I was out until 2 am last night doing a little drinking with some musician friends, the boys. Musicians are wonderful fun, you know. We work in bars, the sleazier the better for the kind of music I play; we depend on bars or nightclubs for our incomes [or weddings or socialite parties] but always featuring booze, food, babes, dancing, gettin' together, gettin' laid--though nowadays, most musicians I know have to have day gigs, those good ole days long gone.
In the good old days, it was really a party every night except Mondays--the musician's night off. The gigs ran from 9 pm until 3, then you would go to an all-night cafe for breakfast--pork chops, scrambled eggs, and hashbrowns used to be my favorite musician breakfast--with beaucoup black coffees into which we surely had a jigger or two of cognac to tipple into it from out of our jacket pockets. My favorite of all time musician's cafe was called "Jerry's" in one Far West town I gigged in for 5 years. When you left Jerry's and got home, your wife or girlfriend would make you take a shower before you hit the sack you smelled so obnoxiously of greasy food, cigarette smoke, and cheap perfume. In NYC, the place my crowd used to frequent was "The Pink Teacup" when it was on Bleeker. I gigged for several years, my best music years, in downtown Manhattan.
Even musicians's women came from bars and nightclubs in those days, and I'm talking everyday working musicians, not the big star musicians. The odds are against most musicians becoming big stars; it's like playing the state lottos where the odds of you winning are hundreds of millions to one. Same with the musician lotto. There must be at least 10 million musicians in this country at any given time, so that would make your odds of hitting stardom 10 million to one, though I would argue that that 10 million figure is low. Go on the Internet and just count the amazing number of independent musicians trying to hustle their blogs, their ideas, their gigs, their CDs, hell, their souls. A lot of them on well-produced Websites-- and a truly lot of these musicians women now. Back in my earliest days you very seldom came across any kind of bands with women in them, except for the singers, of course, and, too, maybe the leader of the band was a woman.
I was a musician for 30 years before I worked with a woman, a bass player.
Then I worked with a woman drummer later one night at a corporate jazz party, and I fell madly in love with her, she was beautiful and Max Roach-like to boot--and I mean, she was a damn good drummer. My problem was when I went to pick her up on our first date, this big dude met me at the door and said she couldn't fulfill the obligation she'd made (that's what he said). Then I looked over his shoulder into her livingroom and saw her lolled back on the couch naked as a jaybird and off in some drug-stupor dreamscape. Turned out, yep, she was a heroine addict, or so said the guy who booked the gig and introduced me to her. "Oh, I didn't tell you she was a heroine addict?...sorry about that, man...oh, and, yeah, she's married, too, dude, to a big motherf-er...." "Thanks, you son of a bitch, I met the husband." I called the B-babe later and she acted like she didn't know me and didn't remember meeting me and I said, "That's bullshit, baby, and you god-damn know it," and she said, "Yeah, I know it, sorry, baby." And she was sorry. I could put out a wolf ticket on the woman right now, but I'll let bygones be bygones.
Back in the good old days for my musician friends, smoking was allowed in all the venues we played in or hung in. I've been playing the piano many a night in many a dive and the smoke was so thick in the joint my eyes would start watering up and puffing up and tingling and bothering me so bad I was struggling to get the music played at all... then at the end of a tune, I'd have to fly like a flying pig to the men's room to wash that smoke out of my eyes before I could see again. That's why I started wearing sunglasses at night. People always teased me about that, but besides making you look like a "cool cat," the sunglasses protected your eyes from the smoke of those sleazy bars and clubs we had to triumph in night after night.
In my mafficking about town last night with my musician friends, one of them announced that he'd had a lung and heart imaging recently and the doc had found three spots on his lungs and that he had a heart condition. This is a guy who's never smoked, is a vegetarian, a runner, works out, but he has spots on his lungs and a heart condition NOW, and all of a sudden, too. We got to talking about the smoke of bars and nightclubs back in those good old days and he said, yes, it was from contact smoke that he got his spots and maybe even his heart problems. Holy shit, I thought, I'm damn sure not getting my lungs or heart imaged then because surely I've got spots if he does; besides, I was married to a chain smoking woman for 10 years.
As I was walking back from breakfast this morning--not a Jerry's breakfast, nope, Cranberry juice, coffee, and a bottle of water--up Broadway, along in front of row after row of store windows full of battery- and quartz-driven watches, silver jewelry, geegaw, perfumes, all cheap crap from China or Malaysia, sold in these junk shops by the tons to mostly poor folks, Third World types like the mighty Nigerians who buy every piece of whatever junk these stores have to offer, and as I was passing those gaudy rip-off windows, I thought, if I died right now, would I miss this? A resounding NO was the answer that came back from my solar plexus. For some reason, I am not afraid of death; it has accompanied me through most of my life, from my first memory of a great-grandmother's death up until just this week when I found out my ex-wife had died a year and a half ago. They have died before me and I have kept on going kind'a in their names, determined to live--maybe for them, I'm so driven in this. My two best friends in all of my life died horrible deaths from cancer; my own brother died of brain cancer--JESUS CHRIST! How about my mother's sister who lived to be 90! That's who I'm banking on. There ya go. Or my uncle, the one they said murdered a man in Memphis and hid from the law by working in mental institutions, still working in mental institutions 60 years after the murderous fact, living to a ripe old 88, fat and sassy, gambling away his last cent, and puffing away on those Camel cigarettes he so loved. There ya go, that's the way I'll face death. Like Muddy Waters and Professor Longhair who went home from gigs, went to bed, and never woke up. Now, that's the cool way to die. Musicians are subject to dying young or at least unexpectedly.
I had a another great-grandmother who was in her late eighties and one day she just stopped being sane. It was amazing, a very articulate, wise person one day and a babbling wreck of a crazed loot the next; then they put her in a snake pit and she died from fright. "Fright!" Yep, said the slovenly nurse that ran the snake pit, she said creatures were jumping off the walls at her and she just knew that's what scared her to death. The woman didn't know who she was the last time I saw her; she was lying on a military cot naked in a room with no light, only shadows on the wall--I remember those shadows--they did look like creatures, even to me a sane little boy just waking up to living, having no idea what the hell death was. I've tried to keep that little boy attitude about it ever since, though I know full well death is alive and healthy somewhere vacationing in my body until it has to do its job.
The world looks very sad and scary as I type this. Our "president" is certainly after his Russian debacle of a trip totally insane, psychopathically. Did anybody notice, is Pickles on this junket with him? They flew in a special plane from Washington a "specially built" port-a-potty to Vienna for that fool to shit and piss in. Did you read that? Did you read the insane reason for it? That Al-Queda could gain valuable information from looking at the fool, phony president's shit, this they said due to an African guerrilla group collecting some African potentate's crap and learning information that later led to the potentate's assassination--I may have this wrong, but it doesn't matter, the truth is worse than I've laid it out. Imagine raising the cost of medicine on your elders and at the same time flaunting the squandering of working people's money on a fucking port-a-potty for that lamebrain, doofus, fake president who is losing his grip on reality and sliding off into the bowels of a HOLY HELL and we're letting this insane man drag us down with him. We are all FOOLS.
Fools of the day: Bill and his Lady Hillary--they are so full of shit. Also, the "president" for saying Putin needs a little Iraq democracy in his country. "No thank you," Putin said, in much more unkinder words. Charles Schumer is a fool. Howard Dean is a fool. Even Bernie Sanders dressing down the Dumbocrats wasn't tough enough--his slapping rather pathetic if you ask me. The Dumbocrats need to be slugged hard, maybe with a two-by-four, to wake them up. All the opportunities to protest and unify all Amuricans under a true Democratic-style platform and these fools let these insane assholes just slide on by [they're giving Bush another 100 billion dollars for this war next year, did you read that?]. Hillary is too busy raising 22 million bucks to run for reelection against a couple of simpleton Repugnican nutjobs, one a woman legally insane. Yet, old Hillary, she's got 22 million tax-free bucks of ours; you think she's gonna use to help us? Maybe she's gonna get another commodities stock tip; or maybe a chance for a big land deal in some white-backwater place. Such lamebrained assholes we have wanting to be our voices. thegrowlingwolf sez, F all you all, I'm headed back into my dreamworld.
World War III will begin as soon as the goons start gutting each other with nukes. It's coming. We're dealing with ancient blood rivalries with these Israelis vs. their Palestinian and Syrian and Lebanese brothers and sisters. They're all Semites from the same land. How easy it would be to live in peace; yet WAR is inevitable. MAN LOVES KILLING. Women are now finding out what it's like to be in a warring military. Those poor foolish men and women who joined the armed forces to bilk 'em out of college degrees and career advancements are now learning during war all of that bullshit goes flying out the window with the flying pigs. The army recruiters are liars. There job is to keep those barracks pens full of cannon fodder; they don't give a shit about these kids's educations or future careers.
Semper Fi, you poor foolish souls; you're sure to die, you poor foolish souls; or if you don't you'll wish you had, you poor foolish souls, when you come back in that body bag, you poor forgotten souls.
for The Daily Growler