The day before yesterday, Larry Jon Wilson died. I never got to see him or even hear his record before he died. I love his song on Heartworn Highways--- "It's not a lick song, it's a groove song".
I just watched two Jerry Reed movies: "Concrete Cowboys" and "What Comes Around". Concrete Cowboys stars Jerry Reed, Tom Seleck, Ray Stevens, Roy Acuff, Barbara Mandrell and another singer who was famous in the movie but I'd never heard of him before and cannot remember his name. It eases the strains of living up north to see movies peppered with country stars. Especially when they were filmed in Nashville in the 70's.
I'm pretty excited about this new Hamper McBee record that comes out in three days. This dude seems pretty boss. Yet another East Tennessee jewel from the vaults, like John Bean --- the in-between spoken parts are true lessons in anthropology. John bean prank calls auto shops, demanding ridiculous refunds for damages done to his car by his own kids. He blames and threatens the "lil ole' skinny sonofabitch" behind the counter that someone could get their ass whooped as a result of un-manly 'backing-up' of quality goods. Hamper McBee seems to be from the same school of badass. I think there are three songs on his album about the local law enforcement officer in his town of Monteagle, TN.
It's rare that I sit down to write much of anything anymore. I try to keep very busy and succeed most of the time. I'm in a medical study right now. I've told this too many times so I'll talk about something else for a minute.
Last week I bought a motorcycle. I spent all of my money on it. All of it -- $3,000. I rode it down to Nashville to register it. On the way there it broke down. I had to get the carbs cleaned and flushed. That cost me $200 dollars more. Then I was really broke. For the next few days I only ate beans and drank lots of water. All was fine until my second to last day down there.
I was parked downtown for a couple of hours one night and I left my bike next to another bike. It was illegally parked but bikes are always parked illegally down there. I asked a cop if I could park there. ---Downtown is always nuts. They are constantly changing the parking for busses, taxis, events, construction... you just have to ask where to park--- The cop assured me that they don't mess with bikes and to leave it wherever. That's what I thought anyway so I walked away from it and didn't think about it again. I went to Prince's Hot Chicken with Rachel and had her drop me off at my bike when I got back. I got back and found it gone! Another cop said it was probably stolen since they didn't tow it. I asked if he would call it in anyway. Reluctantly, he called it in and wouldn't you know it? ---they had towed it, of course. I called Rachel back and she gladly turned around, picked me up and drove me down the street to the wrecker lot.
All the while, my medical study clock was ticking. I had to be in bed at 11:30 (10:30 Nashville time) for this study. (((I was on a strict sleep schedule. I wore a heart rate monitoring watch for a week and couldn't be 5 minutes late so I had to make sure to be in bed by 10:30 pm))) So, I got the bike out but I almost had a heart attack thinking that I wouldn't be able to. There was an illegal plate on the thing since I hadn't registered it yet. As it turned out, It was no problem to get the bike back, thank God. I just had to pay $250 (that I didn't really have).
At this point I was convinced that I was snake bit and couldn't win, no matter how hard I tried. I didn't trust the bike to make it back to NY, I didn't have the money to register it and me paying my rent hinged on me getting to bed right on time, every night. I couldn't afford to not make the study so I bought a plane ticket back home. You guessed it, another $250!
I thought I was home free! I flew to Philly, took a train to the bus and got on the chinatown bus to NY. Outside of the Holland Tunnel, for some reason, the driver hooked a HUGE right into Jersey City. He drove around for about 30 minutes but eventually got back on the highway. 45 minutes later we were back where we had exited, over an hour before. Then right at the mouth of the tunnel, he hooks another right, goes above the tunnel, turns around and goes South on the highway. We ended up at the Lincoln Tunnel and everyone was ready to get out. On the NY side almost everyone was yelling at the driver. He didn't speak English but he understood. The first opportunity we had to get off, we did. I jumped from my seat and ran off the bus, leaving my room mates $350 helmet on the bus. I had borrowed it for a couple of days to get the bike to Nashville. I had almost made it back to him without screwing that up. When I realized I had left it, I was almost a mile from where I'd jumped out. I could have cried.
Here I was, totally broke, walking back home to a house I can't afford and I had to explain to my buddy how I left his helmet, that he's had forever, on the Chinatown bus. At this moment I figured it was all over. What else could I screw up? I get a text from Katie --- "Do you want to play with Lucero on July 10th?" July 10th I was going to be back in Nashville. No, I can't do it. I wrote her back saying thanks, but no thanks. All I wanted to do was make it home, shut the door and figure out how to make some money. Around midnight I woke up remembering how big of a show that would be. Realizing that I had just passed up the opportunity to play in front of 5,000 people, I emailed her back but of course the show had been offered to someone else. How could I be so stupid? Was this it? Is it over? I hope so. I'm not sure it is.
Right now I'm in this medical study. Like I said, I've been wearing this watch thing for 10 days, going to bed at exactly 11:30 every night and waking up at 7:45 on the dot. I hadn't screwed this up, despite all my traveling and stress, I had managed to go to bed on time every night. So here I am, reaping the reward of going to bed on time, in a hospital, covered from head to toe in wires and ECG stickies. Last night I had to breath through a tube and every few hours a nurse would come in my room and fix something that had come undone while I was sleeping. It was a rough night to say the least but the best is yet to come.
I woke up at 6:45 today and I won't go to bed until 8:00 am tomorrow morning. No naps, no dozing, but luckily there will be a drug. I'm to take an experimental amphetamine at 7:00 tonight. It's a time released drug. Most people think they've been tricked and they haven't been dosed anything but a placebo. Not traditional speed, but time released, small doses, can't-even-tell-you've-been-dosed speed.
There's a chance I might still get eliminated. I'm not that worried about it. I made it this far and I will get paid for most of it but the bulk of the money would come from tonight. If I make it until the morning I will get $850! Wish me luck --- I guess they might tell me any minute that upon viewing my sleeping patterns through the night that I'm not the right type of patient and I'll be let go.
Today's Thursday. Next Tuesday I fly to Minneapolis and play a show. I'll be there for three days before I meet up with Dawes and drive to Iowa to play a big 4th of July party with them, Justin Earle, These United States and The Walkmen. Should be badass. Then I fly to Nashville, play a few shows in Alabama and Chattanooga then fly to NYC to play with Deer Tick at Maxwell's in Hoboken.
Wish me luck and see y'all out there.