Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Stone Cold






Boy, oh boy- ain't life grand. I have memories that take me around the world. I've heard the sweetest music ever made. It doesn't take much to bring tears to these old cataract-riddled orbs. As long as babies laugh at dogs and cats jump at the sight of zucchini on YouTube, I'll get by.

Oh, I know there's loss ahead. There always is. It's way too late for me to be unlucky, though. Way too late. I've had it all. 

I hope that all of you know the love that I've known. Pay attention to all those t shirts and bumper stickers. All you'll ever need is love.




How Do It Know?






Wisdom comes late. If you're lucky. If it comes at all. 

Turns out that "rock'n'roll" is one of those terms like "aloha." It means, and can mean, lots of different things. Party. Have fun. Fuck. Beat music. Leave.

For me it has always been about art. Accessible art. Art with soul.

Seems funny, somehow, to me, that white men have run so much of the world for so long. The ones who tend to clap on 1 and 3. The ones who think dancing is for the waist
 down. Think Riverdance or clogging.

From this point I could go to politics or the music business or religion. I won't.




Monday, January 30, 2017

Lessons In Love






Once again the people in the streets restore my faith in my fellow man. I see no hate on the faces of protesters in closeups on cable news. It's all love, hope, compassion. These events are essentially spontaneous. We're not out of the woods yet. Not by a long shot. 

Honestly I have no interest in your politics. I've lived well past that point. Take the good parts. Same with your religion, your culture. You know what's right.

That golden rule thing from Sunday school - remember that? It's that simple. Do it all with love. Most of your neighbors who seem to be the other side are just afraid. It's not rocket science.

Pray for peace. Search for truth.







Sunday, January 29, 2017

Oh For A King






Wanted- heroes. Immediate opportunities in various locations around the world. Must be a self-starter. Formal training and education irrelevant. Good intentions and generous heart required.

How many citizens of this country can be convinced to finance walls along borders while health care is available to only a portion of our citizens?

Who, among us, is willing to pay taxes to finance wars to benefit petroleum companies while the perpetrators themselves avoid the taxes?

Which of you is willing to pay ten times what our neighbors in Canada pay for prescription drugs so that "investors" in pharmaceutical companies can afford to live in walled communities, hoping to avoid the inevitable?

Oh, I could go on. And on.

They have succeeded in dividing us irrevocably and probably forever. They can threaten North Korea with the BIG ONE but they can't drop it on Manhattan. Heck, they own stuff there.

Is there not one Republican senator or representative who recognizes his or her spot as Time's Person of the Year by being the one to announce, "Why, that bloated, orange psychopath has no clothes!"

They have tanks and bombs.

We have truth and science. 

Oh, and love. We have love.




Friday, January 27, 2017

Call Me






My father's name was, or is, Waldo Sidney Elliott. I have no idea whether or not he's alive. As a kid I figured that I had really dodged a bullet when they decided not to name me after him. Now it seems like it probably cost me dearly.

You know good and well that my records would have sold way more if they had been credited to Waldo Sidney Elliott. All the mystique in the world built right in. Better yet, how do you like Waldo Sidney Elliott II? Dang!

I'm pretty sure that Waldo S. Elliott, Jr. could have been this country's first socialist president. Not that I want that job, of course, but still...

Tweed jacket with elbow patches, Jack Purcells, maybe an ascot- no, wait, a turtleneck. A maroon turtleneck. W.S. Elliott is telling everyone in the pages of the New York Times Book Review just exactly what is on his bedside table and which literary figures, dead or alive, that he would assemble for a dinner party.

Oh, I could go on. Fact is I wouldn't trade the life I've led for anything. I have the sweetest memories in the world. I love you.




Wednesday, January 25, 2017

When The Ghosts Dance






The ghosts don't exist without me. I don't get to decide whether or not I have any enemies. Maybe it only takes one to tango, I don't know. Here it is two a.m. and I'm wide awake considering the thought that nobody has ever really done me wrong. I suppose that it's luck.

All of my genes would seem to be stubbornly recessive and with no offspring, I can only hope to leave some love. I've got lots of that and you're welcome to all of it.

I don't really believe that the meek will inherit the earth but I do believe that they will have the best seats and most of the happiness.




Heads and Heels






Memories blur and hurt seems to fade right along with hope. Blunders? Yeah, lots. Regrets? Not so many. Where do I go from here? Well, sir, it's a rhetorical question. 

The more things change... You know the bit.

Seems funny that my own drama seems almost insignificant in life's rearview mirror as Rome is starting to smolder all around me.

I've seen Little Richard and I've drunk Chambord. Maybe I've missed something that mattered but I didn't know it so, I guess, it didn't matter.

I've loved. Not well but hard.




Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Back To Monkey Business






For the first time I seem to struggle with this daily task. Oh, it's not that I don't have anything to say. It's just that I'm obsessed, like you, with him. I don't want to write about him. I don't want to think about him.

The idea that maybe our day in the sun is over doesn't bother me. Not much. We had an opportunity to change the world. For the better. We had almost two hundred and fifty years. 

I probably don't need to list our accomplishments. We're proud of aviation. Baseball. Jazz and rock'n'roll. My heroes from this culture, this country, would fill the page.

Of course we didn't invent slavery. We did, however, cling to it long after it went out of fashion in the rest of the civilized world. Now, more than one hundred and fifty years later, we struggle with laws for equal treatment for the descendants of those slaves.

Women fight for equal rights and have since 1776.

Now, how about that other list.

We didn't invent war, either. We don't even win them anymore. It is our biggest industry, however. I could insert a long list of technology here. It's easier to merely mention that we conceived, developed and dropped the atomic bomb. I probably don't need to remind you that the purpose was to end war. How's that working out?

Most people are good. Mostly.

Those others seek power. I'm afraid that I have made my point.

All you need is love.




Sunday, January 22, 2017

Hope!






I'm worn out from smiling. Cheaters may win. I'll give you that. Take a good look around, though. When you wake up in the morning, the person that you want to be- that's success. One thing I'm reminded of on this glorious day in history:

Girls rule, boys drool.

I'm with them.



                                   

Friday, January 20, 2017

The Victors






Maybe history is written by the victors. I don't know. Somebody forgot to tell Howard Zinn.

Me? Well, I went to segregated schools. I took the colored drinking fountains for granted and watched all of the African Americans trudge to the back of the bus. If the coach filled up they would even have to give up those seats for white women.

Yeah, I lived through nigger knocking, queer rolling, Spanish fly, all the way up to snuff films. I've watched politicians lie to get rich, sending other folks' kids off to die in wars to protect financial interests in oil.

I'm writing the history now. I'm singing about Albert Einstein, Mother Teresa, Mr. Rogers, Rosa Parks, Meryl Streep, Dr. King, Gandhi and Jimmy Carter. I'm talking about slavery and ethnic cleansing. Oh, I hope it doesn't sound hopeless.

The weapon to extinguish love hasn't been developed. Einstein knew that all of the energy and all of the love were intertwined.

Get busy. Get out there. Love with all you've got.



                                         

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Don't Know Much About History






At a certain age it becomes obvious that you've lived through a lot of history. I'm getting ready to live through a lot more. Oh, how I hope that I'm a bad prognosticator. Love doesn't seem to be fashionable at this point.

Let's look forward to it coming back around.

Come on, rock'n'roll, save us again.



                                        

I Can See It From Here






When I think about what an honor, what a privilege, it has been for me to play my music for people for the last fifty some-odd years I am almost overcome with gratitude and joy. That first night could easily have been the last. 

Maybe I would never have had the nerve but my pals, Buddy and Eric, needed me. Their bass player, Charlie, claimed to be sick with the flu and they had a show at Madison Junior High. I will never forget the thrill of the intoxication that comes with rock'n'roll. It never changes for me.

There was a time when I dreaded lugging heavy equipment. Missing weekends. Strange beds and boring motels.

Now, I cherish every show. Every song I write, no matter how trite, seems like a grand gift from somewhere I've never been. It can still be hard for me to talk to someone I don't know but it is thrilling to meet so many kind and fascinating people.

While I'm babbling about people, let me say that I have worked with and for the most wonderful folks in the world. I can't begin listing all of the musicians, technical people, promoters, writers and photographers. Audiences. The list would be way too long at this point. Worse, I would be coming back to edit this post continually adding names that I forgot.

Of course this missive won't end up before many of the ones that I address. It's from my heart and it's for the ether. Thank you. I love you.




Sunday, January 15, 2017

Missiles and Marbles






At this point mediocre won't do. I watched two well established, i.e. long in the tooth, TV shows last night with major musical guests. Despite the hard work and energy expended, they both bored me to death. Oh, I don't care if they practice in front of a mirror at home. Onstage, though, I need "real."

Little Richard was born Little Richard even if he didn't know it. Bob Dylan had to learn to be authentic. He built a mystique. He developed charisma.

In most cases, old and new, your favorites and mine just might not line up. That's okay. If you don't like Elvis, circa 1956, though, you're just wrong. In fact, you're dumb.



                                     

Saturday, January 14, 2017

Standing On Shoulders





Here I sit- one hit shy of being a one hit wonder. Mental demons? The dog and I consider them roommates. If Lack of Willpower shared the utility bills and Hazy Ideas did the laundry from time to time, life would be grand. 

Now I find myself pondering the genius of Hank Ballard. On his plaque in the Rock'n'Roll Hall of Fame it should read: "Invented A Dance That White People Could Do."


                                       

Friday, January 13, 2017

Katy, Bar The Door






She's eleven. I'm almost seventy. If all the lessons are loss, we're both stuck with memories of wives, girlfriends, roommates and red headed singers. It's been quite a year. We've said goodbye to hope, romance and our Angel. Somehow, though, I look forward to the rest of it and in my anthropomorphic arrogance I'm pretty sure that she does, too. These melodies fill my head and this love fills my heart. Hot dog, buddy, buddy!


                                         

Thursday, January 12, 2017

Getting' To Know Me






Maybe I've always been afraid of me. I've surely done everything to avoid being alone. I remember reading once, "I'm not afraid of dying. I'm afraid of dying alone." I never got over it.

At some point in elementary school I was told that some Buddhist monks wouldn't go outside after dark for fear of stepping on insects. I have my own reservations about venturing out after dark now.

My belief that all science and all art are about love sums up my philosophy. My language is rock'n'roll.

An eccentric is someone with an unusual set of ideas. I'm a one off. Eccentrics are common. Dime a dozen.



                                        

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Ask The Monkey






American insignificance rises over D.C. We squeezed jazz out of slave culture and claimed it as our own. We took the native people's land and sold the oil. We built magnificent cities using slave labor. We appropriated their rhythm and blues, called it rock'n'roll and sold it to the rest of the world.

Now we're fixing' to make America great again.

Pass the champagne and salute the flag.







Tuesday, January 10, 2017

When The Good Gets You Down






Saints walk among us. Always have. Always will. When I play god there are no orphans. Puppies and kittens all have homes. War is just a card game.

When I get drunk I take the bills out of my wallet and babble about the things that men are willing to do for green paper.

In college I took a course called Idea of Utopia. It was designed to be a study of literature, a philosophy class. For me it was political science.

The incidence of psychopathy in Washington, D.C. is high according to mental health specialists. Really high. Off the charts. You can find the Narcissist of the Day interviewed on Morning Joe any day of the week.

If I come across as shrill and impatient, I apologize. I've walked with saints. Not many of them are going to work for the government. They're not going to run for office. They couldn't afford it.







Monday, January 9, 2017

Bring Me Grapes and Thorns






The phone solicitor woke me up a little after 8:30 last night, scared, cold and lonely. Me, not him. I hung up without asking how he was. I suppose anxiety best describes my condition.

Is it the looming inauguration? Well, I'm sure that's in the mix.

There are circumstances that I'm withholding in order to protect others. It's not their fault that they play major roles in my imagination.




Sunday, January 8, 2017

High Hopes On The Ropes






Don't wait for the guru. You are the guru. All of the wisdom and all of the past is within you. As you release the love everything changes. Why is it so hard to express? Maybe it's because your pure essence is exposed. Once you're rolling, there's no looking back.

I love you.




Saturday, January 7, 2017

More Blood From Another Poet






Nobody signs my paycheck. I can check out pretty much any time I want but I'm never really off. Even my dreams are work. Sometimes the most important part. By any standards I have failed at this rather miserably. For years. Decades!

Nobody loves his job more than I do.




Friday, January 6, 2017

Firecracker Soup






What a life. To wrap things up I seem to have gotten beyond drama. The world, on the other hand, teeters on the proverbial brink again. The literal brink this time.

Nikita Khrushchev informed us that he would bury us in 1956. Rock'n'roll flourished. With Elvis and Jerry Lee, Chuck Berry, Little Richard, Fats Domino and Bo Diddley on our side, we ruled the world. All of the magnificent hillbilly music and all of the wonderful rhythm and blues finally bubbled over in a stew that changed everything forever.

By the end of 1963 we were on the ropes again. When we lost President Kennedy, we lost hope. We were lost. Voila, the Beatles! Rock'n'roll did it again with the British invasion.

This stuff thrives in the mire of despair. 

Me? I believe in magic.

Cross your fingers and fasten your seatbelt.



Thursday, January 5, 2017

Throw Your Clothes In The Corner






Somehow I seem to start this new year with a fresh breath of energy. Maybe a fresh insight, too. You fall in love and you protect what you love. Reality fouls the equation and you think you've fallen out of love. Find a new romantic object and do it all again.

Oh, I want to bring flowers and open doors. My cloak is ready for the next puddle. 

Love works best like this. For me. You barely know I'm here.




Wednesday, January 4, 2017

The Turnover






Nobody's passion lasts forever, to quote my veterinarian. If I steal a bank today and declare its assets mine, I'm off to a good start. If I terrorize all of the tellers and loan officers and the janitor and force them to work for free, my prospects for success in the banking industry zoom.

In fact my advantages over my competition will probably make my bank seem "exceptional."

If I continue to keep all of the assets as mine and tuck away most of the profits as well, eventually something will change. Especially if I have neglected the bank building. Mix in some gold plated plumbing fixtures in my private facilities and things get shaky. Especially if I've put energy into closing the staff's meager bathroom.

Here's where the vet's quote comes in. Read up on revolution. Wave goodbye to American exceptionalism. Now we'll see patriotism.




Monday, January 2, 2017

Missing Pieces






As I ripped the tape to get the package open I heard a distinctive rattle. The beautiful pot that my dear friend had made for me was in a dozen pieces. A surprise in more ways than one. I found the Super Glue and went to work. All of the shards fit and it is hard to see the cracks now. One minuscule piece was missing, leaving a tiny hole in the side. 

Brought to mind the wisdom of my pal, Rebekah:

Once your heart has been broken, there's always a little piece missing.




Flotsam Jetsam Soup






Who, do you suppose, gets all of Nostradamus' royalties? I don't guess there's much future in the future racket these days. The rich are gonna get richer. Lots richer. The poor? Who speaks for them?

Well now, sir, I'm not gonna be around for all that much of the future and I don't have any heirs. I'm not about to waste a lot of time prognosticating.

If I call my naps meditation I won't have to bother with any New Year resolutions.

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




Sunday, January 1, 2017

Bath Water Blues






Mr. Dean wore Jack Purcells. Who am I to question fashion? Another year gone and I suppose I should straighten myself up. Where would I start? Who would notice?

People have always been good to me and I'm grateful. Don't kiss a gift horse on the mouth.

I hope that all of your dreams come true in 2017. The good ones.