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    Feel-good performer to visit

    A troubadour no longer wasting away in Margaritaville likes to get a rise out of people who may need exactly that.

    By EILEEN SCHULTE
    © St. Petersburg Times
    published February 1, 2003


    CLEARWATER -- Greg Tamblyn is saving the world from whiny victim love songs.

    The motivator with a "NCW" degree (no credentials whatsoever) will appear Sunday at Unity Church of Clearwater, hoping to help people find their own spiritual path in life.

    He'll do that by singing funny "life songs" rather than love songs, and parodies of self-help books such as Shootout at the I'm OK, You're OK Corral, about a husband-wife fight (the lyrics go like this: "She called me a Martian, and said I couldn't relate to Venus"). Then there's My Life Is a Beer Commercial.

    "It's about a guy who thinks his life is boring," Tamblyn said. "So he goes out and buys a six-pack. Soon he's surrounded by babes in a parking lot. Then he and the babes are in the Caribbean playing volleyball. With each beer it gets better. At the end of the six-pack, there's another guy and the babes run to him. He asks the guy why and the guy says, 'Because you're drunk, stupid.' "

    The 51-year-old unmarried songwriter lives in Kansas City, Mo., where he grew up. He used to sing in bars (he was once named the "Best Male Vocalist in Kansas City" by a newspaper there), but now he travels half the year in his Subaru station wagon performing at conventions, conferences and corporate events, spreading a message of optimism, service and kindness.

    Although he jokes he has no real education beyond the "school of life," which he says he "almost flunked out of twice," he does hold a bachelor's degree in geology.

    And speaking of rocks, his path to his current career was lined with them.

    He was singing at the Hyatt in Grand Cayman around the time the Gulf War started and got laid off.

    "My reaction was overwhelming relief," Tamblyn said. "It was pretty boring, singing the same Jimmy Buffett songs over and over. When I played at the pool, people slept."

    The next day, as he was getting ready to leave the island, he fell off his scooter and ruptured his spleen.

    A plane ride and nine days later, he was in the hospital in agonizing pain. Doctors told him the bleeding had stopped, so surgery was unnecessary as long as he took it easy for six months.

    "I was stuck with family," he said. "So I read books, got counseling and eventually started feeling better."

    Then he got the call that would change his life.

    "Some people wanted me to sing for Co-Dependents Anonymous," he said. "I did a few songs. The audience was not drunk, not smoking, not sleeping. They got all the jokes. I said, this feels good."

    Since then, he has been invited to perform for doctors at conventions about alcohol abuse, drug abuse, cancer and developmental disabilities. He has sung for stressed-out Coast Guard personnel and depressed Army soldiers.

    He said the nation's unhappiness is "showing up right now in response to this war."

    "Look at all the protests," he said. "People are saying I want a different government, I want a different life. They are really looking for meaning. It's as if we are not in as much control. We need to realize the control is within."

    -- Eileen Schulte can be reached at (727) 445-4153 or schulte@sptimes.com .

    If you go

    Singer/songwriter Greg Tamblyn will share his music and musings at the 9:30 and 11 a.m. services Sunday at Unity Church of Clearwater, 2465 Nursery Road. He also will perform an evening concert at 7 Sunday. A $10 to $15 donation is suggested.

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