Hey Joe!


You`re a part of me, I'm a part of you
Wherever we may travel
Whatever we go through
Whatever time may take away
It cannot change the way we feel today
You`re a part of me, and I`m a part of you –Glenn Frey

Are you a big fan of the Eagles? I can take them or leave them. I mean, I like their music and all– I was the first to sing (over and over!) Tak­ing It Easy when Tori, Lisa and I stood on the cor­ner in Winslow, Ari­zona… they have writ­ten some of the great tunes of our lives. But as a band, as an event, The Eagles leave me flat and unin­ter­ested; they are not a group I have a strong inter­est in see­ing perform.

When they came to Rio Tinto sta­dium, they were the first band to play in the newly fin­ished venue. I thought about going, but the ticket prices were out­ra­geous. I saw they were com­ing back to town, to play in a smaller club. That could be inter­est­ing– even fun– but the show sold out so fast I had no chance for get­ting seats.

As chance would have it, I was near the club the Fri­day night they played Salt Lake. I was on the back side of the build­ing, and I could see the peo­ple pour­ing out the front after the show ended. As I con­tin­ued on my way, and Glenn Frey and Joe Walsh came fly­ing out the stage door next to me. We all go tum­bling down in a mess of tan­gled limbs and twisted laughs. Brush­ing our­selves off, we stood up and looked at each other.

I do not know Glenn at all, but Joe and I have met a few times, most recently about a year ago. I could see the recog­ni­tion in Joes’ eyes as he gave me a knuckle bump and asked me how I was doing. We started walk­ing down the street, to the hotel they were stay­ing at, like a cou­ple of old friends that hadn’t seen each other in a while.

The hotel they were stay­ing at was rus­tic, with raw wooden walls and Indian rugs on the walls. We were in a long, large room with win­dows along one wall, and a bal­cony over­look­ing it on one end. Large low sofas lined the wall oppo­site the win­dows, and gave us a chance to relax while Joe and I caught up. We talked about life, gui­tars, play­ing gui­tar and a lot of other top­ics that really did not mat­ter much to either of us.

After an hour, I was thirsty, and I went over to a wet bar under­neath the bal­cony over to one side. I grabbed myself a beer, and offered one to Joe. He declined, and I remem­bered his “prob­lems.” I tried to change the sub­ject as quick as I could, and sug­gested that we jam. Joe wanted to play, but he has plans for the fore­see­able future. We decided on meet­ing again on Mon­day, and play together then. I took my leave for the night and went home.

For the next two days, I kept an inter­nal argu­ment going as to which gui­tar I would take over to play with Joe. My ini­tial choice was my white Stra­to­caster; it was a workingman’s gui­tar, no frills but fit well and played eas­ily. As I thought more, I started think­ing the Les Paul would be a bet­ter choice. I know Joe loves Les Pauls. Mine is very glossy and pretty, with sat­u­rated reds that drip off the wood. My Paul also has some great pick­ups, and they make the great­est tone– the sound they cre­ate would surely make Joe notice.

By Mon­day, I still could not decide. I played both gui­tars. The Paul sounded bet­ter– much bet­ter– but the strat felt so good in my hands. I looked back and forth between them, and nei­ther had the edge. Then, from across the room, another gui­tar beck­oned to me; sit­ting up on the chair was my Mar­tin. Now this gui­tar, I thought, would sur­prise Joe: we always played electrics. I would be very unex­pected to bring an acoustic… and that would make it all the more fun.

I sat down, picked up my D-28, and I knew my search was over. I plucked one note– a sin­gle string– with­out press­ing my fin­gers on the fret board. As the string vibrated, the most heav­enly note swirled up out of the sound hole. It held and expanded and filled the whole room. Over­tones emerged, enhanc­ing and expand­ing in the air like a good wine on the palette. I looked at the bronze string vibrat­ing, and I played another. It rose in har­mony to the first, then took over, burst­ing pure and free and full of joy.

I was stunned. And awed. I had always liked my Mar­tin, always known it was spe­cial, but it had never sang like this. Some­thing had pushed my D-28 into another dimen­sion. Now it was alive in my hands, more vital than any instru­ment I had ever heard. I did not even bother to grab the case; I just put it in the car next to me and raced down­town to see Joe. He looked at the gui­tar in my hand, and shook his head in disbelief.

Wait, Joe”, I said. “You have to hear it first.”

Giv­ing me the ben­e­fit of his doubt, he sat down to lis­ten. I played a note, and then a chord… and he heard. Joe expe­ri­enced the note. It was all around us. Joe was aware there was some­thing more than a gui­tar play­ing for him, but he was befud­dled as to what it meant. Above us on the bal­cony over­look­ing the long room, Glenn stood equally overcome.

What was that?” he asked us once he caught his breath.

I showed him my Martin.

I have to have that for the tour. Can I bor­row it for the next cou­ple weeks?”

I was dis­mayed. I had not even brought the case. Joe assured me they would take good care of the gui­tar. It was their job, their busi­ness. Even with­out a case there would be no prob­lem keep­ing the Mar­tin safe and secure Joe pro­nounced. I believed him.

That was one of the hard­est things I have ever had to do. And yet, I had to do it. And so I gave Glenn, a man I hardly knew, one of my most pre­cious pos­ses­sions. One that I had just come to begin to under­stand and appre­ci­ate. But I did know Glenn loves that gui­tar as much as I do.

I woke up.

Rat­ing 4.00 out of 5

About Dave Koch

Father, writer, entrepreneur, web coder, 2008 Presidential candidate, husband and friend. Sometimes I play guitar.
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