Rock trivia

Following ex-Red Sox players at their new homes is enjoyable to me.  Consider Mookie Betts now playing well in Los Angeles, or in times past, when Nomar Garciaparra left the Sox and played at a number of clubs, at shortstop, third base and first base for the Chicago Cubs, LA Dodgers and Oakland Athletics.  I’ll be watching David Price next year and Kevin Pillar too.

Likewise, following rock ‘n roll stars from the late 60s onward, the likes of Ginger Baker, Eric Clapton and the constantly changing entourage of Fleetwood Mac, makes for an enjoyable escape for me.  I enjoy listening to cuts and riffs and outtakes through sites like, a visual and auditory search engine.  I enjoy their exploits, their comings and goings.

Some people follow movie stars or NASCAR drivers, Olympic athletes, or TikTok videos, or comedians like Sarah Cooper as escapes from today’s dreary, scary scene perpetrated by the POTUS.  Making fun of him is a pastime too; but now I’m more alarmed than ever before.  He’s not just a joke. He’s a menace and hazardous to our health.  It seems like a race against time.  How much more weakening of critical institutions such as the judiciary and the press (and now the beloved postal system too) can he damage or dismantle, and how much more can be tolerated?  We know democracies die when the political parties  let them.  And when given a chance, the voters don’t rise to the occasion and see what’s really going on.

No doubt about it: our democracy is in danger.  We have a POTUS who endorses violence and mayhem, rather than condemn it.  He ignores and abandons his job to protect 330,000,000 Americans.  He truly seems to be running on a pro-pandemic and unAmerican agenda.  And he’s got the Republican Party riding shotgun with him.  As authors Steven Levitsky and Daniel Ziblatt write in their must-read book “How Democracies Die”:

“Keeping authoritarian politicians out of power is more easily said than done. Democracies, after all, are not supposed to ban parties or prohibit candidates from standing for election- and we do not advocate such measures. The responsibility for filtering out authoritarians lies, rather, with political parties and party leaders: democracy’s gatekeepers” (page26).

The unimaginable is happening right before our very eyes. 2020 is a choice between authoritarianism or democracy.  It truly is.

That’s why I need a mindless escape from the daily horrors of the Trump administration, (taking a break from letter-writing, phone banking, demonstrations, and GOTV campaign planning), and am anxious about the tension and turmoil likely to follow the national election barely two months away.

I was drawn to a most remarkable, lengthy article in “The Times of Israel” (of all places!) a few days ago about the death of Peter Green, founder and leader of Fleetwood Mac.  Real name: Peter Greenbaum originally of London’s East End, he apparently turned his back on his fame and fortune at age 34, pursued a religious journey, and then proceeded to take copious amounts of illicit drugs. He was then diagnosed “schizophrenic” and admitted into a mental hospital.  (Fleetwood Mac (the group) was formed in 1967, originally by ex-John Mayall’s Bluesbreakers Peter Green, along with John McVie, Fleetwood Mac (the person) and Jeremy Spencer).

Green is considered one of the greatest guitarists in rock history along with Joe Bonamassa, Eric Clapton and Steve Ray Vaughn (who died tragically in a helicopter crash thirty years ago last week).  Green replaced Clapton in 1966 (in the Bluesbreakers). Fleetwood Mac (the group) started as a traditional British blues band but metamorphosed into a more pop oriented band over time, constantly changing its performers from one recording to another.   According to my “The Rolling Stone Encyclopedia of Rock ‘n Roll” (Third edition), Peter Greenbaum was born October 29, 1946.   After leaving Fleetwood Mac he stopped performing but eventually returned to the music scene and recorded as a new group “The Peter Green Splinter Group” in 1997 at the age of 51.

Interesting bit of rock trivia. It’s all rock trivia.

Of all the rock performers, Eric Clapton has to be the king for me.  As mentioned earlier, he was a member of the Bluesbreakers in spring 1965 but left in July 1966 and cut a few tracks with Jimmy Page, bassist Jack Bruce and drummer Ginger Baker and together they formed Cream. Cream too didn’t last long; they disbanded in November 1968 though made an indelible impact for high volume blues jamming and extended solos in live shows. I remember listening over and over again with friends in awe to Ginger Baker’s drum solos. I felt rock stars had it all.

Ginger Baker died about a year ago (October 6, 2019 to be exact), age 80.  I noticed the obituary, did you?

Ginger is gone but Ringo is not. He’s 80. Paul is 78. Mick Jagger is 77, Jimmy Page is 76 and Eric Clapton is 75.  They’re all not much older than me.  How did that happen?  How could that happen?  How can this be?  They were bigger than life itself fifty five years ago, and what was I?  I guess they are mere mortals like you and me now.  I guess they always were.

I enjoy reading profiles of these rock legends. Their early years and personal development in particular, but also their professional (musical) associations and friends, their escapades and fortune.  It’s gratifying for me to learn that Eric Clapton, worth millions, has given back to society. Once a heroin addict himself, many years ago he got clean, and used some of his fortune to set up addiction treatment centers.

Speaking of fortunes of high net worth individuals, recently I have started producing “Wealth and Philanthropic Profiles” for a social advocacy non profit’s fundraising team.  The content provided is part of their business plan/fundraising strategy as it provides “insider intelligence” to foster relationships between the non profit and the individual.

I use numerous sources and techniques to uncover characteristics of donors and prospects, but not everything is accessible to me, and what’s publicly available about individuals varies from jurisdiction to jurisdiction.  The reports I generate consist of biographic details, sources of wealth, assets, career history, professional associations, charitable giving history, real estate holdings, family connections.  These reports help front line fundraisers engage more efficiently and effectively with prospects and/or in an entirely new way.   This information can help fundraisers upgrade existing donors and help fundraisers determine whom to ask, how much to ask for, how to ask and when to ask.   The report also may identify “red flags” that may get in the way of success.

Good stuff for good causes.  There’s so much need today.  So many people hurting.   That’s what’s important for me today. 

Published by Richard Halpern

Retired (but busy) after a lengthy career in business marketing, communications and research. Worked at four start-ups and one turnaround. Now volunteer doing prospect research for a climate activity and social advocacy non profit, amongst other things.

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