Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Growlin' and Howlin'

From The Daily Howler

As we've said before, there is a big difference between "growling" and "howling"--yes, wolves howl, but only after they're satisfied and looking for further pleasures--I suppose a wolf can HOWL the blues, but it's when a wolf GROWLS that you've got to be careful. Also, a Howler can be a very loud and demanding monkey. All that prefacing done, we today link you to The Daily Howler for a damn interesting edition, yesterdays' Howler post, which is considering just why Rudi "Mussolini" Guiliani could become YOUR next president--with maybe Joel Lieberman as his running mate? The Howler is an ex-schoolteacher/comedian from Baltimore whose comments on the right-wing bushbeaters and idiotic scumbags, like Tim Russert or the Howler's favorite dope, Chris Matthews (a pompous fatass who'll soon have a massive coronary--his piggy face turns bright red occasionally making him look like the Very Dead Reverend Jerry Falwell, another pig face possum 'n gravy eatin' fat ass, as he was shovelin' in that last big soup spoon full of burgoo fat and ham-fat gravy right before GAWD belted him with the massive coronary that sent old Rev Jerry off to "gloryland" afore his time). Anyway, here's a damn solid good read from the Howler yesterday, check it out.

thegrowlingwolf and thedailygrowlerhousepianist Are Pulling a Bix & Tram Day Today, Eating, Drinking (to the Drunken State), Playing Records (Wolfie Just Got His 78 rpm Record Player), etc., Maybe Even Chuckling Over an Pound Poem or 2

Yep, the old Wolf Man and thedailygrowlerhousepianist have called in "sic" today--and we know where you can find them but we won't give it away. Wolf Man turned in half his next installment on One Spring Morning Off Spring Street leaving us hanging high for the next half of it, which he's carrying around in his "Hecho en Mexico" black briefcase and wearing his D'Avila Mexicano sombrero--easy to spot wherever he's at in Manhattan, New York, or even if he's in Manhattan, Kansas--he swears he's checkin' in tomorrow with a "final" epidsode--his "final" episode was supposed to be #25, but he's transcended that and is aiming at some stratospheric number now--who the hell knows? WEV.

for The Daily Growler

Tuesday, October 30, 2007


"Geronimo" in His Own Words

I have always been both an admirer and champion of Geronimo, though when I was a kid out on the plains of West Texas, Geronimo's legend was one that struck fear in the white man's heart as most white folks, the elders, I grew up with thought of Geronimo as a kidnapper of young white girls ("All injins love white girls; they're like N-worders in that reee-speck") and a scalper of all "brave" white men, some old women, too, why and even babies ("I heered them injins would take little white babies and throw 'em up in the air and shoot arrows at 'em--why, I heered about one white family where their darlin' little baby, Moses O'Hara, was tossed up in the air by Geronimo's savages and landed daid at his mammy's feet with 14 filthy injin arrows piercing his little precious white body")--I mean, come on, folks, stories like that are enough to send a little white boy or girl out on lone prairie into an imaginary world of perpetual nightmares of Geronimo and his redskins tossing babies in the air and shooting them full of arrows or staking "brave" white men spread eagled over a red ant bed--in the middle of a broiling prairie sun--and then pour honey over the poor white slob, you know smear the honey on lightly--maybe take a couple of slugs of honey while you're preparing the white devil--or "I've heered tell of stories of injins gutting a pregnant white mother and spearing out the fetus and barbecuing it and eating it with wild war-whooping glee, all naked, and painted up, geegawed to the hilt in pagan regalia".... Then while in the U.S. "Goddamm, Goddamm" Army, I was stationed at Fort Sill, Oklahoma, just outside Lawton, Oklahoma, and old Geronimo is famous there because that's where he was imprisoned after he was captured by the U.S. Calvary.

So, anyway, thedailygrowlerhousepianist sent this link to me a moon or so ago. I married a 1/8th Choctaw girl when I was a pimple-faced lad without any sense and looking in old Geronimo's face I see my wife's grandfather, who was 1/2 Choctaw--and Mexican-Irish the other 1/2--could old Geronimo's seed been amongst that old man's DNA?

Anyway, here ya'all go, Geronimo's story in his own damn, unexpurgated, too. Remember when "unexpurgated" on the cover of a book meant the "sex" and the "foul language" were left intact in it's story? Oh hell how that sold books.

I'm amazed at how many tribes and subtribes and different Native American peoples there were in that Western part of America, Texas, Oklahoma, New Mexico, Arizona, especially Arizona, Geronimo's home turf.

Dennis Kucinich (sic)
During a debate last evening at Drexel U in Philadelphia, presidential candidate and Clevelander Dennis Kucinich (sic) called Georgie Porgie Bush mentally ill. He's already getting right-wing swift-boated over his remarks, which he's said he will not take back or apologize for, like Nancy "Richer than God" Pelosi forced poor old outspoken Pete Stark to do last week; weakkneed toadies, all of 'em, even the good ones. God how I consider politicians the lowest form of human-animal hybrids. Numbskulls all of them; dumb as a pine log; especially Pappy and Mammy Bush and their chillin'--Neil, Marvin, Jeb (named after a Confederate general), the daughter, whose name escapes me, and Little Georgie, the whiny little spoiled rich brat who's resume is full of failures--in fact, everything Georgie Porgie has tried has failed disastrously--why, his oil business with one of his Bin Laden "brothers" failed so bad, the Bin Laden brother ended up dead with a bullet through his head. And now Unka Dick(less) and Georgie Porgie his puppet want World War III--the last hope for a Neo-Con world dominance--a war that won't have Iran nuking anybody but will have the good ole USA and it's subsidiary, Israel, nuking Arabs and Persians like Hitler gassed Jews--the Final Solution is rearing its hydra-heads again! I mean, don't we all agree, defending Israel is more important than preserving the earth and mankind?--why, Bush and his billionaire buddies are prepared to sacrifice the whole of humanity to defend Israel and Middle-East oil from the pagan Islamic hoards that are gathering behind Osama bin Ladin in Paki-stan and the Hindustan and Afghan-is-stan and Uzbek-i-stan--and I can't stan all of this bullshit that is flying out of Washington, the District of Corruption, and right into We the People's dumbass faces. Hey, those clowns are shittin' us, folks--even the good ones--they're all nuts, Dennis, including you probably.

Not me, however; I'm like Henry Miller, too f-ing sane to be insane. I once worked in a nuthatch in Austin, Texas, for two days--a good salary, too--but blimey and blow me down, people, those poor souls were way on out passed CRAZY, they were "out of this world" and certainly "out of my world" and I wasn't about to, like R.D. Laing taught us, take 'em by the hand and lead 'em back into that forest in which they were first confused and discombobulated and taken over by their instincts and the frightening legends that have developed out of those instincts. Transcendence is very difficult; not all of us have the brain-power to pull it off, certainly not a stupid, low-life, belly-0f-the-dog politician.

George Steinbrenner and his two sons are three of the dumbest, jerk0ff, rich assholes to ever own a baseball team (and believe me there have been some dumb, pompous, asshole owners in baseball before)--they know nothing about baseball--Brian Cashman, the general manager, is included in this put down. The Mets suffered this kind of managerial bullshit for years--under Fred Wilpon (sic) especially and now finally they have a good team and a good manager, except, if Willie doesn't make it next year to the World Series, his managerial days are over. I think the Mets should get A-Rod, but they won't; they still hate him from when they had him after Texas dumped him back when the Yankees bought him--remember in negotiations with the Mets he wanted his own luxury box, his own promotional lines (clothing, memorabilia, etc.), plus his own billboards and office space? This is all the maneuvering of A-Rod's agent, the wiliest there is--he's putting A-Rod's free agency out on the open market hoping at the last minute the Yankees will renig and resign the best player in baseball today. A-Rod could easily get offered a 300 million dollar contract by some team--based on A-Rod playing on into his forties.

Will Joe Torre go to the Dodgers? I think he might; and he'll take Pettitte, Posada, and Mariano Rivera with him maybe--Don Mattingly, too, who the Steinbrenner jerks treated like shit 'cause he was considered by them one of Joe's stooges--plus they lost wild-man Larry Bowa--dumbass Steinbrenner. His pompous fool ego is what wrecked the Yankees this year not Joe Torre. Brian Cashman couldn't pick a winning pitcher if he had Cy Young's hand up his ass directing him; hitters are easy; they're a dime-a-dozen out there, but pitchers--look at how the Cleveland staff folded in the World Series. Boston's pitching this year, except for Beckett, wasn't really dick-shit; but they came through against the Chief Wahoos at the most important time (and I don't consider sweeping the Rockies anything spectacular--I think I could single-handedly beat the Rockies in Fenway), though the Yankees beat 'em easy all season long; hell, the Yankees beat Cleveland 6 in a row in the regular season--but how are you supposed to be up and battling with the eye of the tiger when your pompous, jackass, dumb-fuck owner announces that Joe Torre either beats Cleveland or he's fired! Way to go, George--hope you're disease is eatin' you on outta here, though your sons and your son-in-law (who's not even George's son-in-law anymore) are dumb as you and will wreck the Yankees--wait and see. Sons always ruin their fathers's businesses, and the Yankees are hard to ruin--the richest team in baseball--yet, the Steinbrenner boys will manage to ruin it. Joe Gerardi is a cool dude--he wasn't a great player though, and managing the Florida Marlins is much easier than managing the Yankees--plus this guy was Jorge Posada's back-up catcher--and now he's gonna be Posada's boss! And how stupid is the rumor the Yankees are going after Mike Lowell; Jesus, they've got that Boston reject Johnny Damon clogging up the line up now; why would you want another Boston reject on your team; Damon has been totally worthless since they got him two years ago--hitting .310 in Boston, comes to NYC and this year could only hit .250. The Yankees are a train wreck ready to happen. It could be I may not even be interested in baseball next year--or I might become a Mets fan--can you imagine? "Babe, Lou, Joe, Yogi, Whitey, Reggie, Donnie Baseball, dudes, I'm sorry; I may be blowin' out the candles on the Yankee altar." I really can't imagine being a Mets fan, however, though the Mets are really a branch of the Yankees--their first manager--their current manager--and check how many old Mets finished their careers with the Yankees--Doc "the Snorter" Gooden, Darrell Cokestrawberry, Dave Kingman, Lee Mazilli--to name a few--so in a way I could say float above the Mets next year while keeping an eye on the Yankees in case they come out of this smelling like a champion rose--though I can't imagine them doing it--I mean they are banking on a bunch of wunderkind "untried" pitchers, all of whom, including the miracle boy, Jabo Chamberlain, started out like houses a'fire but blew it bad in the playoffs--remember silly, stupid, Jabo and the gnats? And the Yankees are banking on those young Double-A-at-best kids to put 'em on top next year--and A-Rod won't be there and Posada could be gone, leaving only Jeter to carry the team--A-Rod, Jeter, and Posada were the only consistent hitters on the Yankees this past year--the rest of the young Yankees all fell below what they'd done the year before--Cano hit .344 last year; he hit only .270 or something this year.

We'll see. Wev.

for The Daily "Ez" Growler

Happy Birthday, Ezra Pound! goddamm, goddamm, goddamm, DAMM.

Monday, October 29, 2007

Happy Birthday, Ez

It's Ezra Pound's Birthday

We know, we know! Anti-Semite! Fascist! Lousy poet! Yeah, we know, he was all those things but let's, like old Jesus when he's loose, forgive him his sins and compliment him for the not-lousy poems at all, but great works of poetic art, dazzling in their multiclues and language tricks and references and all bundled up in Ez's special bag, his bag of tricks, his trick bag, same as Krazy Kat's and Felix the Cat's. And after WWII when the American troops captured ole Ez as a war criminal, they put Ez in a chicken coop pen, out in the open, just a wooden roof over his by then war-haggard head--and ole Ez paid for his sins, folks, he really did; and then the Feds put ole war criminal Ez in Saint Elizabeth's nuthatch in the District of Corruption and think of that, a sane and constantly thinking gentleman being tortured by having his freedom taken away from him by imprisoning him in a nuthatch full of yodelers and mockers and fiddlers and hooters and howlers and munchers and catatonic bodies reveling in the throes of pure Nothingness, a pure existential state--a wooden state--but Ez, even surrounded by such a circus of confused and tortured screamers, still was able to write his poetry, to memorize more and more lines of what he couldn't write down. We've always admired ole Ez, especially as the first lover of one of our favorite women, Hilda Doolittle, H.D., who learned how to put her poems into imagistic forms from ole Ez though soon Ez lost interest in her, there were other fish to fish out of the romantic pools of wild old England during those turn-of-the-past-century, the early 1900s, days--and then there was WWI, but Ez wasn't a war criminal in WWI, though his opinions were probably pretty well gelled by then.

Here's one of our favorite of Ez's poems--thegrowlingwolf wrote it out for us from memory:

Ancient Music
Winter is icummen in,
Lhude sin Goddamm.
Raineth drop and staineth slop,
And how the wind doth ramm!
Sing: Goddamm.

Skiddeth bus and sloppeth us,
And ague hath my ham.
Freezeth river, turneth liver,
Damn you, sing: Goddamm.

Goddamm, goddamm, 'tis why I am goddamm,
So 'gainst this winter's balm.

Sing goddamm, sing goddamm
Sing goddamm, sing goddamm, DAMM.

Old Ez at his best; a delightful little ditty.
Ezra Pound as drawn by another weird, wonderful, great one, Wyndham Lewis.
Gautier's Head of Ezra.
Ez near the end; a recluse in his beloved Italy--with his beloved Olga Rudge. Adios.

Happy Birthday, Ez, wherever you are--we see you though, Ez; you can't hide from us; we're simply words, too.

for The Daily Growler

One Spring Morning Off Spring Street #31

"The most striking of all the Birdland songs was 'There's a Man in There.' Lester told Billy Altman he wrote the lyrics without realizing what they were about. Later he showed them to his therapist, Phil Sapienza [Mitch Leigh's & Joey Ramone's stepfather], who praised them as an artful depiction of the death of his father. ... Two decades later Sapienza still remembered the song's imagery. 'That was the most haunting episode in Lester's entire life,' he said. 'He came back to it over and over again--death by fire, and of all people his own father.'" [Let It Blurt, Jim DeRogatis, p 183.]

And first I listened to Lester Bangs and Birdland, Track 6, "I Fought the Law" and ARRRRRRGGGGGGGGGG! With a shriek I woke up again--I shook my head--was I in 1979 again or still in the NOW?--if it was 1979 it was just too close to home--"God-damn, what the hell is that--Matty! Matty! What the hell!" I shook my head harder. "God-damn, what the hell is that?" was still jumbling around my cranium, my brain was writing away--and I was back in '79, shaking my head back then, shaking my head up off my bed, a double mattress supported by large wooden palettes, they were thick as hops in those days in that neighborhood, a neighborhood of printing plants, lots of loading platforms, and always around these loading platforms were tons of wooden palettes and they made perfect beds, got you up off the floor of your loft, too, you never knowing what might be crawling around in the dark in those old loft buildings. I had so many mice in my loft I kept a "Mickey" count on my bathroom wall, like the old WWII fighter pilots listed the kills on the side of their planes with little Hitlers or Tojos, and every mouse I trapped, I drew a little Mickey Mouse head on the wall; "Oh, this is interesting," one of my seductions squealed from my bathroom one morning. "What's that beauty?" "This piece of art with all these little Mickey Mouse heads on your wall in here." "Yeah, I draw a Mickey Mouse head on the wall there every time I trap one, you know, crack it's little neck in one of those great little wooden babies, Victory's their brand name, and that's my Victories over those little devil beast brat bastards; God, I hate them, I hate them worse than I hate cockroaches--but I kill too many cockroaches to draw them on the wall; hell, if I drew them on the wall I'd have no walls left for my mouse heads--though at one time I thought of pinning the cockroach bodies up on the wall as I killed them--though that became as disgusting to me as Sam the Shit Artist's work--I'm serious, this guy created Godzilla, he did, a Japanese artist who lives down in TRIBECA there somewhere lonely because he's always locking himself in these little rooms he builds in his loft--but anyway, he's painting in shit these days and a SOHO gallery is going to show his shit--disgusting--and I'm not a disgusting man." She came out of the bathroom fully dressed, grabbed her bag and made a mad trot for the door, struggling with the lock trying to twist it open, getting it opened, and then thundering down the stairs and out to the street, leaving the damn door opened. So you needed to be up off the floor at night, though mice can hop up onto beds and things--I've seen a mouse zip up an electrical cable leading up to one of the electronics gadgets I have near my loftbed where I live now--yeah, the little bugger zipped right up that cable and up onto my bed, under the bookcase that forms the head of my bed though the way I sleep in the bed the bookcase is the foot of my bed, where my feet sleep. Yeah, that god-damn mouse, lookin' for my weed stash--I used to clean my weed out, shake it on down, in an shoebox lid, and I'd leave the seeds and shit there in the shoebox or the shaked clean weed and that's what had attracted this mouse. I saw his ass and I immediately, the animal in me, went after his little ass, and he saw me coming and leaped from the bookcase toward an open space to escape me and I saw the little bastard as he leaped and with a perfect like-Ted Williams swing of my hand and arm, I belted that little flying son of a bitch a home run out my open window--the top of my floor-to-ceiling window--I live in a top-floor suite of an old hotel, the hotel the oldest still-standing structure on the whole street of Broadway, the Great White Way, that runs like a heart-operation zipper down the middle of Manhattan, a crazy street really, once the longest street in the world, though I don't know if it still is.

Gawddddddd! I was still shaking my head back in 1979, a Sunday morning, yes, it was, I know it was because Barretti's garbage hauling joint wasn't running, his Macks were silent--though not for long--they'd fire up again at 3 am later--but this was different, this was music, this was coming formidably through a double brick wall. "I fought the law and the law won...." And they kept playing it over and over--and then I shook my head again and realized it was Matty and Lester and Mitch and David, God, it was Lester Bangs and Birdland--Holy Shit, and wham, and roll, wham, Matty was drumming, I could hear his thunderous rolls as they started "I Fought the Law"--rrrrrrrrrrrrupppp, bam, then Mitch's guitar--then, oh hell, that's Lester Bangs--God, I can hear Lester singing--I've died and gone to musical hell, that same place where Charlie Parker leads the band that plays the "Star Spangled Banner" over and over eternally--you know that old musician joke?--Saint Peter says to the arriving just-passed musician, "You've got your choice 'tween Heaven or Hell; they both have bands and are always lookin' for musicians. Let's see here, the leader of the Heaven band, why it's John Tesh, nice boy, blond Frankenstein, but a nice boy." "John Tesh! Jesus X. Christ. And who leads the Hell Band?" "Hmmmm, let me check this brochure here, why it's Charles Parker, Jr., that's what it says here, one of those 'hot' musicians, a musician from the jungle where savagery is tolerated, somethin' we can't tolerate in Big Pappa's Heaven--no jive music in Heaven, Praise the Lawdy Lawd." "Charlie Parker's the Hell Band leader?" "That's what I said, here's his 8 x 10 glossy." "Jesus, that's him, Charlie Parker, so hell yeah, I mean what serious musician wouldn't want to play in a band led by Charlie Parker, man--and the other choice is John Tesh--give me a break, I'll take Hell, suh, just show me the way." "Are you sure, I'm writtin' it down in the book, 'Brother Wolfie Wolf hath chosen the pathway to Hell, sobeit' and so it is written. Down Escalator Number 400, it's five miles that way--Cerebus will lead you to it--'Here boy, show this musician where to go.'" So the musician gets down to hell and hell it ain't so bad, it's cool, he doesn't see any fires, instead the first thing he sees is this concert hall and people lining up for tickets. The billboard reads, "Tonight, Charlie Parker and his Orchestra will be performing--tenor player needed, see Dizzy Gillespie." Holy shit, the musician says, and he runs into the hall and he's escorted to backstage and damn, there's Dizzy Gillespie, "Damn, Diz, is that you?" "None other, who you?" "I'm your new tenor player." "OK, cat, just walk over there, front row, your chair's in there and the music's on the stand--Fletcher Henderson did the chart we're playin' tonight." "Wow." And the musician goes over and takes his chair, damn, man, there was Zoot Sims, damn there's Hawk, holy shit, Prez, "Prez, wow, some skin," and damn, there's Sonny Stitt--anyway, to make a long story Jell-O, the musician sits down, opens the sheet music, Charlie Parker comes out and says, "OK, gentlemen and ladies, ah-1-ah 2-ah-3-ah-4" and the musician immediately recognizes he's playing "The Star Spangled Banner"--and he slides the sheet music off the next chart and that chart's "The Star Spangled Banner," too--on and on for eternity. That's hell to a musician. But then musicians go through hell on earth, too, so it's just a joke to make musicians laugh their blues away, while they're together with their band, with their group, with their kind.

That morning my hell would have been Charlie Parker was replaced by Lester Bangs. I swear, it was disastrous-sounding music coming through that wall, disastrous, like an out-of-pitch tornado slamming through it to rattle in my ears and into my head--on and on they rehearsed, "I fought the law and the law won..." "YOU BASTARDS, YOU'LL SOON BE FIGHTIN' MY ASS." I was stirred.

That was a Sunday in March 1979 and the boyz sneaked into Jimi's Palace of Electric Lady Sound and recorded this Birdland With Lester Bangs on April Fool's Day of that year and that's I'm listening to NOW, today, as I type this out; today, now, though with writers, there is only one day and one night forever. And I've mellowed over the years. Lester has no pitch--and he took singing lessons for this--he has a sweet voice and occasionally he hits it, but his voice is so pansy and weak and sometimes he sounds like he's barking and then swigging down a quick bottle of Romilar to quell the barking and he sweetens out again and actually for a bar or two has the right pitch.

I was later in this really great band, a band that was downtown famous for about 5 years and then poof it was over and it was gone, but for those 5 years it was the best damn band I'd ever seen evolve, I mean a clean jean band, with a book of arrangements, playing everything from blues to jazz arrangements of Bach and that crowd, each member of the band so talented, each member of the band writing originals for the band and then we did the old flamers, too, like "Burnin' Love," the Elvis hit, and Lowell Fulsom's "Man on the Run," whew, what a band, and we had this violinist in the band and this dude was so hip and cool and playing an electrified violin that was fiberglass or somethin' spacey like that--I remember his violin had a blue lightning bolt down its middle--and at the height of one of our bonfire nights of bowlin' 'em over, I mean this band packed this joint we played in, had 'em hangin' off the rafters, packed, so packed when you danced it was like close enough to fuck, so packed, though people still managed to dance and drink and make good ole fuckin' times and I was juiced to the gills on my own stellar performing that night, and I went up to the violin player and I acclaimed, "God-damn we sound good tonight--we're hot, man, you're hot, I'm hot, we're burnin' up, my man, Royalty." He looked at me sadly--he didn't drink so he was stone sober--and he said, "You know the best we'll ever be?" I shook my head. "The best we'll ever be is we're a great bar band." You motherf-er, I thought--I'm workin' my ass off and here you are throwing water on my fire, my stoned fire, yeah, 'cause I ain't sober, son of a bitch, I'm high as hell--and I didn't say that to Royalty 'cause I loved the MF-er, but I thought it and that's how things bad and splitting up start in bands, especially bands that might have a chance except all the members of that band were on parallel lines--a la Debbie Harry's poem and her joy at knowing Euclid said "Parallel lines shall ne'er have conversation with each other" meaning they'll never connect. The striving to be stars; everybody wants to be a star. That's true. That's a dream we all have whether we know it or not.

"In fact, Lester didn't distinguish between writing a song such as 'There's a Man in There' and an article like his Clash epic. 'In both cases he had something important to say and he wanted people to hear it,' John Morthland said. 'It was really just different mediums.' But his bandmates came to believe that Lester's notoriety as a writer--which they'd initially seen as an asset--was beginning to hold them back." [Let It Blurt, Jim DeRogatis, p 185.]

And you see, back in '79 I already knew they were fighting with Lester, he was cranky, set in his stardom ways, set in his own type, worded so convolutedly beautiful yet it didn't fit Matty's and Mitch's and David's Rock 'n' Roll, it dragged them down--you could hear it in Matty's drumming--you could hear it in Mitch's guitar work--David Merrill, by the way, was a damn fine bass player but he wanted to wail and Lester's form of wailing was like at the Wailing Wall, very deep and full of the religion of Lester Bangs and the boyz no longer saw Lester as an icon but just a Romilar-head-drunken-wonderful-writer-but-lousy-musician--and now I listen to this one track where Lester blows harmonica--a bad Bob Dylan imitation.... I fell asleep.

"The night was awful but the food was good
We all stood just where we should
Everybody comin' in the congregation
Come to watch the conflagration
It was the finest fire I ever seen
Don't mistake just what I mean
A real eighth wonder of a manmade pit
Till I saw a hand wave so deep in it
I said there's a man in there
He's peeling near shapeless bubbling fat...."

[The opening lines to Lester's "There's a Man in There," a great song, really it is, and only Lester can sing it right; the boyz in the band, however, can't seem to play it right.]

Parallel lines will never connect.

for The Daily Growler

Private Note to thewomantrumpetplayer, "Doth thou not know when I jest?"
Young Lester Bangs at home.

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Livin' Like Bix Beiderbecke #2

In a Mist
There's Bix and his cornet. Louis Armstrong played the cornet, too. Bix looks like Lester Young here.
And here's Prez--check out their parallel line looks.
Bix's grave in Davenport. Who knows who the old dude is--who cares? Guys who keep there hands in their pockets don't like responsibility.
Bix as a Wolverine, though he wasn't from Michigan.
Bix's "In a Mist" first edition sheet music. Robbins Music was partially owned by Paul Whiteman, the so-called "King of Jazz"; yeah, that's why he's named White Man--King of Jazz my ass.
Bix's father, B.H., and the first car in Davenport.
Said to be the last photo taken of old Bix--Bix is for Bismarck.
The notice in the St. Louis newspaper (The Dispatch?) for Bix's first gig after being hired by Whiteman in St. Louis--Frankie Trumbauer joined Whiteman at the same time--Bix had been in Frankie's band in St. Louis just before this--and they had both played with Adrian Rollini's (he played the bass sax) New Yorkers. Paul's Rhythm Boys mentioned in this ad included Harry L. "Bing" Crosby.
Bix's final home--the Beiderbecke plot in Davenport's Oakdale Cemetery. That's old Leon Bismarck under the stone on the right with the wreath by it.
From Frankie Trumbauer's diary. Frankie's homesick for St. Louis here--he misses Bix, too.
The image “” cannot be displayed, because it contains errors.
Frankie Trumbauer, Lester Young's favorite saxophone player as a young man; he carried Frankie's recording of "Singin' the Blues" around with him in his favorite trunk--Frankie Trumbauer's trunk was also famous. Frankie became a WWII test pilot and later gigged with the NBC Orchestra in 1948 but after that he quit music and ended his life working for the Civil Aeronautics Authority--finally leaving the coil in 1956.

So there's a little Bix trip for you--he's buried up behind me as I'm still soused in Davenport--was that a rat I saw running across the roof of the building behind me?

for The Daily Growler

Livin' Like Bix Beiderbecke

From the Front
I'm lushing it here; it's 6 am and I'm bright-eyed, bushy-tailed, lonesome, seedy, but contented having just returned from a head-clearing walk down around the river and the baseball field, no it's not a cornfield, though it is Iowa, but hey, this is a river town, with a gambling boat parked at its downtown dock--and Louis Armstrong once worked the gambling boats as they sailed up and down the ole Father of Waters, yep, Native American name, the ole Mississippi--M-I-doubleS-I-doubleS-I-PP-wide--that's the way we kids spelled the river's Native American name ("Hey, Ma, how come we white folks use so many Indian names for things; and why does Uncle Packard claim he's part Fox Indian; he's no more part-Indian than I am." "Please, sonny boy, let your uncle live in his dreamworld if you wanna call it that--it's the real world to him and let's face it, in profile, your uncle does look like an Indian." She had me there), I-PP-wide being the joke that made us guffaw like cockeyed imps as we butterflied around with the joy of having blurted out "I-PP-wide"--oooooooooh, but what young boy didn't love pissing in the outdoors? Not shitting. No. Shitting in the outdoors was too embarrassing--when you shat in the outdoors peepers could see your genitals hanging down balls and all under your bare ass--when you pissed in the outdoors, no problem, you unzipped, pulled it out far enough to not wet yourself and let go--yeah, the right peeper in the right angle or position could possible see your cock--you know checking on whether you had a big one or what not--young boys loved checking each other's cocks out--it's that homosexual space we boys have to grow through--hoping we haven't read Freud by the time we're 7 or 8 and develop a block while horny as the birds and the bees and any cock-a-doodle-do--great news in the animal world: human male animals once they get past puberty and out of the homo zone get to stay horny year-'round--plus we human male animals avoid a rutting season where normal male animals take their sexual frustrations out on each other with sometimes ferocious results--yep, we male human animals do sometimes shoot and kill and maim each other over the privilege of mating with a cute babe with divided attention--so yeah we rut, we get "randy," and I knew a guy named Randy and I know where the Brits get that term--because Randy was always ready, Ready Randy, always randy, Ready Randy Randy--he lived in Paris last time I heard about him--living with a Paris cop on the Champs d'Elysses (or is it the Champs Elysses?) in an apartment left to them by an old Parisian rich woman who died one night and I think Randy and his cop left her there in memorial--naw, I'm bullshitting you--outdoors, too.

I was fortunate, I learned sex from Havelock Ellis. Oh what a joy my best friend back home and I had reading Studies in the Psychology of Sex, volume whichever number we could get our mitts on--until a paperback abridgment of it came out in Mentor Books in the 60s.

Here's a little excerpt from Vol. 1 of the Studies--

"The knowledge came one summer when I was leading a rather
isolated life, and my mind was far from sex subjects, being deep
in books, Carlyle, Ruskin, Huxley, Darwin, Scott, etc. I noticed
that when I got up in the morning I felt very hot and
uncomfortable. The clitoris and the parts around were swollen and
erect, and often tender and painful. I had no idea what it was,
but found I was unable to pass my water for an hour or two. One
day, when I was straining a little to pass water, the full orgasm
occurred. The next time it happened, I tried to check it by
holding myself firmly, of course, with the opposite result. I do
not know that I found it highly pleasurable, but it was a very
great relief. I allowed myself a good many experiments, to come
to a conclusion in the matter, and I thought about it. I was much
too shy to speak to any one, and thought it was probably a sin. I
tried not to do it, and not to think about it, saying to myself
that surely I was lord of my body. But I found that the matter
was not entirely under my control. However unwilling or passive I
might be, there were times when the involuntary discomfort was
not in my keeping. My touching myself or not did not save me from
it. Because it sometimes gave me pleasure, I thought it might be
a form of self-indulgence, and did not do it until it could
scarcely be helped. Soon the orgasm began to occur fairly
frequently in my sleep, perhaps once or twice a week. I had no
erotic dreams, then or at any other time, but I had nights of
restless sleep, and woke as it occurred, dreaming that it was
happening, as, in fact, it was. At times I hardly awoke, but went
to sleep again in a moment. I continued for two or three years to
be sorely tried by day at frequent intervals. I acquired a
remarkable degree of control, so that, though one touch or
steadily directed thought would have caused the orgasm, I could
keep it off, and go to sleep without 'wrong doing.' Of course,
when I fell asleep, my control ended. All this gave me a good
deal of physical worry, and kept my attention unwillingly fixed
upon the matter. I do not think my body was readily irritable,
but I had unquestionably very strong sexual impulses.
This is from a chapter on Masturbation. This damsel has written her experience down for the investigating "doctor"--a sex doctor; back in the wonderful old licentious Victorian times; I mean come on, a "Doctor" could talk about sex and get people to talk to them about sex, in their white coats (purity and god-like), "Relax, my dear, and spill the beans--you masturbate all the damn time, right?" "Just like you, doctor, right?" So I learned early through Ellis that when my mother learned me that masturbation would grow hairs in the palm of my wanking hand and eventually make me blind as a bat. I met a guy one time who confessed to me he was a "double stroker"--like hand-over-hand wench operation--you know, when your wenching up a motor out of a car--I suppose it was a last minute feat, right, switiching from one hand to two hands near the culmination, during the coda of a great masturbation symphony--like the Old Man From Kildaire--remember? "The bannister broke so he doubled his stroke/and finished off in mid-air." I can't imagine. I guess a parachutist could tell us about finishing off in mid-air. Then perhaps a person on the ground could say, "God-damn, a pigeon just shit on me!" "That doesn't look like pigeon shit to me," she said brushing off her boyfriend's jacket--"Oh, Jesus," she said, shaking her hand wildly, "that's F-ing sperm!" "You mean a pigeon masturbated on me?"

And Louis Armstrong was with Fate Marable on the riverboats, the palace boats, sternwheelers and sidewheelers, all paddlewheelers, from whence Mark Twain got his name--"Depth?" "Mark T'wain." And those boats docked at Davenport and everybody rushed down to the riverbank and checked the boats out, the showboats, the party boats, the freight-haulers, the passenger boats, and the gambling boats with the great Fate Marable New Orleans band with the fabulous Louis Armstrong, that kid genius from New-R'luns, known up and down the river--and when he came several times to Davenport one of Davenport's own, a kid named Bix from a good family that lived in a big fine house up the hill in white Davenport--yep, Davenport weren't no equality city--segregated--but you could get on the boat and could get up close to the black jazz bands and the black girl dancers in the shows--see them shakin' it on down to the raggedy music of the riverboat bands--the Riverboat Shuffle--and young Bix heard Louis Armstrong and was blown away--and he went back home and took his high school band trumpet and started learning how to blow Louis Armstrong riffs, listening to Louis's records then later after he was older and Louis was off the river and safe in Chicago where he became an overnight sensation and Hoagy Carmichael writes about the first time he saw Louis blowing, he and Eddie Condon or Gene Krupa or Bud Freeman or somebody went to this Mafia-goombah nightclub where Louis was featured first with King Oliver's band and Hoagy said he was high on pot and that the first note of Louis's horn that night took him away from the reality of the club and into the new imaginative and ultracreative world of original jazz and Hoagy was blown away--no need for more muggles--he was high on Louis Armstrong--and got higher and higher, Bix drunker and drunker then later when Louis put together his own bands, with his Hot Fives and Hot Sevens and his wife Lil Hardin, the wondergirl pianist from Memphis Minnie's Memphis, Tennessee, on piano, and Lil had gone to Fisk and really knew how to play the piano in a classical white way, but she was also a natural jazz pianist, too, and that's what she got proficient at playing and then she saw Jelly Roll Morton playing after she came to Chicago with Louis and then it hit her what Jelly Roll did on the piano that made him special and she figured it out and became one of the hottest jazz pianists of those early days--and from Lil came Mary Lou Williams and the "Foggie Bottom" way of playing jazz--and Lil died as she lived, playing the piano, playing her set at the Playboy Jazz Festival in Chicago back in the seventies--dyin' with her true love still at the tips of her fingers--Tuts Washington the famous old-timey New R'luns pianist also died playing the piano at the New Orleans Blues and Jazz Festival, one of the early ones--boy howdy, what a way for a pianist to go--Wow--look at all the pain and shit a pianist misses by going ahead and takin' his or her exit from the coil while doing his or her most exciting pleasure ever--outside of the sex you get after you've played your ass off all night--you get sex or you die--playing the blessed piano in your own sweet way.

And I look out the window of my cheap-hotel hotel room one way and I see the river but the other way I see up the hill from the river uptown to where the Beiderbeckes once worked and lived--and where Bix later drank himself to death--jazz got to be too heavy a life for this fragile white boy from Davenport in the corny state of Iowa--ahhhhh, it's time for a swig from my jug of Keokuk corn--yep, the minute I hit town--I come in the shadows as secret as hell, but my Keokuk connection is always there when I check into the Fleabag Arms--"Mr. Wolfie, hey buddy, old pal, I gotta a couple'a new-made jugs for you, man." "Come on up, you distillery-meistergeneral and let's check your latest distillation." "Geez, Wolfie, I like the way you make literature out of a rotgut liquor that'll have you drunk as a god-damn riverbank skunk in an hour or so." "Hey, pal, them riverbank skunks don't have such a bad life--nobody bothers 'em 'cept those who don't know no better." "And we know better don't we?" "Pop the cork on that jug, Froggie." "You bet."

The gambling boat is docked and ready to swing out into mid-river later in the evening. I may go on it tonight--but usually the music on the gambling boat is unimpressive--Mid-American music--ugh. I'd rather stay back at the hotel and read Janie Bowles.
A bird's-eye view of good ole Davenport, Iowa. Right down there to the left just off the bridge is the baseball park and the waterfront walk which I take every morning to clear out the cobwebs left by having drank yourself to sleep in a downtown Davenport fleabag hotel.

for The Daily Growler

Thursday, October 25, 2007

One Spring Morning Off Spring Street #30

"His bandmates in Birdland appreciated the power of Lester's words. '"There's a Man in There" is a fantastic song--the hackles on my neck still rise when I think about it' Quick said. Leigh spent hours with Lester trying to marry his lyrics to melodies. 'He would give me things that were more stories than lyrics,' he said. 'Every body knew that Lester was a great writer, that he could do great things with words. There were some people that appreciated the performances, too, but things could get very raw onstage.'" [Let It Blurt, Jim DeRogatis, p 185.]

So it was a Sunday morning, yes it was, that's what I'm reading in DeRogatis's book; it was a Sunday morning that Lester Bangs and Mitch Leigh, and David Merrill, and Matty Quick woke my ass up around 11 that morning, dammit, rattling off "I Fought the Law and the Law Won." Holy shit and holy cattle and holy hats of heathen peak, that was it, a Sunday morning, sure--it makes sense; I was in the Ear Inn all day Saturday and Saturday night, with somebody, one of the gals or Jesus Christ or my friend the bartender and the L.A. Billboard girl--I was probably with a Bennington girl--they found the Ear Inn about this time as their semester was coming to an end in basketweaving classes or potters's classes ("My kiln was out in the woods off campus and I used to fire my stuff naked and put one of my public hairs in every piece I did, sort of my personal signature")(I saw Debbie Does Dallas with a Bennington girl whose father was an ambassador--damn right; I was in high cotton flitting around downtown Gotham with that half-Nicaraguan-half-Texan leftover hippy girl) and they were down in the Apple looking for spaces to hang during that coming summer. So who the hell knows--I can't remember what I did but I do remember waking up to...well, I'm no rock critic....

"Artists whom Lester had praised or panned now found themselves in the odd position of judging his music. 'The last time I saw Lester, he got me to go down to Max's Kansas City to see his band,' Ian Hunter recalled. 'It struck me that this guy had amazing taste as a critic, but when he was in a band, it was the worst band I've ever seen in my life. I didn't know what to say to him because it was so bloody awful.'" [Let It Blurt, Jim DeRogatis, p 185.]
Lester with Birdland; from left to right: Matty Quick; Lester; Mitch Leigh; and David Merrill. They are in front of a small garbage hauler's roll-down garage door--this garbage hauler's building was on Renwick St. directly behind Phil Baretti's garbage-hauling building that was right across Greenwich St. from my apartment and Matty's apartment. Now that I think about it, David Merrill might have taken an apartment in the Renwick building Jesus Christ and Twinkies and Little Richie Rich lived in. A long time ago it was, dear reader(s).

On April Fool's Day in 1979, Lester Bangs and Birdland made a multitrack tape at Jimi's paradisiacal recording studio, Electric Lady. For years the master tape of this session was lost, though it turned up in 1983 and ended up with Mitch Leigh. In 1998, Mitch Leigh had the master tape re-mastered out in Hollywood and issued it himself on the Dionysus label. On the back of the CD Mitch wrote: "Lester had a Father Flanagan approach to music; 'There's no such thing as a bad note'. I thought if there's no bad notes then there's no good notes; it's just how you mix 'em up or don't mix 'em up that makes music. We could have gone on forever arguing that one. Maybe some day we will.

"The usual method for the making of this record is fairly obvious. You'll probably either assumed that (A) no record company we approached was interested or (B) that I had no money to make them myself. Either way you'd be right. Encouragement from friends led to the belief (which Lester and I always had) that to get the tape out of the can was a necessity--the mother of invention. I resorted to selling advertising space on the back of the cover to get up the money to press the records--a true community effort."

I am putting my copy of this CD in my iTunes as I type this--for the first time in 28 years I'm gonna listen to...first, the tunes on the CD are 1. Textbook Case; 2. Kill Him Again; 3. I'm in Love With My Walls; 4. Fade Away; 5. Accidents of God...and then there it is, No. 6 track on the album: "I Fought the Law" and that's the track I'm gonna listen to right now...

Wow. I'm excited. I'm continuously excited however because I'm a writer like Lester and obvious not like Mitch Leigh, still a rocker I see in his lonesome fifties (as an aside, Mitch Leigh's and Joey Ramone's stepfather was Lester's psychiatrist).

See ya!

for The Daily Growler

NOTE: thegrowlingwolf writes like a machinegun unhinged and unmanned, flailing bullets helter-skelter across the heads of dumbfounded soldiers--he flails us with his mile-a-minute words--and, yes, the Wolf Man does read the comments but he blew one--see the comment from our charming other coast woman trumpeter--in a previous comment she had declared Matty Quick a very serious and well-studied and well-rounded musician--and that for instance, he had studied recordings of Stravinsky's Histoire du soldat--and not Le sacre du printemps as Wolfie remembered it. The Wolf Man also blew the whole point of her comment--not that Matty Quick liked Stravinsky's version of it and thought composers knew their works best--NO NO! She said Mr. Quick found Stravinsky's version lacking--and made the statement you can't always trust a composer for the right interpretation of his own music. Stravinsky was a notoriously messy conductor and composer--Pierre Boulez found several errors in some of Stravinsky's later music and showed them to Igor and Igor agreed they were errors. We apologize to our other coast commenter--Wolfie is off to his Davenport, Iowa, retreat though we have text messaged him the errors of his writing ways.

And Wolfie doesn't believe in editing--though, folks, he does edit his work--you know how? He rewrites and rewrites and rewrites--until he's sloppy worn out and reduced to a babbling idiot until he can get his hands on a fruitjar of his favorite Keokuk Moonshine--look for a sad and bedraggled tossed-haired begrudger traipsing along the Davenport waterfront wearing his Portland Beavers baseball jacket--that'll be him--but don't ask him for his autograph; he'll tell you he can't write.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

One Spring Morning Off Spring Street #29

"Bassist David Merrill worked part-time at
Electric Lady, the recording studio Jimi
Hendrix built on Eighth Street, and in the
spring of 1979 the band crept in for some
after-hours sessions. The group laid down
eight originals and a cover of Bobby
Fuller's 'I Fought the Law,' but Lester thought
the tedious process of multitracking
killed the energy of the songs. 'Hey, do ya think
Sam Phillips might rent us a barn?'
he cracked. He preferred the first demo the band
recorded on a four-track in the
loft one hungover Sunday morning."
[Let It Blurt, Jim DeRogatis, p 183.]

The Bobby Fuller Four
(Sonny Curtis)

(A') Breakin' rocks in the ... hot sun
I Fought the Law and the ... law won
I Fought the Law and the ... law won
I needed money, 'cause I ... had none
I Fought the Law and the ... law won
I Fought the Law and the ... law won

I left my baby and I feel so bad
I guess my race is run
Well, she's the best girl ... I've ever had
I Fought the Law and the ... law won
I Fought the Law and the ... law won

(Instrumental Break)

Robbin' people with a . . . SIX gun
I Fought the Law and the ... law won
I Fought the Law and the ... law won

I miss my baby and the ... good fun
I Fought the Law and the ... law won
I Fought the Law and the ... law won

I left my baby and I feel so bad
I guess my race is run
But, she's the best girl ... I've ever had
I Fought the Law and the ... law won
I Fought the Law and the ... law won

So that was it. That was a Sunday morning.
One spring Sunday morning just off Spring

So that was it.

for The Daily Growler

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

One Spring Morning Off Spring Street #28

"'So you think I've got an evil mind/Well I'll tell you honey/I don't know why!/So you think my singing's out of time/Well it makes me money/And I don't know why!/So c'mon feel the noize/Go grab 'em boys!/We get wild, wild, wild...!*' [from a tune in Slade's album Sladest] Got it? Dumped chunk-rumple into big stompingly anthemic hard rockin trojan horses from the most classic bins of rock armory. It kinda leads nowhere but into more closed-system hysteria, and it's more than a little manufactured mania, but it hits fine and true. It'll gallop you headfirst into sweet-kooze and sproing you outa yer jadofado wheelchair like a lucky stiff reprieved at last from endless iceman cometh miasmas." [from Lester's review of Slade's Sladest (Reprise) that came out in 1973 in the December 1973 issue of CREEM--Lester attended the record company album party.]

I mean say you were an editor and you were handed the above rough draft to ready it for publication. What would you do? Where would you start? If I said to just hand it in as is would you want to CREEM my ass with a blistering put down of "meaningless" automatic writing? Or would you call me and ask me was I happy using the word "anthemic" And when I used this version of "outa" did I really mean "out'a" or maybe I meant "out of"?

Holy shit! And I worked many moon as a editor and I'm reading a very harsh criticism of Lester Bangs form of rock criticism on the Internet by a guy who agrees with Robert Christgau (and Christgau said it to Lester) that writers are unintelligent until their work has been edited--now, of course, if Christgau et al meant cutting here and there to make the word count work in the column spaces I might could concede--though I think the writer should do the cutting on advice from the editor--but what Christgau et al mean is, Lester's writings aren't journalistically correct! That's what they mean. Here's a guy who says rock mag writers who think Lester Bangs was a great rock critic and writer and try and plagiarize (Lester said plagiarism was quite acceptable in rock criticism; he said a lot of rock critics aren't original writers but they are splendid plagiarists) him are going down a dead-end path to rock-criticism-writing obscurity.

"I mean look, face it, both reader and writer know that almost all of what's gonna pass from the latter to the former is justa buncha jizjaz anyway, so why not just give up the ghost of pretense to form and subject and just make these rags ramble fit to the trolley you prob'ly read 'em on…you may say that I take liberties, and you are right, but I will have done my good deed for the day if I can make you see that the whole point is YOU SHOULD BE TAKING LIBERTIES TOO."
— Lester Bangs, "The Clash".

What the quotation above has to do with the Clash still eludes me, but one thing that I know for certain is that Lester Bangs has most definitely convinced an ever-growing swarm of writers they should be taking the same type of liberties he took in his brief life....

...anyone who has spent time nosing through crude 'zines and music web sites should have little trouble spotting the incriminating fingerprints. The recent publication of a second posthumous collection of his work, Mainlines, Blood Feasts, and Bad Taste: A Lester Bangs Reader, suggests his popularity and influence remain undimmed some two decades after his death.

To this, I can only shrug my shoulders and cry for mercy. As one of the unfortunate few with a vested interest in the state of underground music press, Bangs's enduring influence strikes me as a cancer, one that needs swift uprooting if its current purveyors ever expect to become a worthy alternative to the detested corporate rock mags. While mainstream publications have long since descended into celebrity journalism whose passing mentions of music are limited to simplistic fawning, most of the options presented by the indie press are little improvement. Frequently taking Bangs as a role model, they fill countless pages, virtual and otherwise, with self-righteous, narcissistic logorrhea, the implicit assumptions being that true genius needs no editing, you can never be too nasty, and the focus rightfully belongs on the critic instead of the nominal subject of the piece.

Here's the link to this article if you'd care to pursue it:

Lester would have loved "narcissistic logorrhea"-- and, hey, dude, what's wrong with narcissistic logorrhea? You're writing it; I'm writing it; Lester wrote it; Dave Marsh wrote it; you make fun of Nick Tosches, but he wrote it; Christgau, too; he developed his own little schticky way of writing his lists and shit.

I've tried to say I understand why academically trained critics or writers or whatever just don't like persons who seem to come out of NOWHERE rather than Harvard or Columbia U School of Writing, or MIT, or Northwestern University, or Johns Hopkins...oh sure; these birds have been taught things by the rules.

"You Came Along From Out of Nowhere"
Our other coast commenter in a comment on yesterday's post said that Matty Quick, for instance, was well-rounded and thoroughly knowledgeable of all kinds of music and that he listened to all the recorded versions of Stravinsky's Le sacre du printemps before he performed it with a symphony ork and preferred Stravinsky's own conducting of this miraculous piece of music saying he thought the composer should be the best interpreter of his own music. Maybe in these crowds we hung with guys like Matty Quick (and myself and Jesus Christ and Chris Stein and Debbie Harry (she hated people knowing she'd been in a folk group before Blondie)) had rather remain coming from out of NOWHERE than to trot out his academic credentials to prove himself in the "accepted" world of music. None of these dudes knew I had a Masters of Arts in Sociological Theory and had studied archaeology at the University of New Mexico and had tried to get a PhD at the University of Texas in American Studies--blah, bland, blind--I finally dropped out of academia when I audited a poetry class at U of NM under the auspices of Robert Creeley. As a result, I read one of Creeley's books. The next time in class I raised my hand during his talking of he and Philip Whelan doing something naked in some poetical paradise, like some lost redwood forest somewhere lost maybe high on Yak milk high up on Jack Kerouac's Mount Hozomeen in the Dharma Bums and asked, "Prof, can poetry really be just NOTHING, just nothing at all? Like Aram Saroyan believes, a blank page can be a poem?" His eyes lit up. "Hmmmmmm," he said, raking the coals in his brain to fire them up to mountainous proportions, "Isn't everything just a whole lot of nothing made into something?" "And, also, Prof, once things have been written, even poems, they become nothing, from nothing to nothing, a sort of transcendence of the actual into in 'nothing but dreams' or 'nothing dreams of nothing.'" "Hmmmmmmm." I never went back to that class again. None of my friends at the Ear Inn knew that I had audited a Robert Creeley course at U of NM or dug on a dig down in Belen, New Mexico, with pre-Columbian expert Dr. Frank Hibbert, in the heat, but with chicks wearing bikinis--I always loved archaeology chicks--my brother went on a dig in Israel and he told me all about the young student chicks in their bikinis digging for Judean artifacts on the Sea of Galilee and that seemed to be more important to him than what they discovered on the dig.
Robert Creeley when I audited his class at the University of New Mexico.

Hell no. My friends didn't even know I published two books on old now-gone Pope John the Two, the one the Bulgarians were always trying to kill. They didn't even know that I got cleared by the CIA and got permission to join the Pope's press corps when the Old Polish Papa came to this country and I travelled with the old phony out to Des Moines, Iowa, where he gave a pompous broken-English speech at the Living Farm out there. They presented my Polish book on him to him went he got off the Pope airliner in Boston, on the tarmac there, and a Cardinal from the Rio Grande Valley of Texas, of Tex-Mex descent, handed him my book to get it blessed and Vatican approved, but the Pope rejected it; it wasn't on his blessed book list--shit, his Vaticanologists said it was too lenient on the Polish Communist government and their oppression of the Catholic Church in Poland, where their Mother Mary is Black--yep, they call her The Black Madonna. My Ear Inn acquaintances didn't know that about me. Neither did they know Aleck "Rice" Miller, Sonny Boy Williamson Number Two, had taught me how to play the harmonica in a frat house bathroom in Denton, Texas, back around 19 and sixty when I was but a lad lookin' to get on that Lone Highway that all musicians had to get on to get to where they wanted to go, up that stairway to multiboogie stardom. In fact, Jesus Christ didn't even realize I could play the harmonica until one night in the eighties I pulled one out of my hip pocket while we were doing B.B.'s "Rock Me, Baby" and blew the fucking roof off the joint--naw, nobody had ever heard me play the harmonica before. Neither did any of these downtown BLOHO folks know I had published 22 poems in various "little" journals around the USA by the time they knew me. What we don't know about each other.

I was married to a woman for 10 years and one day I came home and she'd painted our bedroom blue and even put down a huge blue rug on the floor and the linens on the bed were all blue. "Whaaaat the hell, baby, you know I hate blue." Ahaaaaa. It hit me like a stone being hurled from a bystander yelling "Heretic!" at me...I didn't have a clue as to the likes and dislikes of this woman to whom I'd been married for ten long years. She had typed out all my early writings, seven novels in all, my poetry, but not my Pope books; we were divorced by then. We got divorced and she put me in my first bachelor apartment, a tiny dipsticky dump, a sheetrock and aluminum stud-constructed hovel on East 57th in a building whose upper floors housed a whorehouse full of beautiful Argentinian girls--oh how they could do the tango of love! Then I moved upstate to Freehold, New York, just north of East Durham, New York, and then I suffered to horrible pits of being a nobody in a nowhere place--even though Richie Havens lived up above me on the ridge road and Todd Rungren was always there. That's where the new woman in my life lured me and then flew the coop on me and went back to her husband after...oh shit, another episodal adventure in my life of flying through it to get to it--like Larry Graham said in one of the greatest rock-r 'n' b-jazz-blues-moderne albums of all time, Release Yourself, "You've got to go through it to get to it"--even if you were born with a silver Larry continues on with his philosophy. Larry Graham and Graham Central Station--and Prince tried to bring Larry back but, no, by then he was old and has-beeny-looking though still whappin' the hell out of the twangin', bangin', snappin', bendin' strings bass he was the master of.
One of the great recordings of all time.

As an editor, I could have never edited one of Lester's reviews or articles without first sittin' down with Lester--it's like William Faulkner said about his writing that it was uneditable--this after a woman editor went through Faulkner's Sanctuary, Bill's potboiler, with a fine-toothed-editing comb and literally cleaned up everything including the sordid message of the book with its fabulous corn crib scene--what old Popeye did to poor little Temple Drake--yep, he loved his corn cobs.
Little Bill Faulkner showing you why we natural-born writers want to be writers--Bill symbolizes the good life to us, though Bill's probably sloshed on bourbon as he sits there posing as a famous author.

for The Daily Growler

Monday, October 22, 2007

One Spring Morning Off Spring Street #27

"For years he's [James Brown] been honing this one riff which was reductive in the beginning, till now there's practically nothing left but the bareass minimum bone throb straight outa ancestral oree drums crossing the veldt in a whir of machees, and over that jussa little sketchy sizzle like a monotone-lashed guitar and saxo squiggles not hardly hot by now." [Lester Bang's review of James Brown's Soul Classics #2, Polydor Records, 1973, in CREEM, December 1973.] ss

I notice Lester uses "outa"--I use "outta" or "out'ta." Get outta heah.

So when Matty Quick told me Lester Bangs's Birdland had a lawyer, an entertainment lawyer, and now he's telling me they've got a booking agent, Holy Shit, and they're lining up a recording deal and he's tootin' away like he's on the verge of flying off to some rock 'n' roll corner of the world that ain't the corner of Spring Street and Greenwich Street in the BLOHO section of our little corner of triangulated existence, the environment our art was being thought up, rehearsed, and then recorded and performed in--that world, a world into which one day Mike Roddy gave me a book. It was by Werner Herzog; it was autographed to Mike from Werner Herzog. "I want you to read this," Mike said, "But don't you dare mess it up or flush it down the toilet or use to clean up after one of your's quite rare and valuable." "You should talk," I said, remembering Lester Bangs jumpin' all over Matty Quick for getting the others in the band zippity-do-dahed, and he handed me this softcover book and turned on his heels and left the Ear.

The book was autobiographical and unspun a tale that featured young Werner in Berlin on a cold-ass Berlin winter, snow was everywhere (when I write about a German I have a tendency to do so thinkin' my words out with one of those Hollywood Nazi accents--ja vol und ach die lieber--oh, and Achtung!, too, then "Phere are yur pay-Pahs?"), and, as best I can remember, a woman in Paris had taught him everything he knew about acting and filmmaking, his maestra, was dying maybe, or something, and young Werner decided on a spur of the moment he was going to WALK to Paris from Berlin wearing only the clothes he had on his back at the moment. I'm probably way off on this; I'm fantasizing a la Herzog; it has been 30 years, come on--even Werner Herzog has forgotten this tale and to be honest with you, I don't even know if Werner's still on the mortal coil; but anyway, this book was all about this extreme journey Werner took to get to his Baba Yoga's bedside, the hardships he suffered, the snow, sleeping in barns, eating whatever he could forage, his shoes wearing thin, the freezing cold, but the desire to get to Paris burned so hotly determined in old Werner's Aryan chest he made it in the shade--though, F-ing A, I had to admit I enjoyed the book; it was pretty well written. Then later I came in the Ear one chattery evening and Roddy and Leah were sitting at a big round table in the Ear's Prohibition-setting dining room, the back area, with its floor bad-sagging toward the rear of the lower rear of the rear slide that would one day slide the Ear off into the underground abyss that lay deep beneath it unless and until Hatrack had to do excavation and some jacking up and retimbering down in the Ear basement--but anyway, Roddy came rushing up to me where I was at my regular seat at the bar all red-faced and pompous, "Come on, Wolfie" he said, "meet Werner." And there he was, Werner himself, sitting there wearing black, drinking starry-looking drinks of some kind, a Aryan-all-white babe sitting next to him, the Roddys, and some other foppish-looking dandies whose names I didn't catch ganged around Werner like he was a Teutonic god--and, hell, maybe he was. I shook hands with Werner and then went back to the bar; I had a book of romantic sonnets I just been given to edit by the Vantage Press and I needed the money, so I went back to the bar and left that tableful of "celebrities" to venture further into their night's debauchery or enlightenment, whichever--I knew Roddy had his purloined eyes on the Nazi chick--she was so F-ing white--maybe Leah had her eyes on the Nazi chick, too; I could see them in a threesome.

Matty came in a little later. "Werner Herzog's back there in the back." "What's that asshole doing here?" "He's having dinner with some of Hatrack's crowd--Pa-pa-pa-paco is back there, and Mike Roddy." "Mike Roddy; that little prick; Rick's pissed at him." "Why's that?" Matty told me the story. I didn't know whether to believe it or not. Yes, that was true; yes, that was true also; and, yes, I knew that, but, no, I didn't know the part that had made Rick so mad.

How related we are whether we know it or not.

And then Matty and I threw Werner Herzog back in the Rhine of his mind and I said, "Matty, what the fuck's the matter, man, you look aggravated." "Shit." "Shit, OK, shit." "That fuckin' Lester fuckin' Bangs. That bastard." "Hey, he's your bread and butter." Matty looked at me with one of his dumbass Brooklyn Jew stares, through his Buddy Holly black-rimmed glasses all these guys wore--I'm telling you, they all looked alike, dressed alike, were skinny alike, and liked the same kind of Debbie Harry-type slinky babes, Jersey babes were just fine with these guys--and all this time Matty had an ex-wife upstate with a Little Matty up there, too; Matty you son of a bitch; and I'd been married but I'd never knocked my wife up; she hated kids and so did I; Matty had never mentioned his past around me--not even the fact he'd been to Brooklyn College and had a music degree; Jesus Christ the guitar player was also reticent about his past--one day when I showed surprise that he had made a pretty fuckin' good arrangement of one of my tunes he'd rewritten--this was for a later band he and I didn't form but another dude formed, a drummer friend I haven't mentioned yet; in fact, he's really not a character in this tale--so he's deleted--though I do have to complete the thought and say he did later form a great band, a downtown cult band, that Jesus Christ and I were eventually reunited in--but when I showed this surprise, "Damn, man, that's damn good composition, man," he looked at me down his fucking nose and said, "I should be good at composition, I spent three years at the High School of the Performing Arts." "Get outta heah!" I'd never heard that. That's what I mean and have been meaning throughout this thing and what I meant when I gobbled up Debbie Harry's seeing her characters as on parallel lines and no matter how close they get to each other they never CONNECT--they never really know another person. Here I was so close to Lester Bangs and YET.

"So, Matty, what kind'a trouble you havin' with Lester?" "He's a freakin' Romilar freak, man; he's a god-damn stubborn fucking fuck up--I mean sometimes the son of bitch needs to have his tongue cut out." "So you breakin' up the band?" "Oh no, we have tons of gigs and we're making our record later, around the first of April." It was like March already. The dirty snow had all melted, turned back to its original amalgamation of god-knows what foul substances beside human, dog, rat, weasel, piss--surely there are weasels in Central Park; and the air though still chilled was blossoming like the Ghenko trees were trying to start putting on their tea-leaf-like leaves; it was windy, but nice, and I kept on working at my corner end of the Ear Inn bar and I kept seeing Matty and Mitch and David and Mike Roddy and I saw Lester a couple'a times, one time, he looked over at me and said, "So you think I don't know Parker, Coltrane, how about Gunther Schuller, man, how 'bout that son of a bitch, let's hear you scat me some Gunther Schuller, you bastard." That was it. My last conversation with the greatest rock 'n' roll critic ever--though I have to say he was one of the greatest writers around at the time and I didn't realize that until while I was writing this and reading Lester now. Isn't that too bad? I mean, wouldn't it'a been cool to have me and Lester and Mike Roddy and Werner Herzog and Debbie Harry get into a good ole writin'-talk bullsession, mixing our same-thought-nonconnectors as though in a Jack LaLanne Literary juicer, with Lester's automatic, machinegun writing splattering words all up against Debbie's parallel walls and Mike Roddy wadding himself up into a thrown away page out of Casanova's diary and Werner Herzog making Pilgrim's progress look like a Dick, Jane, and Spot adventure--all of us chewing the wads of literary swordfighting, using our pens as swords, having a writing war--"Here, here's some legal pads--and here's the topic, 'Torn and ravaged and thrown to the wolves'--so pens up---AND--BEGIN WRITING." And I'd be writing, "I sit here at a table of fools, foolishly fooling around with our fooling brains, toying with our wit's end, ESP-ing each other's bravest jumps into the cataract of faith, faith in myself as the greatest f-ing Flying A writer that ever jammed the stub of a #2 lead pencil in his stubby mitt and began writing a writing of rocketed words into the mirrored image of all the instinctual-driven hopefuls writing away like those hundreds of monkeys rewriting Shakespeare...'and in the still of the stillest of stillwaters she drowned as though thankful for the moonlight that showed she was smiling as she went under the black stagnant water that rather gulped her up whole, making no waves, just a gulp and then the stillness again'." Hell, I'm good, I was thinking.

Still to be is always being continued in a continuing sense....


for The Daily Growler

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Gettin' a Bang Out'ta Lester Bangs

First From Blondie, Lester Coffeetable Rock Book

On Blondie's Parallel Lines, a Poem by Debbie Harry:
"I still refuse to believe that any of the songs on this album are about anything. The general gist of many of Blondie's lyrics and perhaps their whole stance might be summed up in the lyrics from an unfinished song by Deborah after which the album was named. They're printed on the inner sleeve, and they probably make more sense as a poem anyway; aside from some babble about someone named evangeline, the idea seems to be that whether we're talking about the song, the prined page, the mosaic blear that comes of the external coaxial umbilical, or you and me, there is no reconciliation possible: 'it's parallel lines that will never meet.'" [page 64, Blondie, Lester Bangs, Simon & Shuster 1980.]

"What it [Lou Reed's album Berlin, RCA, 1973] really reminds me of, though, is the bastard progeny of a drunken flaccid tumble between Tennessee Williams and Hubert (Last Exit From Brooklyn) Selby, Jr. It brings all of Lou's perennial themes--emasculation, sadistic misogyny, drug erosion, twisted emotionalism of numb detachment from 'normal' emotions--to pinnacle.

"It is also very funny -- there's at least one laugh in every song -- but as in Transformer you have to doubt if the humor's intentional. Transformer was a masterpiece at least partially by the way it proved that even perverts can be total saps -- whing about bein hit with flowers, etc. -- and this album has almost as many risible non sequiturs as that did: the heroine gets up from a beating and says that it's 'no fun ... a bum trip,' and the protagonist's plaints draw a laught just when they're most spiteful." [Review of Lou Reed's Berlin, CREEM, December 1973.]

That's just great writing, folks. We love that "risible non sequiturs"!!!! (Scott Fitzgerald said you were laughing at your own jokes when you used exclam marks--and that's what we're doin', laughing at Lester's joke. We're being risible.

for The Daily Growler Late Night Edition

Friday, October 19, 2007

One Spring Morning Off Spring Street #26

"'One of the things I've always wanted to do,' said Lou Reed when I interviewed him for CREEM last spring, 'was introduce people to certain other people they wouldn't normally meet, or if they did meet 'em would wanna get very safely away. People you'd hate to get trapped at a party with.'

"In Berlin, Lou has finally realised his ambitions totally: this is the most disgustingly brilliant record of the year. There has always been a literary instinct behind Lou's best writing--classics like "Sweet Jane" were four minute short stories with recognizable characters acting out their roles, manipulated for Lou's amusement in a way he certainly considers Warholian. In Berlin, his first feature length presentation, the silhouettes have been filled in till they're living, breathing monsters." [From Lester's review of Lou Reed's Berlin in the December 1973 CREEM.]

I'm readin' that and I'm thinkin', damn, Lester was a damn good writer. A writer who had to write, like Lester says Lou Reed has a literary instinct, certainly that's what Lester had. That's not taught writing, that review; nope, that's writing from an untrained goofball high on Romilar but with a fast, speedy, witty brain, the reason for the Romilar or whatever other drugs were around, the brain going so fast it's like a huge highway chain of collisions fixing to happen, you are on that writing highway and the clever calls and responses are echoing around your brain like pinging bullets sounds in Hollywood action movies, PING! POP!--and we are, I just realized, the first teevee freak children, television advanced from seed to full-grown colorful bloom in Lester's and my time--I mean the tribes were getting their information suddenly not from books, newspapers, and magazines but from this little tiny movie theater, a portable movie theater that was also a visible radio broadcast, like the news and shit like that, those had before been on radio, but now you could see them, see? And television had an affect on music and musicians as it developed its various variety shows and amateur hours--yeah, they had American Idol on early television, Ted Mack and the Amateur Hour later taken over by Arthur Godfrey ("and all the little Godfreys") and Lipton Tea, and I can to this day remember listening to the old Major Bowes Amateur Hour on the radio--I remember a guy named Dick Contino and another guy named Pierce Brooks who played the vibes and went nowhere that I know of--Contino on the other hand went on to become a world-renown accordion player--that's right, and he played "Lady of Spain," the boring old saw that every kid who wanted to become a great accordion player strove to be able to handle like Siegfried and Roy handled those white Siberian tigers--whoops, I forgot, poor Roy, he got a little too "gay" with one of those beasts who almost feasted on old Roy's head--it could have been messy, like Gallagher smashing a watermelon, had that wild cat bitten down a little meanly harder--CRUNCH! SPLAT! SWOOSH!--and there goes Roy's brains and full sinuses squeezed out across the "oooohhhing" and "ahhhhhhing" fans, so ardent and adoring of these two Vegas clowns, they thought it was part of the act--hell, you know, anything can happen in Vegas.

And the more I read Lester the more I understand how fine a writer and thinker he is, starting from when he was 14 and got his first piece of writing published in his high school literary mag. And Lester had trouble in high school, too, and then he tried to go to San Diego State and take writing courses but that didn't last, that didn't satisfy his whizzing brain, clicking so cooly, burning midnight oils reading writers like Celine, or reading Poe even, or then reading Rolling Stone, which was founded in San Francisco at about the time Lester was lethargic about college but still having to write and soon Lester was thinking, "Hell, I can write as good as those freaks at Rolling Stone" and he submitted some writing and Jan Weiner liked it and there begins Lester Bangs's writing career.

Do I feel parallel to Lester? Hell yes I do--and in reading back in Jim DeRogatis's book [Let It Blurt] I suddenly see that Norma Belle Clifton Catchings Bangs was born September 14, 1906 in Pecos County, Texas--Holy Cow! Here we go again--coincidence--and as an animal who can write I dearly love coincidence (without coercion)--so now I discover both Lester's parents were born in Texas--Lester's father near Dallas and his mother--guess where Pecos is? in West Texas, where I was born, about halfway between Dallas and Pecos--and my mother, though she was born in South Texas, was born in 1906--both were Virgos--Virgins--and Lester's mother acted like a virgin as she got older and devoted her whole life to being a Russelite, a Jehovah's Witness, and haunted poor Lester, and my mother acted like a virgin the whole time I knew her--though of course I was proof my mother wasn't a virgin but I never thought of it that way--I simply thought of it as my dad not getting any that I remember--unless my mother's screams in the middle of the night that I thought were her losing her mind were actually screams of extreme ejaculation--yes, women ejaculate--why I could tell you a story of an experience I had on Cape Cod one fall--but, see, see why writers drink and take drugs--our minds just shoot new projects at us constantly, alluring tangents of thought that lead to other stories other tales other adventures other books other posts other blogs other coincidences and never connecting parallel lines--and I mean connecting in the sense why didn't Lester and I recognize each other when we had a chance? See what I mean? That's just god-damn thrilling to me--to write out these comparisons as I find out these coincidences and to make conclusions out of whether they are orbiting around my writing like Sputnik or just plain stuck on planet earth, to paraphrase Matty Quick.

Changing channels again, there's an ancient and sagging-face teevee show, from the 80s or 90s, on our early morning PBS station--they run the stupidest shows all night long--like shows aimed at classroom teachers and shit and documentaries they've shown so many times over you know every scene and most of the dialog after a while, but I catch myself watching this one program they have on "creative writing" hosted by this sophisticated babe wearing a business suit--she's trying to look like a college prof, which she is, a college literature professor--rather asexual, which I guess women college profs prefer to be, though down deep we guys of the world know sometimes women school teachers make great lovers--especially women elementary school teachers, who I've found have the same fascination with young boys and their perpetual hards-on the same as male teachers have the same fascination for both sexes--males love that they can be bisexual--there may be a fascination with some men from f-ing a dude in his ass but, hell, how can I condemn it? and the answer is, I can't, though I can realize it could be very sexually exciting and enjoyable if your pheromones led you that way or you were a sex maniac and any hole will do--besides, I admit I've known some women sexually who would whisper in my ear how if I wasn't turned off they'd prefer I did it in their asses.... My God, I'll never be asked by the NYTimes Review of Books to write a book review for them, will I?--especially since the NYTimes Review of Books is being cut back, weeded out, reduced by 10 or more pages; the Yahoos just aren't reading books anymore--only us old-fashioned people still read--and I'm so old-fashioned I still don't have a cell phone--but I'll tell you this little coincidental aside, the first wireless phone I ever saw was one Matty Quick brought into the Ear Inn one afternoon--he was using it and talking loud over it and he let me use it and I called my babe and told her I was in the Ear Inn, except it had an antennae on it and you'd lose the signal a lot and had to run out onto the Ear Inn sidewalk to really get through--"It has a twenty-five mile signal, man; I can call David up in Westchester."

As long as David Merrill's name has popped into the story again, I may as well stick with him. I always had a leaning toward David simply because he was nice and respectful of me--though he'd probably not remember my ass if I were to suddenly pop up in front of him and say, "Hey, Davido, you remember me, don't cha?" "Fuck no, get outta my face." But, David got a job at Electric Lady, Jimi's obsession-ridden recording studio--I mean, I know I've met a friend of Rick's and Matty's who ran Electric Lady--but then maybe he was introduced to them by David, but anyway, David worked at Electric Lady and he made a deal with them where Birdland could make a record there--and that was the recording they were rehearsing the band for--this recording coming in the spring of 1979, just after the rehearsal and gigging fall and winter of 1978--sparkling years in my memories--sparkling like a thousand stars as seen through drunken eyes while you're laying on your back in a ditch or something gazing up into the celestial. While serving time with the U.S. Army as a pot-belied 2nd looey morale officer attached to a unit of the Texas National Guard that reopened WWII-built Fort Polk at Leesville, Louisiana, as a training center for poor nerds taking artillery training in case their young asses were needed in Vietnam--and which a lot of them found out they were needed in Vietnam, too; a lot of those poor jerks ended up with their names carved into that Vietnam wall down their in Washington, District of Corruption, I'm quite sure, though I've never wanted to go to that wall--I'm afraid to-- and I really don't want to know if any of the crackpot, crazy, knucklehead, beautiful friends I had during my time in the Army were killed in that senseless unnecessary war. But at Polk one of the sergeants that worked the elevation and azimuths on his company's Howitzers in a Battery they made me Battery officer of for a couple'a trips to the firing range and I got to philosophizing one hot F-ing August afternoon--and in Leesville, Louisiana, a woods and thicket and briary and half-swampy part of the world where when it gets hot it gets allegorically hot, you know, like the heat in a Bosch painting of Hell or one of Dante's hottest descriptions of the Lowest Level of Hell, where the heads of famous folk of Dante's time are just sticking up out of the Lake of Fire enough to cry out in a begging whine for just a drop of water--as a writer Dante can look down his nose at these sinners--some of whom he was good friends with when they were kicking. I mean a hot August afternoon spent in the desiccating sun that hangs over that part of Louisiana is an extreme sport that only the most crackpot of daredevil would dare--to sit under that sun with a big bottle of rum and a six-pack of Pepsi-Colas was not a bright idea, but that's what we did, this gunnery sergeant and I. Yep, the sarge produced the bottle of Bacardi from his tent and we dragged a big box out into the middle of the drill area, went to the Pepsi machine in the officer's tent, punched out six cans, popped open a couple'a of them and the bottle of rum, sat down on the big box and began our extreme philosophizing binge--by 4 pm we were pretty much not only barbecued to a brilliant red but also so sloshed we were brainwashed against feeling any pain or understanding anything we were philosophizing about. I passed out--rum always knocks my ass out--and when I woke all I saw were stars. The stars above me--way up above me--as I lay on the ground of that drill area right where I'd fallen off that box flat on my back and then awakened like by a lullaby, or was it a ringing in my head from the rum? and then awake I viewed a wide-angled screen of universal starburst panoramaed over me like a huge black-blue bubble studded with pinholes letting the stars ping through to twinkle just like the kiddie song said all the while I was advancing toward adolescence--and I looked up into the heavens and in trying to pick out constellations I was familiar with I suddenly saw a cluster of stars that I swear formed a perfect silhouette of Mickey Mouse, ears and all, including the little white gloves--and that evening I wrote in my notebook after I'd sobered up--or did I? I drank a hell of a lot in the Army; most Army career dudes are alcoholics--it's a tough life talking kill or be killed every friggin' day of your friggin' life--drilled until you are routine--with no personal feelings, only Army feelings--so you need a slug or three or four of a good strong liquor every night before you can hit the rack in order to rise and shine at 4 am to get dolled up following military dress codes and do it all over again; deal with little pissant jerks, raw fools, dumbasses who look yokel-eyed and show how easily they can be manipulated--military routine--it makes you need a drink--and I wrote in that notebook all about discovering the Mickey Mouse constellation--even giving its coordinates through cryptic drawings--the notebook long ago destroyed, the coordinates lost forever, except I do remember this constellation I discovered was in the southern sky 'cause I was lying on my back with my head headed north and my feet down south, so, yes, the Mickey Mouse constellation is somewhere empuzzled in the southern sky, left to be discovered by some other dude down in that part of the world who might be on a parallel line with me in terms of training at Fort Polk and getting ready to go to Iraq, another senseless and god-almighty-awful-illegal-as-hell war, based on lies, but then all wars are based on lies--that's a given. In fact, everything we're taught in our early lives is a lie--I mean, do kids today really believe or even give a shit if Columbus "discovered" America? or whether George Washington couldn't tell a lie or not? or that Old Tom "Red" Jefferson was kind to his slaves? or that the white man is superior to all other so-called races? or that Western history is the only history worth studying and Western writers are the only writers worth reading--ah wilderness, I keep crying. For in the wilderness (Nature), as we know instinctually, we can be Savages with impunity. God I love that quote; I got it from a book called Heathens written by a professor named William Howells, a fascinating look at man as an animal, as a "heathen," as an uncivilized animal, or a culturally devolved animal as Freud would put it.

The fun thing about this "creative writing" teevee show I sometimes take a gander at in the early morns of New York City is how serious these posers are about how anybody can be taught how to write. I mean this sweet lady prof goes into serious diatribe about how you have to understand direction in writing, progression of a core idea, and then you have to learn to arrange your ideas in paragraphs--and you have to know when you have a good paragraph--and you have to know how to lead your reader on in the way you want them to get involved in it--and I'm going holy shit, shut the fuck up and write yourself, write a book about how you are gonna teach me how to write--F-you--and then she brings on these successful writers that I never heard of any of them but then I'm so far behind the times in my reading--I'm just now reading Lester Bangs for Christ's sake--so I haven't heard of any contemporary writers except for Alice Munro (I've never read her), Stephen King (I tried to read him one time--couldn't get past the first paragraph), the Brit babe who writes those pathetic Harry Potter books, which I've never read--but anyway these writers trot out and start talking about how they write--oh what a great life--and then they start babbling about their characters and their themes and I'm going, shit that's like a painter writing about his art--rambling bullshit that only praises the self and is a promotion for the self, because you can't explain to me why it is some people can just start writing and its good writing and it continues on to be good writing good piece of writing after good piece of writing until--and this is every writer's nightmare--you can't write any more--you're drained--oh if you pump hard enough you can still get water out of the well, like Hemingway was able to write his very vicious little gossip book A Moveable Feast while he was hallucinatin' like a manic depressive and seeing the FBI and the IRS following him everywhere he went, even when he was out in those wild Idaho hills bird shooting--and finally he knew it was over so he blew his brains out--same with Doctor Hunter S. Thompson--blewy and his life was no longer dull and boring--and one of the funniest god-damn books ever written was Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas.

Even if it's ever over for me, I'll not blow my brains out--I'm a wolf and can easily adapt at being a lone wolf--and wolves don't blow their heads off with weapons--nope, they just accept facts and go off lone wolf to live out their final days away from the pack, though constantly staying within the pack's vicinity--watching them from the hills, the hills have wolf eyes.

And on this "creative" writing show the other morning they trotted out this little half-bald twerpy looking bundle of unbound disaster and he started babbling about how he'd never wanted to be a writer or a poet but he'd always wanted to be A CRITIC, and he was he said, A ROCK CRITIC...holy shit, Lester, I howled, check this dude out--he's a rock critic--where the hell are his eight bottles of Romilar?--I mean Romilar would send this lightweight goon off the planet earth and whap him face down in El Cajon with him getting his ass beat to shit by Lester Bangs. And oh to hear this little pipsqueak talking about how he writes his criticism, "You must be fair," fair hell, the recording business is about as unfair a place as there is on earth--I'm gagging on my own disrespect of critics--as Hemingway said how critics reminded him of the smell that comes from a prostitute after she has peddled her wares for a 1000 nights of fornication and fakery. But Lester was a writer who found rock criticism as a way to be a writer--see the difference? Lester really thought of himself as a poet, as a lyricist, and as a writer of books. Near the end of his life he thought he wanted to go off into the wilds of Mexico away from everybody and his dog to write books, tons of books, and that's what runs through a natural writer's blood, words and ideas enough to fill libraries of books. As Hemingway also said, he wrote to try and knock Mr. Shakespeare out with one punch, a feat he hadn't accomplished in his years of writing, though he thought he came closest with The Old Man and the Sea, a book which started as a long story in Life magazine. And Lester and I are like that Old Man in that boat, that Cuban Cap'n Ahab, going out into the middle of the sea after the biggest fish you've ever seen in your life, a tunney that if you could get it back ashore in one piece would pay your way through life for several years without having to work--but of course as with all stories of this sort, the old man loses to the sea--oh, he gets his prize tunney, but it's so big by the time he can get it tied to his boat and headed back to port the sharks have seen the tunney from their lurking places and then they attack the tunney and bite huge gulp-holes in its side which makes it bleed and the blood attracts other sharks and no matter how deliberately the old man fights off the sharks with everything he's got, he loses, by the time he gets to shore there's nothing left but a tunney skeleton, but it's a huge skeleton and proves the old man did capture the largest tunney in the sea except he didn't get to keep it whole--proof of winning though losing really.

To be continued as is always continued as a continuing unraveling as unspun in a continuing way--probably with the coming of next Monday, though one never knows do one?


for The Daily Growler

A Sports Word From The Daily Growler Sports Desk

Hi, folks, this is marvelousmarvbackbiter. I just want to put in my two centavos about the way the stupid-dick richass voidoids who own the New York Yankees really F-ed up this season and then capped it off by making a big mistake, dissing Joe Torre, the second-winningest-ever Yankee manager, just under Joe McCarthy and just above Casey Stengel, blaming Joe for the team's failure to win only one game against the Cleveland Chief Wahoos in a stupid five-game playoff (note, Cleveland has gone on to lead the Red Sox 3 games to 2 as they go back to Boston for game 6--but what I'm sayin' Boston hasn't looked as tough as Cleveland, which means Cleveland's a pretty good ball team--certainly a better pitching staff than either the Yankees or the Red Sox)--a five-game playoff when the second-best pitcher in the American League could only go 1 1/3 an inning, giving up runs and hits and walking batters--and that's Joe Torre's fault--the son of a bitch doesn't speak a lick of English so how the hell's Joe suppose to pep this guy up--he's a bum, that's all; and then the rest of those jackass wunderkind pitchers, like Jabo who let a bunch of gnats knock him off his clock though the gnats didn't bother the Red Sox pitcher--and A-Rod, the mighty A-Rod was useless in the playoffs, striking out more than he hit--he did hit one F-ing home run, a son of a gun who hit 54 home runs during the season. Shit. And Jeter couldn't hit. And Posada couldn't hit. The Yankees couldn't pitch or hit and Joe Torre, the best manager in baseball, had to take the blame for it all, and he did with grace. He quit the Yanks and I don't blame him. F the Yankees. He was pissed, too, especially at that jerk Levine who's pres. of the Yankees--and Joe packed Yankee Stadium this year--over 4 1/2 million fans this year--the MLB record--and think of the millions upon millions of dollars that scumbag natural-born loser Steinbrenner made this year and then he has the jive to say Joe Torre made too much money--that rotten natural-born loser, and he is, too--his father was an Olympic medalist--in swimming maybe--but anyway George has excelled at nothing except getting everything done his way as owner of the Yankees--you know how much the Yankees are worth today compared to what George paid for them after Mike Burke and CBS almost drove the Yanks into ground with such poor management.

So Joe Torre is no longer Yankee manager. He'll end up some where else that's for sure; I say the Saint Louis Cardinals when they let hard-drinkin'-and-drivin' Tony LaRusso go in order for him to come to the Yankees. I can't see them giving the Yanks to Donnie Baseball or Joe Gerardi--maybe temporarily, but George is too vain to not get some big name as Yanks manager--if he could talk Willie Randolph into leaving the Mets--but no, Willie has more sense than that.

for The Daily Growler
Joe thought Steinbrenner was joking--