At home in Aspen: From quarantine, musician Brad Manosevitz releases ‘Even the Bad Days (Are Pretty Good)’
In the week after stay-home orders went into effect in the Aspen area in mid-March, the longtime local musician Bradley “Bradman” Manosevitz was already writing and recording music to exorcize the fear and pain of the public health and economic crisis caused by novel coronavirus. And, perhaps, to offer some hope.
The brutal economic fallout of the crisis hit Manosevitz early and hard.
He was working as an audio-visual engineer at the Wheeler Opera House’s presentation of “Million Dollar Quartet” on March 6 when he got word that the South By Southwest festival in Austin had been canceled.
Manosevitz had been booked for 13 full days of engineering work there and was due to fly to Austin the next morning.
“It wasn’t just that I was out of a job,” he said. “It’s something that I love to do and love to be a part of. It was pretty crushing.”
In the weeks that followed, he lost all of his engineering work as the Wheeler shuttered, Aspen Shortsfest moved online, the Aspen Ideas Fest canceled and the après-ski bars where he performed music all closed. Over the last two decades, he’d carved out a career in music video production that often sent him on the road, playing live solo gigs himself here when he’s home. But with no live events on the horizon here or anywhere else, it was soon evident he might not work for the rest of 2020.
“It’s a bummer, so I allowed myself to be bummed,” he said of his initial reaction. “I said, ‘I’m going to take a couple days and drink and smoke and have a pity party. Then I’m going to move on.’”
And that’s what he did. He couldn’t ignore the disappointment, sadness and fear he was feeling. But knowing he had his health and shelter and clean water and food – more than many right now – he couldn’t stay down too long.
He got a text message from his friend Reed Lewis, of the Daly Bottle Shop, that asked simply, ‘What kind of lemonade are you gonna make out of these lemons?”
Manozevitz seized the sentiment as a statement of purpose for himself moving forward in the uncertain new landscape created by COVID-19 and as inspiration for a song he began writing.
A local friend also sent Manozevitz a voicemail the singer-songwriter himself left in early days of the public health crisis, in which he says with a glimmer of hope “Even the bad days are pretty good.”
He repurposed that as a lyric as well, for the chorus in what would become “Even the Bad Days (Are Pretty Good),” a call for facing the darkness and uncertainty of this historic moment and moving forward.
Manozevitz recorded the song one-man-band style at home, playing guitar, bass and drums while singing lead vocals and backing vocals as well, all of it layered together through the GarageBand. And he mounted cameras to film himself playing each part, cut it together into a music video, then released it into the virtual world where we’re all living these days.
The video, which Manosevitz uploaded to YouTube March 24 and which was broadcast in early April at the virtual Carbondale First Friday, opens with Manosevitz in his Missouri Heights home taking a sack of lemons out of his refrigerator and starting to make lemonade. Before the song kicks in, we hear the voicemail from which it took its title.
The time-intensive project kept Manosevitz busy and also provided some catharsis.
“It was a lot of effort but it’s certainly a great way to spend time and something I will return to,” he said.
Otherwise, he said, he’s been playing a lot of music by himself over the last few weeks. He’s been learning new songs, new instruments and, like many musicians, playing all the John Prine songs he knows while wishing the hospitalized songwriting legend a full recovery.
“I want to be able to look back and feel like I did a good job of getting through a difficult time,” he said. “Was I prepared? Was I supportive of others? Did I use this time wisely? I want to look back and say that I did.”
Watch the video, “written, produced, performed, recorded, mixed, shot, edited, and inflicted upon you by The Bradman” HERE:
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Former race-car driver, current Lewis Cellars winemaker Randy Lewis hosts Aspen dinner alongside chef Byron Gomez as part of the “Aspen Summer Supper Club Series” at 7908.