Tuesday, April 17, 2007
Monday, April 16, 2007
Thursday, April 12, 2007
I felt a great disturbance in the force today, as Obi Won used to say to me all the time. I never knew what the hell he meant either. In any case, today, dear readers, I found out in the news that, after complications from a fall at his New York home, beloved author and pivotal influence to my adolescence, Kurt Vonnegut Jr. died. So it goes. Coincidentally, or maybe not, today is also the birthday of erstwhile teen-idol and Partridge David Cassidy. My calculations make him at about 57. I was also reading a concert revue in the Globe the other day, waxing nostalgic about Iggy Pop and a current tour featuring the Igster and some of the original Stooges at the Orpheum in Boston. Turns out ol' Iggy is over 60 years old himself. Jesus fuckin' bejeepers: Iggy Pop over 60! What the hell! When did that happen? And why is he still out there yelling and a'smearing peanut butter on himself, moshing in the mosh-pit, with kids young enough to be his grandchildren, on that bad hip of his? Man, this kind of stuff gets a me to thinking. Thinking about my own mortality. Thinking of what's left to do and what's been left undone. Got me to thinking about the old Salad Days again, and all the great rock shows I've seen over the years and all the great shows that got away. I had a pretty good run for a while there. So since I've already bored the starch out of my wife with these stories at least a hundred times, I guess it's up to you, faithful readers of SBL#178, to absorb the brunt of my nostalgic ruminations. So, here they are: the top 5 rock n" roll highs and rock n" roll lows from the arhives of Bigfoot Chester's pre-dementia memory bank. In no particular order, I offer up the following excerps from Rock History:
High- Only a Lad: Backstage with Oingo Boingo and Squeeze:
Tuesday, April 10, 2007
Sunday, April 08, 2007
Thursday, April 05, 2007
Sunday, April 01, 2007
It was the best of times, it was the best of time, as old Chas. Dickens used to say to me all the time. It was, as usual, sometime int he mid-late 80's, and me in my natural prime, was living the life of Riley, since he was out of town. I was currently on temporary hiatus from my paying gig as stage hand on Uncle Frank's Rolling Thunder Revue and General Construction Company. I was enjoying the summer and, at the time, work seemed to be an inconvenience I temporarily could live without. My Ol' Uncle Frank was somehow stoic enough to plow on without me, and was taking the show on the road once again in the greater Chesapeake Bay, in East Bal'more. As Frank was want to do back in those days, he spent a good deal of week-end time cruising the boatyards trying to find that nautical gem of gems to take back to Maine with him. Fortunately, for the purpose of the story, on one of his weekend trips he found a lovely old wooden yacht: a 1957 Broadwater I think it was, 40 some feet long and just about as broad in the beam as a bull Elephant. It was a marvel of marine design and had spiffy bright work, tique decks and all. The price was impossible for Frank to pass up and before he had a chance to think it through, he had it bought straight out. Fair enough. Now how to get it home to Maine from Maryland was the question. Frank was currently in the process of building a Women's Clothing store in Gaithersburg, and was extremely busy bribing building inspectors and hiding illegal labourers and stuff. There was no way he could find the time to transport this behometh home.
That's where yours truly enters the scene. I was at the time, currently unengaged, as I said. I was enjoying some time at my summer retreat of East Mosquitoville with some family and esteemed cronies, licking salt and sucking lemons, contemplating the concept of doing this indefinitely, when the call comes in from Frank explaining his dilemna. A team meeting was immediately called and as all good ideas are generated from beer, we make sure plenty is on hand. In Vino et Veritas, as it were. My neighbor, Tom Hart, of the Hart seed fortune, erstwhile Navy Pilot and crack Welder, is the first to come up with what seems like such an obvious idea: the boat is too big and decrepit to transport by trailer. Why don't we drive it up to Maine by water? 'Brilliant', we says, 'except we've never driven a boat that big Tom and nobody knows how to read charts'. Tom says, 'no problem, I know how to read charts. All's I need is a crew'. Well, it just so happened my cousin I-Dog was up for the week visiting. He was young and able, and wasn't scared of dying yet. He was in. Then there was this kid with I-Dog named 'Plain Doughnut Bill' who was at least a warm body. He said he'd go. So of course I was in like Flynn, not wanting to miss the certain disaster that would ensue when Ol' Tom agreed to captain this dilapitated vessel, sight unseen, up the Inter-Coastal Waterway. Before we could think it through, it was agreed. We would transport the vessel by sea. ' A three hour tour..'
So somehow we make it to Kent Island Marina one fine Summer day on the mighty Chesapeake. All of us festooned in our duffels, baseball hats and cut off shorts, cases of brew under our arms, ready for Freddy. Frank gives the captain a quick run down of the craft, and after about an hour or so, the 'Bon Honny' was ready for her christening voyage. I will let my following entries as ship's First Mate narrate how the journy commenced. 'Just sit right back and you'll hear a tale...'
Day One: Kent Island- '...a tale of a fateful trip...' Well, as it turns out, 'Plain Doughnut Bill' is not actually a friend of Ian's. He's just a guy who lives near Ian, and is one of those guys who somehow gets himself invited to places by just hanging around being a pain in the ass. Ian told in me in confidence in the rest area men's room that's he's a first class weiner and an intolerable 'Dead-Head'. Well, that explains all his Dead cassettes and the bag of weed. Anyhow, we had to wait an hour and a half for the tide to lower so we could port the bridge leaving the Marina. Couldn't wait, jumped the gun, snapped of the radio antenna and scraped the roof of the bridge. Thank goodness Frank was already gone. Everyone relativelty sober so far. Nearly swamped at sunset by a very large Oil Tanker. By the time Tom noticed it, we were already plowing through its wake, shaking the Fuck out of the boat and soundly spilling my beer. Found a marshy bog to anchor in ner the head of the Bay. Crucified by the Fucking Mosquitos all night.
Day Two: New Jersey somewhere- Had to stop already to pick up more beer. Boy, the salty sea air makes a man thirsty. It turns out 'Plain Doughnut Bill' IS an intolerahble pain in the ass. Fuckin guy keeps singing 'Fire, fire on th Mouuuuuuntain' over and fuckin' over again. Tom and Ian are getting a bit impatient with him, but we are all enjoying the trip, as long as the beer holds out. Somewhere near Atlantic City a channel collapsed and the boat totally lodged up on a big-assed mud bank. We had to literally get out and push the boat while Tom, the captain navigated up there like a king. I don't think the bastard can actually read charts; I think he's faking. I wonder if there's such a thing as seas leeches.
Day Three: Long Island Sound- 'The weather started getting rough...' Well, this is great. The rudder is broken on this old beast. Were stranded out in the middle of nowhere, with no way to steer. Tom comes up with a solution: We rip out the galley table. I hold on to Ian's belt, hanging him over the port side. He holds the table, I hold him. The boat goes along, listing to starboard for a few thousand yards, then, on signal, Ian stabs the table into the water bringing us back a'port a while. We go on like this most of the morning, until a Lobster boat comes and tows us into the nearsest marina. As we're waiting, we pass through a giant school of Jelly Fishes, and Bill amuses himself by trying to snag them with the Zebco fishing rod he brought with him. 'Fire, fire on the mouuuuntain'. Dipshit.
Day Four: New York City- Well, $120 later, Tom bought and repaired the part, a rudder pin or some shit, and we're back under way. Pass into the harbour in the late afternoon, and it's splendid. Never seen a busier harbour, except maybe Annapolis, but that didn't count since they were mostly little sail boats. Dodged major cargo ships and got to see the Long Island Ferry. Ian and I had our picture taken in front of the Statue of Liberty wearing our Beer-Serving baseball helmets. Classic. Passed up the East Side of Manhatten, through a piece of water called Hell's Gate, or some shit. Sounds promising. Boy, you'd have to pay me serious walking around money to swim in this harbour. Talk about pollution. Beer supply getting seriously low. Meet Frank in Hartford tomorrow.
Day Five: Connecticutt River/Wethersfield- 'If not for the courage of the fearless crew...' 'Well, good news, bad news. Good news is Frank, Gene La Francois and some boys met us at the Wethersfield Marina and re-stocked us with the essentials: banjo strings, flour, gunpowder, vaseline, beer, more beer , swisher sweets, etc. We will be good to go for the remainder of the trip. Bad news was that Frank also dropped off his soon to be erstwhile girlfriend, B.B. LaPinch, who wanted to enjoy the rest of the trip with us. Now, I've never really bought into the sailor myth that a women on board a ship was bad luck. However, in this case, I was willin to entertain the notion. The sooner that she became ol' Frank's ex-girlfriend was not soon enough for me. Or that's how it felt at the time. Maybe it was just because I was tired of Plain-doughnut Bill singing Dead tunes ad infinitum. Besides, how could luck get anty worse?
Day Six: Open Ocean- I discovered what 'Sea Swell' are. Sea swells are what you call big mountains of water, maybe ten or twenty feet high, that slowly and painfully ebb and flow, sickeningly, over and over, until you feel like barfing. You know that feeling you get when you get to the top of the stairs at night in the dark, and accidentally step into thin air? Or when you drive over the crest of a hill too fast and your stomach jumps in your throat? Well, extend that over a whole day and that's what sea swells feel like. One second I'm looking at the Coast of Rhode Island, the next I'm looking at hills of water. Nice. My only solace is that Frankme's honey is hanging over the port side, greener than a fern, ready to barf.
Day Seven: Cape Cod Canal- 'The ship set ground on the shore of this uncharted desert Isle...' We pass through Canal uneventfully. Get to the North shore near sunset, but seas too rough to travel for our craft.
Day Eight: Cape Cop Canal- Seas too rough to travel, have to wait until tomorrow. Frank's woman is getting greener. 'Fire, fire on the Mountaiiin'.
Day Nine: Cape Cod Canal- Fuck it. I've had it. I'm getting a Cape Cod Bus Lines shuttle back to Boston ASAP. I knew having a Dame on board was bad luck. Ian, Tom I'm sorry. Bill, B.B. sy-o-fuckin-a-ra!
Day Ten, Eleven: Boston- Spend the weekend at the Ames Plow Tavern and then catch a Greyhound to Bangor, Maine. Arrive at 10:30pm, a bit hungover, worse for wear and tear, laughing to myself.
Day Twelve: Bangor, Maine- Meet the crew at the Municipal Marina. Frank's woman is gone, but Tom's best buddy Barry has taken my place as First Mate. What the fuck, over? Any way, I'll be God-Damned, they made it. Frank got his beautiful 40 something foot, tique decked Broadwater up to Maine safely, and nobody got killed. I guess Tom could read charts after all.
I calle Frank later that week, and he got me back on thae road working, so I could re-raise some of the money I spent on the trip. He asked me how things went and I answered honestly, 'Fuckin' Great'. Hey nobody got killed, Frank got his boat, and I got a chance to learn how to read charts, though I never did. As I hopped into the company van, getting ready to go back on the road, thinking over my last couple of weeks, I said to myself, literally out loud, 'shit man, to think I could have been working'.