Pets Playlist

I had to put down my golden retriever Remy on Wednesday because lung cancer had sprung up out of nowhere and taken over his body. I’m incredibly broken up about it and it’s taken all of me to just keep going to school and practicing music. It was our Dad’s dog that I inherited when he passed. Like this post says, he had a rough time following his death and I should consider myself lucky to have had the three plus years that I did. I’ll write a smaller post about this soon, but now the wounds are too fresh.  One thing I am sure of is that Remy has found my Dad and I’m sure the reunion was a happy one.

(Note: This post was composed after my brother told me about his cat)

My brother had to put down his cat today and I feel terrible for him. He never gets real emotional about things which is why I feel so bad because I know this kills him. Personally, no one liked or was liked by the cat except him which is why I feel so bad for him. It would routinely scratch me when I tried to pet it back when I was a freshmen in high school and would visit my brother at his undergraduate college. The fucking cat survived more than a lot of people I know can, including two big moves, a house fire, and multiple trips to the vet in.  She was tough, just like my big brother, and we should all mourn her.

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Holiday Party Jams

Shoot back to my Christmas Spirit Jam too and Happy Holidays!

I hate Christmas this year.  I didn’t always hate Christmas and I suspect I will not forever hate it, but right now, I am Scrooge. It’s not a misanthropic thing so much as a reaction to where I think I should be in life right now and the fact that the holidays seem to make mourning my father a thousand times more difficult. The latter reason also propels my mother to handle it by going ape-shit on the Christmas decorations and buying a very expensive tree which was three feet to big for the palatial home to handle.

But, please keep reading, I am not going to continue the negativity.

I miss my old man who also always hated the season because his father passed away in an extremely traumatic way during the holidays several decades ago. I also know the old man would not want me to wallow in sadness and he would be cracking jokes as best he could. Luckily for the case of being positive, because I bartend and because I know so many people locally, I have gone to several holiday parties and had some pretty hilarious experiences  I am slowly feeling festive and I invite you to learn why.

No, I also have never heard “Aqualung” at a holiday party and it is actually in reference to a generally but slightly creepy DJ at the banquet hall where I tend bar.  You will notice a theme of non-seasonal musical choices here although do not fret; there will be choice cuts along the way like my boy Derek Trucks doing “Greensleeves” which I know is kind of a Christmas song right? Anyway, I digress as usual and am missing the point of this paragraph which is to say the creepy DJ is only creepy in that he is quite a bit older than the most of us at the banquet center and is always hitting on girls that could easily be his daughters and who also are not interested. Gotta hand it to him for trying.

He played this song many times at the holiday party for a local car dealership. Those ones are interesting because you have everyone from the secretary to the owner to the salesmen attending so it really makes for a strange mix of people who usually do not hang out socially. I made a million white Russians, as well as cheap vodka tonics by the score while the tips got higher and the peeps got drunker. Afterwards, for the first time ever, I decided to go out with some of my fellow employees to a Buffalo Wild Wings for a beer before last call. I’m not prejudiced against the people I work with, I just live farther away than most of them and often have other plans for after work. And, I tried to just go to Wendy’s and get a cheeseburger because I was starving, but it was closed so I really had no choice because I was famished. Open late, my ass.

When I got to Wild Wings, the creepy DJ was there and bought all ten of us a drink which was very nice of him. He also got some appetizers which I attacked with gusto as I had been denied my artery clogging two dollar Junior Bacon and Cheese minutes earlier. I’m sure the tall IPA and artichoke dip I sucked down weren’t great for me either, but again I stray from the point. The DJ, while everyone is talking to each other loudly, leans over and points at this bartender named Kathy and whispers “Is she single?”

What I heard was “is she cool” like does she smoke pot a la Dazed and Confused to which I replied “Yeah, I think she’s cool man”. When he used the restroom, Kathy left saying he kept hitting on her and all I could think of was “Slowride” by Foghat. I appreciate the free drink and I respect the enthusiasm of a DJ to hit on a girl so much younger and out of his reach. Happy holidays and good luck to you sir!

The next two parties I’d like to talk about are ones I attended. My dive bar had it’s company party the night after my trip to Wild Wings and I ended up getting out early because some idiot executive had hired a science experiment exhibition crew instead of a band, DJ, or even a magician. Granted, the science shit was cool but this group, also a car dealership, was mostly mechanics who just wanted the free vittles and the possibility of winning a raffle or impressing someone higher up with their witty conversation. So I got to the bar before ten with a green Santa hat on and I soon had a Wild Turkey on the rocks in hand and was shooting pool with my lead singer‘s father, a local pro. I was feeling good.

Then the shit hit the fan and it had to do with my lead singer and two separate crazy woman. The first approached me and asked me if I was seeing anybody and because this girl has a serious local reputation and I was not attracted to her, I quickly suggested she should seek the attention of another related friend who I knew liked her. She then decided to rip into my lead singer for taking some friend of hers home three weeks before who also used to date her brother.  He had told me about it and that nothing had happened and I related this information to the girl. Yeah, it barely made sense to me too and neither did the next incident two minutes later outside when one of the local bartenders and known hellion starts literally yelling at the lead singer because he didn’t call her father back in relation to some logging job.

As with the girl before, I jumped to the defense of my boy saying “You know it’s the freakin holidays, can’t we all just have a good time?” This was met with a scowl and a few beautiful moments of silence before she just started swearing again. Unfortunately  the drawback of smalltown-living is everyone is in everyone else’s shit out of lack of stimulation. This was turning into a very not jolly holiday so we did what we would normally do when things got weird at the bar which is take the back door when the two crazy girls went to pee. The holidays seem to rile other people up too.

I don’t like this song but it’s an apt choice here and is on the jukebox at the dive bar far more than anyone should have to withstand. Maybe finding a new bar or even not going to bars anymore is a choice for the new year?

For my last holiday party that is worth mentioning, I was invited for the second year to a very swanky restaurant’s holiday party, located down on a peninsula in a very popular coastal town where two former presidents are sometimes in attendance. I had a great time last year except I abused the privilege of the very nice open bar and drank all of the high end bourbons from Maker’s Mark to Booker’s, each one more potent than the next. Needless to say, I don’t remember much and this year I intended to network which really means talk to as many women as possible and invite them all to come see our band on New Year’s Eve. I was pretty successful at this without being obnoxious, at least in my humble opinion.

The downstairs bar of this place had a little dock where people smoked cigarettes and a vicious wind came off the water. I was demonstrating  the type of dancing I’d maybe do at a music festival to some younger folks and set my whiskey on a metal table. Like two minutes later, it slid right off the table and bounced off the ground, not shattering but certainly emptying. It had frozen up around the bottom and become a serious hazard and spilled all my whiskey.

Luckily, a very pretty girl offered to make me a margarita shot which is an offer I took up. It seems some dishwasher was dancing up on her on the pumping dance floor upstairs and she wanted to know if I’d help deflect. In my altered state of mind, I assumed she wanted me so I said I’d meet her up there post haste. The very young DJ played this song numerous times. Catchy once, annoying more than that.

The dancing with my tequila girl was not to be. I had attended the party with the head bartender and her husband, the General from my dive bar days, as well as another bartender whom we picked up on the way. This other bartender was three years younger than me and owned her own house paid for by tending bar. She also rode horses. I have a thing for equestrians and I know it’s a little weird so we don’t have to get into it too much. Needless to say, I was instantly attracted to her but she seemed to be more concerned with slamming Bud Light and talking to the elderly patrons who also came to the party. I went up from my shot to find the General and tell him we had to stay a while longer so I could dance when I saw my horse girl falling off the front porch of the bar. She apparently cannot handle her booze at all and we had to quickly leave. So much for Christmas love.

Is there a theme here? I think, at heart, everyone wants to be happy for Christmas and we can find that through relationships with other people, whether ones we have or ones we’d like to create. I know a big part of my own disillusionment with the holidays is that it will largely just be my mom and I this year and would probably be better if I had a significant other whom I really liked or maybe even a family as this is really what the holidays are about.

I was talking to an old dishwasher soon before I spilled my whiskey about finding love in the modern age and he said “You know man, you probably got so many women who like you and you don’t even know it.” He looked vaguely like Jerry Garcia so I took his advice to heart. If you got loved ones, tell them you love them and if you don’t, I firmly believe you will find them if you are supposed to.

O,k so one more song and it is in fact Christmas flavored but it made me laugh so hard that I can’t not include it. UH HUH! Happy Holidays!

Biggest Show Ever…So far Part Two

This is not a complete re-post! The show happened again this year and if you read through this quickly, you will be prepped for the breakdown of this year’s Redneck Extravaganza.

My band had our biggest show ever last Saturday night, playing to well over two hundred people at the local dive bar. We spent a bunch of time promoting this event called the Redneck Ball which  required everyone to wear either flannel or hunting apparel like a camouflaged vest. We put up posters everywhere in the past few months, hit the Facebook hard, and spent as much time in area bars chatting it up with the locals as we could while still practicing with the band regularly. This is the song we used to open the show.

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Waylon Speed: Country Licks Hard and Fast

Now for something completely different.

I’ve been going to see  Waylon Speed since their inception in  Burlington, Vermont a few years ago. I’m not sure if I’ve ever been specific in where I went to college so let’s be very specific and say I went to the University of Vermont in Burlington to get some very expensive liberal arts degrees that are just starting to do something for me. The best thing about the city, besides the small size and cacophony of food, is the music scene.  Many of them are jam bands, funk bands, or bluegrass bands which can get tiring.  But that’s not what this is about, this is about the ass-kicking tunes of the awesome and incredibly unique band Waylon Speed.

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Year in Review

It has been a very weird year, both globally and personally. We are several days past the supposed Mayan apocalypse and everything appears to be normal. Christmas parties and the accompanying songs are done and we have the one big blast of New Year’s Eve before we settle into the doldrums of winter, depending on where you live.

It has been ups and downs all around from my love life to the price of fuel. I started a band, I planted a garden, I hung out with some different girls, I did a bunch of fishing, I experienced my first earthquake and I finally got my own iPod. I was sort of apathetic towards everything after the holidays and the Elder J kept giving me shit about not posting anything so the obvious choice was a year in review. I always miss things when I try to be retrospective but such is life. Here it comes.

1. Hank Jr.

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New Nephew Playlist

Note: The following was originally written in December

So I am an uncle again. My brother’s wife gave birth to my new nephew just this morning and I am filled with emotions both good and bad. Good, in that I am happy to have a new family member and am always impressed by the miracle of life. Bad, because my father is not here to see his first grandson and because my poor little nephew is being born into one of the most fucked-up times in human history. Maybe sad is the preferred adjective here, because I also wish I could have been there but he is across the country and multiple factors kept me in the northland.

My dad would be happy as shit I am sure, so for that one I feel ok. As for the current state of the world, who knows? The world is supposed to end this next year, but people have been saying that since time started so that shouldn’t be a real issue. I guess I mean specifically the way people treat each other, from backstabbing to shit-talking to just looking the either way when someone needs help. Everyone is guilty of this at some point but it’s the amount of people I’ve seen as of late who don’t seem to ever realize they’re doing it and amend their behavior.

I feel the same way about the state of the world as I do dub step music, a current craze amongst the younger generation. It sounds bad, I can’t dance to it and it confuses me.  If you don’t know about it, it’s like this drum and bass thing that occasionally has vocals and what sounds to me like electronic mosquitoes buzzing around. I am sure it has its merits but I just don’t get it. Am I getting old? Will all music be weird to me by the time my new nephew is old enough to appreciate it?

  1. “All things must pass”-George Harrison

I don’t know if my dad was ever into the solo work of the Beatles but I am sure he would have loved this song both for its music and lyrics. I think it is my favorite solo song by George and maybe even of any songs he’s written period, although “Something” is pretty damned good. I really love the first couplet which is “The sunrise doesn’t last all morning / A cloudburst doesn’t last all day”. To me, it says everything is fleeting and we have to grab at what we can when we can. It is clearly some type of Tao rephrasing but like any song, I think its content allows for multiple interpretations. You have a seemingly happy delivery of a dour realization, that shit happens and that is the way it is.

I find this song uplifting. The connotation of good or bad is something we ourselves add to whatever situation we are in. Keeping a positive outlook on all things, even death and loss, is easy to say and a bitch to actually do. However, it is very much worthwhile if you can. Check out the new documentary on Harrison on HBO, its killer.


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