I think there are two kinds of people: Already Dead People (ADPs)
and Not Yet Dead People (NYDPs). I've lost track of some old friends
and don't know into which category to put them. Maybe you can help.
Alive with Snakes
Way back in the 70's, Frenchie Renee opened for Charles Biscuit
Band, one of the San Francisco bands in which I played. She performed
erotic reptilian dances and was, in fact, buried alive with snakes
for a long time. Tragically, she was disqualified by Guinness because
of a technicality.
Reward: Free CD/tape/record to the first NYDP that hooks me up
Buried Alive With Snakes (3,229
I finished this in '99 but it's based on a poem I started in '73.
I was in Provincetown with ADP Michael "Igny"; Connolly
and his German shepherd, Luca, who obeyed only Italian commands.
We slept in Igny's van and in the morning washed in the wild waves
before driving to San Francisco.
This song is dedicated to Igny, as well as P'town troubadour ADPs,
Matt and Tommy Russ.
Past is Gone
I am not contradicting NYDP Utah Phillips' assertion that the
past didn't go anywhere. We're really saying the same thing.
The past doesn't exist any more than does the future. It has always
been and will always be now.
It's still now . . .
It's still now . . .
It's still now!
The Past is Gone (3,320 kb)
Inspired by an upstairs neighbor who loved to step down hard in
her big Frye boots, this tune has to do with the cathartic value
of songwriting. The elephant chewing his tennis shoes and spitting
them out of his trunk is roughly analogous to the oyster internalizing
an irritant and transforming it into an object of beauty. Or a songwriter
finally getting fed up with something enough to turn his or her
frustrations into another kind of pearl.
I'm thinking only already dead people can see things in their
proper perspectives, unencumbered as they are by eyes. This song
is dedicated to ADPs Charles E. Edlin and Ken Jordan. Without either
of them there would have been no Congress Alley.
One of my San Francisco mentors – half-blind, alcoholic,
diabetic, double-shock-treated, schizophrenic actor ("I am
Lear!";)/bluesman/poet Mad John Condron inspired this piece.
He taught me to sing better and showed me glory where I had been
afraid to look.
Free CD/tape/record to the first person who tells me whatever
happened to John.
In loving memory of the values for which Harley Davidson used
to stand, I put the music to biker poet NYDP Steve King's heart
Remembering the genius and love of ADPs Wiley Rodgers and Leo
Free CD/tape/record to the first NYDP who can direct me to Donald
Pepper, Terrible Terrance O'Sullivan, Howard Hersh or Frank Taylor.
I rented a tiny apartment on Nantasket Beach in '91, a few days
before the "Perfect Storm" threatened to destroy it. I heard sailors'
ghosts howling through the cracks and woke up on an island. A few
days later I signed a petition to persuade the Coast Guard to reopen
the search for the Andrea Gail. It was being circulated in the
Dry Dock, the local roadhouse, by the grieving girlfriend of one
of the already dead crewmembers.
I don't know why I told you that story but I do know how lucky
I am to live here.
Sailors' Ghosts (2,430 kb)
Metacom, son of Massasoit, was the first Indian Chief to organize
resistance against the European invaders. His warpath ran from Connecticut
to Mount Wachusett. It exists today as the Metacomet-Monadnock Trail,
part of the Appalachian system. I have hiked from Belchertown to
Rattlesnake Gutter, through the January Hills and along the ridge
atop Poverty Mountain. In the fevered night I heard the spirits
laugh and cry; I was driven from the forest.
Poverty Mountain (2,599
NYDP Jaime Brockett tore this one out of his heart and slam-dunked
it right into mine.
America's involvement in The Big One was bracketed by two presidential
sound bites. The first was pronounced by Franklin Delano Roosevelt
after 2,400 military personnel died in the December 7, 1941 attack
on Pearl Harbor: "A date which will live in infamy.";
After the fire-bombings of Tokyo and the atomic bombings of Hiroshima
and Nagasaki, over 300,000 civilian men, women and children had
perished. Harry Truman proclaimed it "the greatest day in
Note: 2,400 is less than 1% of 300,000. I guess we showed them.
Civil disobedience is an idea expressed by Emerson and Thoreau,
and practiced by movers and shakers like King, Ghandi, and Mandella.
If you believe in your heart that a law is wrong, you have an obligation
to yourself and to society to disobey that law, regardless of the
There are lots of good NYDPs doing time in American prisons for
possession of marijuana, the most benign drug I can think of, including
alcohol and nicotine.
The only thing wrong with THC is that it's illegal and they can't
arrest us all. So, in the spirit of civil disobedience, puff
By the way, if you haven't already, please read A People's
History of the United States by Howard Zinn. Thank you.