25 09 2016

I wasn’t much more than a kid when I met Frank who was easily ten years my senior; and I remember the feeling of awe I had talking with him and others after a concert in Rock _nColumbus. Frank was the lead guitar player and backup singer to a band that had one gold record and were working on their next. He was living the dream that each up and coming musician desired with a heartfelt passion, to have their name on a record label and perform in front of thousands of admiring fans. Frank and the rest of the group had even done a spot on Johnny Carson, so this was like standing before royalty as we chatted and joked about trivial little matters, just like a bunch of old friends would do when they came together. I remember especially how Frank had some fun with me since it was obvious how enamored I was being in his presence, still he just carried on like an average joe who chose not to come off as someone special, and I always appreciated that. “Hey Miler, if you’re not doing anything you want to be my guitar tech tomorrow night? All you have to do is be ready with whatever guitar I want and change a string if I break any; you interested?” Interested?!! I could hardly get a “yes” out, I was so excited!

My role was pretty small the next night; Frank only switched guitars once, but I still stood ready for the call. From where I was backstage I could see the masses pressed up against the stage yelling, dancing and singing every word to each song. I watched Frank and he seemed to draw strength and energy from the crowd as he cranked out hot guitar licks and sang with an enthusiasm beyond any words I could use to describe. “Oh to live Frank’s life would be so incredible,” I thought. What I wouldn’t do to be out there on that stage then and every night, living the dream, just like Frank.

Ask anyone in the industry and they’ll tell you that only 1% of all musicians will make it to the big time; and of that count just 1% of 1% will spend their entire career on top. Frank and the band were no exception to the rule; when their “15 minutes of fame” was over, the only time you ever heard from them was when an oldies radio station would still play the song they were known for best.  The band split up and 3 of the 4 settled into a more domestic lifestyle. One went back to college and is now an engineer for Ford in Detroit, one became a minister while the other bought and ran a car parts store in Louisville. But Frank never pursued what others would call a normal life; he continues playing music in any band that would have him be it rock or country. The venues are much smaller than what he once performed in and seldom did anyone know who he was. Talking to a mutual friend, I once made the comment, “Too bad Frank never settled down and got serious about something for his life.” I was met with a “What are you talking about?” “If you don’t think Frank isn’t doing exactly what he wants to do and enjoying life to the fullest, then you never knew the man.” I learned Frank didn’t need his name in lights and playing arenas, he just needed to play; that was what he was born for, that was his lifetime calling. Be it 10 or 10,000 he performed in front of, as long the people were enjoying what he did he was the happiest man in the room, and no job or treasure would ever replace that.

Often I think of Frank and his love of making music for others in the same light as my talents and using them for the love of my Lord. After all His Word tells us, “Whatever you do, do your work heartily, as for the Lord rather than for men.”

What would Christianity and Christ look like to the rest of the world if each of us who call ourselves Believers lived our lives performing our talents and our tasks with the same type of joy Frank feels that keeps his drive alive to play music. Gives the Gray One a shiver of joy just thinking about it.

So here’s another “Traveler of the Rock Road” that will never know how he touched my life, with his passion and love for the gift he possesses. Frank, whether you’ll ever know it or not, you showed my Jesus. Thank you, and keep rockin!

See ya next time.




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