Monday, January 23, 2012


here's a pic art fein took at the elvis show of me w/the amazing ruby friedman... ruby told me she comes from a show biz family & that her mom was on broadway. what a different upbringing than what i had!... it was a good, friendly, solid night, as i described below... lately's been a blur: bakersfield, fresno, LA, back home, repeat. thurs was practice w/karling & crew; i marvel at how lovely she always looks & acts, no matter how many "duh'ee mah-tee'nies" she's had: i would be a puking, blacked-out wreck, which is in pt why, today, i don't go there... had a fine drive up to fresno, a date shake from bravo farms in traver, got a little rm off the 99 bc i'd been feeling so poorly from the bad, bad valley air & didn't know how well i'd be able to hang w/the friendly cattie party crew; also was just a bit too puny to change into show clothes at a travel center, which had been my original plan hitting the road. our show opening for big sandy & the fly rite trio was a solid, blasting kind of contribution. i popped two energy gums right before downbeat & was bouncing off the walls, but felt i hit all my parts pretty solidly, which always is gratifying. "yeah, we gotta little psychobilly thing going on," becky said when i told her how loud my side of the stage had been... was sposed to hit the trout's blues jam w/bsp & craig garrison that next day, but my head was really killing me from the smog, which rain & wind just seemed to kick up, so that was a no-go. (home, my headache's now gone. stupid valley, so beautiful on my drive home yesterday, that south edge of the valley before the grapevine, all expansive gentle farmland & heartbreaking sky, yes, the valley's like a bad relationship you just can't be rid of, love in a sick way, yet can't stand.) later hit a truly-$1-type flick in which young up-&-comers in moscow battled aliens who turns out were mining earth & its people for food... so cool to see humans-vs-evil ufos blast it out in red square, in the GUM dept store (which that next day i read about in an architecture book from the library). i've always been intrigued by russian culture (& its handsome men), so i definitely got my dollar's worth. tho i know it's a "sign of the times," am grateful bakersfield's got TWO discount movie theatres: the starplex on california avenue & regency at east hills (my friend & i love going to the latter, a dilapidated, empty, bombed-out mall, feeling like denizens from an end-of-the-world or george romero flick, enjoying the nickel arcade & occasional slice of pizza)... well, this is enough for now. today's brought lots of rain & some slushy snow up here at my house. the dogs have given up trying to burrow thru my floors to capture the varmints living under the house & are snoozing loudly. it's a good day, will be a good wk, & this wkend will be show w/karling opening for big sandy down in OC, next wk more practices & auditioning of young rockabilly doghouse bassist as well as powwow w/becky & the girls to further plan our april-in-paris music tour & visit... hope you who read this have a swell week. this has been my blablabla for today.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

papa alpha india november sierra uncle charlie kilo sierra....ppphhhhhtttthhh!!!

awesome evening last summer -- 1st time brian p had seen james & his blasting band... i didn't know i was gonna film this til the song started & i realized w/a start what a gas we all were in for. this is one of james's own compositions; like me, but even more so, he is a train nut, so to combine that theme w/blues seems natch for him.
well, how are you? my guts are killing me; this must be what labor feels like. i've accomplished next-to-nothing in the past few days: some household chores, larry sanders marathon, surfing net, catching up on old new yorker mags, each moment out of bed being so much toil... oh, this cursed pain. arrghhh. i realized 30 mins ago two of my friends are suffering horrible stomach pain, far worse than mine; is it the stars? coincidence? worry about friends? psychosomatic? "that bug that's been going around?" pain's the body's alert system: we are out of homeostasis! do something before the ship explodes!! sometimes i know, tho, recovering from illness just takes time. the "do something" means lie low, stupid, & rest. owwwwww...
bill cosby's joke (paraphrased): "my wife told me, 'would you like to know what labor is like?' 'yes,' i said, 'i would,' so she tells me, 'well, take hold of your bottom lip,' 'uh-uh, ok, i'm doin it, honey, what's next...' 'now pull it over your head...'"
we used to listen to bill cosby records all the time when we were kids, especially the routines "go carts," "chickenheart," and "tonsils." i'm comforted remembering all this. nearly anything can be made funny -- hence kenneth mars' character in "the producers," or singers like james who take the real blues of living & transform it into something wild & astonishing, or a thousand other examples of tears of pain becoming tears of laughter & joy via the alchemy of comedy... some might argue, in fact, that humor derives from pain, but that don't wash w/me as an absolute. whatever your take on it, i do believe that blessed is he who laughs, but even more blessed is he(she) who makes another laugh... time to go lie down. and watch something funny. if i'm lucky, on a whoopee cushion. :)

Sunday, January 15, 2012


blogging from iPod. Slow. Cumbersome. Dificil. But want to write so I may remember some pts of my life plus maybe tell others of fun experiences shared or to try... And am too full & lazy to get off this heater-side rocker & walk over to the computer sitting in the cold dining rm... This wkend at last sec was sposed to be spiritual retreat, but got up too late at hostel, so instead spent day in sta monica. Ate lotsa tasty food: hamburger night at the hostel, norm's, izzy's (matzo ball soup, latkes w sour cream & applesauce, rye bread that went wow in your mouth), rode beach cruisers from sm to marina del rey, plus thru the big crowded colorful mess of Venice beach. Never have ridden a beach cruiser bike: it is effortlessly comfortable, feeling like sailing; smoothly gliding thru cool marine air was lovely & dreamy. Another experience that was amazing was boogie-boarding; I was so pleased to find myself able to plunge right into the cold surf (helped by the cold showers I now take; read about them in bk "secrets of ppl who never get sick") & wade way out, freezing but exhilarated, & feel so strong, happy, clean, free, & like flying, riding the wave... I guess surfers don't think much of boogie-boarders in general, but what do I care? Can't believe how much I love it. I mean, I'm a lion(ess): we like sun and earth; I am normally water-averse. But this sport, if you can call it that, is instantly doable, like running or playing piano or singing: no fancy equipment, no reeds, no rules, no embouchure needed: just find a wave, catch it & sail sail sail... Also this wkend, started watching the tv show treme, set in the Nola neighborhood right after Katrina. It's terrific: John goodman, Melissa leo, a bunch of actor-musicians as well as real musicians like Kermit ruffins and Alan toussaint... It's the only show I've seen where most all of the characters are musicians! That alone is interesting... Only downfall is Steve zant, who plays a very ugly whiny know-it-all of a type I've known & find particularly odious... Today, cattie ness & the revenge showed up here on the mountain & we ate pizza, cookies, salami cheese French bread, drank soda & coffee, & played played played music til the sun went down in prep for show next fri opening for big sandy in Fresno. After they all hit the road, I played piano for quite a while longer, & looks like now it's getting time to wind down on this cold but cozy evening & once again give thanks for a head perhaps in the clouds, but feet on ground, w/the remembrance to not borrow trouble, but instead be grateful for breath, shelter, food, rest, & those other essentials: prayer/meditation, music, love -- personified in earth's humanity as well as its flora & fauna... I'd insert here a quote from Thich nhat hanh, but am still too full to get up & find the poem a friend read to me, so instead will sign off to pick up the roku clicker & watch the munsters, I think... To reference rumi, may we all treat every guest to the house of our soul as welcomed, bringing gifts & lessons, always remembering that each guest is only temporary...

Tuesday, January 10, 2012


the blablabla never ends! how bout for you?
fat sparrows in tree! so cute! just got off phone w/a few ppl & while we spoke, i watched a black cat in the arroyo loll in the sun & survey the bushes as if he were king of the jungle. animals: heartening, fun, mysterious, & w/o the many problems that emanate from the "higher mind" of their homo sapiens brothers!
gotta get this place cleaned up & pack to head down the hill. the kern transit here runs to-from FP-bksfld, only $3.50 one way - a lot cheaper than driving! i'll walk about 1 mile down to the stop & board for this little adventure, which i've not taken for some months... yes, it's easy to glide into happy sloth, being semi-retired like i am these days... i try not to feel guilty, but instead be grateful. in this society, i believe these days i get to live a rather unusual existence: not working, living off savings, playing music, enjoying my life! i know, tho, i'm in this life-place because i've always been able to save my dough, thru gainful employment, long marriage to wealthy, hard-working husband which allowed me to further save my own monies, thrift taught us by our father, & lack of my own children... i so love kids, & at times have pangs of wishing my life were different, but then i remember how silly it is to "borrow trouble," as donna would tell me, suffering over what isn't, so i think i'll just enjoy this while it lasts & leave the guilt to someone who deserves to feel thusly, like the violent or liar or hater or greedy...
anyways, the elvis show was really fun, tho lower-key for me than usual because NO BLASTERS were there this yr! phil alvin's been recuperating (i hope). bill bateman showed up, tho, vulpine, grinning, grayed, just to hang out. when i looked at the lineup (over 40 acts!), to my slight dismay i saw the only folks who didn't show up were my friends james & manuel... i was looking fwd to seeing them both! oh well... introduced by art as "one of the best secrets in rock n roll" (!!!), we did a very "up" set as dusk devils, w/rockabilly-punk cutie (women swoon over him, tho he is happily married!... all i know is, sure doesn't hurt to have attractive ppl in a band!) AJ on doghouse bass & smiling stevo, looking like a baby fidel castro in hat & cigar, on drums... then we played a short set w/cutie-pie karling, in lovely black dress, & i REALLY enjoyed backing her. in fact, that's pt of the reason i felt less nervous this year, i think: playing w/more than just my act for some reason calmed me, & how nice it was to get such compliments afterward from people like skip edwards, russell scott, dave stuckey, ronnie mack... however, i was BLOWN AWAY that my "biggest fan" that eve was the amazing & gorgeous ruby friedman!, who ran up to me & announced herself to be that. ruby adores jerry lee lewis, so that might've been the appeal. she also told me, "you do your eyes like mine" (tho her eye makeup is more theda bara & glamorous than my smeared egyptian eyes), complimented my bangs repeatedly, & told me she'd been drinking (as are most ppl in that setting), so maybe she was being especially kind under the sweet sway of drink, but in any case, she was happy, droll, intelligent, & fun to gab with!... heck, beautiful ruby, amazing chanteuse of powerful pipes & passionate performance (she blew away "fever" & "hound dog" -- w/big mama lyrics, of course!), told me she wants to get together to play music, even!! art's eyes glimmered when i told him that & he smiled. "that's what i do," he said, yoking his hands. "i put ppl together." excellent, art, & thank you so much, if you're putting me together w/ppl like wonderful ruby! her passion onstage is nearly unbeatable, & her voice & star presence are unlike any female i can think of... i know many amazing frontwomen (candye, karling, becky), but ruby puts her whole body into the show; her soul blazes, palpable when she's onstage; she's like a "force of nature," i'd say, a whirlwind, a hurricane.
prone to hyperbole, i can write such a thing & know what i mean... :)
yes, to continue to gush, i'd say her voice is one of the best i've ever heard, & her compositions, tho they tend to make me plunge bc i'm overly-sensitive & that's why i stick to performing happy music, are complex & deep & very real... the eccentric talented supernovas i get to rub elbows w/ -- ruby & james, primarily -- remind me of a great quote from oscar wilde: "be yourself. everyone else is taken." ...
here's a pic bsp took before we post-show hit the road for bako. the ride over & back w/the paxtons & stevo was low-key, friendly, & fun -- what a thing for which to give thanks! :) the music is swirling, exciting, barnstorming drama enough; in the rest of life i'd prefer (tho i know it can't always happen) to have friendliness, gentleness, kindness, love, even tenderness... good day to you who may read this. :)

Sunday, January 08, 2012

elvis show today!

read below for info + to view flyer... meanwhile, here's a pic of karling abbeygate & i from last week's show. karling likes monsters, too. this is a nice thing. :) my outfit for tonight is half elvis, half can-can girl. plus ripped-up hose. i hope that'll look more punk than bag lady... but in the end, who cares!! we'll put on the best show we can for the crowd. :) i wish i knew what times some of my friends will be on, esp since we'll miss pt of the show practicing... it'll be fun to ride w/the band & to play w/wild aj & friendly stevo (as well as bsp)... hope any who read this have a lovely sunday elvis-birthday-day...

Saturday, January 07, 2012

my first love

this looks very much like the one that sits in my folks' house, which i grew up playing & will have in my home again someday whenever i settle down "for good"... it's never let me down! i let myself down when interacting w/it, like during the 11 yrs i didn't really play & would try when tanked & loaded up & just humiliate myself & embarrass ppl around me, or when i don't sit & play it enough these days... our folks, dr spock-era parents, never made us do anything we didn't want to. but mama made me practice piano. "you could pick out melodies when you were 5 years old," she told me. "we could tell you had a talent for it & it seemed wrong to let that go to waste." before i fell into bad habits, i got pretty good cause once i got past the whining, frustrating stage, something went click & i could hardly satisfy my desire to play. hours each day. hours!! i love my famly, who never went crazy as i, ocd-like, played some pieces five, ten, fifteen, 100 times -- ad nauseum! (this may've in part driven my sister out of the house, tho, into the arms of her punk-rock crew of happy teenaged misfits). :)
i couldn't play a note w/o music until after about age 35, but once i got brave & tried, the ear i had as a kindergartner started coming back poco a poco & now i get to be at the joyous place where i so love picking songs out & riding those black & white rails sans manuscript... the process feels like god sometimes, i say: it feels like love & joy & excitement & lust & peace & catharsis (what soul in love w/music has not laughed or cried while playing??) & so much good...
my friend, my dear, dear friend, altho you'll never know it, i love you so & am so thankful to our folks for forcing me to practice when i hated it, cause from that has come companionship & connection w/magic.

Wednesday, January 04, 2012

cursed serotonin-deficient brain strikes again...

unfortunately, my thoughts are turning in this direction, so i'm writing about it cause i can feel it in me like a cold coming on & maybe if i write, i'll be able to better ward it off, like taking mega vitamin c would help a cold. if i were the hulk, i'd blast out huge & green & raging & wreaking havoc, then be ok... better to be the hulk than mister hyde, but nothing so dramatic as that happens; the world just goes blank, i go blank, an astronaut shot into space w/o a safety cord, like a dog i once saw get hit by a car, bounding & jumping & then bam, suddenly lifeless, spinning stiff as a board, helpless, a pet turned dead thing, what a horrible sight that was, & in this place, horrible pictures come right to the edge of thought & i hope they stay there & don't decide to manifest. one weird thing that happens is reality gets covered w/a darkening sheen, not like glass, but more like a soft dimness, a dirty plastic, maybe. for instance, i can tell that it's warm & golden & blue-skied out the window, but everything seems gray tho i clearly can see it is not, like maybe the colors are about to burn out. the birds are in the tree & still beautiful, but i can't feel them. the dogs are here, & i love them, but also i don't care.
a doctor would say certain neurochemicals are lacking or low. the program would say it's self-will run riot. a person i have known perhaps would say it's a case of my "untreated alcoholism." i don't wanna control things outside myself -- i know that's futile & aggravation & heartache... just seem rather cyclically to lose the will or ability to control my attitudes & responsibility for my own well-being. so i guess i'd vote that in my case, when bad brain combines w/fear-based ego, i start slipping toward the abyss. for me, it's nature and nurture both, i really believe.
what i know is, i've felt this so often in the past, since childhood!, & am still kicking, so as i sit here right now i know it'll pass.
gonna read what i wrote below about my new year.
this'll pass. for me & for you, if you ever get this way.

this sunday!!

art fein's elvis birthday bash at the echo, sunday jan 8, pm

Monday, January 02, 2012

haaaaaaaaaapppy new year!!! and blablablablabla

- don't wanna write, so i will. 1st of all, here's a wonderful, wonderful song i found thru fb monster grottu orloff as well as pic of me from lisa paxton.
- now the enchilada: spent a few days between gigs down in north san diego county w/the mcgraws, generous, friendly, well-adjusted program friends whom i love so much... 1st pt of the visit was w/handsome bill as freddy worked. he created a breakfast item he dubbed "oatmeal jenny." delicious! 2nd half of visit i spent w/freddy @ swell women's mtg... after i'd left, they sent a characteristic msg: "the girls [their dear little dogs] want to know where that bettie page gal went." what a sweet visit i got to have, & how lucky i am to know so many good ppl these days!
- met tim maag @ wed's show w/cattie ness & revenge at big's, fullerton. tim was bassist for cramps, D.I., social distortion, alice bag band. punk royalty! he was running sound & said after that i have "chops" & wants me to record some "60s-style" organ pts w/a band i can't remember name of... i was really flattered. becky & all looked fantastic! adam played so loudly, however, all i heard was cacaphony... the audience seemed to enjoy, tho, & that's all that's important. after, i got to crash in becky & john's rm when adam took off w/his bro; becky woke up @ dawn's crack, as she always does, turning on lights & talking away as she always does. it's so annoying, it's kinda cute -- she's like the innocent, oblivious little girl waking up early on sat morn to watch cartoons, & everybody needs to wake up RIGHT NOW to watch them, too! :)
- tim maag was again @ new year's show @ big's -- this time i played w/karling abbeygate, as did bsp & aj & donnie... drummer was john "bermuda" schwartz, who's weird al's drummer & a real gentleman. we had a rocking, smoking set, having warmed up earlier @ aj's sis's house. that family has the nicest, cutest kids; homeschooled by mom, they interact politely & intelligently w/adults. unusual! it was a continuing delight to look over & see those little ones dancing & smiling, then coming over to ask questions about the piano, or just ask if i needed anything (wow!).... aj's family in general impress me as highly attractive young ppl who also are decent & nice. i continually these days meet young ppl (heck, each day, more & more ppl are young, compared to me!) who seem to have it together as decent humans & remind me fleetingly of what a mess i was... nice to know these days i get to evolve, thru not drinking but mostly thru not dying, into a decent sort w/friends. but still... how do these young ppl do it? how do people just seem to KNOW how to be attractive, generous, kind, hard-working? it's a lovely thing to meet these types. it warms my cockles. :)
- yes, i like being a sideman, & i like that karling wants me to look "edgier." for sat's show, for instance, she said i should wear my "zombie makeup," so i was delighted to be able to lay it on thick. (the paxtons let me crash their fancy hotel rm to gussy up -- thank you!!) in face paint & short dress, i DID feel a lot more comfy than when i'm trying to look like a more traditional female... que lastima. i was so wrecked in childhood, wanting to be dad... or was i? karling, who masks a sharp & incisive mind behind a coy, heart-faced pinup image, says no, i'm just artistic. another friend says, "you gotta be you." wanda jackson told me, "you gotta make it your own, honey." remember the oracle at delphi. remember what happened to all those bands that tried to become what the record companies wanted them to be... i mean, quien sabe? just know i feel more comfortable being part-monster. a nice monster, like hermann munster, that is. or, in less-nice moments, maybe wednesday addams...
- being a sideman's exciting cause i'm able to concentrate more on just the piano, tho art fein's disappointed i'm not singing w/either becky's or karling's line-ups. (when i told him bsp & i're subbing in w/karling's band, he generously commented, "wow! that must be a powerhouse line-up!") singing w/these ladies might come, might not: for now, i like becky & karling, respectively, having the limelight. as a sideman, i hang back & put in the best, most stylistically appropriate music pts i can rather than try to steal the spotlight, detracting from the star's thing. my job's to make her look good by playing well & chirping the occasional i-hope-funny off-mike aside (tho becky warned me right before downbeat, "don't act weird," which left me so confused, i couldn't say anything!! i don't know how weird i am, but i know ppl tend to laugh when i speak, which feels good & must be good for the show... right? plus genius james says we're both weirdos & he "gets me," which i find flattering cause he is an amazingly gifted, authentic performer!). my hope is, if i don't hog the stage in a band that's not mine, i can leave the audience wanting more instead of wanting to toss me off the stage for trying to take over... they didn't come to see ME, after all, tho i spose eventually, if i do it right, they might come in part to see me. :)
- phil alvin showed up unexpectedly @ the ny show... i coulda died!!!! james intveldt's his student & also ex-blasters, & ji (along w/rosie flores) headlined... but phil's been really ill & looked like he'd just gotten out of the hospital, which he has, maybe even released too early... later i hung w/the musicians, including the world's most bawdy & beloved tough-guy bluesman: ppl on the street see him & run over to hug & kiss him, which he does back to males & female alike, & i so love the unabashed affection for humanity & life w/which he swells & overflows... late nite new year's turned into a bukowski novel: music, car rides to noplace, a dark bar of instant friends, the tattooed & sweet-natured bartender, coffee & oj for me, endless drinks for the regulars, clinking glasses, constant conversation, then the bluesman, who bounces & bodyguards when not playing music, was called in off the steamy early-morning street by the yells of the bartender: "he won't get up! he's not breathing!" -- to save the life of a kid od'd in the bathroom. "you should wear a cape," i told him admiringly afterward, once he'd slapped, shook, & soaked the kid back to life, but rattled, he just blinked soberly & said, "now i'm having flashbacks," lit a cigarette, & turned just as a large man walking up the street spied him, laughed joyously, & ran up w/"oh man, oh man, you're still alive! i love this guy!!" they bear-hugged & kissed & began reminiscing, the ugliness of the last few minutes forgotten.
- i'm not used to pulling all-nighters, so it's soon back to the couch for me... it is a new year, & so i resolve this year to love more & suffer less, & when ugly memories or experiences come up, which they do & will, to learn from them, put them in perspective, then put them behind me & look forward to the next adventure, as do my most admired & beloved friends. as the little sign on my wall reads, "breathe deeply... love freely, laugh often, live generously, pray earnestly, & be kind."
- happy new year to all. :)