My first real road gig was a year with Matt “Guitar” Murphy in 1987. Matt, of course, is a real road warrior, and the gig was a great experience, an excellent hang, and we made a lot of great music. I probably learned as much from listening to Matt play the blues in “G” every night as I’ve learned from anybody ever; it was a real study in how to stretch a melody over the time and how to make every note count, and Matt is a direct link to the guys who made that music up in the first place. His first road gig was with Howlin’ Wolf in 1948. Those tours were also a great look at how a real veteran did the road; of all the things there are to piss somebody off on a 3-month tour of blues joints, I only ever saw Matt actually get pissed off a couple times. We drove through 47 of the 50 states in that year and flew to Alaska. My very first night on the gig, we played in Fort Lauderdale, then drove 1200 miles to Houston and played the next night.
Just over 100 years ago, an inquiry by Britain’s Parliament sent out a party in a horse and carriage to drive eastward across London, a distance of about 40 miles, to assess the state of London’s roads and traffic. Their average speed was 14 miles per hour. A hundred years later, when another party made the exact same journey in a car, they averaged only 12 miles per hour. And that with a huge increase in carbon monoxide and lead pollution. Is this “progress”? I guess maybe there was more horseshit 100 years ago. Or was there?
I feel it is finally time to unburden myself of a terrible secret. In the late 1970s I participated in the prosecution of a gruesome experiment in which innumerable innocent people were made ill. Countless others would have been sickened to learn the nature of their exposure to this exercise. But I deceive myself. The nightmare that took place that awful summer was no mere experiment. It was a crime.
God is not finished making you when the doctor spanks your ass. This is something I have learned over 50 years on this earth, which is remarkable since I am only 28 years old. Life continues the process of making you who you were meant to become until the day you die. If you are open to it. When I was in the 4th grade, I remember reading a little story in our 4th-grade reader, “From Coins to Captains” (huh?) about a family who lived on a farm. The son, who was also in 4th grade, had raised himself a peach tree and was quite confident that he was going to win first prize in the county fair with his nice, sweet peaches. But then, as they are wont to do, his 5-year-old sister thought that she would help him by picking the peaches. Sadly, she fell off the ladder and impaled herself on a huge running chainsaw that her Aunt Hilda was using to trim branches off the tree. Actually I just made that up. Instead, she picked all the peaches she could reach, well before they were ripe. And the boy was grief-stricken; his precious peaches! Read more!