Fives of Dollars!

Blogger Nation!

So…my family was pretty poor when I was growing up. But there was so much joy and love in our house that I didn’t really notice that we were…well, actually I DID notice just how poor we were.

Was it because we went hungry? Nope, my heroic mother who is an absolute GENIUS as far as making a dollar stretch WAY beyond the limits of known physics (mostly with cheap processed food laden with red and yellow dye numbers 5 and 2 and enough toxins to make the East River seem like a swimmin’ hole…but I digress) made sure that we were never hungry.

Was it because I never had new clothes? Hey, we got multiple outfits once a year from that pioneer of fine cutting-edge style: Sears! Mmmm… the smell of fresh new cotton attire. Don’t get no better than THAT!

Was it because we didn’t have the best car in town? Well, we didn’t, but our car (some kind of station wagon…not even sure if it had a make or manufacturer…) was VERY cool, because you could actually see the road beneath your feet because the floorboard was rusted right through in places. Made for a nifty air conditioning system as well.

It was none of these things. The reason I could tell we were indeed at the lower end of the fiscal food chain was because we couldn’t afford the 64 color magnum box of crayons WITH THE SHARPENER! (insert the voices of angels singing here)



Yeah….THAT’S what I’m talkin’ ’bout. 64 COLORS! Van Gogh didn’t even have that many colors. I mean Starry Night only had a couple of shades. No “Brick Red” “Fuzzy Wuzzy” or “Granny Smith Apple” for my boy you dig? (I once touched Starry Night…a story for another time…don’t tell anyone)

Obviously limited palette

Obviously limited palette

ALL the other kids in class (it seemed) had the mighty mega box of joy WITH A SHARPENER! I couldn’t believe that such luxury existed. We kept our crayons in a big box at home (talk about a nostalgic smell! WOW!) until they were all tiny nubs of artistic memories. No sharpener except perhaps a butter knife. Don’t let mom see you do THAT!

But NOW…I am filthy rich. Yes, as a jazz trombonist-composer-educator-author-cartoonist I make a staggering SIX FIGURES EACH MONTH! (that is, if you count the decimal point and the two bonus zeroes that are often added at the end of transaction digits such as $1,000.00) Well, I can buy coffee ANYTIME I WANT! That’s pretty rich. And yes, I can now afford all 64 colors…plus some! Check this out:

Concerto for Folded Space INFINITE box of colors PLUS SHARPENER! Yes, you knew I was going to get around to the subject at hand: my project! And MAN! Do I have a palette with which to work! Here are two videos made by Eclectic Electric band members Noel Johnston and Ryan Davidson. The first is a video that Noel made of a single idea enhanced multiple times by various pedal-gear. Ryan is working on his video and I will post it here when it is ready.

Produced as a catalogue for my “Muse Pantry” check out what these guys are capable of with all of their sound processing wizardry!  All of my programmatic dreams will be realized and yes…I have the complete spectrum of colors at my compositional disposal. Woo Hoo!

Stay tuned for some mighty sounds indeed!


As promised, here is Ryan’s AMAZING collection of guitar magic. Wheeewww DAWGIES I am rich beyond belief. Enjoy:


About swiest2

Steve Wiest is a Trombonist-Composer-Cartoonist-Author and Coordinator of The 21st Century Music Initiative at The Lamont School of Music: The University of Denver
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2 Responses to Fives of Dollars!

  1. Hambone says:

    You were richer than all of us. Just didn’t know it at the time. I still remember you and Andy eating chocolate pop tarts, Count Chocula , and dry roasted nuts…for breakfast. Wanda was/is a financial wizard, and always found cash to make “cloud cookies” at Christmas. Those still live in my memory by the way. Can’t wait to start the book. s/JF

    • swiest2 says:

      My Brothah! The Kings of Accuracy Live! Man oh man….you are making me SERIOUSLY hungry with those memories. As far as THAT diet is concerned:
      “Don’t let it be forgot, That once there was a spot. For one brief shining moment… That was known as Camelot!”

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