Brett Jolly’s Daily Thought (“Today is July 4, Independence Day”)

Today is a holiday here in the United States as we celebrate our independence from the British Empire. Commemorating the adoption of the Declaration of Independence on July 4, 1776 we normally celebrate by having cookouts, relaxing with family and watching fireworks. While it is a great holiday to celebrate I find that most people don’t even know the real facts about it, but then again a lot of us are not sure about the other holidays as well. I have found that the date for this was actually July 2, and not the 4th. There are even reports that it was officially signed a month later on August 2. Both John Adams and Thomas Jefferson (the only presidents to sign the declaration) both died on the same day (July 4, 1826, which was the 50th anniversary of Declaration). James Monroe (the third president), another founding father, died on July 4, 1831. Calvin Coolidge, the 30th president, was actually born on July 4, 1872. The Liberty Bell, which is located in my hometown of Philadelphia, has not been rung since February 23, 1846, due to the fear that ringing it again would worsen the crack in it. Whatever the case, the holiday will be celebrated today, and you can bet that fireworks will be happening tonight. For those of you who honor today I wish you a truly safe and healthy Independence Day. Thank you for checking out my Daily Thought, and as always I wish you the very best that life has to offer.

A rather long range view of Chaka Khan in concert (with Brett Jolly on bass to the far left)

Chaka_Khan_and_Brett

Brett Jolly’s Daily Thought (“Drugs and Drinking in the music industry”)

One of the biggest stereotypes I have had to confront is that of “music and drugs.” I have had several people ask me if I would like to get high with them or treat me to an alcoholic beverage. While I appreciate the offers I always let them know that I am a musician “who doesn’t drink or smoke.” I have gotten several looks of “disbelief” from people who think this is “abnormal for any musician.” The truth of the matter is that I really don’t drink, and I really don’t get high (or smoke anything). I have friends who do, and I won’t judge them for that. My high comes from “playing the music, and that is more than good enough for me.” I remember on a couple of occasions someone would sit down right next to me and just get high as though I were not even there. Of course, after a few minutes they would all offer.  Someone asked me why I don’t indulge and I simply told him that my mother was once an alcoholic who also smoked. My brother and I came home from school one day and found blood all over the place because she got drunk and shot herself. As tragic as that scene was there came a good result, because my father put her in rehabilitation after that and she quit smoking AND drinking. She never touched any of those things again until she passed away in 2004. Just about everybody has some kind of “vice.” I don’t believe that anyone is perfect. When it comes to other musicians and performers I won’t make an issue out of them doing drugs “unless it starts to have a big impact on ME.” When you begin to invade my comfort zone that is when I will draw the line. About a month ago I had a rehearsal with a lady singer who told everyone that she needed to get high first before singing. I had never played with these guys before, but right after they “lit up” the whole rehearsal area had this bad smell to it. I played nice for as long as I could but then I informed her that I had to leave. Of course, I never came back after that. Years ago I played for some outside function where someone bought me drink. It was supposed to be Sprite soda. However, not long after I drank it I got terribly ill. I could not finish the gig and was “barely” able to drive home afterwards. I learned from that experience. Now if anyone wants to treat me to a soda I will go with them to hear how they order it. If necessary, I will even watch the bartender “make” it. Drugs, drinks and music are a perfect combination for some folk, but that will never be the case for me. I have no problem at all being the “oddball musician.” It “works” for me… Thank you for checking out my Daily Thought, and as always I wish you the very best that life has to offer.

WWW.Brettjolly.com

Email: Brettjolly@aol.com

Skype: Brettjolly1

I know this is a “far away” shot, but this is Chaka Khan  with Brett Jolly on bass in concert.

Chaka_Khan_and_Brett

Brett Jolly’s Daily Thought (“When someone appears suicidal”)

I got a call yesterday from a woman who was highly distraught. Her life seemed to be a continuous challenge and she couldn’t understand why she couldn’t catch a break with anything in life. She screamed, she hollered, she cried and she threatened to take her own life. Even though I had a gig that I had to play I tried my best to just keep her talking. She told me that she “had it with everything” and hung up the phone. I called her back. I told her that her life story was a really tough one and that no one will deny what she feels. However, I told her that her life could still serve a great purpose if she could just hold out and see things through. She was unreasonable and determined to end it all. When I tried to talk to her in a calm manner she screamed even more (but I still managed to keep her talking). The one thing I did realize was that she really needed to vent and let off steam. I did not want to deny her that at all, because once she let it all out there was a good chance that I could still reach her. The good thing was that my gig started late so I still had some extra time. As she went on her frustration seemed to ease up a little, and that was when I took the opportunity to try to reach her. I told her that she will never know what God has in store for her until she sees her life through. I told her that once she overcomes all these terrible obstacles in her life that she could be a positive motivation for others who are experiencing that same life frustrations. She said that no one cared. I told her that if I didn’t care I wouldn’t be taking this time to talk to her. I told her that she was speaking through emotion and that she was extremely tired and fatigued from not having enough sleep. I let her know that this would not be the right time to make any major decision. I began to realize that she really just needed someone to hear her story. If she truly wanted to take her own life she would have just hung up the phone and did it (and she most certainly would not have answered the phone when I called her back). While I have not talked to her today yet, I do believe that she made it through last night. When people are upset it is important to see beyond the surface and determine what is really needed. Some people go through a  lot of adversity in their lives. They experience tragedies that often make life unbearable. There may not be much that you can do to fix their problems, but sometimes all it really takes is a “good ear.” People who are desperate often like to be heard. “Let’s hear them…” All it takes is a little time and it may make a difference in “both of your lives.” Thank you for checking out my Daily Thought, and as always I wish you the very best that life has to offer.

WWW.Brettjolly.com

Email: Brettjolly@aol.com

Skype: Brettjolly1

A “very distant picture” with Chaka Khan performing with Brett Jolly to the far left in concert)

Chaka_Khan_and_Brett

Brett Jolly’s Daily Thought (“What is the purpose behind terrorism?”)

I realize that this might sound like I am confused, but I actually did a search on why terrorists commit such violent acts like the ones that just happened in Brussels and Paris last year. While it is difficult for me to imagine someone doing this without a reason, it is also difficult for me to imagine that we don’t even “know” what this reason is. When you dedicate yourself to killing others it is even more baffling to tie it in with your religious beliefs. I don’t think I know of “any religion that advocates killing.” There is a lot of anger in the world and when someone feels that the world has mistreated him or her then frustration and resentment can set in.While I can understand being angry I just can’t understand the need to take out your frustrations on innocent people who are not responsible for your anger. I would love to hear from “anyone” who can explain to me the “need” for setting off bombs. After all, if you are trying to send a message, wouldn’t it at least help if we “knew” what that message was? I Googled this concept and found several different theories, but nothing really “concrete or conclusive.” The obvious thought that comes to mind is that we must have previously “done something” to set them off. Resentment usually comes from blaming others. I have heard that being a suicide bomber offers paradise to those seeking it, but if this is not stated in their religious writings, then where do they get this concept from? Also, dead men tell no tales. Wouldn’t it be more beneficial to your cause to have your story told and known? There have been religious leaders who have led scores of people to disastrous consequences (Jim Jones in Guyana for example). In order to deal with these people we need to first “understand” them and their concepts. As I have said, I would love to hear from “anyone” who can explain to me “why” these people are so angry, and what they hope these violent acts will resolve. The first step in resolving anything is through communication, and as long as we lack it then the world will always suffer tragedies like this. There are people who “want” to hear your story. The least you could do is “tell it.” Thank you so much for checking out my Daily Thought, and as always I wish you the very best that life has to offer.

WWW.Brettjolly.com

Email: Brettjolly@aol.com

Skype: Brettjolly1

A “very far away view” of Chaka Khan and Brett Jolly in concert (Brett is to far left)

Chaka_Khan_and_Brett

Brett Jolly’s Daily Thought (“Drugs and the Music Industry… featuring Alexander O’Neal”)

Alexander O’neal is an R&B singer who had a couple of hit songs from the late 80’s to the 90’s. Some of his hits were “Criticize” and my personal favorite “Fake.” In a recent interview, O’neal admitted that he has been a drug abuser for the last 30 years (Most people in the industry, including me, already knew this). He admitted that he had been in an out of rehab several times, and he accepts full responsibility for the demons that plague him. He also said that there are many other music celebs who also have major drug issues, but for them the “musical powers that be” readily accepted it rather than try to get them help. Here is his article for you to check out for yourself:

http://www.mirror.co.uk/3am/celebrity-news/alexander-oneal-admits-hes-been-6094560

Years ago I had the pleasure to perform with Alexander O’neal and Cherelle onstage. I had heard about his addiction beforehand (We all had) so I was waiting to see if I could read his “state of mind” during sound check. He was dressed immaculately in a suit and tie, but his eyes were “red as a beat.” He didn’t say much, and stood there as though he didn’t quite recognize the world around him. Cherelle seemed much more coherent than him but at least he was in good enough condition to sing. Even though he seemed to forget some of the lyrics to his own songs we got through the gig safely. The music industry only cares about how much money you can make for them. If you have outlived your usefulness they will just find a new artist to promote and place you on the shelf. If you have a major drug habit, they will only continue to exploit you until you have “fizzled out.” A perfect example of that is legendary songbird Whitney Houston. As awesome a talent as she was, she was still a drug addict whose demons conquered her. Instead of placing her in rehab or forcing her to get help, her people shrugged their shoulders and just allowed her to do herself in. There are many other examples over the years, from Janis Joplin, Jimi Hendrix, Rick James to Michael Jackson. When you think about it, it really isn’t the responsibility of the industry leaders to make an artist go to rehab, but we all know they have enough influence and power to make it happen. At least Alexander O’Neal is someone that is still alive to tell his story. The question here is “Will the industry care enough to listen?” Maybe one day the industry will clean up its act, but until then we need to continue to brace for the next Alexander O’neal to come along. Music is expression, and maybe through an artist’s songs you can hear that “cry for help.” Just check out the tunes of Amy Winehouse. Thank you for checking out my Daily Thought today, and as always I wish you the very best that life has to offer.

WWW.Brettjolly.com
Email: Brettjolly@aol.com
Skype: Brettjolly1

A very distant shot of Chaka Khan and Brett Jolly in concert

Chaka_Khan_and_Brett

Brett Jolly’s Daily Thought (“When your child goes off to college”)

My sincerest apologies for being MIA yesterday (“missing in action”). I had to venture a long ways out to take my youngest daughter to college. For those of you who have ever had this experience, you can actually go through a “multitude of different emotions all at once.” I was sad to see her leave but I was glad to see how she has grown up. I was upset about all the money I had to spend but I was relieved to know that she made it to this stage. When your kids go off to college it will make you reflect a lot on your own past. I even thought about my very first trip to college. My father took me there, got me settled and then I just told him that “I think I got this.” He then he left to go back home. It felt weird to see him leave me. I was a little nervous, and definitely unsure of how this was going to turn out. When you are used to living most of your life at home and then you are relocated it can send your mind into many different directions. I was so exhausted yesterday when I finally got back home. As a parent, you have to actually “make yourself believe” that your child is going to be fine. I wanted so badly to call her last night, but I realized that you have to give your child a little bit of time and leeway to get adjusted to his or her new circumstances. The toughest part is the realization that your child is now “all grown up.” I understand that for a “lot of parents” this may be the “toughest” concept for them to grasp. Yes, your child needs to have the right to make some of the same “bonehead mistakes” that “you made” when growing up. Instead of trying to control your kid’s life you need to be more of an advisor with a guidance counselor role now. If you are a parent who is going through the same experience I wish you the absolute best in dealing with it. Whatever you do, I would suggest refraining from putting a lot of pressure on your child. The kid has enough of that already. Keep positive and make sure you let your young one know that even though he or she may be a long ways aways your child is still never alone. A new college student needs that type of reassurance. Most of all, when you walk away make sure that you do so with confidence. It just might make the biggest difference to you both. Thank you for checking out my Daily Thought today. As always I wish you the absolute best that life has to offer.

WWW.Brettjolly.com

Email: Brettjolly@aol.com

Skype: Brettjolly1

A “very” distant shot of Chaka Khan and Brett Jolly in concert

Chaka_Khan_and_Brett

Brett Jolly’s Daily Thought (“Making the most of life’s adversities”)

“Taking tragedy and adverse circumstances and re-channeling that energy.” I got a call from a woman who a couple of years back lost her son to violence. He was killed and the sad part about that was the fact that he was a good looking young kid who never got into trouble. He just happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time. I know of another woman whose daughter recently committed suicide because she felt she was a huge burden on her family and she suffered from depression. When things like this happen, no words can every alleviate the pain that a parent (or loved one) goes through on a continual basis. To even think that you can make the memory go away is unrealistic. However, the woman who lost her son just called me and told me that in honor of her son she is now thinking of starting a new magazine. She explained the details of what she wanted to have in it and the special sections she wanted to feature. She said that the loss of her son hit her hard and she ultimately felt the need to “do something with her life.” I told her that was a great decision, because when you sit alone by yourself and do nothing else but reflect on your losses it only “compounds your pain.” This concept applies to “just about any sadness” you  may experience in life. It could be for an ex lover, a lost job or a failed friendship. Many of us get so caught up with trying to “mentally fix things in our heads knowing fully well that what transpired is irreversible.” We have difficulty accepting the fact that “what’s done is done.” I am a firm believer in “re-channeled energy.” When tragedy hits you, you could spend a lot of time focusing on what happened or you could take the energy  from that tragedy and make something good happen. We all have bad moments in our lives that we wish never happened. Trying to “wish those memories away” never works. “Improving your own quality of life is a great way to move on. I applaud this woman for taking the necessary steps needed to channel her life in a new direction. She still misses her son incredibly, but she now uses her memory of him to motivate her to go on. I realize that some things are “easier said than done” and “life is never that simple.” There are a “ton” of excuses we can use to just “wallow in our own depression.” I can’t tell you how to make the hurt go away. No one can… but when you take that hurt and allow it to “motivate you to make positive change” then that loss can bring about a new directive. You don’t have to contribute to your own depression. Pick up the pieces of your life that you have left and “make a dream come true.” Thank you for checking out my Daily Thought today, and as always I wish you the very best that life has to offer. Please make the most of it.

WWW.Brettjolly.com

Email: Brettjolly@aol.com

Skype: Brettjolly1

A “very bad shot’ but this is Chaka Khan and Brett Jolly onstage

Chaka_Khan_and_Brett