Ticket to Ride

Ticket to Ride

I looked at the name on my concert ticket: Paul McCartney.

I sat and waited, along with 42,000 other people in Vancouver’s B.C. Stadium, for McCartney to take the stage. I was part of a group of 17 and we had talked about our expectations and the songs we wanted to hear. Every song mentioned was a Beatles song. Every one.

It wasn’t a knock McCartney’s solo career. He had written and recorded lots of good songs since the Beatles. But every person in our group was a Baby Boomer. The ticket got us in to see McCartney. But the ride we really wanted to go on was the Magical Mystery Tour.

The Beatles provided the soundtrack of our youth. Our formative years. The years when emotions, and sometimes youthful arrogance, informed our thoughts and actions. We were carefree and, maybe, even a little careless.

The cultural impact of the Beatles will be debated for as long as there is music, but clearly they influenced the way tens of millions of people dressed, wore their hair, and how they thought: politically, philosophically, about drugs, and many other important aspects of life. I know they didn’t set out to accomplish that, but it happened. That the effects have been so long lasting is astounding. Just a little more astounding than a 77-year-old rock star selling out stadiums around the world.

As McCartney played each Beatles song, memories rewound and played from the middle: From the part where that song helped me get by with a little help from my friends. From the part where love fell apart and I longed for yesterday. From the part where I tried to take a sad song and make it better. Sad, melancholy, happy… Beatles songs made me feel all those things deeply. Not for the first or last time, but in way that I remember every time I hear the music.

When McCartney wrote “When I’m 64,” and when we all heard it back then, 64 seemed as far off as Mars. Yet whenever he sings that song now (although he didn’t tonight), it probably still seems far off to McCartney, even though he now sees it in the review mirror.

But the man looked good. Maybe even better than when he was 64.

McCartney’s voice was not as strong or as smooth as it was back then. Yet for as ragged as it sometimes sounded, we filled in the rough spots with memories of the voice we had heard thousands of times. It was this specific voice that we’ve heard for more than 50 years and will hear every time those songs are played for the rest of our lives. And though other singers might sing them more proficiently, no one will ever sing them better.

As I looked around B.C Stadium, as our group of 17 sang as one, occasionally out of tune, we all looked pretty good too. Didn’t seem quite as old.

People look younger when they smile.

And they feel younger when they sing.


HUMOR – “Punkin’ Donuts” Guitarist O’Bryan Drops New Tracks

HUMOR – “Punkin’ Donuts” Guitarist O’Bryan Drops New Tracks

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE (OGSR – Los Angeles, CA, March 20, 2019) Former lead guitarist for the defunct Punkin’ Donuts, Slugger O’Bryan, is in New York City promoting his new album, “Can’t Recognize Myself in a Mirror.”

Slug—as he is known now—is perhaps best remembered for an off-stage incident that took place in the fall of 2014. As you may recall, after the Donuts fell apart Slug vanished from the music scene but found new life singing novelty songs such as “Hang on Droopy,” “Baby, Take a Little Piece of My Hat,” “When a Man Loves a Weirdo,” and the hugely successful pastiche of the Hollies’ “He Ain’t Heavy, He’s My Brother,” entitled “She Ain’t Chunky, She’s My Wife.” It had long been rumored that many of Slug’s novelty songs were about his long-suffering common-law wife, Bella Donna Schwartz, whose struggles with meth-amphetamine and food were well documented on the couple’s short-lived OGSR TV Network reality show.

Shortly after the release of “She Ain’t Chunky…” tragedy struck. Slug was found nearly beaten to death in his Miami apartment, which he shared with his wife. Although he never lost consciousness, Slug was unable to identify his attacker.

Following the attack Slug founded a group called “Men Attacked By Women.” But his attempt at activism was short-lived. His action of founding the group was roundly condemned on social media as an act of aggression against women.

The self-destructive side of Slug’s well-documented battle with addiction was on display during his ill-advised stint as spokesman for his “Men Attacked By Women” group. In one memorable exchange, captured in a YouTube video that currently has more than 37 million hits, Slug explained that, “In an enlightened age of equality, people should be allowed to be attacked in equal numbers—or at least ratio—regardless of their gender.” He later said the remark was taken out of context, but when asked to supply any other context, Slug declined to answer. For about a year.

Recently Slug began posting unplugged versions of famous Punkin’ Donuts songs on YouTube, including “I Hate Myself, But I Hate You More,” and the band’s famous 17-minute epic, “Shit on a Stick.”

Slug’s return to the stage coincided with his reconciliation with Bella Donna, as well as the launch of their new public access reality show, “The O’Bryans: From Here to Maternity.” The show documents the struggles of their daughter Sethisha, who attempts to adopt a baby emu from Australia. As you may recall from the couple’s earlier reality show, Sethisha used to be their son Seth.

(Editor’s Note: None of the people, places, songs or any other details in this “press release” are based on any actual person, place, song or situation, and are solely the product of the writer’s imagination. Or lack thereof.)