The Soundtrack Of My Youth

soundtrack

I was fortunate to have grown up in the era of The Beatles, The British Invasion, and the cultural shift they caused.

At seven years old one Chritmas morn
I received a present of deep distintion
My very first monophonic record player
Which I played right into its extinction

My very first single was huckleberry Hound
Followed by Theodore, Alvin and Simon
I developed an obsession of musical sounds
The Beach boys Everlies and Frankie Lyman

But one fateful Sunday on prime time TV
Four cool young lads from England performed
I knew at that moment my life had been changed
Good bye to Silly putty and so long colorform

Suddenly a music I could call all my own
My brothers rock and roll seemed too lame
I had the Fab Four their mopheads and all
And my life would never again be the same

I can see how the albums influenced my being
With every new LP I evolved fashion and style
I wanted my life to be just like one the Beatles
Every thing those Fab Four did made me smile

Meet The Beatles and A Hard Days night 1964
Dad I wanna grow my hair to my collar
With bangs hanging over my eyes
Son you’re getting another crew cut
Dad your getting a big surprise

As long as your under my roof you’ll do as your told. Your hair stays as short as I say it does.
That’s not fair I never asked to be born in this stupid world.
Maybe I’ll just run away
No son of mine is going to be one of those dirty hippies they’re all smelly and they don’t even bathe
I’m not a dirty hippie Dad I just want to grow my hair longer
Cool it and keep the faith
I’ll keep the faith all right. That’s what you lack, maybe we’ll send you to military school.
Don’t wanna be in the army, I just wanna be like The Beatles
Smelly insects? that’s what you want? That’s what I get for letting you go around with those hoodlum friends of yours!
Don’t be a jerk Dad
Don’t talk to me like that you little brat, remember you’re living under my roof
Now go do your homework
I hate living here!!!

Help! Rubber Soul 1965

Slowly letting my hair grow longer
Despite all the tough complications
Bought myself a pair of bell bottom jeans
Spouted out cool Buddha quotations

Son you look ridiculous, where the Hell did you get those clothes. What the Hell will the neighbors say
Why do you care what the neighbors say? Ever see what Billy wears?
Besides I paid for it with my paper route.
Yes I know all about Billy, he’s older than you and a tree hugging fool.
If Billy jumped off the Brooklyn Bridge would you jump too.
If it looked like fun I would jump off.
What’s that son?
Nothing Dad
Go do your homework
I hate my life!
Bratty kid bastard!

Revolver, Yesterday And Today 1966

My hair finally snuck past my collar
The long bangs they covered my eyes
Dad put on way too much pressure
I began selling too many lies

Mr. Roberts said he saw you smoking a cigarette at the mall. Where are you getting those things?
I wasn’t at the mall so it couldn’t have been me smoking. Someone else was blowing those smoke rings
I never said anything about blowing smoke rings, now I know you are lying
I think its discipline you now lack
Oh for Gods sake not the military school bullshit again?
Don’t start anything you’re not able to finish young man. Now where the Hell did you get a cigarette?
I stole a few cigs from your pack old man
Don’t you talk to your father like that! Who the Hell do you think you are?
Get a haircut you insolent brat
Yea right!

Magical Mystery Tour, Srgt. Peppers 1967

Had my first sit in and a couple of rallies
Lets get our troops home from Vietnam
In hippie clothes and hugging some tree’s
Jesus they’re killing with kids with napalm

What the Fuck is wrong with you going to these peace rallies? People get killed at those things!
It’s a PEACE rally father, not a kill rally like you used to go to.
Listen you god damn Ruskie commie fag you still live under my roof so you’ll follow my rules.
You don’t even know what communism is Dad. Russia is a socialist country for your information
This is what I send you to school for you little shit? What teacher is telling you those lies
My shop teacher never mind it doesn’t matter, you don’t get me anyway
I’ll get you allr right, I’ll get you in a damn barber chair

Where did I go wrong?

The White album, Yellow Submarine,1968/69

Full fledged hippie clothes and all
As I walked all the old farts stared
Parents said see you look like a fool
They never realized I never even cared

Get a job and a haircut you lazy little punk.
Put on a suit and tie if you ever get an interview
What a suit and tie so I can be a prisoner like you?
You can cut this crap out right now, your mother and I…….what???
What the hell is that on your arm?
Its called a tattoo dad, maybe you heard of them.
Oh My God! Has your mother seen that? What are you comic book arms?
Now you’re gonna be one of those Hell’s Angels or something?
Its expression old man, you wouldn’t understand.
Understand this you young punk you better get that off your body before your Mom see’s that.
Its permanent Dad! It’s my god damn body anyway!
Taking the lords name in vain? Your on a road to nowhere.
Get a job and move out of my house!
Gladly!

Let It Be, Abbey Road, 1970 and beyond

The time comes in every mans life
Its time to spread his wings and fly
Got a job and my own apartment
Didn’t wait around to say good bye

Mom, I moved out I can‘t live with Dad no more. I found a basement apartment in Kings Park.
Son please! Stay here, you don’t need to leave, your father is just upset.
I’m sorry Mom its way more than that, he hates me and I hate him.
Son nobody hates anybody, its only a misunderstanding, don’t move away. Its not safe, we love you.
Its too late Mom, I just came to get my records and my record player. I promise I’ll come visit you when he’s not around. I love you Mom

Please don’t go………….

Jerome John Garcia (Aug 1, 1942-Aug 9, 1995)

da boyz

Reluctant Guru and voice of the psychedelic generation, Jerry was complicated and human despite the seemingly superpower ability of moving so many of us to amazing heights during his incredible career. With his guitar he transformed an entire arena of fans from the mundane and often tedious world into a world filled with constant joy and pleasure in an indescribable Jerry zone. So indescribable that back in the day most of us fans would simply proclaim our mantra, “There is nothing like a Grateful Dead concert” And that’s truly the only way to explain it, you needed to experience the transformation yourself to fully comprehend how insanely phenomenal it was. His voice and guitar wrapped us up in a protective cocoon and in mid show taught us to spread our wings. A concert hall full of beautiful butterflies mesmerized by one common theme, peace and love. I miss the privilege of watching them perform and most specifically being fortunate enough to allow Jerry to take me away with him on his improvisational jams. One day a jazzy set, one day Latin influence, tribal beats or maybe a deep Elem blues set you never knew what to expect from the genius guitar player from California. We miss you Jerry, thank you for the years of intense pleasure. Following is a tribute to what you’ve meant to many of us in general, and me in particular. It’s composed of many references to songs we loved and memories implanted or just improvisational word association in the sprit of the king of musical improv.

GOD DAMN UNCLE JOHNS MAD

When the song is done
The strings are unstrung
Songs go unsung
An empty feeling in the air
Ticketron memories remain
Waiting in vain
Our mission in the rain
Outside the concert halls
Kids climbing the walls
For a chance to get inside
All fried and wide eyed
To see a band beyond description
Jehovah’s favorite choir
But no matter how they prayed
The encores have all been played
No more road trips
Or fools ships
Searching for tix
Off we bounded
At risk of being grounded
Getting home late
Scamming to get through the gate
A simple twist of fate

No more mountains on the moon
No soothing tune
Toking one last bowl
To rock my soul
Where the river sings sweet songs
Flow big river flow
Cuz his words still glow
Like gold
Like a Ripple through still water
No pebble tossed
Ten million eyes glossed
And the Hunter is lost
Partner and friend
To the end
Who now has the time
To call his soul a critic
As we wait outside the lazy gate
Of winters summer home
Alone

Peeking through a lace banana
With a silver kimono chalice
This broke down Palace
Free of all malice
Unbroken chain
Mission in the rain
We hold you in the attics of lives
So
Fare ye well and so long
The river sings your sweet song
And fills the air
With that Jerry flair
To rock my soul
By the riverside
Fare the well
Saint Angel
Who can the weather command
Our favorite band

Take up your china doll
Its only fractured
In rapture
Magic wand in hand
Strumming his lightning bolts
My heart full of electric volts
Fragile peals of thunder
Took me under
He Shreds and rips
That Captain Trips
Took us away
For the day
Filled our hearts with emotion
With one searing motion
Strangers stopping strangers
Just to shake their hand
A giant of a man

But all that’s left is a trace
Of his inspiration
Yet still it flows
Suggesting rhythms
That shall not forsake you
But the song is sung and done
Thought We’d only just begun
I’ll meet you on the run
At the jubilee
Seldom turns out the way it does in the song
On a trip strange and long
But not long enough

William Tell has stretched his bow
Till it will stretch no furthermore
What for written on the morning sky
I shrug and say good bye
Lady fingers dipped in moonlight
Counting stars by candlelight
Only one is bright
Light a candle curse the glare
The choice of The Bear
And his magic elixir
In the dark
Light the songs with sense and color
Hold away despair
Talent so rare

Must be getting early
Clocks are running late
Gone to where the wind don’t blow so strange
Like a steam locomotive
Rollin down the track
He’s gone
He’s gone
Nothings gonna bring him back
He’s gone
And these spaces fill with sadness
The obvious hidden
In the shadow of the moon
And We’ll all be there real soon
To where the compass always points
Heavens mutation
Terrapin Station

If you could
I know you would
Dust of those rusty strings just one more time
And let it shine
Let the broken angel sing
From your guitar
One last Dark Star
But it all rolls into one
And one man gathers what another man spills
Thrills
The pills
The smoke
Laughing when their ain’t no joke
Was all part of the show
The magic show
The grateful scene
Best I’ve ever seen
Or ever will
The last rose has pricked our fingers
Its time for us to sing our own songs
But your music never stopped
For me it never will
I carry it with me always

Rock In Peace Jerry Garcia

Underneath the warmth and openness we all felt from Jerry lay a deep well of an understaning, that we all have a dark side. Jerry used that dark understanding like many atrists to create, and what jerry created was some of the most haunting, real, and downright ornery riffs and vocalizations in all of rock. There was a near eerie connection between Jerry and the collective consciousness of his fans which flowed through his fingers, dancing along his guitar strings and into our souls which lifted us up taking us away with him to wherever his trip was headed that particular evening. If only for a few hours we all existed in a utopian world led by the pied piper who tapped in to our every emotion, from the highest elations to the darkest corridors of our minds, pain and grief, fear and despair, or just plain euphoria and by the end of the evening returned us safely to our memories. It was an unexplainable esoteric bond that can only be wrapped up by saying because of Jerry‘s unique ability to convey through his essence how great life can be, there was nothing like a Grateful Dead concert, and sadly there will never be again. Rock In Peace Jerry, we miss you!

Juice Box Hero (by Not From Around Here)

kill

Juicebox_Hero_by_vagabondx

Standing in the rain, with his head hung low
Couldn’t have a Capri Sun, his Mom said no!
Heard the roar of the toddlers, he could picture a scene
Bit the day care worker on the leg, they all heard her scream

He grabbed one juice box, tore the straw away
Shot some juice in his eye, so the very next day
Took a six pack Juicy Juice, behind Moms refrigerator door
Didn’t know how to open it, but he knew for sure
That the one juice box, felt so good in his hands
Didn’t take to long, for him to understand

Just one juke box, straw way down low
Be the hit of the daycare, only one way to go
So he started sipping
Ain’t never gonna stop
Gotta keep on sipping
Before the juice spills out the top
An be a Juice Box hero, Hi C in his eyes
He’s a juice box hero, heard the other kids cries
Yea juice box hero, Apple and Eve in his eyes
With that one juice box, he came alive
Come alive today
So he’s gotta keep sipping
He just can’t stop
Pass another Capri
That boy has got to stay on top

And be the juice box hero
With juice in his eyes
He’s a juice box hero
At nap time he cries
Gimme one juice box
don’t gimme no lies
Just one juice box
Now he’s a juice box hero
Yea a juice box hero
Stars in his eyes
JUICE BOX!

ONE REALLY BIG SPECIAL NIGHT IN ‘64

beatles #1

It was 20 years ago today, Sergeant Peppers taught his band to play. I doubt there is anyone in America of my generation that’s not familiar with that line. But on February 9th, 2014 it was 50 years ago today that counted. That was the day America was ready to….Meet The Beatles. After that night came a plethora of new albums, Magical Mystery Tour, Rubber Soul, Revolver, The White Album and more. Help, Its Been a Hard Days Night here on Abbey Road. 50 years ago! Yea, a lot has been made of the recent 50 year anniversary of the Beatles conquering America. But nothing really caught any of the energy that one special evening created. Five songs transformed a generation, gave it something to identify with. The Beatles merely changed the way we spoke, the way we dressed, the way we listened to music, the way we viewed our politics, and in general the way we lived our lives. And it all started on one night all across America in households of families huddled around a Sunday night ritual. The Ed Sullivan show, an institution in the days when most families had only one TV set and the whole family sat and watched it together. Back in those days dinner was served at the same time everyday, an you couldn’t leave the table until you finished everything. Yea, even the vegetables! After dinner the family gathered around the TV set to watch whatever Dad decided we could watch. Saturday mornings we had cartoons and the television belonged to us (so long as our chores were done) but at night there was no democracy. Fascist Pops was in control of what we viewed and we were the remote controls. “JT, go put on channel four. JT, turn this up. JT, fix that horizontal bar.” Pretty much the same in every house, and Sundays were family night. For us it was the same every Sunday, Lassie, followed by My Favorite Martian, followed by The Ed Sullivan Show all on CBS. If I was allowed to stay up after that I had to change to NBC and we watched Bonanza. February 9th 1964 started out just like any other Sunday night, I had no clue what would occur on that special night.
IMHO the Grammy tribute fell way short of recreating any of that energy, not focusing on what that special night really created but instead used it as a promo for Grammy winning acts, popular actors, and an audience that never got a chance to understand the importance that night held to my generation. So I’ve taken it on myself to attempt to capture a slice of the energy released on that special night 50 year ago. For me and my classmates way back in February 1964 that performance was a game changer. A life changer! The moment the first set was over I understood intuitively that something had changed profoundly. For the first time I had my own music, a music made just for me and all I wanted to do was be like The Beatles and listen to more of their music. First I had to wash the Brylcreem out of my hair, remove the slicked back greaser wave and grow my hair. I would have bangs starting the next morning. I wanted to be like The Beatles, those dudes were fucking COOL!
Before that evening like most of my friends I was a follower, a sheep spinning my older brothers 45’s. Not that it wasn’t good music, it was great, but it wasn’t mine and it didn’t have the oomph I would come to know and love. The year before that special night I got my first record player for Christmas. It was a cheap record player that could only handle one record at a time and had one cheesy speaker built in its self contained carrying case that couldn’t go more than four feet away from an electric outlet without an extension cord. My record library consisted of Oh My Darlin’ by Huckleberry Hound, The Theme to Mr. Ed (of course of course) The Chipmunks Christmas song, a searing rendition of The Legend Of Sleepy Hollow, and Sherry by the Four Seasons (That one I stole from my brother, hope he doesn’t read this). But that Sunday night changed all that. In my pajamas with spacemen in spacesuits all over it I sat right in front of the TV. I heard that some Beetles were coming to America, and all I knew at that point was they played music and made girls scream. I was prepared to hear something like The Everly Brothers, or The Beach Boys, or maybe even Bobby Darrin. My parents played Frank Sinatra, Al Hirt, and Andy Williams on the family console but I knew it would be nothing like that. Maybe its four British Elvis Presley’s? But when that first song began, a song called “All My Lovin” my mouth dropped. It was the most amazing thing I had ever heard. And the four guys, long hair shaking as they sang, were just about the coolest things in the universe. I watched and memorized their names, on drums some guy named Ringo. Who has a name like that?! Cool! George, Paul, and sorry girls he’s married John. I knew in an instant this was something I had been waiting for without knowing I was waiting for it. The next tune was called “Till There Was You” sung by the cute guy Paul. In the house next door I heard a blood curdling scream. I looked up startled and my Dad and Mom were chuckling, “Mollie, can you hear Christine next door?” laughter, “Yes I can Joe, listen to her screaming like a banshee for these kids” Christine was my 13 year old next door neighbor who sounded like she was being tortured by the boogey man when in fact in her mind she was asking Paul to marry her. Very loudly and in an eerie shrieking kind of way. Mom an Dad got a good laugh from those cute mop top boys from England. Not quite as funny the next morning when I came downstairs with my hair combed over my forehead in an attempt to copy the look. “You march right upstairs and fix your hair young man!” …..“But Mom!! I wanna………Yes Mom.” That was the first of many years of arguments I would have regarding the length and style of my hair. And it all started on that one magical special night. They finished the first set with a fast rocking tune “She Loves You”, which had all of the kids in school singing yea, yea, yea on the playground the rest of the year.
After another act or two the boys came back for two more songs but it wouldn’t have mattered, the die was cast they had already conquered the youth of America. We were in hook line and sinker. They played “I saw her Standing There” and “I wanna Hold your Hand” what would become two more love anthems of the young. In one special night I had five new favorite songs. I got rid of my 45’s and began swearing a collection of nothing but Beatle songs after that. I had MY music now, not my brothers, not the kid up the blocks, MINE! I bought teen magazines to read about them, had Beatle trading cards, bought many of their 45’s, and a Beatles poster, all of which would make me a bazillionaire if I had them now. As the years passed I could follow my social development by what album came out next. My hair, my politics, my view of love, my global presence all coincided with what the Beatles did on their next album. I didn’t realize it at the time, but every Beatle album I ever listened to could be called a greatest hits album. It was as though they couldn’t make a shit record if they tried.
Whatever The Beatles did I tried to do. As they grew their hair longer so did I, when they dressed more colorful so did I, they talked slang, I talked their slang too, they smoked pot I tried it. I couldn’t get enough information about them. I followed their trip to India in the magazines and adjusted my life around the Fab Four. I especially tried to be like John. Whatever The Beatles said or did validated my doing the same. Not so much for Mom and Dad though, the chuckling over the cute mop tops morphed into a major bone of contention with the generation gap battles. No longer cute and funny lads they were viewed as destroyers of youth, the antichrists. What they really did was to give a voice to a generation and let us know its not only okay to question authority, its a responsibility when authority is being misused. Protest against wrongness, against war, evil and hatred, share love and peace and harmony. What a horrible message to send to kids. Joe McCarthy would have been incensed. With music as their only weapon they conquered us and spread the concept of peace, love, and togetherness to the masses. The Flower Children, The 60’s fashions, The protests, the outdoor concerts, all the positive aspects of the era can be traced back to The Beatles. The Beatles were the truth and the truth set us free. It all began one special night.
I truly hope that another generation of youth will have a perfect storm, a perfect harmony of lives that can reset perfect balance in the Universe the way the Beatles did for mine. Four guys, strangers, all from the same area meet in another country and become a rock and roll band and set the world on its head. Why those specific four? Why that specific area? Why that specific time? Four guys, all with extreme talent that compliments each other forming an unstoppable force. When the world needs it the Universe has a way of supplying the perfect storm like The Beatles. We need a perfect storm now, we need another Beatles. But I just can’t see that happening, the good karma, the positive energy, the light through the darkness coming together at the exact moment, the exact time, for the exact reason. I just can’t! But Hell, I’ve been wrong before, and if it can happen I’ll be glad to be wrong again. C’mon Universe, now more than ever, we need some Beatle magic. Give us just one more “One Really Big Special Night”……PEACE

Kaleidoscope Joe and His Amazing Psychedelic Jean Jacket (Act I)

joe K

(Dedicated to Deadheads and music lovers around the world)

In the attics of my life
Full of cloudy dreams; unreal
Full of tastes no tongue can know
And lights no eye can see
When there was no ear to hear
You sang to me

-Attics of my life- Robert Hunter/Grateful Dead

The storyteller never tells you what to think, merely observes and reports the facts as he or she observes the world around them. Every once in awhile if a storyteller is extremely lucky they are afforded insight into stories that predate paper and shed light on mystical ancient occurrences, like looking through a kaleidoscope into a scattered view of history. This storyteller had the great fortune, or misfortune as some may call it, to have worn the coat of past truths and peered into a life that has so long ago finished its tale, and attempt to formulate them into a narrative in such a way as to enlighten the listener. The day I put on the psychedelic Jean Jacket I viewed the tale of Kaleidoscope Joe, son of Jacob the Ganja man from Canaan. My duty is to shed a light on that which I saw and allow you make of this tale what you will. No need to pay me off in silver, I offer this up as a storyteller, a humble servant of the universe. Let me just say this though, if ever you find yourself in the position to don the jacket an open mind and little weed of wisdom will make the journey much more colorful and far easier to understand.
How I came across this magic jean jacket is not a special story, just a bit of luck while clearing out the attic of an old acquaintance that recently passed over to the next realm. In a small cabinet marked “Peyote Pinechest” was an assortment of smoking aids and implements designed for inhaling intoxicating fumes of various mind enrichment products. Folded neatly at the bottom was a jean jacket of rainbow dayglo pigments, a “coat of many colors.” A rather unexciting and mundane find although steeped in fond memories of the days Kevin and I ruled the world. But then I tried it on. From the moment it covered my shoulders I knew I had inadvertently stumbled on to something unique, not only in look, but in attribute. You see, anyone who wears this visionary jacket begins to see past truths, ancient occurrences that have long been forgotten and stored away in the attics of the mind. This is the storytellers account of just such a leap of faith.

Act I
The Music Never Stopped

All I know is something like a bird
within her sang
All I know she sang a little while
and then flew on
-Robert Hunter-

As I opened the peyote pinechest it made an unusual sound, a sound that seemed to have been waiting forever to escape its pinewood confines. The sound was followed by an aroma, one not altogether unfamiliar. It wasn’t a musty mothballesque aroma nor a musty mold laced scent one might expect, but rather a sweet woodsy smell, reminiscent of an excursion of mine back in ‘73 to Jamaica. I was in Ochos Rios when I met a Rastafarian, Herbie. Herbie had long ago thrown away his comb so he sported long matted locks of hair almost to his waist which he called dreadlocks. He looked to be all of 25 years of age though his eyes betrayed a life long and hard, an old man with the eyes of the world. He sized me up, a white American youth with very long hair and a semi full beard. “Welcome my friend, I am a Rasta, cool like you Mon. My name is Herbie, man of the Herb, please come into my hut.” I would later learn that the early Rastafarians fancied themselves the equivalent of American Hippies, a generation of rebels who took a stand against government and borrowed the term “cool“ as a bonding statement. The hotel I was staying at had warned me about dangerous Rasta’s and scams in town designed to have Americans incarcerated. Bunny, the banjo player at the hotel explained to me that in Jamaica they believe all Americans are rich, and some corrupt cops set up buy and busts with phony Rasta’s expecting the young Americans to call home and send money to avoid jail from illegal possession of Ganja. I ignored the warnings because Herbie was cool. Like me. Once inside the hut my ignored fears disappeared completely because my instincts were correct. For a change. Inside Herbie’s hut a small boom box rumbled out some obscure reggae tunes. An Ethiopian flag was hanging on one canvas wall and posters of Bob Marley and Haile Selassie scattered on the others. An assortment of pipes and rolling machines in a makeshift bookcase was propped up on the back wall. Sitting on top of the bookshelf under a knitted cloth of red green and yellow stood a small Buddha statue with a trail of smoke emanating form its head. Inside the statue was not incense, but fresh Jamaican ganja that actually smelled of sweetness. It was that aroma this chest invoked and that’s where my vision begins.
I breathed in as if I could get a hit of that sweet smelling ganja as I examined the contents of Kevin’s peyote Pinechest. A spectacular looking jacket reached up and grabbed me by the eye. I vaguely remembered my best friend Kevin wearing it back in our youth. It was a Lee Rider jean jacket his girlfriend Bonnie had customized for him. Bonnie was a Native American young woman with an exotic air about her. Her long straight hair was so dark black it earned her the nickname Onyx. Onyx came from somewhere in Arizona part of a Yaqui Indian tribe who were known for their spiritual pipe smoking out of body practices. It was rumored they often used hallucinogenic herbs and roots of cacti in their rituals which explained the peyote pinechest. Onyx was skilled in various art forms having air brushed a number of vans in town but her local claim to fame was art of silk-screening. She had a fine business making extraordinary psychedelic looking tee shirts of rock bands but she silk-screened Kevin’s jacket for him special as a birthday present. It was magnificent, bright color in an intricate design that that would make peter Max jealous. I tried it on which put me in a trance.
There I was back in Herbies hut, Herbie rolling a stick of ganja in paper coated with oil essence of hashish. We shared the joint which was even tastier than the smell from Buddha’s head when a very old man entered the scene . The old man looked as though he walked out from the Old Testament, dressed in tattered rags and sandals and sporting a long scraggly grey beard and long thin white hair to his waist. He motioned to me come over which I did. In his hand he held a three foot long pipe made of human bone he was filling with something. He lit it, took a long inhale and passed it to me. “I am Joseph, from Carlisle in the land of The Canaanites, perhaps you know me better as Kaleidoscope Joe.” I took a long hit from the pipe, it seemed like it took all my breath to get the tiniest hit of smoke all the way from the bowl to my lungs. I shook my head to let him know I had no clue who he was. He handed me an old photo of a very sad looking man perhaps from the Middle East staring at a strikingly beautiful woman. “Well then, finish this bowl of ganja, I’ll tell you a story.”

Lady With A Fan
His name is August West, and he was in love with that lady there, Pearly Baker, the lady with the fan. Unfortunately Old August had a pension for wine, but not just any wine, his homemade power burgundy. Pearly was beautiful, a wonderful woman an August loved her true, in fact I was in love with her too. You see, August there is my brother, and Pearly Baker came between us forcing us to choose. August, drunk though he was, had a fierce determination and wasn’t afraid of anything. Pearly pitted us against each other with a challenge. “Which of you to gain me tell will risk uncertain pains of hell?” She tossed the fan into a pit of vipers, “The first to retrieve my fan from these snakes shall have me in every way you wish.” I sensed Pearly enjoyed the power of having us fight to be the one to bed her. I weighed my options, will having my way with Pearly justify what I would need to o to my brother? Even if I could beat August what kind of a wife would Pearly be? I doubted that challenges would ever stop, her desire to challenge too great but August wasted no time at all. He pushed me aside, reached into the pit of vipers risking venomous snake bites grabbing and offering up her fan as proof of his devotion. The old man paused looking at me. “You saw it didn’t you? You didn’t hear my tale you experienced it right? It’s okay, I know, this pipe is filled with wisdom which has entered your soul. You will see things you probably should not see many years from now. We will meet again my friend, when you are ready.” The man left so I turned to Herbie, “So Mon, you lika my ganga? Twenty bucks for you because your cool like me Mon.” I handed Herbie the twenty dollar bill and he gave me an ounce of preamo weed. He had been doing something with a razor on the table, I asked, “Did you know that old dude Herbie?” He smiled, “No Mon, no old man was here. But many strange ting happen in my hut, have a taste of dis before you leave Mom, make sure you come back.” Hernbie handed me a mirror with two long line of a whitish yellow powder and a short straw. I sniffed the coke an walke3d back out to the street. What Herbie had for sale was so good I knew I would be back tomorrow for more. As I walked down the street I heard someone say, “Strategy was his strength and not disaster.” Kevin would never believe me if I didn’t bring some back.

With that I found myself back up in the attic all by myself remembering how I smuggled ganga and cocaine back for Kevin in a container of baby powder . Apparently I was sweating and had removed the psychedelic jean jacket snapping me from the trance. I folded the jacket and put it aside trying to remember if that ol man was a real memory or a hallucination from the peyote pinechest as I explored the other treasures inside its confines . Kevin had stored quite an assortment of smoking utensils, a few chamber pipes, a meerschaum pipe, a cob pipe, a half dozen bongs, two hookahs, and at the very bottom of the chest was his prized chillum. The chillum was a ceramic straight conical pipe which you hold between your fingers in a fisted hand and smoke through the thumb an index finger essentially making your fist a bowl of smoke. We both loved that pipe, it was so unusual. Reminiscing I lit up the chillum to smoke any remnants from resonated bowl. I thought back to when he first bought the chillum, as usual in those days Kev and I were together. We had set out on a mission to Woodstock NY to get a tattoo at the Shooting Star Tattoo Parlor. The owner/artist, Country Paul, had gone to the original concert and never left town. Along with his artwork of potential tattoo’s he had a showcase in his shop filled with various pieces of crystal and a few small pipes. Kevin spotted the chillum right away and had to have it. It had an Indian Hindu inspired design, a very cool looking concentric design of geometric shapes Country called it a Chakra, or wheel. Of course Kevin had that design tattooed on his bicep while I viewed some of Country‘s other works he had on the “wall of choice.” Being in a dark period of my life I was drawn to a picture Country Paul called The Redeemer and the clay. It wasn’t like Christ the redeemer it was an old man with long hair and a long beard in a long red robe walking with a cane with a human skull on top. He was pulling an old wooden wagon filled with clumps of clay. It looked so cool I had it tattooed on the inside of my forearm. Those were the days, when we believed ourselves indestructible. As I smoked whatever remnants I could scrape from the chillum I stared at my tattoo. As I exhaled the old smoke I realized the redeemer pulling the wagon was the same man I had seen, or maybe not seen in Herbies hut so long ago.

What shall we say, shall we call it by a name
As well to count the angels dancing on a pin
Water bright as the sky from which it came
And the name is on the earth that takes it in
We will not speak but stand inside the rain
And listen to the thunder shout
I am, I am, I am, I am
-John Perry Barlow/Grateful Dead-
The Wind And Rain
Jacob was a good man, a successful man living in a place called Canaan. A farmer who plowed the fields in which he grew the sweet mind bending tobaccos which afforded him a fine home for his wife and family. Jacob was happily married to his second wife Rachael and an outstanding role model to his twelve boys. His first wife Leah was Rachael’s older sister and the mother of eleven of the boys. Jacob and Rachael had only one son together, Joseph, who was shown special favor by his father. While the other boys worked the fields that supplied Sativa and opium for the royals of the Orient with their father, Joseph stayed behind to help his Mom. Joseph was an amazing cook who had a natural talent for making hashish cupcakes. “You must knead the hash in softened butter first before adding it to the batter. That’s what makes them so special” He often entertained himself by spending hours looking through a cylinder of changing colors and shapes. This earned him the nickname Kaleidoscope Joe, and the jealous wrath of his siblings who simply called him Clyde.
“Why are we out here busting our asses while that little priss Clyde lounges in the kitchen staring through that stupid cylinder of his?” “That wimpy Clyde never worked a day in his life.” The grumbling never ceased. As always Jacob stood up for his favorite son, “Come on guys quit complaining, we have fields to tend to afore all that’s left is the wind and rain. Joseph is the best cook ever and his cupcakes are to die for. You guys all enjoy the food so he works the kitchen while you work the fields. Now lets finish up here, there’s a barn dance Friday and I understand the woodcutters daughter will be there. They all turned to look across the field to the riverbank where the woodcutters daughter often knelt down at to gather water. A beautiful woman with dark skin, as brown as the bank. It’s said she knows secrets the water has told her. She wasn’t there today, only the sun sparkling off the reeds into the sea. Jacobs son August was especially smitten with her. “Oh man, she has the sweetest voice, her song is the latch on the door to my heart. I live to follow her as she walks the path to the river shore come the morning sun.” The other boys began chuckling as Jacob shook his son from his daydream, “Okay poet, enough of that talk we have fields to plow. The work of day measures far more than the planting and growing alone. We must let it grow.” August was still dreamy, “For the time I shall break ground to reap bushels of cannabis and poppy meal, but Friday I shall dance with my lady in circular motion, just me and Pearly.” Jacob laughed, “Right now you can dance in the furrowed field my son, you only reap that which you sow. Tread lightly with your lady friend, if you plant ice your gonna harvest wind my son”

Did you ever waken to the sound
Of street cats makin’ love
And guess from their cries
You were listenin’ to a fight?
Well, you know…
Hate’s just the last thing they’re thinkin’ of.
They’re only trying to make it through the night.
-John Perry Barlow/Grateful Dead

Excitement had been building all week so when Friday finally arrived the air was ripe with anticipation. Jacobs twelve boys would be out on the prowl and the ladies in town stood no chance. As usual it would be refusal and then surrender, the boys eager to sow their wild oats. Jacob was concerned for his son Joseph because Joe didn’t posses the strength and experience of his older brothers so before they left Jacob presented him with a special coat, a coat of many colors. Now Joseph would no doubt be the sharpest dressed man at the dance and have a much needed edge. While Kaleidoscope Joe was overjoyed, his brothers were angry and grew ever more envious of how Joe was shown so much favor from their father. Joe was oblivious to his brothers envy and openly admired his good looks in the mirror. “I can’t believe how great this coat looks, I am gonna get me a fine woman tonight, a woman I can cook for.” August sneered, “You just hang around Loose Lucy little brother, save the real women for men who know what to do with them. And stay far away from Pearly, she’s mine tonight.” Joseph teased, “I don’t see no ring or no name on her brother, but I’m not interested in hr anyway.”
At the dance Joseph was strutting like egotistic peacock flashing his baby blue eyes and full on smile at all the ladies which only added fuel the burning flames of jealousy which crackled within the boys. Especially August. When Joseph began flirting with Pearly Baker the mule shit hit the fan. Livid and pumped with jealousy August rounded up all the brothers and formed a cabal outside the barn. “Guys we just can’t have this anymore. Something needs to be done about Clyde and it has to be tonight. Even after I stuck my hand in a pit of vipers he flirts with the girl of my dreams. I have a plan to get rid of Clyde forever” They were all in agreement, each hating their little brother for differing reasons. August continued, “There this guy Jack Straw who smuggles slaves over to Egypt and not only will he take Clyde away, he’ll give us s few bottles of whiskey on top of it. We can dip that hideous colored coat Dad gave him and coat it with goat blood. Then We’ll tell Pops he was killed at the point of a knife. We can rid ourselves of that nuisance and get on with our lives. We can share the women and we can share the wine.”
So it was, Kaleidoscope Joe was smuggled out as a slave, the boys telling Jacob his favorite son had been jumped for his ring, kaleidoscope, four bucks and change outside of Delilah Jones brothel. Jacob cried for nights wishing it weren’t true but he had the coat of many colors all covered in blood. The next thing this story teller saw was Joseph dragging a cart of clay. I realized I was no longer looking at my tattoo and the chillum was gone. I shook my head back an forth with great force in an attempt to regain some reality when I heard a voice from the past. “JT that coat looks beautiful on you, you should keep it. I have no doubt Kevin would want you to.” I knew that voice instantly. Smiling I turned, “Onyx, my god how are you? How long has it been? You look fantastic.” That’s when I realized I was once again wearing the jacket Onyx had fashioned special for Kevin. I removed it and found myself drenched in sweat. I folded it up, “No Onyx, you made it for him you should have it. I’m not even sure why I had it on.” To my dismay I was alone in the attic, no Onyx, no Jamaican Rastafarian, no Joseph from the old testament. I took the coat flung it over my shoulder. Time to get a drink.

Jack And Dianne Revisited

a jack

Parody sung to Jack and Diane by John Cougar Mellencamp

A little ditty, bout’ Jack an Diane
Two over the hill aged kids livin’ in the heartland
Jack used to be a football star
But now Jack cant see above the dashboard of his car

Suckin’ down prune juice outside the pharmacy
Dianne sat on Jack lap and nearly broke his damn knees
Jack said hey Diane lets wobble over to the shady tree
Its been 15 minutes, and I really must pee.

Oh yea, life goes on
Long after control, of body functions are gone
Say, oh yea, life goes on
Long after the thrill, of using it is gone

Jack sits back, can’t collect his thoughts at this moment
Scratches his head and does his “who was James Dean?”
Well ya know Diane we should do it in the city
Diane says baby, you already past that scene

Oh yea, life goes on
Long after the thrill, of making love is gone
Oh yea, life goes on
But now they got pills so now lets get it on. Now Rock on!

I can’t rock, I can’t roll
Let the nurse come down and save my soul
Hold on to 60, as long as you can
Changes come around real soon
Like depends made for women and man

A little ditty, bout Jack and Diane
Two aging lovers growing together, best they can

GIVE ME THAT OLD TIME ROCK AND ROLL

Pat-Benatar-Pearl-Concert-Photo

I was fortunate enough to see Pat Benatar and Neil Giraldo the other night. Patty didn’t need to wear a dress of dead fish or turkey fat, she didn’t have to French kiss a hammer while humping a foam finger, no sound altering microphones or computer generated sounds, no lowering down from the ceiling dressed in some elaborate masquerade attire or riding on a wrecking ball in a feeble attempt to be sexy, no bells no whistles, just plain good old fashioned down to earth rock and roll.. And it was powerful!
Patty was wearing tight black pants an a black leather jacket and looked amazing. Neil wore his trademark cuffed jeans and spats. The acoustics were not the best I’ve ever heard but Patty’s voice was strong and powerful, even though working through a cold. Neil’s guitar work sizzled as always and in the show the stopped and talked to the audience and made it as intimate as was possible in a large theater. They played many of their fan favorites lasting an hour an a half of non stop rock an roll mixed with stories and questions. They came on for an encore an another trademark, Heartbreaker and Ring Of Fire. Amazing talent and amazing tenacity made for a pure rock and roll concert with no frills.
Rock an Roll is overloaded with novelty acts covering up the fact that half the artists lack real talent or credibility to entertain on their merits. Computer enhanced or image altering technology allow kids to scream at marginally talented artists whose only genuine trait is likeability, juts like the popular kids in high school. There are some talented rock groups around today but you really have to search for them through a maze of plasticity and silicone of all types. Back in the day artists inspired us by breathing life into their voices, guitars, keyboards, horns, and drums and giving their songs emotions. Concerts whipped us into frenzy’s by being loud, precise, and creative. Mot of today’s empty acts try to out shock each other to entertain. Sorry young ones but you can keep your bullshit versions of rock, I still like that old time rock and roll, the kinda music just soothes the soul ……PEACE