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Ray on the Navajo Reservaion

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We woke up spooning on a bunk bed in Old Orabi, in Hopiland Reservation.  There was no funny business with my young travel partner, Brigett, a 19 year old beauty queen from Germany, much to my dismay.  But we had stayed late on the Hopi reservation and one of the locals was kind enough to let us share a single bed in one of the 2 rooms in their home.  There were three toddlers asleep on mats on the floor in our room and 2 more in the family room.   The house was built of cinder blocks and had no electricity.


It was 7 am and way too early.  We got into Brigett’s rented Mustang and she drove along the dirt road and onto the main highway.  We didn’t speak.  We got off the Hopi Land reservation and into the Navajo reservation.  By the time we got to Leupp, AZ, I was dying for a coffee.

We pulled into a service station and I made a B line for the market.  Briggett put gas in the tank.  When I had some coffee I walked outside and starred blankly at the cookie cutter houses on the reservation.  Brigett called to me from the car.  “Look, over there, across the road.”

Across the highway was an old pick up truck with a boy sitting on the back of it playing guitar.  Thank god.  Flagstaff had been a bust for music and I was desperate for someone to record.  We walked across the highway and met a young man in his late teens named Ray.  I asked him if I could record him playing and singing and he agreed.

Tripping On The Gulfstream

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I went out for a bite to eat at one of the many food trucks in Austin. While standing in line at the organic, tofurkey, soy bean sprout wrap trucks, a homeless man with a beard approached me. He said he knew I was heading to New Mexico. I gave him 5 dollars and wished him good luck.

My food came and I sat down at a pick-nick table and began eating. The old man sat down next to me. He had a white beard, Oakley blades and boots with Cuban heels.

“I’m heading to Santa Fe. Let me give you a lift.”

I finished eating and followed him to a black Escalade. We got in and started driving. The old man told me his name was Tom Fruend. He worked building boats in Florida in the wintertime and spent the rest of the year meandering around the 4 corners and Texas.

We drove for 20 minutes then he pulled into the departures section of Austin Berstrom International Airport. He left the Escalade running next to the white curb.

“What are we doing here?” I asked.

“We’re talking my Gulfstream.” He said and winked.

We walked into the airport and through an unmarked door, down a series of long hallways, more doors, and hallways till we were out on the tarmac. Then we were on the plane taxiing to the runway. I heard traffic control come from the front of the plane and mention Santa Fe Municipal Airport.

The plane had a well stocked mini bar and one well endowed hostess. Tom sat down next to me and lit a Chesterfield King. He told me he had been listening to my radio program and thought it was decent. He said he had been writing some poetry and asked if I would be willing to record it. I said yes and when the plane reached cruising altitude I pulled out my computer and microphone.

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I handed Tom the microphone and told him to read. Tom took off his leather vest and stood up in the plane. He appeared to be in a trance as he began mumbling and rambling about a Cyclops and the powers at be. I noticed the outline of an erection through his jeans. He finished his poem and disappeared in the bathroom with the stewardess.

The plane ride was gorgeous. We flew low over the Texas desert which went on forever. More and more trees and green appeared and the desert turned marvelous colors.

The stewardess brought me a cup of coffee, which I take the same way I take my presidents, weak and with a little cream. Before I could finish the coffee I felt a jet of warmth shoot up my spine. I looked around the plane. Everything looked sharper and brighter. The leather fabric of the seats seemed wet. I ran my hand across my seat and a rainbow of color traced off the seat, into the air, and out the window. I looked down my at my hands and henna tattoos raced from my fingertips up my forearms. I reached above me and turned on the air vent. A blast of sound, air, and light came out of the vent. It was Paul Simon’s “You Can Call Me Al.” Christ not that! I stood up on the plane and screamed. A primal blast of air and fire came out of my mouth. I was pulled along with it. I was out of my body and through the roof of the airplane, soaring higher and higher.

Looking back at the earth, it was quiet from far away. I was going further and further into space, passing the moon and through an asteroid belt. I counted the planets all the way up to 13 before I was out of the solar system. There were two suns, I watched them get smaller and smaller until they were pinpoints of light, like any, ordinary stars. There was nothing around me. I could hear nothing. I could see nothing. Darkness was stabbing into me from every direction, like jumping into icy water and letting the cold overtake you. The last photon of light left me and I was nothing.

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I woke up on a bus bench in front of a KFC. It looked like 7 or 8 in the morning. There was a group of female singers in the parking lot rehearsing 3 part harmonies in front of a UHaul van. I asked them if I could record them. They were called the Folkadots and were from Salt Lake City. They told me we were in Santa Fe, New Mexico, and asked me why I was sleeping outside with all this expensive equipment. I told them not to ask so many questions.

I called the local Hostel, got the address, and walked a few miles to check in. The hostel was dingy but it would have to do. I checked into my room and went to the bathroom. When I looked in the mirror I screamed. My face was painted like Star Child from Kiss.

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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.

Jackie,

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.”

Dream catching in the Carolina’s

Dream catching in the Carolina’s hear it on Soundcloud now!

Leaving Nashville seemed like a logical step.  I’d been there for 2 weeks and the people at the hostel were getting hostile.

The kid at the front desk had a “friend” driving out to Asheville, NC, so I thought that would be my next stop.

The ride was quiet and solid till we got to Knoxville, TN, when the driver had to make a “stop” to see some friends.  We drove down some back roads to a run down apartment complex.  We went upstairs into a small apartment, which was littered with empty Sudafed boxes.  My driver disappeared into he bathroom with a man and a woman and I was left sitting on the couch with 2 children, aged between 4 and 8, starring at me and asking me questions like “why does the milkman come at night?”  I was happy when the driver emerged from the bathroom, deal done, and we hit the road.

We rolled into Asheville late where the driver dropped me off at Bon Paul and Sharkey’s.  I let myself in and fell asleep.  In the morning I was greeted by a young man named Nathan.  He gave me breakfast and mentioned something about spaceships and lake house in the woods.  I needed about 8 cups of coffee to start processing

I spent a few days wandering around Asheville, interviewing some freaks on the street, and taking a tour of the Moog factory.

Nathan invited me out to a lake house with his meth dealer, a girl called Dara.  She drives a 65 Mustange which someone had chopped the roof off with a flamethrower.

On the way to the lake house we stopped at a hillbilly wedding.  Everyone had overalls on and there was pig running around during the ceremony.  At least the food was good and free.  We ate jerked possum with sweet potato fries and pickled rabbit ears.

After the wedding we drove to a man made lake that was created by flooding a valley with a small town in it.  The locals said you can scuba dive in the lake and see a church, cars, houses, even a Hooters all under water.  I don’t scuba dive.

We spent all weekend singing, dancing, playing card games, swimming and nearly sinking a boat on the lake.  Dara pulled a 38 Special from her purse and recommended I sleep in her room.  I sunk a canoe in the lake house.

Sunday we wiped the crusts from our eyes and headed back to Asheville.  When we walked into Bon Paul And Sharkey’s we met a quiet and somewhat intense girl with a guitar case.  Her name was Rachel Sauls and she played us a few songs, which I recorded.  She also did a brief interview and spoke about Jesus.  He sounds like a lovely guy.

Dara invited me to another wedding in Charlotte, South Carolina.  Her cousin was marrying her grandfather’s brother in a civil ceremony so I obliged.

We piled into her Mustang and hit the road.  She had an 8 track of Steely Dan’s Katie Lied.  “Bad Sneakers and a Pina Colada” for 5 hours!  This was an endurance test.

The wedding was a strange combination of primitive mating rituals and religious ceremonies.  Throw incest and a load of alcohol into the mix and you have a traditional southern wedding.  Luckily we only stayed for a few PBR’s and continued on toward Charleston, S.C.

People from North Carolina frown upon people from South Carolina.  You would think people from South Carolina are a de-evolved species of Slee Stack.  It’s just the pot calling the kettle black to me.

Dara and I got to Charleston in the morning.  We walked through a cemetery and I saw a grave with my name on it.  We went to the center of town, which was formerly where white people auctioned slaves.  Charleston was a hub for ships carrying slaves into the United States from Africa.  Thank got it is now a Starbucks, cuz I was dying for some caffeine.

We drove out to the beach and went skinny-dipping in the middle of the day.  No one seemed to notice.  The water was warm and the surf was high.  My hair was in need for the salt water.  I spent a few hours tanning my peanut gallery and tried to bury Dara alive in the sand.  She kept shooting the 38 Special off into the sand.    She was just bluffing but it caused a commotion so we got into the car and headed back into town.

We found a room at a boarding house, dropped off the gun and my laptop, and went out for a pizza.  The waitress told me she was a songwriter so I took her number down.  She said she had some time later that evening to do some recording.  Dara started giving me the stink eye as I was getting the waitress’s number.  I was happy Dara didn’t have the gun on her.  The last thing I need is a manslaughter rap in South Carolina.

The waitress’s name was Lily Slay.  We showed up at her house around 10pm and recorded her and her friend for a few hours.  (This will make next weeks show.)  She had a great voice and her cat kept attacking the drummer’s sticks.  We had a good time talking and singing.

Driving back to North Carolina, Dara rolled the Mustang while trying to do her nails on the interstate.  It only flipped one time but it went lengthwise so both axles were busted and Steely Dan tape got crushed by my temple.  We wrote the car off and waited for the Greyhound, the fucking Greyhound again.