All the News That’s Unfit to Print

Hey, hey and Ho, Ho Dear readers! Lotsa stuff to get to today so let’s dispense with the niceities and proceed right to the usual buffoonery…

I saw in the news recently where there was a lady who had the power go out in her house and sensibly fumbled her way into the cellar to find and subsequently light a candle in order to gain some light thus enabling her to see where she was going and generally provide light to her now very small world.  Sound thinking, right? Well, these apparently simple tasks sometimes come with an unforeseen downside as we all know and this case is especially noteworthy as the “candle” she was trying to light was in reality a stick of dynamite.

Don’t get me wrong here, as a fellow citizen who also tucks my candles into the same type of drawers and in the same normally sensible proximity to dynamite I see this is as a triumph of the American Will. I ask you my fellow Americans, in what other country is it OK to accidently risk blowing your block to kingdom come while inciting references to Bugs Bunny and The Three Stooges?  No country that I wanna live in and that’s for damn sure.  (To our friends at the NSA who’re obviously reading this now that I used the word “dynamite”, I’m just goofin’ around here man)

Speaking of The Three Stooges, I normally refrain from commenting on people’s personal appearance because I’m a fine one to talk but I recently came across a guy who’s toupee reminded me of Moe Howard’s hairdo (“Hey Moe! It’s a tarantula!!)

Next up, why do people who had a sufficient amount of dozing say that they “slept like a baby”?  What’re u trying to tell me, that you woke up screaming every three hours?

Having seen the two previous posts, my daughter is trying to straighten me out on the state of modern music in apparent hopes that I’ll embrace some of the newer bands. If u consider her as Lisa Simpson and me as Homer you’ll get the idea that she’s usually right about alotta stuff and this time I want in on the ground floor. In this, the first case she confronted me with will be a band called “Cage the Elephant”. Having listened to their “Ain’t No Rest for the Wicked”, they appear to me to be a cross between Run DMC and Paul Revere and the Raiders but form your own impressions with the video supplied below…

Jimmy  

American Vacation

Summer!! Yep, time to fly kites, explore beaches, mountains, enjoy concerts and over- order at local seaside restaurants to the point where Donald Trump would have to go scrambling through his pockets to pay the bill. ‘Tis the season where shark attacks, excessive mosquito activity, trying to mentally nullify fireworks while dead asleep at 3 o’clock in the morning and daydreaming that yer kid’s ballgame doesn’t go into overtime before your eyes melt in their sockets.

As u can tell, I can be a bit of a pessimist from time to time so let’s here a Jersey report from the sunnier, more optimistic Chuck who loves summer and would never do anything to traumatize his kids…

Jimmy

“On one of the days of our recent vacation, I took the family out for a nice breakfast.  After breakfast, we all got back to the house and my three daughters (ages 19, 13 and 7) all piled out of the back of our minivan. As the last one got out and closed the sliding door on the van, I looked at Diane, smiled, and punched the gas as hard as I could. Diane and I go, tires spinning, ripping away from the house like we were fleeing a bank robbery. The sight of the completely stunned girls getting smaller and smaller in the rear view mirror was, well, let’s just say it was pretty great. And before anyone calls Child Services on us, we just went around the block and went right back to the house where they were all still standing. And laughing.”

Chuck

I hadda complimentary response to Chuck’s fine tale all ready to go and that I was gonna post until I saw an item in the mail today from a place called “AA”.  Thinking quickly (as I naturally assumed that Alcoholics Anonymous had finally caught up to me all these decades later), I packed my bags and got ready to “get the hell outta Dodge” so to speak. As it turns out, “AA” in this case means the “AA-Vehicle Notification Department” out of Plano, TX who kindly advised me (and I quote) “Our records indicate that you have not contacted us to have the vehicle service contract for your vehicle uploaded”.  Further, “Your file on this vehicle will be deleted and you may no longer be eligible for this offer regarding service coverage after 8/20/18.”

Which raises a few questions…

How can these characters go around using the term “AA”? I thought it was copyrighted by the aforementioned Alcoholics Anonymous. Is this a subliminal message to all the perceived miscreants on planet to sign up for this buffoonery? (If it is then I want in on this racket cuz there’s a miscreant born every minute.)

Even tho I’ve been strictly warned that my “coverage” MAY expire on 8/20/18 their willing to be a big-hearted buncha guys and swindle me outta my money at a later date, if need be.

The part that pisses me off most is that if their willing to send a piece of mail (not an e-mail or text, mind you) then they’ve gotta be trolling for older folks who might actually take this s@&t seriously.

I didn’t intend to follow up a Lynyrd Skynyrd (at what point will that band name not require a spell check?) number with another but I was bummed to hear that Ed King had died in the last day or two. An astonishingly good guitarist most noted for coming up with the opening riff on “Sweet Home Alabama” and it’s subsequent and outstanding lead guitar techniques, he not only changed rock and roll but an entire state’s perception of itself.

Try topping that. The guy was f&%$@ing brilliant. Here’s a video featuring Ed King in some early, raw footage and thanks for readin’.

(Ed’s the heavier-set fella in the white shirt who plays the intro and sings as well)

Jimmy

 

Gimme Back My Bullets

Still a little hazy from the family get-together last weekend but not so much so that I don’t remember this outstanding performance by Cheap Trick as they covered Lynyrd Skynyrd’s “Gimme Back My Bullets” during an AXS TV (“One More the Fans”) airing of various and tremendously talented performers doing Skynyrd tunes. While the other bands did their songs by the numbers (and sounded awesome doing it) Robin Zander and Cheap Trick topped that by bringing me back to that era just by NOT playing by the numbers and attacking the song with sheer attitude. Given that Cheap Trick and Skynyrd were contemporaries in the seventies, maybe my new “it takes one to know one” theory applies. Here’s a copy of that performance…

 

Jimmy

Heat Wave

Given the ridiculously fiery temperatures here in Philly lately, I thought I’d cool us all off with a little humor ala Rodney Dangerfield and Henny Youngman…

It’s so hot I demanded to have my tonsils re-inserted just for the ice cream.

It’s so hot that the local wildlife formed a committee demanding access to my air conditioning. (To their credit, they made a strong, well thought-out concession by begrudgingly yet willingly use the toilet while simultaneously promising not to pee in my barbecue grill for the next 3 months. In return, I receive a year’s supply of acorns but I hadda agree to flush the aforementioned toilet insomuch as the little varmints can’t reach the flapper. Man did I get the better end of that deal!)

Speaking of wildlife, the owl outside my window went from saying “who” to saying “what the f#&k?”.

A local chef told me that the lobsters are now voluntarily jumping into the pot.

It’s so hot that even South America is making fun of us. (Hey, at least we’ve never had to resort to eating our shoelaces, man.) Actually and having said it, I think I’ll book a flight to Africa just to cool off for a week.

It’s so hot that I suddenly got the hallucination that Donald Trump is president.

Now should the power suddenly cut out, here’s a few vital steps that will need to be taken…

  1. Open the windows as to let as much fresh air as possible in.
  2. Fill your bathtub with fresh water before you lose that option too.
  3. Go looting.  There’s a reason why we’re the greatest country in the world and we didn’t earn that distinction by sitting around being pansy-asses. (Anybody up for two hundred rolls of paper towels?)

As if things weren’t bad enough, I think that I finally figured the connection from David Bowie back down to Iggy Pop and the Stooges thru The Velvet Underground.  They don’t sing.  These bands vocalize their lyrics thru the spoken word or at least a sing-song version of it.   To prove my point I’ll ask you to listen to Iggy Pop’s “Nightclubbing”, Velvet Underground’s “Pale Blue Eyes” and Bowie’s “The Jean Genie” which I, being a benevolent host, have conveniently supplied below…

 

I think the cool thing is that only took me 50 years to catch up with this concept.

Jimmy

One In A Million

Daoud Shaw. An Appreciation. I first had the pleasure of meeting Daoud back in the spring of 2000. I was in a Philly area band called Third Level and we decided that we wanted to record our first (and only) album entitled, “Altered Horizons”. Our guitarist had a friend who had recorded at this little studio out in Andorra on the edge of Philly. So after a couple of introductory phone calls and e-mails, we set up our first recording session. Prior to recording, I did a little research on the owner/producer of this little studio called Radioactive Productions. The guy’s name was Daoud Shaw. I didn’t know the name, but the resume leaped off the page. He played with Van Morrison, he was the original drummer in the SNL band, he toured with Etta James (and by extension, the Rolling Stones), he was in the Jerry Garcia Band and on and on and on it went. I can fully admit this now. I was unbelievably, off the charts intimidated at the prospect of recording with this guy and a little worried that he might be an egotistical jerk. Then I met him. I have never been more wrong about anything in my entire life. Daoud was as genuine and as kind and as sweet a person as I have ever known.  We all immediately felt right at home. Literally. We were in his home. He was always so welcoming. That studio was so comfortable and Daoud was the main reason why.

Over the next 6 years, we recorded a number of projects with Daoud. My favorite times in the studio were the times in between takes. When we would all just talk. Daoud would offer (almost always correctly) advice on how to make the song better or different or more appealing. We would be sitting there like little kids asking him about all of the famous people he had met and worked with. There was never and I mean NEVER, a hint of “Look at me and who I know” about Daoud. He was so incredibly humble and so incredibly sweet. Instead of hearing wild stories about Mick and Keith, we would hear fantastic little stories about him going out cymbal shopping with Charlie Watts. Or about the days up in Woodstock, NY when he was recording the “His Band And The Street Choir” album with Van Morrison. Or about when he recorded a ton of TV commercial jingles out in LA.  I learned SO much about the recording process from Daoud. Playing music is an art. Recording music is a science. And Daoud was a mad scientist in that little studio. He helped us create things we never thought possible. I remember one late Friday night where we had laid down an acoustic track that just featured vocals and acoustic guitar. We all agreed that something else was needed. That something was Daoud. He (again, 100% correctly) suggested some light percussion. Well, when you’re in the presence of one of the world’s greatest percussionists, it would be foolish not to at least ask him to play. He didn’t want to. Not out of ego or anything like that. “This is your project”, he kept gently telling us. It might have been the late hour, or maybe he was just tired of us all whining at him, but he finally agreed. He played the shakers and the triangle and, best of all, he let me run the board. I was in heaven. I got to watch the master at work (he played brilliantly) and I got to be the apprentice to the mad scientist. It’s a cherished memory that will stay with me forever.

I think the thing I loved most about knowing Daoud laid beyond the studio. He was, at his core and in his soul, a wonderful, peaceful, funny, beautiful person. During breaks, we would hang outside of his house and just talk. And laugh. Lots of laughter. We wouldn’t talk about music. Just about life. He was so fascinating to listen to. I think I enjoyed those times outside more than when we were inside recording. Daoud was a uniquely special person. I fought back tears this morning when I learned of his passing. But for as long as I’m allowed to stay on this earth, I will be eternally happy that our paths crossed and that I got to know Daoud as well as I did and that I got to consider him a friend.

Rest in Peace, my friend. And Make A Joyful Noise.

Chuck

We’ll Take the Bill Now Waiter

I love progress, I really do.  It’s gotten so dysfunctionally slick that instead of just getting an e-mail showing what I owe on my cable bill I receive a full-on, condescending video of what I owe with audio notes explaining how I got into this mess in the first place.

Being a forward-thinkin guy, I’d like to recommend the next step in our world of progress by suggesting that my cable provider invent a cartoon character called “Billy: Your Friendly Bill Explainin’ Squirrel” wherein Billy would explain to us how idiotic and self-indulgent it was to order “Wanda Does Walla Walla” in a moment of weakness last month, resulting in a “very reasonable” charge of $17.99 per viewing.  Billy could then step into the next phase of the billing process where he resolves absolutely none of our questions in the billing and tax phase of our bill to the point of imparting in an appropriately high, squeaky voice “HAHA!!! F*&# YOU and I’m NOT GONNA TELL YA!! or “GET A LIFE GOOMBAH!

Still, I have high hopes for our theoretical friend. Being cute and fuzzy can really take u a long way in this world, much like the Terrier outside my window who figures it sound thinking to bark his ASS off at 2:30 in the morning. Getting back to Billy, I’d like to see his lovability used as a force for positive change bringing love, peace, goodwill, free love, opioids and all the other fun stuff that modern society provides us.

To be honest, all I’ve been doing in the preceding paragraphs is running interference while waiting for Chuck’s response to this e-mail:

Me: “1st off, I went to Nick’s for a beef combo and gravy fries today cuz I just couldn’t take it anymore after 3 months of introverted denial (Evil demon on left shoulder: “get Nick’s roast beest w/gravy fries Jim, Chuck would WANT u to do it” while the angel on my right shoulder is saying “No, no it’s a sign of betrayal!”

Guess which side won.  Having just driven 8 hours up and 8 hours back to and between a wedding in Provincetown, MA I’da thought that a good post or two would be easy money, but no dice. As my sister so eloquently put it “I can’t believe we got thru that incident-free.”  (My family’s weddings usually qualify as some kinda spectacle that’d make the Cirque du Soleil jealous.)

Having noted all this I’ll take ANYTHING in the way of ideas for a post (it’s been a while, man.) including your scientific opinion on the preservation of mastodon fossils.  Lacking that, I’ll post this e-mail and WHATEVER thoughts on the subject of wooly mammoths as u may  be so kind as to impart.”

As fun and wonderful a writer Chuck is he can also be a surly, recalcitrant bastard when he wants to be. Fear not, for I shall harass him when/where necessary. This is my solemn promise to u.

Oh, Tom Petty died last week as most of us know by now.  One person fancied him an equivalent American songwriter equal to Woody Guthrie and Bob Dylan (allow me to throw in John Lee Hooker) in a statement I’ll never disagree with. Once again lemme see if I can git this video goin’ (it always seems to be a challenge) If not, listen to The Travelling Wilburys “End of the Line” and “Handle With Care” on your own.  You’ll be glad u did.

Stay safe and be strong.

Jimmy

 

 

 

Wonderland

Time to swim against the current a little. I know at this time of year, most parents are overjoyed that the kids are heading back to school. Not this parent. I love all of the things that the girls and I do all summer long. I love being outside with them. I love game nights that start at 9 o’clock at night. I love heading to the local park to shoot hoops with them. I love taking them to baseball games. I love hitting the beach with them. I love attending outdoor concerts with them. But, mostly, I love the freedom that summer allows. Childhood races by at blinding speed, and childhood summers race by even faster. I, for one, am in no hurry to see them end.

Chuck

Yep, I have those memories too although I’ve hadda adjust mine to “stay the %#&* outta jail”.

Walter Becker of Steely Dan recently passed away so lemme see if I can hook you up with a good number here (below). Becker w/b the guy playing bass and singing in the background by the drum kit. He and singer/keyboardist Donald Fagen pioneered a lot of the music we hear today and yes, that’s Jeff “Skunk” Baxter on guitar for you Doobie Brothers fans.

Jimmy