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Harmon talks music and what lessons he’s taken from it

Monday, Feb 28, 2022 - Posted by Rich Miller

* The Senate Democrats’ latest podcasts is an interview of Senate President Don Harmon talking about his musical experience. It’s pretty darned good

Q: You gave a speech not all that long ago and the title was ‘All I needed to know to be a legislative leader I learned playing in a rock and roll band.’ Explain that to me. How did the two tie together in your mind?

A: Being in a band is not that much different than being in a caucus in a lot of ways, or in any sort of a political group. You have different roles to play at different times, different people get their turn in the spotlight. Some people are backup players by choice or by nature. Some people are more gravitating towards the spotlight. But you have to work together or the finished product is garbage. You’ve got to rehearse. 95% of work happens offstage, very much like in the legislative process. So an awful lot of similarities, more so than I would have thought before trying to put together that analogy.

Q: What are some of the keys that you can take away from being in a band, not just the behind the scenes work, but some of the character traits that are key to doing work as a legislator?

A: The ability to both prepare and to wing it simultaneously. It is a weird confluence, but you have to be prepared so that you can wing it once you’re on stage. And I think the same thing happens in committee, or debating a bill on the floor, or at a press conference. You need to be prepared, but that preparation often manifests itself in coming up with an answer on the spot that you never expected to formulate. So I think that was good training from the rock ‘n’ roll world.

       

13 Comments
  1. - Arsenal - Monday, Feb 28, 22 @ 9:08 am:

    ==It is a weird confluence, but you have to be prepared so that you can wing it once you’re on stage.==

    This is pretty essential advice for just about anything, really. I’ve always found that the more prepared I am, the easier it is to improvise.

    A variation on this is “you’ve got to know the rules so that you know when to break them.”


  2. - Sayitaintso - Monday, Feb 28, 22 @ 9:08 am:

    Hope someone has a video of Harmon doing a ‘head banging’ episode ‘behind the scenes’ caucus.


  3. - Moody - Monday, Feb 28, 22 @ 9:18 am:

    He’s just a singer in a rock n’ roll band
    https://youtu.be/N_J-hmyAS6c


  4. - wildcat12 - Monday, Feb 28, 22 @ 9:48 am:

    Fun to hear him play and sing, too. He’s pretty good.


  5. - Colin O'Scopy - Monday, Feb 28, 22 @ 9:50 am:

    =or the finished product is garbage=

    Garbage is a great band.


  6. - Lt Guv - Monday, Feb 28, 22 @ 11:17 am:

    Meh - it’s the Senate.


  7. - NonAFSCMEStateEmployeeFromChatham - Monday, Feb 28, 22 @ 12:24 pm:

    ==Hope someone has a video of Harmon doing a ‘head banging’ episode ‘behind the scenes’ caucus.==

    I think there’s footage somewhere of it on MTV’s “Behind the Music: Don Harmon” special.


  8. - NonAFSCMEStateEmployeeFromChatham - Monday, Feb 28, 22 @ 12:26 pm:

    If there was a real “Wayne’s World” show on Aurora’s cable system and the show was still around, any chance Harmon would make a guest appearance and show his talents to Dwayne and Garth?


  9. - NonAFSCMEStateEmployeeFromChatham - Monday, Feb 28, 22 @ 12:28 pm:

    Any chance Harmon might perform on Governor’s Day during the State Fair this year? Sheila Simon and her banjo band was at the Fair every year IIRC while she was Quinn’s LG?


  10. - Dotnonymous - Monday, Feb 28, 22 @ 1:08 pm:

    Don Harmon rocking in the Free World.


  11. - AlfondoGonz - Monday, Feb 28, 22 @ 1:15 pm:

    More to the topic: I saw Sen. Pres. Cullerton play at Fitzgerald’s not long before the pandemic broke out. Looked like he was having fun up there.

    Slightly off topic: My father’s memorial was this weekend, and so much of what went into it was very sad. I got some real fulfillment, though, coming up with the sound track to play while the “in loving memory” video played. Dad was a guitar player, and a lover of all things folk, blues, and rock and roll. He gave me a John Prine album when I was 21 years old and told me it had “the answers to all the questions I’ll ever ask.” He mourned Warren Zevon’s self-destructive ways, and that it caused us to miss out on some of his genius. He became a man of considerable esteem, and so many of his colleagues had sincere and wonderful things to say about him, but it was those who he shared a musical taste with who knew him best. Hell, even some people who didn’t know him personally knew him well when they learned about the music in his life.


  12. - AlfondoGonz - Monday, Feb 28, 22 @ 1:54 pm:

    Edit: Should be Sen. Pres. Harmon. D’oh


  13. - low level - Monday, Feb 28, 22 @ 2:39 pm:

    Once again, Don proves how absolutely boring he is. This is not an insult but rather a big compliment. Tip O’Neill once said he would be successful as a leader the more unknown he was - so that he would not be an issue for his members.

    Its safe to say Harmon will never be an issue in any SDem campaign and we will never see a “Because Harmon” tag. This is all to Don’s credit.


Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.


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