Monday, December 28, 2015

Rock'n'Roll 101


You've put up with my whining for a long time now. A really long time. Maybe it's just been a necessary part of me cleaning out the attic. You know, clearing a cloudy noggin. I offer my sincere gratitude. 

Checking some blog some four years back, a screen popped up asking if I wanted one of my own. Well, I pretty well knew at the time that blogs were outdated, out of fashion. Still, these nice folks were offering something for nothing and I didn't want to be rude.

A clever name, Ronny Elliott's Blog, and I'm on my way. My intention was to tell a few rock'n'roll stories, slip in a little plug for peace and love from time to time and waste time to keep from doing anything important.

Next thing you know I'm telling you everything about me. Everything. 

I've tested your patience and your kindness. I'm going to poke through the older posts and re-run the ones that have something fun about the music. Some of that personal, sappy stuff is entwined and you'll get that, too.

Maybe I can't tell you that I'm well, that I'm happy, but I have been pretty much everywhere by pasting my head on art that I steal from everywhere. I've seen the world and most of space. I've cuddled with showgirls and cowgirls.

You aren't getting rid of me. Sometimes I'll need to make sure you're there for me. I'll keep slipping in stuff about peace and love, too.

Give us peace on earth and end this dreadful, dreadful war. You know where to find me if you need me.



Softer Still


Working through New Year's resolutions I discover more deferred maintenance than I was expecting. One very obvious flaw that my friends would nod about is my level of sensitivity. Everything hurts my feelings. It all breaks my heart.

My mom was like that.

Odd thing here is that it's one of the few things that I have right. The world should be a kinder, gentler place. What I have to "fix" is my reaction to the hurt. It's not me vs. the rest of the world. Nobody's mean to me. I don't need to toughen up. I need to recognize the gift that I have inherited and use it in a positive way.

My joy and my blues change places so often that they often overlap, bump into each other.

I've known for some time that I'm just getting started with my music. Now I find that this is pretty much the start of actual living, too. I have no intention of "toughening up." I'm just gonna stay over here in the right hand lane of life. Sadness is for songs, not living.



Sunday, December 27, 2015

Snobs


Snobs don't seem to like snobs. Ever notice? Oh, they hang out together. So do presbyterians and cross dressers. We all care what other folks think of us. I've always denied any such notion but I'm probably worse than most.

My idea of the "real Elvis" and the "real Jesus" ranks me as some kind of snob, I suppose. I can't hang around with similar snobs because I don't know where there might be others or if, in fact, there are others. I suppose that makes me eccentric. Eccentrics don't hang out together, as far as I can tell, and we don't much like each other, either.

At a certain point my loneliness begins to make sense.

Joy. That's what I want. I know it when I see it. I know that it's all about love. To try to grab it is kinda' like stopping a floater so that you can describe it. I'll wait. Not patiently, but I'll wait.



Saturday, December 26, 2015

Snake Spilled The Beans


If only the snake had told those two about lust and then let it go at that. It's mortality that hurts. Any fear, I suppose, but the idea of our own demise has to be the worst. In my bible the snake would be rock'n'roll. That's where all the lust hides. Thank goodness.



Friday, December 25, 2015

Miracles and Magic


Some well-meaning, highly educated fellow was explaining the folly of religious faith on the radio the other day. He summed up his agnosticism by pointing out the folly of belief in miracles. He calmly stated that no miracle had ever been documented.

Well, sir, I'm not much of a man of faith, at least not by church standards. Still, I see miracles everywhere I look. We can start with the big bang with stardust coagulating to form something alive that eventually crawls out of the sea, climbs down from the tree and goes on to describe the theory of relativity.

Then we can discuss the solar system, gravity, the circulatory system and love. 

Yeah, how about that last one, huh?

Just because some scientist can "explain" it to me doesn't take away from the magic, the miracle. Give us peace on earth and end this dreadful, dreadful war. Now there's a miracle.



Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Heroes' Heroes


Nobody wants to be anybody's bad memory. Remember, the most you can lose is your heart. Oh, I would like to do it all again- just so I could do it all again.

If I can make it through three more days this holiday thing will be over. For a year.

For the first time in my life I'm working on new year's resolutions. Of course I'm still working on egg nog, too.



Sunday, December 20, 2015

My Own Drum Machine


You don't suppose Europe misses me as much as I do Europe, do you? I've not been out on the road for a long time. Maybe I've just been cultivating a mystique. Is it better to be weird than lazy?

Jamaica gets anxious when I go out the front door to get the mail without her.

My plans for the future are coming together. I'm not like the others. I've fretted about that since I was twelve years old. I would have started earlier but it hadn't dawned on me and nobody mentioned it to me.

Oh, I probably won't cause much trouble. Love's in the air. So is pollen.

I'll put the bridge at the end if I want to and I might wear two hats at once. Aunt Jo stopped me before but she's about to turn 100.

If I keep my eyes on the sidewalk I might miss the stars. If I keep my eyes on the heavens I might miss the sun reflecting in the broken 7 Up bottles. Do you know how long that glass has been there?
Do you? When was the last time you saw 7 Up in a glass bottle?



Resolutions and Revolutions


"Be still." That's what I have to keep telling myself. Everything comes to me. "Take out a couple more chords. Slow it down. Way down."

My songs and my life are all one piece. From time to time I have someone tell me what my songs are about. Occasionally it will be news to me.

Authenticity seems to be a buzzword. Maybe it's just because of Bernie. Who knows? Who cares? That and a nickel will buy you...

Well, that and a nickel won't buy you anything.

I still wish I believed in heaven. I believe in the children's table. Oh, and love. I believe in love.



Saturday, December 19, 2015

Somebody Cares


So those two girls had it right. Who knew? I'm socially awkward. At the neighbors' holiday party last night I couldn't help notice. Everyone found a small group to chat with. The groups would shift, merge and folks would move in and out. I would find myself standing on the periphery of one small circle, then another, waiting for an opportunity to say something.

Don't misunderstand. These were the nicest people that you can imagine. Friendly. Polite. They were in the holiday spirit.

When I claim that rock'n'roll saved me, I'm not kidding.

Oh, I possess social skills. I just have trouble using them. I know which fork to use. I walk on the outside of the lady on the sidewalk. I know not to shake the Queen's hand. 

Maybe I get up at 2:30 in the morning because I have things to tell you and I missed my chance in person. I love you.



Thursday, December 17, 2015

Big Dreams


I don't remember ever wanting to be a fireman or a cowboy. I surely never considered medicine. By the time that I was nine years old it was rock'n'roll. I veered off from time to time. Race car driver. Jet pilot. I would preach if I knew what to preach. You can only fill so many sermons with "be nice" and "love."

There would have been no big pay days if I had preached. No mega churches, no television.

It's doubtful that I would have dribbled milk on my driver's suit in the winner's circle at Indy, either.

There are no gold records on the wall here. I'm not bragging. I'm not complaining, either. I do what I do and I've always done the best I can. If my job is to sell lots of records and to fill arenas, I have failed rather spectacularly.

It was never any ambition of mine to master any musical instrument. I've never spent any time practicing scales. I often warble off key and I don't know onomatopoeia from alliteration.

Oh, I'm still not bragging. Maybe I'm just lazy. 

All of my drive and ambition goes towards being the best human being that I can. Maybe I should have practiced more of those scales. I'm always adjusting after screwing something up, disappointing someone, hurting another person.

The closest I have come, and maybe the closest I'll ever come, to any degree of self actualization came in the first grade. That was my real rock'n'roll heart.



Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Working Title


Sometimes I claim that it's the music that gets me by. Other days it's the dogs and the cats in my life. Truth is, I suppose, it's both. 

My science fair project has always been me. I've never won anything but, then again, I'm my own category.

Well, wish me luck. This life stuff tests my good nature.

Give us peace on earth and end this dreadful, dreadful war.


Post Time


We won't have to rely on newsreel footage this time. Everything is documented online. These are surely the times that will fascinate future generations like none other. I'm guessing that Donald Trump, the phenomena, will be considered and studied like Jesus, Elvis, Hitler, Jayne Mansfield.

Our culture awaits the big one in San Francisco. When it comes we will all wring our hands and cry about the loss and devastation as though we had not been told for generations that it was coming. Inevitable.

War? Obsolete? Nah- hacking levels the playing field. As soon as one of the major banking systems is brought down by some kid in a t shirt in a dorm room or as soon as an electric grid in Europe is scrambled by a feminist/anarchist social club we will spring into action to protect the system. What's that old saw about the barn doors after the cattle are out?

Meanwhile we pat ourselves on the back for signing something on carbon emissions. Whoopee! How deep's the water, Mama?

I suppose it's a good thing Bucky Fuller didn't live to see this day.

You know what, though? Love is like the sun. It's fashion position fluctuates but it's always around. There's always hope. There's always love.

I know, I know. I couldn't get a job with Hallmark. I don't care. I love you.



Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Pow! Right In The Kisser

Out of perceived broken hearts come the saddest melodies and the meanest lyrics. Beware the blackest, saddest souls. Just kidding. If you can't laugh at heartbreak, you're just not paying attention.



Monday, December 14, 2015

Make A Wish, Pick A Card

                                      

Passion without drama. That's the ticket. Most of us are looking to change the world without the world breaking our heart.Well, nobody elected me to any office here so I guess I shouldn't be speaking for "most of us."

I have tilted at more windmills than you can imagine for longer than you want to know. Nothing much has changed. Except me.

To quote George Bernard Shaw:

"Here I am. How do you like me?"


Sunday, December 13, 2015

If I Had A light


Maybe I should feel guilty. Selfish. Don't we all just need more love? The commercials tell me boldly that I need a new Subaru. The cable news shows seem to imply that I need more security, maybe a gun, depending on the network of course.

I'm reminded on a regular basis that I'm not very good at doing what you should to get love.

Socially awkward. Two women have described me that way in the last six months. It would probably hurt my feelings but, hey, they're being kind. When I was in the seventh grade an anonymous group of the girls in my class went to the trouble of sending me a letter. Several pages as I recall. It started off well: "We think you're really cute..."

Then came, ",,, but..."

It was all downhill from there. Really downhill. I don't remember much about the specifics. I'm pretty sure that rock'n'roll, hot rods and wrestling were mentioned. Oh, and my hair. That has always been in the mix.

Well, I've learned that there's not much that I can do about being someone else. Oh, I've tried. There's a list of exes and musicians and former bosses who will argue that point. A long list. I usually claim that I don't care. Of course I care.

Reminds me of that thing, Be who you are. Always be who you are. Unless you can be Batman. Then, be Batman.

Maybe I should have been more careful choosing my heroes.



Saturday, December 12, 2015

How Many Chords?


It's all soul music... if you play it right. I can't tell if music brings me joy or if I just turn to the music when I'm happy. A friend pointed out my technical limitations last night. That's alright.

Has the music saved me? Did it ruin my life?

Well, sir, Elvis was unhappy. Sinatra was unhappy. You suppose Elvis would have been happier driving that truck for Crown Electric? Heck, he might have been promoted to counter sales by '56. Maybe Frank would have moved up to headwaiter at one of the swankier Hoboken joints. Mob connections but at a lower level.

Now, I've shoveled mud, pedaled dirt and fought bad guys. Sometimes I'm happy.

Single moms- don't let your babies grow up to be cowboys. Get 'em a guitar.



Thursday, December 10, 2015

Don't Make Me Come Over There


According to the little girl up on the stage, "He don't take aim he just bang, bang, bangs." And then the look. Done. 

Cursed with good memory, these dreams aren't just in color. Now they're neon.They're 3-D!

What hath nature wrought?

Now, I'm trying my best to be objective about all this. From my observations love is everything. I'm basing that on supply and demand. Too many lonely people. Too many pets in shelters. Worse, they're not the worst off.

You can't just drop your love off in the parking lot at the mall this year. Your personal check won't do. Be brave. Courageous. Be kind. Love hard. Harder.



Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Justify


Teaching old dogs new tricks and all that. Me? I cry about the family scenes in all the cheesie holiday episodes of the network sitcoms. If "Happy Xmas (War Is Over)" comes on the radio, I can't see through the tears to drive.

Rev. Billy asked if I was having an orphan Christmas. I suppose I had never heard the term. Hey, I have a radio show to do! The next door neighbors' Christmas lights reflect all over my living room, through the window. The dog and I celebrate at 2:30 when the cat gets us up. 

Oh, these holiday rituals.



Tuesday, December 8, 2015

How Much For The Merkin?


Payola. It's been around for as long as radio, dope, whores. Heck, longer. It's been big, really big, since the early days of rock'n'roll. Once discretionary income in the hands of young, white kids began to support an entire popular music industry the race was on, pun intended.

They led Alan Freed off to the pokey while the attorneys at ABC worked to find loopholes to keep Dick Clark free and wealthy.

At least in those early rock'n'roll days some of the deejays and some of the record men were actually interested in the music. Even those few were a lot more interested in their own fortune, looking back. 

It took them a long time to bring down the entire pop music industry, as we knew it. They managed. Now results from The Voice vie with Donald Trump's latest faux pas or this week's mass shooting for the headlines on network news.

One of the few benefits of having grown old is that I don't care.





Ka Wham


My life is some version of a Tex Avery cartoon. It's just me, the dog and the cat. Jamaica struts and preens, glowers and growls. Angel, now approaching seventeen, is bald for the most part and looks pretty pitiful. She is, despite appearances, the boss. 

It's 3:00 am. We're all up because Angel wanted to eat. Well, now I love her dearly but she wanted to eat at midnight, too.

She will swish her tail in Jamaica's face on her way back up to the bed. Since such behavior has not resulted in any real physical altercation in the ten years that they've been together, I'm guessing that we're all okay.

When solicitors call and ask for the head of the household she usually sleeps right through it.



Monday, December 7, 2015

They're Here For Me


So, next weekend I'm playing a Sinatra tribute. Ludicrous, huh? I'm not known for my phrasing, my pitch, my fashion. I come to a complete stop at STOP signs and women really don't throw themselves at me. My eyes are brown.

Frank's three offspring were recently interviewed on 60 Minutes. They all agreed that their famous old man just felt more than most of us. Felt deeper.

Well, sometimes I drink too much and I'm never gonna get over Ava Gardner. I'm jealous of Dean Martin, too.


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Sunday, December 6, 2015

Bugs In The Grille


Nothing happened today, yet everything changed. Lots of mental baggage was unpacked somehow. My compass and my roadmap are still the lines in my brow and my palm. I know, I know. I left my folded roadmap in my phonebook and now I can't find either one.

It's so very sad to watch the gun folks fight with the anti-gun people. Nobody changes anybody's mind. We just yell and hate more. Same seems to apply to the immigration issue. Looks to me like the war on terrorism is out to make the war on drugs look good, too.

Meantime, we could spend Charles Koch's money and house every homeless person in the country. We could spend David's and feed every hungry family. The stray dogs and cats, too. I don't mean to pick on them. Wait, yes I do.



Saturday, December 5, 2015

Here's Your Hat, What's Your Hurry?


Well, whippersnappers, and at this point in my life you're all whippersnappers, I bring you wisdom. Okay, the closest to wisdom that you'll get from the likes of me.

Don't worry about anything. Everything will be okay.

Death is the only legitimate fear and we're all dying. 

Music makes everything alright so make music. Do it with love and it's magic. We all believe in magic.


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Thursday, December 3, 2015

With Friends Like These


Horses with short noses and cards that were good but never quite good enough. It's just after midnight  and there's a magnificent soundtrack going here- a hoot owl and a train whistle; cats fighting and gunshots. It's all topped with the whir of a police helicopter.

Well, sir, here's to the hurt, the scared, the lonely. They don't give awards for love. Love is the award.



Every Tear Counts

My memories of tales from the few folks who I ever crossed paths with who had visited the U.S.S.R. are still vivid in my mind. With our perpetual war, homeless people on the streets of all our major cities and the monthly mass shooting, it's hard not to wonder what the future holds for Uncle Sam. It's difficult not to think of the blunder in Afghanistan that brought down the soviet economy. We could use some heroes. We could use some love.






Wednesday, December 2, 2015

My Illusions



I've been trying to share the soundtrack to my life for as long as I can remember with anyone willing to listen. With anyone I might detain in a room, in fact. Some folks are polite about it. Others, not so much.

I suppose that I aspire to a cult following. I'll have to get several promotions to move up to inconsequential. Oh, that's okay. I'm used to it.

The music that I play on the radio never got played much to begin with. It should have. It didn't.

Here's the positive spin. Nobody has derived more pleasure from the stuff than I have. As long as the Nervous Norvus, Shirley and Lee, Larry Murray and Roxy Gordon records are out there I'll keep smiling.




Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Post Rock'n'Roll Age


The relevance of the music on the charts is hovering around zero for me. Are there "charts?" I have no idea what Adele sounds like. I wouldn't know about Miley except for her old man's bad heart and the naughty photos that are everywhere on the internet. I like her.

I suppose I always knew this day would come. Oh, I'm not some nostalgia nut, pining for the good old days- the Searchers, the Ventures, the Hollies. That stuff is all fine for me but the music of my youth is not my music. Maybe "Oldies Radio" ruined that for me, I don't know.

Art and literature affect me the same way. Movies, too. I have nothing against current releases but I have little to no interest in standing in a line with a holiday-fueled crowd to see any new Star Wars epic. 

Maybe I'll start reading newspapers from other times. Soon they may be the only papers out there. I'm no luddite, no snob. I'm just opinionated, stubborn and discerning.

These new wars are just like those old ones and, I told you, I ain't gonna study war no more.

New heartaches are pretty much the same as the old ones and the old ones don't seem to hurt as much any more.