Saturday, December 18, 2010

This Is The Reason …

Ok … for years I have found myself in arguments over the merits of Bruce Springsteen. And, to give the reader full disclosure; since the first time I saw Bruce Springsteen & The E Street Band play live (a four night stand at The Tower Theater in Upper Darby, PA – in 1975), there has been no other act to even come close to delivering on the promise of rock and roll than these guys do. There has been no other act that has delivered (in recordings) more life affirming music to this kid.

Back in the day, when he was performing the cover of The Animals; “It’s My Life” – complete with the story that carried with it the complete lack of understanding between a father and his son – I was hanging on every word. I was there with him – agreeing with every syllable … trying to understand how my father could treat his son with the same indifference that Springsteen spoke about in the prologue. The heartfelt terror of trying to understand a father and son relationship between two people who were at odds with each other. At that point – the bond was made – and I’ve stayed with this artist through the entire ride.

Well, this past few months have sucked. I found out I had cancer. Luckily, I’ve been blessed to have an amazing surgeon cut me open and (hopefully) removed all the cancer that had scared the shit out of me just a few weeks ago. Add to that, my Dad died. Sure, he was 85 – and it wasn’t unexpected – but still … death freaks me out. Then my cousin died – and that was unexpected – and freaked me out. Then there were two more deaths of friends – all in the same week. I mean … what the fuck!?!?!

So, tonight, one of my friends, a cousin who just lost his sister, and he’s also going through a break-up of his marriage, had a Christmas party.

It was an insane evening. There were all types of folks dealing with all types of loss & tragedy … all these folks dealing with death, divorce, disease, unemployment … you name it – it was represented tonight.

Well, the drinks were flowing, the stories were being told … and somewhere in the middle of it all, our host decided show off his new home entertainment center by slipping in the DVD of Bruce Springsteen & The E Street Band – Live At Hyde Park. And the party was grooving. Don’t get me wrong – it wasn’t like everything stopped and we all sat and watch the show – but there was a vibe that was palpable.

Then “Out In The Streets” hit. And, at this point, the party did stop. Folks who had been scattered throughout the house all seemed to end up in the living room. Someone – I’m not ever sure who – pushed the volume control to a level that would have made it easy for the neighbors to enjoy the track. And then … the chorus came along.

Once the chorus hit – all bets were off. Folks surprised me. There were kids in their 20’s and others pushing 60 – all jammed into the living room – singing at the top of their lungs.

And, for just that one moment – their troubles were put on hold. For just that one moment, all the bullshit that we (and, for that matter- everyone) have to deal with just to get through the day … was forgotten. There was joy. There was dancing. There were folks who could not have sung you one line of the verses – but were singing the living shit out of this chorus. And that’s when it hit me. Without overstating it in any way, shape or form, for folks who buy in to what Bruce is selling – his music can heal.

I was literally floored. As I looked around the room I saw folks dancing, folks hugging, and – most importantly – folks singing at the top of their lungs – just looking for that momentary release from the pressures and hardships that life can deliver. And … luckily … we all found it in a great little rock & roll song.

And I thought to myself … there it is … that’s the reason!! That’s the reason I’ve been a fan of this guy’s music for so long. That’s the reason we wait in line for tickets – that’s the reason we go see multiple nights … that’s the reason … we all need a release. And, in my humble opinion, there is no better release to be found than in the joy & redemption of a great rock and roll show. And, for my money, no one delivers a better rock & roll show than Bruce Springsteen & The E Street Band.

Some nights … you just need to sing.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Robert B. McClatchy; 1925-2010; Semper Fidelis

RB was born July 1,1925 in St. Joseph's Hospital in Philadelphia. It is still a working hospital. Calvin Coolidge was the President of the United States and his inauguration was the first to be broadcast over the radio. Big news that day was a big earthquake in Santa Barbara, California. Walter Johnson shut out the Philadelphia As that very day.

1925 also saw; (January 3) Benito Mussolini (Il Duce) announces he is taking dictatorial powers over Italy; (April 10) - F. Scott Fitzgerald publishes The Great Gatsby; (July 10) The Scopes Monkey Trial was set to begin with Clarence Darrow defending biology teacher John Scopes – who was arrested for teaching Charles Darwin's Theory of Evolution; (July 18) - Adolf Hitler publishes his personal manifesto Mein Kampf.

At age 17 (1943) RB joined the Marine Corps. His first combat was landing on the island of Guam. He also fought on Okinawa - The landing on April 1,1945 was larger than the Normandy landing.

RB found a love of baseball early on. In the late 20’s and early 30’s, “Poker Night” was held in the basement of his Father's house. These games included Al Simmons, Jimmy Dykes, Lefty Grove, Bing Miller & George Earnshaw.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

“Hoffman … you stay here!”

“Hoffman … you stay here!”

That could very well be the greatest line ever uttered in the American cinema. Why, you may ask? Well, I’m glad you did.

The youngest of The Brothers McC can currently be seen in the new major motion picture, Hollywood blockbuster, Denzel Washington starring, Ridley Scott directing, sitting on the edge of your seat thriller; “Unstoppable”

You see … one of the worst sentences ever uttered was; “You got cancer.” Yep … and that really sucked. But, if my sister has her wish, I’ll blog on about that at some other point. But, there is a reason I bring that up. Just over a week ago I had some surgery that I’m sure removed all of the aforementioned cancer … and here I am on the road to recovery. Well, what’s a guy to do on a Thursday afternoon … but go see a movie!!!

So, today, I grabbed the Mrs and off we went to the local movie house.

As the film opened, I was giddy. I mean … I couldn’t believe it, the youngest, least respected on a basketball court, can hardly handle his Guinness, baby Brother McC was going to up on that screen in a matter of minutes. The Mrs was laughing at me – but I didn’t care.

Then … in full Technicolor and Hi-Def digital sound ---- there he was!!! Was he saving a poor farm girl? Was he winning the hearts and minds of our youth? Was he helping an old lady to cross the street? No!!!! He was being an ass!!!! A lawyer … comparing the loss in revenue to the loss of human life. He was jerk!!!!! And let me tell you this … he was a GREAT jerk!!!!!!

I freaked out!! I was now even giddier than I was when I entered. Holy Shit!!! My little brother is up on that screen in a major Hollywood production!!!

But, let’s get back to why; “Hoffman … you stay here!” – is the greatest line in the history of the English speaking arts. I mean, first off … Kevin didn’t even say the line. Why??? Because the line was being spoken to him!! Kevin was Hoffman!!! OK … not as great as discovering what “Rosebud” meant … but to me, when the boss said; “Hoffman … you stay here!” – that meant that the crowded room of lawyers and other hanger-ons would be leaving, and Kevin (re: Hoffman) would be hanging around the entire length of the movie for reaction shots and … much to my surprise … a killer close-up!!!

So … there you have it. You feeling blue? You feeling a little sluggish? Did you just have major surgery? Well … nothing will get your heart dancing like seeing your brother in a killer action flick.

Damn!!!! That was cool.

Friday, October 1, 2010

A Dark Rage

OK … it took a while for me to get from Point A to Point B … but arrive here I have.

A few years ago, the youngest Brother McC was having a grand, old time at an Irish festival somewhere in the wilds of Ohio. I knew that pints of Guinness had not only been poured, but drunk as well. I knew this because every once in a while my cell phone would ring. I’d answer the phone … not to hear anyone’s voice, but to hear the live, slamming Irish music of whatever band was rocking my brother’s world at that moment. This went on well in to the night … and I thought it was great!

By the end of the night, I answered the phone to actually hear the voice of the youngest Brother McC. And that voice made one request: Write a song using the pipes.

So that night, after a few beers of my own, I wrote a song called “A Black Irish Rage.” All the while hearing the melody line that the pipes would eventually play … whenever I got around to recording it. The fact that I didn’t even know a uilleann piper at the time was not a concern of mine. I was living in NYC … and there’s lots of Irish music in NYC.

Well, as time wore on, that song turned in to the title track of the CD that I just released on Tuesday: “A Dark Rage” – and sure enough, I found an amazing piper named Isaac Alderson to wail away on not only the lead track – but a beautiful ballad as well.

As the sessions moved along, the usual suspects delivered a killer bedrock of music that would let me add the toppings. Chris, Rusty, Yoder, Nancy, Hans & Jeannine all did what I knew they would – and some amazing things I could never have expected. Then I brought in a tin whistle (Kirsten) and fiddle (Bob) … and had Billy glue it all together.

Well … the CD is out there … the reviews (so far) are great … the sales have started … I’ve already found radio airplay in four countries … and who knows where it’s all gonna lead? But I do know where it all began … with drinks … a love of Irish music … and the Brothers McC doing what we do best … making dreams.

But don’t take my word for it … check it out on iTunes … or here:

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Thursday, August 26, 2010

The Brothers McC family grows ... by one!!!

Kavanagh Brooks McClatchy — born 8/25/10

Congrats to Fuss, Kevin & Eiranne!!!

Guinness For All !!!!!!

Sunday, August 15, 2010

The Founding Fathers Got This Right!

I was talking with a buddy of mine who said to me that he really believed that, from what he could tell, Sara Palin has never said anything that would give people a reason to dislike her. And, as I read over some of Ms. Palin’s better comments, it’s easy to see where my buddy could have this view. Ms. Palin is very skillful at disguising her hate with the American flag. And, in this day and age, who is going to say that they hate the American flag?

But, this weekend, Ms. Palin is letting her true colors rise above her normal rhetoric. This woman does not care for the United States, and the laws we live by. She does not care for the truth and ideals that many Americans have fought and died to preserve. And she has no use for the very liberties that she and her family enjoy.

When Ms. Palin questioned the President: "Mr. President, should they or should they not build a mosque steps away from where radical Islamists killed 3000 people?" she wrote. "Please tell us your position. We all know that they have the right to do it, but should they?” – well, Ms. Palin has let not only the voters of this nation, but the world as well, know that she has no use for the United States of America’s Bill Of Rights.

Earlier, Ms. Palin asked New Yorkers and Muslims to reject construction of the mosque in a now infamous Facebook and Twitter post in which she used the word "refudiate" when she meant "repudiate."

Then, on Friday night before Obama's speech, Palin tweeted, "Will Obama express US lingering pain & ask Muslims for tolerance by discouraging 9/11 mosque while he celebrates Islamic holy month tonight?"

Even her choice of the phrase “9/11 mosque” would embarrass even the lowest political wolf looking to cast fear and blame on their opponent. But Ms. Palin has no use for pleasantries or even the most remote understanding of the issues; whether it be in a political forum, a religious discussion or speaking with the Mayor of New York City, Michael Bloomburg, a gentleman who supports the building of the mosque. But then again, what’s to be expected from a woman who quits the elected office she ran for as opposed to man who keeps on trying to do the job of helping the people who elected him?

Mr. Bloomburg is showing the world that principles and values only truly mean something when you stand by them on the days that a mob will attack them.

One of Ms. Palin’s followers wrote: "Doesn't this shlub Obama read history? The Muslims for centuries have built mosques on top of areas where there have won a major victory. They believe that killing over 3000 Americans is a major victory."

I guess that my answer to this writer, and to those who agree with Ms. Palin is to read not just the history of the Muslims … but to read the history of the United States as well. Our Founding Fathers, the gentlemen that so many of the Tea Party members like to dress up as - as they chant: “We want our country back!!” – the Founding Fathers addressed this issue quite eloquently in the Bill Of Rights:

U.S. Constitution - Amendment 1 - Freedom of Religion, Press, Expression:
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

With all due respect to Ms. Palin and her crew; I’ll side with Thomas Jefferson and the rest of the Founding Fathers on this issue.

“A Bill of Rights is what the people are entitled to against every government, and what no just government should refuse, or rest on inference.” - Thomas Jefferson

Saturday, July 31, 2010

“Excess Baggage”

OK … here at the Brother’s McC we delve into many topics. But we often seem to always drift back to the three major ones; Sports, Music & Movies. Today’s little ramble will be filed under “movies.”

Back in 1997, a little romantic comedy flick quietly worked a quick run in it’s theatrical release and disappeared in to the land of cable and DVD rentals. One night … and, in full disclosure, I am a huge fan of the work of Benicio Del Toro, so … one night I’m sitting home with the Mrs. When this film - “Excess Baggage” – pops up on cable.

So, I make a little popcorn and the Mrs & I settle in to watch. And, much to the later dismay of the other two Brothers McC – I loved the flick. I did. And not even in a guilty pleasure kind of way. I liked the movie so much that I recommended it to other folks. And … as the bard would say … there in lies the rub.

I recommended it to the older Brother McC. And, being a brother – he went with it. He called me the next day to ask if I had been screwing with him. To say he didn’t like it would be putting it mildly. Actually, I think he had a physical negative reaction to the film. And, when I brought up the subject with the younger Brother McC … I was soon listening to the dial tone. I think rom/coms make the younger Brother McC run for the nearest pint of Guiness.

But I stood by my movie. Benicio Del Toro plays a car thief who ends up stealing a car that has a spoiled rich girl (Alicia Silverstone) in the trunk. The story line rolls nicely along as the two (you saw this coming) fall for each other. Add in a great role by Christopher Walken as the rich girl’s “fixer” Uncle … and I was digging it. I mean … really digging it.

Is it “Citizen Cane” … no … of course not. But, it’s a great little piece of fluff that kept me smiling.

Why am I rambling on about this movie now? Well, it’s on cable again. And I just spent a lazy, Saturday afternoon watching it … and … even with the knowledge that the other Brothers McC will not share my review … I really enjoyed it all over again!

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Dear Tyrannosaurus Rex

OK Kids ... It's time to plug an AMAZING book by Lisa McClatchy:
Dear Tyrannosaurus Rex

Yes ... she's related
Yes ... she's amazing talented
Yes ... It's a GREAT book!!!!

So ... get out there & pick it up!!!


Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Mumford & Sons

Have you ever been so completely blown away by a band – (and especially if it’s a band that you have never heard of!!!) – that you just can’t stop listening to them???

Well, this past Sunday night I went (at my brother’s request) to see this band called Mumford & Sons. I really had no idea what to expect. All I had heard was few tracks here and there. And, as curious as I was … for some reason I had not followed up on that initial interest. So … when these four “kids” (Hey!!! The look young to me!!!!!) … like I said, when these four kids walked on to a darkly lit stage, and then proceeded to knock me on my ass … well … I’m “in” – these guys were fabulous!

It’s really hard for me to put these guys in to words. Acoustic guitar, stand up bass, banjo and piano. All four guys stood across the front of the stage. All four guys singing lyrics with their hearts sown securely on their sleeves. There was a drum kit in the back – and occasionally one of the guys would stroll back and play it – by the end of the night, all four guys had taken a turn on drums.

I had to have the CD. And … to be honest, on CD, there are a few songs that don’t translate in to the passion and performance I saw on Sunday night. But … andf you knew there was a “but” coming ... there are other songs that are that beyond amazing!!! Songs that just leap out of the speakers and drag you in to the world created by Mumford and Sons. The lyrics are full of, what I can only describe as “British literature” … almost poetry. Even the sad songs are so beautiful that they bring joy to me.

I think one of the things that blows my mind – is that there is nothing out there like these guys. Sure, there are certain things about them that will “remind” you of other bands and artists. And I’ve seen other writers compare them to this band or that band. But … as an entity … there is nothing to compare these guys to.

I’m adding a link to the video “Winter Winds”. If you get a free few minutes – take a look. There’s something about the “joy” that explodes off the screen in this video that will somehow let you take a peek in to just how amazing their live show is.

And, for the record, I have some friends who do not like these guys. If you don’t like them – well … thanks for giving them a listen anyway. But, as I walked away from the show – all I could think of is that everyone I know would have loved that show – and I’m pretty sure everyone I know will find something on their CD to latch on to.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Happy 80th Birthday, Patty

Mama, your boys might make some mistakes
But we know where we're from and we know how we were raised
So don't you think twice about where we are tonight
No matter how far from home
We'll be back along, just a matter of time.

Home, it might scatter and fade
With time all things must change
The road, it might take its own course
But, I intend, mama, we're still your boys

Mama there's times where we'll make some mistakes
We know how you've worked and we know how you've prayed
So don't you think twice bout where we are tonight
No matter what becomes of us - you gave us enough
Know that we've tried.

Home, it might scatter and fade
With time all things must change
The road, it might take its own course
But, I intend, mama, we're still your boys

And your mother was 16
When she married the man that she loved
Now she gave you everything
And you gave it all back to us

Mama, you know we might make some mistakes
If we should falter, it's us should be blamed
Don't you think twice, about what’s wrong or right
We learned it long time ago, we keep it close
You're with us tonight

Home, it might scatter and fade,
With time all things must change
The road, it might take its own course
But, I intend, mama, we're still your boys

Written & Performed by Lucero

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

He shoots ... he scores ...

There are a few obvious statements that could be made about the folks here at The Brothers McC. One of them would be that we love music. And I don’t mean we “like” music – I mean we really “love” music. We have done some really amazing things (OK ... I say amazing ... others would say "silly") over the years because of music, in the pursuit of music and for the love of music. Note to all the younger readers out there: Back in the day we used to sleep out on street corners, in front of the storefronts that sold tickets – just to make sure we got the “good seats.”

There’s another “given” in out little community. And that is ‘Sports.’ We really love sports as well. Trust me on this … we wear our hearts on our sleeves and we have lived and died with certain games throughout the years.

But, the amazing thing is, (at least to me), is that out of the three of us, I am the only one who was bitten by the ice hockey bug. Not that it’s a bad thing … everybody loves what they love. And for whatever reasons, it’s ice hockey for me. Seriously, the Oldest Brother McC will not even confirm that ice hockey is an actual sport – but at least he appreciates how much I love it. The youngest of the Brother’s McC will, on certain dates, put up with my love of hockey. One year, on my birthday – I found myself in LA (with the Mrs), and the youngest Brother McC (and his amazingly easy going wife) passed on an Olds 97 concert to escort the Mrs & I up to the Shark Tank to see the Anaheim Ducks take on The St. Louis Blues.

First, let me tell you – it was a great game. With the home team bringing back the win – the fans – they were rabid – and the entire experience was why I love hockey. But the most amazing point of the night happened – as I explained the finer points of the game to our hosts – the Sharks were on the Power Play – and – apparently to my sister-n-law, taking too long to pull the trigger – so she stood up and scream; “Shoot the f*cking puck!!!!!”

It was at that moment that I knew my brother had chosen well in the “bride” department.

Anyway … tonight I took to the ice in a league we call “Old Man Hockey.” Most of the guys who play are in their 40’s – and, to a man – each and every one of them is a nice guy. I am not kidding – it is a true pleasure to lace ‘em up with these guys.

Tonight was a great game. It was one of those games that contained everything I love about the sport; great passing, fast paced action, good scoring, great goaltending (I’m speaking of the opposing goalie – as for me … well … more on that later). Like I said, it was everything I love about the sport. And tonight – for reasons that are beyond my capabilities to explain to you – I had the number of the other teams top scorer. On three … count ‘em - three … on three solid breakaways … I stoned him!!! And each time he had a comical comment to say to me before he skated back up the ice.

It was one of those nights – great hockey up and down the ice. But, I am sad to report to our fine readers, that – in overtime – when the final score was tallied – the last shot ended up in my goal. And the funny thing is ... it really didn't bother me. It had been a great game - and I had played as good as I can (closing in on 49 ... the legs aint what they used to be!). And, even though we ended up on the short end of the stick tonight - it was truly a case of; I was just happy to be playing in that game!

But that is not why I write this tale (re: winning or losing). The reason I sit here typing is because of what happened next. The first thing that happened to me after the game, took place in the locker room, as I was pulling off my pads. The opposing scorer walked over to me to hand me a beer and say, “Great game.”

Sportsmanship. Friendship. Great hockey. A Cold beer.

Life could be a lot worse.

Friday, January 8, 2010

Hey, Jude Newark Airport Guy

You know ... moments like this just make me smile.

Hey, Jude Newark Airport Guy

by Heather Poole|wbml-aol|dl1|link3|

On January 3rd, 2010, there was a security breach at Newark Liberty International Airport. As a result, all passengers in the secure area were required to clear the concourse and pass through security checkpoints a second time. This process took almost six hours. While most travelers were annoyed and frustrated, one imaginative traveler, musician Josh Wilson, decided to lighten the mood. This is his story.

Name: Josh Wilson

Occupation: Singer/Songwriter signed to Sparrow Records (EMI's Christian Label).

I'm always saying, "This is your life, enjoy it -- even if you're stuck at an airport!" It looks like you know how to do just that based on your popular video making the rounds. So where were you traveling to the day of the Newark Security Breach?

I was headed to Mumbai, India with my wife and some others doing mission work

I saw the video after someone forwarded it to me. They actually found it on Alyssa Milano's Twitter Feed. What inspired you to do the sing-along?

Things had gotten really tense in the terminal. We were at about the six hour mark in terms of the delay. Some kids were crying near us and I wanted to cheer them up and maybe get everyone else to relax a little. Someone in our group said I should break out my guitar, and after a little convincing I did. But in that situation, it's only safe to play the Beatles. Anything else would have led me to being pelted by luggage

Now that's funny! Have you ever played for a crowd of passengers before?

You know, as a musician at some point you feel you've played ever possible type of gig. But I do think it was my first airport performance.

Feel free to perform on one of my flights any time! How do you manage to stay so upbeat while traveling?

Well, the truth is I don't. This time it was easy, though. There was clearly nothing we could do - I could choose to be angry or choose to accept it. The best plan was to take a sad song and make it better.

Any advice for travelers stuck in a similar situation?

Do you remember that reality show about Southwest Airlines a couple years ago? I used to watch that show and wonder if people had any idea how ridiculous they look when they make a scene over being delayed. I think if we all had more compassion for the people around us and were less consumed with our inconveniences the world would be a better place. And I could stand to follow that advice more often, too.

Amen to that! To where are you traveling next?

The next bit of travel is actually on a tour bus, so I'll be trading terminal delays for traffic delays.

Where can I see you perform?

In January and February I'll be in Florida a lot, but as the year progresses I pretty well make it everywhere. Check out MYSPACE.COM/JOSHWILSONMUSIC for tour dates.


See the video here: