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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.

Bubble Gum and Bailing Wire

I once asked the group if they were pro guns and the majority belted out in approval. I asked a man in the front row why he was pro guns and he gave me the basic ‘personal protection liberty 2nd amendment’ jazz.

I told the group, “I’m pro guns because I enjoy living in a world with only four Nirvana albums.” My depression was the only one who laughed.

So a guy is walking with a young boy into the woods.

Boy “hey mister its getting dark out and I’m scared”

Man “how do you think I feel, I have to walk back alone”

 

It’s back with a vengeance.  I don’t know if my black dog runs in cycles. Fall always seems the worst.

141001081059-kelly-slater-big-wave-super-169At certain times I don’t hide it. When I’m around people I know and trust I can talk about it. I can scream and  yell or curl up in a ball. I’m also extremely empathetic and realize when I should keep to myself and try and ride it out. Well, I’m surfing the big waves and am heading straight into that pipeline. When It knocks me off my board I’m going to grab a hold of it and hang on till the tide brings me in.

It has eased off for so long that I thought I may of had it licked, but the elephant sitting on my chest is back, I’m not speaking, I cry way too often to release my breath that I didn’t know I was holding. The feeling of being scared 24/7 for absolutely no reason, with no where to go and no one to I want to see me like this. I’ve isolated and have become someone to avoid. I think that’s what always hurt the worst. Knowing that it’s above most people’s pay grade. I have ostracized my friends.

I’m constantly doing something artistic. It’s a way to express what I’m feeling, keeping my mind off of what I’m feeling, keeping busy so I don’t dwell.

I write for the same reasons. Not to gather sympathy but it’s cathartic to put pen to paper, or in this case pound out a blog post to make me feel like I’m still in a good enough state of mind to be able to think straight and know there is still hope.

A little secret to make you think:
Why is the crazy stuff we never say
poetry in ink?

Smokin’ day-glow red;
Explodo pink!
Purple mountains majesty –
Show me you? I’ll show you me.

People will talk to me about their own problems with chronic depression. When they read my words they don’t feel so alone. I may not know the circumstances but I can relate to the feeling.

milI’m going to be talking to a friend who I have never met tonight. She’s fighting this as hard if not harder than me. We talked a few weeks ago and she spilled to a stranger who she met through swapping smart ass remarks on Facebook about those douche bag ‘patriots’  who stormed a bird sanctuary gift shop in Oregon a few years ago.

I don’t know what I’ll tell her but I’ll keep talking until we get a plan for her to deal with own personal demons.

I know what people are telling her. “You are beautiful. You have a great family, loving wonderful husband. You are an educated professional. What do you have to be down about?” I can feel her pain simply through Facebook posts. She lets a bit of it seep out now and then  before going back to being a smart ass, and sweet, and as far as I know a really great person.

I landed a job at a Monterey hotel working nights. It’s perfect. I come into work. Relieve my co-worker. Do some paper work, answer a phone call, and set up your ‘Free Continental Breakfast!’ In other words I set the cereal out.

imagesBy the time I go in nobody is up and I rarely see anyone during the night. I leave before they start checking out. It’s a great job, pays well, and I want to keep it. Here is my problem. I think I need to go to the hospital. If I go I will lose the job, if I don’t go I’ll lose my mind. I’m at that point. I can’t see the future. That scares me. I’m not suicidal, but i’m not living either.  The joke around here is I’m Winnie the Pooh’s friend Eeyore. Agreed. A pretty close analogy.

I’m homesick for my friends and for my family but I don’t want to leave California. I’ll never make it back. I’ll be some pitiful mother fucker living in Greenup where I will isolate myself there also. I’m not really even sure I’m welcome home. I know things are easier when I’m away. I don’t want to rock that boat or makes things bad on those I love.

I’d have to find a new job, a place to live, get a new doctor, new medications. At the end of that road this will come back again.

Then what?

 

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

 

Depression. Yeah it’s personal.

I don’t owe anyone any more money. All my cavities are filled.
If I pull my hand outside my pocket too fast, I might drop a couple of fifty-dollar bills.
I got more dope than I can smoke. I got more chicks than I can use.
Somehow when I woke up the morning, I guess I had somebody else’s blues.
I swear I don’t know why. I don’t know why I feel this way.
You know I got someone else’s blues in the midst of an almost perfect day.
~SOMEONE ELSE’S BLUES (David Bromberg)


Why so blue Sammy?

I don’t know.
1d0f5d6a49f9b7bfbfe225396691f810--fake-smile-quotes-depression-smiling-depression

Bob Dylan, Springsteen, and ‘Diamond’ David Lee Roth Walk into a Bar…

A little bird was flying south for the Winter. It was so cold the bird froze and fell to the ground into a large field.

While he was lying there, a cow came by and dropped some dung on him. As the frozen bird lay there in the pile of cow dung, he began to realize how warm he was. The dung was actually thawing him out! He lay there all warm and happy, and soon began to sing for joy.

A passing cat heard the bird singing and came to investigate. Following the sound, the cat discovered the bird under the pile of cow dung, and promptly dug him out and ate him.

Morals of the story:
1. Not everyone who sh*ts on you is your enemy.
2. Not everyone who gets you out of sh*t is your friend.
3. And when you’re in deep sh*t, it’s best to keep your mouth shut!


I don’t know if anyone reads these or not? I tend to write when I have no other outlet for spouting off where no one can tell me I’m wrong. I know I’m wrong. I don’t need your verification. But I don’t mind discussion. If you want the philosophy of a grumpy hermit with social anxiety…I’m your man!

I have a great friend who is a teacher. Mr. Taylor. The only thing that matches his guitar playing is his taste in music. Top notch. He was cool before it was cool to be that cool. We love many of the same bands. The same guitarists. Obscure tunes and forgotten gems. He’s always laughing. He has a Chicago accent. Good guy to be around… We had a discussion the other day about songwriters.

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Robert Zimmerman

We were discussing some of the greatest lyricists of the 20/21st Century. Not music as much as the guys who write amazing lyrics. Dylan, Springsteen, John Hiatt, Steve Earle, Lyle Lovett. There are more I’m sure but these guys are regarded worldwide as top shelf lyricists. They know how to turn a lyric into an image that also pulls a switcheroo on you.  They can make you laugh, cry, both and make the hair on your arms stand up.

Some of the names you may not recognize but if you have a favorite song John Hiatt probably wrote it.

28e0eb16d3ad9c349dfe4198a34e9ab5I added David Lee Roth. The singer for Van Halen. The peroxide Mark Twain. The last shameless rock star. Mr. Taylor said that Dave made him smile. Hell Yeah he did. I of course told him I would expound on why DLR is the most underrated poet of our time. Any DLR era classic Van Halen song was co written by Dave. Every word you sing along to was from the mind of a hyperactive kid from San Bernardino, The son of a Dentist.

  1. I can snap my fingers and require the rain
    From a clear blue sky and turn it off again
    I can stroke your body and relieve your pain
    And charm the whistle off an evening train
  2. She comes like the secret wind
    Shes as strong as the mountains,walks tall as a tree.
    She been there before,she’ll never give in,
    She’ll be gone tomorrow like the silent breeze.
  3. Forgotten empires
    Lost victories long past
    Every time I bloomed again
    I thought it was the last
  4. Tell you a secret to make you think
    Why is this crazy stuff we’d never say poetry in ink?
    Speaking day-glow red, explode opaque
    Purple mountain’s majesty
    Show me you, I’ll show you me
  5. I need a little shot of that rhythm baby
    Mixed up with these country blues
    I wanna trade in these ol country boots
    For some fine italian shoes
  6. Except roll down the window
    And let the wind blow
    Back your hair
    Well the night’s busting open
    These two lanes will take us anywhere
    We got one last chance to make it real
    To trade in these wings on some wheels

Case freakin closed…

7b9c73f62b2cfa09f2b616cd95ed1e24It takes a hell of a writer to get those images in your head down on paper and then deliver it. To do it in a poetic, satirical, self-deprecating, but clever inner voice is another thing. David Lee Roth has the ability, the imagination, the vocabulary, and the experience to match any of our greatest writers. Don’t dismiss him because he is a great entertainer.

Just remember…. This when you think of the great writers of our time;

Every rose has its thorn
Just like every night has its dawn
Just like every cowboy sings his sad, sad song
Every rose has its thorn

Yeah it does

Oh here is who wrote what up there:

  1. Silvio – Bob Dylan
  2. Secrets – DLR
  3. Blood and Fire – DLR
  4. Tattoo – DLR
  5. Memphis in the Meantime – John Hiatt
  6. Thunder Road – Bruce Springsteen

I just felt like writing. Dave is as good if not better than most. I won’t really fight you over this.

 

Phubbing. An American Epidemic. You May Already Have It!

I knew the ex-wife was lying about screwing around. She kept her phone held to her chest like it was the only thing keeping her heart from stopping. She was cheating. Erasing all messages, never setting it down. Texting late. Plus she was stupid and gullible and I tricked her into spilling the beans. She never was the sharpest tool in the shed.

02phonelove-master495I absolutely hate my phone. I despise it. When it rings I don’t answer it. I don’t know hardly anyone who answers the phone. If I know you then you will know to text or send an instant message. I don’t always reply like I should but I set my phone down when I’m home and I don’t have it tied to me like a house arrest ankle bracelet. I’ll check it when I get to it.

I work on a computer so Facebook is up all day. Even I check it multiple times a day. Only on the computer. Never on my phone. My phone is used to hold music and give me directions. Other than that I don’t want it. When I do call, my friends answer because they know I wouldn’t call unless I had to.

I see them at concerts all the time. Why did you buy a ticket just so you could watch the show on a shaky distorted phone? The action is in front of your face. Are you really going to watch it again? I doubt it. Just sit back and watch Def Leppard the old fashion way. With your eyes and ears.

quote-people-are-always-talking-on-their-phones-or-looking-at-their-phones-because-they-don-martin-amis-137-42-85It is an empty feeling being in a group who would rather …. Well I guess I really don’t understand what is so important? I spent most of my life without one and I still am here. If you wanted to hang with another friend, go there. Don’t let me stop you.

Dating. If a woman who has no children, pulls out a phone, we might as well ask for the check. I can eat alone at home. If you have kids leave it out by all means and I have no problem with you checking on them. Taking a picture of your food and chatting with your bestie while I’m buying drinks is a no-no. It’s rude, it’s disrespectful, and I resent it. If you don’t want my company why are you here?

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I had a great time this evening, would you like to go out with us again?

I’ve walked out on two dates in my life. One of them was texting the dude next to her as I bought drinks, (because I’m stupid and wouldn’t know *eye roll*), I told her I figured she could catch a ride home finished my drink, put on my coat and left her at the bar. We are good friends for sure, but you know what you did.

There have been a few tests meant to stop phone addiction. My friend Bugs told me “When you get to dinner, everyone stacks their phone in the middle of the table. The first person who checks their phone picks up the check.” Genius

Some alone time with my phone.

Man I want to party with these guys!

If you want to show a true test of integrity and trust, swap phones with your partner for the day. You can dig through mine all day long. You’ll realize I don’t know what I’m doing and what most of my apps are for. I have 30 pictures of the inside of my pocket, the rest of the cat.

If you want to show attention, put it away. The world is passing you by and your messages, food pictures, and the mandatory prayers will be there when you get back. If I learned anything this past month is Facebook won’t replace the time spent offline. That is where the treasured memories are. I’m glad I had real face time with those I love. A hug beats a thumbs up anyday.


My friend and musical brother Dirk Baker passed away this week. A tall, lanky ginger. All my love Dirk. The hole in my heart where my friends that I have met and lost through music is getting larger. Like everyone else who knew him, there is a little less light in the world. I’m happy for the time I did have.

Here’s to you Dirk.

Dirk Baker

Dirk, you are truly missed.

I raise my glass and I wish I had someone here to grieve with. To tell the stories and good times we had. I know that many of my friends  have gathered and are helping each other.

I feel farther away from friends everyday. loneliness, helplessness, and my shrink doesn’t want to hear it. I’m not sure the cat gives a damn either.