Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Why We Listen To The Juke Box

There's a story involving Willie Nelson back when he let go of Nashville and first moved to Austin. He'd been there about a week when a cosmic thought hit him - "Fuck suits!" said Willie - after which he never wore one again - from there on it was t-shirts and jeans like the folks he'd grown up with - like the folks out in the crowds he'd play to. He hadnt exactly been run out of Nashville and the country music mainstream, I mean they liked him alright only he kept wanting to sing a play lines that seemed a little bit, i dont know, more jazz based than what the country industry's demographic was used to - so he packed it in and moved back to Texas where there were enough halls to make a living playing for hippies, students, shit kickers and such that seemed in congregate down there.

He was talking to a friend backstage at one of those halls, he pulled, the stage curtain open just a touch and says, "Take a look - there's the whole story" the friend didnt quite pick up on his meaning and Willie continued, "Ninety-eight percent of'em arent with their first choice of who they wanted to be with"
"Hey, neither are we" said the friend.
"it's why they listen to the juke box" Said Willie.


...Well, the Doors came here shortly after Morrison'd been arrested in Florida for exposing himself -pulling out his weezer on stage. So I guess that on this particular night he was maybe a little more fucked up than usual. They were really good I guess, couldnt really tell, I was kind of overwhelmed just seeing them - What I mainly remember is that about two thirds of the way through the concert, they began, "When The Music's Over" - The band kicked into it and were playing the intro riff - the bass kept going, "do, do-do, do, dooo" but the Lizard King just stood there, mouth on the mic, leaning on the stand looking at the crowd but not saying a word - You cold see the other band members getting pissed, like the drummer would accent the riff's turn-around with a heavy, "bam bam bam bam!!" on the snare - but the lizard might as well've been deaf. This went on fo r a good three or sour minutes - members of the audience started yelling shit like, "wha'd ya forget the words??" It was almost like some had come just to hate, it was like we all knew we were watching a cat at the end of his tether - acid shaman in his Gene Vincent black leathers just trancing his way through this eternal in-resolved riff - audience on their last nerve just about reaching boiling point and then "Buwah- ha- ha - ha!!!" he let out with this deep, Vincent Price horror movie evil laugh and a big bunch of us rejoiced, cheered, others fell back confused, still others grew more angry!! And then he began - Talking - saying all this shit from old blues songs, "I had a friend. At least I THOUGHT he was my friend!..." and like, "Play with me baby, make it hard, drive the dog into the yard!!!" There were people getting upset people who had only heard the hit, "Light My Fire" on the radio - they were dressed in evening gowns and suits, They got up in a huff - standing up, shaking their fists at the stage and walking out! Good riddence. Everything else beyond that point was kind of anti-climatic, I guess the concert ended, I guess we all got home - next thing you knew you knew we started seeing pictures of him where he'd really started gaining weight , looking like some cat in an old man's bar...and then, not long after that, we heard that he was dead - died of a heart attack in the shower - the water was too hot or something - attacked his heart. Must'o been the still sea conspiring - b

jim-morrison.jpg the doors image by jeylinaforever

Lookin Back - "Me and Red Mouth"

Well, I still got no money but am trying to ride lose in the saddle - So I had this cat named "Red Mouth" come in right after the radio show...let me start that over - I met this guy on myspace - not even sure how we became friends but he contacted me saying he was coming up here and could I maybe hook him up for a gig - well, i couldnt but told him I could get him on the radio and then we'd see what we could do - so I scheduled some studio time right after my show on Friday and he drove up from Springfield MO where he had played the night before - that's about a three hour drive and he literally just gets out of the car and walks in sets up his shit and performs in front of four of us who he dont know from Adam and he fucking just ruled!!! I mean he brings in this wooden platform that he sits a stool on and pounds his foot and the platform's about four inches high and so it amplifies it so all of a sudden this six foot three kid with long stringy red hair, his eyes get real big, lines form on his face and he's all like...crazy and this voice comes out of him that's like some seventy year old man who's possessed by the fucking devil or somethin'. It's like the devil's defiantly in the room - like he's eaten up Harry Smith's dead body and is spewin every mutilated confederate soldier, wound or insult the south's ever taken - every dead mule!! And the studio's already backed up cause it's Twangfest weekend and they've got bands stacked up like planes over Laguardia and somebody with a stop watch is policing Red Mouths one hour jealously... and BOOM! everybody just stops what they're doing at that moment and silently stares into the studio!

So anyway, there's this guy from fucking Alabama and i want to buy him a meal or something but I got no money and neither did he so I come up with this idea and we go down to U. City and play on the sidewalk in front of vintage Vinyl, out on the sidewalk, the two of us and there's all these college kids and tourists and young black kids and the whole Twangfest crowd (it was alt country weekend and all these liberal young professionals were going to that and that was weird cause I know a bunch of them and they were sneaking by kind of like I was embarrassing for them...) and, anyway we wound up making like $48 bucks which we kinda split - gave him the extra eight bucks and we took twenty a piece and then we went and bought a roasted chicken at the grocery store and tore that apart with a little container of potato salad and then went down to a bar downtown, the tap room, and watched Magic City, Peck of Dirt and some out of town band called Slick who were nothing if not the living embodiment of Black Oak Arkansas, complete with a heavier version of Jim Dandy himself and it was kind of a warped southside anti-twangfest celebration with all my southside rocker pals.

Then Saturday we slept half the day then ate Mexican down on Cherokee street where I introduced him to this wonderful trash pile of a "drugstore" we got called Globe Drug where you can but all kinds of railroad salvage bargains for hardly anything and Red Mouth buys himself a case of energy drinks for six bucks - he says they taste like ass but he's got to stay up twelve hours to get back to the gulf! - So we ate Mexican down there, (the street's kind of a little barrio of it's own so there's plenty o'great places down there to tie the feedbag on!) and that rocked and then we went to this party that my band, Alley Ghost was playing that night for this friends 47th birthday. This house is owned by this great couple named Ross and Kim who are both unbelievable cooks/punks/hippies/really cool folks with a huge garden about seven dogs and cats and this wonderfully bizarre house that they moved into and forged out of the ghetto wilderness - they lived their for at least two years with no electric power or heat. anyway, given the playing that me and Red Mouth had just done the night before we worked out a deal for me and to back him up - so he did a gig after all! It was fucking great! We played in a bedroom on the third floor - filled with about thirty people in the room and bout twenty more in the room just below us downstairs - Red Mouth became the old crazy fucker again just a slappin his tambourine and stompin' his foot for like two songs and then we got up behind him and jammed on another two songs which together went about ten minutes and all we were doing was jammin around a G chord on iether one - it was like some crazy ass white boy hill country trancin shit like ol' RL Burnsides used t'do - Damn man, my band's the fucking best too - I mean they hadnt ever even seen this cat before let alone heard his music and we were just wreckin the room - Red Mouth kept turnin his head to look at me with this big shit eatin grin on his face, "GET RIGHT CHURRRRCCCHH!!" he was a shoutin! Then he moved over and we kicked into our own set - Christ, the room went wild! I kept on lookin' out into the crowd and could see kids mouths movin like they knew my words by heart - they were singin along, pumpin' their fists are just dancin!! Hee hee! by the time we got done it was like 3AM, Red Mouth grabbed him a last beer and I went around with my hat beggin Red Mouth some gas money for his trip back to the Gulf - S'mazing how big drunken hearts can be - he made enough for gas and for us to eat one more meal! it was five AM by the time we got back to my crib and we just crashed - he slept in my front room on a water stained futon that took up the whole floor - we slept till noon the next day and went out to my fave natural foods restaurant (Shangrala!) to do our usual Sunday brunch - (the owner has named our little group as the "hipster Algonquin round table") Well, we ate our fill and then he hit the road back south about three in the afternoon - I'm gonna play his session on this weeks radio show - little bits of it anyway! Fuck. what a weekend. Wish they were all this good!