The music column (NOTEWORTHY) is on Thursdays, right?

Yeah but do you breathe only on alternate days? — no! Music should be in your life always, it’s a refuge, an uplift, and sometimes it makes more sense than other ways to understand and deal with the world.

In my freshman year of college I enrolled as a pre-med student, because ever since I was a little kid I only wanted to be a doctor. Ha. Then I encountered the harsh reality of the courses even a freshman had to conquer on the long slog to an MD and it was not my cuppa tea. So I switched to a double major in Political Science and Psychology, two things that had always interested me. I did well, got good grades, but after most of a year something bothered me. These two fields together, the inner mind and the outer workings of power, should certainly explain the world, to me, but they didn’t. In fact, they both seemed patently false, misleading, downright baloney.

So I finally stopped trying to philosophize my university studies and opted for what I was suited for and might make me a living. As someone whose teachers had always told me I could write — oh, ye snake oil salesmen — it came down to an  English or Journalism major. English? I didn’t want to teach! Good pay, tenure security, three months vacation, benefits, retirement, campus life as a respected professor, no, who would want all that? — but I was young and foolish and I chose Journalism. Worse, drifted into music journalism, sure path to the poorhouse.


I would’ve stayed in the Land of Enchantment growing, I’m sure, increasingly disenchanted, never would have met my perfect life partner of 37 years Diane (in a club in North Hollywood), spent almost all that time in Santa Monica (most of that before it got ruined), was gifted with my amazing daughter Nicole, and the music! I never would have witnessed as my first Angeleno concert (with son Chris, he loved them) The Boomtown Rats at the SM Civic, early U2 at the Palladium, Fela with 40 musicians on stage, New Years Eve with X-Los Lobos-Blasters at the Cowboy, young Red Hot Chili Peppers wearing only socks at the Lingerie, 30 feet from Ray Charles in a Pasadena park, Solomon Burke on his throne at Amoeba, too many hundreds more to mention that never would have galloped into Albuquerque. No regrets. I came here for the music and LA delivered. Big time.

So what’s blipping like crazy on the radar for me today? Sad to say, it’s the destruction of our sacred democracy. As a history and news junkie since early grade school (in fifth grade I knew the name of every cabinet member), I understand what we are losing, and it pains me. It’s a daily struggle to keep my peace of mind, with the nagging voice that says, Do something! I know many of you experience this same frustration daily, and it has become a thing, something I’ve never experienced before through politics I favored and politics I hated, to come to terms with it.


I feel blessed to have this column (and I also worked for it all my life), to express myself and ponder questions and solutions and speak for many who think likewise. Does it make a difference? Doesn’t seem to. Right, Bill Bauer? But everything you put out there does make a difference. The pebble in the huge pond. It takes a while for the ripples to spread and you may not be able to see where it all washes out, or still be around for it.

But one thing I’ve learned is that the successful fighters don’t give up. In the face of repeated failures, overwhelming odds and opposition and very little support, they carry on for what they know is right. You must.

I know it’s right to respect all people. I know the strength of this country is its immigrants and their diversity. I know a city government should prioritize the needs of its residents. I know it’s a big world and travel is the best way to learn and grow. I know money corrupts government, from DC to SM. I know we were gifted with a flawed but visionary system of government in America 230 years ago and it is worth fighting for. I know war is always wrong, and horrific. I know the arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice. I know love is the answer (but boy, that’s a hard one to figure out these days, innit?)

Marianne Williamson is getting a lot of mockery for her run for the presidency. Three weeks ago in this column I summarized a talk she gave in LA. “Some people think it is naive to think peace is possible. But it is the only survivable option for the human race. It’s naive to think this planet will even be habitable for humans in another 50-100 yrs. We will not survive as Americans if we continue to allow ourselves to be fooled, distracted, played.” She’s right, but I think we need a tough puncher to defeat the Bully-in-Chief in 2020. But whichever Democrat wins, I think they should create a Secretary of Peace cabinet post and put her in it.

And in the meantime — let music get you through it all. Dance and sing to fight another day.

Charles Andrews has lived in Santa Monica for 33 years and wouldn’t live anywhere else in the world. Really. Send love and/or rebuke to him at  therealmrmusic@gmail.com

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1 Comment

  1. The above photo is copyright: Cherie Nutting
    The photo is The Master Musicians of Jajouka led by Bachir Attar recording “Continental Drift” with The Rolling Stones for the CD “Steel Wheels”1989

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