If I’m not mistaken, this month wraps up ten solid/liquid/gaseous years of this column. For ten years (taking time out for meals) I have given freely of myself to ensure that music endures, that creativity flourishes, that terrorists are punished, that no tsunamis obliterate the West Coast, that I remain alive while others drop dead all around me.
Hosing Down has been a kind of monthly baptism I’ve offered so that I can envision thousands of eager females reading it naked. But, more important than that is the fact that there’s nothing more important to me than that, and I thank you one and all.
But enough of my own agenda, my own dreams. Life goes on, as I see things, as long as I’m here. I sincerely hope you’ll come around to understand that this ain’t no one-way street. Maybe it’s time to ask yourself what you have done for me during the last ten years.
Okay, lemme help you. Read this column naked, even if you never have before. If you happen to be a male, hand it over to your wife or girlfriend and see to it that she does so. And I’m not saying that I don’t trust y’all, but actual photographic verification would go a long way toward that perfect peace my mind is seeking now. Just fill up the Troubadour mailbox this month as a way of acknowledging that we trust each other. Without us there can be no trust . . . only trt. And there’s no meaning in that at all.
On to other matters. First, the media. The season finale of Saturday Night Live kicked some incredible ass this year and was equally remarkable in its first repeat on July 16. I’d bet it’ll be on again before the new season starts, do don’t miss it again if you already have. Lady Gaga (whose songs I consider so derivative as to be criminal) hit a grand slam as a sketch actress, knocking me into submission and admiration. Paired with Justin Timberlake, here were revealed two talents at least the equal of any who have ever appeared on the show — and I’ve seen every full episode since 1975. Although the show in general has been biting donkey for years, this one was a big, soothing sip of port, its repeat a fragrant belch. The lesson here: kicking good, biting bad. Much like dancing or soccer or perhaps life itself …
Then, there was a stunning episode of Judge Piro. The first case required the brief testimony of a cute 10-year-old, who was asked by the judge what he wanted to become when he grew up.
“A veterenarian,” he replied.
“I think that’s marvelous,” stated the judge, who continued, “ and I believe you’ll meet your goals, just by the careful way you pronounced the word ‘veterenarian!’” A touching observation, a lesson to us all.
The show’s second case involved the usual pit-bull-ate-the-neighbor’s-pet thing. After hearing the plaintiff, Judge Piro asked, “And so you immediately drove your poodle to the vet’narian?” I thought I was in friggin’ heaven. And I have refused to watch Judge Piro ever since.
Now to the local arts. There can be nothing as notable as the return of Java Joe as presenter of musical evenings, now in North Park, around the corner from the truly fabulous Claire de Lune! That man has been great from the moment Mama Joe decided to name him Java. That courage he inherited and nurtured is once again laid out for all to enjoy, and I can think of few impresarios as worthy of our support.
Java is one truly rad dude. In the mid-sixties, he and I were both on vacation in England at the same time and met up at the club Tramp in London. We enjoyed the band there that night and hung out with them after the show. Even then, Java was a Joe who was known to speak his mind, and he came right out and told the lead singer, Dick Stewart, that he should think of changing his name; it would cause people to snicker, it was too suggestive, it was a dick name. And from that night until this one, Dick became Rod. (Years later he also persuaded another Stewart — Wang— to change to Dave before forming the Eurythmics). Java has always been a very positive influence on changes in our very faces — attend one of his presentations and you’ll crack an honest smile in no time at all. I might actually be performing there soon as the male part of the backup singing pair in the Craig Ingraham Band, a project I was first involved with in 1973 (when David Benoit was our keyboardist and Phil Harmonic was with us too). Since the female half now resides in San Diego and teaches French at San Diego State and Craig acknowledges that she is his better half, that’s more reason for him to scoot down here from L.A. and spread around the sweet stuff he’s been writing for over 45 years.
Mercy, how time flies (like crap through a goose, as Patton would say). Next month, during the Adams Avenue Street Fair, I might very well be attending my 40th high school reunion, which is taking place in Ocean City, Maryland. My first Eastern Babe Suzi Cox (she’s steadfastly refused to alter her last name) called me from Wyoming last week to remind me about it. We were most excited about reuniting with our friend Ben Burgraff, with whom we shot a truly bitching 8mm movie in 1971, and who’s been a popular street-corner caricaturist in Las Vegas in recent years. I wrote about Ben here over a year ago in a column about our buried time capsule in the Rock Creek woods (where we happened to have shot the film, by the way). Our spirits were soaring for hours after our phone chat, then Suzi called me back the next day with the news that Ben had collapsed in the street and died of a heart attack that morning. So he’ll be staying in Vegas after all.
And it’s been 15 years since my brother Tom (founder of the band Rockola) (father of Chelsii) (my foremost friend) left this world and it still hurts like hell.
As I sorta said, I’m alive as long as I’m doing this thing. Thank you Liz and Kent and all of you reading this for keeping me alive.
If ten more is too much to ask for, I’m eternally grateful for these ten you’ve given me. Bite me anyway.