Gary Lucas  
From musician Joe Verga on TOUCHED BY GRACE:

Gary,
 
I just finished reading your book, Touched By Grace, and I just wanted to drop you a line to commend you. I really enjoyed it. Your relationship with Jeff was very interesting and very emotional. Your commentary on the music business was also very enlightening. Iím 48 and I grew up in Brooklyn and now live in New Jersey, so reading about the New York music scene made the book even more fun to read. I am familiar with lots of the clubs mentioned in the book and The Village, though most of my visits are to Joeís Pub where my wife and I regularly catch The Loserís Lounge tribute shows every few months.
 
The book sent me to Youtube to check out your performances with Jeff and your solo work. You really are an amazing guitarist. I really like Mojo Pin and I love Christmas in Space. Iím still shaking my head trying to figure out how you make the sounds you do.
 
As a hobby, I play guitar and sing with my friends at some Over 55 and Assisted Living Adult Communities in town. I have a great time performing for the folks, who are very appreciative. It gives me great pleasure to play music for them and to bring a smile to their face. It is a way of giving back to the community. Since I sing, Iím just a strummer and my friend does all the soloing or ďheavy liftingĒ as I call it. Even though weíre just fooling around with music, I still found your book highlighted the point that members of a band all need each other to function as a unit and as soon as one member (usually the lead singer) thinks he or she can step out alone or has more pull than the other members, things usually break down. Maybe you canít sing as well as the lead singer, but maybe he canít play the guitar or write a song as well as you can. It is funny that at the same time that I finished your book, I then picked up Guitar Player magazine, which was sitting, waiting to be read after I finished your book, and there you are with your new record. Having just finished the book and seeing the problems you had with Jeff, it was very ironic to see how you got along with Pete to create the record. Good luck with the new record. Iím definitely going to take a listen.
 
I know that Iím just a nobody who likes music and plays for fun, but your story provides much guidance on how to work together with fellow players, whether in a professional setting or simply when having fun. I never step on anyoneís toes and Iím always willing to try new things. I also recognize that while I may handle the singing, Iím not good enough to play leads. So, everyone does their part and things usually work out well, even if weíre just jamming, volunteering to play, or getting paid (I still canít believe we get a little moneyóenough to keep us in picks ní strings as I say). I became the singer by default because nobody in our adult guitar class wanted to sing. I took a chance even though I didnít consider myself a singer and I had no training, but from that moment several years ago, everyone looks to me to sing, which I donít mind since performing is definitely the most fun and thrilling experience Iíve ever had , but the downside is that while Iíve improved on guitar, I would like to get better to play some leads on occasion, but it is tough to sing and play (though not for you). Maybe someday if I keep practicing. Unfortunately, work gets in the way J
 
Anyway, just wanted to let you know how much I enjoy the book, your music, and your approach to music and your fellow musicians. It is very inspiring. And the fact that you are a local guy from NYC makes it sweeter.
 
I wish you the best in the future and hope to see you perform one day. Until then, Iíll keep listening to your music and reading about you.
 
Regards,
 
Joe Verga