Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Chain Drive Whipsaw






So love is about a reflection. Seeing parts of yourself. I do realize that I have "fallen in love" in situations that can't be explained in any Harlequin Romance novel. I know more about me than I care to know. Oh, I don't know much but I think I'm pretty self-aware. 

I like me okay. I mean I've known worse. I could write you a list of my shortcomings but so many women have already taken on that task that I don't have many original additions. It began with that note during the seventh grade. A group of my female classmates got together to collaborate on a note that began with, "We think you're really cute but..."

After "but" the message really began. Went on for pages. Dang.

Years and wives later I asked a woman to explain to me what was wrong. She asked me to leave the room. Calmly she asked. Sweetly.

When she called me back in, five minutes later, I had a new list. I really don't know how anyone can write that much in five minutes.

Probably should have kept both notes. Is that what they mean when they say, "comparing notes?"

When push comes to shove I'm better at love than I am at romance. Don't misunderstand me here, I'm not claiming to be good at that either. So far today I've told old friends from decades ago that I love them and I've told a good friend who I called "crazy" the other day. I don't mean to digress here but she is crazy. Crazy like she's supposed to be. I've told Jamaica enough to annoy her. I do every day.

My mom was like that. My grandmother, too. I don't remember ever hearing either one say that and wondering if she meant it, if it was sincere.

Funny- I sat down to write this and it was supposed to be about the only time I ever rode a motorcycle.

I love you.



                                      




Monday, July 24, 2017

Holy Science






My collection of memorabilia would never go up on the wall of any Hard Rock Cafe. Most of it looks like trash. With no story, no explanation, most of my treasure would be put out with the garbage.

There's my piece of wood that Elvis stepped on. At least that little sliver has "Elvis Stepped Here" burned right into it. Somewhere around here is my B.B. King pick that he gave me and Duane Allman's string package. I've shown you my little photo booth picture that Tiny Tim gave me. Oh yeah, I had Rock Bottom's 1932 National Duolian but I recently passed that along as a legacy guitar. Honestly, it looked a little bit out of place with the "trash." I have Eric Clapton's Coricidin bottle that he and Duane used.

You get the point. Lots of autographs, programs, posters and photos.

Now I have been outdone. What I once considered a special treasure field of sacred junk has been rendered superfluous.

Get ready. Are you sitting down?

My pal, Rob McNurlin, has acquired Hank Snow's toupee.

I know, I know.







Sunday, July 23, 2017

The Mystic's Wine






The thirteen billion dollar aircraft carrier was the last straw for me. This is not a government that represents me, What are we protecting? If Alabama were a country, its rate of 8.7 infant deaths per 1,000 would place it slightly behind Lebanon in world rankings. 

Sad?

Beats Mississippi at 9.6, coming in somewhere between Botswana and Bahrain.

We think that there are about 1.56 million homeless people in the U.S. It's hard to be sure of the accuracy of any number of course. Just exactly where should we mail the census forms?

We think that there are over 10 million folks without health insurance in this country. To be sure, those people in Washington are thrilled that we don't really know. How many of our neighbors die due to lack of medical care every day in this country? How on earth would we ever know? Let's just say that the number would shock us all in the headlines of The New York Times or The Washington Post.

U.S.A! U.S.A!

We're #1! We're #1!

Just exactly who's gonna take it if we hadn't launched a new 13 billion dollar boat?

Now I've just randomly chosen a few obvious, easy targets to make a point. I could go on. And on. I won't. I don't have a kid in this fight. I'm worried about yours. My dog is old. I lose sleep fretting about the puppies and kittens going to the shelters. I worry and wring my hands over an earth that's almost done with me.

If I win 13 billion bucks in some lotto this week, I'm not building some boat to sink their boat. Even I have better sense.

How did we get here and how do we get out?

I don't know but I do know this- we do it with love.







Saturday, July 22, 2017

Slow Boats and Full Moons






Ambushed by old age, I'm not wise. Now I know it when I see it for the most part. That's a start I suppose.

Science and religion are pretty much the same thing for me now. It's the parts that we can't explain that hold the secrets. The mystery. It's all about love and it's all about energy.

Laughter and music are holy for me. I'm not eloquent enough to tell you everything I know but I've seen all of the parts of the cosmos in their pajamas shifting and grinding while singing or laughing or singing and laughing. 

Most of my lessons have arrived riding on heartache, heartbreak and loss. Maybe sad is just what fills the space between joy and jubilation. Nobody's ever been mean to me but some folks have surely taught me lessons.

Now you don't have to hire a private eye to tell you that you shouldn't pay any attention to me. The one thing I know- love. That's it. Love.

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



                                        




Friday, July 21, 2017

Life's Wear and Tear






There I stood with my pen and paper. I looked into Duane Eddy's eyes and he looked into mine. I couldn't make myself say anything. Maybe he couldn't, either. After a few awkward minutes I turned and walked away with no autograph. I've never been much of a fan since then. I was probably eleven or twelve.

In the last week I've had two wonderfully sweet folks come up to talk to me and tell me that they have had to get a running start to approach me. One of them explained that he had never had the nerve to talk to any musician who he followed. He was articulate and polite and I could totally relate to his plight. It made for a very special moment for me.

My ridiculous, lucky life has had me hanging out with most of my heroes. In my Forrest Gump existence it all just went by me in some slow dream parade. For the last four or five years Photoshop has rounded out my social life. 

Lonely? Ha!




Thursday, July 20, 2017

Don't Lick The Edge






My struggles are mostly with me. Always have been. I'm pretty sure that I could have done better with my career; fared better in love; accumulated more worldly goods. No regrets there. 

Maybe I haven't given enough; loved enough; produced enough. Those thoughts could keep me awake. That's the kind of worry that could serve as an excuse later on for more of the same.

Yesterday I was informed that hiphop has surpassed rock'n'roll in terms of social significance. Wow. I'll admit that I had a grander plan in mind.

Romance abandoned me some time back. That's okay.

Now, I'll admit that I have no plans to give up on either rock'n'roll or romance. Honestly, most of my romance and most of my rock'n'roll have taken place in my head. And my heart.

Go see They Might Be Giants. George C. Scott and Joanne Woodward. Reality, imagination- the good stuff is all entwined. All endings are pure good versus pure evil.

Am I an authority on love? Yeah, you bet. That's not nearly as arrogant as it reads. Everybody is. Most folks just believe that it's private, that you shouldn't just show it to anyone. You know, like underwear.

Do I wear my heart on my sleeve? No. I gave it to that girl.




Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Don't Call Me Lucky






The fire just keeps burning brighter for me. Hotter. I know now what I should have known at eighteen  or twenty. I've just about learned to rock'n'roll. Good timing, huh? I've worried since I was nine years old about the inevitable demise. Here it is. Ha! Makes it better.

A year ago nobody could have convinced me that I lived in a racist, sexist, bellicose culture. Oh, I have certainly been aware that we had a long, long way to go for women's rights. For anything approaching racial equality. I have wrung my hands since I was a kid about one war after another.

Now women face a threat to every gain established over the last century while Muslims move to the front lines of the battle for freedom. War is perpetual and the lines blur as to names. 

I have no plans to leave here until this place is fixed.

If they think that they can destroy love with hate, they're in for a sad comeuppance.



                                

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Secrets I Can't Tell






Oh, I've seen the future. Looks a lot like the past. Love jumps from heart to heart and I'm really not gonna study war no more. The native Americans had the better outfits. The wisdom. Whatever God you believe in would most certainly have been on their side.

Let's see here, we began this here club by stealing the land and handing out smallpox blankets. Then we wrote treaties that we had no intention of honoring. 

We brought in slaves to do the work that was beneath even the poor.

Oh, we're not all bad. In fact we're mostly good. Fact is, though, the aggressive gene is dominant. You know- curly hair + straight hair = curly hair.

We've got some mojo and some karma to deal with here. There's more of us. Lots more. Judge them for what they are, not what they think they are. Old white guys with expensive ribbons tied around their necks.

Now they have the bombs, the tear gas, the tanks and probably small pox blankets. They buy them with our money. 

My side has love. Truth. Hope.

They fight, we dance. 




Monday, July 17, 2017

Did You Miss Me?






Just back from my Oklahoma hope transfusion. First time I've been to Okemah in three years and my spirit was needing some patching. Done! More music and love than you would think could be packed into three days.

The Woody Guthrie Festival always reminds me that if you fill your heart with love, there's no room for hate.

Keep an eye out for the new Folk Tabloid that Cathy and Annie Guthrie and I are launching. All the dirt and all the scandal on all of your favorite folksingers. We've got the goods! All in the name of love, of course. Still, careers will be ruined, marriages destroyed and secrets revealed. Hot dog.







Thursday, July 13, 2017

Strangers' Smiles






Sometimes I think it can all be explained with physics. Meanwhile the moon laughs at lovers making promises that they can't keep. Just keep searching for the truth and give away all the love in your heart. Sometimes moon, June, spoon and croon really mean something.



                                      



With hope I remain, forever, your friend,

Ronny




Wednesday, July 12, 2017

The Business of Show and My Ego






What could possibly be lower than show biz? Well, politics, I suppose. Maybe.

It takes a big ego to think that you might overcome your ego. You can't get there from here. Or anywhere. I see everything, everything, from my point of view. It's the only one I have. 

She told me more than once, "You're awfully hard on yourself."

I'm not. I just happen to strip my soul bare as my vocation. I'll tell anybody anything. I'll tell you something different tomorrow. I don't lie. I change.

Love is the only constant for me. All my memories turn to love. Loss, of course, is the other side of that cosmic coin. The love is cumulative. The lucky man is the man who understands it.

So I show off for a living. No wonder I struggle. Me? I always had trouble asking her to dance.




Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Who's Counting?






If you believe that everything works out as it's supposed to I suppose all news is good news. I find myself dizzy from time to time holding all these mirrors up to other mirrors. Luck seems to play by the same rules. Stuff happens. I mean all stuff happens. You can look at what's in front of you as good luck or bad.

Was poor old Elvis the luckiest guy in the world? He traded the family cow too many times, didn't he?

Is Russian roulette fun? Depends on how long you play.




Monday, July 10, 2017

Cracked Looking Glass






Sometimes I wonder if the romantic craves drama. When push comes to shove, I really do only want to be with the ones who burn, burn, burn. It took me a long, long time to figure out that the fire is in the heart, in the soul. 

The many lessons pouring in with the nightly news compete for my attention. The joke that considers itself leaders of the world reminds me of how ridiculous the human ego really is. Hearts pump, eyes see, brains compute. Meanwhile a clown with a long tie struts, mugs and cheats. He feels entitled because his old man cheated lots of folks out of lots of money. Green paper. Now this overblown gasbag continues to pile up the green paper while constantly feeding a gigantic, fragile ego.

This cycle can consume my time but it can't penetrate my soul. I'll get up to watch Morning Joe because I love the excitement, the drama. Ah, back to the drama.

I will resist. I will speak up. I'll campaign, vote, argue and write.

I will not scream, insult, cheat or lie. The other team has figured out ways to control the green paper. I won't play. They deflated the game ball.

It will take a big hole to accommodate the carcass of that orange lardass when he goes. He won't be taking any of that green paper with him. How would you like to wake up Don Jr. this morning?

My side has girl scout cookies, puppies and rock'n'roll. Oh, and love. We've got love.




Sunday, July 9, 2017

Broken Glass, Broken Hearts






A friend suggested emphatically the other day that I have pretty well used up this "socially awkward" thing. I'm pretty sure that his implication was that I'm attempting to use this whole thing to elicit sympathy and establish myself as a loser in order to improve my social life.

Well, to begin with, pal, I'm too socially awkward to pull off such a thing. Not only that but I don't have a social life. Guess I told him, huh? I was never on the debate team, either.

This all began a couple of years ago when a woman told me that she always thought that I was, in fact, socially awkward. Then she laughed. Loud. Hard. Within a week I received a Facebook message from another woman, a friend that I have known for a long time but not very well. She happened to mention her initial judgement of me. 

Yeah. I shouldn't have asked. Arrogant and, yep- socially awkward. 

Let me tell you, "arrogant" hurts my feelings.

That other, though, fascinates me. So much of everything from childhood and adolescence makes sense to me now. Some sense. Things from the here and now almost make sense.

If it weren't for the music I wouldn't have connected with anyone. In my mind I communicate. I want to be blood brothers/sisters with almost everyone I meet. I'm afraid of blood, though.

I played rock'n'roll to pick up girls. That sounds so creepy now. I played rock'n'roll. I didn't pick up girls.

Would I have been better off if I had known all along about this condition, do you suppose? I'm not sure. Sometimes I feel like I've lived a life with spinach between my teeth and my zipper down. Heck, I thought we were all having fun.



                                         




Saturday, July 8, 2017

His Story






Sometimes I think that maybe I should take a little time off. Then I realize that I don''t do anything. There are weeds to pull, songs to write and rum to drink but I'm so much better at luxuriating in sadness while keeping very still.

If I just sang this crap it would be a new song. Of course then everybody would know.

I worry that I played it all on red and black came in; I bet it all on love and love didn't finish. I don't believe it ever made it onto the track.

It's 4:00 am somewhere. Oh- right here.







Friday, July 7, 2017

Vegetable Kingdom






Sometimes I find myself wondering what would have become of me without the music. Obviously I'll never know. My life has been almost too perfect. I've seen so many places that I would never have seen. I've worked with musicians who have exposed me to levels of ecstasy that I would never have dreamed of. The kindness of strangers who became lifelong friends has kept me well fed and provided soft, warm beds.

Do you suppose that I should have worked harder? Toured more? Played what they wanted to hear? Practiced longer?

If I had it all to do over, I'd do it wrong again. I'm not bragging but I'm not complaining.







Thursday, July 6, 2017

All I Got






It'll test you. It's all gone to 3/4 but it's all in color. There's no future in sad. You refer to the condition as sensitive. It's clearly just dumb. I was gonna dig a hole to China but I'll wait for it to cool down out there.




                                   

Tuesday, July 4, 2017

Abandon Hope






Okay, I'm not known for my patience. There are times here that I refer to myself as a patient man. Usually I'm being sarcastic. Sometimes I'm just lying, trying harder to convince myself than you.

It occurs to me at this point in history that we can't afford to give in to impatience. Don't misunderstand me. There's a world in new peril out there and we're the only heroes we have. We don't dare do it at the expense of joy, though.

Resist with humor. Fight with love. It's gonna take some time. Some more time. Oh, I'm like you- I want it done now. Since that's not about to happen, let's work hard to make up for what's being done to the planet, to the poor, the sick and the elderly. Let's have fun at his expense while he lives at ours.

We got this.







Monday, July 3, 2017

Hillbilly Billet Doux






All my life I've heard the name, Joyce Howard. He was my Aunt Jo's suitor before I was born. Of course she didn't speak of him often. She was happily married to another man and they raised my cousin, Jimmy, in Birmingham.

Maybe this vivid memory of a man who I never knew is due to his name. I don't believe I've ever known a man named Joyce. Coulda' been a great Johnny Cash song.

My mother and my Aunt Marion would talk in reverent tones and almost swoon when they talked about him. Never in front of their sister, though. At least not if my uncle was around. They had kept old, yellowing photographs of him. I seem to have a reasonable memory of what he looked like. Probably not at all accurate. 

Every now and then roses would arrive for my grandmother on Mother's Day. Joyce Howard. Occasionally he would drop by with a Whitman's Sampler for her, one of the big ones with three layers. Hillbillies love that stuff.

She talked about him with the same tone usually reserved for Jesus or her two sons, Morgan and Reid. Or me.

Aunt Jo has been a widow for forty years or so now. She's about to turn one hundred and one. I called her about a year ago to ask about Joyce Howard, just to make sure that I hadn't embellished the memory in my mind.

It was obvious immediately when I mentioned the name that I had not even been able to fathom the level of affection that the family held for Joyce Howard. I think I do now. I don't think I ever saw him in person. I'm not sure.

I've always had some weird heroes but this one came with such beautiful references. Willy the Shake had his Romeo and Juliet. I'll always have Joyce Howard.




Sunday, July 2, 2017

Hapless Not Hopeless






Kindness is never a sign of weakness. As these patriotic holidays role around it's surely easy to wonder and worry about the land of the free. Just ask the Native American. Check with the granddaughter of slaves. Compare notes with a Syrian refugee. Heck, ask a woman.

There's a bright day coming, though. I promise you that. You don't think that old pendulum broke, do you?

A very bright light has been shone on our prejudice, our inequality. Our hate and our lack of compassion.

Rock break scissors. Love kicks hate's butt. 💘







Saturday, July 1, 2017

Predicto






Messages from the eyes are the ones that count. Smiles either start at the heart or they're not really smiles. Those others are tools for competing in the Miss USA pageant or for senators talking on cable news. 

"Good to be here, Rachel."

No, it's not. Those folks are compelled to lie.

I have a plot to release kindness in D.C. I figure we can plant waitresses and traffic cops. Maybe a few cable guys and heart surgeons. First thing you know, they're marrying into the population and breeding with them.

I'll keep you up on it.











Friday, June 30, 2017

What Good Feels Like






Sometimes life gets too perfect. My reaction is to make up problems. I've been surrounded by personal loss recently. I've lost so many friends in the last twelve months that I've lost count. I can see that that reads as oddly selfish. Self-centered. 

My point is that we're all gonna die. It's nobody's bad luck. The selfish point of view is that somehow you've been singled out for grief. My friends and my heroes who have gone on lived wonderful, full lives. I don't have to dig far to see that my sorrow is for me. It's all a reminder for me that I've already lived a dream life. It's too late for bad luck. I missed any chance to die young a long time ago. Every dream has been fulfilled.

Love I have known and places I have seen. I've heard the sweetest music ever made. I have met the kindest people in the world and they have been good to me. Lots of them I have been lucky enough to consider friends.

For most of my life I considered suicide a symptom of mental illness. Once I ever hit rock bottom I changed my view and realized that everyone has the potential. Either the chemicals flowing through the veins help the electrical firings handle it or they don't. The pain can win that match at any time. With anyone.

For me, it has always been angels who I didn't even know were around. They all get tired of me thanking them. I don't blame them. I can be annoying. No, wait- I am annoying. My point, if in fact I have a point, is that I have acquired a big karmic debt. Kinda' like a school loan. I'll never get this baby paid.

The good news for me is that it is a privilege, an honor, to work on this budget. I have joy. I have love. I suppose that I'm about the luckiest guy who ever lived. I know, I know- I've watched too many old black and white movies. I'll keep watching them, too. I really love you.







Thursday, June 29, 2017

Left Off The Ark






My mom and my grandmother visited last night in a dream. It didn't last long but it couldn't
have been more real. I woke up crying my eyes out. They knew that we were parting company again. I wanted to lie and tell them that I would see them again soon but I couldn't.




Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Keeps Going Up 'tii It Don't






When I was a kid the great race car drivers at Indianapolis always said that if there was a wreck on the track in front of them that they drove straight at it, reasoning that at one hundred and fifty miles per hour or so that that was the least likely place for the cars to be when they got there. I doubt anyone gives any such advice now. By the time you see a wreck in front of you now it's in the process of becoming a memory behind you. If you're lucky. One hundred and fifty miles per hour is nostalgia.

If you're a young musician, I've got advice. See that wreck up ahead? That was rock'n'roll. Drive right at it. The New York Times recently wrote that rock'n'roll was dead. After wringing my hands, worrying about the inevitable demise since I was a kid, it just quietly gave up the ghost without many of us noticing.

Oh, there will be vultures peddling pop music, passing it off as "rock," for as long as young folks have disposable income and old fools are nostalgic. There are certainly working musicians out there who can still rock'n'roll, too. There's a millionaire from New Jersey and there's a fat man in New Orleans and a mean old guy in Memphis who come to mind. There's also the Georgia peach who helped start it all but seldom leaves the penthouse suite in Nashville. What time is it? I suppose that the Rolling Stones will be announcing a tour shortly.

Rock'n'roll was more than three chords. It was the magic that freed us all. It was a salve that brought black and white together in a mean land where the government couldn't do it. It moaned and complained like the blues before it and it bristled with joy in the same way that jazz had done. Rock'n'roll preached against hate and war and inequity like the great folk music that came before it. The first wave, Chuck, Little Richard, Bo and Fats and the boys were quickly joined by Elvis and Buddy and Jerry Lee. America couldn't contain it. It belonged to the world. The Beatles gave Great Britain its first full breath since the end of World War II. Jimi had to go over and come back to these shores to be noticed.

Let's not make this a sermon. I don't want to blather on about the Twist, the Summer of Love, psychedelia, folk rock, Mr. Dylan and all the other heroes and phenomena only to leave out your favorite. The one that changed it all for you. By the way, did I forget to mention Motown, girl groups, soul music and MTV? See?

The music business is hell. That's what happens when you mix art and business. Music, though, that's a different story. There couldn't be a better time for opportunity. While you're figuring out who you are and developing the one and only "you," the world waits. Not patiently. We could use a little "saving" here. Nobody paid any attention to that Times' obituary.

My life has been magic. I know that I've overused that word but that's the only one that will do. Who knows what they'll call it this time around. Who cares? It's none of my business but I want that for you, too.

Drive right at it, kid. Drive right at it.




Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Open Hearts Well Served





My heart will run this show from here on out. That's not all that new. I'll admit it. My only regrets come from veering off an obvious path. 

A lot of despair comes from overthinking. Nothing bad ever came from over-loving.

Love ain't chess. You don't plan your moves based on some strategy or anticipation of your "opponent's" tactic. You just love.

I love you.






                                           video


Monday, June 26, 2017

It's Always Right Now






He couldn't drive. The D.U.I. you know. I had to go by to pick him up. We were both playing short sets for some benefit. They tend to run together over the years. His little duplex apartment was tucked into what had become seedy, bordering on ghetto. As I tried to avoid the bicycle debris pulling up to his door, I heard my rear tire let go. I had run over some brake parts.

He had told me not to get out when I got to his place, that he would come right out. Well, now I was going to have to use his phone to call AAA. The old days, huh?

When he peeked through the front door I could see the chaos over his shoulder. I had to wait for him to put the one dog into a bedroom. A biter. He held the other one, the smaller one, by the collar as he yelled for me to come in.

There was no order to anything in the place. I wasn't expecting Architectural Digest but this was just sad. Books, records and old magazines were everywhere. The papers on the floor still had the dog waste on them. This was beyond bachelor pad culture. Well beyond.

Just above the phone was the only "art" in the place. It was a framed, black and white photograph. Of me. Neither one of us said anything.

I called AAA and we waited. Outside.

He took his life about a year later. Lots of us never got over it.



                                        

Sunday, June 25, 2017

On The Nature Of Love







  • Seems to me love's like water. You can see that it's there. You can feel it. You can't really control it, though. You hear stories and they tell you in school that too much of it will kill you. Maybe. I've never seen anybody complaining about too much of it. I'm not one to tempt fate but it seems like a good way to go. Love, not water.
One thing's sure- you can't do without it. Either one.

Greedy investors have been buying up water rights for a long, long time. Oh, we're not running out but if you can control folks' access to it, you can charge them a ransom for what we've always considered free.

Don't think for a single minute that the Koch brothers wouldn't buy up all the rights to love if they had any idea where to get it or how to store it.

Here's a secret. Don't tell them. It can't be stored. Use it or lose it. I suppose that we all tend to be frugal with it. We don't want to waste it or give it to somebody who won't give any back. I hate to admit it but I've been stingy with it, too.

There's good news in all this hippy-dippy gobbeldy gook. It doesn't take any effort. In fact you have to work to withhold it. Now, that's my kind of endeavor.

If you've gotten this far, I know what you're thinking. I don't care. I've always been like this. I'm not waiting for a Pulitzer or a Nobel Peace Prize. To quote my pal, Bill Kirchen, "You can't pay me what I'm worth, I don't work that cheap."

Pray for peace. Search for truth. Settle for love. 



Saturday, June 24, 2017

Beneath Me






In my lifetime I have watched hate and greed invade all facets of this American culture. When I was a kid, a preacher caught up in a scandal was out of business. He had "fallen" and was to be pitied but could no longer ply his trade. 

A banker, at one time, was on the street looking for a new career once his reckless behavior cost his customers their life's savings.

Crooks ran the music business from the time that I was aware of a music business. Generally speaking, though, they were crooks who loved the music. They might have been cheating their artists out of most of the money but they were buying them Cadillacs to show some measure of appreciation.

Politicians have always been suspect here. Any hint of scandal that ended up in the newspaper ended almost any elected official's career, though. Now, at the highest level, and I do mean highest level, we tolerate outright lies. Not only do we tolerate the lies, forty per cent of us approve of them.

When I was eleven or twelve years old professional wrestling was the pinnacle of melodrama. When the Von Brauners battled the Volkoffs, with the losers forced to leave town, I thought that the world spun around that ring. Two evil, Nazi brothers; fat, shaved heads, goatees, evil sneers, and to top it all off, a sniveling coward of a manager with an umbrella who certainly appeared to be Jewish. Gentleman Saul Weingeroff. And gay! He would, of course, climb cowardly into the ring and whack any opponent who seemed to have any physical advantage over Kurt or Karl during a match. Well, what the hell would you expect of a Jew? A gay Jew!

Now the boys were really up against it by the time that Boris and Nikolai Volkoff hit town. Need I remind you that we were only a few years beyond Duck and Cover in the public schools. The warts all over Nikita Khrushchev's face figured prominently in many of my end of the world nightmares. We still had artists and writers unable to work as a result of McCarthy's despicable actions.

Yeah, Nazis and Commies. I thought we had peaked.

It would have seemed ludicrous if you had told me that gutter culture could sink lower. If you had described a seventy one year old man who sported a spray tan of a weird orange hue with greenish-yellow hair swirled around on his head, who waddled when he walked and bellowed mean, vitriolic rhetoric in sentence fragments, and bragging that he was able to grab women by the pussy and get away with it because he was famous...

Let's not leave this picture unfinished. What if we had hours of filmed lies from this character. What if he had left court records of cheating people and breaking laws. What if he had proudly boasted of his infidelities and publicly humiliated the mothers of his children. 

You don't really suppose that we might turn over our government to him. Do you? Trust him with the nuclear codes? Stand by and watch him dismantle our state department and the agencies that protect our environment? Put religious zealots who don't believe in science in charge of our children's education? Dismantle our inadequate health care industry to concentrate even more of our finances into the pockets of a few American oligarchs? Hire on Wall Street crooks whose names we remember from wrecking our economy before?

What if he surrounded himself with weird, spooky old white guys who looked like they showed up for the casting of villains in the next Batman epic? Evil turtles and the like. 

I couldn't make this stuff up. I don't have the imagination.

Oh, I wasn't happy with the way things were going. I don't think many of us were. It might be beneficial for you to read up a bit on psychopathy. Mental health specialists have said that the preponderance of them in D.C. is staggering. I have to say that I used to wonder how they knew that, how they could quantify any such thing. 

Now I know. They just look around.

I'm still betting on good. On love. Sometimes I worry though, that we get the government we deserve.



                                        




Friday, June 23, 2017

What Have I Missed?





Lemme see here- over the years I've been lucky enough to see and hear Sam Cooke, LaVern Baker, the Rolling Stones,  Elvis, Hank Ballard and the Midnighters, Benny Joy, Johnny Preston, Clyde McPhatter, Brenda Lee, Little Willie John, John Prine, k.d. lang, Waylon Jennings, Guy Clark, the Drifters, the Platters, Marv Johnson,  Cowboy Jack Clement, Muddy Waters, Flo & Eddie, Jerry Lee Lewis, Bruce Springsteen, Fleetwood Mac, Ike and Tina Turner, Los Lobos, James Brown, Lyle Lovett, Ray Charles, the Who, Arthur Brown, the Grateful Dead, the Staple Singers, Minnie Pearl, Duane Eddy, Lucinda Williams, Sam and Dave, Dr, John, Frankie Lymon & the Teenagers, Taj Mahal, Tom Waits, Frank Zappa, Billy Joe Shaver, Moondog, Sonny & Cher, Junior Walker, Jackie Wilson, John Hiatt, and Big Joe Turner. I'm sure that I'm leaving folks out. 

I've played on bills with Van Morrison, the Allman Brothers, Wilco, the Band, Mitch Ryder and the Detroit Wheels, the Shangra Las, Sly & the Family Stone, Jerry Jeff Walker, the Dave Clark 5, Sam The Sham and the Pharos, the Chambers Brothers, Steve Earle, Jimi Hendrix, Bo Diddley, Bill Haley and the Comets, the Gentry, the Knickerbockers, the Steve Miller Band, Billy Preston, Dave van Ronk, Tiny Tim, Alabama 3, Andre Williams, Wanda Jackson, Three Dog Night, Irma Thomas, Dion, John Mayall, Ramblin' Jack Elliott, the Flatlanders, Patti Smith, Rufus Wainwright, Chip Taylor, Nappy Brown, the Sir Douglas Quintet, Judy Collins, the Cyrcle, Pete Seeger and Canned Heat.

I have promoted shows for the Byrds, Derek and the Dominos, Donovan, Janis Joplin, Cat Mother & the All Night News Boys, Terry Reid, Commander Cody & His Lost Planet Airmen, the Kinks, the Beach Boys, Pink Floyd, Mike Bloomfield, Creedence Clearwater Revival and so many that I've tried to forget.

My good fortune has had me accompanying Gene Vincent, the New Beats, the Coasters, Chuck Berry, Monti Rock III, Edwin Starr and countless heroes.

What was the best show I ever saw? Hank Ballard and the Midnighters. Tomorrow I might give you a different answer.

What was my biggest thrill? Probably Elvis offering to teach me karate. He didn't, of course. Maybe Speedo inviting me to a party in the Coasters' room. Honestly it's all been a thrill.

There are plenty of stories in there and probably more that I've forgotten, 

When it's time for an obituary, though, I'd go with:

He never saw the Beatles. He's never seen Bob Dylan. Never saw Hank Williams. He never saw Nervous Norvus.



                                    


Thursday, June 22, 2017

Flash Love, Smile Pretty






As I watch Americans continue to vote against their own best interest I am reminded that greed is at the center of our culture. From our treatment of the native Americans who greeted us right through slavery and, more recently, the LGBT community. The nineteenth amendment to the constitution in 1920 finally gave women the vote. Now we have decided that corporations are people and money is speech. We can't look to religion to get us out of this mess. The televangelists preach greed and hate to the desperate and the uneducated. There is nothing shameful in this country when it comes to bigotry.

What will happen with healthcare in the United States? Maybe I'm missing something here but, it seems to me that the voters are interested in their own best interest. I should say their perceived best interest.

Ten years of my life were devoted to saving the environment through government work. When my salary was eliminated from the budget, (I was told not to say that I was fired), I worried that it might dampen my enthusiasm for the environment. It didn't. It did, however, sour me on government. Oh, I'm a patriot when it comes to theory.

I will go so far as to suggest that good men and women still serve in the ranks. Unfortunately, bad guys have all the tools to see that good work will not be done.

Some priorities seem obvious. To me. Peace. Health. Education. Environment. Infrastructure. Culture.

Somehow I am managing to maintain what scraps of sanity that I still have. I will vote. I will resist. I will work for candidates and parties that play fair and don't cheat. I will not hate, yell, cheat, lie, insult, belittle or disrespect other human beings.

Cheaters win. I suspected that from time to time as a kid. I was told, as you were, that the meek would inherit the earth. Let's just take a quick glance at the top of the heap, shall we?

If I had answers I would type them right here. I will offer this advice- don't play their game. Let them cheat each other. When they flash money, you flash love.