The club asked me who he is ... I told them that he is our male nude dancer, on stage. Oh, they said. I was kidding. Or was I? At precisely this moment, the Naked Man was born. I mean, he has a name. He is a great guitar player. He is from Canada. He is a person. He is on tour with Calico Soul. He is my friend. But none of this is important. He is Naked Man.
It can be scary, you know, the power of words. Because I called him the naked man, now he has gone beyond, so to speak, and feels like he has to get naked all the time. I mean, I really do not mind. It is his perogative. But I worry that he will get naked a tad too much - on the train, in a taxi, in a fancy restaurant. But I support him in his nakedness. Yes, I believe in freedom, and each person should be allowed to get naked whenever they want. Perhaps we should copyright this name. There have already been Nakedman copy-cat sightings around europe ...
The other day we were in Interlaken, one of the most beautiful willages in all of europe, and the Nakedman started playing guitar. You should have heard the urban blues pouring from the man, the sounds ... The people just tuned in, and started bobbing along to his naked tunes. It was really quite moving. The peacefulness of Nakedman. The honesty and passion of Nakedman. Such openness, such beauty. I hope that a world naked-revolution will break out, and that we will become one around the globe, in true harmony with each other and our bodies and our minds and music and naked love sweet love and whatnot ...
The singer of Fishbone showed up at our swanky 5 star hotel dinner with no shirt on, and I wonder if it is because of the Nakedman ...
I wonder what will happen on stage, at the gig tonight, in Brno.
Nakedman for President. Be free.
Thassright, the home of the jazz festival ... Well, one minute you're sitting in Toronto, reading signs designed to scare the hell outta you about SARS (but I survived!), and the next minute you're sitting on the lake in Montreaux, basking innit, and staring at a huge bronze statue of Freddie Mercury! So much to tell - more later ... Oh, and they fed us the best DUCK I ever had!
And the gigs were great - what can I say? Beyond words ...
And we met a girl who kept yelling, "Hey, Todd - I've been to VENICE BEACH!!!!!"
Well, good for you, doll. Drove all day and night, and I'm tired as fuck, but it's all for the Music, Amigos!
Des Moines to Iowa City to Chicago to Toronto to London!
What a day ...
(Only a few people in the world will get this one - and most of them are in Oakland!)
For Nick: Give me FIVE MINUTES! and I'll get you pictures of every incredible movie star in embarrassing situations - including Sean Connery in a red Speedo! (Add Sean voice-over, "I'm Seannnn Connerrry ...") On some funky planet with Space-babes, and a scottish tan. Then with just a bit of wine, you'll all swear that the Turks are coming! (Led by Captain Turk of the U.S.S. Enterprize.) Or was it a golden dildo from (?) Turkmycockistan, and you know in FIVE MINUTES we can find the map of that place on the web!? But remember:
"Don't let the Menehune see ya coming ... they're tricky bastards!"
Yeah, so we say, ride the night train to Zardov with an Amber ale in your hand, stumble through Oakland looking for trouble, and when ya find it, just let the homeless man show you how to run a weed-eater after all, then let the junkyard dog let his guard down, and howl much like his master(s), and master will become servant, and aren't we ALL just a bunch of Weens, anyway?! Furthermore, we didn't go Chapter 11 - so buy all the phoney-baloney top dawg stocks and throw it into Golden Dildo Soup bonds, 'cuz that's where the real money's at, and isn't it just so sad about all these "Budget Sluts" they've been giving to the rich? I mean, let's ask the new King Daddy J. how to handle such malarky ... she'll know. And what about Boy George Michael Jackson Browne? He's great ...
All we're trying to say, is that there's a new movement emerging, one of supreme love of free speech, so free that it hurts! Huh, huh - no, that's not it. It's so free that your bum is hanging out. No - that's not it, either. Just throw me bone to the wolves, and let an Animal (or was it Bitch?) praise free speech in all kinds of mysterious ways, that make the Menehunies go, "Ahhhh ..." And then watch us celebrate 3 nights in a row, over nothing, and as the sun comes up (and what a beautiful sun it is) let us don our red skivvies (to be like Zardov the Great) and watch us hitch-hike to Calcutta, Kentucky ... And the first one to paint his or her pubies green IS a rotten egg, and then at precisely the perfect, sychronistic moment - watch a ferret screech by, doing a fancy dance for insomniac villains. In JC we trust ... the Immortal Church of JOHNNY CASH!
Al Sharpton for President!
Me: "Yeah, I'll have a burger and french fries, please ..."
Them: "Oh, we don't call them french fries anymore, sir. We call them,
Now, um ... hasn't all of this anti-French malarky gone a bit too far?? I mean, I just wanna eat my fries in peace. And didn't we get the Red, White, and Blue from the French?! They're our friends. Why did they become the bad guys, all of a sudden? Yes, yes, that's me (on the cover of the last Calico Soul CD) in Paris, with a broken nose. They ARE passionate. Heh, heh. And snooty, perhaps. But I'm all for forgiveness, not retribution. It only makes your bad-ass self all the more badass. Get human, people! And dammit, if they don't have some awesome ideas and pastries and coffee and ... whewwww! Now I remember the most important thing. There was that other time in Paris when I ... orgh ... um ... oh, yeahhh ... tasty!
So here is a short list of my favorite things:
You polish of a good bottle of Freedom Wine with some friends. Have a bit of coffee with some Freedom Souflee for desert. You discuss the Freedom Revolution back in the 1800's, which screwed everything up. Someone gets tipsy and shows you their Freedom Manicure, which is delightful. At the end of the night (don't forget this one!) you top it off with a good Freedom Kiss!
"There's nothing worse than a boring fuck, or driving through Nebraska ..."
George Washington coined the phrase, I believe. No wait ... it was me. Heh,heh. Nebraska. Also a fine album by Brooce. Anyway, there we were, top down on the red convert able to spin wheels like whistlin' dixie. And my bodyguard / friendship cousin driving the rocket says, "Only two more hours to Lincoln." Hair blowing in the wind, talking about time travel whilst the boogaloo stopcop-switch warns of occifers with radar guns. But gun us down they don't, as we speed across the tundra, hours on end. And we get there and a man we'll call Rust says he's marrying a princess, and I believe him - and furthermore, he doth taught a class on prejudice and racism at the university level, and they all stood up and applauded him! So we do, too! Keep up the good work, man, the dirty work is hard and Rust never sleeps. I commend you, for your humour - your mind - running with the bulls in Spain and surviving - your dedication - and yes, one of the few of us Hollywood scruffs with a PhD! Job well done, transplated Californian, you! I drove through the tedius landscape of Midwestern (hell) boredom, just to see you, and I'd do it again. Michaelangelo reads his newspapers upside down, and it's because the inquisitive mind(s) strives to outdo HIMSELF, none other, while holding down the interactive fort of and with friends, and total strangers that one meets on the highway! Peace, y'all - I've said too much. (But the Midwest STILL sucks!)
The road less traveled can be desolate, my friends. Don't give up!
We have reached an all-time high: 2 million people are currently in our prison system - the most in the world. A highly disproportional number of these people are black and hispanic.
Have a nice day ...
Person A: "Hey, that guy is a GOOD bassoon player!"
Person B: "Mm-hmm."
Me: "Yeah! That's the one and only West Side Ken ..."
One of my favourite Fishbone stories is the time they played at UCLA, a few years ago. It was in Ackerman Grand Ballrom, and I was working in the Pizza Joint downstairs (called "Two Bears From Italy," or some bullshit yabba like that). I was eating pizza and was 21 years old and loving life and didn't have a care in the world except for how was I going to get into the Fishbone concert!? Well, at the end of my shift I grabbed a pizza, put on my hat, with the brim low over my eyes so no-one could see who I was, and rode the service elevator from the pizzeria up to the next floor. The door opened, and wouldn't you know it - I was backstage! So there I was in my full get-up (we didn't even deliver), people grinning at me (I must have looked like a nut), and now I'm trying to deliver this pizza to the soundman or someone, anyone! so I can just watch the show, which was about to begin.
I guess I owe them 7 bucks, or something.
So I walked out to the soundman, and ate my pizza. All cool, like I was supposed to be there, 'cuz I WAS! I took off my doofus uniform, stuffed it in the pants that I was wearing underneath ("No, Your Honor ... it wasn't pre-meditated, I swear!") and looked like a regular college kid. Nobody suspected that I WASN'T a card-carrying, legitimate student with dawg collie beer-breath and terrible grades. I'd pulled a "Bond," all in the name of music, of course! Just try and keep me away from a good jam! Had I told anyone, anyone at all, that I'd hi-jacked the service elevator (after reading the schematic, of course) and had jimmied my way in with a hot, steaming pizza in my hand, they wouldda olive said, "Yeah, right." If anyone pulls a similar feat at our show in Vevey, Switzerland on June 17th - well, I'll personally commend that person! Hey, I DARE ya ...
The show at UCLA was great. Those guys were on fire! I thought it was sooo cool that at one point, one of those guys pulled out a tuba, and was jumping around. It might have been Norwood, I'm not sure. Mohawks were everywhere. The singer dove into the pit (now, this was really amazing, no foolin') and they lifted him up and down, back and forth, as he bounced around, being thrown into the air by ecstatic UCLA hipsters. He flipped up and over, all the way to the back of the room, the entire distance of Ackerman, to the very back, by the soundboard, where I was quietly munching on my pizza. He'd gone through and over ALL of the people in the crowd, and it was alot! (I swear, this is all true ...) And when there ceased to be people anymore to hoist him, he fell down to the floor with a "plop", right in front of me and the soundman. He looked at us for a second, sort of like, "What do I do, NOW?" and then jumped back up into the thronging mass of people! That was outrageously cool! And then, ya know what?? He flipped and jumped right back up over the people, and was hoisted all the way back through the crowd again, until he finally got back up to the stage. We were all screaming in approval by then ... that was one of the most incredible things I've ever seen! Awesome! Man, that was fucking rrrrrighteous!
Fishbone stories, runners up:
- The time that bass player who ended up teaching english in Guatamala said (What was that guy's name?? He played in my band, too! And I can't remember his doggone name ...) Said that he was up in Santa Barbara, and these zany guys were driving around, way too many dudes in one van, mooning people and stuff, and it was Fishbone! They were yelling and singing and causing ruckus ... "Now that's A BAAAND!" he said ...
- Karl Reed, lives up in Santa Barabara, too. He had a Mohawk and everything (has absolutely nothing to do with previous story ...)!
- BK the drummer tellin' me all kinds of whackey tales about Fishbone ... like at the Cinerama Dome, watchin' a chill flick, Fishbone dudes in tha house. "Those guys are probably the hottest live show I've seen in a long time!"
- Aberslumbie hanging out at the Venice drum-circle, getting high with Mohawk people (may or may not be related to actual Fishbone members).
- People getting high at Fishbone shows in Switzerland because it's "Practically Legal" to do that in their country ... Mmmmm.
- Numerous true or made-up stories about the annual Amsterdam gigs.
- Bernard of the Migs tells me that Norwood is his neighbor, but I still don't believe him. Huh, huh.
Well, actually, there are literally zillions of Fishbone stories, so just conjerr them up, and let your imagination run wild! See you in the Alps, fuggahs!!!!!!!!!!!!
-Todd (still in the Midwest / dreaming of gigs ...)
I bet you didn't know that I was the Vice President of my class at Indianola High School. Yep, it's true. In the daze before California. Almost everyone voted for me (it's really true!) but the person who became president (no names) sold more drugs than I did. Yeah, I'm still fuming about it. It's no fun being Number 2 in America ... ha,ha! I really thought that I represented our class best, and wanted to do some positive things for us all. And I did: the first thing I did was to hire my own band for the Homecoming Dance. Yeah! We were awesome ... any Tempest II fans out there?? But I decided that politics was for the birds, and turned my passion towards music. I was sad that I only got runner up. But the thing is, I realized something invaluable from the whole ordeal. I really did. It was:
A lot of people like me. Some people don't. AND THAT'S OK.
Yessir, it's basically just ego to try to be Number 1 all the time. Think about it. Out of all those people who ran, and I almost won! Seems to me that something can be learned from each and every human being on the planet, not just the cool people, the rad people, the bad people, the good looking people, the rich people, the stars, the star-fuckers, well ... you get the picture. To listen, instead of trying to "out-do." Good leaders listen to their people. Period. Be yourself, people! Come what may. And I realized too, that to try and think that EVERYONE should like you, is just ludicrous. And it's not healthy. There is no such thing as a person that everyone likes ... How many people out there are putting on faces, just to make other people like them more?! Pathetic! I was never any good at that one. Never could fake it, still don't. I am who I am and you can take me like I am ... or you can shove it! Why are people so fucked up?? Partly because they're so concerned with trying to show everyone how together they are, how un-fucked up they are. Fiction! Bee yourself. And guess what, sports fans: Low and behold! People actually will like you BETTER when you just 'fess up and act like yourself. This goes for Kings and Presidents of high schools everywhere (and small countries, too). I believe in the basic good-ness of people, and I believe we would all be in better shape if - yeah - we wouldn't be in this mess if we all just trusted each other and spoke our minds, and told each other, HONESTLY, how we feel. At the risk of looking like a boob ... yes! At the risk of pissing someone off ... yes! Time to turn this ship around. Get real - get human. Enough already. -Todd
P.S. Another time I was pissed off about only getting the 2nd chair trumpet in the Swing Band, until the very-clever-band-director whispered in my ear, "But Todddd ... the 2nd trumpet player gets all the SOLOS ... " Ahhh, very cool. In my haste, I hadn't seen that I'd been given the best place! To show my thanks, I often showed up late ...