Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Love Withheld

The poets and the comics- they're the sad ones. They see humanity with x-ray specs. Every lonely face is a reminder of all the sorrow and all of the empty hearts out there. It's all in the ether.

Forget cowboys, mothers, don't let your sons grow up to be poets. 

As I look around me I'm reminded that the phenomena continues. Oh, and mothers- good work!

Monday, October 30, 2017

Audio Games

They wanted to know if I believed in magic. I did. I suppose I still do. It finally dawns on me that rock'n'roll is just what we called it. The music didn't die. We're down to two of the originators now. Down from three just a week ago with the loss of Fats.

Fame and fortune never really called to me. Good thing I suppose. I've breathed the rare air of truth. I've seen more of the world than I had ever dreamed about and I've met so many wonderful folks who believed in the magic, too.

It's like ghosts I guess. It's there if you believe. I believe.

Fats Domino hasn't come calling in dreams yet. He will. Maybe I oughta' leave him out some gumbo.

Saturday, October 28, 2017

Only One Side

We'll always have poets. We'll always have soldiers. I'll leave this world more as less as I found it. Some days that seems fine. Adequate, I suppose. On those other days I wring my hands over my failure to "save the world."

Don't misunderstand, I haven't given up. Sometimes it seems, though, that the mess is getting bigger as the clock is running down.

War has never been more fashionable, mostly with folks who will never fight in a war. In this country and all over Europe we find nostalgia for all things nazi. Amazing.

Xenophobia and homophobia and outright racism are back as though they merely went away temporarily like short skirts and long hair.

Nobody has to write a "Greed is good!" line for a movie. Paul Ryan says it on the evening news every day. The Catholic church locked up Galileo for his belief that the earth revolves around the sun and jackasses have been proudly denying science ever since. Are you listening, Mr. Pruitt?

My apologies to jackasses. I should have typed idiots.

These days I manage to maintain a reasonably even keel. I have to admit, however, that I'm pulling for a revolution. Good ones aren't fought with guns. Love can be subversive.

Friday, October 27, 2017

Lightning and Diamonds

Devotion. What a beautiful concept. So many times I've boasted that I'll tell anybody anything. Now I find that my heart is full of secrets.

Oh, they're not big ones. I didn't kill anyone. I don't wear frilly lingerie and I've never been abducted by aliens.

Most of my mysteries involve matters of the heart. My line of work requires a dangerous degree of passion. The world's a better place when I keep it to myself.

I'd tell you my secrets but then I'd have to kiss you.

Thursday, October 26, 2017

Broke, Fix It

Some of us can find an excuse to avoid action, no matter what. Put me down as intellectually curious, short on ambition. 

Sometimes I wonder, "What if the injuns had whipped the cowboys?"

"Would we all speak Navajo?"

I suppose I've spent more time pondering the nature of love than anything. There was a time, a long time ago, I thought I knew all there was to know about it. I probably took it all for granted for long stretches. 

Poets think broken hearts last forever. I'm not a poet but I play one onstage.

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

No Excuse

Everybody has his own story about when the wheels came off. Nobody argues that everything is fine. Elvis has definitely left the building. So has Jesus and Marilyn and Buddha and Bruce Hampton.

As nearly as I can remember, the last time that we had four years of peace was under President Jimmy Carter. We still make fun of him.

We're down to Little Richard, Jerry Lee Lewis, Fats Domino and two Beatles.

Raise heroes. We need them.

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Black and White

In 1947 Birmingham was waiting for its cinematic moment in black and white. Schools. Music. Neighborhoods. Water fountains. I was born in Birmingham in 1947. In color. The soundtrack was in 3/4, waltz time. I hit the pavement in 4/4. It's all about 2 and 4, buddy. 1 and 3 are just along for the ride, to trick the chumps.

We moved to Florida when I was six. I've always told the story that the move was my idea, that a precocious first grader tricked his single mom into moving to the sunshine state. Palm trees. Beaches. It's only lately that I've come to figure out that I was played. Thank goodness.

Turns out all they told me about time speeding up was true. Maybe I shoulda' played more slow ones.

Now the road narrows and the sun starts to set and I'm so very grateful for the love I've known and the music I've heard. 

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

Monday, October 23, 2017

Enemies and Spare Change

Maybe I don't wear well. Pretty sure I'm way past my expiration date. That's okay. I just keep reminding myself how much Japanese culture reveres age. Sometimes I remind myself of my Native American heritage. Of course I worry that the neighbors may take me to the park across the street and leave me for the alligators to eat if I get the flu this year.

Old white guys are out of fashion. Thank goodness.

If you know me, you know of my fear of acceptance. Fashion. Approval. No need to worry. As I measure success, though, I'm gold.  If I don't have it, I've had it.

You can quote me- I've had it.

Sunday, October 22, 2017

Ideas and Ideals

Nobody bolts fenders onto Buicks in Detroit and nobody has for years. Decades. I can't remember the last time anyone asked me, "Floor, please?" as I stepped into an elevator. I pump my own gas and you do, too.

We still identify with some occupation. Most of us do.

Greed and technology combined to kill most professions. In the case of rock'n'roll it has been both with assistance from old age. The Beatles quit touring in 1966 because it was no fun playing in baseball stadiums where they couldn't hear themselves.

Mr. Jagger, who studied at the London School of Economics, continues to cavort with his old friends at arenas and stadiums. His old friends are really old. An audience of a certain age pays ridiculous sums to see them before they croak. Somehow it makes them feel younger.

No-one has referred to his little combo as the Rolling Stones in years. They've just been the "Stones" for decades now. 

Oh, wait- I do. Of course Ricky Nelson will always be Ricky Nelson for me.

I'm no luddite. I embrace the technology that makes my life better. I never wanted to see my rock'n'roll in a stadium. I don't even want to see sports in a stadium.

Of course I like to think that I'm not greedy, either. I never studied economics anywhere. I'll gladly play you my rock'n'roll in the living room.

Saturday, October 21, 2017

Big World, Little Moon

Well, it seems there's the world and there's the world as I think it should be. I took a class in college, Idea Of Utopia. The University of South Florida had an Idea Department at the time. We read utopian novels and discussed them. 

Novels? Novels! 

I thought I was getting my foot in the door to change the world. I just naturally assumed that we were signing up to learn to end war, feed the hungry, put a roof over the heads of the homeless. I was ready for lectures about Gandhi, Buckminster Fuller, Shirley Chisholm, Wendell Berry- you know, the good guys.

We have more than enough resources to make heaven on earth. Every argument against this simple premise is based on greed and fear.

Don't fight just because they fight. Don't hate. Don't lie. Love just as hard as you can.


Friday, October 20, 2017

Port and the Other Side

It's a quiet life. Is that good? Well, sir, I guess it depends on when you ask. I think I'm being retired. Funny thing is, I was just getting the hang of it.

I've always said that I wish I played in a rhythm and blues outfit that worked five hours a night, six days a week. Maybe four sets a night would do now.

Oh, I suppose that I could sit out on the front porch and sing to the stars and the frogs. Maybe I will. The frogs always sing for me and the stars seldom fail to provide me a show.

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

The Angels' Share

Love, like energy, cannot be destroyed. Lust, of course, can be satisfied and nobody's passion lasts forever. My point, if I have a point, is to urge you to love freely. Often.

Do I sound like a broken record?

All you need is love.


Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Things Wear Down

Impulse diversion. That's my tactic. If I can wait it out maybe I can avoid indiscretion. That's pretty much all that keeps me in pants.

Life is happy, then it's sad, then it's over. My advice is to develop a thick skin and a good sense of humor. Do as I say, of course, not as I do. The idea of thick skin is just creepy. I know enough about hurt feelings to write a book. 

My routine is to get up early to check our culture's new low. I sense a shift in the pendulum's swing. The evening news is full of nazis, lunatics and pussy grabbers. We've got an orange villain dealing with commies and his buddy, a talking turtle. Now, though, finally I think I hear the cavalry.

Thanks, Harvey!

Monday, October 16, 2017

Mind Life: Me

When you're fourteen years old and the King of Rock'n'Roll leisurely hangs around with you things change. Of course things are changing for a fourteen year old, anyway. My first conscious re-invention kicked off then and I've been working to find out just who I am ever since.

Some folks need a mirror just to be sure they're there.

We put together an image for the others. We need the validation, if not the approval, of other people to be sure that we exist.

My mother was named after Maxine Elliott, the great stage actress. She married my father, W.S. Elliott, making her, that's right- Maxine Elliott. Talk about your re-invention!

Is that why she married him? I wasn't there. I've married for dumber reasons.

Kind folks have attempted to help make me a finished project for years. I can remember three bandmates borrowing a Nehru jacket for me at a photo shoot in Manhattan. They were less worried about my image than theirs, looking back.

Aunt Jo is one hundred and one now. She's been reminding me to "hold my shoulders back" since I was five or six. I wish I had listened to that advice.

I only spoke to W.S. once in my lifetime. That phone conversation happened about fifteen or twenty years ago. He told me to be a good boy. I'm trying.

Saturday, October 14, 2017

Me and the Boss

It occurs to me that if, in fact, we're all made of stardust, then we're all "aliens." Recent visits from friends who have gone on have convinced me of the existence of ghosts. They're real. They are created in my mind. Like reality. Like love.

Life on earth, the "real" one, is just a big reality show. No wonder whatsisname is president.

Take your reality down a peaceful path. Give us peace on earth and end this dreadful, dreadful war. Try rock'n'roll.

You gonna listen to an alien who believes in ghosts?

Friday, October 13, 2017

Nothing To Defend, Nothing To Protect

Somehow I've always worried that maybe all would be revealed right at the end. The very end. It's just occurring to me what a snob I am.

Jack Purcells, artichoke hearts, Chartreuse, blah, blah...

None of it's cool. You've never heard me say cool. You never will. Gigs. I don't play gigs. Of course I don't play much of anything these days but that's another story.

Levis. Why would a man ever wear another brand of jeans? It's just wrong. The quality goes up and down. I suppose that's another cost of living a long time. They're seldom fashionable and haven't been for years. I can relate.

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Shorter Days, Longer Skirts

Hampered by a lack of conviction, I scarcely notice the slow turn of seasons. I hope they make a movie of my life and I hope Walter Brennan plays me. Well, at least the last parts. I know, I know- he's dead. Well, they're not gonna make any movie about my life.

I'm not about to waste my precious time on a screenplay but here's the outline for the life, itself:

Marriage (ad nauseam)
Old Age
The End

There won't be all that much sex and even less violence. Good teasers for the coming attractions reel, though:

Shook the hand of the King of the Cowboys
Dined with Big Daddy
Worked for the Russian Mafia
Shook the hand of the King of Rock'n'Roll

I've gotta tell you the truth. The previews are better than the movie. 

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Burning States

Babies and puppies and kittens- we all love them. Maybe it's the big eyes and helplessness. Those are two of the big design elements.

If you squint just right you can see the child in anyone. The cataracts may make it harder to see the twinkle but it's there.

Sometimes I'm frustrated that we all tend to identify as black or white; old or young; Democrat or Republican; even male or female. As I watch, heartbroken, the crisis in Myanmar, I find myself wondering, "Why don't these poor people just decide that they're not Muslim?"

Oh, I'm not pulling for the murderous Buddhists who are killing them. I'm not for any of these "teams."

I'm naive, not stupid. I know that genetics is the answer to my simplistic question. Seems funny to me that pretty much every religion teaches that we come from a single descendant or pair of descendants. There's only one team.

Okay, there you are. That's my core belief. Today.

Monday, October 9, 2017

All The Money In The World

Missed opportunities? Dying young? Nose to some grindstone?  

From the outside it was dark. Threatening to most parents. My single mom brought me Little Richard records. She took me to see my heroes. I should mention that most of them were colored. I should mention, too, that most of them are still my heroes.

They called it rock'n'roll. It was love.

Of course it was appropriated by "business men." I just call them crooks. I'm including Alan Freed who claimed to the end that he had coined the term, rock'n'roll. If you believe that I've got a Pat Boone 45 to sell you. Prime the pump, indeed. I remember Mr. Freed's Top Ten Rock'n'Roller list for 1956. Seemed odd to me that Elvis wasn't on the list. Still seems odd.

Don't get me started about DICK Clark!

We're divided again and it's scary out there. We're losing heroes but we've got replacements coming. Come on, rock'n'roll, save us again.

Sunday, October 8, 2017

Paper Cuts and Auto Parts

Something in the ether recharges my cosmic batteries from time to time and I'm whole again. Younger than before. A force wakes me up from mundane dreams and I'm on fire. Passion takes over with no hint of negativity and I'm new.

It would be nice if it didn't come at 1:30 in the morning but I'll take it when I can get it.

Friends die. Heroes die. I mourn rock'n'roll. 

Fate awakens me to remind me that the reports of rock'n'roll's death are greatly exaggerated. Rock'n'roll has to stand for something, stand up to something. What would Superman have been without villains plotting evil? You can't do battle in tights for truth and justice without bad guys to destroy.

Maybe I never get gold records. Or the girl.

As long as Moriarty dabbles in radio, sabotages elections, invests in arms manufacturing and runs the NRA- I've got my work cut out for me. Wake up. Love. Harder.


Thursday, October 5, 2017

One Of Those Kids In One Of Those Bands

Boy, howdy, I'm one lucky hick. Some stars live only a few million years. We're pretty sure that some  of the "big" ones last for ten billion. Lately the sky seems to be full of them around here. I feel good about it. Seems like I didn't see many for a long, long time. Knowing that we're made of their dust, it's reassuring to have them around. Of course we all know that most of the ones that we see actually burned out and died long ago.

Elvis died when he was forty two. Marilyn was thirty six when we lost her. Lottie was closing in on a hundred when her big old heart gave up.

I've not accumulated much and I've achieved almost nothing. I'm leaving no Elliotts. My good, true fortune, I suppose, is that I've lived long enough to see how easy kindness comes. Love requires no effort.

Dogs In Pants

Protect your joy any way that you can. That's really about all the advice that I have for you. Sometimes I feel small and insignificant blathering on about love like some Sunday school teacher boring the bejesus out of a bunch that came here for fun.

Of course I feel a little better about it when I poke around and I'm reminded that Tolstoy and Einstein and John Lennon did pretty much the same thing. 

Oh, I've got a purpose in life. It just happens to be the same one that you have. My tool box is spare. I'll march and I'll protest and I'll play my music for a cause. Mostly I'll just love.

Wednesday, October 4, 2017

Memory Overload

Received a cosmic message that I have exceeded my memory bank capacity and that I need to delete some in order to carry on with life. If I have ever loved you madly and it has been worth nothing or less to you, please cut and paste the following and send it to either my e-mail address, ronnyelliottusa@gmail.com, or directly to my beat up, worn out heart.

Please leave me alone. What is wrong with you? Geez!*

I will post a notice here when I have emptied out enough space to carry on with a fun-filled, carefree existence. Be grateful that there are no songs on the radio to make you cringe. It's the little things.

* Does not apply to ex-wives. Work has taken place to expunge them.

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

Play A Sad Waltz

Sometimes I struggle to make sure that I end up with more joyful memories than sad ones. Of course there are those days that tip the scales profoundly. I don't want to end up a hurtful memory for anyone else. Probably should have thought of that sooner.

Working on your great novel? A hit record? Your masters' thesis?

Well, sir, you've got winning, losing and loving. Take your time. Take your pick.

Monday, October 2, 2017


It all depends on which end of the telescope you peer into, I suppose. What I call love, other folks deride. Who invented guns? Why? Can anyone explain to me why war is legal?

Freedom, I understand, has a price. It shouldn't be others' freedom.

Our "leaders" don't lead.