Our band Second Wind has been together three years this month. Three years! John Lennon said back in 1962 that he didn’t know if the Beatles would last ten years or two weeks. Well, of course we ain’t no Beatles, but we never thought this ride would last this long, at least I didn’t.  But we have. And we’ve shared some of the most amazing experiences we’ve ever had in our lives as part of this band. But none was more exhilarating or exciting than our triumphant gig at Fat Tuesday’s in Fairfax this past Saturday night.  Of any gig we’ve had in these last three years, THIS one epitomized the top of the mountain for us, in every way. It was our best gig ever, and for a couple good reasons.

First, Fats is a legendary venue for anyone who lives in that part of Northern Virginia. John Nicholas, our band’s founder and guitarist/harp player, tells me of several quite debaucherous evenings he spent there in his youth, and I am sure he is not alone. So to play there at all is a very cool thing. Plus, it is one of the primary watering holes for the George Mason student body, and as 40-somethings coming into the littler kid’s house to play, we weren’t sure how our classic rock would go over with them. Well, suffice to say by all accounts, we won the kids over, and we did it bigtime. Yes we rolled more modern tunes like Lit’s My Own Worst Enemy and Jimmy Eat World’s The Middle, thinking we’d win them over with those. It was when I looked down from the stage and saw a whole bunch of these kids, most half my age, singing the lyrics to Stealer’s Wheel’s Stuck In The Middle With You from 1972, or Honky Tonk Women from…shudder…1969….or the high fives and fist pumps they gave me after Skynyrd’s 1973 rocker Gimme Three Steps…man, it was a true thrill to see our band of elders wow this bar full of youngers with both the oldies and newbies. Score one for the older set!

Next, we just plain sounded really friggin’ good, like a g–ddamn rock and roll band should! All the rehearsing, the noodling, the worrying, the nervousness, all of that paid off. We never sounded better, with nary a faux pas or a missed note. Sure, the incredible sound engineering of our good friend Peter Sleight (who has his own excellent blues band FarmDoubt) was instrumental in our great presentation, but Peter can’t sing for us, or play guitar or drums for us, it was the BAND that ultimately really shined brighter than ever. I was never prouder of my band brothers-from-different-mothers than I was on this night. We were the best damn bar band in the world…or at least at Fats, for sure.

Then, there’s our amazing Second Wind Nation fans, the people who gave us life and sustain us as a band, our wives, our true supporters, our friends who’ve come to gig after gig on and off for three years, at pools, parties, bars, whatever, to see how we are growing, what new songs we’ll play, in general, just being present and accounted for to show their support. It was standing room only for a good part of the three hours we played, and looking out into the sea of faces, I saw old SWN guard, new hopefully-soon-to-be-fans, and others. And again, people were singing along.

I’ve said this before, but there’s the main reason I think we’re really doing this. Sure there’s some ego in it for all of us, some urge to fulfill a dream. But it’s even more about giving people a chance to relive their memories through the songs we play, and judging by the smiles on so many faces that night, we took people back to some pretty cool places. We helped them relive some great times while also creating some new ones. Plus some of the younger set were celebrating birthdays that night, and they hung in with us for a long while. Tell me they won’t look back and say, “Hey remember my 22nd birthday at Fats that year with that really cool cover band?” I mean, what’s better than being a part of someone’s memories?

Yep, three years in this amazing band. Who knew? Will it go on for three more? Or six more? Or will it end unexpectedly, sooner? Who knows. All I know is if the band ended right now, right this minute, I will have been a better person for doing this, for taking a chance, for living this dream, and I will have experienced times I never dreamed of.

But hey…we’re not stopping yet! So come on out and catch this “little-old-cover-band-that could” as we huff and puff up the hill, churning and steaming through every gig, all the while saying with big smiles on our slowly wrinkling faces: “I think I can, I think I can…” 

Or maybe it’s, “I KNOW we can, I KNOW we can…”  Yeah, that’s the ticket.


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