My Dad was Rick Curtis; he made his very small mark in the music business in the 60s and 70s as a songwriter and musician. He was in multiple bands, one of them being Crazy Horse. He and my uncle were in the Crazy Horse line-up circa early 1970s and on the album, Crazy Horse at Crooked Lake. He also co-wrote many songs, one of which went platinum, called “Southern Cross” and is on the Crosby, Stills, and Nash album “Daylight Again”.
He knew lots of cool people and played music with the likes of Lindsey Buckingham and Stevie Nicks (before they were in Fleetwood Mac). After they joined up with Fleetwood, they borrowed one of my Dad’s songs called “Blue Letter” and that also went platinum.
I say all this not to be braggy, but to draw attention to the fact that my Father was good at pursuing a music career, but he died alone in his apartment in his mid-fifties. He lived fast and loved many, he was a great artist and musician (so many people say) but he never settled down. He was married multiple times, had multiple children, but in the end he was alone.
He was my Dad for about three years. My parents had a very tumultuous relationship, ruined completely by substance abuse, and ending with a definitive separation in which my Mom left town with me and came to Panama City without looking back. I never saw him again. He died when I was 9.
They both contributed to the demise of their relationship.
I like to think that my Dad stayed away from me, not because he didn’t love me, but because he felt inadequate. After three failed marriages and three attempts at being a Father (spread out over 20 years) he couldn’t subject me to what he subjected my half brother and sister. Basically, he gave up trying.
I am not like Rick Curtis, he was in many ways a talent that only comes around once in a while. He was artistic and musical to his core. He could sing and play just about any instrument. He was a painter. I compare myself often to him, thinking about how much I wish I could have a brain that can compose well written songs, one after another (minus the crazy addictions).
My love for music is ingrained in me. Most of my first memories are around guitars and microphones. My parents toted me to their shows (my Mom played drums) and many times I was handed to someone they knew at the bar. My very first dream was wanting to sing and play guitar.
Fast forward years later when I started singing and leading worship in church, which lead to me meeting my husband.
Early in our marriage I remember going to a show at the Corner Coffee House (aka Eastgate) and seeing the band Forever Changed play (they were so good). I had seen bands play before, many of which I enjoyed, but I left feeling different that night. It was like a spark had been ignited in me. I knew I loved playing music, but from that point on I felt like I should be making music with others. I knew I was supposed to be in a band.
The idea of being in a band up to that point seemed pretty weird to me. Mainly because the thought of being in a band reminded me of this unattainable goal that the whole of my family, the Curtis clan, learned about the hard way. My Father chased a dream for his entire life and ended up alone. Instead of being glad that he had accomplished a musical career that most people could only dream of attaining, he ended up unhappy with no one to share his memories with. I didn’t want to do that. I didn’t want to be so idealistic that my family suffered, or end up dying alone never feeling fulfilled.
After seeing Forever Changed perform I left feeling like being in a band and making music with people would be fulfilling and awesome. We didn’t have to be signed by a label, or play in front of thousands of people. We could just hang out, play music, and make friends.
So as many (possibly few) of you may know, I was in a band for four years called Save the Ship. We didn’t pump out chart-topping-hits, but we did have a lot of fun and we built lasting friendships with awesome people. I look back on that time in my life and I am so grateful for it.
I have a beautiful son now, and I would never leave him for the prospect of fame, or another hit song. He gets to see his mommy make music and still hang around. He gets to see his Daddy make music, record people, and get joy out of the process.
I may not have a platinum record, but my life is awesome.