"Maybe this gets down to it: the Ronettes, the Shangri-La's, the Crystals, the guy singers too, all those old classic rock 'n' roll songs were fueled by one thing: sexual repression, and constant frustration. They may have been sexist, they may have been neurotic or even masochistic--sometimes I think the whole reason pop music was invented in the first place was to vent sick emotions in a deceptively lulling form."
And I was reading about Debbie Harry and somebody in this book I was reading about Debbie said that their influences in their music went back to "Froggy Went'a Courtin'," and I think it was Debbie herself who said that and damn I got to thinking how "Froggy Went'a Courtin'" had stuck in my brain's both musical and everyday sides throughout my life--I can suddenly start thinking of a new tune of my own in my head and I'll be damn after I've jotted down the beats and the swing and shit like that I start remembering "Froggy Went'a Courtin'." That was a standard lullaby sung by all mothers and grandmothers down South in the old times, whether black or white, you got sung "Froggy Went'a Courtin'" at some time or another--and "Froggy" was a good little song; it was purdee Amurican and it had a little shuffling rhythm to it--based on the rocking of the rocking chair or the cradle the baby was being rocked in while sung to--and "Froggy" is right on the lullaby swinging beat, that cradle rock, that rockin' chair rock, where rock began, see! Where fucking rock began, in the cradle. That's what I was writin' about when I was writin' about remembering being in my baby bed and my father playing his Fats Waller records by my bedside. I was rocked by Fats. "Your Feets Too Big" I remember to this day, "I can't stands ya 'cause yo feets too big, I mean your peddle extremities are colossal." And Fats rocked at the piano, too; as Duke said, rocking was a swaying back and forth, just like the tribal singsongs used to do in old Mother Africa--and hey, I said in a magazine interview when I was the lead singer in a downtown NYC cult band, we all originally were Africans; Africa's the CRADLE of mankind--of course, all the music coming out of Africa in those ancient times is embedded in our instinctual memories--we all relate to those ancient cradle-rockin' beats, like the ancient beats in "Froggy Went'a Courtin'": sing it along with me, "Froggy went'a courtin' and he did ride/Uh-huh.../Froggy went'a courtin' and he did ride/Uh-huh/Froggy went'a courtin' and he did ride/A sword and a pistol by his side/Uh-huh." Those "Uh-huh" responses in "Froggy" are ancient as the hills, too. They represent the "turnarounds"--the passing beats that lead to the release in the verse, a final "Uh-huh." Isn't music fascinating? It's mathematical and literary at the same time--poetic, too, artistic, why we're called artists, though we're only artists really until we get that title from a recording contract, you know, So and So (Japanese) Record Label "recording artist." Ahhhhh, then you got it made in the shade when you get that designation assigned to you, "recording artist," every wannabe's dream.
How related all we musicians are--and that's another thing I'm writing about here, musicians related yet off in so many different directions. Musicians are always having to listen to music and the language of music (street talk)(bar talk)(nightclub talk)(drug talk)(jive talk), keep their ears to the grindstone, and be up to date--followin' the trends, just like stock market analysts follow trends, music being a business now, a business run by lawyers and old coming-again musicians and studio hogs and roadies who got rich and guys like Puffed Up Diddlysquat and Rude-sell Simmons and that ilk, wannabe stars themselves who get rich off the backs of the really creative artists and like P Dabbler get rich enough to make themselves bigger stars than the people you got rich off of. And all these "made" stars--where do they end up, why right in the back pocket of their oppressors, the recording industry, where they've been ever since the recording industry was born back in the early 1900s; the recording business always crooked same as the movie industry--crooked as snakes at night--and it's the business end of music that drives musicians to committing suicide--or the business of any art, the same business that drove Hemingway to blow his brains out, that drove Doctor Hunter Thompson to blow his brains out, that drove Kurt Cobain to blow his brains out, that drove Sylvia Plath to put her head in the F-ing oven and gas herself to death--and I once was close friends with a guy, a little tough guy, a once-champion welterweight boxer, and he was married to this trophy wife he loved more than he loved looking in the mirror at his totally fine-tuned body--except poor little tough guy had had his head so F-ing beaten in it caused him to hallucinate some really bad Bosch-like hellish visions and shit and hear voices, especially when he was looped on the evil weed--and such evil weed as we had back in those days when gettin' caught with a pot seed in your car's ashtray in Texas in them thar days could get you sent down to prisoner-friendly Huntsville, Texas, and the notoriously comfort zone for criminals, the Texas State Prison--we just called it "Huntsville"; we didn't give a shit about the city of Huntsville--we didn't even know if they had a high school football team, but we knew they had "Huntsville," the Texas State Prison. So my dear old boxing friend, the Puppy, heard voices one night sleeping with his wife--the voices told him, "If you don't kill youself and your wife--if you don't go together--she will leave you and you will never see her again--only the way you're directed will keep you and your wife together, and the Puppy woke up and while they were having breakfast he told her what the voices had told him and later that afternoon a friend knocked on their apartment door, smelled the gas, had the landlord break the door down and there they were, the Puppy and his beautiful wife, their arms bound together with duct tape, their heads in the oven--and they were kissing as they died. Whoooooo-boy, heavy, right? But that's the sensitive world of musicians and artists and even boxers--any people who are bound for a glory of some kind.
Maybe Debbie Harry's right in saying we're all traveling along parallel lines--we see each other, we work together in bands or in offices, we hear each other, we marry each other, we buy groceries together, but still we're on parallel lines of growing, of thinking, of talking, of playing--and as Debbie so shrug-shoulderly sung about the problem with this kind of life is that parallel lines never meet--they never get together in that familial way--our family is ourselves.
To be continued as is continued, as everything is continued until it is continued.
for The Daily Growler
[The latest Texas lynching occurred night before last when a Mr. Richard, a convicted murderer who swore he was innocent, got to visit the Huntsville Death Room and get on the guerney and take 30 minutes to die as the life is slowly and very painfully literally eaten out of you body--by drying your ass totally up. He had a legitimate appeal for a stay of execution but at 5 pm when the court to hear the appeal closed his defense team hadn't received the papers yet and they ask the lady judge to keep her court open til 5:30 and by then they'd have the papers and the judge said, "F you and F the N-worder; he's gonna die, baby, 'cause my court is CLOSED. Adios." So Mr. Richard is now dead and gone. All the whiteys in Texas are sayin', what the hell, this N-worder deserved it; he was a murderer, gas his ass; they all say they're innocent, especially the darkies--you know, they know they got the ACLU on their side--so we say, damn fine decision, your honor, and good riddance to Mr. Reee-shard's family. So, hot damn, they're still lynchin' down in Texas--Praise the Lard and pass me some of them prison biscuits and some of that hog's head gravy over here, too, and don't Bogart that spinach, now. I gotta eat hearty; my stupid wife's brother done killed an N-worder down in Conroe and I gotta go git him off--or at least git him a light sentence--I'm sure the judge'll hold the court open for me--no problem, I used to bang her when we were kids, so, hell, I know her worthless husband, too; double dated with him many a times before and after he was married to her. Good ole Texas justice! It just keeps on keepin' on.]