Travelogue

What Was the Best Day of Your Life?

The election has taken its toll on me. I look at people differently. Maybe this simple question will realign how I look at the world.

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My 2000th Sound Check….Ugh!

I’m pretty lucky to have had a life of being an entertainer. My job is to make you happy. I’m in the smile business. I’ve always given 100% when it comes to me giving you your money’s worth. I didn’t hit it on the head every time but I sure as hell came into the game with that on my mind.

I picked up my guitar and played it and winked and smiled. I slapped hands, snuck people backstage, told stories, and wrote songs. I juggled; I did magic tricks (I’m a fairly good magician in case you didn’t know) I did it even when there was a party I wanted to go to, or my depression had kept me in bed until I left for the shows. Hiding anxiety and sadness many times so that I wouldn’t let down my band mates or my audience. Some days I hid it better than others, but those are stories for another time.

So let’s think about this. What were the best moments I have known….

My first kiss. I won’t embarrass the young lady that gave it to me. As they said in Stephen King’s “Hearts in Atlantis”; It is the kiss that all other kisses will be measured by.

I was at the Cumberland Co Fair when a girl I knew asked if I wanted to go uptown with her other two friends. I said ‘Sure!” Having a crush on the gal superseded the “Don’t leave the Fairgrounds” instructions that had been laid down by Ma.

3cb9dd7c4449b87759645e740542e92aWe hopped in the back seat and somewhere along that ride she laid a kiss on me that curled my toes. I was so scared. I didn’t give her a feel up or anything, just kept kissing.  I was IN LOVE! I couldn’t sleep for three days. I wasn’t hungry for a week.  It was the last kiss I ever got from her. I’m not sure why? Like it matters. It was perfect for a few minutes.


For my birthday my Mom bought me a boom box. I was about 13-14 probably and was obsessed with music. I listened to the radio constantly. The radio tuner quit working after a few months.

My Dad wasn’t around much and when he finally came home I asked him to fix it. He’s a handy guy. Got it to working in about ten minutes. About a week later it quit dialing again. No telling when the Old Man was going to show back up at home.

Ma got the screwdriver out and took the boom box apart. She fixed it.

14938220_10211416113624679_3024598311309867963_nI guess it was at that moment I realized we were going to be okay without my Dad around. Mom and Michelle and I were going to be OK because we didn’t have to wait around for the old man to reappear when he decided to.  Fuck him. The three of us were a pretty good group of people. Better than the barflies and whores my dad spent most of his time with. We didn’t have much but we never felt unloved. Mom made sure of that and I know sacrificed a lot for us and still does to this day.

I played a lot of gigs in my day. Some with huge arena crowds and some to the bar staff. The ones that stand out were the ones that happened when I was coming up.

My first band Bootleg, were playing a little knife and gun club outside of Greenup, IL called El Patio. I had found two huge bags full of these hollow plastic balls with faces on them. They were like a whiffle ball in size and weight. They were called “Ugly Balls”

832d925da7220111148bb36d5ef3e285Bootleg is pumping out tunes like  “All right Now” and “Saturday Night’s Alright for Fighting” while dodging  Ugly Balls that were being tossed full speed across the bar. I was playing with my best friends Rod, Doug, Bugsy and George to about 50 people who were having a ball. It was the first time I found out I could make OTHERS happy with my limited knowledge of the guitar.

I have always believed that every night the best band in the world is playing their best show ever. The band changes from night to night. I’m happy to say I feel like I have played in the best band in the world a few nights.

My first big indoor show was opening for the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band in Mattoon, IL. Sold out show and my R&B band Dr Wu was opening the show. That band had a great set that we had honed to a razor’s edge. Pat the sax player always said, “Give this band 45 minutes and we could take on anyone.”

fee9bef7a4073cae14a2db0a60049c2fRight before we were about to go up the ramp to the stage, Doug Evan’s, my best bud from High School and band mate shook my hand. We started playing together knowing two songs. “Wipe Out” and “Paranoid” All that work was paying off with high paying gigs all over the country and then some. Doug’s handshake that night was different. An epiphany that we had surpassed our dreams. The next 45 minutes we tore the stage up with swinging horns, great tunes, pounding drums and classic R&B music blasting out as only a clueless all white rock  band could. A standing ovation for the open band.


I met a gal in San Francisco. We saw a jazz concert featuring Esperanza Spalding. I could have sworn once those lights went down, Esperanza played just for the two of us. Lisa agreed. Amazing feeling.


My main girl Susan came over for my birthday a couple of years ago and made lunch and spent the day just talking stupid stuff. Meeting Susan was one of the best days of my life.


A buddy sat in on bass one night at a show in Greenup. I asked a girl to dance. It was the closest dance I ever had. Silently two people held on for dear life as we danced to Van Morrison’s ‘Into the Mystic’


Hands down though, the best day I ever had in my life was the day my girlfriend and future wife, Shannon told me she loved me. She was painfully shy and quiet and the nerve it had to take to say those words had to be one of the toughest things she ever had to say. It was returned in spades.

57d19a2c7af888af166edd1cde724a91I will always love her even though we aren’t together anymore. Shannon is one of the greatest women on the entire planet. I miss her sometimes at unexpected moments. She loved me without condition. I screwed it up and a lot of self loathing comes along with it. If I had only not been so scared to get help with my depression instead of running from it till it was too late. She’s living a better life than I could have ever given her. She’s remarried to a good man, she has adopted two babies and I have no doubt those kids won the lottery when they came home with Shannon. A mom who knows nothing but love.

I have love for all my friends, some helped me get up when I was broken down I treasure them for it. I do have the best friends.

So there it is.

Tell me about your best day and let’s forget about hating each other for a minute just to relate a story. I’ll protest tomorrow. Today is all about us. We are all on the same side of the fence when it comes to the best day ever.

Below the video is a link my last album. It’s your’s for the taking. I hope you enjoy it.


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Daily Life in Third World America

TRUMP: “We have become a third world country, folks.” Sept. 26th, 2016 Presidential debate.

The struggle is real folks. I didn’t realize how we had fallen so far. It’s time to let the secret out to the rest of the world. We have went from Superpower to Third-World under Obama.

9:15 am-ish. I wake up to a cold apartment. I have an old thermostat so it’s hard to regulate the heat.
I need coffee. I see I am out of coffee. So I make due and WALK 50 yards just to have to wait in line to buy my coffee at a gas station. A GAS STATION!

Not only was the coffee in the back, very far away from the checkout counter, but when I pull out the lids, two come out. I ONLY WANTED ONE!. I couldn’t find the creamer or sugar. Good thing I take my coffee black.cup-of-coffee

9:30 am: I sit down in front of my computer. Yes I work and use the same computer to do other tasks and for entertainment. I need a new one but I don’t have the money right now. This computer is three years old. I have to live with this shame. But in a Third World I’m lucky to even have this.

10:30 am: I read the news on my ancient outdated computer. It’s how I have to do it since I don’t own a TV or buy newspapers. God? Why do you let these things happen to good people? I should ask my old school mate (even though she is young) Aimee. She’s smart. She lives in England for most of the year. But talking to her over video chat in real time across the globe, just isn’t the same.

11:00 am: I need medication. My 2010 Ford Fusion started (thankfully) and I began my five mile trek to the pharmacy/grocery store called Safeway. The pharmacy is also in the back. They make me wait behind a line before they dispense my meds. My Third World insurance covered it. No charge. Finally things are looking up. My only complaint was having to walk by all the food in the isles. I hugged a worker there and expressed my sorrow at him working for only a living wage. I’m liberal. It’s what I do.safeway-1384087897

12:00 pm:I get home and I can’t find my phone. I WALK across the whole wide room and have to have my computer dial my phone so I can find it. The screen is cracked. It makes it tough to see texts, the weather, what time the pharmacy opens, photos, videos, the guitar tuner, YouTube, email, Instagram, Twitter, the Stock Market and my entire music library. Luckily It will give me audible directions. Lord I wish I had a map!

12:20 pm: I have to drive into the city. I talk to my  phone and pull up Spotify. Yes I can listen to all my favorite songs but since I don’t pay $9.99 a month I have to listen on shuffle mode. It’s 2016. I’m an American, and sure, I can listen to any album I want, anytime I want to, but not in the original order? I guess luxury comes with a price. Only the top 1% ever get to skip the ads. Facktcheck.org

1:30 pm: I finally get into the city. The fear of the tunnel collapsing and the state of the left lane for two miles was atrocious. Probably because men are busting up that lane with jack hammers and back loaders. Merging into one lane isn’t the America Grandpa grew up in. All he had to worry about was Polio.

2:00 pm: The comic book shop was closed today. CLOSED! They must be rationing comic books. I will try again tomorrow. comic-book-club-ray-gootz-970x545

I notice all the homeless people wandering the tourist district with nothing but digital cameras bowling shirts and sun dresses. They are forced to carry their bags with “I  Love Monterey” T shirts and refrigerator magnets. They look longingly at the Pacific. They are wishing for a better life, like in South America, or Africa. Who can blame them?

I decide to eat at a Vietnamese restaurant. I have to ask for water, and they make me eat with sticks. You read it right. STICKS! And the portions were too big. So I eat half of it, and stiff the waiter for making me eat with a stick.

4:00 pm: My afternoon nap is taken on the futon in my studio. Not even a couch. A room with  no air conditioning. I like my studio to be a constant 45 degrees. But it’s impossible with the window open and the saltwater air blowing the 70 degree heat through here. I can’t sweat, and my feet are dirty from wearing only sandals every day. Not even real shoes. Dirty toes are common here. They are known as ‘Valley Feet.’

5:30 pm: Back to grinding out logos and webpages. Illustrating and animating. I’ll never get used to it. My elbows are calloused from leaning on the desk, My coffee is now luke warm.

The immigrants and illegals have taken all the jobs here. I walked miles and miles of fields and can’t find a single strawberry or stalk of broccoli to pick. They have looted the fields here and taken all the strawberry picking jobs that Americans want. Want in one hand and put strawberries in the other, see who’s hand is holding the strawberries. Mexican hands.

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Migrant farm workers in strawberry fields. (Mark Miller/Getty Images)

I can hear them laughing in the trailer park. The comradery among THOSE people is overwhelming. You’ll never find a white man like me being invited to live with a dozen Mexicans in that trailer. Racism. The Hispanics are living it up and I have to deal with a cracked phone.

6:30 pm: I trek across the parking lot to order from Kathy’s Little Kitchen. Mexican food. Sure they take my order in English but they speak in Spanish to each other. Possibly about murdering and raping me. I get my burrito and hurry out the door. I run back to the apartment looking over my shoulder. I consider calling Homeland Security and turning Kathy’s in. Kathy isn’t even a Hispanic name. What are they hiding?

7:00 pm: The only way I have contact with my family is over Facebook, or a text. Possibly call or Skype. Being so far away in a Third-World country means being cut off. My only options to see my mother are either driving the interstate or getting on an airplane. It’s a 4 hour flight to see my dear Mother. Home just a dream.

8:00 pm: Netflix is not showing the movie that I have been skipping for two months. I guess I’ll have to read the book. Maybe I’ll just watch ‘Family Guy’ even though it’s all reruns. But I really wanted to watch the live action ‘Tuesdays with Morrie’. I can’t win *Sigh*

ef34f5566ebbd6237e0b844d674366fa9:00 pm. I’m a so hungry… I go around the whole wide corner to buy the fresh fruit. My debit card now has a chip in it and I have to put the card in to pay for my bananas. What ever happened to swiping? Just one more inconvenience other countries don’t have to live with. In California many people even carry their own bags. Why should the local wildlife get the perks? Why am I carrying my bananas in my hand just because a seal is swimming around with a Safeway bag in his colon? I should have more rights than a seal. If only a bananas were wrapped in some sort of package. Dirty banana peels caused the Red Death that wiped out 1/3 of Europe a few years ago. Factcheck.org

9:15 pm. I take my shower. The conditioner is almost out and I have to put a little water in the bottle to get the last bit. I could use a new razor, but they are in my medicine cabinet so I reuse my old one. After only 45 minutes the hot water is running out. No hot water.

10:00 pm: I start my work for the day. I’m uninspired from being beat down by a system set up to keep me down.

10:05 pm: I’m watching ‘Family Guy” on Netflix. Tweet my thoughts, and hop on Facebook to tell other people why they are obviously wrong.

Walk a mile in my shoes! Even though I haven’t walked a mile in them. But I have probably a dozen pair of shoes. So you taking my shoes doesn’t bother me that bad. Probably a Mexican took them.

I call 911 and five minutes later the cops finally show up. I explain the stolen shoes and wanted to make sure I had an airtight alibi in case my shoes were used in a rape or a murder. I was assured I was white and this would not be the case.

philly-good-guy-with-gunI then quickly whipped out a pistol that I owned and was rather proud of, to show the officer. He admired the gun, told me that it was a good thing I had the loaded pistol on me. After all when a Mexican is raping you, what are you going to do? Call the police? We both laughed.

11:00 pm: I’m STARVING!! I am forced to forage for food at the convenience store. If I don’t eat I will surely die from malnutrition and starvation. Funyuns.

12:00 am: I grab a blanket and curl up in the corner. I have my gun in one hand and used copy of “Tuesdays with Morrie” in the other. I check the gun one more time to make sure there is a round in the chamber and I pee a little bit thinking about shooting a Mexican rapist through my door.

tuesdays-with-morrie-06-07-web-image12:01 am “Tuesdays with Morrie” sucks. I think I’ll watch ‘Family Guy’

4:00 am: I go to bed. I am saddened at the fact that I can’t look up and see the stars. The roof blocks the view. I cry myself to sleep hoping I can hang on. The salt in my tears rust my gun under my pillow.

I don’t see any end to this cycle of having to wait for 30 seconds when I want it NOW!

I am an American and I deserve more than this! Why do I have to spend more than $25 dollars to get free shipping from Amazon? Why does the government  have to be all up in my face fixing roads, making sure my meat is suitable to eat and the water drinkable. I’m a slave to the electric company!I am an indentured servant. If I want anything I can think of , it all comes with a price.

That’s a lot of strawberries

–A

My great friend and amazing musician JB Faires has recently started his blog. I’ve spent many a smokey evening discussing music and the ways of the world. He is truly inspirational

Help me out and give me a like and a share. I will personally write you an email thanking you. I have nothing else to offer.

Inspiring speech. Not dated in the least. I salute you Joe Friday!

Chicken Sh*t Bingo Parlor to Open In Carmel Valley

“The meanest thing God ever put on this Earth is an old woman with a shopping cart” L. Eagleson

Boy howdy. I’m driving a back road this morning and come to a one lane bridge, with another car about to cross on the other side. This is a test of character. A way to read a man’s true soul.

My home town of Greenup is built on the National Trail. A section of highway that isn’t as famous as Rt66. In fact it’s Highway 40. It’ll take you from Washington DC to Utah. There is a section of the old road called “Old 40” as opposed to the highway. It runs right next to the Fairgrounds and just as fast as taking 40.

We have a one lane bridge just past the Fairgrounds. It is Cumberland County’s Historic

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Covered Bridge. A true piece of Cumberland County history. I know! I remember when they built it in the 1990’s. Before that was a one lane cement bridge.  It blew up real good!

 

When two people met at the bridge, one had to pull off to the side signaling to the person across the bridge that you saw them and were letting them go first. After all if you were in a hurry you would take the interstate.

It would about come to blows over who allows who to go first. Two people sitting off to the side of the road waving at each other to go first. The words “Go asshole” behind each of their respective smiles. Finally after either an exaggerated wave that says “YOU MUST GO BECAUSE I’M NOT MOVING UNTIL YOU ACCEPT MY HOSPITALITY!” or after each person waves twice does one of them say “Okay…” and crosses. Then you wave politely to the person sitting on the side who in turn waves back. Good morning. I have done my good deed for the day.

Then you have the guy who doesn’t slow down because he wants to get his toilet paper and Copenhagen 15 seconds earlier. No one minds. You were going to give him the right of way anyhow. He just skipped the ceremony.  You wave a polite wave as he crosses. You are Brother’s in Arms when it comes to a one lane road. 99% of the time he will wave back.

Maybe this is a show of dominance, but it usually is some young kid with his sleeves cut off, a hat that advertises DeKalb fertilizer, and Steve Miller blasting in mono at full volume from a pick-up truck with a dog kennel in the back and a coffee can wired around6086bb645d38871e87a7e221878da284 the hole in his exhaust pipe. His folks taught him better. He’s a kid. Don’t cage him yet. The world will pound him into submission soon enough. Drive free boy! Turn that 88’ Silverado into wings and fly!

The guy this morning got to the one lane bridge down in Moneyville and took off across it. You really have to go slow over it. So I waved with my hand sitting on top of the steering wheel. The man looked right at me with a nonplussed  expression. Both hands still on the wheel. A snub.

This calls for inner-country boy to come out. So I waved REAL BIG! The kind of wave you do when you see an old friend across the street that you haven’t seen in years. Nothing…

This is a serious breach of protocol. I plan on getting up early tomorrow and waiting at the bridge. I’ll block it with my car sideways like the State Cops (CHiPS). Then I will run up and pull him out of his car, and I will wrestle him into submission using my non-existent MMA skills for giving me the virtual F*** YOU from yesterday.” With his head firmly between

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“Didn’t your Mama teach you any better???”

my crossed legs and his arm an inch from being broken because of my arm bar hold, I will teach him lessons I learned. Complete with local down home flavor.

 

Things like “That dog don’t hunt!” “Shit fire” & “Boy! You bit off more than you can chew.” Interspersed with various swear words and uncorroborated observations about his mother.

These are the things I’m holding onto.

  • “Somebody’s not stirring the Kool Aid” – Story does not add up
  • “I think you are telling me a western” – A lie
  • “Sum Bitch” A greeting or a sign of frustration or great amusement.
  • “Who is f***’n this chicken anyhow?” – I’d like to know who is in charge of this project? [edit] I mistakenly used an incorrect description. This actually is to be used as “I am in charge.” it is meant to end any discussion on a project.
  • “Sheeeeeeeiiiiiiittttttt! – means nothing, just a great way to break the ice.
  • “I’d rather have a Mother in the whorehouse than have a Republican as a Brother-In Law.” – I adamantly disagree with the Republican Party .
  • “It’s colder than a well digger’s ass” – The temperature outside is frigid.

I think I told my friend Lisa a whole story about a night out in High School without using a single intelligible phrase. About the time I got to the part where I was with Aaron as he was “cuttin’ cats asses” in the school yard; she stopped me.  I assured her no cats were harmed and it was simply Aaron and a scared shitless Sam doing donuts with his Mom’s station wagon in front of the school.

Yeah, I pronounce ‘tire’ as ‘tarr’ and ‘oil’ as ‘oral’ and if you have a hound with you I’ll probably tell you what a good lookin ‘dough-g’ ya got there. But I’m gonna wave you through a 4 way stop, or let you go over the bridge first (unless you are driving a little blue smart car of some sort)91-exl

I think I joined a band yesterday. My first California band. I’m in it with a guy from Maine and a dude from Oregon.

Maine cowboys. Great guys. It’s tear in your beer country but what the hell, I’m not looking for a date anyway.

-A.

I’m going to link Matt Poss’s song’ Three Bricks Shy’ here. He wrote it in college after explaining mushroom hunting to his roommates from Chicago. “What do you hunt them with? A knife?” Matt grew up 20 miles from me. This is home.

If you have a good country saying, post it in the comments below. Also Like and Share. How am I going to make a living if you don’t like and share???

I’m considering putting up a Chicken Shit Bingo parlor in Carmel Valley Village. Nothing says classy like having a permanent Chicken Shit Bingo cage in your establishment.

 

Even the President has to Stand Naked.

Three upscale society ladies were having brunch at the Russian Tea Room in Manhattan.

Much to their chagrin, a Southern woman asks to sit with them as she is from out-of-town and alone.

The Southern woman asks “Where ya’ll from?”

One of the upscale ladies places her cup back into her saucer and without looking up replies “We are from a place where we don’t end our sentences in prepositions.”  Her friends smugly smiling into their tea.

The Southern woman took a sip of her tea and placed it on her saucer and replied, “Please forgive me. Let me restate my question. Where ya’ll from bitch?”


The culture shock hasn’t gone unnoticed. The weekends are filled with day trippers. Ladies in carefully thought out “oh, this old thing” light spring dresses complete with matching jacket and shawl, walk casually down the street.  They walk through the village and stop in the wine tasting rooms and admiring the quaint ambiance of an artist colony full of purple-footed grape mashers.b3557

I don’t think I’m fitting in. In Greenup, I am very liberal. Here I see where rules that I thought were universal are not. Such as respect.

“Don’t say ‘Hon’ to the fem-nazi’s here. That lady looked kind of pissed.”

My answer? Fuck her.’Hon’ is a benign term of endearment given when I don’t know your name and if you are a woman. It’s what words like ‘buddy’ and ‘My Man!’ are meant when dealing with a stranger who I don’t know who happens to be a guy. I refuse to believe in pointless outrage.

Show me proof of someone actually pissed because you told them Merry Christmas and I’ll show you someone with a stick so far up their ass they could be a scarecrow. You are out voted! Saying nice things to one another should be the freest of free speech. I say it and I’m an atheist. Beats a poke in the eye any day.

Vigilante justice, or the gold ‘ole ass kicking. It’s like they have never heard of using violence to solve your problems??!! The fear of being called on your buillshit should be real.

When someone is speaking out of turn, they expect not to be confronted with a conflicting point of view. Like a two black eyes, because I had to tell ya twice, kind of justice. Nothing like the fear of being hurt to make you think about your choice of words.

Attitude adjustment. Equalizers “If he’s too big, get a bat!” The throwdown. How will we know the line in the sand without two guys puffing their chests like peacock feathers. A bro-down.

They used to have ‘Bro-Downs’ all the time in Robinson IL. Two farm boys would stand outside in the parking lot of the club.Each are being ‘held back’ by a gal who weighs a buck-o-five. Played that joint for twenty years. Never saw a punch thrown. I miss it though. If you are ever through there, stop in the Main St. Pub and say hi to Sherry for me. Don’t worry, you are safe from violence there.

There is a lot to learn. I’m not a fan of wine. I never expected to be in California, let alone here. Maybe I can summon the spirit of Steinbeck. I think I’ll write Of Mice and Men. I snow-bunnyremember pretty much how that story goes. I won’t ruin it for you, but I remember there is a guy who keeps Vaseline in his glove so his hand is soft for the ladies. That with the “I’ll love him and squeeze him and call him George…” from the Bugs Bunny cartoons I watched in my youth, toss in an action scene or two. We got ourselves a humdinger of a story.

I listen weekly to the songs the songs I need to finish but just can find the words. I’m still blocked. In the interim I heard the master tapes to my close friend Tommy Dunn and Ike Edwards new album. Once again, great songwriting and performance. Check out their stuff. Mustache. This is the best kept secret in the world. I really mean that. These guys could stand toe to toe with any band and hold their heads high.

Tommy said something that I can totally relate to. He said he played and the most he could hope for was to impress his peers. Me being one of them. I’m honestly honored that he thought that much of me to even mention it.

I am just like Tommy. No matter what I have done, the shows I’ve played, the people I’ve played them with, It was the guys I looked to that I always wanted the respects from. The Three G’s, Greg, George and Garrie. I’ve stood nose to nose with George Lynch (guitar god from the 80’s) held my own and the dude I wanted to impress most is my neighbor and my buddies Rod and Doug. They are the ones who answered my questions and let me pester them into showing me something until I could start figuring it out myself.  Every note I have ever played came through them. Like shit through a goose.

Prince died this week. Every band on YouTube was playing Purple Rain. Iconic song, I played it for years myself.  I would have played Darling Nikki, I Want to B UR Lover, or Computer Blue. That’s how you solo brother!

Prince had a strange fame. He took all the best parts of Little Richard, Sly Stone, James Brown, Jimi Hendrix, Kung Fu, Shaft and Super Fly, and unapologetically put them together and invented a five foot funk machine, His Royal Badness, the former-artist-formally- known-as Prince.

He’s the one guy who, throughout his entire career, it was OK to like. Sure, you had your Ted Nugent dudes who don’t know the difference between a good guitar player and an Susanna-Hoffs-with-The-Bangles-550x310amazing musician. But he was cool, because he was boinking all the stars you wish you were boinking. Like Suzanna Hoffs from the Bangles…Ok so you can’t argue that. He puts on an amazing show, complete with great songs.  Ya got me there…

He has the majesty of a Las Vegas show in his pants. Canned heat in his heels and oh yeah, he can blow you away on the guitar. This is when it hits you that there are people better than you in this world. And I’m not talking about guitars. He is simply better than everyone.

His daily life is better than any vacation you will ever have. And we’re Ok with that. He’s transcended the American Dream and now lives the life of luxury in a palace of his own making. Too bad it’s in God for sakin’ Minnesota.  No one said he didn’t deserve it. He was the Willie Wonka of music. He produced the most wonderful flavors.

When you didn’t hear from him in awhile, you assumed he was off somewhere making purple music while wearing a smoking jacket, and a bevy of white women at his feet. Somewhere between Dante`s Inferno and the Care Bears Christmas. Both having their own foot in Hell.

There was a lot to being “Prince” but there are something’s that your assistant can’t do for you. At some point Prince sat down and dialed in the sounds he recorded. He was sitting on the floor with his pedal board. He was tuning that guitar and cutting the solo to Lets Go Crazy. The dude sitting alone and writing with a pad of paper and an acoustic guitar. “Even the President has to stand naked.”~ Bob Dylan

There could be a far out parable about Of Mice and Men’s main characters George, who has the burden of the simple minded Lennie to deal with. Prince let us pet it and love it and squeeze it and then a bullet to your head.

Prince is gone. Purple bunnies are chasing him. They are coming to dig him.

  • Robert Duvall and Prince have a separation of #3.

Christian Rockers are Some Sick Mother F***r’s

Listen up sports fans! I’m dying a slow death. Suicide by still life. This is an artist community of people who paint nothing but bowls and pitchers with avocados or apples. The brave will throw some grapes in there.

I had to draw these in art class when I was in high school. I hated it then and I hate them now. Some of these guys can paint them with such realism that you could make a good bet it was a photo. Which brings up the point of painting it in the first place when you could have just taken a picture and not spent a year getting the colors to blend just right on a freakin apple.

There was an art show this weekend. They tossed some heavy dough into a big tent, people organizing and judging, setting up displays, and then they hung 100’s of still life paintings throughout the tent. Some of them had ribbons. Big blue ribbons. They said “Your picture of this bottle/avocado theme is the best bottle/random fruit in this category!” There must have been only two categories. Amateur bottle/random fruit painters and Professional bottle /and random fruit painters.

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This picture inspires me to bust the bottle and cut someone with it while eating an apple.

I assume there was no cash award, making the amateur a professional by definition.

The music. I have been trying to meet some musicians so I’ll have someone to buy pot from since I got here. I answered an ad on craigslist for a guitarist. When they replied the choice of material was obscure and benign. If ever a town needed a pair of jeans, a chain drive wallet, a pair of Chuck Taylors, and a three-chord-shit-kickin’ band busting out Travelin’ Band like they were playing it as if their life depended on it, this is the place.

Where is the passion? The beauty of simplicity, the beauty of painting outside the lines? Like a child. There are no rules. Will my lowbrow style even be considered art here? What if it’s not? I won’t be offended, mine will seethe with sweat, anger, danger and humor. Art without passion is Still Life, music without it is Christian Rock.

What if I told you I was going to start a band, but were only going to sing about ducks. A whole album about me following a duck, or simply saying what a great duck it is. People eat duck so I could sing about various ways to eat duck. It’s a myth that ducks don’t make an echo… After that I’m out of ideas. Maybe I could write a song or two about a duck when the mood hits me, and then write about a cow, or other bovine.

I’ll never understand Christian Rock. I helped out my Mom’s church by playing in a one time band playing three songs. All mid-tempo, extreme graphic violent accounts for the entire lyric and the chorus guilts us into buying a CD because my grandson likes Rock and Roll music. It’s not the music. It’s Christian Rock listeners. Are you kidding me? Hillsong? Casting Crowns? No one smiles. Not the band, Not the audience just the road manager counting the receipts back stage.

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Christian Rock. Not a smile in the creepy-ass crowd

Nothing creeps me out more than the hand raising. It’s way too “Hitler Youth” for me to swallow. Put your hands down and put them together. Maybe Hillsong will crack a smile as they describe Jesus being nailed to a tree. Metallica wrote a song about being trapped under ice on the Ride the Lightning album plus the title song, which I suppose is another description of death. Neither coming close to the description of the Passion. Christian rockers are some sick mother fuckers. A musical snuff film. I have news for you. You can love God and AC/DC.

Longtime AC/DC frontman, Brian Johnson has lost his hearing mid-tour. As the replacement for the late Bon Scott.  Brian could hit the notes and snarled out a comeback album like Back in Black. Due to Brian’s hearing problems the band just let him go. They will be finishing the tour with the dreaded Axl Rose singing lead.

I can only hope they are hiring Axl on to finish the tour, give the fans something special and all of it being a tip of the hat to B. Johnson. If he’s filling in to finish the tour, then Axl will be a hero. If he feels he’s replacing Brian then he will be the villain. I kind of like the idea. Beats trying to buy a ticket for an oldies act from the 80’s with one amazing album under their belt.

AC/DC fans are having a ball. For those about to rock...

AC/DC fans are having a ball. For those about to rock…

GnR back together, doesn’t thrill me and I LOVE the original version of the group. Appetite was on my turntable when it came out. IN 1987! Kids today weren’t even born then. Guys you have been a day late and a dollar short since you became superstars. It’ll be a big-time grossing tour, but it’ll also be playing the oldies, a picture of a once great band. A snapshot of the past. A still life.

Ever notice Axl sound like Ethel Merman? Knock, knock, knockin on heaven’s dow-wow… juxtaposed with There’s NO business like SHOW business….

Ethel Merman was in It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World with and actor named Tyler McVey. McVey was in the movie Captain Newman, M.D. with The Great Santini himself, Robert Duvall.

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Listen up hog!

 I’m 100% immersed into John Steinbeck country. The places I’ve read about in some of my favorite books are right here. I went to the Steinbeck Center the other day. It was pretty stiff. I did get to see his camper from the non-fiction travelogue Travels with Charley and his handwriting and typewriter. All for twelve bucks.

“It ain’t much of a crime, whackin’ a surly bartender.” ~ Captain Augustus McCrae (Robert Duvall)

~Arlo

 

 

We were just outside of Barstow when the drugs started kicking in…

Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas was made into a movie that stars Johnny Depp. JD was in Don Juan Demarco with Marlon Brando. Marlon Brando is the Godfather and his consigliere, Tom Hagen was played by Robert Duvall who was in the Great Santini, which is possibly the best movie ever made. Right up there with Lonesome Dove.

What the hell does that have to do with me? Col. Bull Meechem liked to hit the road before sun up. Me too.

Traffic is light, the music sounds clearer, you smell like coffee, cigarettes 12901459_180644418993331_5627199759655942339_oand traveling. Cat traveling. Traveling with Milton the cat couldn’t have gone smoother, it was like menthol. Cool and nice.

The first time I ever crossed any farther west than St. Louis MO I was 21. I loved the open road. Steel belts on asphalt. The next cheezy landmark. “the Buford Pusser Museam is only and hour and a half out of our way??? Lets go!” and “Pull off here, There is a guy who puts on a christian parrot act!”

The town I lived in had signs for “Merrimac Caverns 200 miles away” painted on the roof of barns up and down Rt40.

I thraveled (sic) west with two books that time. “The Mother Road Rt66” and “Roadside America” a listing of all the giant balls of twine, white squirrels (Yes Olney Illinois, You were there) and Michillan Man statues that used to pepper the American landscape like ticks on a dog.

Doug and I took pictures of the things we had seen only in one of these books.He keeps everything. I keep nothing.

The billboards promised us authentic hillbilly carved nut bowls. The radio was selling autographed copies of the Last Supper. I could get a free 72 ounce steak if I could eat it. It was just about a days drive to get it. The yellow Jack Rabbit Trading Post signs counted down the miles when Doug wasn’t. Television started speaking a little Spanish. The grass was gone. There were the buttes and the mountains I had only seen in movies. That’s some pretty cool shit when you have never seen it.13015552_204074199983686_7090931735159582288_n

The Highway Beautification Act. It stopped the signs that littered our ribbon of highway and replaced is with Subway NEXT EXIT. No shit. There is always a Subway next exit. Here I am, having a nostalgic moment about nostalgia.

I’m no Tom Joad, no matter what ever romantic fantasize run through my clouded noggin. I have an accent here. I don’t understand. A man guessed Louisiana.

It’s blues music. I have always felt that American guitarists are better blues players by far than the British. Yeah, I know they rediscovered the music and gave it back. We appreciate it my fog-breathing friends. Let me buy you a beer.Migrants_car_Lange_1936_dbloc_crop

I’m a white kid from the rural midwest. We were also not far from the path traveled by, Muddy Waters, Howlin Wolf, Willie Dixon, etc… During the northern migration of poor blacks in the south. I have known men with thick southern accents. I have seen cotton, I have seen delta, I have seen the McDonald’s on the Crossroads where Robert Johnson sold his soul to the Leg-Buh.

As liberal as I am, I find the midwest and my friends and culture taking over. I’m living in an artist community. They know me as Arlo. I know Claudia at Kathy’s Diner. Bana from the middle east. Gay Stephen. I don’t really know them. I know their names. Gay Stephen and I even had a moment.

GS was the guy at the Verizon Store. He’s saying a fact about something, and it related to a fact I knew about guitar strings and without blinking an eye he said “Super Slink-ayyys!” We fist bumped as brothers of the guitar. Though I use Fender nickle wound on my Tele.

There is “soul” inherated by simply being there. chicken, cornbread, black coffee. I’m the only one who says “Hello pretty lady.” or “Fine. How are you?” They look and sound shocked. These people are fuckin’ rich around here. Not the “one night the band ate in the corner with other rich people.” These guys are 24/7/365 and a 1/4 days a year! I’m in way over my head.

When we saw a rodeo ad on TV she said “That is so cruel” I’m thinking “How else are those guys supposed to brand those calves?”

I want a bar. One that smells of cigarettes and stale beer, desperation and alcoholism. I miss my friends. I miss some of the women I have known that I probably won’t ever see again. I gave my heart to each and every one and though we will still talk I doubt I’ll feel their hugs, smell their hair and listen as I tell them I love them. It was never a lie. You know who I’m talking to, because I never said anything but I love you. I would have done anything for you. We didn’t breach the subject much, just in jokes and passing but I would have traded my life for yours.

Clint Eastwood lives here.

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P.S. I Love You

This movie sucks and I’m walking out.

I’ve walked out of dozens of movies. I have seen thousands of movies I would have walked out on had I had the chance to. I love movies and haven’t seen a good one in years.

I’ve never went to a movie just so I could walk out about 30 or 40 minutes in. I do it in a heartbeat. Do something, even if it is wrong. Beats sitting for an hour or so knowing it’s going to suck. I’ll take my chances.

Toward the blissful twilight of my doomed marriage, Becca made me go see a creepy chick flick called “P.S. I Love You” It’s about this couple. A handsome couple. The guy dies, but before he does he leaves all these cryptic posthumous letters and gifts seemingly from the grave. The movie is the Notebook, Night of the Living Dead and the Davinci Code in a ps_i_love_you-1poignant, paint-by-the-numbers and heartwarming package. The only saving grace I had, were three middle-aged women setting directly behind me giving a play by play in their speaking voices. I still remember one of them saying “Oh my God! Ireland!”

Fact 1. That movie sucked. I don’t need every movie to be the Road Warrior but come on, at least some gratuitous nudity.

Fact 2. My wife was probably screwing around on me at the the time.

Fact 3. THAT guy should have had to set through that piece of shit movie.

Fuck that.

I’m out of here…

~Arlo