Sunday, April 11, 2021


I am a huge fan of Tina Turner.

She has an amazing voice, with a presence on stage that could move mountains.

She is a singer, songwriter, dancer and actress. Now retired, her career spanned some 6 decades, with well-known early hits including “Proud Mary,” “Better Be Good To Me,” and “Addicted To Love." Later she blew up the charts with “What’s Love Got to Do With It,” “Private Dancer,” and “The Best.” She has won Grammys for Best Song and Best Female Rock Vocal Performer, Lifetime Achievement awards, an NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Actress in the motion picture “Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome” and another 50 or more nominations/awards/accolades for all kinds of work. 

Born Anna May Bullock, she was renamed Tina Turner by Ike, who “discovered” her by giving her a platform to sing right alongside him in his band…and then he took away her voice.

When the recent HBO documentary aired about her, during which she thanked her followers as she bid adieu from the public spotlight after 60 years, I was left heartbroken.

For the 15 years she was married to Ike – and during which they performed and raised children together – he tortured her. She endured emotional, physical, sexual and financial abuse. Her childhood was also very disturbing. Her parents were abusive, and they abandoned her when she was 11. Finally, at age 37, she mustered strength through the study of Buddhism and was able to leave Ike.

It’s hard for me to picture this woman who is bigger than life being a victim and not going after him with all that power she brought to her performances.

One of the most difficult aspects of the abuse, she stated in the documentary, was having to relive it in interviews about their separation, despite repeated requests not to be asked about it.

Yet, questions continued. One that a reporter actually asked was, “When you were married to Ike, what was the worst moment?”

On what planet is that an acceptable question?

It seems so very cruel to ask Tina to go back to that dark place to share her dreadful memories, but I wonder...What is the impact of keeping all this pain and horror private? What does it do to the abused woman? All women? Her child? All children? The abuser? All abusers? To humanity?    

Without talking about it, the abused woman’s daughter could see such acts as permissible, even by a man who supposedly loves her; her son could see this as acceptable behavior for a man, even when he loves a woman; a child could think this is normal behavior for parents, and on and on.

I would hope that the abused victim would be able to open up to someone, learn of her options, get some assistance, and free herself from this harmful reality. She will continue to suffer immeasurably either way—keeping it private or sharing the details—but I have to believe that keeping those emotions simmering within is not the way to go. As for the abuser, he must be held accountable, whatever that entails.

However, since I have not been in her position, I have no idea if I would have been able to talk about such horrendous experiences - during or after.   

I have been using gender-specific pronouns but, in reality, anyone can be an abuser or be the abused.

While I am still cringing at the reporter’s question to Tina, I do think that, as a society, it’s better for us to be aware of the danger that can and may lurk behind closed doors so that the abused in particular knows it doesn’t have to be that way. 


Sunday, April 4, 2021

Let There Be Songs To Fill The Air

Last week, I wrote about listening to music in the car, but where I hear the most music is in our home, thanks to David, who keeps me entertained all day long.

Whether he is hanging out in his main room downstairs or in a bedroom upstairs, I am always able to get an earful of whatever he has on.

He likes to play a variety of music these days, with jazz topping the list, whereas when I first met him, he was all about the Grateful Dead. This is a band I had judged in my teen/young adult years to have some kind of an underground, cult following, because I had never heard them on the radio, nor were they part of my concert-going scene or of interest to anyone I knew.   

Before I married him, I couldn’t believe that after years of poking fun of Dead Heads, I was going to end up with one. I wasn’t sure how this characteristic would play out in our relationship, given how much of his free time and energy was channeled to the Dead, but the rest of him seemed kind of normal and workable, so I figured…what the heck, I’ll give it a shot 😊

It’s been a fun ride living with a Dead aficionado for lots of reasons, the most intriguing of all is how passionate he and his friends have remained about the Dead for so many years. It’s one thing to be an MLB or March Madness enthusiast with lots of games and players to assess, but it has been over 25 years since Garcia died and the “real” Grateful Dead ended, yet the community and level of interaction among the fans is as strong as ever.

My kids always got a kick out of David’s Dead Head status, which was good for blended family harmony too, so I embraced it. He’d make it a game to ask them to throw out a date, any date, and then he’d name the specific venue the Dead played that night along with the set list (unless they didn’t play). As you would expect, Lauren and Matthew were more advanced with their knowledge and they’d kick off the game by reciting a set list, and then David would announce the corresponding concert location.

It’s all impressive, for sure, but N U T S, too.

He dates his love affair with The Dead to have started in the mid-1970s, when he and his childhood (and adult) friends Roger and Andy spent years in high school and college trekking around the east coast to see Garcia and the Dead wherever they played. Between 1977-1995, they saw about 150 Dead concerts and another 30-40 Garcia and related music concerts.

While they remain deep in the Dead world, these guys – and other friends David has made along the way with the Dead as the ignitor – spend more time talking about non-Dead related things, but they always go back there. What may start as a post on a Dead forum between David and someone he’s never met – he has tons of friends in this category - may quickly become a lively phone conversation with David energetically talking about shows, recordings, new releases, equipment to enhance the music, Garcia’s life and so on.

Over time, he and many of these guys developed an enthusiasm for jazz, which I initially found to be surprising – as well as relieving, I must say – until David explained that the improvisational nature of jazz is similar to the Dead’s improvisation between the written beginning and end of songs.

I welcomed the jazz for the change that it was but found some of it displeasing, as it came across as loud, disorganized, unsettling and not the kind of music I wanted in the background as I was relaxing. But then he introduced other pieces with a greater saxophone, trumpet, trombone and piano presence, and I was hooked. 

One day, I heard the most amazing tune that I recognized as a version of “My Favorite Things” from "The Sound of Music.” It was played by the crazily talented John Coltrane. Let me tell you this song is 14 minutes of heaven.

I was so engaged with it that David made me a CD of just this one song...sound familiar from my post last week about “Ants Marching” by Dave Matthews? I played “My Favorite Things” whenever I was in the car in my typically obsessive way – over and over and over again. I just couldn’t get enough!

This jazz crush of David’s is boding really well for me, because there is an endless amount out there, and so much of it is absolutely fantastic.

He may not have gotten here without the Dead first, so Thank You, Jerry Garcia!