While it’s been a 40 year journey of music…so far, it has also taken 30 years to write “So much I miss you”. I can hear some of you saying. “If it takes you 30 years to write a song, don’t give up your day job”. And you may be right! Many of my songs can take a few minutes, a day or a year or a week to write. Many times, I wake up from a dream and hum the ideas into my recorder. But this song has a specific story and a special place in my heart and I thought I would share it’s interesting history with all of you.
It’s a story that we all share as human beings. A story of loss, of missing someone so deeply. I know that all of you can relate.
My dad! Circa 1942
I lost my father at the age of 16. He was such a wonderful man and I miss him more now then I did back in my youth. When I was just a little one year old, my parents bought a tiny lake front cabin on the shores of lake Manitoba in a small town called St. Laurent. My father absolutely loved it in St. Laurent. He worked hard as an accountant in the city and fought many demons throughout his life being a World War II vet and having seen lots of terrible things. So, when it came time to go the the lake he was in his glory, firing up the old wood stove, making a fresh pot of percolated coffee and letting me exercise my muscles by using that old hand pump to get water and fill up the toilet.
In 1987 I decided to move to St. Laurent and truly live my father’s dream. The cabin was a little bit more modern as we had running water, but my first winter there was quite the experience. I was commuting back and forth to Winnipeg and when I would return home it was not uncommon for the cabin to be around 5 Celsius (or 40 Fahrenheit). The windows were single pane and old and the walls weren’t very well insulated but thankfully I had that old wood stove and I would crank it up upon my return and get the place at a more comfortable level. There was no laundry machine that first year and I have comical memories of me washing my clothes in the sink and hanging things up all over the place. I was quite the frontiersman or a damn fool!
I can still remember walking outside and looking at the vastness of the frozen water lit up by the glow of the moon on that cold winters evening and being inspired to write the beginning verse of “So much I miss you”. Little did I know this would lead me to a 30 year journey. It was simply a time to create and how I love to do just that.
The old cabin circa 1963 (That’s me, the little guy in the yellow jump suit!)
The first verse is really a narrative. I was thinking what would my dad do if he lived here and I also thought what would I do if I had a special someone to share my life with. I would tell her (as my dad would have told my mom) “Stay in and keep your body warm. I’ll go outside and gather wood” The rest of the verse is self explanatory but the metaphor of the frozen lake and life and death sets the tone of the story. I remembered thinking my dad was talking and breathing and smiling at me just a short 8 years prior. I was now living his dream. And, the lake was alive and crashing it’s waves only 3 months ago. After that I couldn’t find the right chorus. I remember having a haunting theme but it wasn’t quite right at all and so , on the shelf it went and the chorus would not surface until 10 years later.
It was around 1997 and I had a one year old son. I worked in the city as a warehouse manager for a health care company and would commute every day. I remembered my friends use to laugh at me because my first commuting vehicle didn’t have a radio. And later, when I did, if I was alone in the car, I rarely turned it on. I use to take that quiet one hour drive to write music and one day I started hearing the words of “So much I miss you” and BANG! Out of thin air the chorus just exploded in my head. If you were to have a hidden camera on me you would think that nothing was happening. I wasn’t singing karaoke or waving around or humming. I was sitting peacefully while a virtual symphony and an amazing voice was belting out “I’ll never see you again. I’ll never touch you again…:. It was extremely exhilarating and satisfying to finally find that all important chorus. But again, it sat on the shelf because at this point , life was all about my son and the family yet to come. Fast forward nearly another decade and a ghost story takes me to the final verse of “So much I miss you”.
It was now 2006 when I wrote the second verse. And so many, so called, industry professionals told me that the song was to long. “The second verse doesn’t need to be there”, they would say. Believe me, I did wrestle with that when I was trying to license this song and others and I had some close calls but in the end I’m glad I left the song the way it unfolded!
The event that inspired the lyrics in the second verse happened in 2005. I now had 4 children under the age of 9 and one night everyone had gone to sleep and after a little while I shut the T. V. off and went into the bathroom to brush my teeth and strangely without any warning or an earlier suggestion or trigger from what I was watching on television, a thought from long ago popped into my head. This was a story I only heard 2 times in my life. When I was around 12 years old I remember my dad telling me that he had a younger brother that passed away in the 1920’s at 10 years of age. He had an appendix rupture and my dad at the time was around 17. I don’t remember more then the story and I was probably your typical 12 year old not relating to much to the loss. Then, I remembered after my father had passed being at my aunts house and asking her who the boy in the picture frame was. “That was your uncle Roland who passed away at 10 years of age”. Now these were the only two times I heard the story and I have no Idea why this just popped into my head at that moment in time and I’m guessing that now because I was a father I started relating to the loss. How my Grandmother must have felt. How my Father must have been so hurt by the loss of his little brother. Well this sensation over took me. I couldn’t sleep. I was feeling so much anguish, like I was back in the 1920’s and feeling my father’s pain. I was crying in my pillow. Very bizarre indeed. The next morning I looked at Jennifer and thought “No, she’s going to think I’m nuts!”, and so I kept that experience to myself, until two weeks later when my 9 year old son started complaining about stomach cramps. Jennifer was sure it was just gas and later on when I told her my story she would exclaim, ” That’s why you were so proactive. That’s not usually like you”. We rushed him to the doctor and then the hospital. He had an acute appendicitis and he was operated on that evening. The surgeon said it was a good thing because it was close to rupturing. I still get chills to this day thinking about it.
Groove Jungle Recording Studio with owner producer/engineer Howard Klopak, my son Kaylen and “Spider” Ken Sinnaeve
In 2010, now being divorced and life having been flipped upside down I went to the recording studio to embark on “Songs for Kaylen”, a project to raise money for Type 1 diabetes. Most of “So much I miss you” had been finished but we had yet to find a singer. In 2011 the flood hit! My financial world went into crisis and I couldn’t afford more studio time and “Songs for Kaylen” was quietly put on the shelf. I began another avenue and started to try and license some of my songs. Just anything to put my big toe in the door. I hired a singer online just to demo “So much I miss you” and wasn’t entirely happy with it. I’ve exhausted all avenues that I want to at this time to sell my music through so called industry professionals.
But it’s not all bad news! I’ve just recently found a better singer for the song and am extremely happy with the outcome. As a THANK YOU for signing up and reading I want to share with all of you a FREE download of “So Much I Miss You”!
And as for the rest of my musical journey, I am now going straight to you! The people that matter most! And of course the people that enjoy the music are the most important but for many independent artists and especially those like me who are not singer/songwriter types or touring artists get zero exposure and we just don’t know how to get the music out there.
So, I hope this finds you well. I hope you enjoyed the story and if you do like “So Much I Miss You”, you might also consider checking out “A Passing Storm”. My debut concept album. It’s not just music. It’s an experience!