Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

In the late 1980’s – early 1990’s I took four “semesters” of songwriting classes when we lived in the San Fernando Valley area in Los Angeles. I took 2 “semesters” with Jack Segal and 2 with Jason Blume. The one thing both recommended is to “write what you know”! In other words, if you know nothing about being a sailor, writing a song about that would be a struggle if not impossible.
I had also been given this advice by some very kind music publishers from Nashville when I was pitching songs to them in the early 1980’s. So around 1980 I wrote a song called “Out My Window” – a story about a person lay up in a hospital bed unable to walk. Because of my hemophilia, I had spent many weeks and months in such a bed in Decatur and Macon County Hospital in Decatur, IL.
davejudyhosp This photo is me and my sister, Judy in 1972 when I spent many weeks in the hospital because of a swollen left knee that wouldn’t heal.

Another such incident is chronicled in this excerpt from my upcoming auto-biography:
“Second grade, fall of 1962, was life changing. Again, we started the year walking to school. Nine days into the school year I was swinging on our home swing set. In hind sight, after having grown some in height, , the chains to the swings should have been adjusted to raise the seat higher off the ground.

            I used to love to swing as high as I could – each time trying to see over the top of the swing set as I rose on the back side. I would often swing very high and then on the down swoop – jump straight ahead into the grass. It felt as if I was flying!

This particular day, as I pumped my leg on the up swing to increase my speed, my right leg somehow caught on the ground underneath me and my right knee twisted horribly. This is kind of hard to write about as I can still feel the excruciating pain in my mind. Mom used to say she heard me cry out and immediately her heart seemed to stop.

I limped from the swing set into the house crying. My right knee had already started to swell. It wasn’t broken, but it didn’t need to be. With hemophilia, strains of any sort can cause bleeding into the joint, whether in an elbow, knee, hip or ankle.

Mom and Dad rushed me to the hospital where I would spend the rest of the year in and out of – sometimes for 30 days at a time. I can still remember the doctor saying I might never walk again. Well, he didn’t know me! I would show him!”

In all my years of writing songs before 1980 and since, the song, “Out My Window” is the only song that speaks on the subject of my bleeding disorder – though I do not refer to it by name. Another rule of lyric writing is to make the lyric as universal as possible – so I only refer to being in a bed and not being able to walk. Hopefully that will resonate with folks that have had a similar experience or know someone who has been bed ridden – only being able to look out the window hoping to one day return to walking!

A recent music video with lyric of OUT MY WINDOW (click link) is posted on Youtube!

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We lived in the San Fernando Valley from February, 1988 until September 1994 when we made the cross country trek to Nashville, TN! Immediately after the ’94 quake, I wrote the following detailed account of how the quake effected us and how we dealt with the event! The only thing I left out was my having hemophilia – at the point where I still was keeping it a secret – especially with my job as Assistant Vice President of the FNMA unit of Investor Accounting at Countrywide funding.
For images, I found this link: http://bit.ly/1n5e5fa
So here is what happened……

January 17, 1994
I’m not sure who will read this but I just need to try and capture the feelings of this one day before too much time passes. So, if my voices, persons, tenses or order of events are not consistent sorry. This is / was a confusing time so any variances in writing are probably fitting anyway.
The Players- Dave, Debbie, Meredith, and Lycia (lee-sha) (Meredith’s friend), and Butterscotch (the cat).

1:25 a.m. (all tines are PST)
Nature called so I got up to answer. While I was up I took some pain medication to help me go back to sleep. After all, it had only been 5 days since my eye surgery to repair a detached retina in my right eye. To replace the fluid lost in my eye the doctor injected a gaseous bubble to hold everything in place.
However to make sure the eye healed correctly with the bubble, I had to hang my head downward for two hours each morning and two hours each evening and while I slept at night. With my arthritis, it is very difficult to sleep in this position so chemical
aid was helpful in getting some sleep. We could all sleep in, with me off from work because of my eye, Debbie was still job hunting, and the girls were not back in school yet.

4:31 a.m.

We knew immediately what was happening though we had been sound asleep……..
EARTHQUAKE!! (6.8)
It had been less than 18 months since the pair of Landers (7.4) and Big Bear (6.6) quakes. This was different though. In the Landers quake the house shook violently, the lights flickered, but there was no damage in Canoga Park or our house. Only one picture fell. This WAS different. It felt as if the whole house was moving up and down and back and forth. The noise was deafening. The groan of the wood frame of the house, the crashing sound of THINGS- though we knew not what. The closet doors slammed open and the clothes on the racks came crashing down.
Debbie and I could hear the girls yelling in Meredith’s bedroom. The shaking kept going on and on. I could hear a primal scream nearby. I looked but it wasn’t Debbie. It was then I realized the primal scream was coming from me. Debbie grabbed me and said – ARNIE, calm down.
At some point we could tell it was ending. The power had gone off so it was dark and eerily quiet. “THAT WAS THE BIG ONE!” I said. Debbie agreed at that point. I also exclaimed, “We are getting the hell out of California!!” There was the sound of car alarms outside that sounded as if we were out there as well.
We could hear police / emergency vehicle sirens in the distance. I sat up on the edge of the bed. I could not find my glasses!! They had been thrown three feet from the night stand. The ground was still moving as if we were on the water in a boat – gently rocking and swaying. Debbie told me to stay put, since I couldn’t see very well anyway, and she went to get the girls. As she felt her way down the hallway she was stopped
Suddenly – a door was in her way. “There is not supposed to be a door here”, she later said in recounting the feeling to me. The quake had opened all the closet doors. She got the girls’ room and stood in the doorway.
Then we felt it start again!!
AFTERSHOCK !(5.9)
I yelled, “Hold on!” Debbie told the girls to stay in the bed and wait for it to die down. The earth shook the rest of the day about every five minutes or so. We had over 150 quakes that day alone that registered over 3.0 in magnitude.
I look back in amazement, but not surprise, at what happened next. Debbie jumped into a take charge mode and started getting everything we would need and centrally located in our bedroom. She had found flashlights, water, snacks, and supplies. She placed everything in a clothes hamper. She had been so strong throughout my eye surgery (another short story itself) that it was hard to believe she had anything left for this.
The girls had made a venture through the rest of the house after they put shoes on to protect their feet. I got dressed and went to the bathroom. It was a mess. Everything in the medicine cabinet was in the sink, on the floor, or in drawers that had thrown themselves open.
We had NO water.
At some point they guided me through the rest of the house. The first room I saw was the office. The bookshelf had fallen forward. Both computer monitors had fallen off the desk. It was impossible to get to the other side of the room. One thing we noticed was that every window in the house (the sliding kind) had opened though they had been locked.
The main bathroom was in worse shape than ours. The top to the toilet had been thrown off and broke into two pieces. Water had spilled out of the tank. The glass shower
door, although unbroken, had come off track and fell into the tub.
The living room had a mixture of destruction and normalcy. Everything on a wall came down. A wooden battery operated clock my sister had given us did not fall off the fireplace but stopped at 4:31. Plants had fallen and dirt was everywhere. The entertainment center with the TV and VCR had not moved. The stereo had fallen forward, the glass doors popped off but did not shatter.
The kitchen had broken glasses all over. Cabinets had opened and emptied. The battery operated clock in the kitchen was still on the wall, but the battery had popped out
and the clock read 4:31.
We opened the door leading from the kitchen to the attached garage. The Dodge Dynasty had moved at least three inches and wedged underneath a workbench. A stack of shelves had fallen on our New Yorker and what looked like thirty five years of dust was all over everything. A cross beam in the ceiling to the garage had snapped in two.

5:15 a.m.
Early reports pegged the quake at a 6.6 magnitude (later modified to 6.8). 6.6!!! it felt more like 66.6!!!(I know, there is no such thing.) While this was the same magnitude as the Big Bear quake, Big Bear is 100 miles from Chatsworth and the epicenter for the Northridge quake was about 4-5 miles from our house.
It was somewhere around this time we decided to go outside. We went to open the front screen door but the house had shifted and jammed the door. For a quick second I panicked. I think it was 12 year old Meredith who gave it a shove open. It was still dark and some neighbors had gathered at the end of our driveway around a small 5 inch TV.
Our next door neighbor had cut his head during the quake so Debbie got some bandages and fixed him up. He went with her to go check our gas main to see if it was leaking( it wasn’t), The girls went down the street to check on ‘TODD’ a boy they knew. So here I am, outside in the dark, standing around this television with people I’ve never spoken to before. Anyone who knows what a great small talker I am (not) knows what a stellar moment in history this was.
One of the neighbors asked if I hurt my eye (still patched) in the quake. In a lame attempt at humor I said, “No, I had surgery for a detached retina last Wednesday and now this! Ha, Ha!” Then again there was silence. Outside you can still feel the earth move however, it doesn’t seem so bad. I guess since you can’t hear rattling and creaking of the house it diminishes the effect on the senses.
With Debbie and the girls gathered together again we went back inside and I watched my little 1&1/2 inch TV I got for Christmas.

7 a.m.
There was something comforting in the sunrise. Our security of sleep and the nighttime had been violated. We spent some more time outside and our neighbors helped us get the cars out of the garage.
Meredith and I tried to go back to sleep and Debbie and Lycia cleaned up the kitchen. The earth continued to move every few minutes.

8:30 a.m.
All of us had laid down when we heard some voices outside and the doorbell rang. It was Lycia’s parents, two brothers, and two dogs. The road in front of their Reseda house had buckled open and broke a natural gas main. The authorities evacuated the area so they had to leave their house. They had suffered much worse damage being practically on the epicenter.
Though we had a houseful, it was nice not being alone. We felt isolated with no phones and we couldn’t go anywhere.

10 a.m.
At some point around this time we boiled some water to make instant coffee. Lycia’s father and I had some cereal. We had not smelled a gas leak so our range still worked and we could cook if we wanted.
We knew that family would have heard about the quake so we started trying to make a phone call back to Illinois but to no success. The phones were on what they called ‘slow dial-tone’. Because the lines were crowded, we would have to wait several minutes for a dial tone. Even when we would get a dial tone the call would either be busy or revert back to the dial tone. We kept trying all day taking turns.

12 noon.
As part of my recovery from eye surgery I was supposed to lay my head down for two hours in the morning and afternoon. I sat on the loveseat leaning towards the arm with my head down. Always, just as I would drift off to sleep, the earth would roll. Would it ever stop?

4 p.m.
Lycia’s father and brothers had gone back to their house to see if they could return. The gas leak had been stopped, but they still had no utilities. They brought some frozen chicken breasts back and other food. I fired up the Weber, eye patch and all, and tried to get supper cooked before the sun went down. We still had no electricity. I remember a kind of fear as they drove away, it was just the three of us now and it was dark.
Debbie’s friend, Carolyn from Ventura, got through to us by phone around 4:30 p.m. Debbie asked her to try to reach her brother Dave in Escondido so he could call all back in Illinois. She was able to get through.

8:30 p.m.
When the quake hit and the power went off the air filter in the goldfish tank seemed to back up. The water became very murky. Chubs, the goldfish, had been active but obviously slowing down during the day. By this time he was floating at the top and barely moving. We decided to use some of our remaining bottled water and transfer him to a smaller bowl. He was lifeless. Once every15 seconds or so his mouth would move. It looked like Chubs would become a quake statistic.
Meredith was trying the phone and got through to my sister, Judy. I was so excited and relieved I went running barefoot into the kitchen to pick up the phone. I stepped on a sliver of glass.
It was so comforting to hear someone from my family. While I talked to Judy I would shine the flashlight at Chubs to try to get some response. Finally near the end of the conversation he opened his mouth and moved slightly. A little after10 p.m. we got our power back so Debbie and I hurried to clean the tank and put fresh water in. We hooked up the air filter and put him back in. He dropped to the bottom and just sort of sat there. We fully expected him to be dead the next day, but I’m pleased to report about halfway through the 18th he came out of shock and started swimming around!!!

Earthquake related facts:
* We had to boil our water, which returned on Thursday the 20th for about 10 days
* To flush the toilet we had to get buckets of water from the neighbor’s pool and pour it down the bowl
* As of 3/20/94 we have had over 5,000 aftershocks.
* The cinder block walls between the properties had come tumbling down.
The contractor’s estimate to fix the wall was $15,000.
* 34,500 homes/apartments were destroyed or made uninhabitable..
Epilogue:
About six weeks after the main jolt Debbie took me on a drive around the San Fernando Valley. With my eye surgery and all I had only been out of the house to go to work or the doctor’s office and not really seen the damage except on TV.
It was the saddest trip I’ve ever taken. House after house had damage of some sort. Either fallen chimneys or block walls or both. Northridge Mall looked as if it had been bombed. City block after city block of apartment buildings in Northridge were boarded up with red signs on the front. Where were these people living now?
Then we saw the apartment complex called Northridge Meadows where the 16 people had been crushed to death. I don’t think words can describe the feeling when you look at a two story building that used to be three stories. To make matters worse it has become a tourist attraction. There were dozens of people walking around taking pictures. There was a vendor on the corner selling ‘I survived the Northridge quake’ T-shirts.

Yes, driving around made me sad. But it also made me realize that despite all we had been through….
We were the lucky ones.
End of story

TBT – Back in 2011, as we approached the 10 year anniversary of the tragedies of 9/11/01 I thought I might make a video to remind us to never forget! Growing up in the 1960’s, there was a moving rendition by Simon & Garfunkel of the carol, “Silent Night” played along with a recording of the 7 O’clock News being read. I thought the same might work with images in a video. The audio portion is me singing Silent Night. That recording is also available on iTunes at http://itunes.apple.com/us/album/chri…
It is one of my most viewed videos at around 2,100 views! Please feel free to share this post!
We Must Never Forget 9/11/2001!
Dave

HS Graduation night
In my blog post “Solitary Man…my introduction into show biz rejection” I discussed why my sister Judy and I went to different High Schools: “In the Fall of 1970 I was a Freshman at MacArthur High School in Decatur, IL! Because of my bad knees, I got special approval to attend MacArthur despite the fact that Arizona Drive was in the Stephen Decatur High School District! MacArthur was only 2 stories with a small elevator but SDHS was FOUR stories and no elevator!”
At the time in 1970, we had not even thought about the fact that Graduation night, four years later, might present a problem! My high school, MacArthur and Judy’s high school, Stephen Decatur, held graduation on the SAME NIGHT!!
So our family came up with a solution: Split the family up! Dad, our brother, Fred and his wife Cecelia would attend Judy’s ceremony and Mom, our sister Cheryl and her husband Rich would attend my ceremony.
Ironically, both Judy and I were among those students that sat up on the stage – not out on the basketball court floor of each gymnasium with the rest of our classmates. Judy had earned the honor by having such good grades as to make National Honor Society – all NHS students got to sit up on stage. Judy was #11 in her class!! We were so proud of her! She remembers being in the front row on stage and able to look directly across and see Dad, Fred and Celia up in the “nose bleed” section!
I was a “C” average student – yet I got to join MacArthur’s top students up on stage – of course because of music! Our Choir teacher, Ruth Helen Burlison, announced in choir there was one spot in the ceremony for a solo – I expressed my interest and told her I would audition for her. She was so nice and said I didn’t need to audition – that she just needed to know what song I had selected – but I insisted on auditioning. Maybe I wanted to end my high school experience with a successful audition as opposed to my freshman year fail? I chose John Denver’s, “Sunshine On My Shoulders”, which was popular at the time, to be the song I would sing. Another thing I enjoyed by being up on stage was getting to see all my friends receive their diplomas as they walked on by!
It was HOT that night – my sister Cheryl was 7 months pregnant with her first child and uncomfortable – I remember looking up and to the right seeing Mom, Cheryl and Rich a couple rows up in the upper section of bleachers!
Having that gown on I was really hot too! I played my 12 string guitar and about halfway through the song, one of the strings broke but I kept on going! Singing at graduation was one of my proudest moments yet when I have discussed this at class reunions over the years, no one seems to remember me singing! 🙂
The picture above of Judy and me with Mom and Dad might be confusing – MacArthur’s colors were Blue and White so one might think we graduated together. But, Judy’s school colors were RED and White. If you look closely, you can see Judy’s tassel is Red and White and mine is Blue and White! I wish I could have been there to see her big moment and I know she wishes she could have been to mine – she’s always been there cheering me on when I perform!!
Our family was a family of six distinctive personalities! Though we would go off separately exploring life’s possibilities, we would always rally together as one unit in good times and in times of trial! But that hot night in 1974, the Colvin family was split in two – a story very few in Decatur, Illinois were aware of, until now!
Dave
Please feel free to Share or Like!

In the Fall of 1970 I was a Freshman at MacArthur High School in Decatur, IL! Because of my bad knees, I got special approval to attend MacArthur despite the fact that Arizona Drive was in the Stephen Decatur High School District! MacArthur was only 2 stories with a small elevator but SDHS was FOUR stories and no elevator!
I had a LOT of changes to go through that Fall. One change was for the first time since Kindergarten, I was not in the same school as my baby sister, Judy who is 14 months younger than me. DaveandJudy
When I was 7 years old I twisted my right knee really bad on our swing set and spent months- off and on- in the hospital (I’ll write a separate post about that in the future). The school district recommended I take 2nd grade over since I had missed so many days.  So, from 2nd grade onward, Judy and I not only went to the same school – we were in the same grade! Now that she was going to SDHS and I was at MacArthur it was a big adjustment for me!
Another change was that my music endeavors had been successful at Mound Junior High, playing in two talent shows, accompanying choirs as well as singing in choir. But, High School was like the big leagues to me at that age! 🙂   SOLITARY MAN represented my first rejection in “show business”. There was a Talent Show that Fall of 1970. They held auditions. I had asked my friend, Pat Tosetti, to again back me up on guitar as he had in Junior High. DaveandPat We did fine during the audition in the gymnasium. There was a girl folk singer who was our main competition. She also auditioned well. The judges couldn’t decide which of us to choose – only one slot was available for that type of performer so they asked both of us to come back for a 2nd audition. But this time it was in a classroom. I am not sure why but this time I was very nervous! I am sure my poor performance was the reason I was not selected but they told me later that they thought we were equal in talent, but they felt since she was a Senior, this would be her last chance to perform for her peers.
I appreciated them trying to ease the pain of rejection but it still stung! I mean, that was 45 years ago and I am feeling the same angst right now re-telling this story as I did back then!
When I was deciding which songs to include on my CD “Musical Reunion” last Fall, Solitary Man was one of the songs I planned to include. But the more I listened to it, I tended to be hyper critical of my vocal and decided to leave it off the CD. Maybe it was because of my sub-conscious going back in time to the audition? It is a decent version though so I added it to my SoundCloud account so I can share it now with everyone. I did all the instrument and vocal tracks.
I hope you enjoy my cover version of Solitary Man!
love to all, Dave

LEFT elbow surgery update

Posted: July 22, 2015 in Uncategorized

On July 7th, 2015, the anesthesiologist said, “take deep breaths” as he placed the oxygen mask on my face……

Nearly everything about my left elbow surgery has been different than my right elbow surgery (detailed in my previous blog post). There was NO severe pain in the first 12 hours post-op as with the right. There was no need to keep me overnight at the hospital – I was home by 4:30 pm!
Having gone through this before so much was easier that first week. The cast/splint was much lighter (at my request). When it came off a week later the elbow was not nearly as swollen as the right had been! I again started PT right away and was soon able to touch my nose, ears and importantly, wash my hair with both hands!
Two days ago the 7 stitches were removed and I continue to exercise – so much so that I felt the urge, no, the need to try to play my guitar…. I brought the guitar out to the living room, sat on the piano bench and started playing “Sunshine On My Shoulders”!!! Then I played the instrumental part to Simon & Garfunkel’s “Bookends”! No pain, no restriction just maybe some muscle weakness from the atrophy of not playing for 6 months! That I can do something about! 🙂

A lot about having a chronic medical condition has to do with the mental aspect! Having gone through this surgery 3 years ago helped in allowing me to actually visualize how things were going to happen! This time wasn’t as emotional. I was scared last time – having to deal with the unknown. This time has had more to do with “enduring” the process! One of my mental tricks I use when I am hurting a lot is, I sit up, take a breath, and say to myself, “I CAN DO THIS”! Even if it is just getting out of bed in the morning!

I also could not have gotten through all this without Debbie! Her love, strength and determination keeps me calm regardless of what is being faced!

There is still much to do to get this elbow back into shape but the one thing I know is….
I CAN DO THIS!!!

Love, Dave

Go to “MUSICAL REUNION” to buy the CD or use these links to download the Mp3 album or individual songs! “iTunes” – “Google Music” – “Amazon Mp3” – “CDBaby

(from CD liner notes)

This CD has been a labor of love some 40+ years in the making! Join me as I reunite with the songs I learned to play guitar and piano on – songs I would continue to perform in public all these years! Not only am I reuniting with these songs, but also joining me on some of the songs – two of my best friends from my high school days! On a recent visit to Tennessee, Greg Pryor agreed to record the 1st song on the CD, “My Music”, reprising our performance on a local TV show in Decatur, IL back in March of 1974! The first 30 seconds of the song are from a recording of that show!
Also joining me on 6 other songs is Vince Thomalla! Back in 1973 Vince and I came up with a concept for a Spring high school choir program called “Musical Revolution”! Instead of singing the Gershwin or Berlin standards many choirs were singing back then, we put together a program of more current songs! Some of the songs in “Musical Reunion” are from that show and its 1974 sequel, MR-2!
Some of the songs are simply ones we loved singing from that era! This has been a wonderful journey going back through time to reunite with the music we’ve loved for so long! I hope you enjoy it too and it becomes YOUR – MUSICAL REUNION!
Song list:  Dave   * with Vince Thomalla ** with Greg Pryor #solo by Vince
1) MY MUSIC** 2) VERY LAST DAY* 3) COUNTRY ROAD* 4) DANNY’S SONG 5) I WILL* 6) IMAGINE 7) IN MY LIFE 8) YOU’VE GOT A FRIEND
9) LONELY PEOPLE 10) TIME IN A BOTTLE 11) APRIL COME SHE WILL
12) IF YOU COULD READ MY MIND*# 13) SWEET BABY JAMES*
14) BOOKENDS *

All instruments played by Dave Colvin and recorded at Arnybarn Music Studios, Brentwood, TN. Songs noted with * recorded & mixed by Kyle Sweet at The Audio Sweet, Marshfield, WI. Some songs mixed by Gary Lancaster, 83Media, Nash#ville, TN.“Imagine” and “You’ve Got a Friend” recorded at Sunset Blvd. Studios Brentwood, TN.

Check back to this blog in the future as I detail why each song is important to me/us and the history behind each song!

Please comment below and thanks for stopping by!
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