GUEST WRITER: Josh Chapin on.. well, Me.

My very beloved “little” brother Josh wanted to pledge more than he could afford to my pledge music campaign (, so I proposed he write something and send to his contacts, instead. Here’s what he came up with.


The Ballad of Ricky Jenny Bobby Crump
You know what fires me up?  Going for it.  Going for it raw and fast and right off the rails, and especially right off that moment when you might’ve settled into a nasty rut – tasting some good ‘ole fashioned, scary-as-hell change.  I just turned forty.  One time I pulled my Grand Wagoneer into a snow bank on Route 30 in Vermont and the battery ran down and dead trying to keep the heating going and also me hoping to pull the thing out by myself, but knowing damned well I needed some help.  This is before cell phones, mind you.  Well, eventually, Super Vermonter guy comes by, draped in plaid wool and as he is helping me jump the car, darned if he didn’t say – “You sure are lucky I came by when I did.  That battery was deader than a popcorn fart.” 

Okay.  Maybe I just like the phrase.  But, I’m here to tell you – I just about feel sometimes that my vitality, my goals and aspirations, finding my so-called passion – it’s all deader than a popcorn fart.  And all this with a father that packed more into his last decade than ten men could touch in lifetime.  And I have this pain in the ass sister who keeps on fighting the good fight, pretty much exactly as it should be done.  She’s got the fire; the fiesty eff-you, the I’m-still-comin’ approach to life that my Dad preached and lived and that I’m still trying to grasp a smidgeon of.  Here she is years back showing her stuff on Conan O’Brien.

She is Jen Chapin.  And she’s recording an album now.  She has jumped in the deep end of the pool and is winging it, without a net.  Without missing a beat, raising her two boys and filling her days with trying to right the wrongs in her Brooklyn community, she has hired as her producer Kevin Killen, who engineered such iconic rock albums as U2’s The Unforgettable Fire and Peter Gabriel’s So.  He has been working in the industry for 30 years and keeps adding extensive engineering, mixing and producing credits to an already ridiculous list of achievements.  And he has chosen to work with Jen.  They are mixing the album as we speak.

Some of us know how difficult it is to rev it up mid-life.  I am loving what she is going for, and regardless of this album’s relative success in the market, she is making the kind of courageous decisions about her career and future that will pay serious dividends going forward.

My lack of communications savvy had me needing to just include every contact I’ve ever e-mailed back and forth with, so I didn’t filter for logic.  Some of you may not even know who I am or who Jen Chapin is or who Harry Chapin was, but we all know the need for a lift when we are putting our proverbial arse on the line and I would hope that you could take a shot with a small contribution to Jen’s effort.  Give $5 and find me and I’ll buy you a beer back.

Here is the link to her PledgeMusic drive to pay for the album.  Thanks for listening. 

And if you need a fire starter in your own life and can’t see your way to supporting Jen, then use this message as a catalyst to make your own courageous change…

There was a man once who lost his nerve and was overcome by fear.  He needed to get back to what he was born to do, but needed help from a friend.  We all need that kind of help from a friend.  My sister means the world to me.  Please give her whatever lift you can spare and pay it forward.

I leave you with a defining moment from Talledega Nights, a continuing source of inspiration for Jen and myself…
Susan: [telling Ricky why he should get back into racing] It’s because it’s what you love to do. It’s who you were born to be. And here you sit–thinking! Well, Ricky Bobby is not a thinker. Ricky Bobby is a driver. He is a doer, and that’s what you need to do. You don’t need to think. You need to drive. You need speed. You need to go out there, and you need to rev your engine. You need to fire it up. You need to grab ahold of that line between speed and chaos, and you need to wrestle it to the ground like a demon cobra. And then, when the fear rises up in your belly, you use it. And you know that fear is powerful, because it has been there for billions of years! And it is good! And you use it! And you ride it; you ride it like a skeleton horse through the gates of hell, and then you win, Ricky! You WIN! And you don’t win for anybody else. You win for you, you know why? Because a man takes what he wants. He takes it all. And you’re a man, aren’t you? Aren’t you?!
Ricky: Susan, I’ve never heard you talk like that… Are we about to get it on? Because I’m as hard as a diamond in an ice storm right now.

God speed,

Josh Chapin


7 responses to “GUEST WRITER: Josh Chapin on.. well, Me.

  1. Josh u won’t remember me becuase u and Jen were young at the OAF playhouse back stage with your uncles Tom, Steve and the non musical professor uncle with your mom. Your dad invited me there backstage to meet u all. After that my wife n I would meet them at the broadway play ( numerous times) at political event ( Howard Samuels Hampton home) We loved to talk with him we were at a BBQ at the Huntington house. Your right he packed it all in that short time.jen is picking up the baton Tom kept it alive too and now his kids doing the baton thing too. Just so you know Jen has a lot of support from faces she hadn’t seen or many she doesn’t remember. My sons are in the music biz because if your dad and Tom. Remember what Tom would say on his tv show. Make a wish it might come true. It did for my kids they love music and make some good money. Look up Paul David hager and josh hager. It was your family inspiration Jen has the sane inspiration At some point I believe my kids and you guys will meet up and maybe my family can help yours. Say hi to your mom she might remember me

  2. I’m 36 and live just outside Philadelphia. I have been a serious fan of Harry Chapin since I was in high school in the early 90s. If there is anything at all that I can do to help please let me know. The music is giving me so much and I would love the opportunity to be able to give a little back.

  3. Wow Josh. That was great. It’s so wonderful to see your writing and your love and support of Jen. She is an amazing talent and I love to listen to her CD’s. And you know that I always smile when I think of the entire family and all the incredible times that we had. We certainly did create memories but Harry was more than special to so many people. He cared about the world and had such an influence on my life. I often look up to heaven and say “Harry, I’m trying my best”. I know that he is smiling and probably laughing at some of the things that I do. And I know he does the same for Jaime, Jono, Jason, Jen and you.

    Thank you again for your poignant words. I will go and order Jen’s reviews now. I won’t be able to make the book signing in Huntington next week but I will have Mom and Bob come down and buy a book for me. Tons of love to you- Martha.

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