Bio: 9/28/02
you can never prepare yourself for the kind of ass kicking that only los angeles can provide. an education waited on the shelves and in the cul-de-sac's of the san fernando valley. a workshop of grace and larceny taught in the saloons of venice. i have fled the ghosts, the haunts may be gentrified now but the wind on certain corners still ripples the heart. full of vaguenes and innuendo i miss spell the truth. i remember in the mornings mostly fading with the last sip of the first cup of tea. sometimes the ghosts hang, simple whispers urging me to tell their lies. under this influence always a cast, an ordinary blood spell, you never remember in order, the line comes in broken.
take a trip off the block, take a trip off the block. what recall, my ego remembers everything, cigarettes make me smarter, live in the valley, travel through the smoke to places. all my lists are terribly incomplete, nothing is chronological, everything happens at once, time is not logical. the couches i crashed on that belonged to so many good people, the sweet women who put their arms around me, the loans and rides to gigs, these are the really important eyes, some of them literally saved my life. honesty can get you robbed, blinded and poorly dressed. i am not blind yet, but i could use a new pair of glasses, here is how some of it played:
the nights you couldn't get your car down w.washington because sam taylor was at the taurus tavern and the street was choked with fans;
playing a bach piano exercise on guitar for reggie butler;
a club called "the bowl of cherries" on western ave. doing a gig with ray brooks where big momma thorton sat in and i had to ask ray, "who was that guy?";
writing a song with dave alvin;
hearing danny krieger do an extended intro to just about anything;
getting in line behind the rehearsal studio where rags baker was passing out 100 dollar bills from his first record advance;
doing a gig with sam taylor backing up wilbert harrison where mr. harrison announced over the mic onstage that he would not perform until a certain party met him backstage;
jamming with nicky otis and james clark in the afternoons in a dark showroom before the gigs each night with nicky's dad;
recording on frank hill road with frank sullivan's pedal steel logic;
smokey hormel soloing on "real estate";
getting to hear dick fegy play the mandolin;
hanging out with larry "nastyee" latimer and learning the part of the groove that he calls: "the root";
playing with martha wainwright in whitehorse, yukon, actually being able to see her voice;
on the road with johnny otis show, all the stories he told that i don't remember;
during a sold out show at mccabes having syd straw introduce me as duke "fucking" mcvinnie;
playing in east l.a. with a disco-funk band fronted by fuzzy martinez, at the end of the night he introduces the entire band in english saving me for the last, of course he introduces me a little too lengthy in spanish, the crowdgoes wild, i have no idea what he said;
playing tempos so fast with john larkin that my arms go numb; this club in venice, john began chanting a prayer on night, the audience talked over him, john picked up his wurlitzer electric piano and threw it at them;
hearing exene cervenka sing one of my songs;
playing at an old folks home with eddie "cleanhead" vinson in new orleans in august;
learning to play the "la plena" groove with carli munoz;
in sam taylor's band backing up big joe turner' recording on rickie lee jones's first demo;
playing at the hong kong cage with top jimmy when the fire dept. showed up because the place was on fire;
playing the blues/ski circuit with christine lakeland where michael bannister's drums froze;
playing at the winnipeg music festival with peter case;
playing at the edmonton music festival with j.j. cale;
every monday night in the fall and early winter of '98 stirring up magic with ambrosia parsley onstage at the nightingale in nyc;
watching danny mcgough solo on "flycatcher";
one amazing night so long ago when big brown came and took the stage and while we grooved started up with his poetry.
all is distance now, so much trivia mixed with the sweat of pride, so much still under the skin of memory, so many places and characters i have left out for now, like most musicians, too many stories, this is enough crap for today.
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Under the Influence of: Alex North, John Lennon, Roland Kirk, Sam Taylor Jr., Exene Cervenka, Laura Nyro, Captain Beefheart, Jack London, Johnny Otis, Yeats, Albert Ayler, Paris, Tony Gilkyson, Bill Monroe, Los Angeles, Miles Davis, Phillip Roth, Crows, Poppies, Picasso, Women, Richard Pryor, George Jones, Wilson Pickett, Time Travel, Monet, Elvin Jones, Felines, Van Morrison, Insects, Leonard Bernstein, Automobles, The Fender Bass, Howlin' Wolf, Godzilla, Jimi Hendrix, Tucson, Victor Hugo, Paul Simon, Blueberries, Richie Havens, Sharpies, Steve McQueen, The Catskills, Dave Alvin, Emmy Lou Harris, Robert Frost, Robots, Richard Davis, Dracula, Reefer, Hubert Sumlin, Eddie "Cleanhead" Vinson, Spiders, Louis Armstrong, Ron Carter, Auguste Rodin, Cigarettes, Subtle perfume on a Girl's neck, Louvre, New York City, Snow, Miro, Beer, 15 ips, Ray Charles, Tim Buckley, Tim Hardin, Kurt Vonnegut, Duke Ellington, Muddy Waters, Bobby Sands, Hank Williams, Roy Haynes, Mice, Tom Ianniello's cooking, Charles Dickens, John Larkin, Reggie Butler, Ray Brooks, Big Momma Thorton, Bob Moog, Danny Krieger, Mango Tango, James Clark, Wilbert Harrison, Frank Sullivan, Lyons Tea, Airports, Ash Trays, Smokey Hormel, Larry"Nastyee"Latimer, Sara P.Smith, Free, Top Jimmy, Carli Munoz, Ambrosia Parsley, Big Brown, Tony Williams, Mr.Crowther, Kevin Calhoun, Playback, U.S.P.S., Michael Bannister, Peter Case, J.J.Cale, The heat comming off the lawns in Burbank in August, Danny McGough, Richard Levy, Sugar, Shower Curtins, Big Joe Turner, Christine Lakeland, Chris Pinnick, Geoff Lee, Anything Played Backwards, The Digital Camera, James Cruce, Propane, H2o, Boogers, Oum Kaltsoum, Rembetiko, Faruk Tekbicek, Trio S, 1202