Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Once The Darkness Has Been Let In

As I read again about Kurt Vonnegut's history I am saddened and amazed. Did that life form his magnificent art? Well, I suppose that our experiences always shape the work that we do. 

My struggles in life are truly put into a proper perspective when I ponder the tragedy that others go through. I've had a couple of women rip my heart out in the last few years. When they did, for some reason, they just kept shredding. I'll probably never know why. Friends and strangers like to tell me, "Hey, at least you got some songs out of it."

I don't need songs. I was happier with a heart.

At any rate I have spent too much time and energy and oxygen whining about my romantic misadventures. Maybe it's good to be reminded of real heartbreak, true sadness.

What I have come to realize is that once the crack is there, once a little of the darkness has been let in, it's always there. I'm hoping that I have just widened my scale now. You know, exquisite joy on this end and bleak misery on the other. I keep my foot down hard now, trying my best to keep it in the happy zone.

Sometimes it works.


Tuesday, October 30, 2012

The Best Ones

Everybody thinks his friends are better than other folks'. Mine really are. Sometimes I wonder why mine even put up with me. They take care of me and they spoil me. While we're all busy watching all of the tragic results that the weather has left and praying for all of the victims I'm reminded again that some force really does watch over fools.

Monday, October 29, 2012

Better

You've heard that worn out expression in movies, "I've been rich and I've been poor. Rich is better."

Well, it dawns on me now, pardon the expression, that I've been in love and I've been without love. In love is better.

I sat at the bar with an old friend from junior high school last night. When I started to leave he hugged me and told me how good it was to see me. It was wonderful to see him, too. The hug was just a wonderful confirmation of my connection with humanity. Thanks, Gid.

Put everything you've got into love. It's your best investment.


Sunday, October 28, 2012

New Fight Song

It occurs to me that evolution favors the aggressive. The peaceful tribes have always been pushed to the edge, literally, and generally disappear over generations. That's not all of biology, however. Intelligence would always show up as a dominant force, too. I know that it's hard to accept during this election season. With folks lining up to vote against their own best interests you have to begin to question this part.

Let's just write that off to ignorance and bigotry for convenience for now. They will always go hand in hand.

If we fight them with their chosen weapons: fear, lies and intimidation, we all lose. Then we end up with two teams of bad guys. Bad pun, end up, intended.

Drag out truth and love. Add a dash of compassion and tolerance and you've got a fight on your hands. The bad guys will always fear the truth. 

I never understood "Down By The Riverside" as a kid. Seems like somebody was always singing it on the Ed Sullivan Show. I did, however, always love that line, "I ain't gonna study war no more." Let's sing it now and push them to the fringes. Keep in mind that we'll do our pushing with our chosen weapons.

Thinking about my buddy, Rock, this morning. Lots of mornings. I miss him.


Saturday, October 27, 2012

Learning To Live, Waitin' To Die

Feels like I may be coming out of the other end of that tunnel that we call adolescence. I won't be called quick. Ever. The beauty of the planet overwhelms me. The sadness even more. Stand up for the ones who need you, two footed and four.


Friday, October 26, 2012

Friends

Wherever I go I'm reminded of the value of friends. A musician pal came up to me last night and told me how much he liked the new record. That's always nice. Then he fumbled for a minute and mumbled something about, "I don't know if I should be saying this." He related a personal story about missing an opportunity to warn me of impending romantic disaster and his regrets regarding everything that came next.

His kindness gave me a level of closure and validation that is still overwhelming. That's what friends do. I hope that I'm able to be a friend from time to time.

Lots of folks ask me about my good friend, Harry Hayward, wherever I go. Sometimes I wonder if Dean Martin got asked about Jerry Lewis and how he was doing right up until the end. Harry has been through some rough times over the last few years including a major health scare. This song is his story. He's my pal.


Thursday, October 25, 2012

Cult Leader

So read the sliver from my stale fortune cookie at the Chinese Buffet a couple of weeks back. Funny, when I got home I found an image of the same message on some Tumblr page. How lucky am I that I live exactly the life that I've always dreamed of?

I wasn't blessed with anything that anyone would ever confuse with talent. What I share with folks is my soul. It seems that honesty is in really short supply these days. More than one friend has pointed out to me that I'm far too confessional and always getting way too personal onstage and on my recordings.

That probably has something to do with the number of press reviews and online entries that describe me as a cult artist. I'm pretty sure that most of the writers who describe me in this fashion are trying to be polite about the size of my audience. I've always gone for the underdog.

My friend, Rebekah, as I've mentioned before, has talent. A boatload. That was obvious to me when I saw her starting out. I fumbled to advise her and help move her towards her potential until she clearly needed nothing from me or anyone else. Now she even reveals the personal side. Not hers, mine.

I first heard her doing this song on the radio. She explained that she hadn't really written it, that she merely channeled a friend. I knew who the friend was before she finished the first line.


Wednesday, October 24, 2012

It's Been Good To Know You

It occurs to me that I have seen the end of my beloved rock'n'roll and the end of the U.S. empire as well. Oh some of us still play three chords and shout and we still dominate the world stage of politics. You know what I mean, though. It's a long tumble from President Kennedy challenging all of us to do something for the country to that jet that landed on the carrier in front of the banner. The slide from Chuck Berry duckwalking across the stage to Justin Bieber tossing this week's hairdo is just as steep.

I hope that I don't come across as some cranky old guy bellyaching about the good old days. Glorious new days await us. Kids will have their own music. It will be grand and from the soul when it gets here, too. Just like the evil despots who ruled the masses in days past this political setup is doomed, too. There is no way that a free people will settle in and allow two parties representing small, moneyed interest groups run our society into the ground at the expense of the weakest among us.

Empires crumble under their own weight. Rock'n'roll collapsed under the music business. Our government has toppled under the Republican and Democratic parties. We have a lot of work to do. Roll up your sleeves and do your share with all the love in your heart.


Tuesday, October 23, 2012

He's A Card

I suppose that we all did things as kids that we're not proud of today. I've already done some today that I won't boast about. Most of us did not chase down gay acquaintances and hold them down to chop off their hair. There is a term for that kind of person. Psychopath. We all tend to conjure up an image of either Jack Nicholson with an axe or Anthony Perkins with a knife when the word comes up in conversation. That's not accurate. Oh, yeah, if a psychopath is violent he may pick up something sharp. That isn't what makes him a psychopath. It is a total void of empathy that characterizes a real psychopath. Think Bain Capital.

In order to succeed in society psychopaths usually become very clever at masking this lack of concern for others. Many therapists don't like to work with them. It is generally agreed that there is no real cure for the condition. Psychotherapy can be a real help to the individual who uses information from a professional to get better at faking compassion.

Psychopaths think of themselves as special. Typically, they victimize one at a time. Business partner, spouse, roommate. Then again it is generally considered that Washington, D.C. is full of them.

Most experts believe that for the most part psychopaths see themselves as having great compassion and empathy. They tend to see the rest of the world as ruthless and uncaring and believe that they are just better at the games of deceit than the everyone else. Special.

Once your life has been upended by one you're probably more likely to notice them. No, you are definitely more likely to notice them. When millions are being spent to put one on your television screen twenty four hours a day you can't really miss one.

I don't like politics and there is no party that represents me. I will vote against a person who seems to support most wars but does not believe that any member of his family should be involved. I will not consider an individual fit for public office who believes that folks in this society should have health care  with the availability and quality dependent upon their finances, especially when the finances are questionable in source. I cannot sit quietly and allow a candidate to tell stories that vary in substance and detail depending on the audience. The Florida video revealed a psychopath.

Maybe when we hear the term psychopath in the future the image of a mean spirited, spoiled yuppie with a pair of scissors in his hand standing over a terrified gay kid will come to mind.

Think Less

Hardly a week goes by without one friend or another mentioning that I think too much. I'm pretty sure that none of them are of the opinion that I'm particularly bright or that I'm at work on heavy duty plans to save the planet and mankind.

No, they all notice that I'm forever trying to make sense out of things that just don't make sense. Love. That's a big one. I seem to be able to make sense of the concept. I just don't meet folks who see it the same way.


Monday, October 22, 2012

Sunglasses At Night

"Why are all your songs so dark, so sad?" As I looked at the young German writer asking the question I was stumped. No one had ever mentioned to me before that I wrote sad or dark songs. I mean he was the one in the black turtleneck with sunglasses on in the dark bar. I felt like the straight man in a Saturday Night Live skit.

After rolling it around in my head for a few moments I decided that maybe because English was not his first language that he might be mistaking some of my darker attempts at humor for sadness. Looking back, his English was as precise as mine. 

Since that time lots of fine folks have asked me the same question in one form or another. Autumn comes and I sense that familiar light. Heartaches's in the air. All of the seasons have their own brand of despair. I suppose that I should just be thankful that I have something to write about.


Sunday, October 21, 2012

Dogs

Dog karma was thick in the park this afternoon where I played a fundraiser for the pups' subsidized spay and neuter clinic. The love was just as thick. Oh yeah, some of the canines seemed happy to flirt but it's the love between folks and dogs that gets me. I hope to play a cat benefit soon. Go pet your dog. Tell him you love him, too.


Saturday, October 20, 2012

What I Believe

Sometimes it's difficult to express to other folks just exactly what my core beliefs really are. It's not that I'm a complicated, sophisticated deep thinker. It's really more that I truly believe in everything. Seems to me that all of the faiths offer the same simple messages of peace and love and service for others.

I might have given up on love but for folks like my friends Manda and George. I believe in love.


Friday, October 19, 2012

Holidays

It occurs to me that I haven't spent an enjoyable holiday in years. Of course, there is no one else to blame. With Halloween right around the corner this is as good a time as any to start. By Christmas I should be in practice. If you see me on New Year's Eve give me a kiss.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

What A Party

I'm always wondering what the party would be like if Jesus and Buddha and Mohammed and all the good guys could get together. I'm not big on some dumb,  all guy party. It's just that our sexist culture leaves us with more male icons. That's too bad, of course. I'm guessing that Jesus would rather be at the end of the bar with Marilyn or Mary Magdalene than either of his hotshot cohorts. Me too.

We surely wouldn't sit around talking about politics. I've never felt properly guilty about taking my clothes off. I'll bet that the duds would be piled in a corner quickly. All of them. Somehow, I'm sure that there would be laughing, a lot of laughing. Naked laughing. Now, that's a party. Right?

None of this blather is meant to be disrespectful. I love these guys. The simple messages of peace and love resonate in such powerful, human terms. I'm always amazed that we don't just lay down our swords and shields and give in to the wonder of love. No more war.


Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Yeah, Every Day

When I was a kid I always loved for company to come. I remember my Great Uncle Jakie and Aunt Annie coming to stay with us in Tampa for a few days over Christmas. I must have been six or seven. They were a pain. A real pain. They didn't want to let me near the tree and they pretty much put a damper on the whole holiday. I cried my eyes out when they left.

Now I miss the folks that I just left in Milwaukee. I miss my mom. Not a day goes by that I don't think about my grandmother. I'm pretty sure that I can name every pet that I've ever lived with and loved. Wives seem to make a point of explaining very clearly that they want nothing to do with me ever again. I miss them all.

When I leave a stage I'm usually somewhat devastated. I never want to leave a crowd. I miss all of my heroes who have gone on. I went to Bubba's funeral when I was four or five years old. He had been a little bit younger. One of his parents backed over him in the driveway. I still miss Bubba.


Tuesday, October 16, 2012

The Same Dust

It occurs to me again that we're all made from the same stardust and that each of us is special and that each of us is common. No candidate debating tonight has a greater value than I do. On the other hand each of those men deserve my love and respect as a living, breathing creature. Psychopaths think of themselves as special special. Lots of them gravitate to politics. 

Love is the fuel, the weapon. Fight all of your battles with love.


Monday, October 15, 2012

What You Wish For

Why weren't the record labels "too big to fail?" I suppose we all know the answer to that rhetorical question. They didn't own our government. They weren't tied to profitable wars.

Somehow I always pictured myself alone, an outsider. My pal, Walt, described me the other day, "a solo act. I mean a real solo act."

I'm Ronny Elliott. I'm surely not boasting but I'm not complaining. This is what I do.


Sunday, October 14, 2012

Can't Lose Something That You Never Had

Woke up tossing and turning in the middle of the night comfortable with the idea that I will never lose my mind. It seems to have occurred to me in dreams that I have never had any control over my mind. It controls me. It goes where it wants to go.

Fortunately for me women without their clothes on is the neighborhood that my mind usually inhabits. I would be lying to you if I said that I had a better neighborhood in mind.

Understand that I tend to obsess over world peace, the condition of the planet, women's rights and all issues of equality. Nevertheless, my mind won't stay on a leash and I am always ready to let it run free. I'm something!



Saturday, October 13, 2012

Walking With Spirits

Ancestors of slaves and the descendants of the natives of this continent. We walk on the streets with these people every day. The tragedy is in the history but the hope lies in the grace and the dignity of these individuals who manage to overcome hate and bigotry.

"I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character." Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Not yet, Dr. King. Not yet.

Friday, October 12, 2012

Ronny, Do You Have A Jacket?

My friends still laugh. My mom or my grandmother were usually calling out to me as I left the house in bad weather. I have never had the good sense to dress appropriately for rain or cold.

I'm off to Milwaukee this afternoon. I'm not taking a coat.



Thursday, October 11, 2012

Radios and Toasters

It's always a struggle. How do I manage to make something out of nothing? Sometimes I rush to the keyboard to gush about the glory of love and the beauty of peace. Other times I worry that all that I'm doing is stroking my fragile ego. You know, "Fools' names like fools' faces...".

I've described myself here as the anti- Dylan; no mystique, no secrets. I'll tell you anything. I do!

I'm driven to communicate. I want to make you laugh but I'll break your heart and make you cry if I've got nothing funny to say. I've often said that I wish I wrote all life affirming, positive songs. You know, Luke The Drifter things. Some day.


Wednesday, October 10, 2012

I Guess I Miss Them All

Soft spot in my heart for all of them. I suppose they have given my life a measure of meaning. Love, love, love.


Tuesday, October 9, 2012

The Edge

What's to become of me? My life has settled into a new routine. I have plenty of time for creating and producing. My friends have proven to be the best in the world and I have my health.

In other words I have nothing to complain about. Somehow, though, sadness and heartache seem to have combined to become my Moriarity.

I struggle to find whatever I'm missing. Sometimes I'm honest with myself and I know. Then I go back to chasing the illusive evil master who never really shows himself.


Monday, October 8, 2012

Is That All There Is?

Never could stand that Peggy Lee song. Oh yeah, I knew that my heroes Leiber and Stoller had penned it but it was just too weird and overwhelmingly sad. 

I still don't like it but at least I get it. It's really hard to justify trudging on when you're not in love. Madly in love.


Sunday, October 7, 2012

Hope And Light

Burning bridges, breaking hearts and wasting time. Get up, boy. There's a world to save out there. They're not gonna do it out of Washington D.C., are they? They never were. Evolution's involved. That kid who stole your lunch money from the locker room while you were at P.E. runs a hedge fund now. His lobbyists own your government. It's not so much a matter of evil. He's wired that way. History and evolution favor him. His friend captains a big petroleum company. War is good business for them.

Don't get bogged down in it. Vote and talk and teach but keep in mind that they're eventually going to die, too. Buried with his Rolex on, biggest difference.

Love and help and learn. There's a light that shines on your path but sometimes it's hard to see. Keep your heart open and your mind will be okay. Keep your mind open and your heart will be fine.


Saturday, October 6, 2012

Broken Hearts Like Beer Bottle Glass

Presley broke my heart. Then I broke hers. I never meant to specialize. I suppose it's easy to get good at sad. I can't recommend it. Love carries a hefty price tag.


Friday, October 5, 2012

My Love Affair

Uncle Morgan and Aunt Pauline were here and so were Sandra and Georgie. Yeah, I had visited Florida once or twice with my single mom and my grandmother. Of course at six my idea of the area around Tampa had mostly to do with palm trees and the beach. Hawaiian shirts, too.

It was my idea to move here. Yeah, that's right. They let the six year old decide. I was raised that way.

Over the years I've often considered moving away. One wife even tried to talk me into getting an apartment in Austin or Nashville with Rebekah Pulley for my career. That was subtle.

I would leave, too, if I knew of a place I would rather be. I grew up here. Folks know me here. This is who I am and my heart was shaped here.

There are dreams that touch your head, there are dreams that fill your heart
There are dreams that haunt your soul, there are dreams that fall apart.



Thursday, October 4, 2012

A New Heart

Don't ever give up on your heart. Screw up, start again. All the purity and all the love is still there. Use it. Use as much of it as you can. Something guides you. Peace is ours for the taking. Do your part. Love and forgive. Forgive and love.


Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Out Of Fashion

It's raining and I'm happy. Beautiful weather makes me anxious. I play the wrong music and I wear the wrong clothes. I generally sport something of a "homeless" look, or so I've been told. 

I'm pretty sure that I'm not nearly as obstinate or stubborn as my friends and ex-wives will tell you that I am. I do insist on being who I am, though.

At the little memorial service a few months back for my mom someone mentioned that she was always being heard drawling, "I love you." Made me happy and it made me proud. I hope a little of that rubbed off. I love you.


Tuesday, October 2, 2012

My Time

Knowing that the planet is skipping along and that our world culture is changing more quickly than ever it's hard to get a steady eye on where we sit. Are we getting smarter? Hard to say. Seems that we would have ended war a long time ago if we were smart at all.

Do we work less, love more? Doesn't seem like it. There are no more fenders to be bolted on to Buicks by hourly wage earners and yet we spend more of our precious time "at work." That's for the fortunate ones who have jobs.

We live longer but we're not getting healthier. Bigger but not healthier.

Bucky Fuller said that all of the necessary work could be done by 15 or 20 per cent of the population. That would leave the rest of us with all the time to do what we're meant to do; study and learn. I would add love and help to the equation. I sometimes feel gloriously out of step. I study. I just don't learn much. I love and I'm available to help.

Will Work For Love


Monday, October 1, 2012

Different Dust

My first impression on beginning Bob Dylan's interview in Rolling Stone was, "Wow. He's conceited." Then I thought about it for about half a second and concluded, "Yeah. He's Bob Dylan."

So here I am again marveling at my good fortune of failure. Oh, I'm different. I seem to have been molded from the stardust of a different galaxy than most of us. Unburdened by virtue of commercial failure I do what I want. I've said it before; "I don't make good records. I don't make bad ones, either. I make Ronny Elliott records."

If you don't like my records you're probably not going to care much for my new play or the book that I'm trying to get written.

I never had to make up stories about running away with the carnival. I'll never have to worry about what to wear to the white house, either. Sometimes you have to wonder if Mr. Dylan is having a good time. I am.