30 Days At The Crossroads – 11/3/18 – Part 3

My worlds met and married on a Sunday evening when I was about 13 courtesy of the King Biscuit Flour hour and the FM radio band.

Consider where I came from: comic books and horror. Literature, of a type. At least literate. This was what occupied my head until that night.  I was a fan of music, as I had brothers and sisters and cool cousins who would treat it like a religion.

My sisters brought me Deep Purple and Black Sabbath when I would crawl around the carpet and just stare at the covers. My cool cousin brought me to Yes. My extended family brought about Lynyrd Skynyrd. I have forgiven them. Jackson 5 was on the radio and then a heavy dose of AM radio classics as my parents were a bit older than everyone else’s.

A record that had a big impact is a record I despise, to this very minute. Terry Jacks ‘Seasons in The Sun’ was proof of evil in a blissful world. I would weep like a smaller child every single time it came on. Just that opening vocal melody would make my face scrunch up like I was slamming lemon juice.

Though painful to listen to, and deliberating to me little kid ego who could not keep it together at all, that record showed me that songs can hurt.

The first record I ever wanted was the 45 of ‘The Boys Are Back In Town’. My brother wanted ‘Golden Years’ by Bowie. Our Dad bought us both in the same day. Those two record were seeds to a burgeoning personal revolution. The grit of Thin Lizzy matched with the suave alien Pop sound of Bowie had an effect I would not recognize for years.

I stumbled from books on Parapsychology into comic books. Obsessive on the things I loved, this is all I did. It was natural, trading mysteries on outdated and rained upon books for full color magic pages. And superheroes were the extension of what I wanted to be. Having super powers looks pretty prime when you’re a kid where you are generally powerless.

All these influences, all these mixed media muses lay dormant in me as I continued the business of growing up.  Until that night.

Sunday night , 8 PM, and school the next day.  I settled in my room and turned on the radio. It was a rite as my brothers and sisters before me had. I think it was the talk more than the music for me as I was raised on AM talk and police scanner chatter. The sound of distant voices and noises was always soothing to me.  I have lived within listening distance to 95 most of my childhood.

When people want peace, they aim for silence. For me, the opposite is true.

A big voice came on the radio heralding the ‘King Biscuit Flour Hour with BLACK AND BLUE!!!’ (the exclamation points came through the speaker like an aural typeface). I faced the speaker like the DJ was going to bounce through it.

What came next was screaming. A horror flick soundtrack played over massive cabinets . Massive bell ringing. Then the guitar. It was ‘War Pigs’. And it changed me.

I spent the remainder of that 13th year in my room, eschewing the outside as I bought and played out every Black Sabbath record. I had friends who thought I evaporated. My room went from full color Marvel art to black and red. I started sporting Satanic gear everywhere I could.

It felt right.I felt like I belonged to something. Heavy Metal was my religion. I sold my entire comic collection for an Alice Cooper ticket in the city.

I do regret that.

30 Days At The Crossroads – 11/3/18 – Part 3

30 Days At The Crossroads – 11/3/18 Part 2

To say I came here without expectations would be false. I have big expectations.
To say I came here without thinking it through…. that I am not so sure about.

I do not believe in an afterlife. And yet I come to this road and I wait. I come every day. Every day.

I have left my job. It kept me away from this place. Where I need to be. I need to shake some shit up, in an astral sense. Poverty does not scare me. We are old friends.

I am afraid. Terrified. Afraid of what will happen when he comes. Afraid of what will happen if he doesn’t.

It started with books, long days at the local library gaining knowledge on a number of subjects pretty to my dark mind: ghosts, New England lore, multitudes of ‘Phone Calls From The Dead’ and other 60’s paperback parapsychology propaganda, horror movies and Colonial history. The information I needed was learned though legend and cheap literature. And that knowledge did little except give me a reputation for being the fat, weird kid. Or so I thought.
Sitting here, alone in this deteriorating auto, acoustic in the back, crushed cigarette kicking up, I wonder if this was why it was important. Was this date fated?

Even asking that sets me in place as myth. I am not myth. Yet.
Words worked within me. Not the paperbacks I studied or books of legends I stole. It was words sung out loud. The meaning behind the act of saying anything to anyone a all.

After Kara came Shannon. After Shannon, Michelle. After Michelle, Krystal. Into infinity. And each had a song written for them, a pledge contained in every line and my heart woven throughout the lyric. They were not songs proper as I was not handy with an instrument. They were verse / chorus love letters no one would never hear or see.

It was the creating of worlds with unknown outcomes. It was creating characters, even in simple sketches of syllables. It was my license to become a Gentleman. It was all the brave words I never spoke, all the proclamations I kept private. I went from drawing Spiderman on my notebook cover to capturing phrases overheard or misunderstood.

An act of Zen recording these simple rhyme patterns on a lined sheet of paper, my printing block, my pen unsmudged. I recognize this for what it is now. Control. Sanity. But I was 10, so Sanity was an over reaching abstract.

The concept of chorus, where you distill the lyric and kick in something punchy, something melodic or a slogan, was burned in my brain from living in a culture that valued such acts of market driven trickery. Not that I minded. I felt writing a good chorus was comparable to winning a sports competition, except after your done running, hopping, playing, scrimmaging, all you have is a memory.

I have 4 lines that can define you. Call the unnamed conspirator on their pride, labor, spit. Raise or dash them. And they will live on forever. This is my power, what I was given. I made myths.

I still believe that too. And this is where it led. This shadowy clash of flat top roads and the suitable scent of sulfur.


30 Days At The Crossroads – 11/3/18 Part 2

30 Days At The Crossroads – 11/1/18 (Part 1)

11/1/18 – All Souls Day

In my dreams, I am a shiny constellation. Bright and too far away. A distant collection of sparks that can be admired, used, worshiped. Untouchable but present 24/7. I was here before cars. before radio, before fish and fowl. I will be here when all these things cease to be.

In my walking life, I am the same. Except proximity lays me low. Overburdened by oxygen, the inner dialog will never end. I am not admired; I’m am obscured by brighter planets. At times, I feel colder the space that holds the shiny stuff in place.

And I go supernova. I fall apart spectacularly. I clog the cosmos with confused moans.

And then get to work. Not the true work. Not the work that needs be done. I get to the building that contain this corporal self 5 days out of 7.

And proximity lays me low again. I am not a collection of flickers sailors will sing too. I am not a twinkly necklace hung on the throat of an astronomer.

I leave the tapping of fingers on tiny keyboards. I leave the beat of sex and cliché of history.

I am a tiny god. Lowercase.

I have a consciousness that will outlive all of the above. And a plan.

How weighty is the offer of a soul? How does it feel to burn eternally. versus the burning internally of my every day?

And what are the mechanics of such an offer?

I do not know. I am a traditionalist. So it starts with a cross roads.

This did not start today, this started thousands of years ago. This did not start today, this started when I was 9. This started with a girl, of course.

It was Kara. Proper pronoun would be ‘She was Kara’ but that would dwarf the significance of what she was. ‘She’ would be easier to paint in a picture, capture her stray handwriting on a sheet of lined paper. ‘She’ would prop into place a certain reality attached to the ground.

I never lived on the ground. I was either deep under or soaring high above. And Kara was my Sun. A destination that gave me bearing and ultimately burned me to cinder.

I liked Kara, you see. It was 3rd grade. I was too fat, too smart, too romantic, even then.

She was the first of many girls I fell for, ached for her voice, all while be expert in making sure she never knew I existed. Billy Bragg captured it in one line ‘In the end it took me a dictionary to find out the meaning of unrequited…’. It was something I excelled at.

I could never say what it was that turned my attention so turned to specific girls. There was no logic or type. Small, large, sweet, angry. Pretty or plain. The only thing they had in common was they wholly owned my heart. For a while.

More mystifying, looking back without the benefit of being 9 is what I expected, in a perfect moment, when one of these deities said ‘Yes’.

I wanted to be someone’s boyfriend. I wanted to be recognized as lovable. I had no concept of what that meant.

It would simple to say I was growing from a boy to a man, but that’s not accurate. I had no concept of what the end goal was. Despite the terrifying men’s magazines I had access to (thanks to older boy relatives), I had no clue how slot A lines up with tab B. Or tab B works with Tab A. Or Tab A into Slot C (much favored in the men’s magazines). Or what the point of any of it.

I knew I wanted to bring flowers and sweep ladies off their feet. I wanted to be the hero in every sweet fable, always knowing the right thing to offer and no the right time for restraint. It was the books I was reading, even then,. the movies I grew up on. It was the comics I was addicted too. And a deep personal need to be The Gentleman.

I wanted to swash buckles and swing in on ropes. I couldn’t even climb the ropes at gym at my weight but I was lithe in my head. I was lighter than air. I was Fred Astaire in flight.

I was tortured. Kara spun my world and I could only hang on. Her hair was true gold (OK, dirty blonde). Her skin was cloud cream. Her eyes sparkled blue, just like mine. She was my reason for being and she sat right next to me in home room.
She never knew any of this.

It was a walk home after school, brilliant sun under changing leaves, all alone that I had inspiration take. The First Muse speaks.

‘This girl I know
I really really love her so
And I just don’t know the way I can let her know
How much I love her
This girl I know.’

The simple melody that left me without cover. Scribbles on torn notebook paper that I could no longer dodge.

Followed by (in the full band arrangement of my mind) the main riff to ‘Live And Let Die’, oddly. A Gentleman’s tune is one ever existed. So British it conquered half the World only to be regurgitated by cartoon rock boys.

That was when I came to recognize the power of the pencil. Eventually pen, then typewriter, keyboard to Smartphone. It was not that I recognized that I was a genius. I knew no one would ever hear that song. It was how it made me feel.

Unburdened. Free. From myself.

30 Days At The Crossroads – 11/1/18 (Part 1)

Click Bait For A Grateful Nation

Profane ideas and anarchy
The atmosphere slips from static to rabid
Spotlights spin and kill the battery
Bodies in the basement, heads in the attic
Seduce with cruelty, destroy with flattery
Amping up the electrical addict
Cigarette City, Celebrity nudity
with every cheap exchange shot cinematic

Bad weather, good natured
Green means stop, red means floor it
Watching the watchmen and tablature
Fight it, Fuck it, Ignore It
Social scavenger, local massacre
Ramming speed, four on the floor it
Breaking down the unnatural ambassador
If you can’t join it, deplore it

No regrets but no one forgets
Your ass is a star but your still on the dole
No regrets but no one forgets
You sold your soul without a loop hole
No regrets but no one forgets
You bought in for a bigger role
No regrets but no one forgets
No regrets but no one forgets

Sex and state and God and fury
Fear and truth the line is blurry
Peace and love and fascist fashions
Click Bait For A Grateful Nation


Click Bait For A Grateful Nation

Horton Hates The Who. Do You?

Of all the grandiose mysteries this experience called Life offers us, the current one stuck in my craw, the one I stutter on the hard consonants of, is the legacy of The Who.

For those who are too young to understand (or to think this is a half baked, fully stoned Sci Fi reference…or even a pronoun), The Who was a Rock Band. Not a Blues band turned up. Not a R&B band (yeah, that’s right, come at me Who fans…).

The Who were big. Bombastic. Smart…maybe overly so. The Who were required listening if you lived in a Classic Rock Town. The Who made amazing music, killer singles, created a sound that would in time be bled of purpose and become ‘Radio Rock’.

As the big bands of the time continue to be worshipped, deified in these days of ‘All the best music is ollllld…..’… not The Meaty, The Beaty, The Big nor even The Bouncy. I have dear friends whose taste I trust implicitly who can’t even listen to the stuff. And look upon the World at Large….there is still Zeppelin Radio Hours and Pink Floyd Nights and endless Beatle-y bits. But The Who is fading.

Why? I am not even the biggest Who fan…but I know why they are great. Some truly great songs, a real Rock and Roll attitude not hampered by fear of offending, concepts that are occasionally dumb but…ambitious. A literate lyric style unique to the author and the sound. This is where Punk came from, in attitude, in ambition.

So…sure. Rock Stars deservedly. But…..what happened? I am going to take some fairly unthunk up guesses…cause I don’t know. Do you?:

1) The Never Ending Ending: Sure the reunions were cash grabs. Sure, it was ridiculous that they continued to even exist after Keith Moon died. Is that it? They may have been the first, right? Certainly not the last. I will say though…the cash grab does come off a bit worse for wear from a band that seemingly had an ideology once upon a time.

2) Pete: Yeah….Pete. It is an uncomfortable subject. It is a hazy subject. Let me tell you how uncomfortable: I have no interest in looking it up. Pete has always been a polarizing figure. What was flippantly revolutionary…what was thrilling, the calling out of the culture for what it was…sold out / selling out…. with age and an excess amount of press facts and statements came out that were…creepy. You have the Internet too. If curious, go digging.

3) Sell Out: Is it because The Who were so quick and successful at selling out? Is it the mystical but commercial codex that translates the electronic binky intro to ‘Wont Get Fooled Again’ into the phrase ‘Buy Me’. Is it the irony of The Who selling so completely that I hear more of them in car commercials than on the radio?

4) The Concept Records (and shows)? The creepy English dance hall vibe? The just below the meanness in everything they say and do? The movie ‘Tommy’ (to me, a true dividing point that jackbooted my sicker inclinations towards baked beans and laundry soap).


Horton Hates The Who. Do You?