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the pope said this morning that all catholics should fast on ash wednesday as a statemnt against the war in iraq. makes me want to go get a smudge of ash rubbed on my forehead on that day, the wednesday before good friday and easter. that would be a first for a very long time. (see more at www.ranchodelaluna.com) here's a song i wrote with big bob kuhn in 1979. i'm dusting off some old journals today and i ran across it. it was the song i was hoping shawn mafia could sing at my birthday bash.bob and i were hanging around way too much at the tropicana. one evening, around '77 or '78, we were driving there when we saw mick jagger getting out of a rental car on la cienega boulevard. he was driving himself and obviously high as a rooster on dawn patrol. we turned around and pulled up to him, "hey mick." he came over to our car ( i think it was my '68 camaro) and leaned in the window. a couple of years later, when lennon was shot by a 'fan' in new york, 'major' rock n roll stars would never again be able to be so open and friendly. we shook his hand, saying we were huge fans of his. he said, "i'm a huge fan of yours, too, mates." we went to the trop, excited as hell. chuck e. was a big stones fan, mainly the really early
r &b stuff, like "miss amanda jones." waits also loved the stones. especially, "i am waiting" and "she smiled sweetly." when we told them we'd just shook hands with jagger, waits told me, "you're never going to want to wash that hand..."
waits and weiss both loved bob, who could drink as well as anybody. he had a soulful voice and sad eyes. too deep and sad for someone not yet twenty. later... i had to toss him out, but to this day. i love him like nobody's business.
when we played this song for waits, which was obviously inspired by him and his girlfriend at the time, rickie lee jones, especially, "last chance texaco." he smiled in an "aw shucks" sort of way. he especially dug the "fat chance, skinny" line and started using it around duke's and the trop. easy on the freeway: here's your last ditch attempt/ to pitch a tent
fat chance, skinny/ you're so content/ there's a diesel sign/ in neon outline/ fat chance, skinny/ you're so confined /
but don't speed past me / not so fast / go easy on the freeway/ go easy on the freeway/ go as far as you can /until now you had to plan / too far in advance/ to be taking a chance/ out on interstate eighty/ five eighty to five / from frisco to hollywood/ it's your turn to drive / there's an offramp ahead / i'll be turning then / it's the last dance, skinny/ you're getting thin/ but don't speed past me/ not so fast/ go easy on the freeway/ go easy on the freeway/ when i'm gone you'll know
and when you go/ go easy on the freeway/ go easy on the freeway...
waits would admonish me on occasion. when i dropped famous people's names in my songs, or the time i wrote a protest against doug weston's troubadour called "trouble's door." he didn't like patti smith, joni mitchell or frank
zappa much at the time, all of whom i loved. he loaned me a kerouac album and i returned it with a scratch on it. shit, i was a stupid teenager. waits used to tell me not to try to write like him, that i should just write my own experiences and that would be the real stuff. he also said one time when i thought a song i wrote was too much like some other song, that you only write two or three songs ever, and then you re-write them hundreds of times. (if you're lucky.) soon after this stuff, i moved in with my first live-in girlfriend and her three year old. waits got the gig with coppola and met the woman he would marry. he moved to new york and i slipped into a techno band with my girlfriend for several years. i ran into waits a few more times over the years. he was always very kind. p.s. my friend fred burke thinks i should write my memoirs of music in my life. maybe this is an installation i could flesh out later. i wrote a new song yesterday, called ' never ending tour', after bob dylan's record breaking road trip. it's about the end of the era we're in, the
beatnik, live music, the poor kids, our brothers and sisters of the rock n roll way, who perished in warwick, rhode island. the ones at the club in chicago. i got to sing it on bira's radio show a half hour after i wrote it and kevin taped it off the radio at the rancho. then i played it live with the aliens at the water canyon to open the show. then, i closed the night doing it again with damien from asylum, amanda, kevin from the millionheirs and billy stobo on the strange wooden box he plays drums on. these are the words: (as per eric 'snot' watkins recommendation, and so that
it would be easy to jam along to, it's a one-chord Em with and occasional E7 thrown in) .....never ending tour: (to glenn miller, aliyah, marc bolan, stevie ray, otis redding... the lsit goes on, too, too long....) to patsy cline and hank williams/
to ricky nelson and bill graham/ to buddy holly and the big bopper/ to richie valens and lynrd skynrd/ to all of those who gave their lives on the road/ to bring a song into my town/ thank you for supporting live music/ it was great having you around/ from the bottom of my heart/ to the foot of the stage/ to the front row center/ to the ones in the rafters/ to the festival seating/ to the tail gate parties/ to the kids in the trees (at the hollywood bowl)/ to the kids in cincinnatti/
to the fans in chicago/ to the ones who went the great white way/ to the ones who didn't play for money/ to the ones who didn't pay to play/ to the saxophone player in the subway/ to the campfire singers/ to the scaffolds in the rain
(we can stop the rain/ we can stop the war/ we can stop the rain/ we can stop the war) thank you for supporting live music/ we will be back again/ to the whiskey and the roxy/ to the roxy and gazzari's/ to max's kansas city to cbgb's/
to the fillmore west/ to the fillmore east/ to the water canyon/ to the beatnik cafe/ thank you for supporting live music
it's been a joy to play/ on the never ending tour/ it's not the end of the world/ on the never ending tour/ it's not the end of the world/ it's not the end of the world (i believe) it's not the end of the world/ it's not the end of the world/ c 2003 ted quinn...nomadhouse
LOVE ON!!! (29 palms resident rae noel is fired from the chamber of commerce for holding anti-war paryaer vigils) shocking. rae is our friend. i adore her, only having met her a few times at my shows and at benefits for other musicians. i am so sad reading this, i could scream. projectile tears could shoot out of my enraged head. bad poetry, maybe, but it's real. we all pay in our own ways for standing up for our beliefs. the chamber of whores has lost their only possible redeemer. i say fuck 'em. i'll never buy anything there again as long as they mistreat an angel such as rae. i plan to play my song '29 palms' (about the very marine widows whose lives are torn apart by the insance bush push to war, as mentioned in the news article below) at the wilshire ebell theatre in l.a. on march 3rd as part of the lysistrata peace project. i will dedicate the performance to rae. elia will do a segment from her work in progress, "the fifth commandment (thou shalt not kill.)"
the weekend of february 21st and 22nd i will be doing my final local
performances for a while. i will have special guests, the aliens, from
hollywood, joining me at both gigs. they are a very eccentric electronic band
who play at very low volume.
friday the 21st, the performance will be at the beatnik cafe in joshua tree.
that evening, the ever-evolving talent of young eric watkins will also be
featured. he has been one of the greatest joys i've experienced hosting the
saturday the 22nd, the aliens and i will appear at water canyon in yucca
valley. on both bills will be a guy who used to call himself captain underpants.
wednesday february 19th, the open mic will be a celebration of elaine marie
stacey's birthday. if you haven't seen her play, she will be at the beatnik
on friday, february the 14th (valentine's day.) she is one of the most
talented and fun (!) people that i have had the pleasure of getting to know
in my time here in joshua tree.
beginning in march, i will retire from the local music scene, having learned
a lot and having fallen in love with lots of great artists, local and
i plan to devote all of my time to running the rancho de la luna with tony
mason and friends, finishing my record which we started with fred drake over
two years ago, putting together a celebration of the rancho's tenth
anniversary, assembling the collected works of fred drake and putting
together a tribute album in fred's memory. then, i plan to hit the road with
my stella harmony and a box of my cd's.
also, i feel that i need to be available to participate in work for peace
where it might make a difference.
i love this town for giving me a chance to grow as a musician and, hopefully,
as a human being. my friend ruben martinez , remarking on how great the open
mics were, once said "be sure to stop if it stops being fun." tony, when
we're recording, always says, "let's stop while we're still having fun." i'm
choosing to follow tony's advice.
i feel a wonderful sense of liberation at the thought of moving on, having
been a part of a great scene for a brief, chaotic, harmonic period of time.
it will always be a part of my heart's memory.
dear art, et al. -
i did march today, with elia's best friend (and one of mine), debra winski. i can't help but wonder what would have happened if four more of my friends could have made it. then, we would have been 'half a million strong' (in l.a.)
following are some
Statistics Allen Ginsberg would appreciate
Rome , 1 million
London, at least 750,000
Madrid, Spain 660,000
New York, 500,000
Los Angeles, 100,000
Berlin, between 300,000 and 500,000.
Oslo, Norway, 60,000
Brussels, Belgium, 50,000
Stockholm, Sweden, 35,000.
Seville, Spain, 60,000
Bern, Switzerland, 40,000
Glasgow, Scotland, 30,000
Copenhagen, Denmark, 25,000
Vienna, Austria, 15,000
Cape Town, 5,000
Dhaka, Bangladesh, 2,000
Prague, the Czech Republic 500
Tel Aviv 2,000 Israelis and Palestinians
Kiev, Ukraine 2,000 ``Rock Against War''
Mostar, Bosnia 100 Muslims and Croats
Athens, Greece 'Several thousand'
Puerto Ricans 900
Brazil (where in Brazil?) 1,500
Associated Press estimates as of 7pm 2/15/03. all of these numbers are probably low.
I marched from Hollywood and Vine, the Pantages theatre and the Frolic Room of my youth, in a bright orange shirt, carrying a bright orange sign which read: "Alert to Creeping Fascism," on one side, and "Fade Into History, Ineffective and Irrelevant, Now, Mr. Bush!" on the other. I wore a duct tape arm band on my left arm...to Sunset and LaBrea.
The LAPD chopper tried to drown out his words but regardless, Gore Vidal made me - and many others - cry. Our reddened eyes searched eachother out for mutual recognition. Partly because of his eloquence, his quotation of Benjamin Franklin regarding his 'hope' that the Constitution would last 'a good long while', his 'hope' that, if there is an election in 2004, that the current regime will be voted out, and partly because I realized that it's unlikely we'll ever have a president who is as wise a person as he.
After Vidal, when Burning Star played, I danced, in the streets of Hollywood, the Sunset Strip, that is, all by myself, in a crowd of one hundred thousand, doing the frug,the monkey and the boogaloo, flailing and whirling, without a care in my body. Then, when leaving, I walked past the studio the great Charlie Chaplin built. I pointed it out to anyone who would listen. Drained and renewed. Exhausted and uplifted. Defeated and victorious. All of those feelings, co-existing inside and around me.
the bush presidency has cancelled poetry. in this rogue state of manufactured emergency. these united states of indecency to humanity. the poet is the next to go in the last round up of the voices of conscience, the freedom of the mind and the love of the land. poets aren't welcome in the white house. not the great american walt whitman, whose love for the dying soldiers on the battlefields of the civil war, tore the hole through his heart through which the soaring eagle poured, tears of bloodstained stripes and stars. not brecht the dangerous jew of the house painter's rage, who fled from the painted windows, on nights of shattered glass, from the murderous tongue of the twisted cross and the gasmask crew in secret late night trainrides to living hell. not the lower case of ee cummings or the open cage bird of song maya angelou.free at last of the bastard editor of truth and what was once called justice long before the secret tribunals and the burning of the disappeared. the mongering of fear and war from the masters of deceit spoken like an idiot but far more dangerous than all of that. far more insidious in his vengeance with his foot in the mouth of the mother of god who would kick in the teeth of the faggot san francisco ferlinghetti or connecticut laureate in peace sign painted silk just the same. not patti smith with her hands holding hands with god reaching far beyond the frat boy's wet dreams into the season of possibilities. not the dignitity of langston hughes and the hush of the firehose dogs on leashes held by the puppeteers of supreme court robes and hoods. knights of the big brotherhood keeping an eye on the lie just to see if anybody's looking while they bring about their version of the end. their prophecy of domination and absolute control to the selling of the soul. this isn't america anymore. this isn't america the beautiful, this super power out of control never again to struggle with its own demons, it's own forgotten unapologetic history, it's desire to destroy its' only destiny, it's own dark secrets like tape recordings made in the privacy of oval offices filled with shredded truth. the paper trail to nowhere at all. the disappearing ink of the missing link and the stench of the piling up walking dead, standing on the corner of main street and the filth estate. the emperor has been struck by its own untender hand. the blood of the poet trickle down theory, to scare the children into believing they're not the ones to fear themselves, the protectors of their own pockets with their fingers on the trigger to end all time for all time. poets are the humanity against their crime. the end is near for the bottom line. they chose the wrong kind of might to fight, for the pen in the hand of glory doesn't know how to stay polite - wish you goodnight. the end is near for now you've given truth to your own lies. you've put the rhyme back into the end of time and poets aren't afraid to fight. through ginsberg, dickinson, lorca, rimbaud, baudelaire, verlaine, marquez, rumi and arce, and the poets inside of everybody whose words you'll never see, we all see through you so thoroughly as to be utterly and absolutely unimpressed by your daddy's war bucks and your cowboy dress, your texecution style murder gangbang smile. just don't think you can get away with it this time. the one term worm festering vermin, our words alone can't make you human, our words can only scream for mercy for the unforgiven and the predetermined. the war on poetry has been declared. no newspaper clutter no tanks of armor or daisy cutter or airplane dropping atomic terror can ever deafen god to the silent prayers, climbing your stairs, to the sub-conscious dream of your worst nightmares. sleep tight tonight we rise with our pens to write!