Friday, October 23, 2009

neon wake 2

After a nice rest in Lexington, headed southeast through Eastern Kentucky and Western Virginia, along the mountain parkway dubbed the "country music highway." Radio stations there just amazing. A few songs about tractors and what-have-you and then at least 20 minutes of stand-up comedy. It was a radio format unfamiliar to me. The comedian seemed to have 10 or so people in the studio with him, hooting and hollering.

Stopped at Natural Bridge state park in Kentucky and ran to the top, snapped some photos and ran back down. I knew I'd be cutting it close, and indeed I did. Drove all into the evening, through mountains and passes and well past dark, straight on to Chapel Hill and played immediately to a nice crowd. They cheered and seemed excited.

Next day hung with Dash and we talked all sorts of far-off philosophy and I bought a few tapes: the "Cats" soundtrack, the "Annie" soundtrack, Ace of Base, and "Mozart's Greatest Hits." The Mozart tape, in addition to that phenomenal title, had a supremely psychedelic cover. Somebody had taken a Mozart bust and painted it in various vibrant splashes of primary color. Whoa, psychedelic.

I woke that morning and saw my Cincinnati gig had not been listed with the club. Oh well, fuck that. So instead drove all the way East, dipping my toes in the frigid Atlantic at North Carolina's phenomenal Outer Banks. Went to the lost colony of Roanoke.

Kept driving, drove all night and hit Philly about midnight. The Phillies had just won their way into the world series and everybody seemed in the mood for screaming. I saw a Wendy's parking lot overflowing with excitement.

Reached Quentin's, drank some beers and passed out. Next morning headed across the river to Camden, New Jersey, the unofficial "shittiest place in America." Seems Walt Whitman had lived his final years there, writing the deathbed draft of "Leaves of Grass." Quentin and I drove there but the place was locked and shuttered. A very sketchy crackhead outside offered to be our tour guide. I refused and he started hugging me in a way that was not just super affectionate. Plus the dude stank. He asked for a dollar, I said no, then he asked for two dollars, I said no, then he asked for five. I always thought that begging negotiations went the opposite way. He started yelling obescenities as we drove away. So we instead went to Walt Whitman's tomb / mausaleum. Impressive. The plaque mentioned something along the lines of, "Don't miss me when I'm gone, you'll be treading your bootheels upon my body." Of course, his body was encased in a huge stone mausaleum, so we climbed on top and stomped our feet around. Just like Walt would've wanted.

Quentin kindly offered to let me stay in the third floor of his home, where he's got all varieties of amazing instruments and books and pictures on the walls and an old Tascam 4track. I wrote and recorded a song called "Til the Sun Burns No More," which might end up alright. Then some aimless bass solos, and a seriously damaged version of Kris Kristofferson's "Help Me Make it Through the Night." I don't think that one'll see the light of day.

Today woke early and wandered along the Deleware River, walked past Penn Treaty Park and some casinos under construction and on into old town with its plaques and heavy history. Philadelphia seems to me such a fine juxtaposition: all the historical sites, with their plaques and history held under glass and fine distinction and stately upkeep, running side by side with modern Philadelphia-- trash strewn streets, folks yelling at each other, urban decay, and the general chaos of 21st century life. Nothing deflates all the high-falutin' history like a little dose of real-life. Perhaps just a reminder that the history is still being written.

Stopped by the studio where Quentin's mixing a record for a Danish band. Marvelled at all the beautiful outboard gear. Kept walking. Just finished listening to Randy Newman's first record. Produced by Van Dyke Parks. Ahhhh.

1 comment:

whats your name? said...

Mozart's great hits hahah