Cumberland County

A man walks into a bar… Springsteen is playing.

 A man walks into a bar and sees his friend sitting beside a 12-inch pianist. He says to his friend, “That’s amazing. How did you get that?”

piano-4The man pulls out a bottle and tells him to rub it and make a wish. He rubs the bottle, and a puff of smoke pops out and tells him that he can have one wish. So the man thinks and says, “I wish I had a million bucks.”

The genie says, “OK, go outside, and your wish will be granted.”

The man goes outside, but all he finds are ducks filling the sky and roads. He goes back in and tells his friend what happened, and his friend replies, “I know. Did you really think I wanted a 12-inch pianist?”


New job. New apartment, and a book.

I feel good today if just a little uninspired. Word of my past troubles have reached friends at home and two old and dear friends have reached out.

One was my old manager, Fred Puglia. I forgot how much I missed this man. He took a bunch of 20 something, flannel wearing, longhairs and put us in suits with new haircuts and booked us some of the best shows I ever played.

One sticks out in particular. Sam Moore.

e9260f8db6663925a1a6aa9a452ffa77.1000x1000x1Sam was ½ the duo of Sam and Dave. His recording of Soulman, Hold on, I’m Comin’, When Something is Wrong With My Baby, I Thank You, as well as a handful of deep cuts, made me want to put together a band with a horn section.

I was playing with a band called The Wild Hairs and it was going nowhere. We played a lot of Tom Petty, John Mellencamp, Rolling Stones.

I talked with the band leader and told him what my plan was and if he wanted to do it with me. I pulled out a piece of paper with a song list on it. “He said wow! This looks great.”

Cool I’ll do some legwork and see if I can find some players. I grabbed the drummer (We’ll call him DC. Great drummer, horrible band-mate. Pain in the ass from the word go.) I’d play bass and my buddy in the Wild Hairs could play guitar and I was going to attempt to steal my partner in crime George Ozier from his band. His gravel Joe Cocker/Greg Allman style would fit my sound perfectly.

I got together with the Wild Hair band leader and he suggested “Instead of horns, let’s get a keyboard player! We could do some Tom Petty, John Mellencamp and Rolling Stones. I got together with the Wild Hair band leader and suggested “Instead of horns, let’s get a keyboard player! We could do some Tom Petty, John Mellencamp and Rolling Stones.

I said I was cool with it but I’m going to put together a horn band anyway…And boy howdy did I ever..

Fast forward a few years and Dr Wu’s Rock n Soul Revue had become a force to be reckoned with. Decked out in suits, three horns (four when George picked up a valve trombone) and a set list that didn’t stop. A one two punch in the face. Great music, great sound, great band. 1…2.. Ba ba baaaaaaam “THEY CALL ME MISTER PITIFUL!” Otis Redding, Wilson Pickett, Sam and Dave, the Temptations… 60’s Memphis soul played by a DrWusquarerock band with a bad-ass horn section.

So Fred gets us a gig as the band for Sam Moore. A hero of our band. We played all his stuff. Hell Sam played the White House and Madison Square Garden with Springsteen. He and Dave hated each other but when Jaco Pastorius (The greatest bass player of our time) needed a singer, He called Sam and Dave.

We had rehearsed the show backwards and forwards. We knew Sam’s set like the back of our hand. He played Soulman in a different key that we did. Sometimes switching keys is easy, This one was not. I had to relearn the song with different chord shapes. And different licks. It was tough but I figured it out.

The night of the shows we were playing for an audience of thousands. Hot August night. Plowing through soul tunes with the Jesus of Soul Sam Moore.

I wanted to get a recording but video cameras were a no no. So the bass player Doug Evans and I set a camera on record and put it behind our amps. We’d get audio if nothing else.
We are doing the last tune. Soul Man was raving up (in the key of A major) Sam says his thank you, and walks off the stage. We go on a bit more and end the show.

Unbeknownst to Doug and Me, Sam and his wife were standing by our recorder. We could hear them candidly talking. I can hear Sam say, “Well they aren’t bad”

Unbeknownst to Doug and Me, Sam and his wife were standing by our recorder. We could hear them candidly talking. I can hear Sam say, “Well they aren’t bad”

Dr Wu’s Rock N Soul Revue “Not bad” `S. Moore

I fooled him. The next show I played with him we did videotape. Sam was looser and was tossing in ad libs, having a skat vs. Pat, our sax player, Thanked us over the mic with a huge introduction, and then ending once again with Soul Man. (in A major with a key change so now i’m in B flat major) He’s ad libbing Sly Stones ‘Dance to the Music’  and he turns to me and says “I wanna hear some guitar to make it easy to move your feet!” HELL YES! I’m thinking.. I got soul! I’m not bad, let me lay a cool blues lick on you.

“…and he turns to me and says “I wanna hear some guitar to make it easy to move your feet!” HELL YES! I’m thinking.. I got soul! I’m not bad, let me lay a cool blues lick on you….”


I grab that G string and I knash down on it with my pick… I play that note with all the soul and heart I got…in the wrong key.

It’s a note that will haunt me forever. I jumped back into the right key immediately but my first musical interaction was in the wrong key. A split second probably 10 people in that crowd heard but I heard it, the band heard it and Sam heard it. Luckily I have video evidence.

I met the Fixx also.


A teacher of mine has come back into my life. He was great. Spoke nothing but sarcasm and took me to see concerts. ZZ Top, Journey, The Firm (A really bad band that featured Jimmy ‘Led Zeppelin’ Page and Paul ‘Bad Company’ Rogers)

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAHe played Stevie Ray Vaughan in study hall. Long before he was big time. He took me to Chicago and St Louis for the first time and was probably a hug influence on becoming a musician. He always had music around him. I’m blessed to be back in touch.


I’ve written a book. I’m self editing at the moment, then I’m going to have someone else edit it and put it on the market.

The working title is ‘Depression for the Undepressed.’ A book for those who want to understand what it’s like going through life with it. I’ve interviewed some people I know and everyone of them has been so honest. Their stories will explain why we do what we do. Suicide, anxiety, PTSD, coping, and its effects on us and those around us. It’ll be awhile before it comes out. Writing it was the easy part.

The voice sync is off but luckily it’s shaky and you can’t see him anyway. Hear and feel my pain.

 

 

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Nothin’ Up My Sleeve! Presto!

My posts have been rather heavy over the last year. So let me tell you a story about Dr. Wu’s Rock n Soul Revue.

Wu had just played a show at Union Station in St Louis. I was screwing around and missed the shuttle to the hotel down the street.

downloadSo here I am huffing my fat ass in the middle of the night through St. Louis carrying my guitar case and my heavy old Vintage 50 amplifier down to the Marriott. When I got there the festivities were all ready going strong. The smell of beer, cigarette smoke, a tinge of marijuana and sweat from playing a three hour concert filled the air.

The party was always in Bugsy’s room, either by chance or design. The hotel staff were calling for us to keep it down plus looking for a luggage cart that Kent ‘Sweet’ Aberle had commandeered to load his drums on. He just never returned it.

The Lobby Luge was in full swing. A murder of hickerbilly twenty- something year old R&B musicians pushing each other at dangerous speeds down the hallways of the Marriott cussing, laughing and riding elevators up and down then repeating the process on several floors.

Luge :  noun. [lüzh] a small sled that is ridden in a supine position and used especially in competition; also : the competition itself

forbes-industriesfrb-2425brass-birdcage-luggage-cart-43-x-24-x-78-3304-085The sport of the Lobby Luge consists of placing one guy on the luggage cart sitting down while another guy would push you as fast as he could down the hallway then let you loose and watch as the laws of physics and motion took effect. I don’t know how you keep score but it was funny as hell watching Sweet flying past your room.

We were in the Lou playing as the backup band for the Shirelles and Snake and Dogwood’s Tribute to the Blues Brothers.

Our unofficial member Jon Clarkson from Poprocks/X Krush fame, rode along. Doug Evans convinced Jon to sit in a wheelchair he had found in a closet somewhere in Union Station. Jon, oblivious to the mischievous side of Doug, was pushed with a running start into the center of a large hall full of people awaiting the show. Jon alone and not nearly crippled enough to need a wheelchair did the only thing he could do…

Like a preacher at gospel revival… Jon stood up! A miracle. A tough lesson for Jon who probably will never fully trust Doug again. A good laugh from the other guys who knew never to trust Doug in any position where he could make you look silly, or a situation that could be dangerous. Neither of these would ever stop Doug, though he was quick to apologize before you got too mad.

I was sitting in a chair a few beers in and taking my turn at the jazz cabbage being passed around. Later in life I would become a connoisseur of marijuana. Not much of a surprise to most people who know me. I wasn’t driving so I indulged.

imagesSnake was the ‘Jake’ of the Blues Brother’s Tribute. He had seen it all and we were young and listened to tales of hooker’s being tied up in hotel rooms, horn players hanging off the balcony, and a tale of his partner Dogwood walking nude through a bar wear nothing but a white athletic sock on his dick n balls while the crowd chanted “Sock cock! Sock cock!” This was pre Red Hot Chili Peppers. He was ahead of his time.

During the middle of Snake and my conversation, Snake pulled out a cigarette, told me to watch closely. He held it in his hand and counted 1…2…3… and BAM he opened his hand and the cigarette disappeared right before my eyes. Hand was wide open, he hadn’t thrown it, it was just gone! He then reached back and produced the cigarette from behind his ear. It was the first time I had ever seen a close up magic trick in my life. Upon threats of bodily harm I demanded he show me how it was done.


I’ve always loved magic shows. I used to watch Doug ‘It’s an illusion’ Henning’s hippie magic specials on TV. He would float a a bedazzled woman in the air, cut her in half and make her reappear whole. David Copperfield made the Statue of Liberty disappear or would make an elephant appear out of thin air, just by dropping a curtain and prancing dramatically with spirit fingers.

Sometimes we’d have a magician come to grade school and put on a show. He would link rings, cut ropes making them whole again, make doves appear and his assistant disappear from big boxes. These shows were pretty lame even to a 3rd grade kid.

Doug-HenningOne night I was watching ‘The Worlds Greatest Magic” on ABC and David Copperfield did a simple little trick. No boxes or dancing ladies, just him sitting on a set of stairs with two rubber bands. As he spoke he pulled one rubber band through the other. Right before my eyes. You could see him do it. No curtains, no spirit fingers, just two regular rubber bands.

I had to learn how to do this. In the early days of the internet it wasn’t as easy to find information and there was no video to show you how.

I finally discovered the secret, practiced, and could do it for you. Jaws would drop and “Show me that again” were usually the reactions I would get.

Bugsy and I were in Champaign IL hitting the used record shops looking for old David Bromberg albums for me and forgotten gems of vinyl for Bugs. While we were there he said we needed to stop by Dallas and Company. It’s a huge novelty and costume shop. The owner Andy Dallas is also a world class magician and escape artist. His claim to fame was doing a straight jacket escape hanging from a helicopter over the St Louis Arch. Dallas and Company had a magic shop in the back. You had to ask to go there and either Andy or another magician would take you back. Kinda like a whore house but with decks of cards instead of working girls. To this day Dallas and Co has the best magic shop I have ever seen.

A magic shop will usually show you about three tricks and then try to sell you one. Of course you buy it. You want to do cool tricks too. So like all magicians starting out I bought books, videos, gaffed cards, coin boxes, tricks with silver dollars and English pennies. I had magicians wax, invisible thread, and the list goes on and on.

When you buy a magic trick you don’t just pay for the object which might be a blank card or a cup. You pay for the idea. So I had a case with all sorts of junk cheap gimmicks.

There is a theory behind magic believe it or not. It’s just a guy who knows a few cool things. One of the things that master magicians point out is quality over quantity. Get really good at a few things and it will take you farther than knowing fifty tricks.

So I finally took it to heart. I decided a couple of things.  Don’t do pointless magic. Don’t do complex magic. A good trick should be able to be described in a sentence. “The magician changed my red card into a blue card.”

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Notice the pick-pocket behind the spectator.

Sponge balls… You who carries around sponge balls? Magicians. There is no reason a person would have a sponge ball on them. That is pointless magic and I’m a damn good sponge ball magician. But wouldn’t a trick be cooler if it was done with something off your desk? Or maybe items found in any bar? Give me a bar jigger and an olive and I’ll show you a great version of the oldest magic trick ever, the cups and balls.

There are people I despise performing for. The one that wants to trip you up instead of enjoying a moment of wonder. “Pick a card and put it back on top of the deck.” “No I want to put it in the middle somewhere” … dude it’s not that kinda trick. But if you insist, I’ll pull out a marker have them sign their name and phone number and where they work, then I put the card in my pocket and start the trick all over again. If you want to fight the magician we have ways of  getting around that. You are ruining it for anyone else who would like to see it, you are ruining it for yourself, and you are ruining it for me. Sit back and enjoy. It’s not real magic and I’m not a real magician so I can only do so much.

Then you have the guy who thinks you have just tried to out smart him. They don’t smile, they just start tossing ideas out there on how you did it. My answer is always “Yep. That’s how I did it.”

This one is on me. Showing a trick to the indifferent. They don’t care. They didn’t want to see it and they have no moment of joy.

What I do like when performing is people ready to have fun, to enjoy it, and maybe make a little impression of mystery and a smile on their face.

So give me a pack of cigarettes, a couple of rubber bands, and a deck of cards and I’ll knock your socks off for about 20 minutes.


Prologue

When you do a few tricks people will often reference Chris Angel or David Blaine. They are fine magicians and they realize that the real trick is in the performance and the reaction. But they are TV magicians. They set up their revelations before hand. David Copperfield couldn’t make an elephant appear if it wasn’t on TV and the audience wasn’t in on it.

The true masters are the guys who create those effects. Guys you never heard of. Jay Sankey, Jeff McBride (probably the best card manipulator in the world) Michael Ammar, Bill Malone, and the list goes on and on. They are the brains behind much of this. It’s their ideas that they turn into little miracles. You rarely see them. If you ever get the chance though, do not miss them. Chris Angel sure as hell knows who they are. Please enjoy….

This is the craziest trick I have ever seen. I won’t be doing this for you EVER. The man’s name is Tom Mullica and he also did a tribute to Red Skelton and has appeared all over the world, including Effingham Performance Center. He has passed on but he left us with this. RIP Tom. I loved it.

Ya Gotsta Kick at the Darkness Till It Bleeds Daylight, and Don Felder.

So, I’m standing in front of the hotel waiting for the shuttle to pick me up to take me to the stage where I’ll be playing tonight. I’m playing a celebrity golf tournament after party. I’m smoking a cigarette and making small talk with another guy waiting for the shuttle.

Our management told us to prepare a couple of songs because Don Felder from the Eagles would be there, some guy who is famous south of the border and one of the guys from Survivor. Strangely enough they told us to only plan a couple of tunes, One for Felder and one for South of the Border. Nothing for Survivor.


“Oh I’d have to be really drunk to play with you guys?” laughed the Survivor guy.


So this guy and I strike up a conversation

“You waitin’ on the bus” said the dude.

“Yeah, you too ?” I replied

“Yup”

“I’m Sammy Roan, I’m in the band tonight,” shaking hands.

“I’m *Joe Blow (I can’t remember his name as I write this) I’m the guy from Survivor”

“Great to meet you. Are ya gonna hop up a play a tune with us?”

“Oh I’d have to be really drunk to play with you guys?” laughed the Survivor guy.

My inner musical ego just got pimp slapped from some dude who sings lyrics like;

I’ve been holding back the night (how is this done exactly and how will this affect your current romantic situation?)
and
Piercin’ eyes, like a raven
*translation. You have bird eyes, just like the crows eating out of a dumpster

… eye roll. 80’s pop crap….

feature-a-raven

She looked kinda like this I guess…

“We aren’t THAT bad dude, It’s not like we couldn’t whip out freakin’ “Eye of the Tiger” I replied with righteous indignation.

The guy starts laughing his ass off and says “Man, I’m from the TV SHOW Survivor.”

So I made an ass out of myself to a stranger. I played Johnny B. Goode with the guy who wrote Hotel California and I drank beers with some dude from Survivor. Don hit on our guitar player’s girlfriend and that’s about all I remember.

The moral of the story; Everyone who is from Survivor can not necessarily play Eye of the Tiger.

 


I felt my first twinge of depression this week. I haven’t felt any since returning to California. Scared the shit out of me. What if it gets real bad again? What if I start fucking up, what if I lose my job, along with other various fears and over reactions.

I work in a part of town that is populated by the super rich. I see more Porsches in a day that I have my entire life. Being a white-trash, non practicing Rockabilly, I would swap the Porsche for a rusty, E flat, rat rod with a four foot gear shift, dually tires and blowin’ enough black smoke that there is a permanent hole in the ozone over it.

A few times a week this guy with one arm comes in. British dude. Always is cool, buys a couple of tall boys and makes some chit chat and gets on his bicycle and leaves.

Last Saturday he comes in late and, said he just got back from LA and was glad to be home. It’s just me and him. He knows I’m a musician and he says he and his wife are putting together a group and wondered if I might be interested.

“Depending on the music, maybe”. He said it was Americana stuff, and I said “Hell Yeah, lets do it!” We talked about music a bit, we swap numbers and I finally ask “Hey man, what’s your name? I’m Sammy” He replies “Rick.”  then he turns around and walks out of the store and says on his way out “Ya know the band Def Leppard? One arm drummer…”

Holy shit! I had a poster of this guy on my wall as a kid. I loved the album Pyromania. It was one of the first tapes I bought back in the day.

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Def Leppard

In case you didn’t know, Rick Allen is the drummer for Def Leppard. His story is  inspirational. In between albums Rick was in a car crash and lost his arm. His band WAITED on him to recover. They wouldn’t replace him. He was going to have to quit.

Rick ended up putting together a drum kit where he could play with one arm and had foot pedals that would play the parts that his missing right arm used to play. He got up to speed and joined the band as they put out Hysteria, and became the biggest band in the world at the time (88-89)

What an amazing show of friendship from the guys in Def Leppard and what an amazing drive to not let his handicap stop him from drumming. Both admirable traits. Even though my Def Leppard years were way behind me, ya gotta respect that.

They needed a slide guitarist. “Sure. I can play slide” maybe exaggerating a little… so I stopped by the hardware store on my break and had them cut me off a piece of copper tubing the length of my third finger, went home, tuned the guitar to open D and looked up a few slide licks stolen directly from Duane Allman.


“Sure. I can play slide” maybe exaggerating a little… so I stopped by the hardware store on my break and had them cut me off a piece of copper tubing the length of my third finger, went home, tuned the guitar to open D and looked up a few slide licks stolen directly from Duane Allman.

I figure three licks will be enough to pass myself off as a real slide player….


I figure three licks will be enough to pass myself off as a real slide player, the rest I’ll learn later. (I have played slide guitar before but only on a basic level) I got them down and was ready to stop by the studio. Filled with excitement I kept that slide in my pocket everyday. This could be a great gig playing with Rick Allen.

I stopped off one day at the studio and met the owner for the first time. He had put together a band for Rick (that didn’t include me.  He didn’t even know me.) He said they were doing original material for gigs around the area. Come by tomorrow and meet the rest of the band.

I grabbed a thumb drive and popped on three of my finished songs plus one that was music only, no lyrics, if she wanted to write to it, and a song by my friend George Ozier called “Question Is.” I had a hit song for them with “Question Is”  put my five song demo in my pocket and was ready. Between myself and a group of friends I have access to enough great songwriting to keep them busy for years. I was on pins and needles waiting for this. Stomach in a knot.

That same day I got some really bad news about a close friend. His days are numbered. I have shared a million miles of road with him, dozens of concerts, nights out on the town and best of all listened as he told story after story. A natural. Cumberland County’s Mark Twain with a button on his shirt that read “Question Authority” and the greatest concert and band t-shirt collection ever. He is supposed to leave me those in his will we joked years ago. I never thought that he may need one soon. Heart broken and sharing stories with old band mates who also love this guy, we are all at kind of a loss.  Hope I don’t have to go to court to get those T-shirts. It was a verbal agreement.


Cumberland County’s Mark Twain with a button on his shirt that read “Question Authority”


The same knot was there just the reasons have changed. My close friend is dying.

The next day I took the slide out of my pocket, stopped by the studio listened to a couple of songs and met the band, handed Ricks wife my five songs and said, “I gotta go to work”

Everything had come into focus. I don’t want to play slide. Even after hearing them I wasn’t blown away by the music, not that it wasn’t good but I played with George Ozier, Matt Poss, Isaiah Edwards, Tommy Dunn. THESE GUYS CAN WRITE A SONG!! I can write a damn good song. Great musical ideas, clever, funny, poignant… you name it, they have written it. I have to bring my A game when I play my material for them.

I’ve played with drummers like Kent Aberle and Brendan Gamble. Two drummers who’ll put that kick drum right up your ass while laying the smack down on the snare. I’ve never played with better. Jim Thompson never failed to bring it. Great player.

I stood toe to toe with guitar god George Lynch and held my own but Wally Hooker, Jon Clarkson can play that shit, and I played with them for years. Garrie Carlen is the most underrated guitarist in Illinois. Doug Evans is still my favorite bass player and we started together in a garage. Bobby Reynolds is the best slide player I know and most of America knows. I can call him anytime.

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Blow Daddy!!!! Dr. Shane Pitsch

The horn players in Dr Wu are unbelievable musicians and writers. Pat Lee is a lot like me. He’s not schooled like the others but he has that Jr. Walker style of sax playing down. That’s what I want to hear anyway.

One of the top 10 concert/shows I have ever been to was hearing J.B. Faries’ band, Huck Fate, play a set at The Top Of The Rock in Charleston Illinois. The power and performance that came from that band hit you in the chest like a freight train. Awe inspiring. It was THAT good.

So yeah, it would be a notch in my belt to say I played with a guy from Def Leppard, but I have and still play with the best. It may not impress the neighbors as much, but the circle of players I have worked with blow most of the famous ones I have played with away or are at least on that level.

The knot is gone and if they call that’s cool but the people that I want to impress are the same ones I want to have beers with, talk about old times, great gigs, bad gigs, and who I love way beyond their talent, which is as mighty as anyone you have ever heard.

“Time is Tight” as Booker T and the MG’s said. My heart isn’t into it. I have a friend who I’m concerned about, I’ve decided to write and record a new album, and I’m still getting used to my new city.  Once I realized this, the depression subsided, I feel great again, and am just going to do what I want to do and not worry about impressing anyone but the people I mentioned before.

My resume as a musician is long and has many high points on it. I’m very proud of it. I’m not going to waste what took me all this time by pursuing a gig I don’t really want. It’s not fair to Rick’s band either. I think I’ll suggest we just have some beers instead of jamming. After all, I know what he likes to drink.


New album coming. I have about half of it written. I have a sound in my head that I’m going to attempt to capture. I’ll also lay out thoughts on fear, sadness, love, and great times. Just so someone can say “This is a piece of crap” and toss it away. Fuck em. I bet I don’t like your band either.

Stay close, know that I am fine and through my friends and family, I’m getting stronger everyday.

If you hear of anyone needing a three impressive licks on slide guitar have em give me a call. But don’t let them listen too closely to the Allman Brothers Statesboro Blues.

Here is how I did it… Ya gotta love YouTube

 

 

Project:Holiday Cheer and Update on Lies, Gratitude, and Love.

My ex-wife had a few (very few) redeeming qualities. She is a teacher and I can’t tell you how many times we would run to Wal-Mart to buy school supplies, shoes, and tee shirts for a kid who was behind the 8 ball when it came to extra.

The next day the parent/guardian would get a call about the extra pair of flip flops or shorts that we had accidentally received and couldn’t return and wanted to know if the parent would mind if we sent them home with Jr. because she thought they might fit him and we didn’t want them to go to waste.

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Santa just rolled into town

It’s about helping someone knowing that someday you might be at the mercy of your fellow man. I have been there, Hell I am there! I found out there are millions of wonderful people in the world. The same ones I complain about constantly.

There is a local Facebook group that I belong to. It’s kind of a buy/sell page… plus. It’s called the Perpetual Bargain Fair. They have ran a project called Holiday Cheer for the past few years.

I get to know the Lopez family. They live in Salinas and Ms. Lopez has recently become unemployed.  She has three kids, ages 7, 12, and a special needs 17 year old. Ya know what she wants? Groceries.

Here is what we do, it’s fairly simple;

I get to know the Lopez family. They live in Salinas and Ms. Lopez has recently become unemployed.  She has three daughters, ages 7, 12, and a special needs 17 year old. Ya know what she wants? Groceries.

Rice-A-Roni

From all of us, to all of you. Merry Christmas!

So I’m going to wrap up a box of Cheerios, a can of sardines, and a box of Rice-A-Roni (the San Francisco Treat) for the 7 year old. No need to thank me kid. It’s the least I can do. And never let it be said that I didn’t do the least I could do.

OK what I’m really going to do is track down an I-Pod from someone who has one in good condition and will give it to me so that I can give it to them. I also have a page set up on Amazon.com with grocery store gift cards, Visa gift cards, Walmart gift cards. Anywhere you can get a sweater and a can of chicken noodle soup. Plus I’ll find out what a Dora is and give the kids something to open that they can’t eat. Then I’ll have somewhere to spend my Christmas.

CLICK HERE FOR THE WISHLIST Plus I’m looking for an IPod

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Yeah…I still love them.

They have teamed me up with a wonderful woman named Amy. She’s hopefully helping with clothes since my choices in girls clothes might not be the best, and I have no idea what ‘Dora’ is. Most of my choices would have the Planet of the Apes printed somewhere on it.

In the past people have donated a set of breaks and installation for the car, or a mattress so you don’t have to sleep on the floor. This is the community I live in. Just like the one I moved moved away from. Great people just being great each in their own way.

That’s it. Simple.

The Outlaw Josey Wales lives around here somewhere and so does the guy who pumps his gas. If either of them needed a ride it really wouldn’t be that big of a deal to give them one.

The Outlaw Josey Wales lives around here somewhere and so does the guy who pumps his gas. If either of them needed a ride it really wouldn’t be that big of a deal to give them one. They are both my neighbors and until I hear differently, my friends.

It reminds me of a favorite memory.

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I’m dreaming of a white Christmas

It’s the middle of winter in Illinois. It’s pissing rain and the Christmas snow is melting and turning black from wood smoke and car exhaust. It’s cold and nasty with a little fog thrown in for good measure.

I came upon a kid, probably 19 or 20 years old who was out of gas along Highway 130. I told him to hop in, and we ran about five miles to the gas station and I got him ten bucks in gas and a ride back to his truck. He put the gas in and came back to pay me and I replied “Pay it forward.” and moved on. I’m not the only person ever to do that BTW. Most folks do that.

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That’s the dude who picked me up!

Later that summer I’m opening for some country guy who I didn’t know at a good size concert venue. I finished my set and was heading to the merch table to beg people to buy our album we were promoting at the time. I hear “HEY! DUDE!” being yelled at me from a guy on the other side of the concert fencing. So I go up and say “Hey.”

It was that kid. He told me his girl friend made him come to the Famous Country Guy show and when we came on he said “Hey! That’s the dude who gave me a ride!”

Small world… But I wouldn’t want to paint it.


 

 

I don’t really celebrate Christmas. Maybe I’ll give the cat a can of tuna if I have some but usually it’s just us two.

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My Christmas buddy

If I had any kids I would hope that I could pull off Christmas like my Ma used to. We weren’t loaded but she always had the best Christmas for us. She made awesome stockings with candy and comic books. She got me an A.J. Foyt race car one year and I got a hell of a lot of good out of it. Hot Wheels and of course the obligatory Planet of the Apes toy.

If I can help facilitate even a tenth of what Ma made for us, to the Lopez girls I’m going to have one hell of a nice Christmas. Thanks Ma. Feliz Navidad.


Update on my last post.

I was overwhelmed once again by love and support, questions and caring, by people I know and love and by strangers who dropped me a line or a private message telling me that they were there for me or asking where to get help for themselves. Christ people! My cup runneth over already.

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Would you like to go to coffee? And I need a quart of Quaker State

I’m feeling great. I finished up the boat with Eric AND without falling in the ocean. Only one argument and it was small. What a great experience. I found out I suck as a sailor but I’m pretty good at making new friends and keeping old ones. I did get to drive the boat and Eric did send Sarah my message about ice cream and petting puppies… But I’ve moved on Sarah…Ya snooze ya lose.

I’m now in love with the girl at the gas station off of exit 399C. I’m going to ask her for coffee. If she doesn’t shoot me down immediately, she probably will when I ask her if she can pay.


This is the album we were promoting and this is the song I wrote for the album. This song was inspired by a picture on the wall at a now defunked bar called Daddy Rabbits. My friend Mandy was dancing on the bar in the photo. I’d like to think I helped defunk it a little.

Nobody rips off the Stones like I can. Three chords A/G/D.
“You can even play it on the saxophone”~F. Zappa

 

I can't find work due to my prison tattoo.

I NEED A JOB!… So why does this guy get the offers? Hello! San Francisco!

Mr Cropp was serving a two-year jail term for aggravated robbery when his brother did the facial art using a makeshift needle and fermented food.

He went to Facebook and pled his case. “No one will hire me because I have a tattoo all over my face.” He received 45 offers for work and he’s just waiting on the right one…

I can't find work due to my prison tattoo.

I can’t find work due to my prison tattoo

I’ve been living in California for over a year and since everything cost five-times what it did in the Mid-West, I love it.

I have been hitting all the recruiters who alert me to Graphics jobs. I apply I hear nothing. Yes or no. I don’t even know if these alerts are real.

I replied to my recruiter to one of my daily recruiters today. Phil from Ziprecruiter.com

Hi Phil, I hope you are real. I get your updates.

I have been living in CA for over a year. I have applied many times through Ziprecruiter but never received a single bite. I have never heard back. I’m not even sure the position is real.

I am good at my job. I have freelanced for Disney, Warner Brothers, CNN, I have worked at a newspaper. Talk about deadlines. I’ve always met if not exceeded my client’s expectations.

I can list off abilities all day. I can design your next product, brand it, make a graphic for the container, animate it, and build a website from scratch. Take your ad for the product and design a wrap for your car plus a design for the business card and the billboard.

I could stay in and work pre-press making sure files are up to  par. Then separate it into CMYK and print it in a magazine that I have laid out myself, import the Excel file of addresses and walk to the post office to send them.

While I’m there I can work on a forklift and a coal boiler. I can show your children magic tricks at a professional level, teach you to play a guitar or bass, write and record an album, book a tour, and come back with the cash. I can juggle. Where am I going wrong?

I’m going to  Petco tomorrow and asking them for a job. I’m college educated, 20+ real world years of skills to offer, I’m reliable and dependable and I’m going to be cleaning up Parrot crap. I will give it 100% like I do everything. It’s a shame Petco is going to get one of the finest graphic artists you’ll meet.

I have a bad ass sister also looking for work. One day Fortune 500 Company where she managed hundreds of employees with her hard head, smart mouth, and the ability to get things done, the next day going over job boards. I have to shake my head when I hear of her troubles with work. Some company is going to luck out when they hand Michelle (my sis) a job. Stand back, you’ll only get in her way. I think they have a Pet Smart in Mattoon, IL. I hope they are hiring. Gonna be some lucky Parrots in clean cages.

I’m frustrated Phil.
–Samuel Roan

mark-cropp-facebookSo Mr. Moog, while waiting for the right position to come along. You know; desk job,  secretary with a face tattoo.

Forty Five offers were given to this guy while Forty five people who never held anyone at gunpoint, made the decision not to tattoo their face in prison with a makeshift needle and vegetables as ink. Forty five people who were at a disadvantage because they were wise enough not to do what Mr. Moog did.

Plus Moog hasn’t taken a single one of the offers.


My Dad died a few weeks ago. He wasn’t the man he should have been, an alcoholic with a penchant for going to town for smokes and coming home three weeks later. I think back and I really don’t remember doing much with him.

I played little league on year. I remember going with him to the local parts store and sportsman supply shop in Greenup. He bought me a ball glove way too big (You’ll grow into it) and went home and put 3 in 1 oil all over it and I think we put a ball in it and put it under my mattress. I don’t think he saw any games. I remember calling him when I got on base the one time. Michelle and I used that glove for years during P.E. class. He took us to see King Kong (70’s version) and Jaws at the drive in.

18816215_1166151936828489_2122914391_nI could go on but it hurts a little too much and the guilt is a little heavy and my great support team is 2500 miles away. I couldn’t ask for a better bunch of best friends, the community of Greenup and specifically the kindness of Priscilla Schrock who had a ticket waiting for me within an hour of being told to come home. The Greenup Southern Baptist church who got me back and helped big time with the rent. My family. Michelle and Mom and Jim.

I didn’t tell anyone I was home even though I’m sure they knew. I spent two weeks 24/7 with a sober, funny, and frightened father. Not that he ever showed me he was scared. My old man doesn’t get scared.

I’m an Atheist so I don’t imagine Pa sitting back with his brother and best friend John Roan tossing back Busch beer and telling Navy stories. I also know energy can’t be destroyed. So somewhere the energy that was my father is floating around in the either. I don’t think I ever did much to make him proud. I’m all music and art, he was carburetors and beer.

18838444_1166146326829050_1056582043_oI think those were the best two weeks I ever had. We became close again and of all things nightly, we would watch Frasier, the A-Team, and Miami Vice while smoking cigarettes and telling stories. I never knew my dad was in Italy, Greece, Jamaica… He never spoke about it and wasn’t one to take pictures.

We laughed a lot. I get my vision of absurdity from him. Michelle and I both got our sense of humor from him. I got his curly hair, which was always too long for him. Does that shit matter today? No. It’s just hair and too many wasted years.

If I can ever get my favorite singer Brandi Yagow to sing my version of an old Iron Maiden tune “Wasted Years” I will record it. Mine isn’t heavy, fast or angry. It’s just me missing my dad. I can still hear him telling me to “Turn that shit down!” and ironically I’ll be dedicating one of those tunes to him.

Here is the original. Mine is nothing like this except the words and the chords. Until I get it done it’ll have to do.

If you want to do me a solid, follow and share, and get me a freakin job doing what I do best!

Why does Music Scare the Hell Out Of Our Government?

Victor Jara. Singer, poet, activist

Victor Jara. Singer, poet, activist

In the early 1970’s there was a Chilean teacher, theater director, poet, singer-songwriter, and political activist named Victor Jara (pronounced HAR-a.) He was a leading member of a group of folk musicians who established the Nueva Canción Chilena (New Chilean Song) movement. This led to an uprising of new sounds in popular music during the administration of President Salvador Allende and made Victor Jara a famous singer in Chile.

On September 11th, 1973 a CIA-backed coup d’état brought down the democratic Allende Government.

The Chilean military quickly arrested Victor Jara along with other leftists groups. They took them to the Santiago Stadium and locked them inside.

As the crowd waited Victor Jara, guitar in hand, led the prisoners in song after song to help ease the fear. One of the soldiers recognized Jara. He was taken to the center of the stadium and with the butt of their rifles, the soldiers smashed his hands. Afterward they  said “Let’s hear another song Victor.” And “Play your guitar for us Victor” Then a soldier pulled out a pistol and shot Victor Jara in the head.

After his murder, Jara’s body was displayed at the entrance of Chile Stadium for other prisoners to see.  He was 37. His songs were about love, peace and social injustice. Songs scared his government so much they had him murdered to stop his voice from being heard.

The Clash

The Clash

Please remember Victor Jara,
In the Santiago Stadium,
Es verdad – those Washington Bullets again.
~The Clash


I must have read it a hundred times. Entertainers need to keep their mouths shut. You are to be wound up, enjoyed and put away.

~~Bob Marley had an attempt on his life that was politically motivated.
~~Woody Guthrie wrote this ‘Land is Your Land.’ Look up ALL the verses to this song. It’s about socialism.
~~Springsteen wrote ‘Born in the USA.’ President Reagan used it (without permission) as a song to rile up his crowds. Too bad no one on Reagan’s staff bothered to listen to the lyrics. It is a bleak picture of Reagan’s America.
~~’We Shall Overcome’ was sung by the Civil Rights Marchers in the Sixties.
~~ Pete Seeger was blacklisted for not snitching on his peers in the McCarthy hearings.

Burl Ives. Folk singer, snitch, canary, deep throat, fink, informant, nark, rat, rat fink, informer, snitcher, squealer, stoolie, stool pigeon, talebearer, tattler, tattletale, telltale, whistle-blower and all around general bastard.

Burl Ives. Folk singer, snitch, canary, deep throat, fink, informant, nark, rat, rat fink, informer, snitcher, squealer, stoolie, stool pigeon, talebearer, tattler, tattletale, telltale, whistle-blower and all around general bastard.

Luckily Burl Ives came in and sang like a canary. This is why you see Burl in ‘Cat on a Hot Tin Roof’ and you don’t hear Pete Seegar as the Snowman in ‘Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer’ in fact, you didn’t see him for close to fifteen years. Thanks Burl. I love pissing off of the Burl Ives Bridge any chance I get.
~~James Brown stopped Detroit from rioting after MLK was killed by playing his show live on the radio.
~~Sammy Davis Jr. arguably the most gifted entertainer of all time worked as the first black entertainer in Vegas. After selling out his shows at the Sands he would have to go stay at a hotel across town because the Sands didn’t allow n****rs in their hotel.
~~The CIA has a file on John Lennon.
~~Bob Dylan had something to say…

They all scared the living shit out of their leaders. Music. If we are entertainers why do you care if we protest and join a cause? Because we know something that you know too. You can’t live without music in your life and sometimes that music has a message. It’s been that way since the first caveman beat on a log in 4/4 time.

Around 1982 A waitress from Detroit hopped onstage with thrift store clothes and a piece of pop fluff she called a song. She turned that into  ½ a billion dollars. Madonna had no  million dollar start up. No TV show to make her famous in six weeks. She didn’t have producers fixing her vocals. She negotiated million dollar deals constantly, then she hopped her happy ass on a tour bus and spent years on the road.

She is a self-made millionaire who took her shot and made it. 30 years later she is a Superstar. From Ramen to riches

Trump’s dad gave him a small million dollar loan and a bunch of cronies. But Madonna is the one who should shut up because she’s an entertainer…. SHe doesn’t know what it’s like to be one of us like Trump does.

Anyone here ever been to Detroit? Then you know what I mean.

To quote Madonna “FUCK!”

In physics, string theory is a theoretical framework in which the point-like particles of particle physics are replaced by one-dimensional objects called strings. It describes how these strings propagate through space and interact with each other.

In physics, string theory is a theoretical framework in which the point-like particles of particle physics are replaced by one-dimensional objects called strings. It describes how these strings propagate through space and interact with each other.

I am an American
I have the right to speak, even if it isn’t what you want to hear.
I am an activist. I act on things that are important to me. Your lack of empathy won’t stop me. Your apathy is what I’m counting on.
I am not a jukebox or a toy. I am a skilled entertainer with the broken hearts and scars that go with it.
I am informed. Musicians don’t listen to music after a gig. Talk radio is king or silence. I listen to a lot of news.
I read. I can tell the difference between a fact and an opinion. I don’t need led by the nose.
No, I don’t have to see it your way.
I don’t believe in Alt-truths any more than you do.
I don’t have it any easier than you do.
I have sacrificed to become the entertainer I am. I know what it means to be poor.
I am educated and smart.
I won’t accept lack of compassion as an excuse.
I know shit from Shinola so don’t piss on my President and tell me it’s raining.
….And I can play a bad ass fucking guitar
–S.

Like Share Comment. What do you think? Why does music scare our leaders?

Madonna…. Keep preaching sister. What is this? An entertainer expressing her view? I thought putting a boot in your ass was the American way?

Factcheck.org… A Liberal Rag. My Views on the Woefully Uninformed

The title of this post comes from a discussion I had earlier this week. It’s a Trump world where his supporters are somehow emboldened to say what they want no matter how little they have investigated. Where does this false sense of pride in a grown man’s ignorance come from? Why does he feel he can get personal with my life? It is because his mentality has become mainstream. If Trump can grab a woman’s pussy, then by all means psychoanalyze me.

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                         Poor Parenting

My choice to move wasn’t so that I could pee with other liberals. It wasn’t because I’m embarrassed where I come from. It was a mixture of many things.

 

I’ve never hidden my depression and at times it became debilitating. It was chink in the armor the man used. The problem was, it removes the question of his character also. He has none. But his leader can find fault with someone suffering from Muscular Dystrophy then he feels like it’s fair game. Well score one for you.

Somehow this man feels superior in his ignorance and child-like name calling and keyboard warrior-like threats of physical violence. ( A sure sign you are winning an argument). He has no idea how petty I am. You never want to mess with a man who possesses graphic artist skills like mine. Not only could I make a picture of him singing “Lime in the Coconut” while dressed as a penis… I could have it seen by thousands of people…Not wise. Kind of like in the music business, never argue with the soundman. He’s holding a serious hand; you better hope he has mercy.

I use my friends to test out new projects. Thank You Doug. You Da Man!


This guy forgot, or maybe never considered that the town I love and the people I see and also love, became a constant reminder of dark days. Not their fault at all. A trifecta of heart breaks leaving me numb to any sort of love in my heart for years. That my one constant, music, had become something I dreaded due to burnout and lack of inspiration. I stub my toe on the ACME Anvil that is in the form of a half-finished album. I just don’t have the words. Here is a demo I have had in the can for two years.

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                  This is what I see when I go to a concert.

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   These people made me a better musician and have all been great friends.

For 25 years I have been in the smile business. I sell smiles. Here, have one on me. Looks good on you. Have another. I did it with a guitar and some of the most talented and grooviest people in the world. Some people get their smiles from riding a Harley, or mudding in a Jeep. They get it in a sport. They let it loose as a fan. What happens when that smile is missing from your own life? I worried a lot of people over the years and felt the resentment. I decided I could get by, or get going.

 

My cat Milton and I packed in an hour. And as I gassed up the car I said goodbye to the lady at the Casey’s General Store. I hit St. Louis and took a right. I drove as far as I could without drowning. Like the Joad Family, promises of new starts, new chances, high paying work in my field.

I weighed the two options. I decided to leave it all and go. The  adventure of a lifetime. Going with nowhere to land. Scariest and most exhilarating experience I have ever had.

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                            I’m out of here

I know a few people here that are quickly becoming friends of mine. I opened my windows on Christmas Day, and I drove ten minutes down to the Pacific and watched the Sea Otters playing in the kelp. I’m living simply but I am living again. I have guitars, recording equipment, and blank paper. I’ll be using them all.

Not with a smile but with a brazen grin. Because I’m up to no good.483df5cc296b94a34e329291b0125109