Monday, December 24, 2012

The Dysfunctional And The Dysfunctional




What I'd give to live in this house.

 
Having been in RV parks for the past 6 months, I’ve made a few observations. I won’t state them all right now, I just have one, because I realized it just today. At the park in Reno, there were a few of those big RVs that look like buses – they cost $300,000+. What I've noticed, and after looking back on the past few months is, that every one of the guys who arrives in one of those is a little short shit – strutting like a little miniature peacock. I was in the park laundry room a few months ago, when a couple came in. The guy wasn’t in there 30 seconds before he proceeded to tell me all of his accomplishments, what he owns, where he’s been, what he's done. He was another of the guys who has one of those huge bus-like rigs. I guess I’m beginning to see how many people belong to one stereotypical group or another. This brings to mind the full sized pickup truck drivers – every single one has the goatee, the shades, and the redneck baseball cap; and same, they strut like little banty roosters. That’s not to mention the way they drive – tailgating anybody who is in front of them, gunning through parking lots (endangering people’s lives), racing past other cars, and revving their engines whenever they are within earshot of a person.

One of the things that has always had my interest is the psychology of humans (animals too, but that’s a whole ‘nother). What I gather from the behavior I just described is that such people hate themselves – it’s the “self loathing” disorder that many people display. Along with what I described above is the envy/jealousy/control thing. From what I’ve witnessed, any person who pretends to be something he’s not, who feels the need to bully other people (whether it be passive/aggressive, having their lawyer on speed dial, being a big brute, or having a gun or some other weapon at their disposal), feels envy or jealousy, and/or feels the need to control other people – all the same – they hate themselves. My belief is that you can be angry, sad, hurt, disgusted, or whatever else, but what you do not have the right to do is, to use any of that as an excuse to cause other people grief, or loss. If your dad bullied you, or you got stuffed in too many lockers when you were in the 7th grade, well, sorry, but that does not give you the ok to screw with other people. Even more sad is the fact that society is getting worse, our cities are getting worse, people are getting angrier by the day. I would be ok with all of it if there were some way to prevent people from making me pay for their self loathing, their raging B.S., or their inability to deal with reality. I know, funny, that statement, as it will never happen, never has, never will. I think I’ve said this before – what I’ve evolved to is to avoid people as much as possible, I go out when I need to. I avoid malls, department stores, roads, freeways, and pretty much all public places as much as I possibly can. There was a time when a Sunday drive was pleasurable, I guess it’s been a long time since that’s been the case. I started driving back in 1973, and it was still, for the most part, fun to drive, I guess I can kiss those days goodbye.

So, my observations may sound “negative” to some, or most, but, two things, first, I don’t give a rat’s behind about what other people think about my ideas and beliefs, and second, I will never deny reality – things are what they are, whether I like them, whether I deny them (FTR, I never deny anything), whether I wish they weren’t so; doesn’t matter, reality will always be what it is, and I choose to live in it, ever how disgusting and maddening it might be. The widdle peepee truck guys, the strutting banty rooster guys in their monster RV rigs – as annoying as they are, they’re out there. I will always poke fun at them, and I may even occasionally slap one across the side of his head (if I can do it without having a gun pointed in my face, or having his lawyer threaten me with prison time). Humans are what they are, I guess. I don’t know what happened to me, not that I claim to be perfect, but sometimes I do wonder why I was never notified that it’s part of my nature to screw with other people as much as possible, that I must be greedy, ruthless, and self serving, and that I must not care about the world I live in – including my house, any public place I may set foot in, and the planet I live on. I'm glad I missed all of that, but it certainly doesn't make for much tolerance on my part. Ha, tolerance is not something I claim, or even something I would ever want to practice when it comes to the obnoxious, the rude, the ruthless, and the self serving.

All for now.

Sunday, December 23, 2012

I've been here in Nashville for about a week now.  Haven't been able to venure out, being that I don't have a money tree growing in my back yard - that's not a complaint, just a statement.  I will be able to get out some in a week or so, and that's fine with me.  I did make it downtown one night, and I heard what I expected to hear, and what I'd heard the couple other times I'd been here - horribly loud noise put out by a bunch of middle aged guys who should have given it up a long time ago.  Nothing against middle aged guys - if they were good, but well...     Somebody has cleaned up the 5th & Broadway area, and there are a few more bars down Broadway near 3rd and 4th.  Still not a lot of people here loooking to hear country music - as compared to when I was here the first time - back in 1981, when Broadway was packed like there was not tomorrow.  What is packed though, is the malls - I realize it is Christmas, but wow, malls are packed, while Broadway is pretty much a ghost town.  Maybe it's become common knowledge that there really isn't much, if any good music on Broadway.  It seems Opryland is doing ok.

I'm a bit anxious to start getting out to the songwriters' venues, for one, to see what the calibre of the talent is in those places, and, to get started with my own agenda of playing music for the folks, and, much as I hate to admit this - to get myself out there where people can hear me.  I believe that I need to spend time with my guitar, my songs, and myself - in order that I present me as a full fledged pro, I certainly don't want to show up not knowing my own songs.  If I were playing songs that I'd played many times over the years, no problem, but I need time to get my original songs into my subconscious - where I can play and sing them without thinking about it.  Being that I don't have the space to do that, and, that I don't get much, if any support in that area, I've been going to the laundry room around 10 at night, spending a couple hours each night going over my songs.  So far, nobody has felt the need to do their laundry at that time of night - at least not while I was in there.  So, I'll continue to do that until somebody tells me I can't.

Ok, being that there's really not a lot to write about this time, I'll stop here for now.

Friday, November 9, 2012

A Good Lesson From A Dimwit

Most of the time I learn from people who are smarter than me (that’s “I” for the grammarians and smartasses), or, better than me in some way. But, there have been a few times where I’ve learned from the stupid, the inept, even the cowardly. Today I learned something from a person who I have absolutely no respect for – that would be Rush Limbaugh. He has made a ton of money belittling anybody he doesn’t agree with, or approve of. Lately he has been mocking and ridiculing Barack Obama – making mud out of the fact that he (Obama) went to an Ivy League school. Well, our current president graduated from Columbia University and Harvard Law School. Among many other things, he worked as a civil rights attorney in Chicago and taught constitutional law at the University Of Chicago Law School from 1992 to 2004. As we all know, he is now the President Of The United States. Well, Rush, coming from a family of lawyers, dropped out of Southeast Missouri State College after two semesters, and according to his mother, “Flunked out of everything”. To his credit, he only wanted to do radio, and went after that, not selling out to society’s pressures. Where he loses me is that he had it all – money, family, support, and now, as I said, mocks and belittles anybody who does not think as he does, mocking and ridiculing their achievements.

The lesson I just learned from Mr. Limbaugh is, to go after what I want – not what society wants – not even taking into consideration their need to talk down their nose at me, call me names, etc., and don’t waste time wringing hands over any obstacles that may or may not be in front of me. The lesson did, though, come inversely, seeing the way he ridicules others for their achievements. That being said, I have heard him on occasion, go after slackers and shit stirrers, but for the most part, he has made a damn good living going after people who have legitimately achieved what they set out to. One big difference between Rush and me is that I’ve had to fight for every morsel of life, and every speck of material (self) support I ever had, with no support outside of what I did for me. At this late time in my life, though, I am getting support from a person who does appear to want to see me achieve what I want to achieve, so thanks for that, Darlene. I’ve decided to take one last shot at the next level of the music business. Rush’s envy and ridiculing is what has validated and solidified my decision to take my shot. Being the person I am, not caring what society thinks or says, once I decided to do music, it’s what I’ve done since 1980. I think that doing something you hate is a waste of life, as is doing something because society expects it, or demands it, or ridicules you if you don’t do what is “acceptable”. There have been times when I wanted to hang it all up, get out of music, but other than a couple of brief periods, I did music, and nothing but music. Besides loving the actual music part, I seem to have always had some deep seeded need to expose B.S. for what it is – especially in the music business. So, we head off to Nashville as soon as becomes possible – mostly weather related. To top it all off, if I’m not able to break through the country music dynasty that has been carefully built and protected, I’ll be ok with it, because I’ll know that I did everything I was capable of. FTR, it’s never me that I doubt, it’s always the ruthless tactics of those in positions of power – and the fact is, they are much more powerful than I ever hope to be. I’ll fight tooth and nail, just saying it might not be enough.

So, Rush, thank you, even though I know it’s never your intention to help, your shameless envy for those who have achieved something in their life has motivated me to take one last shot at what I believe I’m here to do.


You can find me on Twitter:  https://twitter.com/ImTheFid

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Why Wait?

Me with my beautiful koa Telecaster
 

My authentic toere - made by a real live Tahitian guy
 

 
Well, it looks like we'll be heading to Nashville much sooner than planned.  It's likely we'll be heading out by the end of this month.  I have no illusions, no stars in my eyes, only the will to go there and dive in, play as much as possible.  Being that there is no financial pressure, we can afford to stay there as long as we feel like being there.  We're not rich, but we won't be living on the street anytime soon - and yes, I know that causes some people to foam at the mouth.

Circumstances have been pointing me in the direction of going after bigger things for years, but I wasn't in the right frame of mind before now, and I didn't have any support. I can't do everything all by myself, now I have help, so...

I like Reno, I like the clear skies, I love the small town feel, and I love that there are a lot fewer angries here, but as I said, if I'm going to exchange blows with people in the business, and other musicians, I might as well be somewhere where the rewards are worth it

Things slow down in Nashville during the winter months - as it does in most places, so it's likely the places will be more intimate - might be easier to talk to people, meet people.  The plan is to not only go to songwriters' nights, but to also play behind other artists and songwriters.  Playing lead guitar or other instruments behind artists is fun and even exciting for me - always has been.  Jam sessions are a thing of the past, but where I'm going, there are open stages all over that town.  Yes, I fully expect to be unwelcome, kicked, gouged, lied to, screwed with, and whatever else, but I'm sure I'll land a few good right hooks of my own :D .

So, hey, my stalkers, haters, detractors, vindictive asses - y'all go suck an egg.

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Springtime In Hawaii - My Letter To Scott Dean Agency

Yes, I wrote this to Ted at the Scott Dean Booking Agency earlier today.  This was after seeing still another act that has no business being on a stage, much less in front of a microphone - and this was in an upscale room in a very nice casino.  Actually, the guy wasn't that bad, his guitar playing was decent, apparently new to singing, but the girl - she hit maybe half of the notes, she played her tambourine backwards at least half the time, and she looked petrified on the stage.  There was not an ounce of professional from either one of them.  Anyway, on agents, and management of venues, these ignorant dimwits around here do not return phone calls or emails, and most of the horrid acts they book in the casinos are enough to lose your lunch over.  So, below is what I wrote to Mr. Ted, I used the unrelated subject line and different colored fonts to hopefully wake his sorry ass up - for all the goddam good that will do:

Actually, it's fall in Reno, but you knew that.
So you'll put acts in the Terrace Lounge and other venues that will bore people out of their skulls, hit half the notes at best, desperately try to outdo a guy in the SAME BAND, and wear silly hats, while a seasoned guy with a crappy attitude (three guesses who I'm speaking of) can't even get through the door - ok, I've seen this before, nothing new to me. Thankfully, there are some whose objective is to make customers happy, and to do what a business is in place to do - make money. Thing is, if things were straight up (as they rarely are), nobody would ever need to be subjected to my crappy attitude. I'd much rather be nice and polite, but we all know the great rewards that brings Disappointed smile . All this being said, I'm fully aware of the fact that most people can't tell the difference between good entertainment, and horrid entertainment - which works well for those who live to get by, pretend, contrive, manipulate, and otherwise fool people.

FTR, I'm writing this, not to try to get into the Terrace Lounge, but to vent a little - to let somebody in a position of what gets on stage and what doesn't, see that B.S. in any form makes some people's skin crawl.

Kathy, if you're the one reading this, I can send it any way you'd like - Special Delivery, Morse Code, Signature Required, or Pony Express, whichever works best (this is supposed to be funny, so laugh). Ted needs to see this stuff.

Friday, October 26, 2012

Astronomy Stuff

There are some glaring things about the sun, Jupiter, Venus, and Mars that I've noticed over the past few years.  As I've mentioned before, the sun is setting much farther north than it did before.  Besides that, when I was a kid, the brightest thing in the night sky besides the moon, was the North Star - these days I can't begin to even see the North Star. The only way to tell the planets apart from the stars back then was that the planets didn't twinkle. Venus looks like a little disc, and over the past 10 years or so, there are times when Jupiter also looks like a little disc. Back in the late 90s, Mars was looking closer than ever before. For this stuff to be noticeable, the planets have to be closer to earth by millions of miles. I know the government hides stuff from us - likely for their own benefit. I guess after seeing this sun and planet stuff, I think something drastic is going to happen in the next hundred years. Who knows, maybe our solar system is closer to death than we've been told. I don't really care in the way of human life, it's just kinda strange that this stuff seems to be happening so fast. It's also possible we're moving closer to the sun, which might explain why the planet is hotter than it was even 20 and 30 years ago - and I don't doubt this because every place I've been (and I've been to a lot of places) is much hotter now than it used to be. One of the things that irks me is that the climate records have been doctored - Hawaii as an example. I've read that back in the 60s there were highs of 90+ - that is absolute bullshit - I know because I was there. I lived in Prineville, Oregon in 88 - winters back then would get down to 35 below zero, and not above 0 for weeks at a time. The past ten years it's pretty much the same as Portland, where it gets down around 30 (not below zero), and not even close to 0 - that's about 60+ degrees warmer. There's more, but you get the idea.

I guess I just wanted to vent this stuff. I hate our government, and I hate even more the people who run the world. Other countries are even worse, but that doesn't make this one good - as we get f'd every minute of every day. Pop Psychology Crowd says we can change anything, and that we are in charge of our own lives. Yeah, well, I'd like to see any one of them change gas prices back to where they should be, change the fact that the day of small businesses are gone, that banks, insurance companies, in fact, all big corporations, are sticking it to every man, woman, and child on the planet.  I'm beyond disgusted by the lies and thievery committed by these parasites.

All for now.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Five Months And Counting

I guess I have about 5 months to get into the right frame of mind to face Nashville and all the bullshit that goes along with it. I think about it every day. I never was able to give it a fair shot - to be there without something screwing with my head - first time I was too new, couldn't play worth a damn, couldn't sing, didn't know how to be on stage. Second time I left my 9 year old son in Hawaii, and the nasty girl I was married to at the time liked to screw with my head, and I wasn't strong enough to fight it. Third time I didn't have any ambitions to do anything, I just wanted to see what was there - I was living in San Diego at the time and wasn't going to move. My head also wasn't in a good place, that was when my depression started to become obvious, and I was afraid of my own shadow. Well, now I'm not afraid of any of it, not afraid of being squashed, of being told I'm not good enough, or of any bigwigs feeding me their ego driven crap. I've already told a few here where to stick their B.S. I did that fairly regularly back in the 80s, but I systematically lost that confidence and backbone, and every time I got into any kind of confrontation, I fretted about it horribly. I don't really know why I seem to be doing better that way, it just seems to be happening by itself.

I'm fully aware of the condition of the music business, I know all the cheap tactics, the egos (not only from musicians, but everybody in the business), and I know they hate guys like me. What I mean by that is that I do everything that those numbskulls who go to their fancy universities think is wrong, and they can't figure out why people like it - and they really hate it when somebody breaks their stupid rules. Most musicians just follow suit - they do whatever the brass tells them to do, whatever the "artists" on the radio do - so they hate what I do every bit as much as the bigwigs do. I fully expect to be screwed with, bullied, shut down, lied to, and whatever else, but I also think that there just might be one small record label that might think I'm worth something - and if not, I'm ok with it. There's also the possibility that I might get tired before anything happens - and believe it or not, I'd be ok with that too. I'm no kid anymore, and if I think I've exhausted every possibility that I'm capable of looking at, or again, I just get too damn tired, then I'll be done. In the meantime, I'll have as much fun as I can, I'll go to every open mic and jam session I can find. I'm ready for all the smart ass mucicians, I have mouthfuls, and maybe a slam against the nearest wall for any of 'em who think they'll screw with me. I don't mean to sound like Mr. Toughguy, it's just the way it is - I only hope I don't lose that again. I also plan to look for people to play behind - singers, songwriters. Also also, I might think about going to venues other than just straight ahead country ones - I kinda like the folky type places that I've been in fairly recently. I feel like Rocky before the first Apollo Creed fight - expecting to get the stuff beat out of me, but it's what I need to do, and I expect to chase a few little peepee guys around the parking lot while I'm at it.

I guess I'm down to just a couple of tools. I used to have the guitar, fiddle, and banjo, and I guess the singing, but I'm minus the banjo these days - not sure if that'll ever come back or not. As sickened as I get when I watch any of those Country Music Awards shows, I plan to watch the one next Thursday - just to see what's out there. Most of these new guys (ones from the past 25 years) turn my stomach, but I need to see what they're doing. Country music has been in trouble for no less than 20 years - other than a small handful of half decent artists, the stuff just ain't selling. There are maybe a half a dozen playing 10,000 seaters, while the rest play 500 seaters. Of course, the publicists tell us how great the music is, and how this one sold millions, that one sold millions, but at the same time, they scream about "units" not selling, blaming piracy for their own ineptitude and ego driven B.S.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Time To Go For Bigger Rewards

Yes, after last week's "audition", and the flaming B.S. I had to be on the receiving end of afterward, I (actually we) made a decision.  I've been in this crappy, corrupt business since January 1, 1980.  Besides seeing much of our country, I've also seen other parts of the world.  I've played with good musicians, and bad ones, I've been dealt cowardly blows from booking agents, club managers, radio people, musicians, people who run the world, people who run the music business, and I'm still here, still playing music.  I guess I've been looking for answers here lately, after spending the first 20+ years doing what I thought I needed to in order to get "signed" by a major record label.  I've been to Nashville three times, the first time (in '81), I had no business being there, as I was too new, only been playing a couple years, didn't know how to deal with much of anything in the business; add to that not being very good at playing or singing.  Second time, in '91, I went there half heartedly and with no support.  I missed my son terribly, who was 9 years old at the time.  Some things started to happen in the short month I was there that time, but I couldn't be away from my boy, and I couldn't be in that cold town with that nagging at me all day, every day.  Wife at the time also seemed to enjoy playing games with my mind, and me being in the fragile condition I was in, I stumbled back to Hawaii after just a month.  Third time, in 2003, I just went there to see what was there, didn't really have any plans to stay or try to accomplish anything.  The second and third times I was there, the place was a ghost town, with scammers preying on young musicians and aspiring artists; while places where the real thing was happening being kept a well protected secret - as a matter of fact, that's still the case.  To make matters worse, there are less live venues to play than there were even ten years ago.  Another funny thing is that the last two times I was there, I didn't see many good musicians or artists - other than a good bluegrass band that was playing regularly at one of the bars on Broadway.

So, I've decided to take one last trip to Nashville to see if I can stir up anything.  My attitude this time is to see what I can discover, and to see if I can offend any of the people in the business.  At this point, I'm pretty disgusted with the whole music scene, the corruption, the egos, the bullying, the deception, the trickery, and the destruction of the music business itself.  I fully expect the same crap, but being that I'm not expecting anybody to sign a 50 something year old guy, I'm gonna enjoy going to open mic nights, songwriter venues, and whatever other places I can find where things are happening, where "important" people might be.

Looking back, I have to say that my first wife, the one who played in the band with me, she did everything possible to keep me from getting anywhere in the business.  It took me about five years to finally convince here we should get out of Hawaii.  She had relatives in Nashville who were in positions to help, but she refused to get in touch with them.  Based on what I saw while being on stage with her for 10+ years, she didn't want to deal with the groupie types on a national level, who go after guys who make their living on a stage - she foamed at the mouth enough just at the ones who hung out at the neighborhood bars and dance halls.  Her jealousy boiled over into abuse - had I been a smaller guy, I'm sure she would have beaten the daylights out of me every chance she got; as it was, I got lots of practice blocking punches every time a pretty girl danced by and smiled at me.

While I had my doubts up until recently about the girl I'm with now, it's becoming apparent that she actually does want to see me accomplish something at the next level - if that's what I choose to do.  She is supporting me all the way, and she seems happy to do it.  It would have been great to have some kind of support sooner, but well, it didn't work that way, so now I'm diving in.  While I've watched many people have things handed to them - college educations, good jobs, support, connections, money, etc., I've had to fight tooth and nail for every tiny thing I've ever had; that's not to mention being lied to, stolen from, tricked, manipulated, and exploited at just about every turn.  I know what some are thinking - some love to throw that word, "blame" around.  Well, first, you can take your worthless Pop Psychology bullshit and shove it, and second, as I've said so many times, responsibility is an all way street - as in I'll be responsible for my stuff, and everybody else be responsible for theirs - that especially includes the greedy, lying, vindictive lowlifes of the world.  Anyway, yes, I made a couple of decisions that turned out to be a bit stupid, but I'm pretty sure I'm not the only person in the history of the world to accomplish that feat.

The plan is to head to Nashville in early March, after the weather starts to warm up a little.  In the meantime, I research as much as possible, and try to play my instruments whenever I can.  There are times when I look forward to encountering all the lying, thieving parasites that surely will be there, and there are other times when I dread it.  Funny, I never fear competition, lack of my own ability, or somebody being better, it's always the cheap, cowardly tactics that the lowlifes, cowards, and parasites use in order to take me down.  I guess it's just part of my process.  I'm pretty sure that by the time March comes slamming into my life, I'll be ready - that's of course, seeing that nothing horrible happens before then.

In closing, I'll say to the Nashville bigwigs, as well as the ego driven musicians who would do anything to stifle me - you guys can all go screw yourselves :D .

Monday, October 15, 2012

To Those Who Are Too Chicken Shit To Be Honest

That was the subject line in my email to the agent in this town who seems to have connections in many of the casinos and events here.  This was following my "audition" at a casino last week.  What happened there is the typical guy in charge who has some kind of bias - in this case, the guy hates country music, and even though I only played 4 country songs out of the 17 I did for my set, it was enough for him to send his minion to try to convince me that my country music wouldn't work at "his" place.  Funny thing, when I see the reaction from the people who were there, then having to listen to the managements bullshit, it becomes obvious what went on.  The agent I wrote the following email to also books bands in the casino I auditioned in.  I can deal just fine if I don't fit in a certain situation, but as I say in my email, I know when I'm being snowballed, and I don't deal well with bullshit.  BTW, the minion who was sent to do the little weasel's dirty work got told straight out (by me) what I thought of her and her boss's blatant crap.  Her reaction was typical of the cowardly, bullying types who often get in positions of "authority" - she backed off and didn't know what to say.
 
 
So, here is my email:
 
Ted,
 
I’m writing you to see if you’re among those who cannot be straight. I do, at this point, wonder, being that you have not acknowledged my last two emails. I’ll go ahead and write this, to see if I get a response.

I’m beginning to wonder what the story is here in this town – with the people in management and entertainment positions, and please, “You’re in Reno now”, as I’ll mention in a little more detail later - I’ve seen the live music in Reno.

Back to my point. I’ve gotten endless runaround, I’ve seen entertainment directors who won’t come to the phone, won’t return calls, won’t return emails, and most of whom are so full of themselves that it makes my skin crawl. While my ego is not part of any equation, I seem to have this bad habit of calling bullshit what it is, and what’s contained in this email will be no different. I’m sure you got a call first thing this morning, from that little weasel, Eric – at Baldini's. This is a guy who I had to listen to for 45 minutes, proceeding to tell me how his clientele are the only ones in this town who will tell a band that they are not worthy, that many bands and/or acts cannot make it in his casino, and, he candidly, albeit unintentionally, told me who his music buddies are. He all but told me that I was going to fail in his place. Well, I “auditioned” last night at Baldini’s. In my 30+ years of being in the corrupt business, my objective has always been to please the audience, the customers, and NOT the management. Yes, I’m fully aware that most management types think that the entertainers are there to lick their boots, kiss their ass, tell them how wonderful they are, and how much they appreciate the crumbs that get thrown on the floor in front of them. I do well in places where the management will put their customers first, and their ego somewhere where nobody has to be imposed on by it. On the other hand, I usually won’t bother to try to get past the self serving asses who have infested the music business with their endless need to stroke themselves. I’ve been in this business long enough to know when an audience is happy with the entertainment, and I’ve been in it long enough to know when I’m being snowballed (as I was in Baldini's last night), or otherwise B.S.’d. I also know all the revenge tactics – such as being put in a situation where the person in authority knows the act does not fit (and I’ve seen with my own eyes – this cheap tactic backfire), putting an act in a room where it’s known that nobody goes into, and, putting an act in a room on a night when it’s known that a major event will keep customers away for that night. I’ve also seen an act being put in a room and not have any advertising whatsoever, so that the customers have no idea there was even going to belive entertainment appearing on such a given night. I’ve witnessed the cheap tactic that Eric just pulled last night – where he set the stage (pardon the pun) for me to “fail”before I even walked in the door. Please allow me to elaborate: First, during no part of my hour of playing did he come anywhere near where I was. Second, Vonda did the same, except for about 3 minutes where she was behind the bar appearing to have something bar related to deal with. Third, they made sure to not pipe my music throughout the casino – as they do with the “regular” acts there, and believe me, I know all the justifications they can throw at me – all of which are nothing less than cheap excuses. They did not want the people in the casino to hear what I was doing. Funny thing, the people in the bar, and the people on the other side of the bar (the people within earshot) –they were having a great time (by the loud reaction from them) – including the couple of girls who were grinning at the stage the whole time, the little kid next to the stage who was dancing on pretty much every song, the people who were dancing in their seats, people singing along, and the big, Mexican bartender who was back there dancing during one of the songs I was playing. There was also the one little worker who came skipping up the stage while I was tearing down, asking, “So, when does he start?”,to which was replied, “He doesn’t, the management didn’t like him”. The look on her face was priceless and worth a thousand words. Moreover, when Eric was asked, “Did you acknowledge the people, or even look at the bar and the people in it?”, he danced the jig, not to answer the direct question that was asked no less than three times.
 
So, Vonda comes up to me after I’m done playing, with, “Well, I liked you, but we don’t think you, with your country music, would be good for the weekends here”. If that’s not blatant crap, somebody please tell me what is. She claimed that her customers would not like the country music that was contained in my set (4 out of 17 songs) – which is even more blatant crap. I do my research, I’ll go into a venue, observe the age group, and if there is any live entertainment at the moment, I watch the reaction of the crowd. I do not just walk into a place and say, “Hi, I play music, will you hire me?” I’ll ask this again – what the hell do these acts tell agents and entertainment people in order to get themselves hired, as they sure as hell aren’t getting hired because of their ability to entertain, play, sing, or whatever else? I don’t have a line of shit, that’s not my MO, I only present what I do, show up, entertain the folks, and there’s no more to it than that, if that’s not enough, then I’ll hang up my guitar right now (in the live part of this business). Thing is, it’s always been enough. Yes, I’ve run into self serving asses before, but I’ve never seen so many managers, entertainment people, and musicians, in one place, with the incessant need to overcompensate for their tiny, dysfunctional body parts and/or abilities in my goddam life. I’ve seen most of the music acts in this town. I’ve seen the burned out hippies in the dives with their entitlement attitude, as in, “I know I suck, but you should love what I do anyway, because it’s my right to subject the masses to my “art”. I’ve seen the burned out rednecks with their entitlement attitude, as in, “I know I suck, but the more you show me that, the louder and more obnoxious I’m gonna be”. I’ve heard the prissy lounge duos, including the cutesy 45 year old girls who are lucky to hit half the notes, and the coolie guys, their mudmouthed singing, mindless guitar scales, and their silly hats. I heard the lounge lizard from hell, who, according to Eric, “always delivers”.Oh yeah, and most of these guys have no idea what those little knobs and faders on the mixing boards do – as most of them sound like they have a mouthful of mud; and, as if that’s not enough, I’ve witnessed at least one “band”, where the guy running the sound was making damn sure that the whole room could hear him, while doing his damnedest to silence the other guy.
 
FTR, the little weasel, Eric, didn’t even have the decency or the backbone to come and face me – he sent Vonda to do his dirty work – who by, the way, told us right from the start that this was the first time she’d been asked to deal with an audition– fishy, yeah, fishy. Ya know why these guys haul ass out the back door – it’s because they know they’re full of it, and they know who isn’t going to be bullied, and who is not gonna kiss their ass, and they’re too chicken shit to want to face that. Also FTR, I’m perfectly fine with a situation where I don’t fit, in fact, nobody would even need to tell me if the audience didn’t like what I did, I’d find the person in charge, offer them a sincere handshake, and tell them thanks for having me, but I don’t think I’d work out in a room such as this one” – and, I’d pride myself in doing that. BUT, when I see the reaction I saw last night, and the person in charge (or in last night’s case, his minion) feeds me crap such as they did last night, my bad habit of calling bullshit what it is will do what it does.

My last “FTR”,I don’t need to do this, so I don’t need to take crap from these people who think they can talk down to me, insult me, or feed me cheap B.S., and that includes any and all of ‘em. If I work in this town, great, I get to entertain the folks, if not, I don’t live to play in live venues.
 
If you have anything you would like to discuss, any questions, any anything, please feel free to email me, or call me (***-****-****).

One last point, I’m hoping you can tell the difference between frustration and disgust. I’m not frustrated in the least, but my level of disgust is off the charts. I deal just fine with legitimate rejection, but I do not deal well with bullshit.

That’s all for now.

Sunday, September 30, 2012

The Day The Music Died

Yes, the music business is suffering, but ya know what's worse - the people are suffering - including and especially the musicians.  First, with fewer and fewer places to play, many talented (and of course non talented) guys and girls went away - got day jobs, "real" jobs.  Next, how 'bout the youngsters, who now have nowhere to learn their craft.  When I was first starting out, back in 1980, there were tons of places for us to play, learn how to be in front of an audience, how to play with other players (some learned this, others didn't, but...).  So, we have the ever greedy club owners, the agents who are so full of themselves that they don't know which way is up, the envy ridden, throat cutting musicians, and now, the current finanicial fiasco putting even more nails in the coffin.  As if that's not enough, the entertainment people who are in place - the ones managing the clubs, restaurants, and casinos, not knowing up from down when it comes to entertainment - these guys will hire the act who has the biggest line of crap, the most third person B.S.all over the internet, and who are the greasiest, most self indulgent numbskulls out there.  So, again, any talented artists, young or old, who might be out there, they see the corruption, the nonsense, and how it's damn near impossible to work in the music business, so they get out of the business, go get day jobs, and the result is, we, the listeners are deprived of real music, having the music industry's crap shoved down our throats, not to mention what any talented artist must go through.  On that, many artist types don't function so well in society - in the "normal" work force - they cannot deal with workplace bullying, or working directly with the public, much of whom are snippy, angry, aggressive, and just plain mean.

The music industry bigwigs have always been ass backwards, signing "artists" and bands who will jump on any and all bandwagons, trying desperately to be hip and cool.  It has never ceased to amaze me, the mind numbing stupidity of A & R guys (formerly known as talent scouts), and record executives, who are in some bizarre way, attracted to the hip and the cool - ever how phony these acts may be.  Most or all artists and bands worth their salt accomplished what they did in spite of the record companies, not because of them.

It's been said that the internet is the answer, but the music part of the internet is still in its infant stage - where it's very difficult for a listener to find decent music, having to filter through all the self serving crap that every wannabe, and every wannabe's brother, sister, cousin, aunty, and uncle are putting out there.  So, for the time being, the music business is suffering horribly, as are the artists and the listeners.  We go to the clubs and the restaurants, we see burned out hippies, and burned out rednecks, who no longer care about what they do, howling into their microphones, and slopping through their mindless guitar scales; we go to the casinos and must endure lounge lizards from hell.

I don't have any answers, because people will always be who they are, the ruthless and the horrible aspiring to positions of power, while the decent dwell in society as is dicated by said ruthless and horrible, and the world continues to spiral downward.

If you have answers, I'm listening.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Pathetic Little Men, Part II

Well, it's been two months now, I've done a few little shows, nothing big, just a little show here and a little show there, but that's how it starts.

Since I last posted about pathetic little men, I have , of course, run into a few more.  I was in a mall, and saw one of those 10 minute massage kiosks, so I paid my $10, and this big Greek looking guy worked on me.  He did a good job, and I ended up going to him a couple more times, and talking with him while he worked.  I made the mistake of telling him I played music for a living.  He said he knew some people, so I told him I'd pay him for his connections, should anything become of them.  As is the case with some people, this guy has the uncanny ability to run into people, a couple of them being some Hawaiian musicians that just happened to be in the same casino, at the same time, at a table just inches away from where he was.  He got to talking to them, then called me frantically to get me to talk to one of them.  I met with him (the massage guy, Greg) one day, after he invited himself, at which time he proceeded to tell me who to email, what to say, and what to send.  Lucky for me, I didn't actually send any of the emails, because it was obvious the guy had no idea what he was talking about, he just wanted to establish his superiority.  He proceeds to call me 5, 6, 8 times a day for the next couple of weeks, and I, of course, quit answering or returning his calls, but not before he gets me in touch with these Hawaiian musicians.  I go to one of their rehearsals, they ask me if I'd be interested in playing bass, I said I could for a while - till I started to work on my own - my solo.  A couple of days after the rehearsal, one of the other guys - Henry, calls me to ask if I'd work with him doing a back yard luau, I of course, said I would.  I get to the place, and the first thing this guy does is tell me how he has played with all the "big stars" in Hawaii - every one of 'em, all his life.  We finally get on the stage, he sings 3 or 4 songs, while the guy who hired us is yelling for Hawaiian falsetto.  Henry asks me if I know any, so I did "I Kona".  Well, I guess Henry didn't like me doing that, because he tried to sing over the top of me through the whole song - even though he didn't know the song.  After that - for the duration of that gig - about 3 straight hours, the only time I sang is when he had to go deal with his granddaughter - who was supposed to dance hula for the show, but was hung over.  He had to leave the stage 4 times.  So, I would start to sing, he would go to his car where his granddaughter was - which was about a hundred yards away, talk to her, come back the hundred yards to the stage, and start to sing over the top of me - all in a matter of about 30 seconds.  Now, this is a 60 year old guy who I'll be damned if he didn't make all that distance in professional football player speed.  As I said, the green faced little bastard apparently didn't like me singing.  I guess I should mention here that he's one of those guys who knows parts of many songs - a verse, maybe a chorus, sings them over and over, pretending to know the song.  Between that, his voice lacking any kind of good, and his Strat copy that he must've bought at WalMart being horribly out of tune the whole night, made for an embarrassing night for me.  So, at the next rehearsal, I confront this numbskull in front of the whole band.  They scold him a little, but then they proceed to let him get his way - positioning himself to take over the band - and it wasn't even his band, the other two guys brought him in.  As if that's not enough, the band had already asked me to play at this anniversary event for a Hawaiian food joint here, which I said I'd do.  Well, after I'd been going to their rehearsals, Henry decides to bring in his son in law at the last minute, and the guys in the band let him do it.  That was enough, I pulled out of the band, so much for that.

Next, I'm trying to get into some of the casinos here.  Long story short, Gary Raffanelli, a poster boy for the lounge lizards from hell, gets on the phone and proclaims his superiority, his "accomplishments", and his priceless "critique" - for which he charges $95 an hour - so he claims.  At one point, he got told to quit being a smartass, slowed him down for a minute, but he picked it right back up.  Thankfully, he's nobody I really need to deal with.  Oh yeah, he has a few websites on the internet where he uses the third person trick to congratulate, glorify, and worship himself.

On a slightly different note, and I lifted this from my son's Facebook page - most or all guys who drive full size pickup trucks drive like idiots - this can't be a coincidence.  As I've said many times, the bigger and noisier the machine, the smaller and less functional the body parts.  Add the goatee and baseball cap, and you have a genuine pathetic little redneck who is in a rage because he can't... well, you know.

Ok, done for now.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Blasphemy, I Tell You...

Thank you, Lord, for sending those people to kill those four Americans in Libya last night. While I'm thinking about it, thank you for sending us those murderers who killed 3000 innocent people 11 years ago, and thank you so much for orchestrating the millions of deaths that all those people had to endure in all those senseless wars in the history of the world. Also, thank you for allowing the thousands of people, including men, women, and children, just yesterday across the planet, to die horrible deaths from disease, starvation, car accidents, and violence. Thank you, almighty God, for all the freaks of the world who are molesting little boys and girls as I write this, ruining the lives of these innocent little people. And last but not least, let's all thank God for half the football fans this past Monday, who lost their football games, whose teams did not pray hard enough to get what they wanted.

Most will see this as mocking and ridiculing, and proba
bly blasphemous. For me, what's blashpemous is the constant denial of reality, the defending and excusing of evil and evil people. I detest all those clever cliches that are designed to keep us quiet, to keep us thinking that we should be thankful for all the abuses that the evil people of the world are forcing onto us, and/or to keep us looking at all the "good" things, while ignoring the bad. This continues to work very well for such people - the parasites of the world.

So, for those of you who see Monday Night Football and your Budweiser as being the most important part of your life, go back to what you were doing, and just let this crap continue. And, for those of you who mindlessly enjoy your daily bible thumping sessions, get right back on that, because it's worked so well all throughout history in solving the problems of the world.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Shoddy Work On My Precious Guitar And Banjo


If you look at the first five frets (starting at the top), when you get to the sixth, you can see the difference in size - the sixth and all the rest after are much narrower.
 
 
The biggest gouge in the binding (the white stuff) is under the second fret.  It's hard to see the others, but they are all gouged and/or chipped.
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My Telecaster - homemade - bought the parts from Warmoth, hardware from various dealers, and put it all together, about $1000+ worth - it's beautiful.  I also have a Wildwood Artist 5 string banjo - made by Mark Platin, handmade, it is easily the best sounding, best feeling, and best looking banjo I've ever seen or heard, I paid $1600 new - from one of Wildwood's dealers, these banjos now go for about $2600.  A couple of months ago, I took these two precious instruments to Terry Scott's All String Repair for partial refrets - needing the first five frets replaced.

First let me tell you what he did to my guitar.  Besides replacing the first five frets, which actually wasn't too bad, he decided he needed to "shim" the string nut - meaning he put what appears to be a vinyl strip under it.  It looks like he cut the string grooves with a chainsaw - it looked ridiculous, and the B string groove was at the wrong angle, so I had to take my fish hook file and fix it.  You do NOT shim a nut as a permanent fix, you might do that to get through a night, but you do not do that as a permanent fix, you replace it.  I later replaced the string nut, and now it's fine.

Now, the banjo:  When I first took it in, I asked him straight, "Do you have the proper fret wire for this banjo, because the last refret I got (on a different banjo), the guy put on bigger frets, and I don't want that, I want the same sized frets that are on there".  He replied, "Oh yeah, I do banjos all the time".  So, three weeks later, I go to pick up my instruments.  I notice the guitar nut looks nasty, but I didn't say anything.  When I took the banjo out of the case, the first thing I noticed was the huge frets.  I said, "Why are there big frets on here?".  He replied, "Oh, I did that on purpose", and proceeded to give a big, long, cockamamie explanation about why he did that.  I happen to know a little about fretted instruments, setup, etc., and let me tell you, his explanation was pure bullshit.  I took the banjo home, and it sat in the case for the past 3 weeks or so, I haven't been able to even look at it, let alone, think about playing it.  Well, today I took it to a luthier to see how much it would cost to fix the mess that Mr. Scott made of my precious banjo.  He looked it over, saw the horrid work, and then pointed out that the binding on the underside of the fingerboard had been badly gouged and chipped - something I didn't notice before.  I also could then see that the frets were not flush in the slots, and not cut to the same length.  He said he could do a complete refret, and make the binding look better than it is - for $500 or so.  He recommended, though, that I send it back to the original luthier to get the neck replaced.  I've decided that I will do that - send it to Mark Platin in Bend, Oregon to have the neck replaced - a $900 job.  I of course, don't have that kind of money right now, so it's gonna have to wait.  After I left the shop of the second luthier today, I went straight to Mr. Scott's shop to show him his shitty work, and to tell him what I thought of it.  As expected, he tried to make excuses, tried to give me his dumbass explanations, but I stopped him and told him not to insult me with any of it.  He said, "I'm sorry, let me fix it, let me make it right".  I replied, "Think about it, if you took your precious guitar to a guy, and he did THIS (pointing to the gouged binding and messed up fret job), would YOU put it back in the hands of that guy???".  He kept insisting that I leave it with him so he could "make it right", but I told him there was no way in hell I was leaving ANY of my instruments with somebody who would do THAT (again pointing to the gouges and the screwed up frets) to an instrument.  He didn't offer to pay, or even help pay for the damage he did.  I reported this numbskull to the Better Business Bureau - for all the good that will do, and if I can find the receipts, I'll be taking him to Small Claims Court.  As if the previously mentioned damage wasn't enough, he had also cranked the thumbscrew on the Keith tuners so tight (with a screwdriver, when you are only supposed to lightly tighten them with your fingers), that if I would have tried to use them, they would have likely been broken - and these are $300 Bill Keith banjo tuners.  Yes, there's more.  The fifth string nut - the little bone peg with the slot in it for the fifth string - he broke it and glued it back together - so I'll also have to replace that.

Before all of this, my plan was to continue practicing on the banjo, to get my playing back up to par, so I could get started recording my bluegrass/folk CD as soon as possible, but thanks, Universe, for once again screwing things up for me.  And, the first son of a bitch who says this is somehow MY fault gets the ass whipping of his goddam life.

You can find me on Twitter: https://twitter.com/ImTheFid

Monday, August 13, 2012

Nice Town, But The Same Pathetic Little Men

Being here in this new town for a month, I have run into, as expected, still more pathetic little men who would like to be musicians.  Out of the five who have replied to my ads, all five made the effort to inform me of all their so called "accomplishements", as well as their many self proclaimed titles, and have said things like, "We pretty much do all the gigs that call for Hawaiian music".  One guys began his reply with, "I am a master guitar player" - he had never played Hawaiian music before, but since he was a "Master", I guess he thought I would bow down to him.  Still another said he was always looking for new projects, more work, and said, "If I can help at all, please let me know".  Well, as with all prospective players and dancers, I send links to my videos - just me playing acoustic versions of Hawaiian songs - and I'll be damned if they don't immediately come at me with their aggression, their marking their territory, proclaiming their accomplishments, and this one guy gave me, "I wish you the best, welcome to Reno, good luck".  When I asked him straight out if he was no longer interested in working with me, he gave me more vague replies.  Poor, pathetic little pissants.

On the dancer front, I had one who sounded very interested and enthusiastic at first, I replied with my usual non presumptuous email, then never heard from her again.  I have another, who seems even more enthusiastic.  We emailed each other a few times, discussing what songs we know, what the shows will contain, and now haven't heard from her all day today, after writing her last night.

I'm not discouraged yet, I've only been here a month, as with anything else, these things take time.  I am, though, a little disgusted with the usual tiny little men and their stupid games.  I continue to look for songs for my bluegrass/folk album, and I'll probably start composing and recording some Hawaiian instrumentals before too long - to present to one of the music libraries that is brokering my songs.

In the meantime, I like this town a lot.  When it starts to cool off a little, I plan to go look for snakes to take pictures of.  Some people think that's crazy, but I don't.  I respect them, but I don't fear them, and I think they know that.

So, the battle continues...

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Bluegrass & Folk

While I look for players and dancers to do the Hawaiian shows, I am also looking for songs to record for my Bluegrass/Folk album - I finally put the ads out, now that I'm somewhat settled here.  I'm about 99% sure that such a collection will do very well in the College Radio circuit.  I might have to change my banjo style.  I've played straight ahead bluegrass all this time, but I think to have a folky touch to it, I'll maybe have to get rid of the picks.  This would work out great, anyway, because over the past 2 years or so, playing with the picks on has been horrid.  I've had a couple of people interested in sending songs, but so far I don't have anything solid.  It's fine, I don't expect it to happen in the first week - as with anything else, it'll take some time.

I plan to do a few protest songs, social commentary, that kind of thing.  Not going after love songs of any kind on this one.  I'll also be using non conventional percussion instruments, which has been a lot of fun on my TV & Ad project.

In between music projects, and when it starts to cool off around here, I hope to make it to the hills, so I can play with some snakes, maybe bears, big cats, and get lots of pictures.  So far, I see little rabbits all over the place at night - they come out to eat, and I love watching them.

Had a close call last week, but things seem to be ok, at least for now, and so far, I like this town a lot.

Back To My Roots

After being in this new town for about three weeks, it's time to put my Hawaiian show together again.  Still can't say exactly where I am because of stalkers, and because there are a few people (mostly so called family) who would love to see me totally destroyed, and I don't need them making phone calls - had more than my share of that cowardly, pathetic B.S. in Portland, and I damn sure don't need it here.

I have ads out looking for guys or girls to play Hawaiian music, and for hula dancers.  Funny, some people just don't get it, my ads specifically say, "Hawaiian Music", and, "Hula Dancers", and I've been getting replies from people who think they can learn the music in a week.  Also got one from a girl "Fire Juggler" - whatever that is.  I guess it'll take a few weeks for the Hawaiian folk to read the ads and hopefully get back to me.  I have a guy who has asked me to put the Hawaiian show together, he says he has the connections to book the show in Casinos, so I guess we'll see.  If he doesn't come through, it's no big deal, I'll have my other ads out to do company parties, luaus, and other such events like I did in Austin a couple years ago.  One thing for sure, there are a lot more opportunities here than there were in that craphole of a city they call Portland.  I have, though, run into a couple of musicians here who have the typical fragile, pathetic ego.  These guys are amazing, shameless, and delusional, and the business is full of 'em, always has been.

I know things are different now, the economy being what it is, but I'm doing it anyway.  So, if I can find a few locals who can do the music and dance, I'll be in business.

You can find me on Twitter: https://twitter.com/ImTheFid

Monday, July 23, 2012

Another Non Musical Statement



I guess it’s too much to ask to have a girl who is non antagonistic, non defensive, not easily angered, and/or easy going.  I’ve heard all the talk about how a person attracts certain things in other people – but I don’t buy it.  I’m not a mean spirited person, I’m not antagonistic, and I’m not aggressive - unless somebody really pushes me.  I don’t fly into a rage for every little thing that I don’t like.  For me to be offended, somebody has to do something rude, intrusive, bullying, dishonest, grossly inconsiderate, or hostile – and usually they have to do it more than once.  I’ve always just wanted peace in my little life, but it seems there is no such thing – everywhere I look, everywhere I go, somebody feels the need to snipe at me, huff at me, be provoke me – and damn if I’m not sick and goddam tired of it.  It’s not bad enough that I get it when I get out in public, but getting it from the person who supposedly cares about me and all that, inside the place where I live, it’s about too much to deal with anymore.  Every girl I’ve ever been with – except one – has been mean spirited, abusive, ill tempered, antagonistic, or easily angered – or any combination thereof.  Is there even such a thing as a girl who is not so full of aggression, not so easily angered?  I'm beginning to think not - that, or the universe has done a damn good job of keeping such a girl away from me - wouldn't be the first time the universe did such a chidlish idiotic thing to be amused at my expense.

There’s really no more to it than that, except that it’s miserable to be on the receiving end of this B.S.  It’s even worse, the fact that I don’t have the means to get the hell out and have my own life, and/or to find a decent girl – thanks, Powers That Be, and thanks, all you thieves, liars, and manipulative asses I’ve crossed paths with.

People slamming planes into buildings (not talking about 9/11, talking about the guy in Austin who slammed his private plane into a government building a couple years ago), people shooting up movie theaters, post offices, work places, etc..  While I don’t condone what those people do (hurting innocent people), I certainly understand it.  People are getting angrier by the day, and I don’t see it getting any better anytime soon, maybe I should seriously consider that mountaintop.  In the meantime, I sit here and put up with people’s daily hostile bullshit.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Astronomical Observations

Getting away from music for a minute once again, to talk about earth, sun, and other related subjects.

I was in Portland, Oregon for the past year and a half.  I couldn't get outside much because of the endless rain, but I did manage to sit outside on the front porch a few times during the summer.  I noticed, just from last year to this year, that the sun is setting much farther north than last year, and, it continued to move northward even after the summer solstice - at which time the sun should have started to wander back south (still talking about where it sets on the horizon).  I looked on the internet to see if other people who made the same observation, and there were a few posts from some folks who noticed it over the past few years, but, strangely enough, no posts from this year.  This tells me that once again, some very powerful people are hiding something.  I'm sure they are doing it for their own benefit, and at our expense - which as some of us know, is nothing new.  Amazingly enough, there have also been some deniers posting on the sites where the observers of strange occurences post their observations - obviously being the conservative extremists who like to mock anyone who makes an observation involving changes in the earth, and whose beliefs and ideas do not coincide with theirs.  There are also, of course, the crazy conspiracy theorists - who mostly just give legitimate observers a bad name.  Among the posts, I also saw a few folks saying that the moon is rising and setting in a different place than normal.

I noticed another strange phenomenon recently.  As I was driving from Portland to here (not telling where), there were quite a few places where I would be driving downhill, but the car was straining - as if it were actually going up hill.  There was also the opposite - driving uphill, and feeling like I was actually going downhill.  I understand optical illusions, but these were not illusions - it was very obvious uphill and downhill.  I attribute this to some strangeness in gravity.  I don't have any explanations, just observations, and some questions.

The worst part about all of it is that the Ultra Powerful are hiding this and other facts.  For the record, I do not own a tin foil hat, and I don't believe in the Mayan Calendar/End Of The World stuff, I'm only stating my own observations.

So, round and round and round we go, where we stop, nobody knows - ain't that a fact.

You can find me on Twitter: https://twitter.com/ImTheFid

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

The Open Road Once Again

That's right, I finally made it out of Portland, never to look back.  As American cities go, I've never seen a bigger bunch of angry people in one place in my goddam life.  That's not to say I'm the happiest guy in the world, either (thanks to all the devious, self serving, vindictive asses I've had the misfortune of crossing paths with), but the difference between me and most people is that I don't carry a huge chip on my shoulder, and I don't go around looking for people to screw with.  The past year and a half has not been the best time of my life - in fact, things have been less than fine since about 2006 or so.  Things are looking up some, but life is what it is - we are all in hell, some don't know it, and others don't want to hear it - I guess that says that the world is full of numbskulls and pretentious dimwits.  We'll all be blown deep into space someday, anyway, so I guess none of what we do here matters in the big scheme of things.  I do what I'm capable of, I choose to be decent because I want to be, not because I fear the wrath of some unseen entity, or a life in a burning hell.  From where I sit, nothing could be worse than this horrid place, and when it's my time to get the hell out, I'll welcome it.

As for my stalkers - the pond scum that followed my every move in Portland, and went to great efforts to take me down, I'm sure they are enraged that I was able to escape that dreary, angry, deadbeat mudhole.  That's not to mention all my ex relatives who would have loved to have seen me destroyed - and yeah, it almost happened.  I'm now on the open road in an RV, self contained, in a nice RV park, and actually starting to enjoy some things.  If I like it here, I'll stick around, if not, I'll hook up and go to the next place.  Adios you parasites, have a nice life.  Speaking of parasites, more to come on that soon.

I've heard that the live music scene here is doing fairly well, so maybe I can work, have some fun, buy more guitars (just kidding), and eat lots of raw fish and rice :D .

Friday, July 6, 2012

Censorship, Injustice, And Cowardice



Injustice and cowardice - which often work hand in hand, are two of my biggest peeves, in fact, they are about my only peeves - well, I guess I'll add lying to that - I very much hate liars.

I should know better than to try to participate in internet discussion forums.  I've participated in two of them, and also YouTube, and the results have always been the same - where people will not discuss with me, instead, using every cowardly tactic imaginable to shut me down. I don't use vulgarity, I don't threaten, but I have been called every filthy name in the universe, and have been threatened many, many times.  The contentiousness and aggression I've seen directed at me is enough to choke a dinosaur.  I have had my life threatened, also my wife's, and my son's.  I've pretty much retired from anything social or political, but I thought it would be fun to post at the site I'd been posting at for the past little while, but...

Over the past few weeks, I had been posting in the "Banjo Hangout".  I took part so I could both learn and help.  I'd learned a few valuable bits of information, and offered my experiences to some new and aspiring players.  There were, of course, those who did not like my ideas and beliefs.  The "thread" I'll be talking about started with a novice banjo player who was having a hard time with a certain chord shape, said she was avoiding playing it because it was too difficult, and was asking if there were any "tricks" to use.  A few said, "Practice, practice, practice", and a few said, "Leave this finger off, leave that finger off...".  I said, "Don't be lazy, don't take shortcuts, doing so will never do you any good...".  Well, as always, a couple of them started sniping at me - making it obvious that they, themselves, were the lazy types I was referring to, and were going to defend their laziness to the death.  Apparently, and as always, at least one of them had a personal connection with one or more of the moderators, and as a result, my last post became the target for their magic delete button.  My post was funny, it was an imaginary conversation between me and Mr. Spock.  There was no contentious tone, no vulgarity, no threats of any kind, and no personal attacks, but, as with so many of my posts on the couple of forums I'd been on, it disappeared within a couple of hours, while the other, contentious, personal posts from my detractors remained untouched.  The Banjo forum is a site that has 30,000+ registered members, while only 30 or 40 post there regularly at this time.  It has been posted there that at one time or another, some of the nationally known and respected banjo players posted on the board, but quit soon after because of the smartasses, the contentiousness, the disrespect.  Anyway, when I do post something at a forum of any kind, and the person or persons in charge delete my posts, I will not participate, or even read at that place again - not because I think that will punish any of them, but because I won't post where any person uses their power of the magic delete button to silence me - it's useless and maddening, and I don't need the aggravation.

I do believe that many of the posts on the internet that get deleted are because of legitimate reasons - vulgarity, threats, belligerent postings, and other such behavior, but in this case, I'm speaking of being deleted and banned because of envy, buddyism, favortism, and just plain cowardice.

I have seen with my own eyes, many, many examples of people using cowardly tactics to take down and/or silence another.  I've seen Bill O'Reilly shout over any guest that has a strongly opposing view from his own - he especially has an obvious hatred for anyone who questions 9/11 - folks who are labelled, "Truthers".  I have never heard him allow more than one sentence from any Truther - O'Reilly's barrage beginning with, "You're NUTS, you're a LOON, that is RIDICULOUS...", then off to commercial, after which he will either have dismissed the guest, or will glaringly change the subject.  I watched Scott Roberts get one YouTube account after another - shut down because many people, including the ownership and management of YouTube, did not like his ideas and beliefs.  He has also had many of his own websites shut down - by people threatening the webhosting company.  He has had his and his family's lives threatened endlessly.  While I don't agree with his disdain for Jewish people simply because they are Jewish, I've never heard him threaten anyone, never heard him say that all Jews should be killed (or that ANY Jew should be killed), he simply writes about his own personal experiences with Jewish people.  He should be allowed to do that if he chooses.  I, myself, have been on the receiving end of such cowardice since I was a little kid - from step mom - who did everything she could to discourage me and punish me for doing anything that required any amount of self motivation.  I got it in Little League baseball - my first year being great, the skinny little pitcher with the goofy grin and the rifle arm - second year having to play for a different team - where two of the coaches had their no talent kids on the team, keeping me on the bench the whole time - to make sure nobody would see my arm in action, and then have to answer to people questioning why the coach's son, who was throwing arc balls at the plate was playing every game, while a guy who could actually throw was on the bench.  I had the basketball referees in high school ball - most of whom had a burning hatred for my dad - take out that hatred on me - Mr. Jones' 17 year old son - doing everything they could to punish me.  I had the sports editor of the Honolulu Star Bulletin, Jim Hackleman, who also had a burning hatred for my dad (another case of envy because my dad has his own sports magazine), who, in order to get revenge on Mr. Jones, yanked me (the 17 year old kid who earned his spot on the team) off of the All Star Team at the last minute - because Mr. Jones did something that Mr. Hackleman didn't like.  I got it from an evil, mean spirited booking agent - another case of envy - doing everything possible to shut me down.  I got it from countless musicians, thankfully, most of whom did not have the clout to have any real effect, except for a couple of them who did actually cause me great damage and loss.  The ones who didn't succeed, though, certainly did try.  Then there's my own mother, who, the first time I (supposedly) said something she didn't like, disowned me without hesitation, and without even caring to hear what I had to say about it.  This is the same mother who disowned two of her other kids when they were teenagers.

These are just a tiny handful of cowardly acts perpetrated by cowardly people.  I see it everywhere I go - in both my virtual and non virtual life.  In my lifetime, I don't remember any person ever taking me on fairly and/or with any amount of class - they have always resorted to some sneaky, underhanded way of trying to destroy me.  I can hear the conservative thinking smartasses and Pop Psych parrots snickering and cackling right about now, desperately wanting me to believe that all of this is somehow my own fault - or that dirty is fair. First, you conservative and Pop Psych numbskulls - go screw yourselves, and second, yeah, I brought this on since I was 8 years old.

Well, I'm getting ready to make a major geograhical move, I'm very much looking forward to it.  I look forward to cleaner air, a more healthy music scene, less angry people, and hopefully no stalkers.  And Fid, would ya please stay off of internet discussion forums and blogs - they are not worth the trouble :D .

Saturday, June 30, 2012

Envy - A Very Serious Self Inflicted Condition

As far back as 1980, when I first started playing music for a living, I have witnessed some of the most pathetic behavior in people (musicians) that I could ever imagine.
Ross Costa, the guitar player who I replaced at Ducky's (the first bar I worked at as a "Professional" musician) - the guy still hates me to this day - and the only reason they hired me was because I was no threat to anybody at the time.  Ray Christie - the first time a nice looking girl showed interest in me - he told me some lie about how she would flirt with a guy, then call her husband to come in and start a fight.  Billy Edwards - doing and saying everything possible to turn people against me - this went on for years, from about 1980 till 1988 - didn't do him any good, but damn did he ever try.  Gene Davis, who I hired as a "singer", then proceeded to tell everybody that it was his band, even going so far as to steal our original band name by registering it with Commerce And Consumer Affairs.  Allen Stolz - playing every sneaky game possible to convince me, as well as the listeners, that HE was the main attraction in the band - he lasted 3 months, at which time I enjoyed firing his sorry ass.  Jim Mitchell - booking agent - used every dirty trick in the book to silence my band, while promoting his wife's band (Tina Marie and the White Buffalo Band) - including lying to club managers and owners, cheating, and stealing from me every chance he got.  Warren Johnson, who desperately wanted to be the "Top Band", going so far as to threaten a club where he was the house band, saying he would quit unless they got rid of me there - I was getting just a bit too many people in the Cowboy Inn on Sunday and Monday nights (I was the house band at Pecos, where it was packed to the rafters just about every night).  Debbie Travis - who went out and spit venom about me to the folks who were following my band everywhere we played - also did her no good, but boy did she ever try.  Phil Christman - who ended up pouring coke (the drink) into two of the horns in my Peavey monitor wedges, and who tried to get into the equipment room to destroy more of my equipment.  Julie Shultz, who had a somewhat successful band in the late 70s, went into Pecos trying to take nights from me with her new band, using sneaky tactics and threats - she couldn't do it, but damn did she try - she ended up disbanding because she couldn't get any footing.  After moving to Ft. Worth, Texas, one guy saw me at a jam session, invited me to come to his across town, and when I showed up, he did everything he could to silence me - including trying to get other guys in his band - who didn't sing, didn't have mics in front of them, and who said, "You know I don't sing" - to sing.  I hired these two guys - Bill Powell and Jack Daniels (yes, I said Jack Daniels), they were so enraged about what I was doing that on the last night of playing in my band, they acted like a couple of 5 year olds having tantrums - right there on the stage - I enjoyed firing their sorry asses that night.  I had guys come up to me - apparently musicians, or maybe just wannabes - and try to knock me down a peg or two - as in, "Yeah, I noticed you had trouble sounding like Randy Travis (HUH, I wasn't trying to sound like Randy Travis), and other such silly attempted insults.  Off to Northern Virginia/Southern Maryland/DC area.  Auditioned at (can't remember the name of the place - in Alexandria) - how do I put this without sounding like a fathead - I won't, I'll just say that the people weren't shy about showing their appreciation for our half hour set.  The owner literally ran out the back door at our last note, and we could never get in touch with him after that.  Couldn't get near Zed, or Steve's place (can't remember the name of his club - Steve was one of those wannabes who would go around and sit in with the bands, pretty boy, the hat, the Shepler clothes, the line of shit, and couldn't get away with his shenanigans when he sat in with us) - so his revenge was, when daddy gave him the money to open his own little place, he wouldn't let us anywhere near it - answering, "I don't like Rio".  Back to Hawaii, David Jones - my own (ex) half brother, who, having the worst case of compulsive/pathological lying I've ever seen, set out to destroy me in Hawaii - telling endless lies to his drug buddies - some in high positions by that time - and succeeding in seeing to it that I could never get anything played on the radio in that town.  In Austin, Keito, doing everything possible to sing over me, as well as prevent me from playing after the shows - instead getting the youngster dancer to play Hip Hop CDs through my sound system - even when there were mostly senior citizens at the shows.  JC, who was losing his job as bass player in some country band, while I was sitting in on lead guitar, the rumor being that I was going to be hired on bass, went berserk, coming all the way over to my side of the stage (during a song) to try to insult me.  In Tucson, club manager - steroided to the hilt - I'm convinced that he hired me to play in that Hawaiian restaurant, thinking I would fail.  My fiddle got a lot of attention, and I guess he didn't like that, so he started by ordering me not to play the fiddle (yes, it was a Hawaiian restaurant, but you cannot play Hawaiian music all night for non Hawaiian people - it just doesn't work - so I started out with Hawaiian, and went on to play a variety - including one fiddle song at the end of each set).  He went on trying to bully me when I played the fiddle anyway, at which time I told him I'd had enough of the management telling me what I could and could not play - he had to deal with some really angry people after I left, but that was easier for him than seeing me make his customers happy.  In Portland, I gave ex half brother, David, a second chance, wouldn't ya know it - it did the same thing he did the first time - thankfully he didn't have the clout in Portland that he did in Hawaii.  Then came Al Morales, the sneaky, cowardly little bastard who spent unbelievable amounts of effort running all over town, saying god knows what about me, in order to turn as many people against me as humanly possible, and to make sure I could not work - and not have friends.  I actually worked with this numbskull for a while, watching him do his damnedest to get me to make him look good, while keeping me under control as much as possible - his desperation was about the most pitiful thing I'd ever seen.  This is a guy who knew about 15 Hawaiian songs (and nothing else), some of which he only knew one verse, but pretended to know the whole song - after all, these are haoles, they would never know any different.  If I told you half of what he did, you probably wouldn't believe it, but let me tell you, he did it, and then some.  Then there was the wannabe banjo player in the biker bar, "Your Johnny Cash wasn't quite there", yeah, nothing I do is quite there - dumbasses.

There are more, these are just ones that I remember off the top of my head.  A lot of it is hindsight - things I never really thought about until fairly recently.

So, while I chose to be in this crappy business, I had no idea going in, what I was in for.  I probably would have done music for a living anyway, being that it was the only thing I knew, and the only thing I could imagine doing for any length of time.  My faith in people is down to nothing, as of now I can't imagine ever wanting to work with a musician again.  I will avoid them at all costs - not only in playing, but also in associating with them in any way.  I'll continue to play out live, until I can get into one of the other avenues that are starting to take shape in the music business.

Yeah, envy, people do some very stupid things in the name of envy.  Pitiful and pathetic is what I have to say in closing.  See y'all next time.

The Music Machine

There was a time when I would hear a new song on the radio by my favorite band, and run down to Harry's Music Store to buy either the single or the album.  A single cost about 50 cents, and an album was $2.99 - I used money from my summer jobs to get these records.  This was the case with most kids - we would hear something on the radio, and fly to the music store to buy it.  We would run into the house, peel of the plastic wrapper, smell the wonderful smell of a new record, carefully pull out the record, and play it for weeks, months, and even years.  We would read every word on the jackets, stare at the pictures - it was heaven.  Well, times have changed, music has changed, attitudes have changed, and sales tactics have changed.  It's funny to hear the promotional side of the music industry exclaiming about the newest CD, or the newest "Hot" (DAMN, I hate that word) artist, that they are the newest "Hot Selling" item.  But, I've also seen quite a few documentaries regarding the parts of the business that mostly take place behind the scenes - behind all the shiny B.S. that the promotional teams put up in front of our faces.  They are all screaming about the same thing - the dismal "unit" sales.  For this sitting, I'll mostly be talking about country music, because that's what I'm familiar with.  In all the documentaries, the music biz people blame "piracy" for the sagging sales.  Well, here's what I've observed.  Not all genres are suffering from non selling "units".  When Britney Spears was the flavor du jour, she sold "units" like there was no tomorrow, not so much because she was any kind of talented artist, but because the little girls related to her, and the little boys (and probably a lot of dirty old men) liked looking at her.  There is also all of that horrible, hate filled, vulgar, computer generated noise they call "Rap", "Hip Hop", and I guess there are a few other names and sub genres that all fall into the same pile.  It is just as easy to download this stuff for free as it is for any other kind of music (I use the term, "music" falsely when speaking of Rap and such), but, the kids still pay money for the real thing - the real CD - with graphics on the disc, photos, credits, secrets, and whatever else.  From where I sit, it appears to me that the reason country, as well as most of the "Rock" genres are not selling is because nobody likes it enough to pay for it.  A side - sometime in the mid 90s, I wandered into a used record and CD store.  There were tons of "New Country" in the reject bins - and tons in the used bins.  I could find no Creedence, no Stones, no Led Zepellin, no Johnny Cash, no Merle Haggard, nothing that I would listen to - in that whole store.  Oh yeah, and there was lots of Disco and R & B.

I call the whole Nashville system, the New York system, and the L.A. system "The Machine".  The Machine is broken.  They manufacture, they contrive, and they sell.  They use cheap sales tactics, they will lie, and they will play on teenagers' need to be validated and/or accepted by their peers.  They sign lots of pretty boys and pretty girls who can't even tune their own guitars, much less play them, and most can't hit half the notes they try to sing.  Of course, there are a few exceptions - very few - Brad Paisley can actually play, LeAnn Rimes can actually sing, and Taylor Swift can actually write, play, sing, AND perform - but again, very few exceptions.  It also appears to me that these exceptions slip through the cracks, they make it in spite of the record companies, and not because of them.  Even funnier is that when that does happen, the record bigwigs will demand that all subsequent "artists" mimic these accidental megastars - how ironic, and hypocritical.

So, we've had to listen to these record companies talk down their noses at artists for decades, spitting up ultra conservative B.S. such as, "Well, don't blame US for YOUR failure", and, "You gotta remember, most of the artists we sign don't even sell enough to recoup our investments" - did you catch that - the artists that the RECORD COMPANIES SIGN - most of them fail.  So, what does THAT tell you?  What it tells me is that the A & R people (formerly known as talent scouts) who are supposed to recognize talent are inept - either that, or they are purposely keeping the bar as low as possible - in order to make it easier to sell their halfwitted, mindless, contrived noise.  Meanwhile, they are blaming piracy for their horrid "unit" sales.  So, their ultra conservative nonsense is a one way street - paved only in their direction.  You see, as is always the case with the ultra conservatives and Pop Psych gurus, "Self responsibility", and, "Don't blame us for your failure" applies to everyone except them.

I have an acquaintance who is part of the upper level of the biz, we will call him "Denny".  He worked for me in Hawaii from '86 - '88.  He was a very good lead guitar and pedal steel player, and a decent guy.  After I left Hawaii in late '88, he and another band member who worked for me at the time hired two more musicians and continued to work the Hawaii country music circuit.  In '91, Denny decided to head to Nashville to see what he could do there.  He had a good friend there who was to help him - steer him towards auditions, inform him of what was going on and where, introduced him to people who were connected, etc.  Denny landed a gig in Paulette Carlson's band, where he worked until she was dropped by her record label - I think it was just a couple of years.  He then got hired by Tim McGraw, and has been playing pedal steel and lead guitar for Tim since about '95.  I had a few conversations with Denny via email.  His views are, of course, in line with the Machine - ultra conservative, polished playing, blaming piracy for the dismal "unit" sales, and throwing the word, "Blame" around whenever it was convenient.  He once sent me a link to an article describing one of the sub organizations of the Machine and their lobbying to lessen the royalties paid to the songwriters, so more money would be for them, the record companies.  They whined about how the dismal "unit" sales were causing them to lose money, that it was all because of piracy, and they had to make up their losses somewhere.  I replied to Denny, saying that as usual, the huge corporations were ruthless, were going to bully everyone involved, and take money from the writers.  I don't know what the result was, but the article did say that they (I think it was RIAA, but not absolutely sure) were lobbying Congress to change the writers' royalty rates from 6.5 cents per unit to something like 5 cents per unit.  Anyway, that was the last correspondence between Denny and me - he didn't like hearing the other side of the argument.

As I said, the music business as we knew it has changed drastically over the past 30 years, and the music industry brass is desperately trying to hang on to the absolute power they've had all these decades.  The internet has contributed to their declining power, but they continue to do what they can in order to cover their sorry rear ends.  My hope is that their dynasty comes crumbling down within the next ten years, and it may happen.  I do know, though, that they have their eye on things, and will do whatever possible to clutch their power, but as long as the internet remains a free avenue for unsigned artists, writers and performers to show their stuff, it will be difficult for them, even with all their bullying, to keep things in their hands.  Yes, there does need to be more changes in favor of the small artists, for one thing, there has to be a way for listeners to filter through all the garbage more quickly, so they can find the good stuff.  As of now, it's a bit tedious and time consuming.  Hopefully somebody will come along with a remedy to rid the internet, or at least be able to filter out, most or all of self serving, ego driven noisemakers.  In the meantime, I continue to look for ways to get a fair price for my work.