A Tribute to My Father-In-Law Deck

I miss my father-in-law, Charles Dexter Hogan, known far and wide as “Deck”. Like many of his generation, Deck joined the Navy after Pearl Harbor. He’d played high school dances at Modesto High before the war. Once he joined up he toured the South Pacific playing his already legendary trumpet and trombone with the USO Shows. Deck played with all the greats of his time, The Tommy Dorsey Band, Red Norvo, Harry James, Dave Brubeck. He was in the USO band when Bob Hope and Bing Crosby played shows in South Pacific bases like Espiritu Santo.


Deck loved his family, boat racing and his music equally. He and his band “Hogin’s Heroes” played parties, weddings and every sort of event for years all over the Valley. Hogin’s Heroes played at our wedding and Deck personally played St. Louie Blues at my Father’s funeral. Deck was a student of Frank “Proof” Mancini and played for years and years with MoBand at Concert in the Park. He and the “Heroes” were often invited to play the Dixieland Jazz Festival in Sacramento and other jazz festivals. He even played in Japan as part of the sister City exchange under Mayor Lang’s administration.

Deck’s day job was delivering kegs of beer for Delta Brands throughout the area. In his younger days he was an avid hydroplane boat racer and would drag his family around the State to races. His racing days ended when he was seriously injured in a boating accident, fortunately the accident didn’t affect his ability to play his music.

Deck practiced every day. I sometimes think I can still hear him playing scales in the evenings. Upon his death, Deck left all of his musical equipment to our son, Alex. Deck must have known Alex possessed the “music gene” in addition to the “art gene”, Alex has become quite the guitarist and recently I heard him practicing the trumpet.

I firmly believe each and every one of us are unique. I’ve based my practice and life on this fact. But some people really step right into their calling, their uniqueness, and when they do, they change the world on their platform. Deck’s was call was his love of music and he played it out right here in Modesto.

Thank you Deck!
Deck’s Memorial at McHenry Museum – 2008
Watch “Dixieland Dirge” in Modesto for Deck’s wake

Amy Winehouse, Gone Too Soon

Do you ever notice how the really great singers / performers seem to die young? Elvis Presley, John Lennon, Kurt Cobain, Jimi Hendrix, Jim Morrison, Bob Marley and the woman I am going to focus on, Amy Winehouse, to name a few. (If you are interested in a more in-depth list that includes actors, click here.) Amy Winehouse was known for her powerful, voice, among other things. She was not only an amazingly talented singer, she also wrote her own music and played the guitar. According to eonline.com, “Amy was intelligent beyond her years. She would devour the Sunday newspapers at her best friend Juliette’s house. While her peers were reading teen magazines, Amy would sit at the kitchen table peppering Juliette’s mom with questions about news stories”. She was intelligent, and a beautiful soul, who tragically lost her life at the age of 27. I again say it seems many of our talented artists pass when they are young, and sadly, many from drugs or alcohol. Amy Winehouse died on July 23, 2011. Instead of remembering her for the bad parts of her life, I am going to memorialize the good parts, including one of my favorite albums “Back to Black”.

Be Aware of the Stress in Your Life

April is stress awareness month, and since most of us like to go, go, go, I thought I would remind you to stop, and give back to yourself. I found the following stress relief tips on WebMD website.
-Meditation: While the site lists a very traditional meditation, sitting still with legs crossed repeating positive mantras, I believe mediation can be more than just that. Meditation is about learning how to stop the mind from wandering and looking within. Here is an article with additional thoughts on meditation. If you are worried you won’t be able to figure out how, try taking a yoga class, as it will help to teach you.

-Deep Breathing: It can be helpful to take slow deep breaths, calming you, and eventually helping to bring the heart rate and blood pressure down.

-Laughing: They say laughing is the best medicine, and they say this for a reason. It is true, laughing out loud can actually make you feel better. It boosts the brain releasing endorphins, and those make you happy!

-Music: Yes! Are you a fan? I like a little of everything, from the Beatles, and Rolling Stones, to Amy Winehouse, Beck, and Bob Marley. Music can help to lower blood pressure, thus relieving stress.

-Exercise: Movement helps to decrease stress too! Walking, running, riding a bike, yoga, barre, find a class or trail that suits you and get moving! Let out the stress from your day in physical movement. And bonus, you can get in shape, and get healthy!

There are other ways to relieve your stress, you can check the link for help. Whatever you choose, don’t let the stress overtake you. It is so easy to say we don’t have time for stress relief, but stress is literally toxic, and can make us sick. Here is a link on how stress effects you, please take care of yourself.

The Day The Music Died

Today is known as the day the music died. It was on this day in 1959 that a tragic plane crash killed Buddy Holly, Richie Valens, and J.P. Richardson, known as the Big Bopper. The plane crash was ruled as pilot error, and deficiencies in the weather briefing by the Civil Aeronautics Board. However, in 2015 pilot L.J. Coon submitted a request to the NTSB (National Transportation Safety Board) to re-open the investigation. According to the Des Moines Register, “Coon had contended that there were other issues involving weight and balance calculations, fuel-gauge readings, and more that contributed to the crash”. On April 21, 2015, the agency determined there was not enough merit to re-open it.


For a more detailed list of artists that have died in plane crashes please click here. No matter how you spin it, or what lawsuits come out of it, it is a tragedy.

Happy Birthday Jimmy Page

Happy Birthday Jimmy Page!  Yes, he’s still alive, guitarist and leader of the mega-famous band “Led Zeppelin” turns 72 years old today.

24th Annual Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame Induction Ceremony - Press Room

Jimmy Page was recently in court with his friend and former band mate Robert Plant over copyright infringements of the introduction to the 1971 hit “Stairway to Heaven”. A quick read through the reported proceedings from the day in court show that Page & Plant are still rock n rollers through and through.

It’s a bit difficult to consider the impact Page, Plant and the rest of Led Zeppelin had on music, their signature song “Stairway to Heaven” is estimated to be worth over $550 million alone.  Been a while since you listened?  Here it is performed by the band live at Madison Square Garden, New York in 1974.

Happy Birthday To The King!!!

No stranger to lawsuits, Elvis Presley’s estate litigation went on for over 2 years alone. The more interesting note is the number of lawsuits that have come out of Graceland since Elvis’s death against others.


The latest is BrewDog brewery and Graceland’s legal entanglement influenced the BrewDog Co founders to legally change their names to “Elvis”. Get the story here .

Happy Birthday Elvis!

Old Rock Day

What is rock and roll without a lawsuit, afterall, lawsuits are just part of doing business.  In addition to some great music from the time; check out this YouTube clip of the Top 50 Classic Rock Songs of All Time.  Let’s take a look at the Top 10 Infamous Rock Lawsuits of all time.


The list gets started with a suit of copyright infringement between Bright Tunes, who owns the rights to The Chiffons hit, “He’s So Fine” and George Harrison for the song “My Sweet Lord”.  Before “My Sweet Lord” even completed its run up to it’s eventual #1, Bright Tunes filed suit.  A judge did indeed find for Bright Tunes and ordered Harrison to pay out ¾ of the royalties he had received from “My Sweet Lord”. Read on for more details about this, and others including  John Fogerty, Neil Young, Pink Floyd and more.