Every day our dream gets a little bigger, a little more real and another step closer to where we want to be.
Our builders are pouring concrete, mixing mortar, laying bricks and crushing rock, and slowly but steadily our little tourist lodge is taking shape.
But thousands of miles away in Los Angeles a similar thing is happening in a very different way, as our daughter Oda is helping her boyfriend Derek put another brick in the wall of his musical career…and he’s crushing rock too.
More about how the builders are rocking it in our Valley of the Stars below, but for weeks I’ve been dying to share the story of the other star in our family and how his crowds are getting bigger and the people he shares a stage with are becoming increasingly legendary.
This week’s blog is a leftfield rabbit hole of distraction...we all need a little distraction right now…and this is a good story that’s just getting better.
Derek’s journey towards twenty first century rock stardom is a great lesson in how raw talent along with hard work and a dedication verging on obsession can get you to beyond where you want to be.
So here’s the tale of how our daughter became a rock band tour manager who now hangs out with Def Leppard and how Derek Day was asked to perform at the memorial concert for the Foo Fighter’s Taylor Hawkins last month at LA’s Kia Forum.
His name not only appeared on the same billing as Brian May, Pink and Miley Cyrus, but he stood in the shoes of Mötley Crüe front man Vince Neil, belting out some big numbers on stage with the Foo Fighters themselves, to a sold-out house of 18,000.
Derek was 13 when he started busking under the watchful eye of his dad on Santa Monica Promenade.
His guitar case filled up with coins as he recited some of the rock classics of a different generation while he honed his guitar playing and performance.
Derek and Oda first met at high school when we lived in LA, and we used to go along to watch his band the Kidneys play in grungy highschooler hangouts, and five years ago they started going out together.
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The Kidneys joined forces with a famous Desperate Housewives child-actress who wanted to get into rock n roll, and so No Babies, No Bullets was born with D.Day on lead guitar.
The band played some of the big LA venues like the Troubadour, the Rainbow, the Viper Room and the Roxy, but Derek was always the better front man and Rachel Fox is apparently doing very well these days as a stock market trader.
We managed to persuade Derek to play at the Byline Festival in the UK and some of the top live bars in Nairobi while he was visiting us in Kenya with Oda.
It was a wonderful sound and visual experience with fantastic music and colourful psychedelic projections.
Fender started giving him guitars, and Derek picked up some awards for his own band’s song and video Fine Lines and then he was asked to front the up and coming band Classless Act.
In the blink of an eye they were on a tour of more than 30 states opening for Dorothy and they had a new tour manager keeping them on the road...enter Oda Spross.
Next thing he’s on stage high-kicking with (Run) DMC, collaborating with all sorts of legends of rock, and then hanging out with Queen’s Brian May, where “yo, ‘sup,” might have been cooler than, “hello Brian, my girlfriend’s dad interviewed you in Cape Town at the Nelson Mandela concert 20 years ago for the BBC – do you remember him?”
(I believe it was a no, but I do remember he was very tall).
With more tours on the horizon (and one just last week: Aftershock with KISS, My Chemical Romance and Muse), we only hope hard rock makes a modern-day comeback for a new generation.
The 70s and 80s music obsessed Harry, preteen member of our wonderful friends the Vowles family certainly thinks so.
Here’s some Derek Day to neatly bring us back to building site reality and a lot of hard work without either immediate recognition, nor the crowds.
In a charred but daily greening Vale das Estrelas, our builders (as well as our bushes) have been on fire...and both our main building and a villa are taking shape.
I’m so glad I built our indoor/outdoor room with Rui more than a year ago...it really helped me understand a the process of building wooden boxes to house reinforcing steel and pour concrete into.
Just another brick on the floor: the brick walls flew up and then flew down again courtesy of a high wind (from the east again...nothing good comes of them).
From the foundations to the pillars – next stop the beams – things are moving super fast in the Valley.
Fantastic - we love LA...honestly if it wasn't remote rural Alentejo, it would be slightly more hectic LA...although I'm not sure Garfie the Rafeiro do Alentejo would like it very much!
Your family gets cooler with every blog. This takes it to a whole new level!