Tuesday, July 21, 2009

A Change Is Gonna Come

I rode a bicycle yesterday. After a serious "give it to me straight " talk with my neck saw bones. After being released by my physical therapist, after living in a cold dark place, I have a new plan. I am going to ride until it hurts too much. Then I am going to rest, and repeat step "A". That's all an Irish American Brother can do. I can't make my neck stop degenerating. I can't turn back the clock to when everything was wonderful, and my neck is as good now as it will ever be. So I will endeavor to persevere. Would I love to be the cyclist I was in April? Yes, but if big dreams were limousines ...we'd all have a ride. Ain't no use cryin' over what is and what may never be.....so for now I will ride (and promise not to talk like a blues guitarist ever again).


Monday, July 20, 2009

I Want To Thank You

Ah Jaysus Frankie, you were a fekkin saint!

My eyes are like two piss holes in the snow.


Thursday, July 9, 2009

I'll Be Seeing You

On the way to Neils wedding, the fact that it was Independence Day weekend escaped me. I was reminded, as I entered the stream with all the other Salmon, heading somewhere to spawn. Twenty odd miles in, a speed trap complete with multiple F.H.P. cars, planes, and heli's, convinced me it was time to pull a "Ben Stone" and exit the interstate, ala "Doc Hollywood". The drive immediately became delightful and scenic, and I devoured the North Florida landscape I have grown to love. Highway 27 is an old favorite peppered with little towns, then I-75 (no avoiding it under time constraints) and on to the hell that is Orlando. I reunited with the Alday clan of Altha, a family that was as much a part of my life as my own, for the six years I managed socialburn. I was astounded to find them happy to see me and we all played "remember when" for much of the rehearsal dinner. I was abducted by the wedding party and we went to a bar/time capsule. Drinks were drunk, and songs were sung, and fun was had by all, even the old man seventeen years the senior, of anyone else attending.

Watching Neil and his beloved say their vows, I ran the highlight reel of the years that we spent as manager and client, friends, and in many ways father and son. How can you ever tell a person that bought you a house, a couple cars, that was the star of the most interesting chapter of your biography, what they mean to you and how proud you were, to be part of their life. I pulled Neil aside and did my best through watering eyes. After our private goodbye, I snuck away and pointed my car to my old home town of Ft. Pierce. I slipped into the Ipod and an onto empty turnpike, as the rest of the world was looking skyward at things exploding. Everyone was somewhere else, and I was headed to a party, with an old friend and a woman that broke my heart.

Rob was on the phone guiding me in to the last parking space at the party. Someone handed me a beer and people came out of the darkness that I have not seen in thirty years. Names, faces, handshakes, memories long dormant from a trunk in my mind marked "Ft. Pierce, do not open" spilled out before me in a parade of familiarity and estrangement. People told stories about me as though I wasn't standing there. Some I remembered, and some not at all. Both were served up without a care for what emotions they triggered, all ending with the same phrase: "what happened, where did you go?" Rob took me around until I had seen everyone, handed me another beer and yelled the name that motivated my late night escape in 1987: "Diane!" The name hung there, I thought to myself an echo would have been appropriate. The three of us chatted and talked about all our histories together. Rob and I were friends, Diane and I were a couple and it was a million years ago. They never met back then. In 2003 they met in Tampa, dated back in Ft. Pierce, and later married. They showed up in Tallahassee in the fall of 2005, as I was in the throws of managing the band. It was a strange night that led to me leaving them with a cab company phone number, unanswered questions, and a past I didn't want to confront. Now here we were again, partly because I felt bad about that night, and because I wanted to solve a mystery I had been carrying in my spiritual luggage for years.

She was drunk and a person I almost didn't recognize. The face and eyes struck chords, but mostly the strange emptiness of twenty five years fell between us, like a canyon with no bridge. It was at once familiar and vague, but I was left with relief that I was not nervous and that her old spell had no power. It had died with the young man I once was, and neither one of us were remotely the people we were then. Our demeanor and appearance, were weathered by life, good and bad. Still there was a shared chapter, and enough to talk about so that awkward silence never overcame us. She filled in some blanks and asked some questions I never expected. In the end, much like the insane amateur fireworks show, I was happy to have survived, and glad I had witnessed the spectacle, emotional and pyrotechnical.

The next day we shared an uncomfortable lunch together. They were very hung over, and I felt like a guest that stayed a day too long. I drove by my old house on Sandia drive, vacant, foreclosed and slowly being reclaimed by a thicket of a yard, that once was the manicured pride of my Father. It stood indignant to all our Christmases, tears, laughter, weddings and funerals. It was a shell of something that was home. I saw myself skating the circular drive, playing drums in the corner room and my Sting Ray knock off, laying in the yard. I wondered how many times my Mother called me to dinner from that porch, hidden by unkempt plants.

I got back to familiar territory around sunset. I was on an alternate route which took me along a twisting back road to I-10. I passed a country house being pulled back into the earth by vines and growth of all manner. The frame was contorted and warped like a painting by Salvador Dali. It's form was recognisable and alien in equal measure, and I felt a kinship with it, that I never would have known before this trip.

Nothing remains the same. The earth, reclaims everything eventually. It is the cycle we all ride. People, drift in and out of our lives, like trains at a station. Some stay, and some become strangers, when once they were lovers and friends.


Friday, July 3, 2009

Got To Be There

It was October, 1984. The city of Los Angeles was settling down after hosting the Olympics. They had cleaned the streets, by cracking down on hookers, drug dealers, and the homeless. Now they would host three clueless kids from Ft. Pierce, on their way to what they thought would be a long career in music.

Our guitar players Dad worked for an aircraft company. He was in charge of hiring labor for new government contracted flying machines with guns and bombs. He had a labor union connection, that had a brother in the music business. Backs got scratched and a record deal (of sorts) was struck. Our cocaine cowboy manager sent him money to cover studio costs so we could make a record. You know those plastic things people used to BUY, and listen to, start to finish.

The stewardess brought me an extra coke, and we took turns reading about ourselves, in the Miami Herold, The Palm Beach Post and out home town bass rapper, The News Tribune. The plane ride was our first and we were comforted by the extra attention. They didn't treat us like cool rock stars, they treated us like lost kids, which is what we were. Babes in the forest. We arrived at our west coast managers house, lets call him Tony (because that was his name). He managed Barry White and had made his bones stealing half or all of the publishing of young black balladeers starting in the fifties. He was loud and big, but also kind. He was hard on us at first, but we were so doe eyed and naive, he adopted us.

We tooled around L.A. in a rented Mustang and spent ten grand of our East Coast managers money, seeing bands, buying ridicules clothing, and eating at Carl's Burgers. One day, Tony said he had a surprise and took us to Lion Share Studios, where a few months earlier "We Are The World" was recorded. Jermaine Jackson was there recording with Pia Zadora. The first record I ever owned was The Jackson Five and I stared at Jermaine when he wasn't looking. He was a very soft spoken guy and told Tony that he had to see the car Pia's casino tycoon husband had bought him. He looked funny next to the Lamborghini, and seemed to need Tony's approval. I remember being starstruck and blown away at the audacity of that car, but still I was very aware this guy seemed scared, and uneasy with his status. He was famous but I felt bad for him. It was a weird glimpse into the difference between publicity and reality. I imagine his brother was similar, but I can't really say. I can't comment on anything else his brother did or didn't do because the fact is, if it's in the news, I assume it's bullshit. If it's in print and it's about a musician or an actor, it was either planned by their publicist or it's there to sell papers and mags. Somewhere in the fog the truth is drifting, like piss in the ocean. I saw him talking on the news tonight as I drank some tea. He had lost his brother, and Larry King was trying to get him to climb a tree at Neverland Ranch. I felt a vague connection to the story de jure. I am left with one thought on the subject: an unhappy human, living with intense pains, mental and physical, isn't suffering anymore. The rest is for someone else to figure out, and leaches to profit from.


Thursday, July 2, 2009

Gin and Juice (and neck retraction excersises)

Just wanted to drop a note and update blog family and crew members on how the Zipper Neck is this week. I will refer to myself as Zipper Neck until the W.B. is riding again. It's very cool to refer yourself in the third person, try it, it feels good (and the first one is free). I just want to say thank you to all who comment, read, and lurk at my little patch of da intranet. Much appreciated.

First thing: Pete, aka: Shins, aka: Oh Crap! what did he wheelie off of, onto, or over now, put the fix on my suspension. I believe this has been the source of my latest woes. I am taking a week off to recover and do physical therapy exercises. I hope to ease back in, with some chill one hour rides next week, and build from there. Come backs are great, this is my fifth official rebuild. It will be sweet when I get back and I hope to make the crew proud, and to be the focus of all the "see you over reacted again" jokes they can toss me. I hope (Deity of choice) is listening.

I am going to Orlando to walk Neil (socialburns lead singer and one of my dearest friends) down the isle. It is always good when a friend makes a good mate choice. I hate kidnapping people and driving away from pissed brides, relatives, and caterers. It will be yet another line on the tree ring and I feel as though one of my sons has come of age. I will be out of town for a few days and I hope to visit my home town (the museum of all that went wrong) for a couple days as well.

I may be posting some non bike related posts to fight of the recovery depression (I wish I was joking) so if you don't like them or don't comment, I am giving you a pass. You know what they say: "A boys gotta write".