The Effin Eagles: All I ever needed to know I found in a friggin Don Henley song

So I have been turning this old gem,“The Heart of the Matter” by Don Henley, over in my head for a while now. I have been bemused at why exactly Don Henley keeps jumping into my head and I think is about…add nausea…forgiveness.
I am just like Jeff Lebowski in one of the greatest movies of all time, The Big Lebowski, when he utters his contempt for the band, the Eagles, and almost gets thrown out of a cab. *If you have not ever viewed said movie stop reading this blog now and never read it again until you watch this movie at least 3 times from beginning to end.
I know they are great, the Eagles that is, and I am not fragging on them to be hip or cool but frankly I am on Eagles overdose and have been for a long, long time. I think it was the drunken requests of Hotel California at too many Frat parties of my salad days. Or perhaps how they were the greedy corporate counterpoint to Pearl Jam’s valiant battle with Ticket Master back in the days. They are a great band. I am not doubting that but darn I am sick of listening to them. But yet I am still stuck with this darn Don Henley song in my head, which granted is not a part of the Eagles canon.
But after an internal review, as the thing has constantly been running on replay in my neural cortex for weeks now, I think it is trying to tell me something, and admittedly something which we all could learn a thing or two.
Here are some of the lyrics:
I got the call today
That I didn’t wanna hear
But I knew that it would come
An old, true friend of ours was talkin’ on the phone
She said you’d found someone
And I thought of all the bad luck,
And the struggles we went through
And how I lost me and you lost you
What are these voices outside love’s open door
Make us throw off our contentment
And beg for something more?
I’m learning to live without you now
But I miss you sometimes

The Part above is not necessarily what is speaking to me. I get it. Don Henley or his songwriter persona has realized his pages have turned with a former love. But the next part really speaks to the…er…Heart of the Matter:

The more I know, the less I understand
All the things I thought I knew, I’m learning again
I’ve been tryin’ to get down
To the heart of the matter
But my will gets weak
And my thoughts seem to scatter
But I think it’s about…forgiveness
Even if, even if you don’t love me anymore

Yep he is really onto something there.

Ah…these times are so uncertain
There’s a yearning undefined
And people filled with rage
We all need a little tenderness
How can love survive in such a graceless age?
Ah…the trust and self-assurance that lead to happiness
They’re the very things – we kill I guess…
Ohh pride and competition
Cannot fill these empty arms
And the work I put between us
You know it doesn’t keep me warm
I’m learning to live without you now
But I miss you, baby
And the more I know, the less I understand
All the things I thought I’d figured out
I have to learn again
I’ve been trying to get down
To the heart of the matter
But everything changes
And my friends seem to scatter
But I think it’s about…forgiveness
Even if, even if, you don’t love me anymore
There are people in your life who’ve come and gone
They let you down, you know they hurt your pride
You better put it all behind you baby; cause’ life goes on
If you keep carryin’ that anger, it’ll eat you up inside, baby
I’ve been trying to get down
To the heart of the matter
But my will gets weak
And my thoughts seem to scatter
But I think it’s about forgiveness
Even if, even if you don’t love me
I’ve been tryin’ to get down
To the heart of the matter
Because the flesh will get weak
And the ashes will scatter
So I’m thinkin’ about forgiveness
Even if, even if, you don’t love me…
Forgiveness (yeah)
Forgiveness (baby)
Forgiveness (ohh)
Forgiveness (ahh yeaaahhh)
Forgiveness (ohh)
Even if, you don’t love me anymore…

Trite? Maybe but the song has been worming around in my brain hole for some reason and I think Mr. Henley is nailing one of the truest sentiments we all need to embrace or more importantly allow ourselves to let go of. We have to forgive and go on with our lives. Carrying around anger and the pain that comes with it is like carrying all these fairly to moderately sized rocks around with us and what is a boulder? One big rock! Enough fairly or moderately sized rocks and this becomes a boulder too cumbersome to lug around with any semblance of peace or happiness.
You find the gems in the strangest places. Thanks Mr. Henley. So now that I have waxed on your late 80’s greatness perhaps now your song will leave me alone and quit popping up in my brain. Or perhaps it will stay with me and keep me honest with myself to do the very thing these lyrics insist I must.
I still am not going to like the Eagles though.

Stumbled Upon the Future

If you want to get your mind completely blown away check this out.

I stumbled upon this doing one of my many searches about he coming singularity and was absolutely astounded. This site, granted, is very speculative but what it does is offer a timeline of the future, with some very not so pleasant and some very encouraging things which lay in store for humanity or what is left of it after all is said and done. If this model is even close to correct earth is in for some things unimaginable.

I will recap some of the things which struck me as an American:

* Goodbye SW USA. The Mexicans will eventually lay claim back to you in about 2082. And good riddance by the way because you will be mostly desert by then. But seriously the US took California, Texas, NM, and Arizona from them anyway.

* Our military is going to be up to some SCI-FI movie type stuff. Mainly things which make unmanned drones and GPS strike capability look like paper, rock, and scissors. Invisibility and missiles that fall from outer space are just a couple.

* Everyone will be moving to the North. Apparently due to climate change if you live below he Mason Dixon Line you had better be prepared to move or be very resourceful.

*They are even predicting some WWII soldiers will still be alive to commemorate the war’s 100 anniversary. Hmmmf!

And as a general human on this planet

* The merging of man and machine

* AI technology which will serendipitously take over the whole shooting match by the 23rd century.

* The world is basically stay on the brink of total destruction

* Urban areas are going to become even more URBAN with sky scrapers spanning city blocks and reaching thousands of feet into the sky. They will also house millions of residents and most will never have to leave the complex. Sounds exactly like Soylent Green. Not cool.

* They claim that most people born in the 1960’s have a real shot at seeing a life span of 200 years. WOW!

* Remember the Terminator? You are going to become him on some level.

These and many more earth shattering predictions can be yours for…well… free if you have internet access which I assume you do if you are reading this.

*** One final caveat: if these words somehow make it into the future where humans can do just about anything could someone please make sure and bring me back in some way so I can see it. I am not opposed to one of those synthetic bodies you have in your future. Thanks


Fare the well Andy Griffith

Just found out Andy Griffith has passed. I am hard pressed to think of any individual as positively influential as Andy. Of course he was the genuine Andy Taylor from the Andy Griffith show and this will be the most powerful element of his legacy.
There are however some other gems which I am often surprised his “fans” miss out on.
Andy Griffith’s best work to me was in Elia Kazan’s “A Face in the Crowd.” It often makes me wonder, while watching this masterwork, how different would we view Andy if he had kept with this direction, more serious dramatic roles, which he was very powerful as. But also without Mayberry we would have missed one of the most iconic slices of Americana nostalgia ever created. At least we have examples of his other capabilities.
So long Andy You will truly be missed.

OK This bugs me enough that I blogged about it

I was raised, probably just like everyone else, with the ethos “if you haven’t got anything nice to say”, you know the rest. And I also know I am treading on thin ice with what I am about to write but it has irked me for years that I am just bound to “do a little number” about a song. Let me preface this with: I am not being negative in the slightest and I have nothing personally against what I am about to wax on here and do not know the creator of what I am going to write about in the next 600 or so words. And I doubt they would care one way or the other but much like John Lee Hooker in Boogie Chillun “it’s in him and it’s just got to come out.” I personally do not like the song “Walking in Memphis.” Here is why.

It rubs me the wrong way and has for years. This is nothing new, I did not like it the first few thousand times I heard it. It rubs me the same way that people hear “Free Bird” or “Sweet Home Alabama” and assume that the rest of the rednecks yelling the lyrics out encapsulates me as a southerner. And it rubs me, oh man does it rub me, the wrong way when people use it as some sort of sound track for their first experience in Memphis.

I have been to Disney (East and West) and did not walk around, through my entire experience humming “It’s a Small World.” The song itself is OK and passable so I am not slamming the writer, it “ain’t” his fault and he has no control of what others do after it is released but people, for god’s sake, “Walking in Memphis” is way down on the list of songs you should associate with Memphis.

I get that the tourism board probably loves it and I don’t blame them, it is made to order as far as a tourist song goes. I am very sure the writer of the song loves it and has reaped a just reward. I have no problem with this. The Don Corleone mindset (“It makes no difference, it don’t make any difference to me what a man does for a living, you understand.”) is my view. Yet for the rest of you, do some homework and realize Memphis is a deep, ocean deep, place filled to the brim with culture. It is a Mecca. So much art has been created, unique to American culture, it boggles my mind and I have done my homework, my entire life and still learn things that still amaze and humble my soul.

So I am not attacking the song. Its lyrics are a bit trite for my taste yet also I get it. The guy was stupefied by his experience and I think this is probably a very honest response and in song no less. Just for the rest of you please, pretty please, do not make it the soundtrack for your journey to Memphis.
Read this book:
Deep Blues by Robert Palmer
or this book
It Came From Memphis by Robert Gordon
Listen to these songs:

Booker T. Laury Memphis Blues
This goes to the very heart of Memphis music. It is its history and captures one of the greatest barrelhouse Piano players ever.

Booker T. and the M.G.sGreen Onions
There are tons of Stax songs and I encourage anyone to dive in but if I had to pick one I thought captured the sound it’s gotta be this one.

And I would suggest going to Sun Studios

The Stax Museum
Of course there is the King and Graceland
but also for an alternate take on where Memphis Music is now you might want to give a listen to Jack Oblivion who has done and is doing some very interesting music.
Memphis is basically stacked with history and culture unlike any other place in the world. Just don’t let one song from one guy temper your vision before visiting the Bluff City.

* Also for the record I love me some Lynard Skynard, the original boys. Just so you know.

Proof that I am not a John Mayer HATER

I posted this on my old Myspace Blog site almost 4 years ago to the date:

Originally posted on July 2nd, 2008
John Mayer: I just don’t get the FLACK this boy gets!

Current mood:confused
Let me credit this with the fact that I have not listened to commercial radio for a LONG TIME!
I have heard some people say some disparaging things about John Mayer and I just don’t get it. I understand that many “blues purists” are angry because he is getting blues credit and somehow angry that he does not deserve it.
From where I sit this cat has or had nothing to gain from getting into and supporting the blues as he has done. He could have went on his merry way and continued making the same thing he did on his first album, which was one of the last things I remember hearing on Lightning 100 (NASHVILLE) before I left there in 2003.
I wrote him off with the slew of other singer songwriters of the time, post 9-11 boys, and then I dropped out of listening to radio and not because I was affronted, VOLKSWAGON radios are hard to replace!!!!!
And lets face it I am not John Mayer!

But from my side of the house, after actually properly listening to his newer things, due to someone I love loving his pretty self, I considered what he does.
Here is goes:
1) He understands the Blues or he would not still be at the level he is
2) The boy (man-child) can play that guitar
3) Bless Him for making acknowledgment of something that was not “cool” to the general public.

The cat gets it and that is all I have to say about it!

An Open Letter to John Mayer: YOU can Jump off one of those Mountains up in Montana

Hey DUDE I took up for you over a year ago and man I wish I had never wasted my time after reading that interview you did in Rolling Stone. And no, not the one where you made a fool out of yourself. I mean the new one where you try to paint yourself as Neil Young. Stop now please. And also stop analogizing other artists of our day as Neil Young’s contemporaries so you can then place yourself into that new group and “whalla” you are the new Neil Young. First off, the last thing the world needs is a new Neil Young! You know why? Because we have the only one we need. And why you might ask? Because he is a freaking great artist who is no one’s cry baby.
You poor rich Rock Star.
For the record I do not read Rolling Stone, it was laying about and I made the mistake of picking it up, saw you in there and thought “hmmm his music is sometimes passable.” Heck I even liked the cut or two I heard off your new album. But come on dude!
I am going to not get into anything else you said in that magazine because I do not want to rail on for 1,000 words over how whiny and pretentious you come off. I know you don’t care and if you don’t fine but when Charlie Sheen comes off like a prince right beside you then something is off. But then I realized it because I took the time to read about him too. One thing that seemed to resonate is that he OWNS his. GOOD BAD AWFUL ETC. And makes no apologies which makes him something unique today, a real dude. An iconoclast. Not someone trying to be something you never will be: Neil Young. Try being the best version of John Mayer. I thought you were on your way to doing that guy and doing a pretty good job of it. But no Mayer I took up for you and took some sand in my crawlspace for it. I take it all back. Do no more interviews until you learn to appear, at least the facade of something besides a brat. And you know what else you can do? If that writer totally misrepresented you go find him and PUNCH him right in his mouth. At least it would up your street cred.
Dude I like your music and also here is he caveat to that: I did not want to like it and still did so that means you were really onto something. But please man do not do anymore off the cuff interviews. You are probably one of the nicest guys ever but RS does you no favors.

I know I am never making the mistake of picking up another Rolling Stone. Whew what a load of crap. I cannot believe Hunter S. Thompson even ever walked by their office much less actually wrote for that pile of Toilet paper.

* By the way I take stuff for even liking your music at all. But some of it is very good. Also I sincerely do not want you to jump off any mountains. It ain’t like that.

Ok I get it.

Cormac McCarthy, who if you do not know is a great writer. I will not bore you by telling you what he wrote or try to show you “hey look I have read his books” just trust me on this one (upside down ?).
But there was something which struck me in a quote I read of his and it is even more poignant because he is not one of those authors who just jumps all over every publicity opportunity he gets, matter of fact I would bet he has done a handful of “major” type interviews, if that. But this is not meant to belabor Mr. McCarthy’s artistic recluse nature. He says in the interview: McCarthy reveals that he is not a fan of authors who do not “deal with issues of life and death.”

Oh absolutely. I guess in a sense we should post that all over he internet and tack it to walls that can be tacked upon. If you are not writing sincerely about life’s important stuff or its sad inevitable end then you are a wanker. McCarthy takes it easy on them by saying he is “not a fan” but I will say I downright cannot stand their art. Might be a great person but their art is for tits or is not art at all but just some stuff to do to pass the time.

*Which is ok but do not call yourself an artist. That is like someone who plays a UFC video game walking around calling themselves a Bad Ass. Artists are warriors on a serious battleground of the mind, heart, and soul.

So many people pass over the later, death, because it is the one, the in-arguable. A thing which the love of another or the hand of your child can only even slightly balm. But much like the 100 people standing in a river of crap and one out of the 100 is yelling “I am standing in a river of crap!” When finally another of his comrades taps him on he shoulder and says “guess what buddy? We are all standing in a river of crap. Get over it.” (I actually just made that story up or used a similar one often but you get it.) We are all, thankfully or thankless, in this mean old world together.

So pulling back from he Abyss before it stares back into you consider this: anytime someone is WANKING off on the radio, taking up precious space doing some country song Bullstuff reading off this stereotypical list of things that make them country they are wasting their and worse YOUR TIME. Hank Sr. did no such thing.

And more to the point.

“Why wait any longer for the world to begin?” said Dylan. Of course one could say this was a play on a lover within the song but it serves my purposes nicely.
Why, indeed, wait any longer? Life is going right now. We are spinning around the sun at over 30,000 miles an hour and with or without you or me the earth will keep moving on this path.
Better get with the getting on now and not forfeit this special, special time.

Make sure to do some of this if you are so inclined:
1) Avoid bad art, learn the difference, and seek out great things to look at, listen to, absorb, etc., etc.
2) Avoid negative, shallow, vapid people in favor of good folks, learn the difference, and love them hard until you cannot do so anymore.
3) Whenever the chance provides itself, and learn to recognize these times, help someone else in any way you can. Please. It makes a bunch more of a difference than you think.
4) Be your self, learn the difference between this person and the fake prescribed one the world/society/our silly vapid culture is trying to pigeon-hole you into, and live that person’s life in whatever direction it leads you.
5) Take time to sit and just listen to the earth surrounding you. Really listen it is telling you somethings.
That’s it and if anyone ever asks you something like “why do you do the things you do” or “why can’t you be more like us” or some other insolent notion throw this in their face:
“I’m the one that’s got to die when it’s time for me to die.”
If that doesn’t shut em up then just put them on permanent mute.
Jimi said that last part and it has always worked for me when someone had the balls, which 99% of them do not, to even try to fence me in.

Back from the Abyss

I have had a bunch on my mind lately…I guess that makes me a rarity (wish I knew how to make that new snazzy sarcasm symbol which I think is basically the upside down “?”) Note to self: Learn that this week. None the lesser I have been working up the parts to 18 newly recorded basic tracks with the assistance of two of my most favorite drummers in the world, Joshua Mallard (NashVEGAS) and ARKansas’ own RJ JUKES. I also have about 8 more I want to throw into the pot. I am also working on a new guerilla campaign and am going to do a total revision on how I spread the word. As I have stated in the recent past I am abandoning fully the quasi traditional paths I have taken and will be heading more towards MUSIC 3.0 which I think I have totally invented by the way (Again I need to learn that symbol this week). I also had a hand in producing a tribute album of a very dear person who passed far too soon. I will have much more information about that forthcoming as I do not want to let the cat out of the bag on that one too soon. I am also going to record another Tribute for another person who is no longer with us. The first one will be a pretty awesome compilation with some of the best players I know on it. The second aforementioned one will just be me (insert sarcasm symbol) OH JOY.

I am really starting to see a clearer path to this thing and am re-reading the incessant words I save in my incessant journal-ing I tend to do. One quote in particular is attributed to Kurt Vonnegut’s son who said “I am pretty sure the reason we are all here is to help each other through this, whatever this is.” I think I paraphrased that but I am still close enough to Rock N Roll on it I think.

I have a great deal of music in me and am blessed with so many beautiful and talented souls that I cannot bitch nor complain much. Besides it would do NOT one whit of good. I seem to have helped stir a bit of controversy by being included in a Bob Lefsetz Leter email update, first I am honored, second I stand by every word I wrote. I am vaguely familiar with the original subject, the lead singer of Cracker guy, and I did actually take the time to read his long, ass, whatever you want to call it, maybe not screed, but that stuff was a long read. And at the end of the day I still think he totally misses he point, which is with all his fancy words and “eloquence”, whatever that means, he is like the foreman at the buggy whip factory circa whatever year the auto took over. Get over yourself and make some great music. I am not saying you have not made some great tunes, you obviously have done it much more than myself. At leas from a sales perspective but at the end of the day you cannot not move forward. I do believe Mr. Lefsetz is correct about one thing and that is this: Great music does its thing well. Keep making it. Also there is a great blog by the  former lead singer of the Verve Pipe and this guy did what he had to do. And honestly no one is saying David Lowery is not but he could show us and just not tell us about it.

OK I am done for now just know these things will be happening with me:

1) I am getting my keyboard fixed this week because my “T” key keeps sticking and also I am going to get that sarcasm thing working as an add on

2) You will see some new approaches on my part in the coming months to promotion and touring

3) I will get back to blogging more. Sorry for the absence I just felt I had more to think over than write over if that makes any sense


And what the world needs now…to borrow a phrase…is less complaining and more doing. And also I do not always agree with everything the man writes either but he bats really high up there in my book and is usually dead on.