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Showing posts from May, 2008

Bittersweet

The family has driven to New Orleans for my daughter's graduation from middle school. It was a long drive with a baby and a restless four-year-old in the car, but fortunately, both kids and wife are good and reasonable travelers. Yesterday we started the day with the graduation ceremony. I was the only man in the nave not wearing a suit and tie. My daughter may presume that it's just one more way that her dad can embarrass her in front of her peers; really, it was because New Orleans in late May is hot as an athlete's armpit and I was desperately trying to stay comfortable. After the ceremony, we parted company as the graduate and her mother's family were having lunch at Commander's Palace. Places like that are supremely hard to navigate with the little ones, so we decided we'd catch up later on. The Durham posse drove through McDonalds' (the anti-Commander's) and went out to see our lot in St. Bernard. On the way down Claiborne Avenue, we saw th

Scars

The talk this evening turned to walking sticks and then to whittling. "Have I shown you my scars?" I asked my wife. I hadn't, it turned out, so I held out my left hand and scanned the top knuckles. "Oh, I see that one." I found the other for her and told her the tale, which I'll tell you now: I was at Raven Knob , the Boy Scout camp for the Old Hickory Council. I was thirteen, and it was between two sessions I was attending. Rather than go home for the day, I hung out with an older counselor, Phil, up at the health lodge. He was otherwise occupied, calling his girlfriend for the afternoon. To kill time, because this is something you do to kill it, I sat on the porch with my Boy Scout knife and was starting to whittle a neckerchief slide out of a small block of wood, something to replace the stodgy grey standard issue metal one . My kit was supposed to be shaped like a squat 'funny' crow's head, with a big curved beak that I would eve

Two jobs I liked

I am very fortunate to have had a lot of jobs in the non-rock world that were great. A lot of people dread waking up and going to work, but I lucked out most of the time. My record store jobs were like second families to me. I began working for Jean and Joe Reznick at their Thruway Shopping Center store when I was about fifteen years old. I'd already shopped there since I was a teeny lad, so getting a job there was a little like a dream come true, the proverbial "kid in the candy store". It was in the Reznicks' listening booth that I first heard Lick My Decals Off Baby and Sweet Baby James ; I grabbed the first copy of Paris 1919 the day it came in (knowing full well that no one in Winston-Salem at that point would be beating down the doors to get it for themselves). I devoured the subscription copies of Billboard magazine and the Schwann catalog. I learned how to find replacement Pfansteihl phonograph needles from their illustrated catalog, a talent that wo

Years

Consider these songs: 1492 - Counting Crows 1865 - Third World 1921 - The Who 1934 - The Connells 1941 - Nilsson 1945 - Social Distortion 1957 - David Doucet 1959 - Patti Smith 1960 - America 1960 - Eno 1961 - Nick Heyward 1963 - New Order 1964 - Too Much Joy 1967 - Adrian Belew 1969 - The Stooges 1970 - The Stooges 1972 - Josh Rouse 1972 - Giant Sand 1973 - James Blunt 1974 - Robyn Hitchcock 1974 - Ryan Adams 1975 - Gene Clark 1976 - Alan Jackson 1976 - Redd Kross 1977 - The Clash 1978 - Liliput 1979 - Smashing Pumpkins 1981 - D-Generation 1982- Randy Travis 1983 - Jimi Hendrix 1984 - Spirit 1984 - Eurythmics 1985 - Paul McCartney and Wings 1985 - Manic Street Preachers 1987 - Minus 6 1989 - Clem Snide 1990 - The Temptations 1992 - Blur 1994 - Loudon Wainwright III 1995 - Luna 1998 - Rancid 1999 - Prince 2000 (AD) - The Rezillos 2112 - Rush 2020 - Prince I think I've found the worst possible compilation concept. What am I forgetting? Edit: I will take all suggestions and updat

The Coyote Lounge is now open

Our bank account is a couple hundred dollars lighter as of about five minutes ago, when I sent Tim Walker from Animals Be Gone on his way for assessing then addressing a raccoon problem in our attic. And yet, I'd have paid him more if we'd needed to. I'm not keen on woodland creatures, especially ones who make their way into my home and make ominous noises in the night. My wife isn't a big fan either, and today she undertook the journey through the tiny trap door into our unfinished attic. I'd actually been up there a week ago, looking around to see if we could potentially add a couple rooms there in the near future. Even took photographs of the place: But I saw no evidence of anything living up there. (I did see a lot of light coming through spaces between roof and walls, which probably happened/happens when the house's foundation settles. It's through these entrances and a few places where the squirrels in the neighborhood have gnawed through boa

A small satisfaction

Moments ago, I did the nightly ritual of checking the four-year-old's lunchbox for debris. Usually there's part of a sandwich, or the juice box crumpled inside. For the past couple days, the three carrots seemed to commute from home to school, ignored. Whatever matter is left in there has a few hours to marinate before I remember to purge the contents. We air the lunchbox out overnight. This morning, I decided to vary lunch from peanut butter and homemade strawberry jelly with carrots to peanut butter and banana with a tiny pack of raisins. Opening the box, I was nervous like Geraldo with Capone's vault . But unlike that story, I was elated to find an empty lunchbox on my hands. I punched the air and said 'alright' to no one in particular. Just a little change-up... Sometimes, that's all it takes.

Bouncing

We performed a corporate show in San Diego early this week, at the Convention Center. Most convention centers are designed to fit a maximum amount of people into a minimum amount of space, with lots of headroom above them, and San Diego's is no exception. I walked out a little before the show to change a couple settings on my keyboard rig and stood transfixed for a moment at the roar of the voices. It was constant, like an eternal wave crashing on a nonexistent beach. The pitch of the pink noise was steady, rising and falling only slightly. By the time we marched to the stage, the clamor had become more amped with presumably more alcohol in the attendees' systems. Makes sense; people are stuck in meetings all day, getting lectured about ways to improve their performance, to better their line-toeing, to focus their abilities toward increasing the company's bottom line. I mean, who wouldn't want to party down to a rock band after that? We started our show and got

May Day

Sorry to be away so long, did you miss me? Time for a little shameless self-promotion again. For those of you who remember 1978, a little 45 that I recorded and released that year has been anthologized with a massive amount of weird, wonderful stuff on a CD from Ace Records called Rock On . Rock On is the name of a famous record store in London, a collectors' store by which collectors' stores are judged. Somehow, "Big Black Truck" ended up on this compilation, and its heavy-handed slapback echo seems to fit right in alongside such ringers as "Cast Iron Arm" by Peanuts Wilson (a fave of Mitch's and mine from the MCA Rockabillies series), "Linda Lu" by Ray Sharpe and "Slipping and Sliding Sometimes" by Link Davis (Cajun fiddle and bongo drums). If your tastes run toward the darker corners of rockabilly and r 'n' b, then you'll want to own this fine collection as soon as you can convert pounds sterling to yankee dolla