A Little About Me – The Intersection of Music and Covid-19

During this time of social distancing because of the Covid-19 pandemic, we still try to keep to some of our normal routines. As much as we can anyway. One of those things for me is getting ready to sing at a wedding in June. Yeah, really. Let me explain.

Over at the ol’ Facebook campaign page, I’ve been doing some additional writing about my views and about me. In one of those posts, I talked about my time in the Navy as a Russian linguist and how, when I was studying Russian in Monterey, I was also in a Russian Choir. You can see the blurb and pics here. I’ve also done some other singing over the years. This includes the fact that I’ve been the lead singer in a few garage/basement bands over the years. The most recent one of those is a group called The White Hot. When I was living in Northern Virginia, I hooked up with some guys and we played around a bit. A few gigs. Mostly learning songs in the basement. After I left Northern Virginia and moved to Knox County, some friends of the band asked if we’d play a wedding. I was already here in Tennessee, but I had reason to go back to Virginia occasionally, so I agreed. The gig (which we played for free) went well. The family had a good time and so did the band.

I thought that might be my swan song on stage, but then, in March 2019, some other friends of the band were scheduling a wedding for June 2020. They had a great time at the other wedding. Would we be willing to play their wedding? After much discussion, we said yes. Fifteen months should be enough time to put together some songs, especially if we relied mostly on the stuff we’ve done before. So, for the last year I’ve been flying into town and practicing with the guys to get ready for this coming wedding. I’ve written here and here about those practices, if you care to get some more details.

But now we’ve got a pandemic that has shut down almost everything. I was going to fly up for a practice in April, but, uh, no thank you. Now, sensibly, the family has put off the wedding from June 20 to August 15. So we’re still a go. At least for now. And that means that I’m still doing my homework on this end, even with the pandemic. We’re a cover band, so I listen to the songs, work on my phrasing, make sure I can still hit the notes. Things like that.

Then last night, I heard the news that Adam Schlesinger had died from complications due to Covid-19. In case you don’t know the name, you might know some of his work. He was one of the members of the band Fountains of Wayne. He was a prolific songwriter. He did a lot of the songwriting on the TV show Crazy Ex-Girlfriend. He also wrote (or co-wrote) the song, That Thing You Do, from the movie of the same name.

All of the deaths from this pandemic are tragedies. By focusing on the death of this moderately famous songwriter, I don’t mean to diminish any of the other deaths that have occurred or will occur. But this one hit me pretty hard. And for the silliest of reasons. He wrote two of the songs that we play or have played in The White Hot.

Our current setlist includes That Thing You Do…

And we have previously done Stacy’s Mom, by Fountains of Wayne. I’m gonna post a live version here because this is a family friendly blog. If you’re a guy of a certain age, though, you probably know the official music video which includes Rachel Hunter and a lot of pop culture references.

So, since last night, I’ve been checking out songs by him, including the ones we’ve done in the band. There’s lots of good stuff out there.

But, Mr. Schlesinger’s death is probably not going to be the last death from this pandemic that hits close to home for me. And there are many people out there who are losing loved ones or fearing for their own safety or the safety of others. This thing is bad and is probably going to get worse. Please stay safe out there. Listen to what the experts are saying. Let’s do everything we can to save as many lives as possible. This is a time for us all to pull together. Metaphorically, of course. If we meet out at the grocery store, though, don’t be offended if I stay six feet away.

Down at the bottom of the homepage of this blog is all of my personal contact information, including my personal cell phone. If I can help you with anything, don’t hesitate to call me.


Published by Todd Frommeyer for Knox County Commission

Retired Air Force JAG, former Navy Russian linguist, former consumer financial regulator, political junkie

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