Isolation Drills: Fred Berman

Like the majority of you, all of us in the Philadelphia area are staying at home, learning to adapt to our “new normal.” MAGNET is checking in with local musicians to see how and what they’re doing during this unprecedented time. Photos by Chris Sikich.

Berman: The last indoor gig that I played was on March 13 with my good friend John Byrne. It was the beginning of what was to be the St. Patrick’s Day extended-weekend madness. We’d usually play two, sometimes three, gigs a day over that weekend. But, alas, it was not meant to be because COVID-19 had other plans for all of us this year. We were actually supposed to play at Tir Na Nog on March 17, located along the St. Patrick’s Day Parade route. Man, I’m so glad that was cancelled.

So after the initial shock of what was happening around the world began to sink in, I made a promise to myself try to eat healthy, go for walks, work out and to practice, practice, practice. At first I was reading a lot of books—averaging a book a week, which is a lot for me—but that has slowed down a bit.

I’ve been trying to keep creative as well by doing some virtual songwriting with a few different combinations of people. I’m also involved in a podcast called The List: A Right Fiction Podcast, which debuts a new episode every Friday afternoon on all listening formats. 

Unfortunately, I think that indoor live music is one of the last things that will return in its “normal” capacity. This is absolutely understandable to me. However, I think that live music is really what can help heal us all—emotionally, spiritually and even, dare I say, physically—and we can sure use some healing right about now.

I hope everyone stays safe! Please be kind to each other. And vote!!

Fred Berman plays with the John Byrne Band, Slowey And The Boats, Dave Cope And The Sass, The Right Fiction, Rylan Brooks, Pete Donnelly Combo and Chris Kasper, among many others.