Tetsuji Hit Me W/ That Fender etc. etc.

I try to not be to slavish or too techlike on th' Orchestra as regards the Rhodes piano which I clearly love more than any instrument I've ever played.

The history of the thing is amazing, though. This guy Harold Rhodes came up with the thing as a teaching tool initially. He came back from th' Big War and thought it would be therapeutic for wounded GIs to have a small, inexpensive keyboard to work th' itch out of their trigger fingers in the hospital.

The whole story is so much more gim-crackey and more interesting than the boring shit we have today like Microsoft. Clearly, inventions that involve moving parts and real engineering are just infinitely more compelling. There is so much trial-and-error and so much hackery to get to the final blueprint.

Anyway, it's an utterly fascinating story to me. Another reason is that the engineering on these things started in many cases when they found their way to the Keith Jarretts and Herbie Hancocks. These guys and their roadies would do things to their Rhodes that Harold would tsk with great vehemence, not aware that most prominent guys would be playing them through huge PA systems and would mod them to work in that context as opposed to soundin' mellow in the drawing room. Drummers are familiar with this dichotomy; Stewart Copeland is rumored to have had some of the nastiest, crappiest sounding Tama kits but you'd put them through 50,000 Watts and they'd sound like god, whereas if one mic'd a well-tuned, well-maintained kit that sounded great in a room, it would sound like ass.

I say all that to say this: there are some fucking insane stories regarding the history of the Rhodes. Here is my favorite regarding the development of one the final models from the Fenderrhodes.com website:

"The EK-10 did not sell well in the US, but CBS saw a potentially bigger market in Japan. When the first shipment of pianos arrived there, a demonstration of the new Rhodes was broadcast on national television. What the American Rhodes engineers did not realize was that the output of the EK-10's electronics interfered with PAL video transmissions, causing some viewers' TV sets to explode. Consequently, the EK-10 was not very popular in Japan: all of the imported pianos were quickly dumped in the Tokyo Bay, forming a sort of artificial reef. But Jon Furulund assures us that playing an EK-10 in your home is safe: "We have PAL systems over here in Norway and I've set my Mark III EK-10 next to my TV and played and I'm still here :-)...."

"Forming a sort of artificial reef"!!!!!! Woah!!!


Bobby Lightfoot's Unfettered Bitterness, Cynicism and Disappointment Week #2: Yesterday People And Tomorrow People

Man, I was playing a party th' other night and I got into the vodka just a tad because I've been such an upstanding guy lately. A paragon, almost. And I was thirsty and I figured I'd get a little lit up and I found if you just threw a li'l ice in there with th' Finlandia and a splash of cranb'rry jiice you could drink it almost like a sports drink, you know? Tasty stuff, man. And musical. Man, was it musical. I was like god damn Len Bernstein that night.

But goddammit if I hainted done been there six minutes and I'm introduced to a cop. And heck, you know, it's not like that's a problem or anything; I know plenty of fine, upstandin' coppers. And I know plenty that understand the not-so-subtle difference between crime and victimless crime. But it's just, you know, if anyone wants to have a fucking giggle they're going to have to sneak around, you know? If you don't have th' downlow on th' copper? If they're looking for a little innocent chuckle is all. You know what I'm drivin' at here, man. This ain't 1979 anymore, man. There's danger out there.

And fuck if I know why but sometime later I find myself out on th' deck with just the copper and he starts talking about all th' development and everyone's huge debts and the size of student loans and the size of mortgages. And how tough it is for a youngster startin' out.

All true, man. All true.

But man, the last thing I want to do is go there with this guy, right? I mean, he's a Yesterday Person. Yesterday People are a dangerous, dangerous fucking lot, man. I try to spend as little time around them as possible. And when I'm in the unfortunate predicamente of sharing air with one of these fossils I try very hard to keep my mouth shut and slowly move away from the Yesterday Person. Slowly.

Because Yesterday People are higher than I could get with six Musical Sports Drinks and eight chuckles, man. Yesterday People think things like there's no global warming and the middle class is an anamoly that is correcting itself and if you rolled George Bush in flour he could probably find his asshole.

My deep sense of dread worsened when the dude actually asked me my opinion. I was like man nice party but I wasn't getting out of it. I asked him if he really wanted my opinion or if he was making small talk and that I'd be happy to continue in th' small talk vein. No, he really wanted to know what I thought was at the root of it.

So I told him I thought greed was at the root of it and that I felt like we've turned greed into a virtue and the only way for us to keep apace of our greed is to go into debt. And I told him that the way I see it we're in the grips of shitty financial planning and greed from the federal level down to he and I. And that we float our crappy wank off to money on debt so that anyone can live beyond their means.

And I told him that in my humble opinion our country is under attack by The Disgustingly Rich to such an extent that we're feeling it bigtime every time we reach into our pockets. And I told him in my humble opinion that The Disgustingly Rich had devised some very clever, precise and devious strategies for mobilizing the Decidedly Unrich to their ends. I mentioned that one of the most effective ways for The Disgustingly Rich to get even disgustingly richer was to privatize and deregulate and monopolize and that the current "administration" seems to be operating with seemingly little else in mind by way of agenda.

I told him that, in my humble opinion, the reason it was hard for young people to get a start these days without incurring debt is that they often have to take on the debt burden of a third world country to get a higher education because we don't see fit to subsidize education in much of a significant way. And I told him that the reason his beautiful countryside is being developed at such an alarming rate is because we don't seem to value our environment and our resources and that most of us simply see them as financial assets. And that the current administration had loosened controls on pollution to an almost sadistic degree, controls and regulations that had been set in place by Tomorrow People like that horrid little Carter.

And I mentioned that, in my humble opinion, prices for a home for a young couple to start out in weren't maybe that different from what they used to be but that the dollar isn't worth a fucking thing anymore and people can't make the amount of money they used to because all our jobs seem to be mysteriously disappearing. And that a huge proportion of people work well over 40 hours a week and still remain in poverty because we haven't raised th' minimum wage from tuppence an hour when we was colonies.

And I mentioned that it's insane to support fiscal policies that impoverish oneself and one's one children for the gain of CEO's. And I said that the way I saw it, at least we would soon serve as a representation of the logical conclusion of unrestrained capitalism much as the Soviet Union provided a blueprint of Why Communism Doesn't Work in the 80's. And maybe that would be the good that would come of the whole thing.

And I told him that I'd learned that the world is a huge place and that Americans are some of the most miserable sons of bitches on the whole planet because they just can't shut their fucking pieholes for a fucking minute. And I told him that I thought the face a minority of us had chosen to show the world was about as perfect a representation of us as is humanly possible; the face of an ignorant, rich, greedy, incurious, loutish, unrefined, cultureless, bloodthirsty, adolescent creep. And I mentioned that it would be good if we started thinking about the threat of terrorism as befits a superpower instead of continually providing violence with exactly the outcome it desires. And that maybe if after Sept. 11 we'd mourned our dead, strengthened our cockpit doors and brought the requisite Al Qaeda people to justice and then gone on with our lives we'd be much better off. Because instead what we'd done was altered the entire geopolitical map for the worse because of a few creeps and some tinpot shit head ex-client of ours in Iraq.

And I mentioned that we're torturing people regularly and disappearing people by the fucking planeload and dropping bombs indiscriminately on other countries and the reason we're doing it is because there's a lot of profit in it for corporations so it's good business.

And I mentioned that the longer we actually give credence to people like Denny Hastert, who can in good conscience stand on the floor of Th' Senate and tell us that people who don't want poor and middle-class kids that they've never met to die in Iraq are "cowards" and that he's not because he doesn't have a problem with it, the longer we'll go on and on playing into the hands of corporations and terrorists. And that the longer we let our "administration" play craven, obvious shell-games by diverting our attention to trivial things while they fuck us about the ass and head, the deeper we'll sink and the harder it will be to get back to just the usual disastrous state of affairs instead of this Armageddon.

And I mentioned that in my opinion, which had been solicited, there were two types of people in the world: Yesterday People and Tomorrow People. And I said that I thought we were in the grips of the Yesterday People, people who think of nothing but money and status and possessions, and that the best thing we could do for those children trying to get a start was to remove from power and influence with all due expediency all the Yesterday People like Denny Hastert and Dick Cheney and Tom Delay because we've seen how profoundly dangerous and corrupt and greedy and hurtful they are to our country, to our children and to our world.

Yesterday people are always tryin' to get things back to somethin' that never existed, man. It's the Rosebud Phenomenon with these fucking assholes. Hitler, Pol Pot, Manson, Karl Rove, Maggie Thatcher, Ronald Reagan, Tony Blair, all these fuckers. The American and British ones have been trying to get this shit going for a long, long time. It's like the fucking Omen and Bush II is fucking Damien. And it's tough to fight that fucking evil.

See, there's all this fucking money and it has to go somewhere. And it can flow up or it can flow down. And if it flows up it all ends up in some fucking third worlder's backyard, man. It always does at the end of the fucking day. And it ends up in the pocket of some fucking demon like that fucking Warren Buffet who can walk up to the microphone and say I'm giving away eighteen quintillion dollars and walk away with another quintillion in his back pocket and act like it's some sort of Joan of Arc fucking move. That shit makes me murderously, apoplectically sick and angry. Fucking Warren Buffet. Fucking Bill Gates. What a goatfucker that fucking little twit is.

See, I'm for having it flow down if for no other reason than I'm sick of it flowing up. I say let's have the most ridiculous welfare state in the universe. Let's give every fucking indolent poor bastard a million a fucking year. Because then at least it isn't ending up killing lots of people and making a few richer than they have any fucking use for.

I say fuck it- that's what we should do. Just fucking go into South Central and Appalachia and fucking Cabrini fucking Green with wheelbarrows of our tax dollars and just deposit it at the feet of the poor, useless, lazy, talentless, toothless, indolent bastards that we seem to fucking hate unto death. See how that would be better?

See how that would be better?

Yesterday Person: Dennis Hastert

Tomorrow Person: Roosevelt

A Yesterday Website

A Tomorrow Website


Bobby Lightfoot's Covers 1 of 1: "Monday Wedding" by Ben Sadock

Unless you're Th' Beatles in 1965, attacked on all sides by Ella Fitzgerald and Frank Sinatra (and that fucking awful The Silkie who th' lads actually produced as they utterly ruined "Hide Your Love Away"), there is no form of flattery more direct and pure than having your material covered by other artists. Here we have the cool and sincere Pianet stylings of Ben Sadock as he takes a run at my not-unformidable "Monday Wedding".

Th' masterful Mr. Sadock takes a reductive approach to my original throw-a-bunch-of- crap-on-top-of-a-drum-loop production. He also wisely sidesteps my original intro which is pretty much identical to the R&B buddy classic "Lean On Me". Me, I couldn't be bothered. I knew it was identical but simply didn't give a toss. It's not my fault my brilliant idea had been purloined thirty years before the fact through some anamoly in th' time-space continuum and I proceeded anon.

I like Ben's shit a lot because he's unabashedly innocent and Cole Porter-y in his approach to writing. He reminds me of my bud Ken Maiuri from King Radio (now drumming for Pedro Th' Lion- actually never mind- looks like they broke up, of course)- one of those guys who likes things from the sixties like The Free Design and could have been a top Sesame Street songwriter if he'd been born thirty years earlier. Ben, if you haven't heard The Free Design you have hours and hours of pleasure in store.

You just don't hear this approach that much anymore and more's th' shame. Me, I hear one more band that sounds like Th' Yeah Yeah Yeahs or fucking Jack whatsisname White I'm gonna be responsible for a Rash Of Stabbings. It's braver to throw off the mantle of irony and rawkism and goddamn say something about real goddamn life. I don't know about you but my life scarcely resembles a Creed video atall.

Listen to Ben's unaffected, unhistrionic vocal. It's fuckin' hip. You know who he sounds like? He sounds like Kermit, man. And yes, I do mean that in a good way. I've been trained by the road and by experience to sing with a big agenda. Like any given note is the difference between glory and ignominy. Ben's just putting the god damn song out there. And it works great for "Monday Wedding" because the song is so cynical it's innocent again. It's basically about makin' a booty call to an ex, you know? And it's saying if you're not comfortable with fucking me without a commitment then I'll make a commitment. For 24 hours. I mean, that's how far around the god damn block I am with th' whole relationship thing. I've been Played by th' Fairer Sex so many times, fucked with, tied in knots, guilted out, attached to obligation with shitty arguments and The Promise Of Better that it's nice to write an honest song once in a blue moon.

"Monday Wedding" also contains this very humble passage in the hook: "But if you ever need somebody sweet/And easy on the eyes/For whatever you've in mind, my friend..." and I like the way that passage comes out when Ben does it. It just sounds more wide-eyed and hopeful. When I sing it it sounds like I'm tryin' to bag a fourteen year old chick on MySpace.

The other thing that's cool about Ben's "Monday Wedding" is how he's solved some of the harmonic loose ends in the song that I just sort of produced my way out of. I reckon he's trimmed a solid minute of fat off th' thing. And he has a nice way of summing up little harmonic hooks with his right hand. If I was going to recut the song I'd probably base it on his take because he's sort of house-cleaned the thing. He's got a very sharp ear for what counts in a song and what's harmonic sleight-of-hand.

Ben's on th' cusp of a studio project with a full complement of musicians and I for one look forward to hearing what transpires. It'll be the anti-Three Doors Down and that can't be bad. Three cheers for Ben Sadock.

Wow, that's two threes. It's like th' Trinity- th' father, th' son, and Exxon.

Bobby Lightfoot's Unfettered Bitterness, Cynicism and Disappointment Week #1: Me 'n' My Crazy Buds

Me and my crazy pals! Nuts, the whole kit 'n' kabibble!

We have so much fun! Fuck, I've known these guys since 8th grade! Man, we went through everything together, baby. Everything. There's Lou, he's a crazy one. Woah! Lou'll text you some craaaazy shit on yer cell phone when you're in the middle of a meeting at work!

Jeff's the sensitive one in our kooky pack of buds. He's always tore up 'bout some skirt or another and check it- he reads fuckin' Octavio Paz poetry. Woah! Whatta softie Jeff is. But hey, we don't hassle the guy, you know? He's a great fucking guy. He just feels things, y'know?

Then there's Frank! I fucking LOVE that guy! Funniest son of a bitch you ever met! Frank's all the time telling great jokes and just comin' up with off the wall shit that really makes you think, you know?

And Dave! I think I'm closer to Dave than any of my other awesome pals just because we have so much in common. We've seen each other through a lot, Dave and I have. And let me tell you somethin', just between you and me: if I was hanging from a rope over a bed of burning coals, well brother, I'd want Dave at th' other end of the rope. I was his best man! Helluva guy, Dave.

Yeah, me and Dave and Frank and Lou and sensitive Jeff. There's not much we don't do together! Tell ya, it gets harder with each passing year as wives and babies enter th' picture but man, we stick together. It's fucking sick, I tell you. It's like fuckin' Porky's or some shit. And I know those guys will always, always have my fucking back and they know I'd put it all on th' line for them. It's a good feeling.

A good feeling.

Actually, this is all a lie. I don't actually have any friends like this. I know that some people do and I wonder what it's like. Like, when I play someone's wedding or party or some shit, and there's all these friends? What's that like? I don't have any fucking friends like this. I've got people I scrabble out a fucking living with, you know? And some of them are pretty great and some are insufferable like with any other cross section. If I had a wedding it would be a pretty sparse little afterparty. Where do all those people at weddings come from? I don't know that many fucking people. Woah! And it's like they were in fucking My Lai together or some shit and the bride's sister's best friend's husband was coverin' the rear with that trusty M40; they're so close.

When I was in LA and that I had really intense relationships with people I played with. Because you're all living in each other's pockets and sharing the odd intimacy that being comrades in arms and relying on each other for really basic things creates. But they were all pretty much cunts that were just really talented. I can't think of a one I wouldn't pretty much just cross th' street if I saw them now. I'd be like woah that sure is a nice poncho in that window across th' street boy.

Poncho. Ha ha. A fucking poncho.

Thing with bands is that they are the most ridiculous thing on the planet and once you reach a certain age you realize that Every Band Is Spinal Tap anyway and you sort of can't deal with being Nigel Tuffnel any more. Not at 35, man. 35's when you're sort of starting to dream of being Shostakovich or Dylan or Bird. It's acceptable to be completely immature in life as far as I'm concerned but one should at least cast an eye to age appropriateness in the high stakes world of music. That Mick 'n' Keith shit rubs me the wrong way sometimes. It's not that I don't think they should make music and tour and all that, it's just they should, I don't know, use their experience to bring something crazy and vibrant and difficult into being.

Yeah, I had some friends here that I was looking to reastablish with but they're sort of cunts now. I don't know what gets into people. I wouldn't cross the street if I saw 'em but that's probably a couple years down the line. My fucking friend of a million years John got all judgemental with me and it broke my heart. And I gave him every opportunity to reverse the damage and he just wouldn't take th' cue. I was in this band with him and my other friend of a billion years Paul (yeah, I know- John and Paul) and after a couple of months I was just dragging myself to rehearsal. What a fucking travesty. And then I bailed and that was it. Paul's fucking great, a great guy and a walking Beatles encyclopedia so we've always got shit to talk about but he's the most unavailable guy on the planet. Getting him on th' horn is like pullin' fucking teeth. John's a great guy too. I don't know what went up his ass. What the christ is it that gets up people's asses? Is it in the fuckin' corn? Avoid the corn. Jesus Christ in th' fucking gloaming, man.

In the gloaming.

It's my own fault. It's all my own fucking fault. I like when things are my fault because that means I have control over them. Shit that ain't your fault? Well, it just goes down on your ass and you're like a deer in the fucking headlights, vato. You're like a little anty doing slow circles in the swirling eddies of The Big Flush.

But somehow I think it would be easier and shit would just go down a little easier if I had a few ants to jaw with as we're swept slowly into The Plumbing, man. Bouncing between the Porcelain Walls of Existence and the Fetid Log Of Fate.

Wow, that was evocative. I feel so close to me right now. I feel like I could just ram my elbow into a brick wall and pull an earlobe off. And then I'd stomp my own crotch and go on a shrieking cocaine rampage through th' southwest. Knocking shit over, bars and little convenience stores is Tucumcari and shit. Tucum fuckin' cari. It rises from th' gloaming like a stucco Oz. Man could find a life out there. Maybe lay claim to a little homestead and grow dope or something. Sell it to the government.

I got stuck in th' '86 Dodge van 20 miles out of Tucumcari once. That's why I remember it. I had to put in a new radiator in Flagstaff and I topped th' coooolant and left the fucking cap and I boiled over in th' desert in the middle of the night. So I cooled her and found a bottle of Windex and between that and a half bladder o' piss I was able to fill th' radiator.

For weeks afterward the engine spewed acrid piss bubbles. It fucking rocked so hard I would be literally doubled over with laughter, tears coursing down my tanned, athletic visage. Having a van that spews urine bubbles is a unique, unique thing, soldiers. You're not going to run across that sort of thing much in Scarsdale.

Only outside of Tucumcari New Mexico. On a warm summer night. Limpin' into Tucumcari on piss 'n' Windex. With a 9 mm. in my belt and 80 ounces of fresh, untrammeled Colombian Marching Powder.

O.K. No 9 mm.

Yeah, no coke either. I had half a warm Rolling Rock, though.

But it had to go in th' radiator, dontcha know. After a careful filtration process to remove impurities.