I’ve always considered myself mostly a loner – one of those guys with a lot of acquaintances but very few real friends. Though I can say (like my old man used to say) that I know people in every port I’ve visited, I’ve bounced around too much and traveled too much to really make good friendships. You know, the type of friend that will still be there for you after your wallet is empty. The type that you can always count on, not so much for big things, but just for a friendly word and smile when you need it most. I may not have many close friends but the ones that I have, I feel honored to know… from a childhood friend like Dominic Roggio, who was there for me throughout my cancer nightmare, to Nicky Kalliongis who befriended me right after my life came apart at the seams after AMERICADE broke up in 1984. Of course, my best friend is my soul mate, my wife Lisa and now, although I’m daddy first and always, I consider my four sons my best friends.
There are some friends though, that although you might not know them your whole life or have spent a whole lot of time with them, are just special to you… nothing heavy …just a friend that, no matter how much time passes since you seen them last, never makes you feel distant. Greg Smith has always been that kind of friend to me.
We met a long time ago in a place far, far away… a lot of beers ago! Even as I type this, a smile comes on my face, because Greg is that type of friend – someone who seems to always be happy with his lot (the Irish in him, I suspect) and always on top of his game. He’s been a “professional” musician as long as I know him and in professional, I don’t just mean he gets paid for playing, because all of us scrubs have done that. I mean, he’s a rare breed that always carries himself like a pro. He can rock as hard as anyone I’ve ever seen or had the honor to perform with (Greg’s the best bass player I’ve ever known and I’ve known my share); he can step off the stage and have a pint with you but then, usually while the rest of us become drunken fools (read: me), Greg is shaking hands and booking his next gig.
When a band, like the one I was in breaks up, you go from the spotlight to lights out with most everyone and in a heartbeat. The entertainment business can be brutal and the moment you’re not engaged …your history. Like my cancer experience (which was 1,000 times worse) you become a social pariah, as if your being out of a gig (or having cancer) is contagious, but Greg’s the type that never treats you differently …whether I was on top of the world or the “balls of my ass” (another "my Pop" expression, not sure what it means), Greg always treated me the same, with a smile and a kind word …it’s funny how, out of all your life experiences …a smile and a kind word actually end up meaning the most!
I didn’t write this to embarrass the happy Irishman or any of my other friends but something about my cancer battle makes me feel like - time is too short – and we seem to spend too much time on bs …and not enough time valuing and expressing what matters most to us. To me it’s my faith, my family and my friends …and nothing else even comes close. The apostle Paul tells us:
“Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.” (Phil 4:8)
I’m sure if any of you are reading this and know him, you probably have similar feelings toward Mr. Smith …he’s just that type of guy …so I said it for all of us! It’s where my head is at, on this beautiful Sabbath!
I really like the social networking (my website …Facebook …Twitter… etc) because it allows someone like me to stay connected …and I think for the first time in my life, I’m making more, real friendships with so many of you who may be reading this now …very cool!
There are a bunch of “Greg and me” tales to tell – maybe another time – another blog. For today - later on I’ll be going out with my wife and when we raise our glass, we’ll toast our friends and Greg Smith will be at the top of my list.
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Dean Wesley Smith