Wednesday, November 28, 2007
Here we are in the midst of the holiday season. The season of giving.When the air's filled with a little more love and brotherhood. Except of course at the mall on the day after Thanksgiving when the ravenous packs of glazed eyed bargain hunting shoppers attack the displays with their sharpened credit cards and reinforced shopping carts. Driving through the parking lot like Jeff Gordon so that they can get that great parking spot before you do! The same Playstation that has been on that shelf for the last year is now worth slashing the throat of the person in front of you to get at! Even the mall Santa looks a little worried as he sits paitienly waiting for the youngsters to reveal their Christmas wishes to him. "Did that mother have a sharpened candy cane in her purse? Why's this kid looking at me like I'm a giant turkey leg? Did he just pee on me?" Ah, Christmas! Whatever this season means to you, do you think that our ancestors had this in mind? "Let's create a holiday to celebrate a season of giving and thanks, but let's really make it an orgy of consumption!" Well...maybe the ancient Romans would've come up with that idea, but they probably would have tied sex into it more somehow. The herd of humanity that storm through the Best Buy's and Circuit City's grabbing that flat screen television as though it were the cure for cancer. You can almost hear them muttering, "must have this...must have this now..." as they paw through the aisles searching for that combination video game/food processor that they saw on 60 minutes that simply everyone's getting this year. If you feel this fever overtaking you this holiday season, just remember, on December 26, while you're taking all the boxes and wrappers to the dump, all sated on turkey and dressing, that the person you cut off in line to get that Disco Elmo, still lives in your town and you'll probably cross paths with them again at the returns counter while taking back the corduroy gaucho pants that your Aunt Eloise got you.
Tuesday, November 20, 2007
I love Krazy Glue. It's one of the greatest inventions of the 20th century. Yes kiddies, I come from the 20th century. Before the internet and iPods. Before Guitar Hero and Global warming. For video games we had Pong! Pong! the most boring and lame of all video games, but when it was all you had as a child, you played that motherfucker like there was no tomorrow! We bought our music on an "album", made of vinyl, or at least a "cassette". When digital refered to your fingers. When David Lee Roth singing with Van Halen was just the way life was. VCR's were giant things that only really rich families had. I heard about them, but never actually saw one! The first time I heard of "Home Box Office" I thought the people who had it really had a movie theatre and they were just calling it their "Home Box Office"! My first vehicle (1969 GMC pickup truck, yeah!!!) had an 8-track tape player in it! On 8-track, if you wanted to hear "Hold On Loosely" by .38 Special, you had to wait until the end of track 1 and then hit it again! We were poor. We didn't even have MTV, we had Nighttracks on TBS! I saw Elton John's video for "I'm Still Standing" about 1,000 times! I used to like the video of that guy Taco doing "Putting On The Ritz", although it kind of scared me! I've seen Flock Of Seagulls, Dexy's Midnight Runners and Madness videos way too many times to count! I always liked Adam and The Ants doing "Goody Two Shoes". I had a friend who was really into punk. His name is Will and he doesn't read my blogs so I can talk freely about him. He turned me on to Billy Idol, The Go-Go's, and even Prince! He had The J. Geils Band's Love Stinks album. I thought Will was crazy to like the Dead Kennedys and The Sex Pistols, but I was intrigued by his passion for music even if we didn't have the same taste. I was listening to Elvis, Willie Nelson and Hank Willimas Jr. but we met at AC/DC. Back in Black was a favorite of both of ours. When I found the blues, Will was into hip-hop and rap. He liked Whodini and Run-Dmc. I liked Robert Johnson and Muddy Waters, but we always managed to meet at Jimi Hendrix and the Doors. That's the cool thing about friends; no matter what you're in to, with a friend, you can always find some common ground. I don't have a lot of friends,maybe I'm not easy to be friends with. Or maybe I have too many expectations of my friends, but I know that the people I call friends are there for me no matter what. My test is to show up at their house at 3:00am with blood on my hands and ask to borrow a shovel. If they ask any questions, we're just aquaintences, but if they just go to the garage, we're friends forever! That's a joke, by the way, I'd never use a shovel. I'm also old enough to have buried friends and that's one of the hardest things I've ever done. I don't keep track of age. I really believe that you're as old as you feel...or something like that, but I know that when you lose a friend, it wakes you up to the fact that we're not guaranteed the next 5 minutes, much less the next 50 years. Somehow, that's made life and friendship more precious and important to me. I really love my friends...even though I don't tell them...I think they know. Friends are like Krazy Glue. I've used Krazy Glue for years. I fix my guitars with it. I repair my finger nails with it. I fix my daughter's toys with it. It's wonderful stuff.
Sunday, November 04, 2007
I was saddened to learn of the death of Mr. Larry Lee tonight. Mr. Lee was a guitarist. As a backing musician, he worked with The Impressions, as well as being a part of the Gypsy, Sun & Rainbows at Woodstock. A group led by none other than Jimi Hendrix. I learned a very valuable lesson from Mr. Lee and never had an opportunity to tell him about it, so I’ll tell it here publicly. When I played with Buddy Guy, we did a New Year’s Eve concert one year with Al Green and Santana. I was thrilled to be on the show, because I’ve always loved and been influenced by Carlos Santana, and I was excited to be seeing Al Green for the first time. We played first, and after we finished, an older gentleman approached me and said he was with Al Green, but didn’t have a guitar, and could he borrow mine. I had had some bad experiences with people using and abusing my guitars in the past (Mr. Adrian Belew!) and I was very gun-shy about putting my guitar into a strangers hands. I was young and inexperienced, and this man’s story didn’t make sense to me. “You play with Al Green and you don’t have a guitar?!” I told him no and said we were leaving before the end of the gig which was just barely true and left him to borrow someone else’s guitar, (I think he actually ended up with one of Carlos’ guitars, but that doesn’t make it better for me.) I learned the next day that the man was Larry Lee and, being the Hendrix fanatic that I am, I was stunned and wished that I’d loaned him my guitar. Then I stopped and studied my reaction and realized that it wasn’t that I regretted not loaning my guitar so much as I regretted not rubbing elbows with someone who knew Jimi Hendrix. Even a young idiot like me realized what a selfish idea this was! This realization made me rethink my entire approach to life. This one event made me realize that regardless of our particular station or situation, at the end of the day, we are all human beings, riding he same big rock through the universe and not only do we need each other, we are intrinsically connected. I have held a regret ever since that I never had the chance to apologize to Mr. Lee and explain the valuable lesson that I learned from him. I don’t know that he would remember or care, but it was a significant event in my life and if I’m a better person for it now, (I’m not saying that I am, I’m just saying if I am.), he is to thank for teaching me that when your brother asks for help, you help. You don’t turn your back and justify your refusal with a bunch of rationalizations. Now, am I perfect now? No! Do I still make the wrong decisions when it comes to my fellow man? All the time! What I do, however, is what I hope we all do; I try harder, to be better. That’s really the mandate that we have to follow. Just try harder to be better. Thank you Mr. Larry Lee and God Bless You. My heart and prayers go to your family.