Winter has sucked but it seems to be looking up. I just might be getting a real job soon and, a few weeks ago, I got a free keg from a pretty reputable local brewery.
Now how does one get a free keg? It was an odd turn of events with multiple excruciating moves of a very heavy keg of Oatmeal Stout and the continual drunkenness of my illustrious neighbor whom I have written on before. Basically, the neighbor gets the post brew grain from aforementioned local brewery and feeds it to his various livestock. The chickens seem to eat anything; however, the pigs turn their nose up at it. After doing snow removal a few weeks ago, my neighbor/boss tricked me into going to help him pick up the grain.
This was a fortuitous diversion from my way home because the head brewer somehow had an extra keg of their Oatmeal Stout that had just been made and wanted to know if we wanted it. Although we had a full truck, we finagled the 15.5 gallon keg in the middle of the spent grain and stale bread from local food shelters filling up the bed of the ancient GMC. We had to drive very slow and stop twice to re-arrange errant food boxes that were milliseconds from flying out the back to cause a multiple car dust up. Eventually, we got it to the dirt road we call home and up to my neighbors farm. This song came on the college radio station which I had tuned to after we had exhausted every other radio station on the dial.
1. “Hot Pants” -James Brown
It just so happens that this is one of the few songs I always put on in between our sets when my band plays shows. Who doesn’t like James Brown? I mean, for real, I have never met a soul who doesn’t get down on the Godfather if you epose them to it. You can’t not dance around to it and the man’s enthusiasm is undying.
Back when I was in college, I used to hang out with a guy who owned a chicken wing restaurant and had done security at a local music venue in the 90’s. He got to shake James Brown’s hand once and he said the whole experience was exactly what he thought it’d be. He said Soul Brother #1 said hello in his trade mark “HEYYYY” and then quickly walked into his hotel. I got to meet Lucky Tubb once but that shit is awesome.
2. “Indians” – Anthrax
We pull into my neighbor’s driveway and his wife immediately comes out and doesn’t want him to bring the keg into the house. He doesn’t need it and there is no room she claimed. He certainly should start curbing his intake and there wasn’t much room, but we jammed it into a spare fridge in his basement. His wife came right down and 86ed that idea so we put it outside and glanced at the weather. The temperature was going to dip below zero so in great words of wisdom, my neighbor said “Fuck it, You want a keg?” As they say in Maine, does a bear shit in the woods?
When we got it into my basement, which has a PA and all sorts of musical equipment, we poured a foamy beer and the keg-bearer asked for me to play this song through the speakers and really crank it up. Now my experience with Anthrax is minimal and all due to Steve, my hippie neighbor.
He once got beat up by security at an Anthrax concert for being disruptive and will proudly tell the story after having a few beers. I really enjoyed this song. It’s heavy but groovy and is all about Native Americans whom I’ve always been interested in. They are a truly admirable people who were truly screwed over. We called a few friends because we had so much beer and there was no way we could or even should drink it all ourselves.
3. “Voodoo Chile ( Slight Return)”- Stevie Ray Vaughn
This has been a jam I’ve been listening to a lot lately and it often provokes a conversation where I concede that I currently like Stevie more than Jimi. Obviously, Jimi Hendrix is one of the best, perhaps THE best, guitar player ever. He did things with that Strat that no one did before and no one will do again. However, I love how clean Stevie plays Jimi covers; I think it’s incredible and it never ceases to make me stop, watch and listen. It sounds especially good on a PA turned up loud with a live version whilst holding a chilly Oatmeal Stout. An issue with the beer as well as Stevie, is that if you use either too much, you will get a little sick of a very good thing. Everything in moderation but moderation, right?
4. “Groundhog’s Day” -Primus
After about two weeks of steady consumption, the keg has gotten old. By the time this fake holiday rolled around and the groundhog came out to say spring was imminent, I couldn’t even give it away. I’d handed several milk jugs full of beer out to people and still came out with probably a fifth of it left. One problem I have is that if I have a keg in my house, I will drink it. I have a low resolve and this whole thing has spurned me to chose to give up alcohol for the month and a half of Lent that is quickly upon us. I think I need a long break because it’s been a while and having this keg has put me over the edge.
Why the Primus song besides the obvious Groundhog reference? One distraction from this 15.5 gallon albatross in my basement is playing music and I have been trying to play this song. It was way out of my wheelhouse, mostly cause of the chord use and crazy skills of Mr. Les Claypool. It’s a fact that I play worse while intoxicated so music for me really is the anti-booze.
5. “Lucky Man” -Emerson, Lake, and Palmer
I am pretty lucky even if I bitch about stuff on this blog at times. Getting a free keg is very lucky. I can say I have never met anyone else who has a story of getting a free keg. Free drinks sure, and certainly a free meal or even trip somewhere, but never a keg. Alternately, after drinking so much of this free beer, I am lucky enough to realize I need a long break from alcohol. Further, I will have the distraction of playing music, writing, hanging with all my friends and my other hobbies to keep me strong on my resolution not to drink during Lent. So in that I am really lucky.
Finally, the keg was kicked yesterday. We had some people up to my neighbor’s farm to burn some brush and our Christmas trees and the 18 pack of Pabst ran out. I volunteered to take a truck to my house to get the keg and within an hour, it was gone. We had some help and the end of the keg was pretty flat/stale, but I feel good finishing it and getting it out of my basement. It was a good few weeks and many people drank off that keg so it circulated the community.
For some reason, as we drank the last pints of the Stout, we got into a conversation about whether or not James Brown licks have ever been in use for hip-hop songs and the song below popped into my head. Remember, if you ever get a free keg, share it. When it’s about down, find some great hip hop and turn it up loud. You are alive and drinking free beer, now rejoice in it!
6. “Get Down”-Nas.