Tuesday, March 10, 2009


I remember it well. The knife in the back, the struggle for air, the low grade fever that hung on for weeks. The coughing fits and sleepless hours. The last time this plague was visited upon me, was after a short recording stint at John Kurzweg's legendary Pensacola Street, Kitchen Studio. His place had a penchant for flooding and on more than one occasion, I found him knee deep in water, living his life like a Bangladesh local in typhoon season. Everything he owned was on stilts made of milk crates. The rent was cheap and he wasn't fussy, plus the place was haunted and sounded great. You can't put a price tag on that. The mold from that unholy Petri dish crawled into my Irish lungs, scared and weakened from many a lost bout, with all things bronchial. I went to the doctor, had two courses of steroids, and antibiotics, but I just couldn't shake it. Through it all I had to sing forty songs a night, four nights a week, in the smoke, for my supper.

One blue Monday night, I told (local legend) "Mississippi" James Stanton about my plight and symptoms. He listened and stared through me, as smoke spiraled out of him, like an incense wizard from the seventies. His prescription? Brew and drink a pot of special Red Zinger Tea from the health food store. Take a clove of garlic and quarter it. Swallow it like a pill every six hours, drink the tea, plus a gallon of water. I stunk like a grease trap from a Jamaican restaurant for days. Just like he promised the pleurisy, and the infection it rode in on, left town on a rail. Mississippi James was in my "Hall Of Fame" for life.

This recent thing I had, felt just like that. It has been a two week beat down that keeps re morphing into new forms and tormenting me like a six year old on Cuban coffee. Still, I mustered onto the chariot at the behest of Red Dragon, and sauntered out to Cadillac. It was a great ride and when I got home, ate and passed out, happy to be back...finally. Now it's around one A.M. and the fever has returned. Tomorrow I am going to the New Leaf Market. I am going to call James and have him play the intro to "Gimmie Shelter" while I take the first dose. I need the Voodoo only his stained fingers can provide, while I summon the power of his cure. One of us is going to tap out: me, or the lung funk.

Two will enter, but only one will leave. This time........It's personal.