Today would have been my grandfather’s 90th birthday. Every July 10th I tip back a few manhattans in his honor.
When I was in my early teens I desperately wanted a pro synthesizer. I had my Casio, of course, but I wanted to get into the realm of real gear.
There was no way, of course, that I could afford the eight or nine hundred dollars required to buy a serious keyboard. I campaigned tirelessly for that ultimate holiday gift, but it never materialized.
One summer while I was staying with my grandparents, they took me out to a few music stores so I could check out keyboards. I fell in love with a KORG DW-8000, and the music store sales guy even offered to throw in a few extra banks of sounds (saved on a cassette tape, nice).
My grandfather was very unsentimental, a career air force pilot and general hardass. But he dropped the coin to get me my first pro music gear that day. I think about him every time I play, and I never forget his birthday.
Happy birthday Pappy, wherever you are.