Saturday, September 28, 2013

Don't Touch My Wang...

When I was twenty years old I found myself living in an efficiency apartment right over Bourbon Street with three other guys. There was Hank VanDenBrook, a warped and perverted artist who had spent many years working as a sculptor in Brazil; Free, a five foot tall anarchist, veteran of many direct political actions and enemy of all classes besides the lower; Steve Chaucer, a friend of mine from Houston who's band Arch Demon Fred I had been the drummer of; and me.

The apartments, called Chez Bourbon, were located directly above Chris Owen's night club, and the legendary New Orleans icon was our landlady. I never met her myself but Steve said that when he went to pay the rent one morning the eighty year old singer answered the door fully made up and wearing a skin tight leather outfit. Isn't that inspiring?

All four of us were raging drunks and the location only served to intensify out debaucherous lifestyle. Every night we would go out and scour Bourbon St. for ground score frozen daiquiris discarded by tourists going into one bar or another. When we had collected as many as we could carry we would bring them up to the apartment, store them in the refrigerator and go back out for more.

Free and I would often sit on a stoop and watch people walk by, "Boushy motherfuckers!" snarled Free, "Look at 'em yukkin' it up while the world burns. I bet they wouldn't help us if we were bleeding out on the sidewalk. All they care about is making enough money so they can come here and get shitfaced drunk and walk around in tit hats that were made by orphans in China."

"Hey look!" I interrupted, "Those drunk girls are leaving their Hand Grenades on that trashcan. Lets move!"

For food we often had only French Bread with ketchup and mustard. If someone should happen to procure something more nourishing the refrigerator was the last place they would think to put it.

"Alright, which one of you motherfuckers drank my milk?" said Hank.

Collective silence and averting of eyes.

"I know one of you scumbags did it you goddamned milk drinkers!"

Steve, ever the diplomat, stepped in to try and defuse the situation, "We honestly don't know who drank your milk, Hank. It could have been any of us. It could have been you for all you know. Last night you could hardly stand up. You shouldn't accuse others of drinking your milk when you, yourself, don't really know."

"It was you wasn't it? You drank my milk you cocksucker!"

It looked like things were about to get ugly so I spoke up, "I did it. I drank your milk. Here's five dollars."

He snatched the five and gave me a dark look as he went out the door.

One day Free came in and told us about a guy he had met from the forth floor, an artist named Lawrence, "I told him I was living here with three other dudes. He said he'd give us fifteen dollars an hour to pose while he draws practice sketches. He wants to keep in shape while he's between portrait commissions. I'm going to go up there and do it tonight."

"So this guy just wants to draw us, huh?" asked Steve, "We just have to sit there?"

"Well, there is one catch. You have to get naked."

"Hmm, I don't know." I said, "Sounds like a bad idea to me. What if he waits until we get naked and then tries to molest us?"

"He made it sound like an art thing, not a pervert thing."

Hank, a brilliant artist and perhaps the most perverse man I've ever known, let out a knowing cackle and leered maniacally with his predatory, bird-like face, "Bwahahahahaha! You're fooling yourself, dude. There isn't any difference. You're gonna' be smoking his pole in no time. You should tell him you'll lick his balls if he gives you an extra five bucks."

"There's no way I'm going to get naked in some strange guy's apartment. I don't care if it is just for art." I said.

"You should go gay Mikey. All the girls would love you. You'll be so covered in pussy juice you'll look like a freshly baked glazed doughnut. If they know you're gay they'll lower their defences and then, when they're not paying attention, you slap the old man-meat on em'. Works every time."

Before I could respond I heard Steve say, "I'll do it. I'll go if you go Free."

"Count me in too." said Hank.

"Well, he said he only wanted guys under thirty." replied Free.


Later that night Free and Steve got back with a case of beer they had scored with their art money. Hank cracked a beer and said, "Well, how was it fellas? Are you going to start dressing in spandex and walking Rampart?"

"Nah, he was kind of weird but he didn't try to have sex with us or anything. And look, he let us keep the sketches."

We all exploded with laughter. The faces looked like Steve and Free but the bodies looked like Greek gods with rippling muscles in place of their scrawny, malnourished frames. Most hilarious of all, he had given them enormous, twelve inch schlongs.

"Jesus Christ" said Hank, "I didn't know you guys were hung like giraffes. Have you ever considered doing pornography?"

"Well, he did exaggerate a little." said Steve. 

"I'll bet! Are you sure you didn't blow this guy?"

They swore that nothing had happened but they were both acting kind of strange about it and I wasn't sure if I could believe them.

A few weeks went by without much action except for a brief but harrowing outbreak of head lice brought in by a couple of hippie girls who crashed on their way to the Rainbow Gathering in Florida. At first I wasn't even tempted by Lawrence's offer, being a modest person by nature, but as the Summer grew hot and the tourist dollars evaporated, so too did my puritan resolve, "Say, Free?"


"Do you think you could set me up an appointment with Lawrence?"

Hank cackled, "Remember what I told you Mikey. Lick the balls!"

I climbed the stairs to the forth floor and knocked on Lawrence's door. After a few seconds he answered, "Hi. you must be Mike. Come right in."

Lawrence was middle aged and blubbery with flowing blonde hair and a pink Polo shirt. I could tell immediately that he was gay but that didn't put me off. I'm not homophobic in the least and, besides, you had to figure that was the case. I went inside.

His apartment was tastefully appointed and immaculately clean, quite unlike our own squalid hole. There was a futon in the middle of the room with a sketchpad and a chair set up next to it.

"Can I get you anything to drink? A beer maybe?"


He got me a Red Stripe and sat in his chair, "Well, you can get undressed out here or you can go in the bathroom and put on a robe."

"I'll just get undressed out here."

As far as I was concerned it was just like a doctor's appointment. I got undressed and reclined on the futon, "Is this alright?"

"Sure, that's perfect." he began to draw.

"So are you from around here Michael?"

"Sort of. I was born in Louisiana but I haven't ever been to the French Quarter as an adult so I'm kind of a local and a tourist all at the same time."

"Do you have a girlfriend?"

"I've been seeing a girl."

"Does she have a nice ass?"

"I like it, yes."

"I love a girl with a nice ass!" he said emphatically.

I wasn't sure what he was getting at so I just took a swig of beer and stayed quiet. He kept sketching.

After awhile he looked at me very intently and said, "You know, you have a great looking penis. It's shaped perfectly."

"Yeah, my junk does look pretty sweet." I said.

"Say, you know who has a great ass? Let me show you this magazine I was looking at earlier today."

"Uh-Oh" I thought. He went into the bathroom and came out with a copy of Penthouse, "Look at this girl. Isn't that the greatest ass you've ever seen?"

"It's alright." I replied nervously.

"Check out the photography by Bob Guccione. He uses this soft filter that makes the girls look fantastic!" he said as he flipped through the pages.

Now this might be hard to believe but I was still somewhat puzzled by his behavior. Why would a gay man have Penthouse magazine in his bathroom? Suddenly I had an epiphany, "Lawrence are you trying to get me to have an erection?!"

"Uh..." he stammered, "Well it's just that you have such a great looking cock and I want to do it justice, you know, draw it at it's full length."

"I'm sorry but I can't do it. You're just going to have to extrapolate."

And then, much to my profound shock and dismay, Lawrence reached down and started fondling my wang.

This was, and still remains, the only sexual contact I have had with a man.

Later at the apartment I told the fellows what happened.

"Bwahahahaha! How did you say it?" asked Hank in undisguised glee.

"I just looked at him very calmly and said, 'Don't touch my wang, Lawrence.'" (This would become a catch phrase for us.)

"How did he react?" asked Steve, also in hysterics.

"He took his hand back fast and got all flustered. He claimed he didn't know what "extrapolate" meant. I said, 'It means to make my dick look bigger in the drawing, not to jerk me off.' He apologized, finished up in a hurry and I got the fuck out of there."

"Did he pay you?" asked Free.

"Yeah, in fact he gave me five dollars extra. He said it was because we went over an hour."

"Ha!" cried Hank, "I knew you were gonna lick his balls!"

Just then my girlfriend Lucy came calling at the intercom and I buzzed her up.

"So how did it go? Did you lose your virginity?"

I told her the story and she, too, thought it was the funniest thing she had ever heard, "Haaaaaa! Let me see the picture."

I showed it to her and she laughed even harder.

"That guy certainly did extrapolate."

"Aw, come on, it's not that exaggerated."

"So you say."

"Actually, he did make mine a little shorter than he made you guys. Wait a minute!" I made the connection, "Did you guys pop a bone for Lawrence?!"

They both looked at the ground sheepishly, "Well he wanted us to for the picture and he was paying us, after all.If you had just got it up for him he wouldn't have had to violate you."

"I can't believe it. You guys are prostitutes. Gay prostitutes."

"I'm not the one who let him give me a hand job."

Lucy sighed impatiently, "So, are we going to go get drunk or what?"

"Look at you! You're awfully eager to spend my hard earned prostitution dollars. I had to let a fat guy touch my shlong for this cash."

She slapped me on the ass and said, "Yeah you right! Bitch better have my money!"

Sunday, September 8, 2013

My Review of the Brown Stuff I Found on the Ground.

I am afraid of death; afraid of ageing. I have been acutely aware of my own mortality since the death of my father many years ago.(we didn't get along) Rather than decrease over the years as I had thought it might, time has only intensified and deepened my fear. Now that I've reached the ripe old age of 34, I know that death looms closer than ever.

The only thing, the only thought, that gives me even a small measure of comfort is the notion that, if I do live into old age (small chance you're thinking), I will finally get to play the roll I was born for, that of a crotchety and cantankerous old man. The kind of guy who tries to cause you physical pain when he shakes your hand and who dismisses everything you say with a gruff retort and furrowed brow. If, in the meantime, I grizzle myself with sufficient vigor, I might hope to eventually approach, however humbly, the tone of the great and irascible old bastards of yore.

Having thus acknowledged that I have not yet attained the kind of authenticity that only advanced age can bring to such an endeavor, I will now engage in a misanthropic diatribe about the current generation of American young people.

What, may I ask, is up with kids these days with their Wyatt Earp mustaches, their macrobiotics and their goddamned dubstep music? Granted the era I grew up in was no Italian Renaissance, but the ghosts of authentic culture from the past still clung perilously to this world and continued to inform the zeitgeist. (Like all those bands in Texas that sounded like the Butthole Surfers) I am fully aware that there could be something I'm missing but the modern mainstream, and even the first few layers underneath, seem to me to be informed by a vapid and shallow sensibility. How else are we to explain the proliferation of bands that revolve around creative marketing rather than creative music and band cultures that revolve around brand identity rather than the sharing of ideas and true fellowship?

American young people gather in urban centers on the weekends and gravitate to whatever club corresponds with their communal aesthetic. Their clique is defined by such trivialities as their style of clothing, what flavor of modern pop music they listen to, and of course, their drug of choice.

Which brings us, albeit in a roundabout fashion, to the brown stuff I found on the ground this morning, behind just such a club, amongst the refuse of last night's debauchery. A crystalline powder in a small plastic bag, the mystery substance, whatever it is, must have been fished out of some poor yupster's pocket by mistake. Perhaps he was reaching for a pen to write down some girl's number and dropped it on the ground without noticing, only to realize later and curse his luck. Or maybe he's laying in the hospital right now drifting in and out of consciousness, whispering to his friends in a moment of clarity, "It was that brown stuff."

Whatever the case, the mystery substance now belongs to me.

Is it wise to snort random substances you find on the ground? Probably not, and I even hesitated for a few minutes while considering the possibly catastrophic consequences. But what validity can The Ground Score have if I'm not willing to walk the walk? When you look at it from that perspective I really have no choice but to ingest the suspicious substance and reliably report the effects to you, the curious reader. And so...

Having ingested said brown substance I will now take notes throughout the day documenting my impressions of the drug. (I had initially intended to transcribe whatever notes I came up with verbatim but this turned out to be impossible. For sake of clarity and readability my notes have been edited and abbreviated.)

Initial Impressions--- The Brown Mystery Substance is apparently an amphetamine based hallucinogen. Early reactions are elevated heart rate and respiration, mild excitement and euphoria, and a minor hint of paranoia. (but that might be because the police are really on to me) Of course, there are all kinds of bizarre "research chemicals" on the market these days and I'm sure there are many that even I have never heard of. If I had to hazard a guess I would say the mystery substance could be Molly, Sassafras, 5MeO-DIPT, 2CT7, 2CB, or possibly toad venom. We'll never know for sure but judging by that dubstep music it must be some fucked up shit.

2 Hours In--- The only thing that matters is our ability as a species to reconcile our differences and gather around the common goals of maximizing our resources here on Earth while putting all of our scientific know-how and engineering capability into colonizing other star systems or, at the very least, finding some other viable sources of energy beyond the Sun. It is too early to tell, but it is possible that at some point in it's evolution the phenomenon known as "life" will be able to have some effect, some say, on the evolution of the universe. It may be that all intelligent species are predisposed to self destruct before they have technology advanced enough to effect events on a cosmic scale, or it could be that such power is ultimately unattainable. But I don't think so. There are physical boundaries to be dealt with and many non-trivial engineering issues to be overcome but I believe that if a sentient species, like our own, could be made as a group to understand the stakes and the possible consequences of inaction, over the ages, progress could be made. Indeed, so far we have already come, but many of our works are tainted with malice and greed. We must excise these cancers if we are to ever take ourselves seriously as a race. In other words, why not aim high? The way to achieve this goal is as follows: Have sex and teach your kids about science.  

4 Hours In--- Maybe the mustache people are actually benevolent and I've allowed myself to be blinded to their basic humanity by superficial details. Perhaps the world is not so black and white as I thought but only appears to be so because we create our own reality. Or maybe the world really is brutal but we just have to radiate love and positivity anyway so at least we can say we're not part of the problem. Maybe in the big scheme of things someone who hates people with mustaches is even worse than people with mustaches. It's just a whimsical little decoration after all. Sure it's silly but maybe those people need mustaches. Maybe the mustache somehow protects them from the horror of the world. Maybe I should try to have more compassion for my fellow man just because they MIGHT have redeeming qualities.

The Come Down--- Ahhh Christ Jesus why do I have to be such a fuck up? What the hell am I trying to prove. I'm a dead man walking. When they finally put me in the ground tell them I did it all for science. See there's that fear of death creeping in again. (It's a drag do you know it?) Human consciousness would seem to have so much more value if only it were more enduring. That's why I'm into the Carl Sagan trip. Even though I, as an individual, am just a flit of dust in the cosmic perspective, I can only hope that my species will somehow make it's mark in the universe. Even if it's just a big "Fuck You" spelled out in asteroids. 

Final Analysis--- Euphoria is only valuable if it is a euphoria born out of knowing. If all you're interested in is euphoria there are better ways to induce it than through psychedelic drugs. A good psychedelic forces you to see the truth about who you really are and your place in the universe. The euphoria comes from being at peace with who you are and learning to rejoice in it. I was half expecting the mystery drug to be a banal party facilitator but it proved to have weight and substance. It induced the good fear. The rich, genetic fear that you have to overcome in order to be one of the tribe. In the modern world there is no need to endure the Ant Ritual or the "Man Called Horse" treatment. The young people have found a new way. 

Today--- That was all written into my notebook yesterday on Sept 7 and today I'm typing it up at the library. I was all set to dismiss the mystery drug and ended up spending the whole day writing about outer space. I came up with a bunch of stuff I left out of the review because I'm going to try to expand it into a science fiction story about a guy who snorts a random substance he finds on the ground and is teleported into another dimension. In conclusion I'd like to add that all of these stunts were performed by professionals and should not be attempted at home.   

Friday, September 6, 2013

Attacked by a Homebum

Well, my big mouth finally got me in trouble and as a result I got my ass kicked , literally, by a drug addicted, mentally ill homeless man.(like myself)

A few days ago I was walking down Brazos St. early in the morning when I saw him standing outside the Breakfast Taco Bar. I've been seeing him for over a year now, a huge black guy who never bathes, changes clothes, or, from what I can tell, ever leaves the three block radius around Brazos St. I call him the Ghost because I like to think he's the spirit of a schizophrenic bum who was murdered on Brazos St. years ago, and only I can see him. The Ghost is always talking to himself and staring off into space and, when he's feeling lively, he goes to the corner and tries to get people to give him money for tacos. He is a menacing presence and obviously enjoys using his size to intimidate people.

As I walked up on him the other day, I sensed from his body language that he was in a waking state and feeling more belligerent than usual. Sure enough as I was trying to pass him he got directly in my path and said, "Hey man, where are all the drugs at? Where's all that good weed?"

Now, the truth is I'm kind of an asshole. I try to stay out of people's way and to avoid confrontation in general but if some doofus bothers me in a public place I have no problem with telling him what I think. I'm especially irritable in the morning and so when the Ghost asked me what I felt was a stupid question I responded, "If you don't know where the weed's at by now maybe you should go back and live with your mother."

His reaction was instantaneous, "Hey, fuck you, you mother fucker!" As I walked away he yelled threats and curses at me, "I'm gonna fuck you up. You're a dog on the ground. I'm gonna fuck you up you piece of shit!"

I didn't think anything of it. Maniacs threaten you all the time and nothing ever comes of it. I did note, however, that he was still watching me after I had gotten several blocks away.

A week passed in relative peace until today as I was walking down Piss Alley and saw the Ghost walking towards me from the other direction. I had zero apprehension. The guy is an obvious powerhouse but also slow and stupid. Besides, I figured there was a good chance he would think I was just a hallucination. As we got closer he gave no indication of recognition until our paths crossed. Then he looked at me and said, "I should knock your head of right now you motherfucker!"

With that he swung at my head with a wild right hook. Like I said, this dude is very large; his meat hook is half the size of my entire body. I'm no master of self defense but somehow I dodged out of the way while landing a punch of my own to his abdomen. My blow had no effect. I might as well have been punching three hundred pounds of damp clay. I turned to run away and as I fled he landed a kick square in my ass. It was a solid blow but didn't slow me down or cause much pain. Within a few seconds I was far enough away that there was no chance of the Ghost catching me. I turned to face my attacker, "Good work Weirdzilla. You just made an enemy for life."

He looked at me and said, "Why are you running you coward? You know why? It's because your ancestors were afraid of women. They were afraid of women and they set us against each other. You're afraid because of your ancestors. You're afraid of women!"

"I'm not afraid of women you nutcase, I'm afraid of drug addicted lunatics who physically attack me. There's no shame in that. Any sane person would run from you."

"You're a dog" he replied, "A dog on the ground. Your ancestors were afraid of women you coward."

"Whatever you say crazy man. You don't know where I sleep. I'll see you tomorrow passed out on the bus-stop at 6th and Brazos. I'm gonna kick your ass and have you arrested before you take your morning dump."

With that he let out a brutal war cry and started running at me with surprising speed. I took off down the alley and easily  got away coming out at the corner of 7th and Trinity right by the church. I waited a few moments and looked back down the alley but there was no sign of the Ghost.

 I'm not really going to hunt the guy down in his sleep but I know that he's out there even as we speak, haunting Brazos Street, angling for tacos, and plotting my destruction. Thanks to my acid wit I now have one more enemy to watch out for; one more danger to avoid. The obvious moral of the story is that when a maniac asks you where to score drugs, no matter how rudely, just tell him where they're at.

UPDATE Sept. 7--- Today I had a change of heart and went over to the taco bar and apologized to the guy for talking shit to him and he apologized to me for kicking me in the ass. We both agreed that it was mostly the heat that got us riled. We're friends now. His name is Chris. I asked him, "Seriously though, what did you mean when you said my ancestors were afraid of women and that's why we were fighting?"

He said, "Your ancestors were afraid of their women so they didn't have enough children to work the land for them. That's why they had to enslave black people. I'm not sure if that was the case with your ancestors, they mighta' just been fucked up in the head."

Monday, August 12, 2013

My Review of Ayahuasca

I've been experimenting with psychedelic drugs since I was a teenager but the peak of my experience came when I was in my early twenties working at Masquerade Fantasy on Decatur Street where we made and sold hand painted leather masks in the Italian style. The owner was a big, eccentric drunk guy who always wore Hawaiian shirts and would ride around the Quarter on his electric scooter hitting all the bars. This fellow wasn't a strict boss and was frequently out of town, so I would often live in his mask shop for weeks at a time presiding over the place by day and having raucous parties by night.

As it happened it was right at this time that an old friend of mine started up an herbal entheogen business and began importing exotic hallucinogens from all over the world. From Salvia Divinorum to Peruvian Torch Cactus to powdered toad venom, I did it all sitting behind the counter of the mask shop listening to my White Album and Live at Leads tapes for the ten thousandth time.

The Ayahuasca came already brewed in a two liter 7-UP bottle. I couldn't help but think of poor Bill Burroughs slogging through the jungles of South America and eventually contracting worms in search of the same thrill. In the modern world the most exotic drugs you've never heard of are just a mouse click away.

Now back then when I had access to all these weird drugs I have to admit that I was irresponsible. I would give the stuff away at parties and festivals in a haphazard fashion. For example I went to Jazz Fest one year with an ounce of Salvia 10x and handed it out like candy to whoever wanted it. In retrospect I realize that kind of freewheeling behavior was unwise and it did occasionally cause problems.

One time I gave a gutter punk a hit of 10x (which is 10 times stronger than raw Salvia) and he sprinted off down the street into the night. The next day I saw him and a friend sitting on a stoop. When he saw me he told his friend, "Watch out for this guy. Last night he drove me completely insane."

I was a madman on the loose and needed to be stopped but I had yet to learn this lesson when I got my bottle of Ayahuasca. I immediately offered some to a couple of gutter punk friends.

"What the fuck is it?"

"It's a shaman's brew from South America. A mixture of two plants. One plant contains the DMT and the other enables your brain to process it."

"It smells like shit. Have you tried it?"

"No, I have to go to work today. Supposedly this stuff is pretty potent. Like, "talk to aliens" potent. I'm going to drink some after I close up tonight."

"Alright, hook me up.", said the Alpha punk. The Beta punk concurred.

We went down to the mask shop and I locked the door behind us and drew the curtains. I know it's hard to believe someone would give me the keys to their business but I swear it's true.

"How much are we supposed to drink?"

"Not much. Just a couple swallows."

I poured the vile liquid into plastic go-cups and the punks choked it down. Then we sat around and smoked a joint while they waited for the DMT to take effect.

It wasn't long before the punks started looking green around the gills and within twenty minutes they were clearly feeling it. They were slurring their words and flailing around and one of them kept laughing maniacally. They started to get nervous. The mask shop can be a menacing place with all those frogs and witches and ducks glaring at you in the florescent light.

Trained spiritual guru that I am I recognized their agitation as a symptom of sensory overload and suggested that they go lay down in the bathroom. The mask shop used to be an apartment and had a pleasant, spacious bathroom with a functioning tub. I got the punks situated, closed the door and put on "Dear Prudence" from the White Album which always has a soothing effect during a heavy trip. Then I opened the curtains, flipped around the sign, unlocked the door and started making a pig mask out of leather.

It was about an hour later that my coworkers Mindy and Sylvia arrived for work. Mindy was a former model who had moved to New Orleans from Florida with her boyfriend Dave. Sylvia was a cheerful and gregarious native deeply involved in the local bar culture. By then they were both accustomed to, and I'd like to think highly amused by, my stupid antics. Neither of them were particularly surprised when I told them about the comatose punks in the bathroom.

After the usual pleasantries I said to them in an offhand way, "Oh, I almost forgot, there are a couple of gutter punks writhing around on the bathroom floor. I gave them some witches brew from South America and apparently it's pretty intense."

"You saved some for us right?"

"Of course, but I thought we could do it at your apartment after work."

"Hell yeah! Dave won't mind."

The gutter punks finally came to after a couple hours. They seemed no worse for the wear.
"Good call putting us in the bathroom man. I puked twice. That's some crazy dope you got there. Insane visuals. At first I didn't know what was happening. I could hardly move. It was fucking great!"

Another successful experiment.

After work we locked up and walked over to Mindy's house off of Eylsian Fields. Dave wasn't home so we lit the Nag Champa and I poured us three small doses from the sacred 7-UP bottle of foul tasting enlightenment. That stuff was pretty bitter but we got it down.

I'm going to forgo rating the categories by number. It seems so arbitrary. I'll just list some important points about the experience and comment on them.

Authenticity--- In all truth, my Ayahuasca was not brewed up by witch doctors in South America but by sketchy looking guys with long hair and dark glasses in the French Quarter. I know what ingredients they used and what they were supposed to do but I don't know if they followed the recipe carefully or just winged it together. I doubt they prayed over it. The dose I took was about four ounces and lasted for three peak hours with two hours of come down. I've heard tell of Ayahuasca trips lasting for eight or nine hours, but like I said, these guys weren't exactly chemists.

The "Oh shit! I took too much!" Factor--- The first effect I noticed from the drink was a sudden and certain panic that I had taken too much. The room started spinning and my heart was beating out of my chest. The fear was overwhelming. The incense and trippy music Mindy put on the stereo wasn't helping either. Mindy must have been feeling the same way because she got up, went into her bedroom, and closed the door. Sylvia was, as usual, in a state of pure bliss. Not wanting to disturb her with my frantic vibrations I went out on the balcony which was overflowing with plants. It really felt like the jungle. I curled up into the fetal position on the ground and began to recite the Litany Against Fear.

The Power of ONE!!!--- After writhing around for what seemed like hours, but was probably more like forty five minutes, I started to relax a bit and became more aware of my surroundings. I was still laying on Mindy's balcony surrounded by plants in full bloom. Mindy's cat, Sid Vicious, was staring at me with mild curiosity. I was now profoundly struck by the beauty that had been created on that balcony as an act of pure will. This jungle I was in was not to be taken for granted but had been painstakingly eked into existence in this unlikely place, through careful nurturing and diligence. Did Mindy realize the profundity of what she had made?

The cat was a product of the ages. Bred down from countless generations to be as pleasant and agreeable to my sensibilities as possible. In the forth dimension he looked like a vastly long cat-snake that got cuter and cuter the closer you got to the head. He seemed to know I was in a strange mood.

Even the mosquitoes swirling around me were my friends. I let them land on me then shooed them away without killing them knowing that they too were part of the tapestry of the universe that comprises all things.
I sat there in a blissed out revelry for maybe an hour or two before the intensity began to subside and I again felt I could handle human company.  

The Come Down--- Ayahuasca is one of those drugs that makes you thank god you're still alive. I went into the living room and Sylvia was still sitting in the same spot on the couch. She gave me a knowing look.

"Holy shit dude!", she said shaking her head in amazement.

"I know what you mean. I just took a tour of the cat's genetic history."

Mindy came out of her room and we all shared a kind of "high five" moment. We had survived again.

"I'm going to say that this was more intense than the toad venom but not as crazy as the cactus.", said Mindy.

"Yeah" agreed Sylvia, "This was more intense at the peak but the cactus lasted much longer."

"So do you think you would ever want to do it again?", I asked them.

"Hell fucking no! Just like most of the stuff you come up with it's fun to do once but not something you want to do every day. There's a reason the classic drugs never go out of style."

We all cracked a cold beer and drank to that.

Monday, August 5, 2013

The Stories Behind My Songs

Every song has a story behind it and when you write songs as fucked up as mine, they sometimes have pretty good stories behind them. One of my main goals as a song writer has always been to push social boundaries and to show that many of the things that people take very seriously,like the devil for example are,in fact,completely ridiculous. Here are the stories behind all of the songs that appear on my albums The Hippie Bum and Sex at the Zoo with introductions explaining when and how they were recorded.

THE HIPPIE BUM--- I wrote all of the songs that would appear on The Hippie Bum when I was in my late teens and early twenties hitchhiking around the country, living in squats and playing music on the street every day. Most of the songs were written on Pearl St. in Boulder Colorado, 6th St. in Austin Texas, and Decatur St. in New Orleans. Playing street music is what made the whole thing come together. You only have ten seconds to get the attention of someone walking by on the street so every word out of your mouth has to be some kind of hook. I discovered that outrageous humor was a great way to kill two birds with one stone in that you could horribly offend the conservative couple walking by while at the same time delighting the teenagers walking behind them. It was this dichotomy that provided the inspiration for my entire song writing approach. I would test out new songs on the street kids in town and if they laughed I knew I had a winner.

I recorded The Hippie Bum at Minimum Wage Studios in New Orleans in 2002 and started selling it in 2003. Over time I've sold about 7000 copies right out of my guitar case. The album, which was engineered by Lance Koehler, was recorded over 2 days and mixed on the third. I played all of the instruments on the tracks with the exception of “Going to the Cave” on which Lance Koehler played percussion and Ray Bong played percussion and drum synth. I produced the album with lots of input from Lance and Ray. I think I preform some of the songs better now but 10 years latter I'm still happy with how the album stands up.

The Poop Eating Gnomes--- To give you an impression of how warped my perceptions are, I actually wrote this song to impress a girl. Needless to say I was way off. She was driving her van from Connecticut to the West Coast on a winding route and meandering path, smelling the flowers along the way. We hooked up in New Orleans (I had known her for years) and we decided that I would join her for the trip. We went through Austin, where I made 300$ playing on 6th street at the South By South West music festival. We went through New Mexico and Arizona and the Grand Canyon and all that shit. Round about the time we got to Utah things were looking pretty grim for our relationship. My money was running out and she made it perfectly clear that she wasn't pulling any dead weight. She went “ice queen” on me pretty quick and within a day or two was no longer laughing at my jokes. The death knell. One day in Moab while she was off hiking in the red rocks I wrote The Poop Eating Gnomes as a way to try and win back her affections. To make a long story short, it didn't work and it was a moot point because the next day we got pulled over by the pigs, I was arrested for marijuana possession and paraphernalia, did fifty days in Buncombe County Jail, and we never saw or heard from each other again. One interesting point is that there was a lot of argument in the studio about whether or not this should be the first song on the album. Lance and Ray both thought that the (slightly) more commercial “I Love Being A Homeless Bum” should lead but I stood firm. I wanted the first track to be in your face, “Poop Eating Gnomes. Deal with it.”. Maybe I'd have sold 8000 if I'd have listened to them.

I Love Being a Homeless Bum--- One of my most requested songs, I wrote the chorus in Renaissance Square in Austin and then wrote the rest a year later in Jackson Square in New Orleans. Something about Squares gets me going I guess. The truth is that, at the time I wrote it, I didn't really love being a homeless bum much at all. I was more or less constantly depressed and I wrote this song as a way to try and cheer myself up. Now all these years later I'm still homeless and I actually do kind of love it. Or maybe I'm just fooling myself but what difference does it make? Over the years I have, at times, lived in apartments and houses and sometimes people (mostly gutter punks) have questioned whether I'm homeless enough for the song to be sincere. Apparently I have to live in a ditch the rest of my life to remain authentic. By way of reassuring the skeptical all I can say is that if you can't by listening to my songs tell that I know what I'm talking about, maybe you're the one who's not homeless enough.

 New Orleans City Jail--- The truth is, the original name of this song was “Buncombe County Jail”. Remember how I told you I got jacked by the pigs for possession and did fifty days jail? They take “the weed” seriously in Utah. It was the longest time I have ever been locked up, but it was in some ways the most fun because of the unbelievably creative and intelligent class of criminals they had in there. In our cell block there was a guy who invented board games for us to play on construction paper, a Buddhist who had "painted" a giant ohm symbol on the ceiling of his cell in toothpaste, a secretly gay guy who made collages out of fashion magazines which were much cooler than you might think, a guy who made hooch out of juice drinks, and me. The Buddhist was actually in for going into an open court session with a fake bomb. He was looking at 5 years. We wound up spending Easter in there and the secretly gay guy hid plastic eggs that the guards had given us all over the cell block. We went and hunted for the eggs then he dressed as Arial from the Little Mermaid using a big laundry bag for a tail and spent a good hour singing songs from the movie as we all drank jail house swill. It was quite a spectacle. It was in that environment that I wrote down the words to what would become “New Orleans City Jail”. I made up the music on my guitar the day I was released. When I go from town to town I learn the name of their jail and just put it in the song. The concept is universal. While I was in I also wrote a reggae song call “It's All Bad”. I might get around to recording it one day.

Crazy Rachel--- One of my personal favorites, this song has traditionally been quite popular with girls named Rachel. If you've hung out for any length of time in the dank underbelly of New Orleans, you've probably met, or possibly been attacked by, Crazy Rachel at one point or another. Rachel is totally unpredictable. The first time I met her she was friendly and engaging and we talked for several hours down by the river. The next time I met her she threw a full can of beer at my head. The night I wrote the song, I was walking through Jackson Square and saw a bunch of punks gathered around watching a fight. When I got up close I saw that Rachel had a big punk guy pinned to the ground, gripping him in a merciless choke hold. His face was turning red and you could tell he was about to pass out. Rachel was laughing like a mad scientist and kept screaming in the guy's ear, “Kinda hurts to breath doesn't it? KINDA HURTS TO BREATH DOESN'T IT?”. The punks thought this was the funniest thing they had ever seen and I had to admit it was pretty choice. I went home and wrote the song figuring that if anyone deserved a song it was her. The album got around and eventually Rachel got a copy and heard the song. Now whenever she sees me she makes me play it for her but pretends she doesn't like it. She comes up and says in her most menacing voice, “Play that song you wrote about me, fuckin' asshole.”
I play it for her and she says, “I sang the lyrics to my daughter and it made her cry.”
“Well, I guess there's no higher praise than that.”, I replied.
She stalks off after calling me an asshole again but I know that deep down she secretly loves the song because she hasn't attacked me in years. I kinda miss it.

I Love the Devil--- My big hit. “I Love the Devil” came from several different inspirations. First of all I was making fun of Pantera. I've always thought that big, tattooed white guys playing heavy metal was hilarious and Pantera always seemed to me like the most unintentionally funny band of all time. All the devil noises in the middle are my take on Phil Anselmo's vocal delivery.  As for the lyrics, it's basically me saying all the most evil stuff I can think of. When I first started playing the song it was completely free form. The part about sacrificing babies was always in there but other than that it changed every time. It wasn't until I got into the studio and was just about to record my vocal that I took a sheet of paper and wrote down the words that would be in the song from then on out. In a way, it used to have more energy when it was improvised but what can you do? The other main idea behind the song was to write a catchy song about the devil that people could sing along to as opposed to most songs about the devil which are so fast and loud that you can't even tell what they're saying. When I'm in the right mood this is still my favorite song to play.

The Burning Bush--- Originally, this song was written on keyboard and was meant to have a more up tempo rock vibe but for some reason I decided to slow it down for the album and play it on guitar. This is one of the rare instances of my having vague, hard to interpret song lyrics. There is no way anyone would ever guess from listening to it that this song is about a girl who shot fire out of her vagina as a circus routine. She was part of a troop that was pretty big in the New Orleans underground in the early two thousands and all of their acts had something to do with their genitals. One would hang a six pack of beer from hooks in her labia, one would shove a power drill up his wang, one gargled his own piss and, most inspiring to me, one shot fire out of her vagina. What a perfect symbol! I wasn't really in love with the girl, I just thought she was super hot and had a great act. Hilariously, her boyfriend was kind of pissed when he heard the song and gave me  some shit about it, kind of jokingly but kind of not. I told him, “Look dude, if your girlfriend shoots fire out of her vagina and you let someone else beat you to writing a song about it, that's on you.”

Kinky Sex With You--- I wrote this one when I was 17 making it the earliest composition on the album.   Frankly, I think it shows, though it has had it's share of fans over the years. The impetus for this song was this friend of mine who had a super hot girlfriend and a super hot sister, both of whom I would have liked to have had kinky sex with. I had the first few lines of the song but couldn't think of anywhere to go with it. One day while riding on the bus to my job doing political polls on the telephone it hit me that the song didn't have to be about the guy's girlfriend and sister but could be about the concept of kinky sex in general. I made up the rest of the words in my head right there on the bus and played it on guitar when I got home that night. That was an important early lesson in letting a song go where it wants to instead of forcing it to be something it's not. Kind of a crude song but not bad for a beginner. The gutter punk girls liked it.

Glue Head Girlfriend--- This was one of the first songs I wrote on keyboard after learning to play. I bought a super cheep wind organ, which is kind of like an electric accordion laid out in keyboard form, for thirty bucks at an antique shop on Decatur St.. I was working at a mask shop there making and selling Italian style leather masks for this big, fat, drug addict guy who would dress in Hawaiian shirts and ride around the French Quarter on an electric scooter. He was pretty lax with his managerial duties and for several months I lived in his mask shop having crazy parties every night. I brought the wind organ to the shop and wrote songs late, after people had gone home. “Glue Head Girlfriend” started as an homage to this gutter punk girl that would huff paint and glue down by the river. She always silver paint on her face because metallic paints supposedly give you a better buzz. For some reason this girl fell in love with me and would try to get close to me at parties and stuff. I wasn't attracted to her and resisted her advances but when I got the song idea I knew I had to follow it through to it's logical conclusion. I've never been able to write a good song about love when I was actually in love because they all come out too cheesy and sentimental. To really nail a love song you have to be emotionally detached. This, along with “The Burning Bush” is the only song that survived the mask shop period as most of them were just too fucked up and over the line. One title that got axed was “I Want to Have Sex With Your Wife” after I noticed the chilling effect it would have on whatever group I played it for. Some of the songs I won't even talk about. I was still testing the waters of how far I could or should go.

Going to the Cave---  This is my favorite recording on the album and one of my favorites to play. It was a more collaborative effort than most of the others in that it was co-written with Ray Bong, with Lance Koehler providing much in the way of production and musical expertise. Ray and I had discussed the concepts behind the song for weeks, like moving to a cave, taking your dog and a shotgun in order to escape from society and become self sufficient in preparation for the apocalypse as a metaphor for social alienation, and talked about writing a song based on the ideas. We batted it around at jam sessions but nothing much came of it until one night when we went to go see the jam band moe. at the Howlin' Wolf. After the show Ray raved on and on about how great the performance was but I hadn't enjoyed it. I felt that they jammed directionlessly in ways that were totally irrelevant to the “song” they were supposedly playing, not incorporating it tastefully as a good jam band would. We were both pretty drunk and the argument got heated. When he finally dropped me off at the flop house I went upstairs determined to prove that I knew what I was talking about and that he was full of shit. I plugged in my four-track recorder and started laying down keyboard tracks and writing down lyrics. By the time the sun came up I had the song finished. Most of the time I have to be feeling happy to write a decent song but this is a rare occasion when a pretty good one was motivated by revenge.

Draft Dodger Rag--- I included this song by Phil Ochs on my album partly because I love the song but also because I wanted to show that my music was based on the folk musical tradition and not some bullshit like “Weird Al” Yankovic” or Tenacious D. Back when all the other kids were grinding away on Slayer riffs I was learning Bob Dylan and (old) Leonard Cohen songs on my acoustic guitar. I always loved Phil Ochs because of his beautiful, classic voice, his dexterous guitar picking and his bitingly clever hatred of the man. Unfortunately, Phil killed himself in 1976 at the age of 36, but I and lots of other people still sing his songs and struggle to play them half as good as he did.

Beautiful Hippie Princess--- This one's another collaboration, written with Brian Aurther back when I was 19 living on the streets of New Orleans. I've always been fascinated by hippie girls and blown away by how beautiful they are. Brian felt the same way, and the day we wrote “Beautiful Hippie Princess” we had met a particularly beautiful one at a homebum feed down at the gravel lot. Her street name was something ridiculous like “Piranha”. We went down to the river and drank malt liquor while trading verses back and forth and pretty soon we had the song. I can't remember who wrote each individual line but I can say for sure I came up the music because I've always been into the whole country-folk vibe. I've since played the song for many hippie girls and the response has been largely positive.

Money For Drugs--- This song was the bread and butter of my street act for years. If you've walked down Decatur at any point between 2001 and 2008 you've probably heard me play it in person. One day it just popped into existence while I was busking and I immediately started making mad bank. I would play this song over and over as people were walking by and if someone tipped me a dollar I would offer to play them one of my “real” songs and then they would usually buy an album or at least tip me another buck or two. I thought I had found my life's work until Katrina fucked up my hustle in 2005. After the hurricane I kept at it for a few more years but, for me at least, it would never be the same in terms of money. During festivals pre-Katrina, I would have impromptu parties form around me on the sidewalk and everyone would be sing along and contribute to the energy of the scene which made it fun and easy to make living. For some reason that stopped happening after the hurricane and people started being much tighter with their cash. I still look back on it as the highlight of my career because it was so organic and seemed to speak to the true purpose of street culture. After a while it got to be a drag trying to compete with the new t-shirt shops popping up every day and the horrible canned “Zydeco” music they pump out at maximum volume. It didn't help to realize that most of the yuppie tourists didn't know the difference between real culture and fake culture and didn't really care besides. From what I understand the scene has since come back in full force so maybe I'll go back one day and play on Decatur for old times sake.

Hip Hop Medley--- Obviously, I didn't write the words to this one, I just took some rap songs and “white-boyed” them up for comedic effect. I assumed a lot of black people walking by on the street would think it was hilarious and it turned out I was right. The fact that so many rap songs are inherently funny made it pretty easy to crank this one out once I got the basic idea. I would bet that other comedy musicians have “written” similar songs because there are few things funnier than a white dude trying to be “gangsta”.

They're Red Hot--- The reason this song is on the album is that Ray Bong was there while I was recording it, yelling out the names of songs between takes. I kept telling him to be quite, that I already knew what songs I wanted to do, but he wouldn't listen. So here is my rudimentary take on a song popularized by Robert Johnson in which I mess up the words and skip most of the song because I didn't really know it. What the hell, it makes a fine coda. Having said that, it was good to have Ray there to bounce ideas off of even if I almost never followed his advice.

SEX AT THE ZOO--- The songs that would comprise Sex at the Zoo were written between 2001 and 2006, right in the heart of George Bush's reign as President. I can remember reading the paper in those days and seething with rage at whatever stupid bullshit he was doing or saying that day. I actually canceled my subscription because it was making me so angry all the time. The album was recorded at Sound Mike's studio in Houston Tx, and unlike the first one, it was a bit of a slog. Sound Mike and I had some different ideas about how the album should sound and working it out was a bit of a struggle. It's unquestionable, though, that he made certain tracks much better than they would have been otherwise. This album differs from my first in that I got other musicians to play a lot of the tracks. Eric “Lief” Moore played drums, bass and lead guitar on most of the tracks and Olivia Dvorack sang on several and played kazoo on Sex at the Zoo. I played all the rhythm guitar, keyboards, and banjo and played bass on I Just Want Your Booty. The main argument I had with Mike was about the layering of the vocals. I thought it should be minimal but he kind of went nuts with. It really worked on some songs though so credit where credit is due.

I don't think my song writing approach changed much between my first album and this one. I guess maybe the songs are a bit more structured. An interesting bit of trivia is that, although obscene by many standards, there are no curse words on the entire album. How that happened I have no idea.

Let's Get the Baby High--- I wrote this song to honor the birth of my favorite drug dealer's first child. I was wracking my brain trying to think of something tasteful and appropriate when it occurred to me to combine his work and his family life. This was one of those songs where I knew it would go over the line for some people and asked myself several times while writing it, “Is it OK to sing about this? Is it OK to sing about getting babies high?”. As I expected the answer was “No” for some people. I usually like offending people with my music but only for the right reasons, when I intend to. It irritates me when people get offended by this song because it is so transparently farcical. I mean, of course you shouldn't really get a baby high. It's a joke. Anyone that needs me to tell them that was going to fuck up their kids anyway. At any rate, plenty of parents, including the ones I wrote it for, have told me they like the song. I really like Olivia's backing vocals on this one and the keyboard sound we got using a fairly cheep little Korg which is why I had it lead the album. Also because you can't tell how fucked up the song is until you get to the chorus.

Laura's Bush--- This is one of my only overtly political songs. Like I said, I was very unhappy about George W. and I knew I would eventually have to write some kind of song about him. Before he got elected I had never been that interested in politics. I followed the elections and all but it was W. who really got me paying attention which is probably true for a lot of people my age. I don't remember exactly when I got the idea for this song but I remember that for a long time before I wrote it I was telling people how bad I wanted to sleep with Bush's wife (and daughters) just to fuck with him. The guitar riff is something I had been playing for years and improvising over so I finally put it in a proper song. My favorite part is the breakdown in the middle where I name all the different parts of the White House Laura and I are gonna do “it” in. My dream was that one day, somehow, W. would hear the song himself and be super offended by it. Offended, but somehow unable to track me down. I really like this one but the problem with it, and most political material, is that it gets dated quickly. It's simply not as poignant now that Bush is no longer in office. Singing about banging Michelle Obama just wouldn't be the same.

Sex at the Zoo--- This one came out of a visit to the Audubon Zoo. I wish I could tell you that I got kicked out for breaking into the primate house and slapping the old man meat on an orangutan but, in reality, I only fantasized about it.  A simple little call and response number, once I came up with the premise all I had to do was think of which zoo animals it would be funniest to have sex with and the song wrote itself. It just seamed so obvious. Sex is funny, animals are funny, sex with animals is fucking hilarious, so sex with exotic zoo animals must surely be the funniest thing ever. This was one of those songs where I couldn't believe I was the only person to ever think of it. How could it be? It was always floating out there in the aether, just waiting for someone as warped as me to channel it into reality. This was one example of Mike's vocal layering technique being used to good effect and, as a result, this is my favorite recording on the album.

The Stink--- I usually start out with the lyrics to a song but with this one I had the music for a while before I put words to it. Also, this is a rare instance of me writing a song in a minor key.(A)  In my head I imagine it being sung by the evil sounding guy who sings in the Grinch cartoon. Some people have told me they don't like the song because it about stinking and stinking is, like, gross. Well, ya know, life is gross. Lots of modern music is about pretty people who don't stink singing about how great they are and I want to be the antithesis of that. Anyway, it's artistic license, I don't really stink all that bad.

Anal Butt Love--- I don't want to cop out here but I honestly can't remember writing this song. Frankly it's surprising that this is the only one. A funny thing about it is that when I do my show in bars sometimes people come up and ask me afterward if I'm gay because of the last verse. I mean, after all the crazy shit I sing about (sex with animals, purposely contracting STDs, poop eating gnomes, etc.) the question in their minds is, “Are you gay?” Believe it or not, listening to it now I'm pretty sure it was inspired by Willie Nelson's version of the gospel song, “I Couldn't Believe It Was True”. There are several songs on Sex at the Zoo, and this is one, where I feel the addition of the female vocal adds a whole new level humor and/or weirdness.

I Just Want Your Booty--- This is one of the two songs on the album that I played all the instruments on and one of the only songs I've ever written on an electric guitar. For this one the music and the lyrics came all at once and just meshed together immediately. I was playing around with a wah pedal and came up with the riff, and the words just seemed to suggest themselves. The song is meant to be ironic, you can't just have someones booty after all, but people have a tendency to take it at face value which irritates me. One film maker guy made a video for the song full of stereotypical, sexist cliches which I was so embarrassed by that I completely disowned the project. Lot's of shots of girls dancing in hot outfits and shit like that. If I was to do a video of the song, it would consist only of shot after shot of girl's booties, one after another until they become hypnotic and stopped meaning anything sexual, as a comment on the ridiculousness of  objectification. I don't know, maybe I'm misjudging the material, but I know I'm not misjudging the video which is why it's not included in this package. I do like the song, though, and like to think it has a bit of a Prince vibe.

Smokin' Crack--- I wish I could say that I am the white boy that loves smoking crack but I actually wrote this one about a friend of mine and changed it to first person for convenience sake. The guy's name was Phoenix. He would hustle all day making palm frond roses in the French Quarter and then go blow his wad on crack every night. I went with him to his crack house one time and smoked with him as kind of a “National Geographic” experience. The thing about Phoenix was that he was such a happy go lucky, positive dude. He was always in a good mood. He loved hustling roses on the street and he loved smoking crack as much as anyone has ever loved anything. It was infectious, which is why I had to write the song. At the risk of sounding immodest, I have to say I think this is the best song I've ever written. It's hard for me to imagine someone doing a better job with the subject matter. When I was writing it my neighbor told me that he heard me playing in his room and that I kept having to stop because I was laughing so hard. That's usually a good sign.

Horse Cop---  Anyone who knows me knows I hate authority and that I fucking despise the police. It's hard to imagine anyone who's spent much time on the streets of New Orleans thinks too highly of them. You got your car patrol cops, your foot patrol cops, your undercover cops, your bike cops and, last but not least, you got your horse cops. I've always felt it was especially evil for them to co-opt unsuspecting animals into their sick war against humanity. I came up with “Horse Cop” during Jazz Fest one year when it seemed like they were just everywhere. Once I realized that “swine” rhymed with “equine” I knew I was on to something. Some people have asked me why I didn't sing the song myself on the album, but in fact, I'm singing the whole time. My vocal is a very subtle whisper in the background behind Olivia's lead. It's easy to hear if you know to listen for it. I just thought this song would be a good opportunity to showcase Olivia's amazing vocal range. I want to say that although the words “fag” and “dike” appear in this song, I'm not homophobic or anti-gay in any way. I included those words only because I felt police would be offended by them. I'll admit it's kind of questionable and that if I was writing the song now I might think of some alternative but believe I will let the song stand as it is. I would argue that those words are funny in this particular context.

Crabs and Pubic Lice--- “Crabs and Pubic Lice” was, like “The Stink”, my attempt to write the exact opposite kind of song that guys usually write to try and impress girls. Go to any open mic. and you'll see tons of dudes passionately performing tunes designed, in they're minds at least, to portray themselves as sensitive guys with lots of attractive qualities. My idea was to write a song that any girl would be repulsed by, and by virtue of reverse psychology, attracted to. My theory turned out to be correct because from the first time I started playing the song in Jackson Square I could tell lots of girls were amused by it. This is another song that benefits greatly from the added dynamic of a female vocal and I think Olivia sounds particularly good on it.

VaticaN.A.M.B.L.A--- Yeah, ya know, I just can't get over the whole “Catholic priests molesting children” thing. It strikes me as a significant detail. Lots of people have laughingly told me how this song is “just wrong” over the years but I don't see it that way at all. Convincing people you're some kind of liaison between them and the creator of the universe and using that position to indulge your bizarre and perverted sex fantasies is “just wrong”. Scathing ridicule of such people in the form of a catchy song is right on the money. These guys don't even have to pay taxes and I'm supposed to spare their feelings regarding their widely known, barely repressed pedophilia? Give me a break. They should be kicked out of their parishes and tarred and feathered on national television. For a while I was thinking of writing a musical about the subject and might still if I can come up with a good story. My favorite part the song is the thing about eating meat on Friday.

You Don't Suck Blood, You Just Suck--- Ah, the Vampire scene of late 90's early 2000's New Orleans. The whole French Quarter was overrun with prosthetic fang wearing kids with spooky contact lenses and black clothes they had bought at Gargoyle's. Kids who lived on the street would save up the money they panhandled and buy 400$ shoes that went up to their chins. To me this seemed like total insanity. In my view, the main thing that separated Vampire kids from Goths (whom the Vampire kids felt greatly superior to) is that Goths had a sense of humor about how ridiculous they were whereas Vampires took themselves quite seriously. They would walk by me with their noses turned up to the sky. It was only a matter of time before I wrote this song to irritate them and irritate them it did. I was “threatened” by butt-hurt Vampires on more than one occasion. I put “threatened” in quotation marks because these Vampire kids were possible the biggest dorks I've ever seen in my life. Their idea of a threat was to say, “This is your first warning. You only get 3.”. Three warnings?!?! You got to be shitting me! The guys that hang outside Port Authority they were not. I wrote the song on the acoustic guitar and that version is kind of folk-country, but for the album I used a cheesy pre-sequenced keyboard line as a way to make fun of the horrible dance music they listened to. And you gotta love the title.

Well that's it. I've got lots of other songs but those are the only ones I've managed to record. If you've read this far you must be a true fan so thank you for your interest in my work. I honestly believe that I have the coolest fans in world.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Jacked Up By The Pigs

One of my main personal rules for street living is to be as mobile as possible and to never get overly attached to one camp no matter how nice it is. It's natural to want the security of a home base, but the reality of the lifestyle is that it is not practical for that base to be permanent. At any moment the police could raid you or your camp could be invaded by other bums. Not to mention the fact that anyone could sneak up and kill you in your sleep.

I believe it is better to pare down to the necessities and take your home with you, mentally, wherever you go. But you'll frequently see green proto-homebums, fresh to the streets, building fortresses out of cardboard in some hole behind a building, trying to preserve some semblance of their lost domestic tranquility.

It's been raining here so for the last few nights. I've been holed up under my favorite bridge on West and 6th Streets. Not all bridges are created equal and this one is a true gem possessing both practical utility and mythic resonance. It's constructed of giant stones, real old school like, and is surrounded by lush greenery. It runs over Shoal Creek and when it rains the creek floods up to where I'm sleeping and threatens to wash me out, but the place is so big and elevated that it's never gotten me. At night you can hear the people partying up on 6th Street and at 8:30 PM, like clockwork, the bats come in and swoop around for a few minutes before moving on to the next bridge.

It is the most magical place I have found in Austin.

By vagaries of the geography and architecture, which I'm at pains to describe, the space under the bridge is strangely isolated and somewhat hard to get down to which is why I was so surprised to be awoken this morning with a flashlight in my face and a huge cop standing over me yelling, "AUSTIN POLICE DEPARTMENT, YOU CAN'T SLEEP HERE."

I was startled awake and sat up quickly making sure to keep my hands visible. As he walked toward me I had no great fear in my heart but simple resignation to the inevitable. The possibility of citation or arrest are a constant Sword of Damocles hanging over the head of any homeless person and eventually you just learn to live with it. Besides, I was prepared. My drugs were safely hidden under a rock 100 yards away so I knew the only thing he could hit me for was camping which would be a two or three day maximum if he wanted to be a dick about it. As luck would have it I drew a humanitarian.

"Look, don't worry." he said, "I'm not going to arrest you or anything. I'm just going to write you a citation for camping."

I said to him, "I want to point something out. I've only been down here for a couple of days because of the rain and yesterday I picked up a whole garbage bag full of trash and packed it out. There were beer cans and food wrappers and dirty clothes all over the place and now it looks great. I honestly feel I had a positive effect on the place, if any."

This is true. I always pick up all the trash wherever I sleep whether it's mine or not. I do this in the interest of aesthetics and general cleanliness but also so I can play this card in just such a situation. Though the cop could tell I was telling the truth, and claimed to sympathize, my efforts had been in vain.

"Don't take it personal. I'm sure you're a great guy. This citation isn't a big deal. Just take it down to city court and the judge will give you community service. You won't even have to pay a fine."

"Alright" I said, "But look, can I still come down here and read during the day? It is a part of Shoal Creek Park and it's such a beautiful place."

He said I could still hang out there and that he could see why I would want to.

Before leaving he said, "You've been doing pretty good if you've been here for over a year and this is the first time I've had to talk to you."

"I don't commit crimes." I told him. He didn't get the irony.

So on the plus side I now have official authorization to continue reading in the park but with the stipulation that I must perform community service for sleeping in a place no one ever goes. America is a fascist police state, but I already knew that, end of story.

Later while I was walking down to skid row to see about scoring some drugs I noticed an old guy over by the homeless shelter trying to pack a new box of cigarettes. He was in a wheelchair and appeared to be suffering from some form of Palsy. He was shaking pretty badly and kept dropping the box of smokes on the ground until finally some kind soul picked them up and offered to do it for him. (for a cigarette, of course)

"Damn" I thought, "Imagine what it must be like for that poor dude trying to survive in this environment. It's a sign of a sick society that someone in that condition isn't better cared for."

I walked around the block for a few minutes looking for discarded drugs on the ground. I came around to the local convenience store (MadDog 20/20 & Fried Shit) and out front I saw a couple of bicycle cops jacking up that poor old handicapped guy! They were writing him a ticket for flying a sign in front of the store asking for change. The cops were big and gruff and were menacingly explaining to the guy that if they caught him panhandling again he would be arrested and brought to jail.

It just goes to show that for every "friendly" cop there are at least two pig scumbags waiting to bully and harass an old Palsy victim just trying to make a little scratch. And even the "friendly" pigs still give you the ticket.

So I''l go to City Court and do my service but what is that old man going to do? Can he pick up trash off the side of the road? How can he pay a 180$ fine when he's just struggling to survive? The simple fact is that he wont be able to pay it and the next time some bully cop has nothing better to do but run his name he'll be shipped on down to the Dell Valley Jail with every thief, rapist and killer in Travis County. I'm sure he'll receive compassionate medical care from their highly professional staff.

People go insane here all the time. Just today a relatively normal guy I've known for months shit himself and started pounding himself on the chest screaming "NOOOOooooooo" over and over again. For two hours. Some say it's the drugs, and that is a piece of the puzzle. But an even bigger piece, in my opinion, is the lack of empathy and understanding with which this society treats it's least fortunate members. Why, in the face of such cold and irrational neglect any man would eventually go mad. Except for me, of course.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Waiting In Line

I get in line.


Older black lady, “It says in the Bible, 'It's a sin for a man to lay with another man.'”



The old lady, “You better believe you're going to have to answer for it.”


A kid gets in line in back of me. He's bedraggled and limping and gives the general impression of being injured. He says, “Hey guess what? I got hit by a car this morning going 40 miles an hour on the highway. I woke up and was walking down the road and, “BAM”, I hit the pavement and he sped off. It fucked up my leg pretty bad.”

“Did you go to the hospital?”

He responded as if that was the craziest idea he had ever heard, “Fuck no! I got up and walked away. Man, fuck this line, I'm gonna go look for some leftovers.”

Just then a kid with a big, red afro comes running down Piss Alley with another guy right on his tail, “Get the fuck away from me you fucking asshole! What the fuck is wrong with you?”

The red haired guy ran past me and the crazy guy stopped in the middle of the street in front of the line. He looked me right in the eyes and started to scream in a cartoonishly high pitched voice, “HEY LOOK, I'M NOT FROM AROUND HERE AND I'M NOT SURE WHERE I'M AT. YOU GUYS AREN'T GOINING TO TRY TO BEAT ME UP ARE YOU? PLEASE DON'T BEAT ME UP.”

No one said anything. I almost wanted to go up and start punching him just because I knew he would begin screaming in an even more comical fashion, but no.

He ran into the middle of the intersection and began contorting and writhing on the ground. The red haired guy explained to the security guard that he had smoked a stick of K2 with the guy and he suddenly went batshit insane. They went to the intersection to try and drag the guy out of there. As they grabbed for his feat and hands he struggled to get away and continued to scream, “PLEASE DON'T BEAT ME UP. PLEASE. NOOOOOOOO!!!”

They finally got him and carried him to the corner like a sack of potatoes. They dumped him on the sidewalk and the red haired guy walked away. The security guard asked if he should call the ambulance but the old Christian lady said, “No, he's just fucked up on that K2 stick. He'll be fine in five or ten minutes.”

The maniac had meanwhile quieted down and was sitting on the corner in a contemplative state.

An old man gets in line in back of me and tries to hand me a plastic bag with ramen soups and canned sausages in it, “Alright, are you going to go and try to trade these soups and these sausages for a stick?”

“I think you got the wrong guy.”

“Oh, I thought you were going to try to trade this food to the Jamaican for a stick.”

“I don't know the Jamaican all that well.”

“OK then, I'll ask someone else.”


The security guard opens the door, “Ten more people.” The old lady and the irate gay guy and his boyfriend all go in to eat. The K2 maniac gets up off sidewalk and gets in line where the angry guy explains to him how the Bible has been used to control black people for centuries. I listen while smoking cigarettes in a dream like state. Ten more minutes to go.