Friday, January 27, 2012

Room 100, Sid and Nancy and Romeo and Juliet

I missed the whole punk era. Honestly, I seem to have missed most of that decade, musically at least. I miss lots of eras, lots of decades. I have always been fascinated with Sid and Nancy's story, though. True, tragic romance is always the most riveting story, isn't it? I know more about that stuff. I've done my homework.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

War-Scarred Horses

Only man wages war. All creatures suffer. Some day, some day.

This song was written by Pete Yorkunas. He got the idea from a very old ad in Punch Magazine. We had no plans to release the song but it was the last time that we got to play with my pal, Rock Bottom. 

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

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Thanks, Mom

Friends have always asked how my taste in music developed; at least the ones who consider that I have any taste. I suppose that it's about as difficult to pin down my other tastes.

Growing up in Alabama, I truly believed that if you turned on the radio, once it warmed up, Hank Williams began to sing. By the time we moved to Florida in 1954 my mom began to bring home the finest rhythm and blues 45's that you can imagine. Roy Brown, Wynonie Harris, Big Joe Turner. By the time that rock'n'roll showed its face I was awash in Little Richard records. Elvis and Bill Haley and Bo Diddley, too. 

She took me to the armory to see all of the r&b acts and all of the rock'n'roll shows, too. How could one kid be so lucky?

My pal, Rodney, told me recently that somewhere there's a kid who tells his friends that I have been an influence on him and his taste and his music. I hope so. 

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Oh, I Was Loved

We moved from Birmingham to Tampa when I was six years old, my mom, my grandmother and me. It was my idea. Every summer Grandma would take me back up to visit the aunts and uncles and cousins. The highlight was always working in Uncle Murray's watermelon patches. He would pay us in silver dollars and we were pretty sure that we were rich. Closest I ever came, actually.

I learned pretty much everything that I know during those summers. My grandmother, Lottie, was the finest person I ever knew. She loved more than you can imagine, more than I can describe. 

We spent our money at Cobb's Hardware and at the drug store. That's where I first discovered Hep Cat's Review. It cost fifty cents, twice what the other rock'n'roll magazines cost.

George bought black hair dye after one payday. He wanted to look like Elvis. It turned his hair green and Aunt Noot's pot purple. George didn't look a thing like Elvis He still doesn't.

I miss Grandma every day.

Saturday, January 14, 2012


If you lived in Tampa/St. Pete or if you were in Miami in the late '60's and early '70's you know Duckbutter. All of the innocence and all of the naughtiness of the era was embodied in this lame brain, hillbilly, punk outfit. We were supposed to be famous. Big deal!

We were a real rock'n'roll band. We worked with Canned Heat, Dion, John Mayall, Van Morrison, the Chambers Brothers, Michael Bloomfield, Dave Van Ronk and the Allman Brothers. We toured with Bo Diddley, Gene Vincent, Chuck Berry, the Coasters and Bill Haley & the Comets. Bo Diddley wanted to produce us. So did Berry Oakley.

A Duckbutter show had comedy, magic, drama and rocked and rolled like nothing else. It was dumb and it was sweet.

This is a medley that we put together for Phil Gernhard, our producer. It was recorded on a little Sony stereo deck that we borrowed with a little help from Terry Kane. The usual lineup for the band is here: Harry Hayward on vocals; Gary Dobbins and Pete Yorkunas on guitar; Doug Wingate on drums; and me on bass. In addition, Steve Hill is playing piano and Spencer Hinkle is playing congas. Pete doubled on banjo, too.

When we walked out of Electric Lady after recording the "real" record a month later, Phil grumbled to me, "Your demo is better." It was. It is.

Friday, January 13, 2012

My Hat's In The Ring

Always hoped it would never come to this. I am finally at the point where I believe that I have to consider running for public office. In my quest to actually do my part to save the world it is becoming more and more difficult to ignore this option.

I always wanted to be the bass player. I never wanted my name out front. I loved having a singer, someone who had something to say, an entertainer who wanted the attention. I was lucky enough to work with some fine ones, too. Finally it became clear to me that grownups couldn't have rock'n'roll bands. Someone was always going to move, marry, divorce, die or screw up in one fashion or another. I had to do it on my own.

Now, I am painfully aware of my shortcomings as a human being and a citizen. Even if I were not, I have ex-wives and band mates who will tell you about every shortcoming that I have. I will try to tell you first. They are all fine and honest human beings but you should probably hear it from me. Most of you know that I have no secrets. I have told everybody everything since I was a kid.

I will promise you this, however:

I will always tell the truth. I will work to represent truth and all of the people, all of the time. I will never be influenced by wealth or the lack of wealth. Ending poverty and ignorance and war will always be my highest priority. I will sacrifice everything personally to make sure that the disenfranchised are represented.

I joke a lot. Too much. I am often sarcastic and frequently cynical. I don't find either of these qualities to be positive. This is not my idea of a joke. My pal, David Amram, suggested a few years back that I should run for Governor of Florida. That was before Rick Scott. I have not decided what office to seek and I will not base my decision on my odds of being elected. After all, Col. Parker was once the dogcatcher in Tampa.

I have no special gifts, no influential friends and no money to speak of. I have fire and love and desire and I want to do my part to make things better. I honestly believe that we are on the brink of a golden age and I'm ready to roll. Can you believe it? I love you all.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Letter From A Birmingham Jail

I grew up in Birmingham. I remember the "White" and the "Colored" drinking fountains and restrooms. We will never be free until we're all free. That's still true. Dr. King was working to combat poverty and injustice among all of the races when he was gunned down. He spoke for the 99%. I loved him with all of my heart and I love the brave souls who are doing the same today. Give us peace on earth and end this dreadful, dreadful war.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

I Watched Her Tango

Who knows why songs take on a life of their own. This one just won't seem to die. It took awhile to figure out that every time that I played for school kids they all seemed to want to hear this song. To tell you the truth, I've never played it. Oh, I mean I fumbled through it once to get it recorded as soon as I wrote it but I never thought much about it again. As nearly as I can remember I sorta' half made it up as we were recording. Now this last year folks began to download it and hit it up on the Lynn Point Record page, too. My pal, Jeff Bills, wrote to ask if I had any idea why. I didn't. I don't. I think I know why the school kids like it. "Panties." There, I said it.

Monday, January 9, 2012

Tell The King The Killer's Here

       It's getting down to the last of the real heroes now. Smart money has always been on Jerry Lee.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

From Porky, Elsie, Bambi and Daffy

            "As long as there are slaughterhouses, there will be battlefields."  Leo Tolstoy

It must be obvious by now that I don't mind preaching. I don't, however, care for the idea of talking down to folks, condescending. It occurs to me, though, that sometimes very odious ideas and ideals get gussied up in the emperor's new clothes and go, more or less, unchallenged by most of us for generations. I know that evolution is a slow process but I gotta tell you, I expect more out of us.

You'll be happy to know that I don't consider myself a great thinker, a learned scholar or a pillar of virtue. I do seem to recognize a naked geezer with a crown on when I see one.

I am also aware that a lot of folks that I have looked up to for guidance have had plenty to say regarding the link from animal slaughter to war. Maybe it's a coincidence. I doubt it. Among the good guys who questioned our right to kill animals for food:

Ralph Waldo Emerson, Abraham Lincoln, George Bernard Shaw, Mahatma Gandhi, Mark Twain, Albert Einstein, Leonardo da Vinci, Paul McCartney, Leo Tolstoy, Vaslav Nijinsky, Albert Schweitzer, Pythagoras, Isaac Bashevis Singer and...wait for this one: Thomas Edison.

There is, of course, a much longer list that includes figures that we don't have really reliable sources for the quotes but you get the idea.

Run for public office as a vegetarian. Show love and respect for all living creatures. Be polite and sweet show compassion for the ones who disagree. Give us peace on earth and end this dreadful, dreadful war.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Poor Jack

Jack Kerouac died of a bleeding ulcer in 1969 at the age of forty seven. He was unhappy, drunk and mean. He wasn't able to write. He changed a lot for a lot of folks.