autobiography · music

A Stonger Dose of Morphine 

Long ago in a time that seemed a few lifetimes away, a guy named Kelly Holland sent me a text asking me to go to something called “The Great Cover Up.” Since he was more accustomed to being onstage than off, (and thought the rules didn’t apply to him) we missed the deadline to get in the door each night that year.

Kelly was a rock star. He had the most amazing voice I had ever heard. And although he was a gifted musician and could play drums, guitar and most any instrument you put before him, his voice was what struck me most. It was ethereal. He didn’t belong in the mediocrity that he found himself in at that time.

He used to be the lead singer for Cry of Love. They enjoyed great success, but he was replaced during their run. When I met him, he was playing drums and singing for a local cover band called Crush. Crush played a friend of a friend’s pool party and I befriended him as soon as I saw him. Our friendship lasted until his untimely passing a few years ago. I’d had a crush on him. He’d had a crush on me. Neither of us had a gift for timing so I turned out being that friend he always turned to when he had something big twisting around in his head that he needed a voice of reason to help him with. I saw him through many girlfriends and I always listened whenever he wanted to talk. He wrote a song or two and told me he wanted my voice for the demo. He always seemed to have so many irons in the fire. I kept waiting for the call that he was about to move on to something bigger. That call never came.

I’d always been curious about “The Great Cover Up.” More often than not, it just wasn’t convenient to go, but this year I made it a point to.

My guitarist and fellow vocalist from Cherry (Jason) was performing in 2 of the acts this year. His wife (Jennifer) is a friend from my high school. I definitely don’t see them enough, so I asked if I could assist with the “transformation” into rock star Saturday night. I spent the day getting myself outfitted and grabbing the products I would need. Before I knew it, Jason was all glammed up and I was standing in a long line outside King’s waiting for the doors to open.

For those of you who have never heard of it, the “Great Cover Up” is a concert that happens each year. Proceeds go to charity and none of the acts are paid. However, it’s an honor to be numbered among the historic acts that have appeared. The event started in 1999 and has been gaining momentum ever since. It’s open to all local musicians who put together acts for the purpose of magically transforming themselves into their favorite artists (for at least a set of 4 songs). The bands that night were Teenage Fanclub, Jackson Browne, Morphine, INXS, Tenacious D, Pearl Jam, The GoGo’s and Metallica.

It was so nice to be out in my element and not worried about what anyone else was doing. I hadn’t been able to just simply enjoy something and be in the moment in a very long time. I was surrounded by friends and music. And I finally was able to see this local music mainstay that is “The Great Cover Up.” Maybe someday I’ll get to be a part of it.
Kelly would be proud.


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