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Archive for September, 2012

Texas Spaceships


I met a woman named Belinda in New Orleans who was moving to California and had a 1984 Toyota Celica.  She invited me to join her for the drive west and was going through Austin.

We stopped at a zydeco dance in Lafayette, Louisiana.  The dance was mainly an older crowd of 6o somethings doing the 2 step and waltzing slowly around the dancefloor.  I tried to keep up but my dance training is mainly in the moonwalk and backspin.

We got back to the car and all the doors were open, including the hatch back.  Nothing seemed to be missing but the car was in disarray.  Belinda’s clothes were all over the front seats and I had some tax documents laid out across the dashboard.  Probably to be photographed.

Belinda asked me to drive. I’d never driven a manual transmission before.  She didn’t notice me grinding the gears and stalling all the way to the highway.

Somewhere near Shreveport she fell asleep.  It felt great to drive a car and listen to the radio.  My 2nd favorite song by The Band, Up On Cripple Creek came on the radio.  Levon Helm was singing “Lakes Charles Louisiana” just as I was passing a sign which read “Lake Charles Louisiana.”  The universe was having a laugh at me.

Near the boarder with Texas a blimp like airplane appeared in the rear view.  It was now dusk and the blimp had some elaborate lighting similar to what you’d see in the original Tron movie.  The blimp was moving fast and eventually was traveling along side the right hand side of the car, about 3 miles away and 1000 feet in the air.  The radio on the car began cutting in and out and my Iphone lost all power.  I checked Belinda’s phone on the dash and it was off.  The ship pulled away into the sunset and the radio came back on.  Ziggy Stardust And The Spiders from mars was cutting in and out.

We arrived in Austin a few hours later and found a weekly boarding house for 100 bucks.  The owner was a curious guy named Scooter.  He was going on about anti corporate hostel unions in southern Texas and some injustices being waged against barista unions.  I was too tired to keep up but I knew instinctively that I liked Scooter.

It was late but we decided to go to the White Horse and for some dancing.  I saw a few solid country bands and made arrangements to record one of them the next day.  I caught a blond girl looking at me so I asked her to dance.  I stepped all over her feet but she laughed.


We danced for a few numbers then sat at the bar and talked.  She told me her name was Olivia and I told her my name was Jack.  She was a waitress and a singer.  Her mom had died when she was very young and her father was in the army so she had moved around a lot as a child.  She invited me back to her house in South Austin and we caught a cab.

We spent a few hours listening to old country records and making out.  She had a song she had written called “My Ex-Girlfriend Is A Slut” which we recorded very quickly on an old Dictaphone.  She went into the kitchen and hollered “Hey Kennedy, do you want some espresso?”  I hadn’t told her my last name.  “No, thanks.”  It’s probably had some weird truth serum in it.

I thanked her for the southern hospitality and walked home just at the sun and the birds were coming out.

I woke up really late and walked a half mile to a blues guitarists house.  His name was Will Knaak.  I had a song called “A Girl Called Elvis” which I thought he’d be great to play on.  Were recorded for a few hours and he told me about his life.



New Orleans Dixieland Disaster

I cleaned up my aunt’s apartment in Lincoln Park, let myself out and slid the keys  back under the front door.  I walked to the L train and made my way to Union station.

Amtrack has a train running from Chicago to New Orleans in 19 hours and this sounded like a dream compared to a 30+ hour trip on the Greyhound.  The train was a little run down but double level and complete with dining car, observation car, café car, and sleeper cars.

The young lady sat next to me was very sweet.  She was young and 3 months pregnant.  She was heading to Louisiana to spend some time with her relatives before she got too pregnant to travel.

Around midnight I moved downstairs into the Café car to mix some music on my computer.  There were 2 guys and 2 girls having wine and talking.  They saw my rig and asked me to play them some beats.  The 2 guys made hip-hop music.

As I was playing them some music, one of their girlfriends sat down across from me.  She was really hammered.  Her eye was lazy and she was so trashed she thought I was her ex-husband.  Her conversation turned aggressive.

“And another thing, I ain’t watching another white boy come down here and steal my ideas.  You always stealing my ideas,” she said.

I started grabbing my things slowly moving away from her when she grabbed my computer.  I hung onto it for a moment but I could feel the metal casing flex and I just let her have it.   Then another girl tried to get the computer from her and was put into a headlock. The girl in the headlock started to yell and her voice dropped about 3 octaves.  She was a guy.  I was on Ozzy Osbourne’s Crazy Train.  Get me off.

I went upstairs to the observation car and waited for 10 minutes till the trans gender woman came up and gave me the computer.  I gave her my number and she said “thank you baby.”  She never called.

Fell asleep for a few hours and woke up to a man in a purple pinstriped suit and purple gators pacing up and down the aisle mumbling “Imma gonna stab em.”  The train stopped in Memphis and the police came on and arrested him and the woman who took my computer.

Apparently, the drunken woman and the purple gator guy had decided to have sex.  He went into the Conductor’s sleeping cabin, took all his clothes off and waited for her, only to be found by the conductor.  The rest of the train ride was boring.

I got in to New Orleans, checked in, and met up with David Burl Jr. and his friend Nate Peek.  We spent the evening writing and recording a song called Peacemeal.

Dave and Nate were cool guys and we had a good time.  Fell asleep straight upon getting back to the boarding house.

I woke up early and took the trolley in the French Quarter and had lunch.  The architecture in the French quarter was interesting.

In the afternoon I took a cab a few miles outside of town and met with John Tyree and Samantha Farve.  We wrote a song called Wash My Blues Away.  Working with Samantha and John was great except when John’s dog bit me in the balls, mid guitar take.  After that New Orleans was smooth sailing.

Chicago’s Witches

Chicago Witches hear it on Soundcloud now!

Rolling the Mustang put a damper on things.  My head wound from crushing the Steely Dan tape ached, and my dreams were fevered and strange from a mild concussion.

In one of my dreams, I was looking into a bathroom mirror.  I saw something dark behind the skin of my forehead. I picked at my forehead and dug into the skin, pulling out a computer chip.  It had a serial number that read “WANKER.”

I woke up on the bus and Dara was gone.  She must have gotten off in Knoxville.  One lonely teardrop rolled down my cheek and dripped onto the floor of the bus.  I rubbed it out with my shoe.

The Greyhound was back to Nashville by 5am.  I had a quick recording session at noon with a band called Alabama Capital.  They stole my phone but we wrote a solid song called Get Dangerous.  Then I hopped back on the Greyhound for Chicago.  The guys sitting behind me had guitar cases.  I asked them about music in Chicago.  One of them said, “It sucks.”  I thought I’ll skip recording their band.

A black SUV pulled alongside the bus around 4am.   It was followed by another, and another.  5 black SUV’s escorted the bus off the Highway into a rest stop.  The bus driver came on the PA and announced if anyone needed to use the bathroom now was the time.  I got off the bus and bought some peanuts in the vending machine.  I watched from the bathroom as a man in a Greyhound uniform got out of one SUV and took the driver’s place on the bus.

The bus got into downtown Chicago around 9am.  My old friend and confidant, EyeBall, met me at the James Hotel.  EyeBall produces a pet psychic radio program.  She only speaks Japanese.  I only speak American.


EyeBall knew a band of witches called Doctor Pyramid in Logan’s Square.  We took a cab across Chicago to a basement studio/ crack house.  We got to know the band over some instant coffee.  The drummer beer bonged some 151.  (DO NOT TRY THIS AT HOME)  We started jamming and came up with a creepy recording called Not In My House.

The singer of Doctor Pyramid said she had recorded a ghost on her AmPro tape machine.  She played us the audio and all the power shut off in the house.  We lit some candles and played spin the bottle.  The power never came back on so EyeBall and I bounced.

We stopped at a venue called the Hideout.  It was Al Capon’s hangout during prohibition.  Unfortunately, they had a jazz band, but we paid the cover and went inside anyway. EyeBall and I sat at the bar in silence.  The bartender was a cute girl with tattoos.  She gave me a folded napkin, which I stuffed into my shirt pocket.

After 5 whiskeys, EyeBall picked a fight with the bouncer.  He grabbed her bicep and she squashed her heel into his loafer.  Then she spun him around and smashed his face into a Ghostbuster’s pinball machine. She was muttering something in Japanese as I dragged her out of the bar and into a cab.

The next morning we checked out of the James Hotel and headed to Lincoln Park, where my aunt has an empty apartment.  She works for the NSA and travels most of the time.  We let ourselves in, turned the water on, opened all the doors and windows and aired the place out.  No one had used it in months.  A typed letter was on the floor in the entryway.  It was dated February 14th, 2011.


Make yourself at home.  Order food from the corner market and put it on my tab.  Keys to my Range Rover are in the orange ashtray.  No girls.

Auntie P

I asked EyeBall if that included her.  She nodded.

A man called Emil Hyde called me.  He had a song he’d like me to work on and was walking distance.  Mr. Hyde lived in the basement of a funeral home.  We walked down into his recording studio and his monitors were set up on a wooden coffin.  EyeBall and I took turns singing and quickly came up with a fun song over Emil’s music which we called “Coming On The Nightbus.”  As we were leaving Emil stopped me in the hallway.  He told me very sternly “do register to not vote.  You will get jury duty.”

We got back to my aunt’s and took off our shoes.  There was an old reel of Ampro audio tape on my aunt’s fireplace.  It said “New Years 1951” in blue ball point pen. My grandfather was an audio engineer for the Ampro Tape Company in Chicago in the 50s, this must be one of his home recordings.  Eye Ball had a portable ¼ inch tape player in her carry on and began digitizing the tape.

I made a cup of Sanka and sat down in a rocking chair.  I remembered the napkin the cute bartender had stuck in my pocket so I pulled it out.  I unfolded it.  It read “WANKER.”