Amoeblog

sulla strada, capitolo uno

Posted by Whitmore, January 27, 2008 05:57pm | Post a Comment

Bungled is a great word, its one of those words that even if you're not sure of  the definition, just the sound  -'bungled' - quickly gets you to the gist of  the situation. What Bungled is, is not a great situation.

Right now I'm in Italy on tour with the LA's own Listing Ship, and by no fault of our own... and I swear its wasn't our fault ( though historically there are two essential elements built into any band; incompetence and eventual obsolescences... these truths are perhaps not so written in stone if you play in the Rolling Stones or The Lawrence Welk Orchestra) ...  anyway, somewhere along the line all our luggage disappeared. Somewhere between the sunny palm tree lined dystopia we call home and the airport called the worst in Europe, Rome, all twelve pieces of our luggage vanished off the face of the earth.

Those of us who grew up on the west coast blamed it on our stop-over in New York's JKF airport, those of us who grew up on the east coast blamed it on the airport in Los Angeles ... our Italian friends blamed it on the airport in Rome. Ultimately it appears to have been yet another bungled moment for an airline we'll call "American Err-lines" ... All twelve pieces gone. Poof! We filled out the paperwork and were assured that somehow the heavens will open and our luggage will fall though a worm whole,  magically appearing on the front steps of our Managers apartment in Naples the next morning. But 24 hours later no record of our luggage - bags, guitars, drum gear-  existed anywhere, online or otherwise.

We played our first gig at the Cantina Mediterraneo in Frosinone... with borrowed gear, and I have to say incredibly nice gear! It doesn't get much better than this. Thanks to the excellent opening band, The Mosquitos, based in Naples, we played through gorgeous Fender amps and electric guitarist Lyman
was greeted with a vintage Gold Top Gibson Les Paul to play. When Lyman opened the guitar case a beautiful golden light filled the back wall of the stage, and I swear I heard a litany of cellos quietly filling the air ... and a voice, a deep resonating voice that said something profound in Italian, but I don't understand Italian. I'm not sure what was more inspiring for our first show in Italy, the great gear we were using or the 5 course meal the club provided for us. And the wine... the wine! Like the great river Euphrates, the purest waters from the river flowing from of the garden of Eden, the flowering of civilization, the flowering of sin, wine bringing us back back to life, yeah baby...wine wine wine!!!  we knew everything would be copacetic.

the signs are everywhere - deux ...

Posted by Whitmore, October 23, 2007 08:28pm | Post a Comment

As a ridiculously naive adolescent I thought of getting a tattoo of my favorite line by French surrealist writer and poet Arthur Rimbaud: “my wisdom is as scorned as chaos”… well in most ways we grow old, but in some ways we never mature… so here I am decades later, still tattoo free, (I will be the last musician on the planet not tattooed or pierced… it is my destiny!) and I find it now the time for the obligatory  “plagiarize or simply steal if necessary” blogging moment. My 14 year old brain was right and will always be right. Steal from Rimbaud because you can’t go wrong … besides, the signs are everywhere.

O! The vast highways of this god forsaken country, dotted endlessly with primary colored gas stations. Our shrines to shiny new SUV’s sucking fuel; build another on-ramp to another Arco, another Union 76, another Texaco with a KFC attached. For Christ’s sake, there can never be too many! Just remember, one day, I want my turn at greed and ingenuity! But first, where is the cheapest gas station? I must save three cents to every gallon! That’s 36 cents a tank full. If you add it up, that’s $1.44 from Seattle to Los Angeles. Or a 20 ounce cup of coffee at a 7-11! But then again, these are just numbers, simple math.

From that time to here, I can still see the old me in my rear view mirror! I remember the those beautifully crafted black and white Ford Crown Victoria highway patrol cars trying to lure me into a felony, they can’t stop me, I’m invisible, I have the entire 5 Freeway on my shoulder, at my hip, caressing me, pushing me, telling me to fly home like a homing pigeon over the battle of Verdun in 1916. Everyone is too busy killing each other to notice me overhead. 362,000 French and 337,000 Germans, nearly 700,000 men will die at Verdun with perhaps a million wounded, and I’ll fly over them like it’s a sunny Sunday afternoon in Central Park … but hey, please ignore the blathering of my brain, these are just numbers, and since there are no dollar signs in front of them … not enough people cared back then, so why care now.

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the signs are everywhere ...

Posted by Whitmore, October 7, 2007 11:07pm | Post a Comment

The travails of travel…

Last year after drifting about the Northwest for a while, a new door opened, time came to ramble down the road and drive south to Los Angeles for some gigs … of course I should have flown but somehow I thought I'll just do 'the drive' one more time, a little adventure is good for the soul, besides, I’ll save a little cash on the expense of flying and car rental etc, etc, … in retrospect, it wasn’t my best idea.

Side note: I often feel suspicious in airports; airports regularly bring out my deepest, most paranoid feelings. But it’s not exactly the sensation that  “everybody is out to get me.”  As a matter of fact, my feelings are exactly the opposite.

Anyway, never again am I going to do that drive in one day by myself: 1100 miles from Seattle to Los Angeles, oh so dim-witted, pitifully dim-witted. Never again, I know I've said that before, but … Never. Ever. Again. (Funny how that reads so differently when you put a period after each word … huh?)

I felt like my hands were duct taped to the steering wheel for about thirty brain-snapping hours. Between waiting for the ferry (the only way on and off the island where I was living), taking my wife and son to SeaTac Airport (they were flying to Paris, France and I was driving to LA!?!), the realization I forgot something important at home, again ferry back over and off the island, (of course you might say if you forget something, so what, that's what a credit card is good for, exactly right … I forgot the credit card) stopping at a rest stop, my foiled attempts at sleeping in the car, include my kinder gentler approach to driving (not hammering the last bit of life out of my old Corolla), and I was a witness to, if not infinity, at least a very lengthy torturous wait in eternity.

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