Today I went running in one of the most beautiful cities in the Midwest. Indianola! Didn't see any Indians, though. Where'd they go??
I DID see the old stone building, however, where I learned to play trumpet in 6th grade from Mr. Liljedahl. That guy was a genius on the piano, saxophone, trumpet, percussion, as well as composing his ass off! He was the guy who told me what it was ... when I saw his record collection and said, "Um, what's Woodstock?" We used to have hour-long discussions about time and matter and reality and truth and other things of Herculean nature. Learned alot.
But no-one could ever really explain that little stone building across from the Middle School (where we played trumpet), you know, the one that said, "Masonic Temple." Couldn't really understand who these guys the Masons were, who built that strange little temple at the turn of the century ... -Todd
For the guy in the Led Zeppelin jacket, on his way to Michigan with poetic thoughts on the mind ... think his name was Curtis. Tough souls survive things like motorcycle crashes! They often become poets and seekers of something new. Enjoyed the Keruoac and Henry Miller. Thanks for the wild, creative thoughts, man. Said he had many things he'd like to express, if he could only find the words. I believe I understand your intelligent garble. Hope you made your destination, and I really enjoyed the zany thoughts - there are other freaks out there, believe me!
"No matter WHAT happens ... it's always the same moon ..."
Wherever I am, I occasionally pick up a book and randomly open it, to get a "Thought for the Day." Could be any book, anywhere ... just open up and read.
Today, it was in a church, because my sister got married! So it happened to be a bible. I think of the first thing that catches my eye as something to ponder. It said:
"The prudent man keeps silent in times like these. For these times are evil."
Wild, Wild West! Welcome to Cheyenne ... Yeehaw! Not a bad town as far as dusty Buffalo Bill towns go. One cool thing is those drive-up liquor stores (?), where you can buy something and get tanked without leaving the safety of your own car. Wow! Who done thunk that one up?? Something like, "I'll just grab a 12 pack, and go ride around in my car!" Wanna come?!
I remember one time, many moons ago, when I played here. We had a night off, and had heard about this club with live music, so we went down there to jam. Turned out to be a country bar. With a country band. And friends, in this part of the country, they DO MEAN country! Ha,ha. So of course we got up there and played The Clash. Now THAT was punk, baby! That's living dangerously. Whew ... pretty fun, but we did almost get our asses kicked. Some thought it was cool, but some of them "good ol' boys" were not amused. As I was walking out past the bar counter, the gruff guy behind the bar looked down from behind a big cowboy hat, spat, and said:
"Well, son ... that ain't my type of music. But that DID take some balls!"
Yep, the man gave me a drink outta respect. Heard him chuckling as I walked away. Not too much more was going on, but there was one cool thing: a hot tub right in our hotel room. Pretty swank for a trading post town, yesssir! Splash/Trash/Midnight Bash/Whiplash!
True stories from Cheyene, Wyoming ... -Todd
Welcome to Sacramento ... tax city for California, and one of the most modern (burp) and disgusting cities, (all-around point system) according to yours, truly! This place sucks! Where's the rock 'n' roll?! Look at all these tax assholes, pen pushers, number cruncherz, bean counters. Squeeky clean yuppies in SUV's, looking for their next free-trade fake-smile heist. This town's a mound of paperwork, wrapped in red tape! Newfangled skyrises eclipse all chance to discover the natural beauty Paradise that once was northern California ...
Hey, Sacramento ... FUCK OFF!
What a day! Whew. Incredible and inspiring. Woke up, and drove into the city by the Bay. They dropped me off, went for a little jaunt, and the first thing I did was steal a newspaper. (All bullshit anyway.) Yes, you in House 218! It was me! You'll come back from your long, boring yuppie vacation, and realize that one of your newspapers is missing. Boo hoo. And I got away with it, too!
Climbed that long hill, up 'n' over to Haight Ashbury. Yezz, the centerpoint of all that nice (burp) hippie change-the-world stuff. Still pretty nice, I guess. But the Tourists have taken over. (The Tourists are coming! The Tourists are coming!) Makes a place go from making a change, to makin' change, if ya know what I mean. But it's all good ...
Two blocks from Haight St. something caught my eye. There was a flea market going on, so I sauntered in. Seems it was a French high school, and they were selling books and candles and stuff, to go on an excursion. "To France?" I asked. No, they said, to L.A.! Aw, geez ... nothing but a stone's throw! Most of the books were in french. Chic! A very nice lady came and chatted me up, and was probably a teacher or parent. She offered me coffee and crepes (delicious!), and I realized that it would be an insult to say no, so ya know ... And told me about this interesting poem.
She said, "You know, people get hung up on "time together" and and have all these expectations. But really, it's all about learning from one another, you know, like stars in a moving universe, and with each connection, we gain something. It may not be forever, but we take something from each one that has touched us." I thought that was just beautiful.
And I helped them carry books and read my newspaper, and spent a few hours just talking to people. It was wonderful! I asked the woman if they'd had any trouble lately, what with all this sort of "anti-French" sentiment going on. Her eyes perked up, "Oh!" she exclaimed, "you mean Freedom fries!?" This is what they call french fries now. Um, yeah, for example, says I. "Oh, most of that is just ignorance ..." she said with a wink. Man, I enjoyed my time with those splendid people. And they called me a Good Samaritan, as I walked down the hill to Haight Ashbury. Guess so, I have joy in my heart. I keep my mind fine-tuned for adventure and spontaneous banter. But I do have a wild streak in me, I told 'em ...
Haight St. on a sun-drenched day. Had an intersting discussion with some cat, said he was a musician, about that song by U-2 that goes, "It's a beautiful day." Heard that it was about a guy who'd lost everything, yet somehow walks out the door, and is glad to be alive. Could be true ...
Met this punk dude who was from Magdeburg, Germany, and yelled, "Hey, Calico!" as I was walking by. He said that Magdeburg sucks, and I believe him. Asked him if he liked California. He said, I guess so. Told me that they feed you peanut butter and jelly in prison, in California. Yuck. He said he was hungry, so I split the French bread that the people at the school gave me. "This is GOOD bread!" he croaked. Mm-hmm, I said, as we walked. I was slowly making my way back down to Slim's, for a concert, and he was walking to Food Not Bombs. Free grub, he said. Mm-hmm, I said. As we walked we chatted, and he went on and on about all kinds of things like countries and opinions agreements and disagreements and whatnot. I nodded now and then, but said eventually, "I guess it all comes down to respect. That's what's missing." He stopped. "Yeah - that's the word! You said the truth!" I hit it on the head, I guess. And some where in there, he confessed to me that he thought all the tourists in Haight/Ashbury were "smug." Gotchya. Then we kept on, and met some guy who offered to pull out and play a song on guitar, if we gave him a cig. And he got his wish. Played some nice acoustic spanish style guitar, too. The punk said, "Hey, can you play it a bit louder??"
Then I went off on my own, and I came to a great record shop on Market St. Really great, because it was all vinyl. No CD's! Only tapes and thousand of records. From the Byrds to Metallica to Paul Anka to weird Hawaiian syrup to Charlie Parker to ...well, you get the picture. And I got in this long and wonderful discussion with the owner about how great old reel to reel tapes are, the feeling and the sound. His face really lit up and came alive. Man, that was something. I just got chills all over. We carried on about music (analog, baby!) for a long, long time. I enjoyed it immensely. "Do you have a card," I asked. Nope, he answered. Awesome! He said, "You can never really get that kind of emotional, pure sonic warmth from CD's, like you can on vinyl and reel to reel." And I agree! Although I do dabble in computers, too, to be completely honest, you see. Music has to come from the heart, however it's made. But this guy was a purist, and a purist he shall remain. Hats off, strong man! Keep the Analog faith!
At some point I read in that paper I stole, that immediately after that nasty bomb blast the other day, the culprits were beheaded. Eeeek!
Then on to the gig. Back to Slim's! There I got into a deep conversation about synchronicity with Fredi Mac, a screaming jedi poet dude from Oakland. Pretty hip hop. Born and raised in Oakland. Old school. A real rapper. Said that music is only about creating (and goals are the illusion.) Yeahhh. I had the great pleasure of hanging out with my man Kurt, a forever Calico man, and now playing trumpet with Green Day. Yep, he's the guy in the Bee costume ... We were watching a band called Oslo (like the city). Check those guys out. Oh, yeah, and there was a three-hundred pound transvestite with huge boobs, a cowboy hat, and a beard, in the crowd. Rock 'n' roll !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
It was an amazing day. Just hit the street and see what's out there. People are incredible beings (if you let them be).
I'll miss you Oakland/Berkeley/San Francisco!
Next stop, the Midwest.
Oakland, California ... and a party is raging. People dancing, drumming, carousing, drinking, smoking. Good vibes on this warm, breezy night. And I see this attractive girl, with a big fro, grooving to the live music, speaking to no-one, and I say,
"Hey, you remind me of Jackie Battle!"
"Whoa ..." she goes, and walks away. Jackie Battle was the one who went with Miles Davis to Jimmy Hendrix's funeral, when he died back in the 70's. She was a strong, courageous woman, politically active, and very smart. About an hour goes by, and she comes up to me (now I'm in a different room), and says,
"Hey, thanks for the compliment," as she passes her hand behind me, in a way that was rather friendly.
"Yeah," I say, "it's a beautiful night ..." (meaning her)
There's a pause, as we both just soak up the vibe. "Yeah," she says, "no bombs are falling on my head tonight." That just knocked me out. Truth, exposed.
San Francisco, on a Wednesday night ... OK, that last entry was for all you testosterone metal-boyz and whatnot. This one's for the Ladies !!!
Thassright, I have a brand new tip: the Bitch And Animal show! In case you don't know, they've opened up for Ani DiFranco numerous times, and have a new CD coming out on Righteous Babe Records, Ms. DiFranco's label. Gogitthatshityeahh! I know, I know, some of you are probably thinking, "But Todd ... that band is only for hard-core leather ladies, so what were you doing there," right? Well, some hard-core lesbians invited me, see? Now, I'm not getting all Rob Halford on ya, but let me just say this: I puckered up, opened my heart-chakra, and had a blast! Yep, the dynamic bull-dyke duo put on a rip-roarin' show, full of spacious, audacious punk-flavoured tunes, and the crowd was yelling for more! Speaking of that crowd: I was one of the very few "boys." You know what I mean?? Well, hey guys, thanks for accepting me as I am! Me, burly-man rock singer just struts on in there, and everyone went ahead and welcomed me. OK, so I was surrounded by my three robo-lesbian friends. (At the after-party bar, I told this other dude they were my bodyguards!)
San Francisco, baby! What a town ... hard to describe. If you've ever been there, you know whadda mean. This was a night of Peace, Music, Dissent, Brilliant mindz, and well ... Freedom! (?) Animal, who once got busted on stage in South Carolina for taking off her top, screamed, "We're gonna call this number Operation Free (I) My Rack!" (Audience screaming in approval.) Wow ... For those of you in Hungary or something, "rack" is another term for "hooters" or "mellons." A more PC term would be simply, "boobs." Now then, why can a boy show his nipples in public, but a girl can't? ("Todd Nipple, reporting, thank you.") We've got some twisted laws in this country. I talked to Animal about this, and I even said they oughtta come over to Europe some time. (Are ya with me, girlz?) She said, "Aw yeah, that'd be great. It's so hard to find distribution, etc." And she's right, but she said they had a blast over there once, with Ani. Hey - I embrace the universal soul of man/womankind y'know? Why can't we ALL? Guess this is part of the reason that they call me a Freak. Anyway, now to the most important part: the music.
There they were, two hot, talented gals who met at Juilliard School of Music (pretty serious), popping off songs like, "Pussy Manifesto" and "Best Cock On The Block." (A song about a dildo, you know, eternally hard.) This was creative shit, man. Eclectic music for the healing potion side of the soul ... chix on fire! Surreal jammin', probably not for everyone ... but you never know. You never know, you never know, how many CEO's are dressin' in drag, havin' the occasional closet tryst.
Things are NOT as they seem, my friends!
If you're not in touch with the strange, with subcultures, then you don't know whass goin' on! The world is comprised of all kinds of people, not just the ones on t.v., who influence (yawn) so many people. They all effect each other, not just the spick-and span, the ruling dicks, but the dirty ones, the seedy ones, too. The surly ones, the kinky ones. Like Animal said, "We are the majority!" (whoever that is ...) My friends in Berlin tell me about Nick Nolte (manly-man) sneaking into the KitKat Club, you know what I mean?? And let's face it, do you know how many world leaders (pretend) are actually on crack!? You'd be suprised! Um, not ours, of course ... we fought and WON the War On Drugs, remember? Hats off to the New Power (Underground) Truth Movement! Not available at a (mainstream) theater near you! Sometimes the place that good vibes exist turn out to be exactly where they're not supposed to be. Good show, girlz.
Ended up in some Irish Pub in Berkeley. Jam night, or some shit like that. They asked me to get up and sing, so there I am, crooning some Neil Young tune, with the girl on guitar who just got a sex change in Thailand. (I'm not making this up! How could I??) And they loved it. Yeahh, they done dug it. Guess I had a little Animal in me (whoa!), or was it Bitch?! Grrrrrrr. And now, this is for the cute, dirty blonde with the pony tails, who was watching me sing, flirting without words. Yeahh, the eye contact was there! Yes, I felt it, too. (Your smile got me.) But, sorry ... I had to go ... with my girlz. (The lesbians.) -Todd
Mit Gas, that is ... that's the title of Mike Patton's new CD, with his (relatively) new band, Tomahawk. Yes, he's got three or four other bands, too. But this one's my pick of tha friggin' month, y'all. Just caught The Hawk's show at Slim's in San Francisco. Opener was The Melvins. 'Nuff said. Rrrrock! Makes all these pussy boy-bands look like the tenderfoots that they are ... pretty rockin', guys. Very bubbley. Mit Gas.
CD comes today in the States. Next week in Europe.
Go-outandgettitrightnowbitch! It's a good one!
In the house I'm staying in, a stone's-throw from South Berkeley, they have a ferret (yes! a ferret!), two cats, a junkyard dawg named "Stormy", a rat named "Claude," a snake, and a couple of turtles. And guess what ...
They all live PEACEFULLY together!
I think that's just Exemplar! They're all fed a steady (musical) diet of Ween - 24 hours a day! And there's that record from Bitch and Animal, recently released on Righteous Babe records pounding out, but they're all relatively normal!? OK, so one of the guys here just painted his pubies green, but that's another story, altogether! -Todd