Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Chicago and den sum

Chicago was a blast as always. Ate at Heaven On Seven!! Official first stop of the SHB. Hung out with Buddy and a pack of my dear friends. Kempf Poole, Randy Z, drummer Chuck (just to establish that it wasn't Chuck M.F. Lanza), Uncle Wayne and, of course, Keith M.F.T. Jamming was great. Mr.CJ Vaughan helped hold it together and even Zekester got in the mix! Always thanks to Harvey and the crew at Legends for making it always feel like home.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

I'm a philosopher and I'm okay!

I just saw a story on the Today show (I enjoy the Today show) about how Americans are getting dumber. Not less intelligent, but dumber. For examples they used the footage of that beauty contestant who tried to explain why Americans couldn’t find Iraq on a map. You know the one I’m talking about, she says, “such as” about 9,000 times. Then they showed Kellie Pickler (I think she was an American Idol contestant) on the show Are You Smarter Than A Fifth Grader…she wasn’t. She didn’t know France was a country! 40% of Americans under 44 didn’t read one book last year! 1 in 4 college students can’t find Iraq on a map. This is the nation that formed the Declaration Of Independence, sent men to the moon, invented sausage gravy, developed the Fender Stratocaster, birthed great minds like Martin Luther King Jr., Muhammad Ali, B.B. King, Jimi Hendrix, Elvis and even Albert Einstein! Oh okay, Einstein was actually born in Ulm, Wurttemberg, Germany. The point, however, is that according to this report many Americans would’ve thought that Einstein was born here! Not you kind reader. I know that all of you who read these blogs are among the intellectual elite. I think it was Sir Francis Bacon who said, “Knowledge is power.” Bacon wasn’t only the namesake of a favorite breakfast food, he was also an English philosopher and statesman. He was knighted in 1603,before many of you were even born! Philosopher must be a pretty good gig. Just sit around and think about the questions of the day. Guys like Plato and Descartes must have had plenty of time to just hang out. Can’t you just see their wives coming home from the fields and asking, “How was your day dear?” “Oh pretty good, I thought about ‘Is an idea a true copy of the real thing that it represents?’ and then I thought about ‘How can physical objects such as chairs and tables, or even physiological processes in the brain, give rise to mental items such as ideas?’ then I thought about ‘If all the contents of awareness are ideas, how can we know that anything exists apart from ideas?’” “After that I made a sandwich and watched TV for a while.
I’d like a gig like that! I think another good gig is a theoretician. Or someone who theorizes. I have a theory that theoreticians are just lazy philosophers. The theoretician just hangs out and doesn’t even make a stand, just a theory. If someone comes along and proves something different, he has the perfect out, “well it was just a theory!” “Hi honey how was your day?” “I didn’t do anything but lay on the couch and form a theory that if I don’t eat a sandwhich, I’ll just get hungrier!” How much could that have paid? Do you think that a theorist would get hired by an even lazier person to form a theory for him? “Hey man, I need a theory about why my paper sometimes ends up in shrubs in front of my house instead of on the porch.” Three hours later, the theorist charges $4.79 for a theory that sometimes the paperboy just doesn’t throw the paper as hard. Niccolò Machiavelli was a theorist. He was also Italian. He probably said “Ciao!” a lot, which I think is pretty cool...if you’re Italian. If you’re not Italian and you say ‘Ciao”, you’re just a jackass. Machiavelli was also a musican and he wrote The Prince. In those days, I guess you had to have more than one gig just to stay afloat. Maybe people worked harder then. That’s probably what made them less dumb than we are today. They probably made fun of guys who only had one job. “Here comes Ned, he’s just a blacksmith!” “I’m a blacksmith/philosopher/writer/musician/camp counselor!” Just remember that no matter what your job is, tonight when your wife asks how was your day, just say, “I worked harder than Machiavelli, I’ll tell you that!”

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

A Love Story

So it's Valentine's day and I shall now tell the story of my valentine. My wife Buffy is the most incredible woman in the world. Not only is she beautiful, smart, funny, challenging and the most truly genuine person I've ever met, but she also likes me! (at least she seems to!)

I met my wife for the first time when I was 16 (I actually sort of met her a few years before at a KOA swimming pool, but we didn't actually meet then, we just bobbed.) She walked into a high school art class (Mrs. Hall!) that I was taking for an easy credit and I fell in love. I don't mean that in a figurative sense, or a poetic sense, but in a literal sense. I fell hopelessly, head over heels in love. The kind of "in love" that has you thinking up funny things to say, days in advance so you'll be ready. The kind of love that has you throwing up everyday in anticipation of seeing her. The kind of love that makes every song on the radio about your life. (thanks Billy Joel). You drive by her house, sit in he parking lot of her job, threaten her boyfriend with some sort of pain, LOVE! She was (and still is) like no one I'd ever seen before. The way she moved, the light in her eyes, her spirit, she was (and is) the most amazing person I'd ever experienced. See also has an incredible backside, but this is a "love" story, not a "lust" story! I'd love (at least my ego would love) to say that the feeling was mutual, but since this is a true story, I have to say that it took me several years to convince her that I wasn't insane,or horribly disfigured, or mentally off, or just generally creepy. I don't blame her for thinking that since I pretty much started telling her that we would marry about a month after I met her, (I thought that was plenty of warning!) I drove my family, my friends, her family, her friends, complete strangers, mall security guards and other people completely crazy. We've been married for 16 years (17 this year). We've known each other for 25 years. The day I married her was the best day of my life, because it was the smartest thing I ever did. Maybe the only smart thing...except for our daughter...who I could and should write a love letter to for her supreme gift of just being in my life. We have been blessed with an almost flawless marriage. I say almost flawless, because I'm not perfect and I've made incredible, legendary, grande, epic, king sized mistakes that if I went into them, you'd also say I was an idiot. I'll save you the trouble...I know I'm an idiot! I do, however, have one small saving grace...I have been blessed with the ablity to learn from my mistakes, and in doing so have learned that, as much as I thought I loved my wife when I married her, I've discovered that I love her more. More than I ever dreamed. More than I would've thought possible. From the birth of our child, to the loss of my father, to the rising and falling and rising of our life fortunes, I've learned that the greatest gift that God gives a man is someone to share his life with and someone to love more than anything. God gave me Buffy. God gave me a friend, lover, companion, confidant, challenger, cheerleader, guide, supporter, fantasy and a smack in the back of the head if I get too "rockstar" around the house! Some of you have met Buffy and I know that you find the same person I see; a loving, caring, senstive, "real" person. When she listens to your story, she hears every word. She thinks about what you've said, and whatever you're going through, you have her prayers. I must admit that I don't talk about my wife very much in this forum. I consider you all friends, but this is a private, special, "just for me" part of my life. On this one day, however, I wanted to "shout from the rooftops" how much I love, cherish, respect, adore, admire, and just generally lust after, my wife Mrs. Buffy Holt. Happy Valentine's Day baby.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Oh Canada...

It is always such a pleasure and honor for us to get a chance to play for our friends in Canada. We had the chance again this weekend, in London, and what a time we had! It's always great to see our friends, especially Denis and Lucy Burns, but everyone there has always been so supportive and welcoming of us that it really feels like a hometown gig in a lot of ways. The audience always has such an energy coming from them that it's impossible for us not to reflect it right back at them. I could have truly played all night! My first Canadian gigs after going solo were in London and Windsor. I couldn't have asked for a better group of people to be an audience for a very nervous kid from Tennessee! They'll always have a special place in my heart.
Another cool suprise was seeing some old friends. Lurrie Bell was the headliner, and he has Willie Hayes playing drums for him. Willie and I started together with Buddy Guy way back in 1989! I'm not sure what year Willie left, but I hadn't seen him in several years. His playing always brings a smile to my face and it was great hearing Lurrie and all the guys playing some really great, musically inspirational music.
We got home Sunday in time for me and Buff to catch the Grammy's (we actually Tivo'd them and watched them last night!). I though overall it wasa pretty good show. I've been on a big Sinatra kick lately, so it was cool to have him featured prominently up front in his "duet" with Alicia Keys (a very talented artist in her own right). I wish Prince had performed, but at least he was there. I was glad to see Tina Turner, and I liked her song with Beyonce but is Beyonce going to become the official "duetess" of he Grammys? Last year Prince and now Tina, next year Miley Cyrus! The Time were great as always and I like the Foo Fighters, straight up rock and roll. I was a little confused by the award for Contemporary Blues Album, I love Eric Clapton and JJ Cale is a legend, but "Contemporary Blues"? Betty LaVette should have won. I've only heard rough mixes of Buddy's next record, but I predict next year's grammy will go to BG!
Last time I was talking about James Burton, and a good friend of mine Shannon Dew wrote to remind me that James Burton also played on Merle Haggard's song Working Man Blues. You are correct sir! Did you also know that he played on the following records?
Barbara Mandrell - Moods
Arlo Guthrie - Running Down the Road
Billy Joe Shaver - Gypsy Boy
Bobby Darin - Golden Folk Hits
Buck Owens - Open Up Your Heart
Buffalo Springfield - Buffalo Springfield Again
And these artists as well; Carl Perkins, Carlene Carter, Charlie Rich, Dale Hawkins, David Cassidy, Dean Martin, Del Shannon, Delaney & Bonnie, Dennis Weaver, Doug Kershaw, Elvis Costello, Emmylou Harris, George Jones, Glen Campbell, Henry Mancini, Hank Williams Jr., Jerry Lee Lewis, John Denver, Johnny Cash, Joni Mitchell,Kenny Rogers, Kim Carnes, Mae West, The Monkees, The Wiggles, Tina Turner, Kanye West.
Oh ok not Kanye West. I figured you probably wouldn't read the whole list, so I'd just throw that in there. Maybe someday he will play with Kanye. It could be a really cool idea. Kanye could sample some real chicken pickin' guitar and do a cover of Viva Las Vegas. Maybe call it Vegas 2009! Maybe do a record with Kanye, 50 cent and JayZ and call it Vegas 2009: Return of the Pack! Do hip-hop versions of some of those classic Sinatra era songs. Fly Me To The Moon with a sample from Steve Miller's Fly Like An Eagle in it. VH1 could do a reality show about the making of the album...while the three artists share a condo in Vegas!...with Ted Nugent as their producer!
Ahhh Vh1! The ground zero for the decline of western civilization reflected for us as a culture through our television screens! First, my disclaimer. I watch VH1 all the time. I watch Rock Of Love, Flavor Of Love, Scott Baio's 58 and a jackass, My Fair(ly annoying) Brady, and my current favorite show Celebrity Rehab with Dr. Drew. If you don't think musicals can be a bad thing, look what Grease did to Jeff Conway! I'm not making light of substance abuse. I have very dear people in my life who have struggled or who are struggling with what I truly believe is a disease. It is most definitley not a funny situation. However, if you put yourself on VH1 in a "reality show" situation, you are fair game for mockery. They shouldmake a new show, combining the elements of some of these shows. Here's my idea; Remember SuperGroup? With Ted Nugent, Scott Ian, Jason Bonham and the guy from BioHazard? How about a show called SuperRealityShow with Scott Baio, Christopher Knight and Jeff Conway, living in a condo (all reality shows should make the participants live in a condo. Not a house, but a condo. It's just better.) together in El Paso TX. Baio and Knight have to keep Conway off drugs while Conway trys to make men out of two poster boys for Men With Vaginas Of America. Special guest Gary Busey could come by and beat the crap out of them periodically. Oh yeah, and the whole thing's in Mandarin Chinese with subtitles! I think all shows should be in Mandarin Chinese. It's just a really cool sounding language. Bruce Lee spoke Mandarin Chinese. George Bush doesn't speak Mandarin Chinese. I think the president should be multilingual. Otherwise, you're just taking some translator's word for what the other person is saying. This election season, I will base my vote for the candidate who speaks the most languages, other than english. That's all I've really got at this point. I've noticed that no matter who we elect, my lot in life rarely changes too much...other than gas prices...and the war...and the other war...and the potential third war...and the fact that we as a nation are fairly disliked around the globe...and no healthcare...and the recession...and gas prices...I know I said gas twice, but it really bothers me!

Thursday, February 07, 2008

Storm Clouds On The Horizon...

First of all, on the serious tip, I want to let everybody know that the SHB and all of our families are safe and secure. Our prayers are with all of the people who were affected by the storms that came through our area this week. The footage that they're showing on TV is truly incredible. I thank everyone who called and emailed to check on us. We have amazing friends.
Speaking of amazing friends, special shout out to our buddy Chip from South Carolina. Chip hooked us up with some shrimp for Buffy and my private little Super Bowl party. We had a shrimp boil in the house and almost choked to death, but oh how good that shrimp was! Thanks so much Chip! Then the Giants won and my Super Bowl was completely happy!
If you've been to any of our shows lately, you've seen our latest crew addition, Zeke. Zeke is our new merch guy. If you come to a show and see Zeke sitting behind a table of SHB swag, please go upand talk to him. Don't be afraid...he's big...really big...but he's a really great funny guy that has been a lot of fun to have on the road with us. He doesn't say much. I have had maybe 2 conversations with him in the past month. That's not because he's quiet, I just have nothing to say to him! I'm joking of course!..no really, what would I say to him?..JOKING! it's just jokes!..no seriously we have nothing in common...ah this could go on forever!
Tyler's doing great in his role as drummer. He got him some bigger drums! I'm so proud! Little Tyler wants to be louder! Our boy's growing up! Richard, of course is up to his old crazy tricks, one time I look and he's got 5 strings on his bass, the next time he's got 4! It's like he's some sort of bass playing Houdini! Richard is a smoker, I wonder if he can do any of those "smoker tricks" like blow smoke rings or make smoke come out of his ears. I saw an episode of The Andy Griffith show once where a guy made smoke signals with his hands from a cigar. I always thought that was really cool! So did Opie. What a great show! I think that in the history of television you'd be hard pressed to make an argument against the Andy Griffith Show as one of the very best shows ever. It was (and still is in reruns) a perfect snapshot of the idyllic American South. If the south looked like California (where the exterior shots were filmed) but you can't deny that the characters are memorable and charming. Who else could make alcoholism funny but Otis Campbell? Andy was a bastion of patience and understanding. Who else could have a deputy who was constantly screwing up like Barney (and later Warren, who was the nephew of Floyd the Barber) and not take him out near Myers Lake and hit him in the head with a shovel? Or at least make him eat an entire jar of Aunt Bea's Kerosene Cucumbers? One of my favorite episodes is the one with the guitar player, obviously, Jim Lindsey! He got the gig with Freddie Fleet and His Band with a Beat. He drove that cool little convertible full of guitars...but he never had any girls or played anywhere but in the courthouse with Andy. Kind of like Ricky Nelson on Ozzie and Harriet, he mostly played in the living room, but he did have James Burton playing guitar for him! James Burton is one of my favorite guitar players. He played with Elvis from 1969 until Elvis died in 1977. Before that he played with Ricky Nelson of course, but he also played the guitar solo on the original version of Suzy Q by Dale Hawkins and he was also the house guitarist on the dance show Shindig. The Rolling Stones appeared on Shidig once and brought Howlin' Wolf to be their guest! Big up's to the Stones! Wolf was a big guy too, like Zeke, but he looked a lot more terrifying! You might joke and say that Zeke looks like he might eat you, but Wolf really does look like he's going to eat you! I wonder what all those little rockstars thought when they got to meet their heroes and they really were giants? Clapton hung with Sonny Boy 2, Wolf, Muddy, Freddie King, BB and Buddy. The Stones were hanging with all of them too. I've been next to those guys and not one of 'em is 6 feet tall so it must have been like visiting the Lilliputians! Yes the Lilliputians. Those wee little rascals from that great book Gulliver's Travels by Jonathan Swift. The actual title of the book is: Travels into Several Remote Nations of the World, in Four Parts. By Lemuel Gulliver, First a Surgeon, and then a Captain of several Ships. Swift is probably the foremost prose satirist in the English language, and is less well known for his poetry. Swift published all of his works under pseudonyms — such as Lemuel Gulliver, Isaac Bickerstaff, M.B. Drapier — or anonymously. He is also known for being a master of two styles of satire; the Horatian and Juvenalian styles. That guy was CRAAAAZY! See the picture above. Sort of the Robert Plant of his day. Although it would be remiss of me not to mention that Robert Plant was more influenced by J.R.R. Tolkien. Specifically his book The Hobbit. John Ronald Reuel Tolkien! One of the coolest names in literature! Tolkien was also a philologist, or someone with an affinity toward the learning of the backgrounds as well as the current usages of spoken or written methods of human communication. I think that's awesome! The fact that there's a term for anything you might wonder about. I, for example, am something of a musicologist. I study music. This isn't to be confused with the great Prince record Musicology. A great record, but Prince is the rare artist that sues his fans when they mention his name or show his picture on the internet without his permission. I find this attitude equally disturbing and interesting. On the one hand it's a total slap in the face to your fans who have given you your career and basically paid for everything that you have by purchasing your art and supporting you career. At the same time, however, no matter how much he sues them or threatens them, they don't desert him! He is Prince afterall and even if he's a little crazy (and aren't we all?) he still a tremendous musician. Maybe by suing people for posting his picture, he's really just trying to reach out and make some sort of connection with his fans. I'm certainly a Prince fan. I met him once, but I was so nervous I couldn't even tell him my name! Maybe he's just like you and me, (except for the high heels and lace) maybe he's nervous about meeting people too so he just sues them or threatens to to get their attention. I'd like to meet Prince again and ask him that.