Twenty years is a long time between gigs, and before I could clear out the cobwebs and reacquaint myself with music’s interconnected disciplines, I had to do battle with fear. What would musicians who knew me as a critic think if I caused a train wreck onstage? Eventually, I worked up the nerve to call an in-demand guitarist I’d written about several times — mostly favorably, but the last time was in a scathing negative review of a band that later broke up. I left a message that said I didn’t expect a return call, and that I understood completely if he wanted no part of me.
Tom and I sat next to each other for years. Great guy.