Thursday, December 29, 2011

No Beats, No Punks

When I was in the eighth grade I was lucky enough to receive an invitation to a beatnik party. I didn't know what a beatnik was but I knew what they looked like. I borrowed my mom's black turtleneck, combed my hair down and got out my Levis and Jack Purcells. Looking back, I'll bet that I was the best beatnik there.

In the mid-seventies a bunch of my pals put together a Russian punk band with me, Nikki And The Boys. We were doing it as a one off deal for a show in Ybor City. We threw together a bunch of short, fast songs like "Come Dance At The Communist Party," and "Nikita Was Right."I bought us a dozen or so marching band uniforms, black and red, and handed them out without regard to size. They were too good a bargain to pass up. Of course we didn't rehearse much. That would have ruined it. Now I'm left thinking that I was one of the few, true punks. People wanted to hire us for other shows. I could never make sense of it.

A pin through the nose doesn't really mean anything and a beret and a goatee don't shape a lifestyle.

"Whatta ya rebelling against, Johnny?" "Whatta ya got?"

Remember Marlon Brando's snappy retort in The Wild One? That really was about the peak of the entire beat movement. Sure Jack changed some lives when he wrote without form and Allen got a lot of press when he was dragged into court. Overall, though, Kerouac was an insecure, right wing bully with a drinking problem and a confused sexuality. Ginsberg was a gifted poet who just wanted to be famous. I'm afraid that Maynard G. Krebs was the ultimate beatnik.

The best remembered punk songs are probably the biggest "hits" that the Clash had. Why? They were the only real songs from the era. It was charming and somewhat refreshing for a bit that rock'n'roll was back in the hands of kids, amateurs and innocents. Then the Sex Pistols signed with Warner Brothers and the hoax was over. Jerks made money out of the joke for a decade or so. Middle aged folks who just couldn't learn to tune a guitar posed and spit and pogoed shamelessly for too long a time.

Mostly we're posers. We all need to burn for something. A few of us are artists. We struggle to communicate something inside. We sacrifice dignity and privacy to do it. It's nothing to be proud of but it's nothing to be ashamed of. There were no beatniks. There were no punks.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Merry Christmas

I believe it all. Beautiful story, this Prince Of Peace fellow. I guess the literal translation is "I am a son of God." This is for the ones who need it and I suppose that's all of us.


Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Are We At Bottom Yet?

As we approached our bicentennial some five and a half years ago I was approached by a friendly, if naive, publisher of a new regional magazine, The Link. I was asked to write a brief essay on the state of our union along with ten or twelve other locals. The economy hadn't yet rolled over the cliff and we were still being told on the news every evening that the war was being won by the good guys. Of course the local newspaper was not just a flyer and they cheered on the establishment and the mighty military. We were still in the days of "U.S.A., U.S.A." and "Mission Accomplished."

My little piece must have seemed terribly pessimistic and more than a little unpatriotic at the time. My pal, Walt, ran across a copy of the magazine as he was clearing out some of that junk that accumulates and brought it over for me to read. I wish that I had guessed incorrectly and I wish that all those other guys had been right. We had to fight them over there to keep from fighting them over here, remember? We were gonna get everything fixed as soon as the Dixie Chicks shut up. You know who's side God is on, don't you?

Well, I still believe that a golden age is coming and I hope that it's the one that the Occupy Movement kicked off. In the meantime we have hungry, homeless folks out there and a lot of veterans returning to a bleak economic landscape.

We have figured out that all three branches of our federal government are failing us and making bad guys wealthy in the process. With love in our hearts we can fix anything. Give us peace on earth and end this dreadful, dreadful war.

Monday, December 19, 2011


"You're stupid. You were always stupid."

That's what my good friend, Karen, said to me when I reminded her that I had always taken "No" to mean "No," when dealing with the opposite sex. She was in town visiting and it was the first time that I had seen her in years, probably decades.

We had become fast friends in the seventh grade and had gone through lots of growing up together, more on her part than mine, 'til she left for Atlanta and college after high school graduation. Of course she was kidding, mostly.

There are differences in my overall approach to women than my friends' techniques and I have begun to attribute some of that to the fact that I was raised by women, my single mom and my grandmother. I certainly don't mean to imply that I'm better at romance than my pals who came up in more traditional families. In fact I am batting zero in love and I'm not proud of it.

There are terrifying statistics available, however, regarding rape, attempted rape and sexual abuse from the U.N., the Department of Justice and plenty of other reputable organizations which compile such numbers. The credibility of the specific statistics is always in play due to the elusive definition of the terms "rape" and "sexual abuse."

We do know that rape is the most under-reported violent crime in this and most other cultures for many obvious reasons. Most of the most reliable, current statistics indicate that in this country at least one in six women have experienced rape or attempted rape.

In addition to these horrifying numbers we have to consider the additional horror of child molestation. To take a child's innocence is to steal something precious that can never be replaced. Something wonderful and something holy. With it goes a piece of the heart, a piece of the soul. Forever. The ability to accept love is altered. Trust is tarnished. Victims tend to grow up with a spiritual void in their heart and the truly fortunate few find help through counseling, hard work and the love and patience of very special friends who pitch in to provide support and understanding. With these "lucky" ones we're still talking about a lifetime's work.

Help explain to the kids that "No" does, indeed, mean "No." Speak up against any attempt to make humor out of hurt. The world doesn't need any more Sandusky jokes. Support tough laws that will help curb sex crimes. Do your part to end this chain of terrible abuse. If you find someone in your life who has been victimized, pour all of the love and compassion that you can muster into them. It's a fine investment. Love will fix anything  but it's not a quick fix. Give us peace on earth.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Tell The King The Killer's Here

The best songs are written for you in the newspapers. What will I do when the last one has closed up shop?

Jerry Lee's misadventures are legendary but this one tops most!

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

TheTwist Came From Tampa

No matter how many times Hank told the story and regardless of changes made, the twist always came from Tampa! My mom took me to see Hank Ballard and the Midnighters at Fort Homer Hesterly Armory on a bill with Sam Cooke, Laven Baker, Little Willie John and Marv Johnson. The Midnighters put on the best rock'n'roll show that I have ever seen and I've see a few. Pray for old Dick Clark.

The twist democratized rock'n'roll. White folks could pretend to dance. Funny thing is that it all sprang from a gospel song. We need a new twist. Give us peace on earth and end this dreadful, dreadful war.

Elvis Presley Didn't Like Tampa

Wrote this with my pal, British porn legend, Laura Canyon. Fiction, for the most part. You know the other. Mae Boren Axton, Hoyt's mom and the co-writer of Heartbreak Hotel, interviews the young bebop hillbilly     for the radio. Changed Florida. Changed me. Changed the world.

                                                                      Ronny and Elvis

                          Probably the sweetest person I ever met. There will never be another one.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

"What do you preach, Ronny?" "Whatta' you got?"

Stop me if I've told you this. All of my early aptitude tests in school indicated that I was destined to be a preacher. Nothing even came in second place. Puzzled me, baffled the teachers. You must believe something to preach something, right?

My problem is that I seem to believe it all. It never escaped my young mind that Jesus was always quoted saying pretty much the same things that Buddha had muttered hundreds of years before. All of those special guys and girls have always stuck to the message. I'm not about to ask for a donation to reveal this big secret:

                 This is heaven and there is no hell. Be nice. Love, because that's all there is.

Of course I have thought that I was spending my time as something of a rock'n'roll musician for these past forty five or forty six years; a hillbilly soul singer, a bass player, a songwriter, a folk singer. I'm no more a musician than Lord Buckley was a comedian or Mark Twain was a novelist. I'm not trying to ease my way into some lofty club of beloved genius. The only connection with these fine guys is some fire within to preach truth regardless of the consequences. I'm talking about Truth here now. Not that bunk that we suffer through in our political debates and not any of that malarkey where nut cases sling smoke and water and babble in languages that we haven't spoken in ages.

What do we really remember about Jack Kerouac? His face on a t shirt is more familiar than anything that he wrote. He only wanted to be with the ones who burned, burned, burned, remember? He was his work. He invented "Jack Kerouac" and then couldn't get comfortable with it.

Oscar Wide, magnificent writer, huh? What's the last play of Oscar's that you went to see? Dorothy Parker?

If your mission is to preach the truth it's all pre-ordained. You don't get any say in the matter. Doesn't seem to be very fashionable just now and I probably should have found a career with better health benefits. I have to remind myself that Lord Buckley was supremely hip and totally honest during the Mad Men era. He never tasted much in the way of fame and he never made much money. He died in 1960 at the age of fifty four so he would never have been aware of his influence on our culture.

I don't kid myself. My sphere of influence is minute. My gifts are modest. I am rewarded with the notion that I have stuck mostly to the truth. I love with all of my heart with what purity remains. I love you all very, very much.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Maybe It's For Sissies, After All

It may have started with Key West. I love all the rust. I'm fascinated with the crooked shutters and the peeling paint. Maybe it's just part of the aging process. Looking back I suppose that I've always loved old things. Cars, art, movies, guitars and of course, people. Don't get me wrong, though. There is no bigger sap than I am for a puppy, a kitten or a baby.

I spend way too much time worrying that the final light bulb will go off over my head at the last minute. Literally. It's the continuum, stupid! I love it all. How can it be possible to have lived this life? Give us peace on earth and end this dreadful, dreadful war.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Burn, Burn, Burn

It took years to really sink in. Everybody's special, Lord Buckley said that. There are some, though, who burn for truth, burn for justice and burn for everybody who needs somebody. I thought Kerouac was talking about running hard and running fast. Maybe he was. I hope to burn for a long time and I hope to be around the other ones who do, too. Pray for peace. Search for truth.

Monday, November 28, 2011

"Wait 'Til You Meet Tim"

It was winter in 1967 and we were playing in New York for the first time. Ever. Any of us. "We" were Noah's Ark, an aspiring psychedelic rock'n'roll band from Tampa, Florida. I suppose that we had been pretty cocky up until that time. Big fish, you know.

We were in Manhattan to record a new single for Decca Records and our pal, Rodney Justo, invited us to play at set at the Scene, in midtown at 301 West 46th Street. His band at that time, the Candy Men, were the darlings of the hipster crowd in the Big Apple.

Van Morrison had "Brown Eyed Girl" on the radio at the time and he was sharing the bill. We had the same publicist at the time, Morty Wax, and Van had him approach us about becoming his band. I don't remember all of the members of his outfit at the time, only that Danny Armstrong was his bassist and that they were amazing. Van got fired that night but that's a different story and a different blog.

Blood, Sweat & Tears were on the bill, too. They were an instrumental quartet at the time, mostly featuring Al Kooper's electric piano. Great stuff. Even the audience was intimidating. We were certain that we would be found out as hicks and hacks. Rick Derringer was there. He was still Rick Zehringer from the McCoys, then. We had heard that Jimi often dropped in. He was playing in the Village that week. He didn't show but Jim Morrison did.

In the early afternoon when we arrived for a sound check of sorts, the young stage manager introduced himself and showed us around. More than once he grinned and said, "Wait 'til you meet Tim."

All he ever answered when we would ask who Tim was would be, "You'll see."

When the crowd showed us attention and affection we quickly realized that nobody in New York City knew anything more than anyone in Tampa and we had a swell time. We weren't hip but they couldn't tell.

Suddenly there was a murmur that grew to something of roar and in the middle of this adoring hipster crowd a pudgy, pale vision of beauty in a madras coat, carrying a paper shopping bag with the neck of a ukulele protruding, made his way from table to table. Rodney took me over and introduced me to Tiny Tim. I had never seen anything remotely similar. I still haven't. He was so kind and so personable and so sincere that I was totally mesmerized. I remember that he asked about my mother and that's about as much as I can recall about that first brief exchange.

When he took the stage I was overwhelmed. He belted out "Hound Dog" with every bit as much fire as Elvis or Big Mama ever created. When the crowd called out for "Hey Paul, Hey Paula," he brought the house down switching from one personae to the other. I had never heard "Tiptoe Through The Tulips," until that night. He would tell little stories about the songs and the artists who had done them.

In fear that I would never be able to describe what I had seen and heard I approached him and asked if he had a picture that I might have as a souvenir.

"I'll bring you one tomorrow night," he responded. "Will you be here?"

I promised him that I would try to be there but we were not on the bill for the next night.

"I'll give it to Mr. Rodney if you're not here," he promised.

I assumed that I would get a glossy 8x10 with some agent's name printed across the bottom if I had any luck and Tim remembered.

Rodney, who remains one of my dearest friends today, brought me my picture two days later. I suppose that Tim stopped at the photo booth at his subway stop on his way in the next evening and had it taken for me. The ultimate prize in a fairly bizarre collection of rock'n'roll memorabilia.
Some time later when Tiny Tim strolled out onto the stage on an early episode of Laugh In I was delighted. I was pretty sure that this would be his only television appearance and that, at least, I could convince my friends that I had not made all of this up. A month or two later when I found his first LP, God Bless Tiny Tim, in the record store I was thrilled. Tim was gonna be famous.

Of course they made him a clown and treated him without dignity and without respect. Young girls married him to use him. Imagine that. 

I have my memories, though. The last thing that he said to me was that he would see me in heaven. God bless Tiny Tim, indeed.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Walk To The End Of The World

Loco Siempre was a failed concept in comedy/hillbilly/soul/magic. I kinda' liked it, though. It was                  an uphill battle in lots of ways. Where, oh where did my downfall begin?

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

I Don't Have A Dog

"Doc, the best way that I can describe it is I feel like my dog has died and I don't have a dog."

That's the way my pal, Ed Brown, described his feelings of despair to his physician. The good doctor made him promise to get his gun out of the house and sent him to a psychiatrist who could prescribe something for his depression.

The miracle drug was supposed to take a minimum of four to six weeks to take effect but Eddie was a different person in a day or two. Thank heavens. Ed was a curmudgeon of the first order on a good day but there had always been a twinkle if you knew to look for it. We never did figure out what pushed him off the high dive to begin with. He did tell me later that he had never gotten over his father's death and also that the loss of his only dog, Snake, had never been dealt with in any proper manner.

Ed died a couple of years ago and I can't completely come to grips with that. I lost another of my closest friends last Thanksgiving and I don't dare let those memories in at all. My losses have been big and profound and out of the clear blue for me in the last few years. Funny thing is they didn't surprise the people around me.

Now, as much as I hate to admit it, I feel like my dog has died. I do have a dog, of course. Jamaica is my everything. I have a gun in the house but it's the blank gun that I got in the Smokies as a souvenir when I was a kid. Unless I beat myself to death with it there's not much threat there.

I'm trying to write and I'm trying to record. I want to go out and be social but it was a struggle to stay up until 7:30 last night.

I don't need sympathy; there's nothing wrong. I do love my friends, however, and I am truly thankful for them. I love everyone else, too, because I know that we should be friends, as well. I will give thanks this year for all of the beautiful people who have taught me so many wonderful lessons. I miss my friends who have gone and I will always be grateful that they passed my way.

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

Monday, November 21, 2011

Edison & Jumbo

Don't name any more high schools in the U.S. after Thomas Alva Edison. Let's have some Chuck Berry Junior Highs and maybe some Screamin' Jay Hawkins Elementary Schools. They were real heroes. They changed our culture for the better.

Edison, on the other hand, stole inventions; cheated business competitors; played dirty; had animals mutilated and murdered for publicity; and, worst of all, gave us the electric chair. It was all part of a gigantic campaign to scare the American public and drive them away from George Westinghouse's direct current version of household electrical power which was competing with Edison's alternating current plan.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

R.I.P. Rock'n'Roll

When was rock'n'roll born? Who knows? Who cares! At some point it's like holding mirrors in front of mirrors, isn't it? You think you've stumbled across an original, the Killer, for example. Then someone turns you on to Harry "The Hipster" Gibson. You argue with another drunk at the bar about Chuck Berry's invention of sacred rock'n'roll guitar introductions and he drags you out to the car to play you some Carl Hogan licks off of Louis Jordan's records. There may be a beginning back there somewhere but I can't find it.
I'm afraid that I have lived to see the end, however. It's not that sad, not for the kids. They will have something great and good to live for. Something that's theirs. I never was big on nostalgia. Of course the spirit of all of that godliness will be with us forever. I've lived a life for this stuff. As I came of age, I thought it would save the world and maybe it did. Hail, hail rock'n'roll, indeed!

Monday, November 14, 2011

The Nationals

The Nationals are badasses, every one. We don't play much any more, not since we lost Jim. We did get together last week to celebrate the life and the genius of Harry Hayward. David Lane sat in with me and Natty and Steve and Walt. We were joined by our pal, Crash Mitchell, who helped shout it all out. This is Room 100, my ode to the great love story of Sid and Nancy. I love these folks and I love all of you.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

It Turned Over Once

"This is not my century, boys. Neither was the last." Seems pompous to quote myself. Can't get past the thought, though. "I've got a lot of miles on this old heart of mine already." Yeah, that's me again.

Remember when a hundred thousand miles meant the end of a car? Today more companies than just Volvo brag about their models going over a million miles and the proud owners pose for the ads that the manufacturers and agencies use for the magazines.

I've been accused of an unhealthy addiction to heartache and drama. Of course I jump to my feet to defend myself but the evidence is stacking up against me. I was told once by a promoter in Europe that folks over there worry about me.

"Why," I asked.

"They all think you have drug problems," he replied.

If anybody over here ever furrows a brow on my behalf it probably has more to do with alcohol. I don't really overdo the juice but it seems to show in a tacky, dramatic fashion onstage when there are too many refreshments available backstage.

These new charges scare me a lot more. What if there's something to them? In my mind and in my heart I have finished with romance. I should probably say that romance has finished with me. Believe me, it's difficult for a Romantic with a capital "R" to make such a statement. After this amount of time, however, to have batted zero is at the core of my sadness. All of my heart and all of my good intentions have come up short. I feel that I have tried but not everyone would agree with that. Suppose that I did have some kind of sad agenda.

I'm well over the 100k mark. I shoulda' taken better care of my heart. This one's worn out and I really wouldn't lie and try to pass it off on some unsuspecting sucker.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Grandma & Elvis

I know that I've told you the stories of my adventures traveling up to Crystal River as often as I could get someone to drive me in order to spend time with Elvis Presley while he was filming Follow That Dream. On the first couple of trips we would arrive before sunup and have him pretty much to ourselves. He was too sweet and too polite to walk away. He would stay and talk until he was late for the filming.

On the third or fourth trip I convinced my grandmother, Lottie, to come along. She had always loved Elvis. Let's face it, she was southern. She did truly believe that we were all a bit overboard to make a trip for a couple of hours every day just to see him and she told us all the way up there.

As soon as we stepped out of the car, however, the King stepped from the doorway of his cottage at Port Paradise, the resort where he was staying. Grandma left us in the dust and made a beeline for Elvis. She grabbed him in a bear hug and burst into uncontrollable sobs. While she cried her eyes out, Elvis laughed his head off. I don't think either of them had ever enjoyed a moment in life more.
                                                               Lottie, Elvis & Mom

He spent lots of time exchanging stories and posing for pictures. The next trip up she took him a coconut cake that she baked for him. A fresh coconut cake. We had always read that that was his favorite dessert. I read in an interview in a movie magazine months later that a little lady from St. Petersburg had taken him a coconut cake. Close enough.

Grandma made several more of the pilgrimages up with us. One afternoon we sat around outside of the Colonel's bungalow. My grandmother told Elvis about all of the fights that I had been in during grade school standing up for him.

He smiled one of those really exaggerated crooked ones and mumbled,"I'll teach him something to take care of that."

"Karate?" I asked, hoping to sound worldly or at least somewhat sophisticated for a thirteen year old.


I've got lots of stories about Grandma and lots of stories about the King. My favorites are the ones with both of them. I'm a very lucky man.

Friday, October 28, 2011

My Buddies

It's funny how often I miss Sparkle. He was my first dog,  a dachshund-pekinese mix. You know, the proverbial "so ugly he's cute" type. Sparkle was naughty and he was smart. Once he escaped he was gone for awhile. Once Uncle Reid had to go down and retrieve him from the pound a day after he took off. I don't have any photos of Sparkle but I surely remember exactly what he looked like. It's been over fifty eight years now. When we moved from Alabama I gave Sparkle to Margaret, Aunt Noot's maid in Jemison. He was run over by a bicycle soon after. The story went that Margaret held him in her lap all night until he finally breathed his last breath. I still grieve for him.

Plenty of others have followed, all special and all holy. Wolfgang was probably the most colorful. It's hard to ever get rid of the image of the boy dragging home half of a turkey from down the street on a Thanksgiving day. I'm pretty sure I know what happened to the other half, too.

I kinda' hate to attempt to name all of them because I sure wouldn't want to leave any of them out. Puddles, Goldie, Poochie, Boo, Jamaica, and Kokomo all come to mind immediately. Neighbors' dogs and girlfriends' dogs and strays that I've befriended rise up in my heart, as well.

Now Jamaica's my girl and Jamaica's my life. She sure is a good girl, even if she would leave me in a wink for Ralph, the neighbor behind us. Reminds me of most of my relationships.

Ronny & Jamaica, the pup

I'll get to the cats another time. I've gotta go walk the dog now. As my pal, Steve V., put it, " The dog just thinks she'll have to put up with all the attention until you get well."

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

My Blood Is Too Red

A few years back the doctor told me that I probably had a weird, rare blood disease. When I reminded him that I had no insurance we decided together that I had best skip any test that would confirm his diagnosis. Romance was failing badly and my dog needed a knee replacement. She didn't have insurance, either. I was broke and I was beat. Friends propped me up but I was lonely in crowds.

Light came and all prayers were answered. I didn't have any disease, just really red blood. Jamaica got her new knee. How do I manage to look down the road to the blues? Where do these visions come from? When does happiness show up?

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

I Miss Gary Dobbins

In 1967 I attempted to start a rhythm and blues band, horns, keyboards, backup singers, the whole deal. Nobody ever showed up for practice. I finally took the three drummers, had one teach another one to play guitar, I played bass and we started a hillbilly band instead, Your Local Bear. Talk about your mothers and your inventions! I loved that band. Nobody else did. We played on a bill with Jimi Hendrix and I thought we should change the world.

That band eventually morphed into Duckbutter. I was sure that this one was gonna change the world. Save it, too. Oh well.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Predicto and Mr. E

If I write my future in my songs, can't I just take the new ones and see what's coming? If I stop writing sad songs will my life get brighter? What if I stop writing altogether?

I've always been fascinated with the mentalists of the '20's and '30's. You see photographs of them at the beginning of their careers and they usually appear bright eyed and youthful like the upstarts starting out in movies or the music business. Often they would shave their hair into a widow's peak to appear mysterious and weird. Cigarette smoke always seemed to add an element of sophistication to a promotional photo or a poster. Frequently these guys seem to have morphed into the real deal. Those lines in their brows didn't need to be touched up as the really good ones worked their way up in the business. Lots of them ended up taking their own lives. You read of the ones who decided that maybe they really could catch a bullet in their teeth and decided to try it.

It has taken me a long, long time to figure out that I only want to be with the ones who love, love, love. They are truly the ones who light up the night like a cigarette. You can't get your heart broken if you don't love, but if you don't love what's the point?

I sit here, squirming at exposing everything once again, and I realize that I have a hole in both soles, a hole in my soul and a break in my heart that I can't seem to patch. I've got lots of new songs, not a happy one in the batch, and I've got melodies in my head and in my heart that are making me cry. I don't know about these new ones but I'm not gonna have to paint on tears.

                                                                 Love. It's worth it.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Mr. Edison's Electric Chair

Edison was a crook, a cheat and a thief. He should be remembered as such. We can thank him for the electric chair.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Broke Heart Blues

It's our land, our oil, our radio waves. Fight for peace and justice with love and compassion. All of my love and gratitude go out to the brave ones around the world tonight who march and demonstrate for all the ones who can't.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

How Fine, This Line?

So I find myself, again, wrestling with self-doubt, depression and self-pity. Am I the luckiest man who ever lived, with no limits put on me by anyone; or am I the loneliest, self-serving, unaware chump walking the planet? I could put up a pretty good case for either theory. It might be healthy for me to settle on one for awhile.

If I whine to friends they quickly point out that I am surrounded by love. Always have been. That should be enough for the positive side to win. I have been fortunate to have done exactly what I wanted to do at almost every step in my life without any real compromise.

The devil on my other shoulder quickly points out, with glee, that I have failed at my profession, lost at love and never made any money. I need no reminding that I have wanted to bring about world peace and feed the hungry, too, and you can see how far I've gotten there.

Maybe life is the battle, though. I have remained true to my principals and I continue to fight for everything that is important to me. I hope that I have done it with my sense of humor intact, too. I may have run out of romance but I will never run out of love. I may never have a hit record but I will always have new songs. At least it is easy to remain humble.

Give us peace on earth and end this dreadful, dreadful war. I love you all very much.

Friday, October 7, 2011

Peace Breaks Out

They say that our golden ages come between the wars. Now that war has become pretty much a perpetual force in our global society we were bound to bumble into a doozie of a beautiful period of peace and love. In my heart I knew that it was coming but, to be honest, I didn't see it blossoming full force with such a roar. We should have realized when the first kids took to the streets in Egypt and began to spread the word via facebook and twitter that the jig was up for the oppressors.

The 1% that we have come to consider the bad guys are the same ones who butted in line in the cafeteria and stole your lunch money from your pocket while you were dressed out for P.E. They never wanted a piece of the pie. They always wanted the pie.

Remind everyone who is too young to remember that Jerry Rubin and Abbie Hoffman ruined the Chicago convention by pushing violence on a loving, caring mob, leaving room for the national press to write critically of the demonstrations. Sure, heads split open by billy sticks look good on the cover of Newsweek but violent kids taunting cops make up the fair and balanced reporting of the event. It really took years for our society to agree that the kids had it right.

This time around we already hear the claims that the protesters are losers who have never worked; misguided anarchists with no specific platform. I see folks who refuse to give up the dreams. Loving folks who want to stand up for their own rights and help take care of the ones too beaten down by an unjust society to stand up for themselves. Looks to me like we have gatherings all over the world demanding a voice for everyone; the poor, the sick, the soldiers, the uneducated, the prisoners and the disenfranchised.

I know in my heart that my time has come. From the earliest aptitude tests I was destined to be a preacher. Always baffled me because I don't generally subscribe to any specific dogma. As I have told you before, Grandma taught me to pray, "Give us peace on earth and end this dreadful, dreadful war."

All the divinity training I need, I suppose.

Welcome the opportunists who want to jump on the bandwagon. We need all the hearts and souls and bodies that we can muster. Keep it all about peace and love, however. That's our secret weapon. That's the one that they can't touch.

I love you all very, very much.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

The King and I

"Do you have a piece of wood that Elvis stepped on?" my pal, Bobby Glazier, asked on the kickball court in 1956, as though it were a common question.

"What does that mean?"

"I don't know," Bobby replied. "My brother got one. He sent off to Jiffy Pop."

I was in the fourth grade at Roosevelt Elementary in Tampa. Instead of walking home that afternoon I went straight to Kwik Chek, the only grocery store between school and home. I found the popcorn aisle and grabbed a jar of Jiffy Pop. There was no mention of any Elvis wood on the label. I frantically searched the other brands and found nothing. I decided to take my chance and purchased the jar. I took my purchase home, copied the manufacturer's address on an envelope and taped a quarter to a card on which I sent my request for a piece of wood that Elvis Presley had stepped on. Of course none of this made any sense but I had no other information.

Weeks went by and nothing. I was pretty much used to the idea of mailing off quarters and receiving nothing. Usually from Kellogs. I still don't know whether to distrust cereal companies or the postal service.

Finally an official looking yellow post card with a green border came with a sliver of wood attached. Burned into the little slab was "Elvis Stepped Here." The card certified that the company had purchased the little shack that Elvis had been born in in East Tupelo, Mississippi and torn it down. They guaranteed that the wood came from the home and that Elvis had stepped on it. Man!

I tore the little treasure off the card and pasted it prominently in my rock'n'roll scrapbook.

Years went by and I saw a story on the evening news that the home that Elvis had been born in had become something of a tourist shrine. I was not happy about having been cheated. Still makes me mad. I didn't want to ruin the page in my scrapbook, however, so I left it on the page.

More years went by. I was in Crystal River talking to Elvis. He was in Florida filming "Follow That Dream." I think it was 1960. I would manage to find someone old enough to drive to take me the sixty or seventy miles every day to spend time with my idol.

On this day he was poking through the scrapbook and came across the little wood piece.

"What's that?" he asked.

I told him this same, stupid story. He laughed, tore it off the page, bent down and placed it on the ground. Then he stood on it while he signed souvenirs and pictures for all of us.

I keep it in the box with my rock'n'roll scrapbook today.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Make 'Em Cry

"Why are your songs so dark, so sad?" The German journalist across the table was all decked out in black and was wearing sunglasses inside. At night. It all seemed a bit like a bad skit on Saturday Night Live.

Honestly, I had never thought about the idea that most everything that I write deals with heartache, betrayal, loss and breakup. Of course I dabble in murder and suicide on occasion, too.

I've been wrestling with his question since then and that was probably ten or twelve years ago. Others have asked the same thing a little less dramatically since.

I wanted to believe that to a casual listener who primarily spoke a language other than English that my darkish sense of humor just didn't translate well. Most of my stuff has always seemed like comedy to me. In fact, if anyone before that time had asked me what I wrote about I'm sure that I would have answered that I dealt in sarcastic social commentary and anything that rhymed.

My awareness of the sad personal junk that I post on any of the social networking sites comes from all of the sweet responses that I get from old friends, folks that I barely know and even complete strangers. I suppose that it must read like I'm some kind of self indulgent big mouth looking for sympathy and attention. I hope that's not it. I tend to think of myself as the wise guy in the room who is all talk but who has pretty good intentions.

Yeah, I still think of my material as comedy. I know, I know. All of that comedy that we all grew up on is based on sadness and fear.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

What's Wrong With Me?

In 1961 I didn't receive much mail. At fourteen I had pretty much quit ordering from the back of Rice Krispies  and I had enough the rock'n'roll pictures to last a lifetime. When the letter with a local postmark arrived I was anxious to get to it.

Long, hand written letter with no real signature it was meant to help straighten me out. It was from a group of girls from my junior high school. The opening signaled an optimistic correspondence. It began, more or less, "We think you are really neat, but...". It was all downhill from that point. I remember that hot rods were really out of fashion and wrestling was dumb. According to my letter.

I wish that I could remember all of my other faults that were listed. There were plenty. I'm reasonably sure that the girls were right on target.

Since that dark day I have received more written critiques on my many faults from women who wanted, somehow, to help me fix myself. I am aware that this reads as sarcastic. It is not meant to be. I don't know that I have managed to fix much but I have taken it all to heart and I have changed what I could change and I have tried to be a better person based on everything that has been offered as advice.

I suppose that we are all just who we are. I hope that I am better than I might have been if these women had not offered suggestions for change. I try harder than it appears I suppose.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

"Career" Move

You have no idea how frequently I am asked, "You have any idea how big you would be if you died?" Sometimes the enquirer will delicately phrase the question to imply that maybe I should just write a book. That's nice but I know what they're thinking.

Is it really possible that this guy has played his beat down old heart out for nearly fifty years and this is all that he has to show for it? No gold records? No big hits?

Hey, sometimes I wonder what on earth would keep a nose to this particular grindstone. I look at where the careers of folks from Hank Williams to Anna Nicole Smith were at the time of their demise and I understand what my hopeful friends are getting at.

We always end up with faulty memories of where our heroes were in the grand scheme of things, career-wise, at their demise.

My tales about Elvis offering to teach me karate or holding up Jimi's amps or Tiny Tim bringing me a photo booth picture and telling me that he would see me in heaven all get wildly magnified in any imaginary obituary piece. I'll bet the sad songs would sound a lot sadder, too.

Don't misunderstand me here. I don't want to kick the bucket. Ever. For me it's beneath cutting the grass or having a filling replaced. The whole concept seems creepy and boring to me.

Maybe we will have a little pretend poll here, though. Let me know what you think. Ex-wives are ineligible.

Friday, September 9, 2011

Pink Diamonds, Wet Tears And The Voices In My Head

Why do folks kill one another for diamonds and emeralds when there are big chunks of broken 7 Up bottles and busted windshields all over the streets? Then again, why do fools fall in love? I'm busy trying to reconnect my head with my heart and I suspect that I'm failing at it. Again.

I'm happy about who I am except for when I'm not. I wish I had secrets to keep. Too late. I will tell anybody anything. Don't misunderstand. If you ask me to keep a secret I can. I will. Those are your secrets, though, not mine. I have no mystique. I suppose that makes me something of the Anti-Dylan, huh?

Everyone is good to me. I mean really good. I like that. Sorta' takes all the pressure off of buying lotto tickets.

I should work harder but then it wouldn't really be the work that I'm meant to do, would it? We all have unique roles in the cosmos but I have come to see mine as unique among the unique. I'm holding mirrors up to mirrors here but I'm doing it all in the key of C. No sharps, no flats, all white keys. Of course we're gonna have to go to some minors here if it's headed for sad, but I'd rather not. I don't want any more blues just now.

I hope love becomes the rage again. All hep and all fashionable. Boy!
Me and my cousin, Jimmy. I can't recall our dates' names. Maybe Jimmy remembers.

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Unconditional Love, Unrequited Love

My earliest memories are deliriously happy ones, secure, safe and loving. I was raised by a single mom but the towering influence in my life was my grandmother, Lottie. Always spoiled, I got everything that I wanted, including plenty that I didn't need. My working mother sacrificed plenty of basic needs for herself to provide me with frivolous junk. By the time that I was old enough to drive legally I was on my third car, a '32 Ford three window coupe with a 283 Corvette engine. My first "real" electric guitar was a 3 pickup Rickenbacker. This is not the smartest way to build character in your kid and I suspect that my mom knew this at some level.

Now the other side of this coin is that I was loved beyond reason and wrapped up in the soul of the sweetest and wisest woman that you can imagine. Grandma had raised her five children as a single mother after my grandfather had died at an early age from Bright's Disease. She had done the best that she could, working full time managing the school cafeteria in their small town of Jemison, Alabama.

She moved in with my mom to take care of me, freeing my mother to work as an information operator at the telephone company to provide for us. Grandma was not going to miss a moment with her beloved Ronny. I wish that everyone could grow up in similar circumstances. Every important thing that I know I learned from her. She taught me to pray, "Give us peace on earth and end this dreadful, dreadful war."

I suppose that we were praying for an end to the Korean War at the time. By the time that I was old enough to consider war and peace as a concept, I realized that there are no good wars.

Now, as a seasoned failure at romance, I question my humanity and my worth. I recently had a superficial conversation with a friend who explained to me that she is suffering through a terrible bout of the blues based on unrequited love. She's in love with him. He's not in love with her. It broke my heart just to hear her say the words.

Alan Watts once said, "Never to pretend to a love which you do not actually feel, for love is not ours to command."

I don't know that I have ever really changed my mind about anything. I don't know that I have any understanding of the concept of falling out of love. The friends that I made as a kid are still my friends and I love them dearly.

I pout and feel sorry for myself when I think that I'm wronged or mistreated and I'm quick to lash out when I feel hurt. That has never been anything but a crude defensive device to ward off hurt. I forgive immediately and I'm quick to apologize.

If I am a square hole in this round peg world I think that it comes from being spoiled with love. Unconditional love, the richest gift in the world.

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Now What?

Again I find myself searching for truth and some kind of role in the cosmos. Do I fall too fast, love too hard? Yeah, you bet. I've been called stupid and I won't hop to my feet to defend myself. Sometimes my own sense of right and fair doesn't line up with any majority, moral or otherwise. I want to love and share and I want to play naked in the rain. I don't want to pretend that I don't find it sexy, either.

I can see that we have overbuilt housing in this country. Just take a look at the Channel District right in Tampa. Empty condos and townhouses reaching to the clouds. There are plans being floated to go in some areas of the country and begin tearing down some of the housing surplus.

Wait a minute. What about one of our other problems, the homeless? Families living out of automobiles in all of our major cities.

Shouldn't someone be combining all efforts towards these two problems? I'm not all that bright. Check the first paragraph here. I'm the stupid one.

How about the fact that the USA has slipped to #49 in infant mortality in the world. Last I heard we were paying for the health care of all of those folks in Washington who decide what will happen to the rest of us regarding our health care.

That's not right. Let me stand up right here, right now for the babies being born who can't stand up for themselves. Let me lend my voice to the folks out there with no roof over their head; the veterans returning from a forgotten, ignored war; the hopeless who have run out of unemployment benefits.

Now, I know that I ramble and I know that somehow I have moved from my own personal struggle with the blues to my take on the state of the union. Somehow, though, for me it's all intertwined. We have to use all of our power of love to work for everybody and everything that needs us.

We need to be led by prophets who can preach like Obama and actually stand up for truth and justice. We need to love more and love harder. Maybe I don't have it all wrong.

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

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

The Last Days Of Tampa Red

Once I used my x-ray vision to look through clothing. Nowadays I focus on the galaxies and I burn holes through the stars to make them lighter and quicker. I'd carry moonbeams home in a jar if I had one.

Tampa Red wasn't actually from Tampa. It's a fine name, though, and he surely had a lot of class. I wish I had known him. Seems he never got over losing Frances. Funny how the heart takes charge.

This is a song that I wrote, back and forth via e-mail, with my pal, Terry Clarke. The show was with Til Willis at the Sherbino Theatre in Ridgway, Colorado. There's a very drunk heckler making himself heard in the audience. I don't really mind hecklers. Beats being ignored.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

It's In The Ether

If we're all concocted of the dust from stars how can we possibly be anything less than grand. I grew up poor and never had the good sense to recognize that I was different from my friends. Most of them were from prominent families and lots of money. Some of those folks are still my friends. Oh, we had plenty of other kids from homes that scraped by, but for the most part my contemporaries were being raised to be the pillars of our community.

I always loved the girls. Still do. I was raised by a single mother who spoiled me with anything that I asked for and a grandmother who showered me with the most unconditional love that you can imagine. A therapist once explained to me that women are attracted to men who are raised by women. They don't generally display the same swagger, I suppose. I don't hike my leg to see how high up on the tree that I can pee. I guess I began falling in love with little Alison Lewis in the third grade. She wouldn't mind me mentioning her by name. She's my pal and she has had to put up with it for a very long time.

Then by junior high school while most of my pals were lined up to get into the monkey races at the Florida State Fair, I was dragging my little cousin, George, over to gawk at the lovely dancers lined up on the runway while the barker suggested that there would be displays of femininity bordering on the illegal inside the tent once the show started. Ah, Club Lido. Closest I ever came to sex education. There was a young platinum blonde who seemed to be there every year. I'm still not over her. Probably wasn't even the same young lady.

By the time I began to actually date it was fairly obvious, to me and to them, that I was never likely to develop any of the skills required to do this successfully. My friend, Harry, describes it, "You fall fast and you fall hard." I guess that's about right on the money.

My failure at romance has become legendary in my own mind. I try. God, I try. I don't really have any regrets other than inconveniencing people that I care about. I didn't say hurt because I seem to be the one who ends up hurt. None of us like it.

I asked a woman to dinner this past Saturday. We had a fine meal and, I thought, a fine time. When I got her back to the place where she was staying, she went inside and I didn't see her again. Oh well. At least we're not married.

Every one of us is special. Truly special. I wrote a line once, "I'll make this toast to motherhood and the women that I have known." I find that I tear up and can barely get that line out onstage now. I do thank the women who have shared their lives with me and put up with me for whatever amount of time that they could spare.

My favorite male friends are the ones who seem to share my reverence for women. I truly believe that the only hope that we have to move our society and culture ahead is through women taking the reins. It was my grandmother, Lottie, who taught me to pray, "Give us peace on earth and end this dreadful, dreadful war." I wish someone had taught little Barry Obama that prayer.

Meantime, if I ask you out to dinner, be kind to me. Don't marry me but be nice about it.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

South By So What

I first worked with Doug Sahm at the Clearwater Auditorium for a Star Spectacular in 1966. I don't really remember much about the show but I always loved the Sir Douglas Quintet. I saw him again onstage at the fairgrounds with the Texas Tornados in the early '90's.

At an Americana Music Association gathering a few years later my pal Walt and I were delighted to discover that Doug was our roommate. Of course we hid when he came looking for us so that"us groovers" could go into town that first night where, he explained, the casinos and clubs never closed.

He burned, though. Lit up the room. We had plenty to talk about. Amos'n'Andy, Hank Penny, and, of course, Huey Meaux. He shared his coffee that he made from his special stash that he took in a little kit with him wherever he traveled.

I saw Doug one more time, at South By Southwest where they were presenting him some kind of lifetime achievement award at the Broken Spoke. "Hey, I know you! The Florida boys," he yelled when we walked up.

That had been my first trip to SXSW and my first visit to Austin. I had a fine time. I was a little put off by some of the posturing and some of the posing but I thought that it was a fine little party. I didn't make up the term, South By So What. I took it right out of the newspaper.

I finished up the song when I got home and finished up the record. We decided that it should be the radio single. I thought of the line,"Somebody tell Sir Doug I said hello," as a joke, a throwaway line. We released the record to radio and Doug died the next day. Turned out to be the saddest line I had ever come up with.

Robbie Fulks told me later that the line,"Those jerks from No Depression are an arrogant bunch," was the most singularly suicidal line that he had ever heard. Said that he laughed until iced tea came out his nose when he heard it. I thought that it was just a friendly little poke, too.

My "career" is fueled on indiscretion. I wouldn't have it any other way.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Where Am I?

Seems like I just got moved up from the kids' table and here I am, an old man. A very close friend from junior high recently pointed out that I'll tell anything. She's absolutely right. I can keep a secret, alright, but you had better tell me that it's a secret. I'm a therapist's dream. I have no secrets of my own. I seem to be missing some important parts; filters, shields and that kind of thing.

Sometimes I worry that I lack some necessary defense mechanisms, too. On the other hand, I don't get taken advantage of very often. People have always been kind to me. Too kind maybe. I know that I was spoiled as a kid. I think that what saved me is the fact that I was spoiled with love, too. I wish that for everyone. Everybody deserves it.

I want to play outside without my clothes on and I want to eat ice cream. I want to take a nap with friends that I love and I want to listen to pretty music and look at pretty pictures.

It would surely be nice to add just a little something to the world, to make just a person or two feel loved, understood and appreciated.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011


My favorite acts are always the ones who become the act. I never cared about any professional wrestler who could just go home, put on a suit and take the family to Red Lobster. Give me Haystack Calhoun. I always loved the Graham Brothers because they always insisted on using the razor blade on the forehead trick so that real blood flowed through those platinum locks. That's color. Of course Gorgeous George started all of that. We never would have gotten Muhammad Ali from that shy, skinny Cassius Clay if not for George's mighty influence. Don't forget Bobby Zimmerman.

When that scrawny little fellow rolled into New York from Minnesota he was just one more folk singer. He knew he was never gonna be Little Richard. He probably had a better chance at becoming Woody Guthrie. Of course most of the world didn't really know or care about Woody at that point.

Mix in the Gorgeous George mojo and you've got an act. I'm pretty sure that the man is the act now. After decades of teasing us with Jesus and motorcycle wrecks, the Band and double talk, eye makeup and Mavis,  Traveling Wilburys and China and Victoria's Secret, we seem to have a real character. A larger and weirder than life legend. An icon.

I was never one of the true Bob Dylan fans. I'm fascinated with the current model. Seems real to me.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

My Cousin, George, and The Future of Sport

I'm working on a new business venture and the experience has caused me to look back at some of my previous ideas. One of my favorites was Figure 8 Bicycle Racing. Never got around to doing anything but dreaming about it. I don't remember when I first thought about it but I know that I had in mind inviting Princess Grace of Monaco to cut the ribbon to open the first race so it's been awhile.

When you think that soccer is the world's sport, except for the USA where we tend to prefer monstrous robots who don't much resemble anything human when suited up, it's easy to realize that most folks want to identify with their sports stars. They want to see the faces, the sweat, the grimaces.

Now, let's move on to NAASCAR where the U.S. does bring something to the table. Let's face it, we all want to see flesh and metal mixing. Dale's biggest career move was that one right turn. Audiences can't wait for mayhem.

I figured we would mix the snob appeal of polo with the real excitement and drama of professional wrestling. Banked indoor track made of hand polished beech. Champagne iceys, the only refreshment available.

The best part- the racing. If you have ever attended a figure 8 stock car race you know that it is not for the faint hearted. If you're approaching an intersection at the same time as someone crossing from the other side you really have but one option: SPEED UP!

In his prime my cousin, George, would have been the sport's biggest star. He was fearless. He seemed to have lacked the fear that most of us come with. I picture his bike as plain, frail, no brakes. Green, of course. It would have to have been green.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Fool #1

Did I ever tell you about my romance with Brenda Lee? I always had a huge crush on her. I guess that it was around 1959. My mom had dropped me off at the armory to see a big rock'n'roll show featuring Brenda Lee, Ray Peterson, Johnny Preston and Benny Joy. I was minding my own business standing in line at the box office when Little Miss Dynamite strolled right up next to me and asked, "What time is it?" I think that I managed to mumble something clever, along the lines of, "I don't know."

"Do they dance in there?" she asked.

Always the ladies' man, I managed, "I don't know."

She stood there for a few seconds which seemed like an eternity to me and sauntered off. We never saw much of each other after that.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Diamond Dust & Broken Bottles

It's past time for a new record and I know it. Over time you stack up some tears and fears and heartache. I've made that record, though. Several times. My pal, Walt, tells me that I should be writing happy songs, love songs. He's right. I look around at all of the wonderful folks who come through my life and I'm overwhelmed with gratitude. I have known love and kindness and passion. I surely regret any sorrow or hurt that I may have caused in this world and I know that working for peace and truth and love is the best that I can ever do to make up for any of it. I don't want to break any hearts with music. I want to pump 'em full of joy and hope and wonder. The Beatles did. Little Richard did. Let's celebrate life and love. We've got that.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

How Are You Gonna Break Their Heart If Your Heart Ain't Broken?

I never claimed to be that much a writer. I'm more "moon, June and croon," than Bob Dylan or George Gershwin. I always set my sights on happiness, too. I have to say that I hurt a woman once. No excuses. Karma has been reminding me of that for decades now.

Never much of what anyone would call a singer, either, I would like to be able to stir something in the folks that I play for. If they don't trample your heart every now and then, where are you ever going to find that well of sadness, that reservoir of heartache. I'm pretty sure that there are easier ways to get this work done. I believe that a brighter man would have come up with a shortcut by now, a way around having your heart torn out and trampled. Oh well.

This is my song about Sid and Nancy. Seems like one of the great love stories of our time to me.

Friday, August 5, 2011

Ain't no haint gonna run me off!

Ghosts share my house. Some of them are real. Mr. Hill, who had the home designed and built for his family in 1938 still wanders around. He seems friendly enough but, I have to say, I've never really spent any time around many spooks. Not that I've known about.

Then there are the memories. Those are just getting harder to shake. I'm needing a fresh supply of happy ones.

It's been about eighteen years now. I've never lived in one place for so long. Oh yeah, it's home in that I can walk around in the dark and not stumble over furniture. I've got a dog here, though, needing a fresh load of joy and fun. I've got a cat who wants everything happy again. Remember that? Jamaica and Angel deserve all the fun and all the love and all the peace in the world. That's my job.

I'm thinking about selling the house and making us a real home again. This one can be a wonderful place for another bunch. There's a loving spirit here and I think maybe he's ready for the fun and the joy again, too.

Sunday, July 31, 2011

Secrets Of Success

In the pinball cosmos I'm just another steel ball, banking off flippers, bumping off bumpers and trying to avoid the alley. I seem to have failed at love, failed at art and failed in business. At least I've burned. I love everybody. I hope that I have helped bring some joy into this old world. Ain't life grand?

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Me, Too, Jimmy. Me, Too.

As a kid I just wanted to be Elvis. As an old man, I just wanna be Jimmy. He embodies all that I love about show biz, music and humanity. Of course, I hope to keep a dash of Screamin' Jay and Prince Lala in the mix, too.

Friday, July 29, 2011

Grinding Stars, Painting Diamonds

Who do we have who's going to take care of the hungry and the poor and the disenfranchised? Our governments are failing us badly and our celebrities, for the most part, are concerned with celebrity. Imagine that! Too much of my time is put towards self pity and self indulgence. There are babies to be fed in Somalia, soldiers to get out of Iraq and Afghanistan, homeless people right down the street begging for coins. We have to begin to save the dignity of the down trodden. Why don't I write more songs like this one to remind everybody that I come into contact with to pitch in to reshape our planet. Thank God for the ones working to make things better, to stop suffering, to right the wrongs. I have my dreams and I believe in those dreams. It all starts with love.