1.24.22 So, I’m sitting in the parking lot of the tire store, coz I ran over a freakin’ nail. They told me it’d be an hour before they could get me in, and it was a bit chilly, but who wants to wait in the waiting room with this omicron crud going around? Not me, that’s who. So I decided that since they weren’t working on my ride anytime soon, I could just sit in the car and wait until somebody knocked on the window (and probably scared the crap outta me). But it was only a couple of minutes before that knock came. And this was no tire store employee, it was that crazy old coot, Mr. Loop Grandaddy. Hadn’t seen or heard from Loop for awhile, so I took a chance and rolled down the window. He was filthy, as usual, with an old trucker hat that bragged “Sexy Grandpa”, some crusty overalls and a pair of rancid flip flops that had seen far better days, So, Loop asks what I’m doing sitting in the parking lot of “a fucking tire store” and… well one thing led to another (as it will do with that cat), and suddenly, beats were flying.
We hope you dig it.
Tired I’m waiting for my tire to get fixed And I’m waiting for my tire to get fixed Well I ran over a nail That was up to its old tricks Now I’m waiting for my tire to get fixed
And I’m waiting for my tread to get patched I said I’m waiting for my tread to get patched Well I’m sure it’s not the kind of itch I wanted to get scratched Still I’m waiting for my tread to get patched
I’m waiting for my tire to get fixed I said I’m waiting for my tire to get fixed Now sitting in this parking lot’s not how I get my kicks Still I’m just waiting for my car to get fixed
I’m waiting for my tire to get fixed I said I’m waiting for my tire to get fixed Whoever put that nail in there Can eat a bag of dicks See I’m waiting for my car to get fixed
I was just thinking – this is probably the happiest I’ve ever been. It is certainly the most comfortable I’ve ever been in my own skin. My mind is totally blown that I am 65 years old. How can this be? I still feel, mentally anyway, like a 15 year old. Lol. But when I look in the mirror, I just see me, the 65 completed revolutions around the sun doing what they do to a human. But it’s still me. I can’t imagine anyone different in that mirror. I can look me in the eye and say, “You’re doing good”. I’ve never spent the night in a hospital bed, never had cancer or a stroke or a heart attack. I have the same number of teeth as I had last birthday; the only thing I’ve lost in the past 365 days is 20 pounds of fat. And some more hair, but I’m over that. The long, gorgeous curly hair of my youth is but a fond memory. I tried dying my hair 15 years ago and it looked comically absurd. I have gray hair. I love it. It’s simply a symbol of lessons learned, memories made, life lived. I can still walk four miles without falling down, still have a libido, and I spend most of my days doing what I love.
Speaking of love, I’ve been so blessed. At 65 I’m in the best relationship I’ve ever had, two souls completely intertwined, peas in a pod, soul mates, partners, best friends, lovers. When Nickie and I were first dating (yes, you can find love at 58 years old), one of her best friends warned me that “Nickie is clingy”. First of all, what a shit friend, but, more importantly, Nickie and I were inseparable from Day 1 and, seven years later, we still are. If she’s “clingy”, I’ll sign up for that again and again and again.
I’ve had two successful business careers. One was filled with fun and excitement and incredible perks. The other actually earns me money; enough so that I can own a nice house and be generous to my beloved children and beautiful grandson, and spoil my wife, have all the pretty guitars I want, and an incredible horse, and a bucket list that gets smaller and smaller. I’ve lived for three years in the Holy Land, travelled to England and Poland and France and Italy. If this damned pandemic ever chills the fuck out, I have money put aside to go to Spain and France (for the fifth time). In fact, the only real limitations I have are that I can’t go up on the roof anymore or climb trees.
Maybe most importantly of all, I’ve stop denying my major health issues. I’ve battled depression for decades, yet never really sought help – until a couple of months ago. Depression is a disease. If I had diabetes or cancer, would I keep it a secret? Of course not. I’d get help. And I have. The medication seems to be working. I’m not angry at everything anymore; I’ve stopped driving like an asshole, stopped picking fights with cashiers and waitresses, stopped getting into arguments on social media, stopped immersing myself in politics and fear of the future, fear of everything that could happen. There’s no time for those things. They are pure negativity.
And I’ll say something out loud that I’ve never ever said before, kept as a deep dark secret, locked away never to see the light of day. For the past 35 years, since 1987, I’ve had narcolepsy. I’ve denied it, fought through it, been held prisoner by it. It has informed nearly every aspect of my life. But it is part of who I am, part of what defines the way I live my life. I don’t know what caused it and it’ll never be cured, but it hasn’t prevented me from living this wonderful, incredible life. And you know what – after all these decades of living with this, I finally joined a support group just this week, and after reading dozens and dozens of stories, I realized just how blessed I’ve been. So many of “my people”, in fact pretty much everyone who has shared their stories in this group, have it much worse than I do. So many are crippled, and slaves to pharmaceuticals, trapped in their own bodies, unable to enjoy even little things. My symptoms are very mild in comparison. I have very few limitations. I’ve travelled the world, thrived in businesses, found my soul mate – someone who accepts me exactly as I am and truly loves me. Blessed indeed.
With age comes wisdom. I wouldn’t trade my birthdate for anything. I am who I am and I’m comfortable with me. In fact, really for the first time in my life, I truly love me. I’m a good egg. Lol.
A friend recently posed the question, “if you could restart your life at six years old or get ten million dollars in cash, which would you pick?” Shit, gimme the ten mil, bruh. First thing I’d do is give half of it away. No one needs that much money, especially when so many people I care about struggle from day to day. I’ve already been six, and every age between that and 65. I am shaped by all of the experiences I’ve had, and what an amazing journey it has been so far. I have zero regrets. NONE! Regrets are delusional. They imply that if I’d done something differently, I’d be in a better place. Well, that’s simply ridiculous. If I’d done things differently, I’d just as likely been in a worse place. If only I’d practiced harder, and become the rock star I dreamed of becoming, I could have been in the copter with Stevie Ray, or gotten AIDS or gotten robbed, ripped off, kidnapped. I’m right where I’m supposed to be.
And where am I at 65? I’ve been blessed to put myself in a position where I can do what I want to do every day. And what I want to do is love my Sweet Beautiful Nickie, and tell my family and cherished friends that I love them, and play the guitar and write stories and cuddle a big, beautiful 1,200 pound beast, and water my dozens of pretty plants, and go walk four miles and make plans for our next trip to Europe, or just sit on the couch and take a nap in the middle of the day. Life is good. Today is good.
I read and hear numbers, but they don’t always answer the questions I’m asking.
So, since the end of April, I have been maintaining my own database, using the daily figures from Johns Hopkins.
This is my analysis for the month of June, 2020 in the USA:
New cases: 846,347 (up from 720,767 in May)
Resolved cases: 298,873 (275,873 recovered, 23,042 died)
% of resolved cases that resulted in death: 7.71% (down from 12.46% in May)
Increase of active cases: 547,432 (44% higher than end of May)
Total active cases: 1,788,482
% of total cases since onset that are currently still active: 68%
In other words, when you hear on the nightly news that there have been 2.5 million cases in the US, 68% of those people are sick right now.
June testing: 15,269,354 (up from 10,705,709 in May)
Positive %: 5.54% (down from 6.73% in May)
Death “projection”: 265,317
This “projection” is the result of taking June’s % of resolved cases resulting in death (7.71%), applying it currently infected people (1,788,482) and adding that result to the number of dead as of June 30th (127,425).
This resulting death “projection” of 265,317 does not take into account anyone newly infected from July 1 going forward. Given that the increase of active cases for the 7-day period ending June 30 was 210,153 (13.31%), my “death projection” will pale in comparison to the actual number of American lives that will be lost.
What does my close friend and confidant, the critically unclaimed Loop Granddady think of the precautions Americans are taking to stop the spread of this plague? Please check out our new tune, the Massk.
Years before the band existed, my girlfriend showed me a tiny little pen knife, maybe 2″ long. It was a salesman’s sample, with BARLOW SAMPLE X24 etched on the blade. I grabbed the blade and declared myself “Barlow Sample, agent X24”.
A few times at our local bar, I pulled it out and, threatening no one in particular, lisped “My name is Barlow Thample, baby! I have a blade with my name on it. Mess with me and I’ll cut you”. People laughed. Before long, it became a bit of a thing and folks started calling me Barlow and demanded to be “threatened” with the puny weapon.
Like most silly jokes, it ran its course.
Fast forward a couple of years. I’m in a new band. We’re struggling to come up with the perfect name. We try out ‘the Fontaine Brothers’ and other non-starters before unanimously agreeing that the name needs to be one word. Yes, one word! Absolutely. Definitely! But which word? My partner comes up with Pudenda, which stuck for maybe 11 hours.
One night, we’re sitting with a couple of our best buddies, perhaps under the influence of a certain herbal combustible, when I blurt out, “Barlow”. The four us laugh our asses off. And then, one by one, they giggle, “THAT’S THE NAME!”
And we solemnly agreed. The band shall be Barlow.
We couldn’t wait for the next day’s rehearsal to tell our band mates what we were calling this new destined-for-glory outfit.
When the glee settled down, I said,
“But in my heart, it will always be the Barlow Sample Band” (again, pronounced Thample)
My partner said, “Yeah, but we agreed that it would be one word – Barlow”
I responded, “Yes. Agreed. Totally. It’s Barlow. End of story. I’m just saying… IN MY HEART, it will be the Barlow Thample Band”.
Partner: Enough already, We agreed. It’s Barlow. One freakin’ word!
Me: Yes. It’s Barlow. No argument. I’m just saying that, in my heart….
This actually went back and forth for several more minutes.
Finally, I gave up in frustration. I stood up and snarled, “Tomorrow, I’m showing up at rehearsal with a t-shirt that says, “the Barlow Sample Band, Baby!” and you’ll all be begging me for one” and I left.
I went home and designed and printed one shirt.
The next day, I walked into rehearsal with my new ‘the Barlow Sample Band, Baby! shirt’. On first sight, my band mates all said, “THAT is the name of the band”. I unconvincingly replied, “But we all agreed it would be a one word name”.
Over the years, I printed that logo dozens, if not hundreds, of times. Each print used different combos and swirls of silkscreen paint. No two shirts were alike, “and for the coup-de-gras” I handed one to Walter Becker at a street festival we played in Lower Manhattan (with Patti Smith).
That was “outrageous, oh honey, let me tell you” 🤣
The knife? I still have it! Actually, I now have TWO. Found another one on eBay several years back. And, just today, I saw another one on eBay. Am I supposed to not buy it?
They were loved and cherished by musicians, and certainly had a following, but never enjoyed huge commercial success. But if you look at the folks who played with them – superstars left their own projects just to be part of something bigger than themselves. I mean, jeez! What band had “sidemen” like George Harrison and Eric Clapton and Duane Allman? Sure, I’m a superstar, a legend, an icon, but all I want to do is go on the road with Delaney and Bonnie. Impressive.
This album was a staple in our home when I was 13 or 14. All of the composing, singing, and playing are inspired. The arrangements are perfect and hey – if Tom Dowd was behind the desk, you know it’s going to sound amazing. And it still does, even 50 years further on up the road.
Side note – Delaney Bramlett belongs in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. From the incredible number of sessions he played on, to the great songs he wrote and performed to the fact that he taught Eric Clapton how to sing and taught George Harrison how to play slide guitar. Legend!
The first time I became fully aware of Little Richard was when I heard him playing piano on Delaney and Bonnie’s version of his song Miss Ann (from To Bonnie From Delaney, produced by Tom Dowd). I mean, I knew who Richard was, but he wasn’t on 12 year old Joey’s play list.
D&B, on the other hand… man, I knew their 4th record by heart. I was even blessed to see them live in Central Park, King Curtis’s last show before his untimely death.
I was blown away to discover this video today – arguably the greatest rock and roll band ever assembled. I mean, this is 1969. The Beatles still existed. Look at this lineup:
Bonnie Bramlett – vocals
Delaney Bramlett – guitar and vocals
Jim Gordon – drums
Carl Radle – bass
Bobby Whitlock – keyboards
Billy Preston – keyboards
Jim Price – trumpet
Bobby Keys – sax
Rita Coolidge – vocals
Oh yeah… and on guitars, Eric Clapton and George Harrison
Leon must have been busy that day 🙂
Not sure how many R&R Hall of Famers have served as sidemen on other people’s’ recordings of their own tunes, but this tells you about all you need to know about the Bramletts!
Somewhere, around 1970, this guy shows up, seemingly out of nowhere, and he hit like a cyclone. He was known as the Master of Space and Time and he was the classic “women want him, men want to be like him”. My Mom declared that she wanted to run away with him. One minute, he was playing with Delaney and Bonnie, then George Harrison, then Joe Cocker, Bob Dylan, Eric Clapton. He was everywhere and he was a force.
His debut album arrived with mystery, just two simple unsmiling black and white portraits of the man, with liner notes dedicating the record to his favorite musicians. Rumors abounded that this list was actually the guys appearing on the record. As it turned out later, the rumors were true; this “unknown rookie” was backed up by George and Ringo, Mick and Keith and Bill and Charlie, Clapton, Klaus Voorman, D&B, Steve Winwood…
The songs were strong, Glyn Johns’ recording made you feel like you were in the room, and that voice, there was never anyone like him, before or since. Then there was the piano playing – raucous, rocking, gospel, bass heavy and rollicking. He was a pure original.
Eventually, we learned that we’d known Leon all along. He had played on Strangers in the Night with Sinatra, he played on all of Phil Spector’s classics, played on Pet Sounds and Mr. Tambourine Man (Byrds version), played with the Monkees, Ray Charles, Barbra Streisand, Glen Campbell… shit, he was on the road with Jerry Lee Lewis when he was 15! He was both a Shindog and a member of the Wrecking Crew. The dude was in the T.A.M.I. show!
And Leon wrote hits. Lots and lots of hits, from Delta Lady (Joe Cocker) to Superstar (the Carpenters), This Masquerade (George Benson), Hummingbird (BB King) to his best known song, the lead track from this debut album, A Song For You, which was recorded by Amy Winehouse and literally 200 other artists.
When you read his list of credits, there’s just one wow after another (Day After Day by Badfinger?!)
Without knowing it, Leon had been around for my whole life, but this album was the first time I knew his name – Leon Russell, legend and Rock and Roll Hall of Famer.
Over the decades, I keep rediscovering this album. Every so many years, I pick it back up and rather than merely retaining its glory, it gets better and better. I truly feel it is one of the top 10 records ever recorded. Every single song is a treasure, perfectly crafted, filled with emotion and humor, tremendous musicianship, outstanding production and three of the greatest singers who ever lived. It’s a perfect album.
I find that just mentioning the group members by name, I can get emotional. It moves me that much.
Levon Helm Rick Danko Richard Manuel Robbie Robertson Garth Hudson
Some years back, when I was riding the music industry gravy train, EMI offered me the opportunity to have a gold record for ANY record from their catalog (except for the Beatles). ANY record.
Music is subjective. It’s not reasonable to say something or someone is “the best”.
But you can sure call something your favorite.
This album entered my home when I was 12 years old. By that time, I was already well familiar with Muddy Waters and Otis Spann as well as the Butterfield Blues Band (my intro was not East-West, but rather Resurrection of Pigboy Crabshaw). And I may or may not have known Donald “Duck” Dunn by name, but I was certainly familiar with his work with Otis Redding and Booker T and the MGs. So you put all of these world class musicians together, have them record Muddy’s greatest songs in Chicago for three days and then the very next day you put them in front of a crowd you get this – Fathers and Sons – my favorite blues record.
Put it this way, if someone told me that they wanted to get into the blues but didn’t know where to start, this is the first record I would recommend. No question. If this doesn’t hook you, then blues just ain’t for you.
Muddy Waters Otis Spann Paul Butterfield Mike Bloomfield Duck Dunne Sam Lay
I’m not a good enough writer to describe how important this album was/is to me. In short, this was my intro to the artist who 50 years on continues to be #1 on my list. Simply put, Jimi Hendrix completely reinvented what was possible with a guitar.
He also wrote some pretty amazing melodies and his lyrics… his lyrics are… the dude was simply from another planet!
Fun fact: per Chas Chandler, the Wind Cries Mary was recorded at the tail end of the session for Fire. “We had about twenty minutes or so left. I suggested we cut a demo of The Wind Cries Mary. Mitch Mitchell and Noel Redding hadn’t heard it, so they were going about it without a rehearsal. They played it once through.” Jimi “put on four or five more overdubs, but the whole things was done in twenty minutes.”