Monthly Archives: March 2013

Prog Rock Sunday – Yes (plus a bonus video)

Good Morning and Happy Sunday!

Today’s Prog Rock Sunday features one of my oldest and favorite bands ever–not mention Prog Rock bands–Yes.  This morning, I chose the somewhat mainstream, Long Distance Runaround/The Fish (Shindleria Praematurus).  I could have gone with so many other songs than that pairing, but many of those others would have been one of Yes’ longer epics; such as Close to the Edge, Sound Chaser, or Ritual, and I figured that no one would sit through such longs pieces willingly on a Sunday (and I don’t blame you).

Also, Liam has been playing Long Distance Runaround on the bass quite a lot lately, so it has been stuck in my head.

You see, when I was a wee laddie, I taught myself how to play the bass guitar by trying to mimic Chris Squire (and Geezer Butler, John Paul Jones, and Phil Lesh).  Squire is a madman on the bass, and a phenomenal musician all-around, and I learned to attack the bass like he did, rather than simply play the bass.

Long Distance Runaround is one of the songs that I always wanted to learn, but I always thought that it was too difficult, and so I never tried.  Until recently, that is.  Liam sort of challenged me to learn it, and it was so much easier than I had anticipated.  I am a bit embarrassed that I never tried before.  I mean, I spent so much of my early bass-playing days trying to mimic Squire’s bass solo from The Fish off the live album, “Yessongs”, but I felt intimidated by Long Distance Runaround.  Ahhh, youth.  We can be so silly sometimes.

Anyway, here it is.  I hope you enjoy it, and I hope you all have a fantastic day!

Oh, and as a bonus, here is Liam kicking ass on the bass part for Long Distance Runaround!

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I Got Stuck…

…and so I skipped around a bit.

I’m talking about my novel, Blue Moon Baby, and my recent progress in writing it.  I started writing it from beginning to end, but then I got stuck on a section, and then waffled about for a while not writing anything.

I have had the entire story mapped out in my head for years now, and I have only recently begun to write it.  The whole purpose of this blog is for me to get practice writing, and so I write about a host of different ideas that swarm in my head throughout the day.  I also have been reading other writers’ work to see their process, and of course, I read tons of writing tips from people who seem to know what they are talking about.

However, after I got stuck, I decided to jump ahead–WAY ahead–in the story, and share a piece of it that I have really wanted to write for some time.  I posted it here on WordPress here, and here, and…<crickets chirping>.

That story is pretty gritty; probably the grittiest part of the novel, and is filled with cussing, graphic drug use, and a bizarre fight scene.  I liked it, but I did not get much reaction from anyone out there in Bloglandia.  I got a decent amount of views, but only a few like, and no comments.

Was it too gritty?  Did it suck?  Does anyone actually READ anything on my blog?

I realize that complaining about the internet means I’m doing it wrong, but I am puzzled over this one.

Anyway, if anyone is still reading this far, I must ask this question:

Have you ever skipped around while writing your novel, or do you stay firmly on your timeline?

As I mentioned before, I have the whole story planned out in my head, and I made a solid outline for the novel, but I just felt that this chapter of the story needed to be written.  Of course, I realize that everything I have written for the novel will have to be re-written later down the road.  Likewise, I wrote “The Fight” in blog form, with lots of back story that wouldn’t necessarily be there in the actual chapter.

I plan to continue this story where it left off after “The Fight” with posts on Monday and Tuesday, so if you are interested, stay tuned!

Happy Friday!

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Because of My Sunny Disposition…

Well, I done went and done it again. I got nominated yesterday for the Sunshine Award by the lovely and talented Jhobell Kristyl at Book Maven’s Picks http://bookmavenpicks.wordpress.com. This is actually my second nomination for the award. My first nomination came last month from The Frantic Blogger at The Unthemed Nook http://theunthemednook.wordpress.com/, but I got busy and promptly forgot all about it. I do appreciate the nominations, and I hope you all will visit these two wonderful blogs!

sunshine award

Clearly, I was nominated for this award for all the sunshine that I bring into all your lives, and so, I would like to honor these nominations by fulfilling my sunshiny duties. Here are the rules:

1) Display the award’s logo in your post or on your blog

2) Answer 10 questions about yourself.

3) Nominate 10 other sunshiny bloggers.

4) Link your nominees to the post and comment on their blogs, letting them know that they have been nominated.

5) Link the person (people) who nominated you.

Well, neither of my nominators gave me any specific questions to answer (highly irregular, ladies), so I am going to answer an amalgam of the questions that they answered in their own nominations.

  • What inspired you to start blogging?

I wanted to get more practice with writing so that I could write a novel or two. I have had ideas mapped out in my head for years, but have never made any attempt to write them out until recently. I think that blogging about random nonsense helps to give me the skills I need.

  • What is your favorite blog that you like to read?

Well, aside from the ten I will list below, I regularly love to read Becca’s verbal ejaculations at www.ladyornot.com, and the world famous, Le Clown, at http://clownonfire.wordpress.com. I did not nominate those two because they already have half of the world’s population as readers. But, I love them both!

  • What is your favorite color?

You can say I have no ascetic, but I’m not the only one. I like black, and dark blues and browns. Solid colors. Rarely do I wear any type of pattern, except today.

Not Wearing Solid Colors.

Not Wearing Solid Colors.

  • What are your passions?

More than anything else; music. I write music, and listen to it constantly. You thought I was going to say reading, didn’t you? Well, that is one passion, but music tops them all!

  • Favorite animal?

Cats. I could never live without a cat. At 44 years of age, I am already Crazy Cat Man!

  • What is your dream job?

Teaching High School History, grades 10-12. That is my realistic dream job. My unrealistic dream job is being a rock star. Still holding out for that dream!

  • How much time do you spend blogging?

A lot. I am reading other people’s blogs (about 40 or so each day), plus I write my own blogs, and of course, I check my stats every 15 minutes. 😉

  • Do you watch TV? If so, what are your favorite shows?

Yes. Adventure Time, The Mentalist, Tosh.0, Big Bang Theory, and occasionally, Workaholics.

  • Favorite flower?

Dahlias and daffodils.

  • Finally, Mr. Marckx, have you ever felt as narcissistic as you do right now answering these questions?

No.

Phew! Now that I slogged through that part of it, here is the really important stuff; my 10 nominees. In no particular order…

J Hubner – http://jhubner73.com/

Sarah – http://andthisiswhyiwilldiealonesurroundedbycats.wordpress.com/

Kerryalina – http://bikrambutterflies.wordpress.com/

Sarah Cradit – http://sarahcradit.wordpress.com

Marisa D. Lyon – http://fate423.wordpress.com

Donna Seger – http://streetsofsalem.com

The Maineiac – http://shesamaineiac.com

Kristen Mazzola – http://khmazzola124.wordpress.com

Gary – Because I’m Going to Die – http://thisawesomelife0918.wordpress.com

Hilary Marckx – Hook, Twang, Click – http://hmarckx.wordpress.com

And there you have it. If I missed anyone (and of course there are a hundred others I could have named), then I will catch you next time!

Please visit these wonderful blogs! I listed a wide mix of music, humor, history, current events, and personal rants. They are all fantastic, and I truly enjoy reading them every day.

Mr. Sunshine out!

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Wednesday Morning Earworm – Magnolia Electric Co.

On March 16, one of my old favorite Indie artists passed away from complications due to alcoholism.  Jason Molina, aka Songs: Ohia, aka Magnolia Electric Co., aka whatever else he might have called himself, was only 39 years old.  He may not have reached the age of 40, but he released roughly 40 albums under his various names, and another 10 or so collaborations.  I am sad that he is gone, but he left a HUGE body of work behind to remember him by.

A great, prolific, singer-songwriter right here.

A great, prolific, singer-songwriter right here.

I had the privilege to see him live with the Magnolia Electric Co. band back in 2009.  He played a tiny hole-in-the-wall dive bar literally down the street from my home in Citrus Heights, Ca.  I could have walked there if it weren’t 108 degrees that evening.

My girlfriend-at-the-time and I met my sister and her family at the “Fire Escape”, (I think that’s what it was called.  It’s called “The Couch” now), and ate some crappy bar food and drank a few beers.  There was an acoustic singer-songwriter from San Francisco that I have completely forgotten about, but I remember liking a lot, who opened for Jason Molina.  Molina walked in and out of the bar during the set with no apparent self-consciousness or shyness; just hanging out with everyone else.

Jason is the tiny one.  The guy to his left is the bass player, and he looks like Tumnus from "The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe."

Jason is the tiny one. The guy to his left is the bass player, and he looks like Tumnus from “The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe.”

It was a typical Sacramento summer evening, in that it never really cooled-off, and poor Jason, being from Canada, melted in our inhospitable heat.  The band came on at about 8:30, or so, and played a truncated set due to the heat.  Poor Jason couldn’t hang.  He walked off after about 5 or 6 songs, but came back to play a 2 song encore.  I got the sense that he really appreciated the crowd and wanted to give us more, even though he was not feeling well.  He was talkative during the set, and thanked us between each song for coming out to see him.  At one point I said, “Hey!  Thanks for stopping in Sacramento!”  It was a small bar, and we stood less than 5 feet away from him.  He shyly acknowledged our love for his music.

We had no way of knowing this at the time, but this was the same time that he started having problems with his alcoholism.  He stopped touring shortly after the show I saw, and went into various treatment centers.  We always thought that he was sick from the Sacramento heat, but perhaps his health issues were already starting.  His health deteriorated rapidly in this past year.

Today’s Earworm is my favorite of Jason Molina’s songs.  “Farewell Transmission” is typical of his more upbeat songs, and hearkens back to Neil Young of the early 1970s.  I begged him to play this when I saw him, but I think he just wanted to focus on his newer material.  You can find this song on the Songs: Ohia album, “Magnolia Electric Co.”, which ironically is not the Magnolia Elecrtic Co. band.

I hope you all enjoy.  Happy Wednesday, and I miss you already, Jason!

Mama, here comes midnight with the dead moon in its jaws

Must be the big star about to fall…

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The Fight, part 2

(Attention: This story contains profanity, violence, and graphic drug use, and is intended for mature readers only.)

(continued from yesterday’s post)

Friday, June 25, 1999 – 8:40 pm

There was a distraction at the other side of the room, but Cody barely acknowledged it. There were four college-aged boys; the macho, muscular type, yelling across the room at Cody, Huey, and Jamil. Huey and Jam had been trying hard to ignore it for several minutes, but Cody was only now becoming aware.

The boys were drinking cheap beer and bothering some of the bar’s other patrons when they noticed the three friends sitting in the far booth. The obvious leader—a tall, muscular blond wearing a sleeveless T-shirt and jean shorts—was pointing at Cody, Huey, and Jam and yelling “Hey Big Time!” in a mocking tone. Some girls were chattering on about how they thought the men in the far booth were celebrities, and wanted to get autographs, and the boys decided to impress the girls.

Led by the muscular blond, the four boys walked over to the table and demanded to know who the three men were.

“Hey! You guys big shots, or what?”

Huey looked as if he would be glad to jump into a brawl with these bozos, but Jam was not the fighting type, and Cody was in too fragile of a state to be bothered.

“Hey guys, not tonight, okay?” Huey tried to dismiss the boys.

“Aw, come on, big shots, you too important to talk to some regular guys?” The blond leader was clearly amusing himself, and his friends, but not Huey.

Jamil tried to be more diplomatic. “Look, you guys, we got private business here, and we’ll have to give you a rain check on…whatever it is you want.”

“What we want is to know who the fuck you guys are, and who the fuck you think you are thinking you’re so fucking big?”

“Look”, Huey was getting irate, but still tried to keep his cool, “We are just hanging out, trying to have a peaceful night. Go bother someone else.”

One of the other boys—another tall, muscular, blond with a baseball cap on backwards—figured it out. “Hey, it’s those Dutch Oven guys. Sacramento’s newest superstars.”

The muscular leader smiled a drunken, roguish smile, and decided to taunt them further.

“Oh, the famous rock stars. Those girls want your autographs, but how about you sign my dick instead? In fact, sign all our dicks, and those bitches can suck your names right off. That should make everybody’s night.”

Up to this point, Huey and Jamil were doing all the talking, trying to keep the peace, but Cody finally felt compelled to step into the conversation.

“Go back to your table, and fuck off”, Cody spoke calmly, and did not even turn to face the boy.

The blond leader zeroed in on Cody, apparently feeling as if his night was about to be made. “And what if I don’t want to fuck off? What the fuck are you going to do about it, Rock Star? You’re the big rock star, why don’t you sing something for us? Sing me a song, sign my dick, and then I’ll fuck off.” The four boys were howling with laughter as if this were the funniest thing they had ever seen.

Cody turned to meet his attacker head-on. Something in Cody’s eyes rattled the blond leader for a second, but he continued his taunts.

“Why are you three little faggots sitting all alone in a dark corner? You guys jerking each other off, or what?”

Huey stood up as if to punch the blond leader, but physically, he was no match for the larger boys; neither of them appeared to be. The blond leader pushed Huey back into his seat, and one of the other boys held Huey back, lest he should try to rise up again.

The blond leader ignored Huey. He had found his prey, and went back to taunting Cody.

“I asked you a question, Big Shot. Why are you little pussies jerking each other off in your own private corner of the bar?”

Cody had never felt that he needed a bodyguard. Even on tour, when fans can get aggressive, Cody felt that bodyguards and handlers only drew more attention to him, and so he eschewed them and chose to handle matters on his own. Before this night, he had never had an issue; certainly not in his own hometown, but he really wished that he had someone to remove this problem right now. The bartender had warned the boys to stop, and the boys ignored him, and continued their catcalls. The bartender even phoned the police, but the boys finally pushed Cody too far.

Cody rose suddenly. ”You want to see how much of a pussy I am, motherfucker? You want to see? Congratulations! You’re about to find out.”

The boys all cheered as the anticipation of a quick fight between their leader and this skinny celebrity pumped adrenaline into the night. Everybody headed outside. Huey grabbed for Cody’s arm to hold him back. “You don’t need to do this, man”, he pled, but Cody was already half-way across the room before Huey could finish the sentence. Jamil just laughed a knowing laugh, grabbed the tequila, and followed them all outside.

“You little bitch”, started the blond leader, “you have no fucking idea what you’re getting yourself into. And you know what? It’s too late to back out. Your ass is fucking dead!”

Cody just stood there staring at his attacker. It was too much. The last twenty-four hours had been too much for him. The haze of drugs; the fight with Lily; the realization that he may be in over his head with an addiction problem; and finally, a bunch of punks looking for a fight. It was too much. He came to the bar to meet with his friends and try to take the edge off the situation, but it had escalated further than he had ever imagined it could. All the cocaine and tequila he had in the bar, combined with the adrenaline surge from the impending fight brought a sudden focus to him.

He had come to the bar half-crazed, strung-out, and deeply saddened by the events at home. Now, he was faced with an idiot kid who looked as if he made a weekend habit of starting fights with smaller, weaker targets. Cody now faced a bully who had three equally muscular and testosterone-driven meatheads behind him to back him up. Cody knew this was never meant to be a fair fight, and so, he would not allow one. He knew that he was in no condition to allow one. Cody meant to give his attackers something to ponder for the rest of their bullying career.

Cody gazed into the eyes of his attacker. Then, he peeled-off his T-shirt, showing a thin, and stringy upper body. At six-foot two inches, Cody only weighed about one hundred and fifty pounds. The drugs had made him thinner than usual, but his Kung Fu training had kept him lean and strong. Even during the two years that Cody had used the hard drugs, he still continued his workouts and training.

Cody’s eyes never left the eyes of his attacker. He then kicked-off his shoes, and peeled-off his socks.

“What the fuck is this?” mocked the blond leader.

Cody then took off his pants and tossed them aside.

“What the fuck are you doing, faggot?” the blond leader cried out. Huey and Jam just giggled. The crowd was getting larger, and the bystanders were just as baffled as the attacker.

Finally, Cody stripped off his underwear, and stood naked before his attacker and the crowd surrounding him. Suddenly, cars driving by on “J” Street stopped to watch the spectacle. They had no idea who the naked man was, only that there was clearly going to be a fight between some nude lunatic and a very puzzled muscular boy.

“I’ll tell you what”, said Cody to the blond leader, “I’ll let you have the first punch. It’s free, just take it.”

The blond leader was flummoxed. All of his bravado was lost as soon as Cody stripped naked. He turned to his friends, who were just as puzzled; “What do I do? He’s fucking naked! I don’t want his shit touching me.”

Cody stepped forward and pushed his right cheek up close for his attacker. The blond leader, not knowing what else to do, summoned his earlier rage and charged Cody. His right fist smashed into Cody’s mouth, knocking Cody backwards and causing a spray of blood from Cody’s lips. The boys all whooped and cheered, mocking Cody, and pointing at Huey and Jam as if to suggest they were next.

Cody took a second to gather himself, and then smiled maniacally at the attacker, who, for the first time, realized that he might have made a mistake.

It took only about 15 seconds. In a flurry of movements, Cody punched, jabbed, and kicked his attacker in a series of moves he had practiced in Kung Fu training for years, but never used in any practical reality. Three swift punches to the face forced the blond leader to raise both hands for protection. Cody then gave two jabs to the kidneys, and a series of punches to the ribs, forcing his opponent to bend forward. He then gave two quick roundhouse kicks to his opponent’s hips and left leg, dropping him to one knee. It was Cody’s turn to taunt.

“Come on, little boy. You wanted to kick my ass, now get up, and kick my ass. You’re getting beaten down by a naked dude, you little fuck, now get the fuck up! NOW!”

“Hang on a second…”, the attacker groaned.

“No, now! You said my ass was dead tonight, now make me dead. Get up and kick my ass, motherfucker!” Cody was yelling like a lunatic, spraying blood and spit onto his attacker.

The regular Friday night brawl that the onlookers were hoping to witness had quickly become something darker and sickening. The three other boys, who would normally step into a situation like this, were frozen in awe of Cody’s assault.

The blond leader was stupid enough to stand up again. He charged at Cody, who then delivered two punches to the blond leader’s nose and jaw and a series of punches to the ribs and solar plexus.

All of the anger and frustration that Cody felt in the last twenty-four hours, and all of the fears and angst he had felt his entire life. All the years spent proving his worth to anyone he cared about, it all crescendoed in this one moment of time in an explosion of violence and hatred.

Cody finally decided to finish the blond leader off with an Inside Crescent and Tornado kick combination that broke the blond leader’s nose and jaw. Cody’s attacker crumpled to the ground unconscious.

One of the girls who had originally asked the boys to go get autographs vomited on the sidewalk.

Cody looked crazed at the three remaining boys as if to ask, who’s next? But before Cody could inflict any more damage, three police officers broke through the crowd and ordered Cody to stand down. The fight was over, but Cody was standing on the sidewalk on “J” Street, outside of NorCal’s Pub, naked, and pulsating with rage.

By the time Cody had come down from his adrenaline high and realized exactly what had happened, he was in handcuffs in the back of a police car charged with assault, battery, public nudity, public drunkenness, and two counts of narcotics possession. He also realized that his clothes were back on his body.

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The Fight, part 1

(Attention: This story contains profanity, violence, and graphic drug use, and is intended for mature readers only.)

Friday, June 25, 1999 – 7:35 pm

After the fight with Lily, Cody stormed off to NorCal’s Pub. On the way, he called Huey and Jamil to meet him there.

“I’m calling an emergency meeting. Get down there now!”

Neither Huey nor Jam questioned or protested the sudden call to arms; they knew that Cody was on the edge, and that he needed them.

Cody, strung-out and spun-out on a three day binge of heroin and cocaine—the same binge that sent Lily away and started the fight—drove recklessly down the narrow streets of Midtown Sacramento before pulling to the curb just outside the pub. He stormed in, put two twenty dollar bills on the bar, demanded a full bottle of Cuervo 1800 and three Heinekens, and found his usual booth in the darkest corner of the bar.

I can’t believe that bitch! How dare she? After all that I have given her! How dare she judge me? I should have thrown her out the upstairs window. Two stories up, and a long way down!

Cody could no more lay a hand on Lily than he could ever throw her out of his house, or his life. They were bonded beyond space and time, and no temporal crises could ever destroy that. He knew they would have to work it out.

But not tonight!

Tonight was a night for nurturing anger, spite, contempt, hostility, insecurities, and, most importantly, self-pity. Tonight, he would continue the binge, and add some much needed alcohol to the mix.

Huey and Jamil walked into the bar, found Cody in their usual spot, and asked the bartender for three glasses. Cody was already drinking the tequila straight from the bottle.

“Alright, Code”, started Huey, “what’s on the agenda for this evening?”

“Fucking bitch!” Cody could barely get the words out. He hated to admit any weakness, and admitting a fault in his perfect marriage to Lily was the toughest thing to speak aloud. “Fucking bitch cheated on me.”

“What?” Jam was incredulous. “No way.”

“Yeah, “ continued Cody. “Ran off with Kung Fu Charlie, and then came home and blamed me for making her do it.”

Cody retold the story of how Lily had found Cody in the basement, half passed-out with his freebasing rig still in his hand, a fog of smoke and the smell of sulfur and ozone hanging in the air. She had screamed at him, punched him a few times, and when she was sure that he was not overdosing, she ran off, slamming every door on her way to the car. Cody barely remembered, being in an opiate haze, just as he barely felt her blows. It was as if the entire incident was a dream. But he was very lucid twelve hours later when Lily returned home. He knew where she had gone, and a battle royale ensued the second she walked into the house.

They sparred verbally against each other while Lily delivered several swift kicks and punches to the head. Cody could never bring himself to hit her, even though they had practiced Kung Fu together for years. No, he could never hit her, but he did catch a few of her punches and pushed her down to the floor.

All the violence in their fight brought out five years of unspoken angst. Suddenly, Cody and Lily faced the reality that their perfect love story was not so perfect after all. Cody was a drug-addled workaholic trying to prove his worth to everyone, and Lily was a philanderer; possibly a habitual one at that.

Cody needed the comfort and solace of his best friends.

“Well, I’d kill her, if I were you”, scoffed Huey. “Fuck her! If you aren’t good enough for her, then let her go.” Jamil snickered. “You guys have a famously perfect love affair, Huey continued, “no one would suspect a thing. How good is your acting?” Jamil practically snorted his tequila out his nose from laughing. Huey was being flippant because he knew that Cody would rather have them all laughing than stewing in his anger.

“Not exactly what I wanted to hear, Hue.” Cody cracked a wan smile.

“She broke the ultimate sin—betrayal—and that is not okay, Code”, Jam chimed in with all seriousness. “I can see in your eyes that you desperately want to forget that the whole thing happened, but you know you can’t. Even if you find it in your heart to forgive her, you know that you never really can, right?”

Jam’s got a point, Cody thought to himself while pouring and cutting an ample amount of cocaine onto their table. The three of them all dipped their heads to the tabletop and took a hit off the Peruvian Gold.

With only a few months of fame to their credit, the members of Dutch Oven had carte blanche in NorCal’s, and the bartenders and owners turned a blind eye to their illegal habits. And why not? Cody, Huey, and Jamil were regulars whenever they were in town, and they brought a lot of business to the establishment even when they were out on tour. Besides, their booth was dimly lit and in a discreet corner where prying eyes would not make out the actions of its denizens.

Yeah, Jam’s got a point, but then, he’s never had anyone like Lily. He has yet to meet his soulmate.

“I’m not here to solve the problem tonight, you guys”, Cody declared. “I’m here to blow off some steam. Whaddaya say we just get shitty drunk and curse the world for all of it’s shitty problems?”

They drank their tequila and beers, and stared off at the television. The baseball game was on, and the three of them were content with watching in silence.

Cody’s cell phone rang. He knew it was Lily, but there was no way he would talk to her anymore tonight. He didn’t even care if she ran off to her Kung Fu hero’s fuck palace again, he was done with the issue for now.

Cody was exhausted from the drug-fueled binge that landed him to this place, but the drug-fueled binge was a product of having just come off a five-month tour around the world. The heroin was meant to calm his nerves and bring him back to a place of normality. He usually only imbibed on the road between gigs. He needed the cocaine to keep going, and the heroin helped him to sleep. This habit started two years ago when his first side band, MGHB, started touring, and he never brought the drugs home with him before.

At least until this year, with the explosion of Dutch Ove,n and their first album, “Me & Whoever.”   The demands piled higher, and the road extended further than he had ever anticipated.  At first, Dutch Oven played shorter sets as opening acts for larger bands, but they soon graduated to headlining tours and two-and-a-half hour shows. Then, there were interviews, and autograph sessions, and radio promotions, and record store appearances, and more dates added to their already full schedule. The drugs became necessary.

Cody did not really notice the increased drug use. He, Huey, Jamil, Randy, and Butch all participated heavily and openly. It was as regular as making music–a sort of sacred ritual. It was a Sacramento thing, for Cody, and one that would never occur in New Britain with the Manatee and their strict “no hard drugs” policy, at least, until about a year ago when Cody actually started to use the drugs regularly in both bands. He hid it from the Manatee, and felt ashamed for bringing the forbidden substances into that inner circle.

For the first time ever, Cody realized that he might have a problem. Sitting with Huey and Jamil, openly snorting cocaine off a table in a public bar, and recently having been caught red-handed freebasing heroin by his wife, Cody realized that the drugs were no longer just for medicinal purposes.

“In a way”, Cody started, “I sort of feel like I betrayed her first.”

Huey almost wanted to slap him. “What?”

“Well, I’ve been hiding this shit from her,” he pointed at the cocaine, “and getting more and more into the work. Think about it: what do we do besides play music? What are we doing right now? What the fuck, guys? All we do is get high and play music, and I think that the music is playing second chair to the getting high.”

Jam nodded. Huey looked nonplussed.

“I mean”, Cody continued, “why are we working so hard right now? We just released an album, did a huge tour, and now we are rehearsing new material for another album. Why? Why so soon? So we can get together and party, that’s why. And I have to go back to New Britain next week for the Manatee’s summer tour. It never ends.”

“Dude”, Huey looked confused, but knew that Cody had a point. “Do we really get high that much?”

“When was the last time we weren’t high?”

Jamil chimed in. “I don’t know about you two, but I am not always high.”

“But you are every time we get together and play. On tour, you do the same thing as the rest of us; get up for the show, and go down for sleep and travel. And…AND…”, Cody emphasized, “what were you doing the past few days at practice? The same as the rest of us.” Cody took another shot of tequila, and fought the urge to sneak off to the bathroom to freebase some smack. He felt cornered and vulnerable, and it was all his own doing.

Have the drugs really come between Lily and me? Is the music driving a wedge between us? Or, was there always a problem between us that we only now see?

Now that he has laid all of his faults on the table, he thought hard about Lily’s? What else has she been hiding from him? And did he drive her away, or did she drive him to this haze of drugs and constant work?

continued tomorrow

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Prog Rock Sunday – King Crimson

Today’s Prog Rock Sunday features the fantastic and innovative talents of King Crimson.  King Crimson of the 1970s centered on Robert Fripp, and had a revolving door of support players.  By 1973’s “Lark’s Tongue in Aspic”, the line-up had almost solidified with the addition of drummer Bill Bruford, singer/bassist John Wetton, percussionist Jamie Muir, and violinist David Cross.

“Lark’s Tongue” is a masterpiece of controlled jamming and composed improvisation (if any of that makes sense).  Essentially, the band jammed songs into creation, and then Fripp would allow Wetton to sing over some of them.  It was also a period in which Fripp began his experiments in distortion, dissonance, and soundscapes.

My two favorite tracks are the final two; “The Talking Drum”, and “Lark’s Tongue in Aspic (Part Two)”, which are both instrumentals (I’m not really a fan of Wetton).

“The Talking Drum” starts off almost inaudible, and then builds at a frustratingly slow rate, finally reaching full volume at its end.  It is centered on a drum and bass groove that has violin and guitar solos weaving in and out of that groove.  The gradual build-up adds a sort of tension to the groove before releasing into its full potential.  Then, with shrieking feedback, it explodes directly into “Lark’s Tongue in Aspic (Part Two).”

“Lark’s Tongue in Aspic (Part Two)” is a brilliantly composed piece that varies in moods and tones.  It is a sort of precursor to a lot of Heavy Metal in the 1980s, with its distortion and multiple sections.  Think of Metallica during the “Master of Puppets” era, or early Megadeath.  “Lark’s Tongue” is not nearly as heavy, but you will hear its influence.

I find that I enjoy later versions with Adrian Belew on second guitar than I do with the violin, but the original is still brilliant.  The two songs are jazzy, distorted, and definitely Progressive.  I hope you enjoy them.

By-the-way, I had hoped to find a single video with both songs, since I see them as interconnected, but I had to settle for two separate videos.  Again, be patient with “The Talking Drum”, as it is almost inaudible for the first couple minutes.

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