Thursday, January 11, 2024



So I ran into my buddy Jeff Bagwell. We were both in our 30s or something.

I caught up with him as he was walking to his ride. I asked him, "Jeff, are you a metalhead?"

Suddenly, in the way of dreams, he's lying on the floor, leaning back on his elbows next to a heavy workbench, looking up at me.

"When I have to be," he says.

We're walking again and I'm trying to tell him about that time when the boss let me leave work early so I could go to the Metallica concert off Justice and then I came back to work after the concert was over, but Jeff is going on about left-handed pitching and I can't get a word in edgewise.

Finally he calls ahead to the driver of a ramshackle Chevy van and someone on the inside (there's four or five guys in black t-shirts sitting on the carpeted floor, I'll see) slides the side door open.

"Frantic," from St Anger is playing rather loudly within. We both start headbanging.

Jeff hops in, I don't. The van starts moving ahead slowly, side door still open, and I'm walking alongside, still whipping my head back forth.

Bagwell is still talking to me, now it's about Kevin Brown's anger management issues. I wish I was going with them. But I'm not, and I'm going to have to tell Jeff about that Metallica concert some other time. The van door slides shut and it pulls away in a cloud of exhaust.

I turn around, dejected. Think I'll get a hot pretzel....

Thursday, November 30, 2023

John Coltrane - "Greensleeves" from the album Africa/Brass

Listening to Coltrane's cover of "Greensleeves" for the first time. Nine or ten times over the last two days.

It's got a lot of the same lyricism that "My Favorite Things" does, the same modal, kind of raga feel, the same jawdropping glissando sound to his solos as he shifts the soprano sax up into hyperdrive--no, *through* hyperdrive, quickly tasting n-space and then bringing it back down into standard topology again.

Conjecture: If he had lived long enough Coltrane probably would have covered "Pure Imagination" too.

Tuesday, November 21, 2023

Sunday, November 5, 2023

Stupid and Silly

But I couldn't help myself

Monday, October 30, 2023

King Crimson (with Jon Anderson) - "Prince Rupert Awakes" from the album Lizard

After basically being an ostracized dork during elementary and junior high school, I made the social decision to become a stoner in high school. You know, just to have someone to hang out with. Worked out pretty well, gotta say. The entrance requirement was basically: Smoke Dope. That, and listen to rock music. I already did the second, and # 1 seemed pretty easy enough--which it ended up being!

So I was accepted into my peer group, and even managed to keep up my grades, but looking back, I was still a weirdo even by the relaxed standards of the stoners. To wit:

While the more graphically talented and mainstream musically of my high school burnout brethren were attempting to draw the Aerosmith logo on their duotangs, because of talent (non-existent) and taste (eclectic, of course) I was instead simply writing out weird prog song titles on my notebooks.

So I'm in 10th grade Vocabulary class, and my weird song title for the day is "Prince Rupert Awakes." Not even sure I'd even heard it as of yet, but clearly I'd heard of it, and if it was like that, if it was the second without the first, I was running ahead of myself as I so often did. Do.

Mr. Bloom as he proctors our open book quiz passes by, and notices what I've doodled, and almost sneers, looking down at me as I clutch my Bic Banana. "Some *rock* song, I assume?" And yeah, of course, but I'm not gonna admit it to him.

"No," I almost snarl back at this guy, this teacher, this . . . older person who doesn't *get* prog. But I catch myself and continue reasonably. "It's a fantasy novel by James P Hogan." I'd read a few science fiction paperbacks--maybe was even reading one then--by the Englishman Hogan. My uncle had given me The Genesis Machine, and the author's "Giants" series was really really fun, and boy was I glad I had Hogan's name at the tip of my tongue that day in first period, because I sure as hell wasn't going to give Mr. Bloom the satisfaction of knowing that I write the names of goofy prog songs on my notebooks.

Even though I did.

James Hogan The Gentle Giants of Ganymede
So Mr. Bloom says, "Oh . . . bring it in, I'll read it. . ." and moves off to the next desk, leaving me infuriated with just a touch of sophomoric shame. You . . . *entitled* so and so, I think. I wouldn't let you read "Prince Rupert Awakes," even if it just so happened to exist--which it DOESN'T.

Ha! Joke's on you!

And that was the end of that. Mr. Bloom didn't six weeks down the road ask me what ever happened with that book I was supposed to bring in? And I ended up getting an 'A' in vocabulary.

But you know what else? Lizard continued to sit in my record collection, unplayed over any of its grooves, including those of "Prince Rupert Awakes." My puny 10th grade brain thought, oh yeah, Jon Anderson PLUS King Crimson, should be awesome. But turns out, it was only OK. Fripp was in a weird period, you know? I'm more familiar with the song now, 'cause I've listened to the mellotron, piano and flute melange now more times as an .mp3 than I ever did on vinyl, but yeah: it's still only OK, Cosmic Jon's vocals notwithstanding.

Mr. Bloom--if he's still around, which he's probably NOT--would definitely think it was a whole kerfuffle over nothing.

Friday, September 22, 2023

Low - The Great Destroyer

Been listening to The Great Destroyer all day. And it's like this movie is playing in my head, this neo-noir hardboiled whodunnit. Not sure how well the lyrics would agree if I broke it down, but:


The Man and His Wife are living on a farm in West Kansas. The work's hard and the money's OK, but the relationship, it's not good.

On a night that involves some fucking ("Monkey"), the toxic detente they had is broken.

In the morning after the dust has settled, it's agreed: they'll sell the farm and move to Los Angeles ("California"). But it's no good, they sell the farm but they break up before they get to Los Angeles so they are each dropped in LA alone, by themselves. ("Everybody's Song").

The woman there meets a dark shady man nicknamed The ("Silver Rider") guess he'd worked as a cowboy, or maybe he was just a mediocre actor, who gives her in an unconsidered moment the Macguffin of the album title.

And she falls in with him. Theirs is a violent relationship, no uneasy detente or spaces unfilled, it's heavy with menace and violence, loud arguments, thrown glass, the sex is bondage with weapons, stilettos, leather. ("Just Stand Back")

And it gets her killed. The Silver Rider's got some kind of conman scam with The Great Destroyer as the lure in mind; he wants the MacGuffin back from the woman who used to be The Wife, but she's pawned it for clothes, stupid frilly clothes, so he kills her with a jade bludgeon though he probably shouldn't have and he certainly didn't have to ("On the Edge Of").

Two mornings later, Her ex-Husband reads about her found corpse in the LA Times ("Death of a Salesman"), and after stumbling around a bit through the downtown streets, stumbles into the dick's dusty office with the smoked glass insert in the door and the empty hatstand in the corner and it takes him five minutes to hire the detective.

At some point later on, the gumshoe has to go to a law office? A bank? And in this huge waiting room, the mural on the wall is the cover art of the album, suggestive of the 10,000 ft cloud palisades of the California coast. But though the detective quickly susses what's happened, and by whom, The Silver Rider has disappeared.

It's like Chinatown, Jake, there's no saving anybody no retribution for anybody and in the end the gumshoe has the truth and so does the ex husband but so what, and everybody complicit skates, including the Silver Rider, who's last seen entering with shaven head the ziggurat-like monastery of a violent, tattooed, betel-nut chewing sect in Burma.

Cut back to California. The dick in full uniform, cheap dark suit, trenchcoat and fedora, the beach sand in his shoes, takes a "Walk Into the Sea," to cleanse himself of the awful case.