Don’t want to be an American idol,
good for a season and then tossed away;
held up like Jesus and the King James Bible,
blamed for the country’s future going astray.

Don’t want to be an American idol,
hawking potato chips and new Chevrolets;
starting out starstruck, ending up suicidal,
shriveled and spit out prematurely gray.

Don’t follow me thinking I’m headed somewhere
you’ll recognize on TV.
Don’t waste your time trying to be somebody
who only wants to be me.

Don’t want to be an American idol,
shrink-wrapped and candy-coated fantasy;
sold on the corner at a dozen a penny,
bootlegged in mixed degrees of quality.

Don’t want to be an American idol,
famous for being a celebrity;
pretending at a something somewhere near vital,
believing whatever I’m supposed to be.

Don’t follow me thinking that I’ve got something
to make life easy and free.
Don’t waste your time trying to be a somebody
who only wants to be me.

26 APR 2017

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On the Next Child Prodigy

I don’t begrudge a twelve year old
their wish to idolize
an artist of their own time-frame
with the same likes and sense of space
that come from being twelve a while.

But for adults to seek the same —
to push aside their own age peers,
in some great quest for “the next big,”
neglect those like themselves

who’ve worked for years
to understand and know their craft
and bring to it a wealth of time —
who treasure the precocious youth

that somehow came forth from the womb
with an “old soul” or some like crap,
who’d rather find a young maybe
than risk an older yes,

who stoop to conquer, so to speak,
their greedy eyes upon the prize
of novelty to hawk their wares,
it seems like pedophilia.

03 AUG 2007

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Every Bass Player Should Know These Names

B.B. Dickerson
Johnny Flippin
William “Bootsy” Collins
Larry Graham
Donald “Duck” Dunn
George Porter Jr.
James “Jamie” Jamerson
Verdine White
Carol Kaye

Add ’em to my already super-long list:

Gary Peacock, Ron Carter, Paul Chambers, Charles Mingus, Jaco Pastorius, Ray Brown, Stanley Clarke, Marcus Miller and Oscar Pettiford on one side, and

Chris Squire, John Entwistle, Paul McCartney, Jack Casady, Steve Harris, Tony Levin, Jack Bruce, Jack Berlin, Felix Pappalardi, Fernando Saunders, Louis Johnson, Robert Shakespeare, and Aston “Family Man” Barrett on the other side.

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What Really Matters

Could be bitter; what’s the point?
Each generation must anoint
its own legion of heroes to cut down.

Complaining they did not pick me
this time around seems to be
another way of sinking in the ground.

Between the cracks sometimes you fall;
you’re lucky to be seen at all.
So many live and die without a sound.

So what that no one knows my name,
that somehow I’ve eluded fame?
despite all that could be I’m still around.

What really matters, after all?
You get right up after you fall
without expecting some reward each time you do.

What really matters, in the end?
You find some truth, maybe a friend,
because the only thing left to become is you.

Could be bitter; what’s the use?
The world needs pointless self-abuse
like it needs one more song about the rain.

Insisting some conspiracy
must be to blame, and woe is me,
just sounds like an excuse for being lame.

Between the headlines that you read,
you find the news you really need
or else you don’t learn anything at all.

So what that no one sings my praise
then tires of it, in a few days?
The headlines make the other print so small.

What really matters, after all?
You get right up after you fall
without expecting some reward each time you do.

What really matters, in the end?
You find some truth, maybe a friend,
because the only thing left to become is you.

22 FEB 2007

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In English, it sounds just the same:
a senseless string of words
embued with some sense of mystique
used to convince and tame you;
to teach you follow and not lead;
that first impulse is evil.
If what you seek you have right now,
then why the mad gyrations,
austerities, and endless rules
to curb now’s inclinations?

What higher purpose would you serve
that others claim is worthy?
A thousand saints are born and die
each day, and yet it makes no difference:
if an altered state of mind
could change the world,
it would be changed by now.

Who has convinced you that the truth
is out there for the finding?
If they possessed an ounce or two,
what good is that to you?
They are no different, save for this:
when someone gave them manna
they asked after the recipe
and did not stay for dinner.

What meal can satisfy your urge
that has no form or substance?
What is the point of starving, then,
to merely birth a vision?

The gods, if they exist at all,
have no need of your mantras;
they will enlighten who they will.
Your efforts make no difference.
In that case, why expect reward?
Instead, just go on living
as if this one was all you had;
and nothing will be missing.

31 JUL 2006

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Biography in Song, continued

OK, here’s where it’s going to get tricky. After high school, with full time employment, my album purchasing power increased dramatically. A lot of energy was spent building a record collection. I’d go out and buy complete catalogs (yea, a fool and his money are so soon parted). The years 1983 to 1985 consisted of the following milestones:

David Bowie, Every album from “Hunky Dory” through “Scary Monsters”
Bob Dylan, Every album from “Bob Dylan” through “Empire Burlesque”
Otis Rush, Right Place, Wrong Time
Electric Flag, Long Time Coming
Buffalo Springfield, Retrospective
Spyro Gyra, Morning Dance
AC/DC, Highway to Hell
Black Sabbath, Every album from “Black Sabbath” through “Heaven and Hell”
Led Zeppelin, Every album from “Led Zeppelin” through “Presence”
Doc Watson, The Essential Doc Watson
John Hammond, The Best of John Hammond
The Beatles, Complete Half-Speed Masters, “Please Please Me” through “Abbey Road”

Details to follow …

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Idols and Influences, continued

OK, so the previous set of idols and influences ended with 1977. Over the next few weeks, I’ll be exploring the subsequent years and the albums/artists that shaped my world as a Musician. Included will be the following, identified in chronological (i.e., the year I discovered them) order:

Here’s the high school years 🙂

News of the World, Queen
Aladdin Sane, David Bowie
Passions of a Man, Charles Mingus
Giant Steps, John Coltrane
Harbor, America
Five Live Yardbirds, The Yardbirds
Only a Lad, Oingo Boingo
Brain Salad Surgery, Emerson Lake & Palmer
Never Mind the Bollocks, The Sex Pistols
Bayou Country, Creedence Clearwater Revival
We Sold Our Souls for Rock and Roll, Black Sabbath
Fragile, Yes
New Values, Iggy Pop
The Wake of Poseidon, King Crimson
The Best of Lou Reed, Lou Reed
Double Fantasy, John Lennon/Yoko Ono

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