And that is a fine and life-affirming Lightfoot weekend. The universe certainly finds a firm and perfect balance when a man does what he was built for. Drivin'. Drivin' and rockin'. Drivin', rockin' and givin' The Man what for, goddammit.
Friday it was up to the glamorous hinterlands of Hinsdale NH for a sweaty session with Michael, Gary, Fred 'n' Jeff and them folks never knew what hit 'em. Hard R&B, smokin' rock and roll and all that- it was like a cyclone come down and moved that whole damn hall over the hill to Rockworld. No heel-clickin' was going to bring that shit home. It was belt-up, sit back and let the G's do weird shit to your face time.
Wound up with a C-note chucked at us for just three more songs and you KNOW that's the sincerest form of flattery. Tell ya, that puts the old Hourly Wage at about, oh, 80 bucks. Don't let anyone tell you music don't pay. 'Course, Gary had to make out with this old lady for a couple but hey, sometimes you have to take one for the team, dog. Hot, hot, hot.
Saturday night- Arlington VA. Some history was made that for once didn't involve lyin' and dyin'. These fuckin' guys, Th' Harridans. Holy shit. Neddie Jingo
on Marshall and semi-hollow body! Jesus! XTCfan on the kit! Skull on the bass drum head! My untimely arrival wrecked our plans to rehearse! I must've hit every road construction site between Spgfld MA and Somethingburg MD! Did these guys sweat? Break a sweat? Just a little beading about the brow and forehead? Huh?
FUCK NO! These guys are stalwart citizens of MY America. Who's paying you to rehearse?? Nobody!! Would I go out and start washin' people's windshields for nothing? Je pense qui No fuckin' way!!!!
Man. It's for the People, man. Not four walls. I'll TELL you when Th' Harridans will rock. This is when: when the hourly wage per man comes out to DAMN NEAR TWENTY DOLLARS. Do NOT let anyone tell you music don't pay. Being good at music is like standing in a CASH SHOWER. A MONEYFALL. All you LA pussies payin' cash to play Th' Troubadour for your chance to orally pleasure D. Geffen? YOU ARE ALL WELCOME TO IT. Me, I've got a WINDFALL TO ACCRUE. I have a PORTFOLIO to manage.
So anyway, this sure rocked. What a ragged and powerful blast. I love this Who-Knows-What's-Going-To-Happen shit. It is truly the measure of a musician. And an entertainer. And a fucking AMERICAN. An AMERICAN. THEY DIDN'T NAME THAT SHIT AMERICAN'T, y'know wh'am sayin'? These guys? Oh, my god. In fact, I think I'm the only one who pussed out on a song. I think it was my first song and I was all like, "let me do one of my numbers, man".
So, and then, our Front-Of-House Balance Engineer Bob Crane? Turns out he has like a SHOPPING BAG full of blow.
No, I'm just kidding. That would have been like throwing kerosene on a bonfire. He did have a considerable personal stash, though.
Anyway, he was great and funny and really more
than the Fourth Harridan.
I think a great thing is that this repertoire, this body of music, the soul/rock 'n' roll/British Invasion thing is what I'd want to listen to if I was about of an evening. Original is better but it's so rare that it's really good. It's a coin toss, man.
Yeah, I like this tightrope stuff. I like the high wire shit. Then it's about keeping your wits about you. Neddie really fucking dug in, you know? I can't think of another description for his demeanor than evil delight. I specifically remember "Sorry" by Th' Easybeats. That was just downright mean.
To be spanked like that for having done nothing. It's funny too because I obviously play a lot of music but my salad gigs are much more controlled. This was a first-time- out, jittery punk-rock R&B noiseathon.
Neddie was playing through this Marshall halfer and he was like, "I want it loud but clean,
you know?" and then from the first song to the last it was just completely stinko tube melting squonk.
And fuckin' XTCfan turns out to be a McCartney of a singer, and lays the sort of shuffle that makes me go all up th' neck. We had a lot of really cool breakdowns, drop-backs and that's the only way to do it because you really need to have some Mohammed with The Mountain. It can't all be Mountain because that's tiresome. And bad for the head. We pulled it down on "Take Me To The River" and it sounded like we'd been doing that bit for 20 years. We gave Ned a lot of playground and he got on the swings and threw rocks at the other kids.
And then? THEN? God damn if CORNDOG
doesn't show up from Barboursville. I'll be god damned, I swear to fucking Christ. And not only does the guy WORK THE ROOM until he's got digits on damn near every female in th' place, but then he gets up, borrows Ned's fiddle and we do "Knock On Wood", which I just about know. And it sounds TITS.
My favorite mistakes were:
-"She Said She Said"- continually going to F# instead of A on the A-chord so I kept making this technically right but really out-of-place F# minor chord on the verses.
-"If I Needed Someone"- I pretty much had th' Oysters Royale here. Musicians refer to mistakes as "clams", so you can probably guess the flavor of this entree. The bass line from the record just didn't sound right
and I just kept second-guessing it. Fuckin' Paul with his pedalling A.
Yeah, I think that was it. I had all the usual going-to-the-fourth-when-it-stays-on-the-fifth stuff and plenty of blown lyrics. But that stuff is peripheral. I've learned that. Entertainment that requires perfection personally weirds me out. I remember seeing The Police in 1980 and they were clammin' just right and left but it was because they were really pushing, really bare and jammy. You didn't think for an instant that these guys didn't know how to play their instruments. It was like a fugue in progress. And this from a band with a super-professional profile.
So yeah, this was th' Ant-Bullshit Brigade here, pretty much. Th' Harridans couldn't sing to a backing track if they wanted; someone would spill beer on the goddamn tape. And then burn it. And then shit on it.
And then shove it up Wilford Brimley's ass.
Highlights: "Sorry", "Take Me To The River", "Stay With Me", "Evil Ways", "Biff Bang Pow", "My Train Is Coming", "All I've Gotta Do", "Everybody's Trying To Be My Baby", "Respect".
The owner getting lucky in the alley was funny too.