Jamming with your kids
by on September 19, 2017 in Family

Hey friends, been a while since I’ve written a blogpost and as I wake up today I’m pretty inspired. You see, I have a son who is 16 years old. And at the risk of sounding like a lot of parents out there I have to say, he’s REALLY GIFTED! Haaaaaa… there, I said it! And the more I look into raising kids, raising humans, whatever, I really believe everybody is truly gifted.

In fact, I just started reading a book, (well, actually, listening to it on Audible), called “Talent is Overrated – What really separates World-Class Performers From Everybody Else” and although, yes, there are some that can pick something up and it seems to be a lot easier for them than others but NOBODY sits down at a piano and starts playing Chopin the first time they put their hands on the keys.

My son Connor, (sorry if I’m about to embarrass you, son), seemed to put a bass in his hands and it played itself. It was pretty miraculous. And had he been playing other necked instruments before that? Nope. It was truly, crazily miraculous.

We went to a music school and they kind of giggled when we said he wanted to join and they told us, “Well, he’s a bit young. Usually we have them wait until they’re 12 years old because at his age, (8 at the time, I believe), they usually can’t press the strings down hard enough to get any sound out of the instrument.” They said they’d be kind enough to oblige letting him just *hang out* that day probably thinking he’d give it a shot, see how hard it was and come to his own conclusion that he wasn’t ready…

But, we came back after the hour he was there and he was in 3 bands! HAAAAAAAAAA! 3 bands… “Hey, can you come play in ours??!!”

I was so proud. I missed their first performance due to being on the road but my wife got great video of it that we still watch to this day!

His brother JJ was playing the drums and he also was, and is, very natural on his instrument although he isn’t playing them much at the moment. He’s gone into full songwriting, production, performance, artist mode. Many of you have heard his stuff. If you haven’t, go search “Reaperwave” on Soundcloud and you’ll hear his stuff.

So Connor was tinkering around on drums just as my brothers and I had done growing up. Whatever was around we’d play music with it. All of a sudden Connor wasn’t playing any bass just drums. That went on for a couple years if not a few years. I was always deep down sad he wasn’t playing the instrument that was so natural for him, but, as a father I was not getting in the way. I wanted so many times to say something like, “Don’t you think it might be a good idea to play bass? You’re so NATURAL at it!”

And what would that have said? Deep down… you’re NOT as natural on the drums? So he kept playing… and one day, I was pulling up to the house and heard him in the garage and I heard his groove and knew he’d gone to the next level. You see, I was turning him on to drummers like Jeff Porcaro to listen to, not to mention all the greats he’s grown up around, and he was playing to those Toto records and that did it. He steeped in it enough to find that pulse.

Right around that time he had gotten back involved in the music school and they needed bass players. Aha! Great! As it has always been… everybody wants to play the more glamorous instruments when they’re a kid. Guitar! Drums! Keys and usually last, Bass. So there is always a great need for solid bass players.

Of course, Connor picked it up and it was playing itself again. But now, being 15 and about to be 16 he was discovering all of the great stuff I grew up listening to. A lot of fusion jazz such as Weather Report, Chick Corea, Ronnie Laws, Billy Cobham… it was like I was watching myself all over again. And not to mention he was listening and playing a lot to one of my all time favorites and one of my best friends in the world, Verdine White and Earth Wind and Fire.

I mean, when I look back at my life as a kid and who I was listening to… to end up working with these people one day? Amazing… you just never know where life is going to take you… just be open to it.

Ok, to get to the title of this blog post? Connor plays both instruments… Bass and Drums now. He went down last night to play drums and as he was walking away I said, “Hey, if you want me to come jam with you just text me” and he said ok. Usually he’ll go down and put headphones on and play to Red Hot Chili Peppers, Earth Wind and Fire, D’angelo, Toto… and then I got the text… as these kids do, and I’m learning… brevity. He writes, “Jam” and I texted back, I’ll be right down.

I plugged my bass in, we started doing it… that DNA of playing with your blood. There’s nothing like it. You know where the other person is going. It’s freaky how that happens. We were jamming on acoustic guitar (Connor) and acoustic bass guitar (me) and we talked about it later how it’s so effortless because the feel is in the DNA. For us, it’s right… it’s correct.

Maybe one of these days I’ll livestream a little bit of it. I really want you all to hear what he’s doing. In fact, I told him we’ll really mic up the drums and start recording and he was excited… he said, “YES. I have to release. I have to release something.” and I said, I completely agree. Your brother is doing that and if you want to do it we’ll absolutely pull that off. And I smiled deep down thinking, “Yes, this is what I came home for.”

13 Responses to Jamming with your kids

  1. Sherri Lehman says:

    Love seeing you so happy and enjoying life with your family. You have given so much to others, Jason, and you so deserve this family time. Hugs to all!

  2. Debby Morosky says:

    Awesome!!!! Family is what it is all about. Your boys are great young men!!!

  3. Marilyn says:

    That’s wonderful but I’m not surprised at Connor’s ability. WAY back when you were streaming live for us, I remember you talking about JJ taking drum lessons. However, I noticed it was Conner who would pop in and watch you play bass. He was SO young but he seemed to be gravitating towards your music. I also remember when you and Lou were playing live for us, Connor came into the room (or was it your garage)? His little fingers were reaching for the keyboard and Lou gently moved them away….several times, lol. It made me laugh and I said to Mike, “You watch, Connor is going to play bass some day and he may be even better than his dad” Ha!! The apple doesn’t fall far…..

  4. So happy you started writing again. Missed ‘reading’ you Jason. Please write more.

  5. Veronica says:

    Thanks Jason to tell us how is your life now. I like and I admire you and your lovely family.

  6. Julie Ann Tipton says:

    I feel that way about the written word. I just have to get it out. There’s something inside me that needs to be expressed, and until I put it into text, it just stays incomplete.

    I see the same traits in my children. The gift of written word is a connection that binds us. God gave us this talent for a reason. DNA is an amazing thing. When you realize and appreciate the talents you’ve been given, you leave the world a better place than when you found it.

  7. Mike Milner says:

    Great stuff Jason. It appears the apple has not fallen far from the tree (as they say) LOL! I have performed and recorded with daughter so I know of what you speak. Cheers brother.

  8. Nick Dell says:

    Oh that DNA! I played drums for 50 years! Learned piano and bass in my 30s. Sang with Chicago and you in 2014 at PNC Arts Center N.J. You can YouTube Chicago with Nick Dell. My son is an artist in LA, you may have heard of him he’s called SuperCreep! If you have a second google it. I was raised on Chicago and came to see you every year. We love you and miss you. Thanks again for your generosity in 2014 ❤️

  9. Nick Dell says:

    I playied drums piano and bass for 50 years and Eventually sang with Chicago and you at PNC arts Center in New Jersey 2014. You can YouTube Chicago with Nick Dell. My son is also an artist in the LA area working under the name SuperCreep, if you get a second you can Google him. Watched you perform for many years, you’re the best we love and miss you ❤️ Thanks again for your generosity in 2014. Oh that DNA!

  10. Janice Edgar says:

    Well written insight to what you as a dad/parent have experienced watching your boys find their way in the music world. Lucky them to have a wonderful caring dad that is there for them. While I miss seeing you play with Chicago, you have a more important job at hand. Respect your choice. Hope I get to hear your son play one day!

  11. Jacqueline Acevedo says:

    Wow this is amazing. Definitely you are an amazing Dad and Connor is an amazing kid. I am so happy that you are there for him, in this particular time of his life. You are home because you are Conno’s Rock in his future and success in music

  12. Sean says:

    Jason,

    Greetings from a former Clairemontian and neighbor of Gary Steele.

    Funny on the timing here… I’m wracking my brain in ways to assist my daughter’s high school orchestra, a celebrity appearance is one.

    Connor’s story really hits home. I didn’t vicariously live through my two musician kids,they have it in their DNA. My great uncle played bass for a few Wisconsin-area acts (briefly for Les Paul, shows with the Harmonicats, etc..) and I didn’t even know it until well after my first gigs.

    I hope to hear from you, Carlsbad High School’s Orchestra would love it.

    Sean in Carlsbad

  13. Jen Brieske says:

    That is awesome! You are an amazing Dad to teach your kids, jam with them and more importantly, know when to step back and let them make their own decisions and walk their own path, right, wrong or otherwise. This is how they learn and grow. I am so glad you were given the opportunity to be there with your family. As much as I miss you on the road, you are right where you were meant to be. Thanks for still sharing with all of us! You are loved by so many!

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