
“I want to thank you all for coming. I’m in a really good mood tonight, I got my driver’s license back, I’m a happy man.” The crowd cheered, a unique connection had been made and Mr. Money was on the money from then on—it was 1978 again. As Eddie soared again, so did we all.
“Who’s the cute blonde singing backup vocals?” I thought to myself a few songs into this magic carpet ride. Eddie answered this question shortly thereafter. Little Jesse Money, his daughter, isn’t so little anymore. In fact I’m guessing around 20-years-old and frankly for lack of a better literary term—smoking hot! Personally, I didn’t think her voice went well with her father’s, but that’s because Jesse Money is meant for much bigger things than singing backup—she’s a star waiting to be born! When her father turned her loose on Higher and Higher, little Jesse Money completely rocked the house—I literally had tears in my eyes I was so happy for her! She ventured into a soulful ditty that would have made Janis Joplin proud. Then there was Ain’t No Mountain High Enough, which she sang with her father, but the show had become hers at that point…Well until her dad broke out Shakin for his encore—even this old writer raised himself to his feet and swayed a bit. So make no mistake about it, Eddie Money can still put on a hell of a show.
And Jesse Money, she’s something special. In a music world now filled with American Idol manufactured, same old thing flotsam—Jesse Money is a ray of light. I hope for all of the Gen Xer’s of the world getting ready to become the next biggest thing ever, remember Sam Walton didn’t open his first Wal-Mart until he was 44-years-old, I hope we can do so, to the music of the new Money as well as the old. And for the younger entitlement generations of the world, Jesse is one of yours. Say no to shows that make stars and say yes to stars that make shows. (Yes, I’ve done my research for this blog I know that she was on some lame MTV show.) Entitlement generation make Jesse your girl. Funny, that reminds me of a song from the 80’s…
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Stan Lerner is an award winning-author whose diverse credits include the novels “Stan Lerner’s Criminal”, “Blast”, “In Development,” and the children’s book “Stanley The Elephant.” Stan Lerner is also the creator of the Las Vegas music spectacle “Night Tribe” and the writer, director, producer of the hit motion picture “Meet The Family.” Mr. Lerner was born in Montebello CA and has lived in downtown Los Angeles for the last fifteen years.
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One thought on “DOUBLE THE MONEY ON THE MONEY—AGAIN”
I saw Eddie Money and his daughter Jessi in Vegas last month with my sister. Here is a story With Eddie Money one of my favorite 80’s artists and we were totally impressed with his daughter Jesse. If Eddie Money is in your town go see Eddie Money and his daughter Jesse and let me know what you think?