- I was working on a track. I had a beat and a drone and was stuck, no idea what to do next, when I got a couple of texts requesting that I not teach my daughter “racist” songs. This was in reference to “Shortnin’ Bread”. Seriously. And then I plugged in the guitar and played “Shortnin’ Bread”’s silly little melody over and over, in D, added some wah-wah and delay and the rest of the track just fell into place.
When somebody gives you bullshit, fertilize a field.
- I went out hiking with a woman one time. She had blond hair, bottle-green eyes and a body like a dreadnought, with a larger lower bout for better bass resonance. I like bass resonance. It was our first date, if ya call hiking up the south side of Fridley’s Gap a date, which I do. Part of the trail was in a creek. I was in the lead, stepped up onto a big rock and looked back. She was squatting down, dipping her bandana in the water, talking about something or other. The way she was squatting allowed me a clear view straight up the left leg of her shorts.
She wasn’t wearing underpants. I couldn’t see everything she had but I could see enough – gentle folds and amber waves. I have had more than a few rapturous visions and that was one, by God. I was struck dumb and motionless, transfixed by the glimpse of that sacred, hidden grotto. All else dropped away.
Then she looked up and said “You going?”
“Oh, yeah, I was just going to offer you a hand up.”
So we hiked around a bit, got kinda lost, I was late getting to work. Yes, of course, I fucked her later, many times and William Blake knew what he was about when he said “The nakedness of woman is the work of God.”
That first unintended peek though – that was something.
- This Espresso Shaman frequently and with good reason maligns and insults Baby Boomers, aka “The Worst Generation”. I only do it because they suck and we’ll all be better off when they’re gone. I do want to be very clear that my utter contempt for those born in the years immediately following WWII does not include Roky Erickson who, though having an incarnation-date smack-dab in the middle of 1947, the peak year of the Baby Boom, is a Bodhisattva.
- The I’m-Not-A-Racist Paradox: The more emphatically a person declares that they are not a racist, the more racist that person really is (cf. Glenn Beck).
- Three albums I won’t listen to at all unless I can listen all the way through without interruption: Lou Reed’s Metal Machine Music, Sleep’s Dopesmoker and John Coltrane’s Ascension.
- I am a feminist. And I hate twee, emotionally-overwrought, crybaby music. I hate it like poison, whether it’s made by males or females, but I am mostly exposed to that kind of dreck by females. Women enjoy listening to horrible music. Women enjoy making horrible music. For every 7 Year Bitch, there are twenty Indigo Girls. It’s fucking awful and it definitely affects my ability to be around women. I’ve become somewhat sensitive to bad music as I’ve aged. It grates on my nerves. I work with women in a restaurant. There is always music playing. It’s a constant struggle to find music that all the employees can agree on. I recently solved the problem for myself by queuing up a few records by Rising Appalachia in the dining room and turning off the speakers in the kitchen. I’d rather listen to the overhead fan than that shit any day.
The real problem, though, is how it taps into the tiny kernel of misogyny that exists deep down inside me. Three seconds of Ani DiFranco is all it takes for the words “Shut up, you stupid cunt” to pop up in my brain. I haven’t come up with a solution yet.
- The character in Finnegans Wake who I most identify with is Shem, the dark, introverted, disfavored son. Sometimes, when I’m feeling discouraged, I think about Shem and I remember that this is how it should be.
-The Statute of Limitations has run out on my most recent, unprosecuted crime, which was property damage. Specifically, I was hiking with a friend in some woods very near the Geo. Washington Nat’l Forest. This piece of real estate was soon to be developed into a gated community by some assholes. There were some signs around saying “Lot For Sale”. My friend and I shot pellets through one of the signs and then pulled it up. We were about to throw it down a ravine when one of the property owner scum walked out of the woods and yelled at us to stop. Our car was right there, he had a cell phone and could easily take a picture of the license plate, plus he knew me from around town, so we didn’t bother trying to get away. We just hung out until he got a state trooper out there to write us up. In the end, the property owner swine decided not to press charges and some paper work was filed about us never trespassing there again.
I would like to state right here that prior to the incident described above, I was out there alone and I vandalized several other signs. I would also like to state that I am not at all sorry and that my only regret is that I did not cause more financial harm to the property owner filth who did, in fact, transform that beautiful parcel of woodland into a gated community. Fuck them.
There are few things more liberating than realizing that the Statute of Limitations has run out.
- Public Service Announcement: Patchouli smells bad. Please stop slathering it all over yourself.
- Here’s a great invention I thought of – earplugs that look like earbuds. That way you can walk around joyfully blocking out the sounds of other people and they won’t try to get your attention because they’ll think you’re listening to a Lady Gaga mp3 on your iphone like a normal person.
- If you meet the Buddha on the road, don’t kill him. Capture him and bring him to headquarters for interrogation.
- The Big Drum In The Sky Religion is not “extreme”. We are not “pushing the boundaries” or “exploring the outer limits”. We’re not even “breaking new ground”. Occasionally, I might use the word “experimental”, but only because it’s so vague and meaningless that it isn’t completely inaccurate.
Great quotes by me:
“Distortion hides a multitude of sins.”
“I’m not currently in Hell. That’s enough to be grateful for.”
“There’s no excuse for lying to children; nor need for one.”
“Don’t wait for God to tell you what to do. Start doing and let God tell you when to stop.”
“A man without a woman is like a dog without an electric can opener.”
“I’ll eat when I’m dead.”
I paint houses with my dad. I like painting. I’m not too crazy about having to spend time with my dad and I really hate the conservative radio shit he has blaring all the time, but the job pays well so I’ve put up with it. Probably quit in the next few months, but anyway, t’other morning there was a musical bumper between radio shits which caught my attention. After a moment I realized it was the intro to “Kool Thing” by Sonic Youth.
Can we all just step into the Way-Back Machine for a bit? Destination: 1985. I drove into town with a handful of lawn-mowing money to spend at the record store downtown. Flipping through the bins, I found Sonic Youth’s Evol. I’d heard of Sonic Youth and Evol was released by SST, so I figured it had to be hardcore. I bought it, went home and threw it on the turntable.
Not hardcore. I was thoroughly disgusted with the droney, art-damaged psychedelia dribbling out of the speakers. I listened to half of the first side, cursed the loss of eight bucks, shoved the lp on the shelf and went out to shoplift beer or listen to Black Flag on my Walkman or whatever I did.
Six months later, I was gathering a stack of records to trade in for store credit. I could usually get a decent return on shit that I picked up at yard sales – the first record I bought just to sell/trade to a record store was Billy Joel’s Glass Houses – and I usually had a couple albums that I’d bought new and didn’t like to return. I pulled out Evol and thought I might give it another spin before trading it in, just in case it didn’t suck as bad as I thought.
Friends, I don’t know what happened to my ears during the six months between my first and second listens to “Tom Violence”, but it was clearly something seismic. I must have learned to hear differently, grown a bit in my ability to grasp and appreciate nonpopular music. The second time through, I was totally blown away, riveted, transfixed. I couldn’t believe how amazing it was. Sonic Youth immediately became my favorite band. I blasted Evol daily, allowing the locked groove at the end to run on for half an hour or more. I got the record store guy to order Sonic Youth’s back catalog – Sonic Youth, Confusion Is Sex, and Bad Moon Rising. I started looking for other artsy/noisy bands. I liked Live Skull and Einsturzende Neubauten, but they somehow lacked something, possibly SY’s interest in American trash culture and classic rock, which I always assumed were brought in by Thurston Moore. Sonic Youth, man, they had the power to turn goat piss into gasoline. Sister was killer. I saw them once, supported by Jesus Lizard.
Then they signed to a major. I don’t remember which one – Geffen, maybe. “Kool Thing” was an alternative hit single. It was a good song. I really dug the feminist statement being made there and thought that having Chuck D do a guest bit was a clever idea. Still, I knew they’d sold out and that their days of making decent music were numbered. I was kinda bummed about it, but whaddaya gonna do? They had another couple releases – Dirty was a fine rock record. I bought Experimental, Jet Set shortly after it came out, gave it a listen and took it back with no regrets. I knew I’d never buy another SY release again. Actually, I did later pick up some of the things they put out on SY Records, installments 1-4 of their “Musical Perspectives” series. Those were pretty decent. Those allowed me to at least respect them for having some artistry for a few more years.
I still had some respect for SY then. When they would come up in conversation, I would say I loved their early stuff, and that I still respected them as musicians, but that I hadn’t really liked anything they’d released in a while. Mostly I just didn’t think about them much.
In ’10, my daughter was still nursing and I would take her to the library where her ma worked part-time for afternoon feedings. One day, I picked up a copy of Signal To Noise which had Sonic Youth on the cover. I read STN occasionally between issues of The Wire and I figured maybe SY had something going on. Unfortunately, they did. P.J. O’Rourke, who I find deplorable in many ways, had joined the band. They had just signed to a new label, a move which Kim Gordon hoped would allow them to sell more records. Thurston Moore, who I had always found to be the most likable member, went on some long monologue all about how SY had stopped trying to innovate years ago, how they just showed up at the studio and churned out the same product, how awesome it was to be in a comfortable, old band like the Grateful Dead. He actually said Sonic Youth was like the Grateful Dead.
That was it. That was the moment when I finally lost any and all respect for Sonic Youth. Sometime later, when they finally called it quits, I thought “Jesus, it’s about damn time.” Their process of selling out was a gradual one and I was somewhat blinded by the fondness I had for their early work, but I finally saw the light.
Sonic Youth sucks. Sonic Youth sucks so bad that their music is used as filer between a commercial for Fox News and the local traffic report on the AM station my dad listens to.
I do still enjoy some of the early stuff. “Freezer Burn/Now I Wanna Be Yr Dog” still rocks. Bad Moon Rising is a killer album. I’ve been thinking of covering “Satan Is Boring”. The songs where Gordon takes the lead vocal have started to seem tedious. Her monotone seemed interesting at first, but it became monotonous.
Signing to a major. That seems to be the beginning of the end for anybody. Sonic Youth, the Butthole Surfers, Pussy Galore, Royal Trux…so many great bands who sold their souls and turned to shit. The only exception I can think of is Tom Waits, who I still respect and admire even though I haven’t been really jazzed up about anything he’s done in a long time. And honestly, I don’t think it has to be a major label. Independent labels are like access roads to the shit superhighway. Sign to anybody and you’re pretty much saying “Here I am: ready for exploitation.” Jesus, there was a time when I thought Beck seemed like somebody I could hang out with; now he’s a rockstar, just a pair of wraparounds and a Christ-complex away from Bono.
I might consider working with a label bigger than the numerable micro-labels BDSR has worked with before. I’m not ruling it out. Nobody has expressed an interest and I don’t try to get their attention, but it could happen. On my terms. I doubt it ever will though. As much as I’d like more people to hear BDSR, I’m not motivated to put forth any effort to get some company to shill discs for me. I’m very happy putting stuff out through tiny bedroom labels and on Bandcamp and shit like that. And the music that I make – BDSR is frequently a group effort, but I do all the mixing and collaging, so I’m the final filter – is pretty raw, ragged and abrasive. I doubt that anything I put out would be useful for selling beer or tampons or sporty hybrid cars, so I’m pretty much protected by my own aversion to twee, formulaic shit to ever attract the attention of the music industry. Thank the Gods.
And that’s that.
So, there was the move to the Hollar House and the whole drama with the spider-bite that caused all kinds of pain and aggravation and while all that was happening, in the middle of August, this thing happened with the truck:
I was driving home one night, about 11, NPR cranked up, when I realized that there was something wrong with the truck, some kind of flapping noise. At that exact moment, a doe walked out in front of me. Deer are fucking stupid that way. They’ll just amble along into the road right in front of a truck. So, I navigated around the doe in such a way as to not destroy the front of my truck or have to find somebody to eat a bunch of venison, turned off the radio and the flapping sound was gone. I was at the top of the last hill, so I just coasted down and into the driveway. I knew something was wrong, but not what.
A flashlight inspection revealed that the serpentine belt was off. Flapping explained. During the next couple days, I replaced the belt, which wanted replacing anyway, and looked the engine over. I was out of water and the oil was inexplicably low. I concluded that I’d blown the head gasket. A blown head gasket is every bit as bad as it sounds. You’re pretty much replacing the engine at that point.
I walked away from the truck and tried not to think about it much. I had every intention of fixing the fucker, but my shoulder was hurting and there were other things to think about and I didn’t have the money or the technical know-how or the time and August crept into September. Occasionally, someone would ask me about the truck and I’d mumble something about not getting around to that yet.
Eventually, my housemate started making noise about the truck sitting in the circle-driveway. Something about moving it so we could use the circle as God intended. Last Sunday, which Angus MacLise named “Lion of the Virgin”, I wandered out to the truck to see about moving it out of the way. I put some oil in and didn’t see any leakage so I filled the radiator and backed it up the hil to an outta-the-way spot. I figured I might as well look under the hood and when I did, I saw water spewing out from behind the fan. Yet the oil was holding. I decided that my initial ignorant diagnosis might’ve been wrong, made more coffee and dug out my ratchet set. Actually, I had to borrow wrenches from the housemate.
If I had woken up Sunday and decided to remove the water pump from the truck and get a replacement, I would’ve found a dozen other more interesting things to do. But I didn’t decide to do that – I just kept fucking around with the truck and thinking “Well, I did that; I might as well do this”, and in the end I had removed the water pump and gotten a replacement. I had to make a second run to AutoZone for sealer and by then I was tired of it so I stopped.
I was surprised to notice at the end of Sunday that I had no shoulder or back pain. It felt great. The absence of pain is amazing and we should appreciate it more.
Monday, feeling filled with vim and vigor, I installed the new water pump, took a break for the sealer to set and for me to pray, and then started the truck. Everything seemed to hold. I took a test drive, parked for a bit and found no puddles of steaming fluids under the engine, so it appeared that I did the job right. I’ve been driving the truck regularly since and everything is at it should be, including my shoulder.
I talked with my body work guy, told him how fixing the truck had somehow fixed my shoulder. We talked about the connections we have with our trucks, how much we rely on them, how stressful it can be to live out in the country and depend on aging vehicles which have their own fallible bodies. We arrived at a wondering agreement that the truck being broken down had contributed to the tension in my back which had caused my muscles to hold on to the spider toxin.
During the time the truck was down, I was trying to schedule a meeting with an ex-girlfriend. I needed to apologize for some of my behaviors during our relationship and break-up. We were able to get together, discuss the things that happened between us and resolve what needed resolution. There was also a thing that I had to do to move forward in my quest to become one of the worker-owners in the little collectively-owned restaurant where I work which was causing me some stress. I figured out how to proceed with that and I’m now doing the work that needs doing. These are examples of other blockages I had going on, things that were stuck.
So, I’m great. Feeling good, riding high. Blockages and tangles have loosened and my general chi is flowing freely. Something interconnectedness. All things are interconnected. Uh, fuck, right now I’m being distracted. I’m finishing this at the restaurant where I work and someone is playing The Bird And The Bee’s album of Hall and Oates covers. The Bird And The Bee are everything I hate about modern popular music in one two-headed package. And they’re covering Hall and Oates, who were everything I hated about modern popular music in one two-headed package twenty years ago. This is the fucking worst music I ever fucking heard. This the kind of shit that makes me wish Jesus would come back with a flaming sword and destroy the world. Or that Ragnarok would happen. Something – anything. A society that produces The Bird And The Bee covering Hall and Oates is one that should be nuked. If I thought they’d give me a rocket-launcher and the home addresses of the members of The Bird And The Bee, I’d join ISIS or ISIL or whatever they are. I also hate Tegan And Sarah, but they’re not playing right now so I hate this shit more.
Brown Hat the Espresso Shaman
The pun is always intended.