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.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Dunk Tank

Hey, you voices! Get out of the the head of Ronny Elliott. Five rum and cokes; or is it five rums and coke? I'm ready to roll. I have waited for inspiration all day. Inspiration to save the world, write my blog, chew my cud, compose a melody with a blinding beauty that might change the course of the cosmos, melt a milky way or two.

I've got the blues in a measure that I always doubted white folks the capacity. I open my heart totally with love and truth and all that I've got. I seem to find sadness, distrust, melancholy and despair.

I only want to hold open the doors. The doors of truth and love and beauty. I have a light that shines for me and I want to shine it for everyone; for the poor, the incarcerated, the disenfranchised, the lonely, the troubled.

I love all of you and I will gladly share my fortune with you. Let's work for peace and let's search for truth and let's dance naked around the campfire. Give us peace on earth and end this dreadful, dreadful war.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Space People

It was a visit to Tampa to see my cousins, George and Sandra, when I was first introduced to Jack & Jill Magazine. We moved here from Birmingham when I was six so it must have been very early in my reading career.

I had a clue already that somewhere out there in the ether was the truth. You know, the truth.

For some reason I went directly to an article about the ringing, or high pitch hum, that frequents your ears and your head. The author made the claim that the sensation was the result of the space people attempting to contact us. If you could be quiet enough and still enough when the ringing started, eventually they would get through and bring you the message that was the one for you.

Now, almost sixty years later, you may find that you're losing me in the middle of a conversation; middle of a sentence; middle of a song. I don't want to miss anything.

In the early seventies I spent money to have the Maharishi teach me Transcendental Meditation. I should have just stuck with my earlier lesson. By the way, no message yet. I am a patient man.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Twisted History

My mom took me to the Armory to see a show with Hank Ballard and The Midnighters. Best rock'n'roll performance I've ever seen. I knew that something about what they were doing was naughty but I just didn't know exactly what. Also on the bill was Little Willie John, Sam Cooke, Lavern Baker and Marv Johnson. I tend to go on sometimes.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Dazzle 'Em With Truth

Just home from the Woody Guthrie Festival in Okemah, Oklahoma. I lost my head early on in my set. Showed them my special underwear and then boasted that I was going to spend the rest of my days saving the world. I'm all talk and I know it. I'm not gonna drink anybody under any table.

In this case, though, I really have nothing better to do. My first aptitude tests in the seventh or eighth grade indicated that I was cut out to be a preacher. I like the hours but I never thought that I had anything worthwhile to preach. It's not that I don't believe in any of those good guys. I believe in them all. I love them all. Do good. Be nice. Tell the truth.

I have made friends and I seem to have made enemies but I believe that I have pretty much told the truth. Makes some folks mad. Makes some suspicious. It will cause a lot of people to think that you think you're better than they are.

I figure that it's a slow process and that at my skill level I may not get a whole lot done in whatever time that I have. I think that it's honorable work and I plan to have fun doing it. Help me save the world. Search for truth. Stand up for peace. Love with all your heart. Show them your underwear.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

The Master Of Beating A Dead Horse

All my favorite comedians have always been the guys who don't tell jokes. I love Steven Wright. I just sit there in front of a tv screen and try to keep up. Of course Lord Buckley is one of my idols. I've learned more about living with love in my heart from his Church Of The Living Swing than I ever did in Sunday school. I've spent a lot of the last couple of decades wondering if I might be a preacher trying to pass myself off as a rock'n'roll singer. Now I'm beginning to wonder if maybe I'm just a standup comic who doesn't remember jokes trying to pass himself off as something else.

My pal, Walt, was with me at a show in Clearwater when I stopped in the middle of a song to begin the drawn-out story of never meeting my father. Yeah, I'm a therapist's delight. I saw him once in downtown Birmingham when I was three or four. I remember my Aunt Jo bending down, pointing him out and whispering, "That's your daddy." Didn't seem like much of a big deal but then here I am telling the story again some sixty years later. I looked him up and called him three or four years ago. We made small talk and chatted for four or five minutes. When it seemed that it might go awkward with silence he ended it with, "Well, you be a good boy." End of my story, too.

This crowd needed a punch line. What's funny about that? They seemed to like the show just fine, though. I wonder if my comedy might not just have the strong commercial appeal that my music does.

I've said it before, "This is not my century. Neither was the last."

Monday, July 11, 2011


"I'm looking for Ronny Elliott," the high pitched voice on the other end of the line drawled.

"This is he."

"This is Don Garlits. I wonder if you'd like to have lunch with me?"

So began my short term friendship with Big Daddy, one of my boyhood idols. I was writing an automotive column for the Tampa Tribune for some reason and Garlits needed his new autobiography reviewed. Damn.

This is the way my Forest Gump-like existence has worked. My heroes seem to find me. Over the years I have backed up Chuck Berry, Gene Vincent, the Coasters and lots of others. Elvis offered to teach me karate. Jackie Wilson showed me his scars. Sir Doug brewed some of his special blend coffee for me. None of this means a thing...except to me.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

My Elusive Muse

When I was in high school we only had one real artist. I don't really know how I knew that Ronald Ponce de Leon was an artist but I knew. He wasn't like the rest of us. He was a curiosity but somehow I admired him. He was a painter. I don't remember anything at all about his art. That's a different story, isn't it? When I became a musician I learned by copying my heroes. Chuck Berry, Buddy Holly, Louis Jordan, Hank Williams, Otis Redding. By the time that I realized that I was never gonna be Beethoven I realized that I was an artist. I had thought that the term itself was pretentious and empty. Now it was becoming clear to me that I had to follow my heart and subject myself to a certain muse that didn't follow many trends and fashions. Not a great discovery unless you appreciate some degree of poverty. I know now that some benevolent force, some kind patron saint keeps us afloat. I'm grateful for that. Kinda' like Popeye, I do what I do.

Me and Liz

I always thought the young Elizabeth Taylor was pretty. Never my favorite and I never lusted after her but I could see that she had a rare quality. I believed then and now that she was a fine actress. I remember reading an interview with her while I was still a kid. She boasted that she never just slept with men like other starlets did. If she was going to fuck one, she was gonna marry him. Even at that tender age, that seemed naive, to say the least. Now my fourth wife is packing and I see myself as some form of Liz Taylor. Nothing to be proud of. My friend, Harry, says that I fall fast and I fall hard. He's usually right about me. I am officially finished with romance now but I hope to love, and love hard, for the rest of my life.

Long, Long Road

My mom brought me rhythm and blues and rock'n'roll records beginning in 1955. I was eight years old. She took me to the armory in Tampa to see "The Biggest Rock'n'Roll Show of '56." Understatement. Big Joe Turner, Lavern Baker, Bo Diddley, Bill Haley & The Comets, the Platters, Frankie Lymon and The Teenagers, the Drifters (with a Clyde McPhatter in uniform, home on leave), and the Teen Queens. I never got over it.

Sometimes I quit rock'n'roll. Sometimes for years. This is my life and this is what I do.