Hey, to all those readers who don’t know me, my name’s Danny. I live in Northern California, and play the accordion. I’m new to this whole word press thing, but I figured I’d join up to share my adventures with the world.

So the day before Saint Patrick’s day, I bought an antique accordion from a friend of mine. The accordion practically yelled at me to pick it up. I was pretty intimidated by it’s mighty sex appeal, so I decided to buy it. $300 cash. Biggest rip off of my life now that I think about it, but it wasn’t all that big of a rip off because I ended up learning a lot.

I got addicted to this thing as if I were addicted to cigarettes. I played it six hours a day. Sometimes even ten. I couldn’t stop. The droning sounds of bellow and reed made me light headed. I rocked that thing for two months, progressing at such a fast rate that I started playing downtown in front of random by-passers as if I had been playing for ¬†years. I radiated confidence and happiness.

But then one day, I was walking down the street with my backpack(which was heavy) and my accordion(with no case) and I decided I wanted to sling the accordion to my front so that I could disperse the weight, and not throw out my back. One of the straps missed the invisible “landing strip” that stretched out across the shoulder it was supposed to land on. I could hear the Pilot in the cockpit(my brain) turn to the co-pilot and say “You idiot! You fucked shit up!”. BOOM! the accordion landed right on the sidewalk concrete. The reeds inside fell out of their sockets and into the framework of the bellows.

I was actually really embarrassed to be honest. There were people on the street just looking at me with no bit of expression on their faces. It was weird, but I picked up the broken accordion and kept walking. I spent four hours that night opening up the accordion, readjusting the reeds, and doing it all over again if I didn’t place them in their right sockets.

After about a week of the accident, I had almost completely forgotten about it. I had just quit my franchise restaurant job to go work on a local vineyard and learn how to make wine. It was really beautiful out there, working out in the fields, with the newly planted pinot noir vines. My job was to hoe around the bases of the vines and weed out the surrounding area so that they would have room to breath and grow into the fruit bearing plants that we think of when we picture a lush French landscape.

During my lunch breaks I would eat my daily sandwich and apple as fast as possible so that I’d be able to play my accordion for the rest of my break. I felt so European looking over 200 acres of vines, and playing french waltzes.

After about three weeks of working up at the vineyard, my accordion broke again. I don’t know what caused it this time. Maybe it was the constant back and forth driving through bumpy forest dirt paths, or maybe I just exhausted it, like exhausting a woman on a fun night. Whatever the case may be, it was done. I was so disappointed. My newly found passion was taken away from me, and I didn’t have the money to buy a new one.

After a couple days, I suddenly remembered that a good friend of mine owned an accordion. I texted him and asked him if it would be okay with him if I could go over to his house every now and then to keep up with my practice until I got a new one. He didn’t respond until the next day. He told me to stop by at our friends art studio to drink espresso and hang out. I immediately jumped in my truck, squirming the entire drive there with excitement. I parked the car, got out, and heard a beautiful sounding accordion coming out of the two story, brick building that was my friend’s art studio. I walked up the stairs and saw my friends Dragonboy, Seamonster, Goat, and Max. They were all drinking espresso and focussing very intently on the crafty projects they were occupied with. Dragonboy was the one with the accordion. He let me try it, and I fell in love. More so than with my other one.

After an hour of fingering keys, and really getting to know this new woman, Dragonboy told me that he’d be willing to let me borrow her, on the condition that I don’t let anyone else play her. I agreed.

This was a bigger accordion than mine. Mine only had one kind of sound, which was the typical gypsy musette sound, and only 72 bass buttons. But this new one was something else. You could change the sound of the treble keys to either sound like a clarinet, or a raspy brass instrument, and it had the full 120 bass buttons. I learned a lot on that one.

A week after I was playing that one I was in the local coffee shop that I go to almost every day and was jacked up on five cups of coffee, and on top of that someone had boughten me a triple shot of espresso. I was wired like an electrical circuit. I went off on my friends for an hour, telling them how much I want to emerse my soul into music. I kept hearing all these beautiful sounds around me that I was much more aware of while high on that much coffee. Well, I think I was in a sense praying to god, or manifesting that dream without knowing it, because the next day the universe, or god, or however you want to title the higher power, said “Here you go!” My truck broke. $1100 to fix. I lost my job because of it. The vineyard that I worked on was forty minutes away from where I lived, so my boss told me that he was going to have to hire someone else. It was upsetting, but also exciting, because now I could be a street musician.

So I started playing my friend’s accordion on the street in front of the bars from six o’clock in the afternoon to three thirty o’clock in the morning and made over a $100 dollars a night.

But here’s where things started to get tricky. This is where I’m at now in my life, and am trying to reach out to you readers out there who know what it’s like to have a fiery passion that’s being held back because of financial circumstances. I’m moving to San Francisco in a month because it’s been really tough to get by in the town that I live in, especially with the economy and all the bad luck that I keep attracting to myself(like the accordion and truck breaking, losing my job, and a lot of other things too). My grandmother has a house there that she’s going to let me live in so that I don’t have to pay bills and can get myself back on my feet. Her only condition was that I focus on school. So I’m going to go to the city college down there and street perform to make money to pay for the units.

But, there’s a catch; I have to return my friend’s accordion before I leave, which means I wont be able to street perform. I’m calling out to you readers to help chip in little by little to help support my accordion fund.

I want to make everyone of you to feel like you’re a part of this accordion that I’m saving up for, so I’m going to write a blog once a week about all the adventures that the accordion has lead me on.

Much much love,

Danny Staechs

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