Bobby Lightfoot's The Dumbest Thing I Ever Said To A Cop, Number 1 of a Series

Orange, MA. Winter '02-03. Southbound 202. '86 Dodge extended Child Molestor-style Cargo Van. Expired Cali tags. The largest 2-wheel drive vehicle on the planet moving at about 2 mph in a bad snowstorm. At 2 AM.

Cop: All right, son. How many guns do you have in that thing and how much drugs?

BL: No guns and hardly any drugs.

On Th' Road Again, I Can't Wait To Get On Th' Polesmoking Road Again

Woo-hooo. Down to New London tomorrow. Th' Cape Sat. 'n' Sun. And some undisclosed location on Monday. Oh, this'll be relaxing. See "Rock Off" post below.

Hey, Ned- feel free to guest blog if'n you're up for it. Search my sordid past for th' password. If you do make it dirty and honest. With drugs. Bad drugs.

Th' Taylor Hicks/Bobby Lightfoot Rock Off

A-ight, listen up and listen good, cracker. I'm challenging your cracker lard-ass to a ROCK OFF, Taylor. RIGHT HERE RIGHT NOW.

Actually, let me take th' right here right now part back because there's some rules you have to conform to to share the stage with me. Dude, I don't know what you sound like. I'd rather spend a week in Cell Block D with no pants than watch yer Karaoke show, y'know? Doesn't matter. I can tell what you sound like by looking at you. I'm thinking Michael McDonald meets whats-his-name there, cocaine boy. Um, Michael Bolton.

Here's th' rules of the Rock Off, boy:

1. You have to spend twelve more years singing, my friend. Twelve years in bad vans, playing bad stages, ducking bottles. Yeah. Just be glad you're 29 instead of 19. That'd make in 22 years.

2. On the night of our Rock Off we will meet in th' dressing room of the club, sit across from one another and

1. Smoke 20 regular cigrits.

2. Share two large and fragrant jazz cigarettes. Ye gotta coff t' get off, little fella.

3. Share a fifth of Jack Daniels. In five minutes.

Yeah, you ought to be warmed up for th' Rock Off by then, my soft little buddy.


1. You will sing four sets of R&B shouters. That's 3 hours, li'l buddy. Not one single little song for th' bluerinses in Des Moines. 3 hours, Taylor. You got that?

2. You'll get the sort of monitor mix I'm used to. That means little or none, fella. Little or none.

3. After four blistering sets of th' best of Stax/Volt you will break down the entire stage and backline and pack it in the crap van. Then you will drive 3 hours. Then you will sleep 4 hours.

Is it time for th' Rock Off yet?

Nope, saddle pal. See, it's only Thursday. Th' Rock Off is on Monday.

You will then repeat the entire list for Friday, Saturday and Sunday. On Friday the truck drivin' boyfriend of the tattoed nightmare that won't leave you alone will give you a large black eye. You will then proceed with section 2: steps 1 through 3.

On Saturday you will wrench your back moving a speaker. On Saturday you will cut your hand packing mic stands. It will need three stitches. The guitarist will take care of this. What are friends for, right? Later on Saturday some ugly bag will call you a homo because your body hurts too much to accede to her demands of sexual favors. You will then proceed with section 2: steps 1 through 3.

On Sunday you will be in the middle of the third set when some drunk shit head will stumble into your mic stand and chip your tooth real good. Your tooth will cut up th' inside of your lip and the only thing that'll get you through that last set will be lookin' forward to that four hours of sleep. After the three hour drive.

On the three hour drive you will get pulled over by the fucking pigs and waylaid for an hour and a half. When you ask th' pig if it's alright if you catnap while they pull the crap van apart for drugs he will push you against the hood and chip another tooth.

Hey! It's Monday! Rock Off Time!

You ready, Taylor? What's that? I can't hear you. Stop croaking.

It's rock off time, Taylor. That's right.

See you in 12 years, li'l buddy.



Brian always maintained that if he possessed any hallmark, it was the technique of using the combined sound of two instruments to create a new instrument. This is a pop update of an old symphonic tool.

These are my favorite unison marriages:

-piano and nylon string guitar

-bass guitar and low piano

-rhodes and piano

-doubled vocal in octaves

-cello and fretless bass (played properly)

-kick drum and sidestick (thank you to Bob Marley's drummer)

-electric guitar supporting electric bass

-and of course the purely modern, chest-caving-in bass-guitar and kick drum.

Anatomy Of A Song #14: The Royal Scam

That's right, my friends- there is no "I Could Try". There's some hastily burned 4-part harmonies and a large brick of cocaine. Jesus, what some people will do to pass th' time.

No, seriously- I'm up to my ass in sundry shit and I still chastise myself for a fucking lout for not getting this done.

I've scored beautiful, majestic trumpet parts and now simply need to get off my arse and do th' session. Too bad I'm for four nights starting Friday. Fuck. Next week for sure. Maybe I'll wake up with a wild hair tomorrow and make the call. Maybe th' trumpetists will have an hour magically open tomorrow evening or that. Sure.

Talk about a buildup to nothin', huh? I shoulda remembered how a recording can stop dead when it's lead vocal time and your voice is terminally at 50% from gigging nonstop. We'll get her done. Middle-a-next week latest.

Screw it- here's th' rhodes solo. This follows eight bars of piano-trumpet back 'n' forth at the fade.

Six Years Of Free-Agency: Over.

Well, dear hearts, I have this evening signed a two-year agreement with a prominent LA-based publisher/song broker. Obviously, being Lightfoot, I have mixed emotions about the whole thing, but the emotion that is associated with eating and bill-paying is at this point th' prevalent one.

They offer th' right of refusal so fear not; "Maybe Next Time" will not end up as th' Current Viagra Campaign Flagship Song. These guys actually seem very cool as far as this business goes; they've got Billy Preston stuff and Bobby Womack stuff and Dee Dee Ramone and David Was and Chris Spedding (yes- Roxy Music!) and John Doe and Mudhoney and Motorhead, so they can hang with weird. I never would have thought myself particularly weird, but I guess my whole Rufus/Bacharach/ ambitio-pop trip is considered pretty eclectic in this day 'n' age. Oh, cool- they've got some Richard Hell stuff too.

I think this is about as acceptable a way to exploit my catalog as possible. I originally cut "Like Dying" in '01 as my initial bid for movie-themedom in California and upon completion realized I didn't have the stomach to pitch it for any of them crappy movies. That's When I Knew It Was Over etc.

This way I can do what I do and if anybody has a use for it that isn't putrid I can reap th' rewards without having to actually talk to any of these smut peddlars. Someone else has stepped up to the plate to perform that task.

It was the actual talking to these folks I couldn't handle, so it's nice someone else has stepped up. For th' purpose of any future blogging we will refer to the company as "EMI". That has a good ring. My rep will be henceforth referred to as "Colonel Tom". No, this is better- we'll call him "Dick James". Of course. What was I thinking. "Dick James" with "EMI". Sweent.

I haven't been under contract to anybody for six years. Never did me any god damn good before. At least this way I can maybe make a buck without having to take creative commands from th' Bad Of Breath. Pray for Lightfoot. Pray for him.


Zen And The Art Of Rhodes Maintenance, Soulfinger Diaries: Making No Friends

If I'm not working on Sunday I like to spend some time listening to music and maintaining the ol' Rhodes. Some steel wool on the tines with some WD40 to de-corrode, a bit of tuning, vacuuming out the detritus of another 5 gigs from the harp and th' keybed. Then the weekly chore of carefully re-gluing whatever corner of the tolex might be tearing up. Hot glue and an iron on low.

She's Becoming Very Important To Me. I think it has to do with the darkness of these gigs. She connects me with my home and myself at weird times. I've never felt quite so strongly for an instrument before. The Rhodes is big and solid. A bass guitar is a male instrument; it's perfectly obvious. And while I love my basses in a manly, here's-to-the-regiment kind of way, the Rhodes is a girl, all the way. She's like Sal Th' Feist or Lori that way. I like having a girl around. I don't have to explain that, right? Just like a skirt likes to have some dude around. There's an agreeableness to it. But it has to be like Lori or my mom or Sal Th' Feist or somebody like that that doesn't want to suck your lifeforce in front of their friends to prove something. It's that fuckin' yin and yang thing, I guess. Or some shit. Women can really, really knock you for a couple because you're programmed to believe they're nicer and more emotionally attuned or some crap but that's a load for the most part and so you're not as prepared when they fucking zero in on you with their little Lady Macbeth thing.

I sure do hate girls in bars. Woah. They find out you're the Lead Singer and then it's your job to salve their li'l egos or it's trouble. The belligerence. The drunken indignation. the harsh and resounding imprecations. It doesn't hurt because I'm older now and I sort of don't give much of a toss but if I have to hear something loud like that I'd just as soon have it be a guitar or something. Jiminy polesmoking Christmas.

See, I'm a weird and disgusting creature in this way. I'm still in it for the music, man. All th' cliched stuff about getting into bands to meet chicks just doesn't fit me. I'd just as soon smoke a cig and go over th' head between sets as get some drunk flapping skirt telling me about her drama. Jesus fucking Christ.

That's th' Making No Friends part. Deal with it. I don't know what to say, man. I don't much like listening to fucking juiced-up air guitar dudes either. I've always got a smile and a handshake and that but why is it so hard to understand that I'm at th' MOTHER FUCKING OFFICE? I'm at the fucking office. I've stepped away from my desk is all.

But the difference betwixt the genders is that the dudes don't turn into psychotic, tattooed little banshees when you don't try to cop a feel. And they don't ask if you're "a homo". I love that one. Sometimes you actually just act like she's figured it out and you're free and clear. The path between you and Th' Music has been cleared of The Revenge Of Th' Spurned Harridan. Your future becomes simple and clear: one, you're going to have a nice pop of Patrone Tequila and two, you're going to do a rock 'n' roll show. And if you have to feign homosexuality to do so I say it's a small price and you're in good fucking company anyway.

Anyway, th' Rhodes took a blow of some type this weekend and when I got her up in the studio the keys from middle C up were sticking. Sure enough- sighting along the side I could see the escapement between the keys and the case was cockeyed and the keys were sticking against the side. You don't have to worry much about this sort of thing with the electric piano. Somewhere or other there's going to be a few big ass screws or some sort of adjustment or a shimming that can be performed that will set things to rights. It's not like some fucking syntho where you're going to have to deal with Rajman from Bangladesh for a month to get a fucking Return Authorization Number and you're not going to have a keyboard again until polesmoking fucking Christmas. Jesus Christ. We sure did do it up right, huh? Modern life rocks. Piece of shit.

This one was a little troubling to me, though. With th' piano. It was such a big misalignment and I couldn't find any clear way to right it. A couple of big Phillips head screws that held the assembly in were daunting to me because they looked like they'd strip without a good long oil soak.

After a good hour or so consulting the manual and removing keys to study the underlying structure the solution hit me suddenly. The Rhodes had been manhandled into the back of the van and the left side had probably been dropped a few inches; enough for the misalignment to happen. I carefully laid the old girl down on her back (oh, that does not sound right), lifted the left side up about six inches and dropped it very scientifically to the floor.

That got her back to perfect operating condition in short order. It's like Keyboard Rolfing.

Yeah, she's a good one.

Built in 1979, don't you know.

Don't you just fucking know. And you know what else? She doesn't have any tattoos that I gotta see and she doesn't have to tell me about how she shaves her fucking gash.

Did I say that.