Sunday, July 4, 2010

Emerson, Lake, and Arnold Palmer b/w Pineapple, Celery, and The Arm of Yahanaya

Keith Emerson, Greg Lake, and Arnold Palmer walk into a bar. In a beefy tomato, beans, and toast English accent, Greg Lake says to the barkeep, “I’ll have a Bass.”

Keith Emerson follows with ease, “Well, mate, if wear dreenking what wear playin then I guess I’ll be havin’ me a ‘Games and Soda’ on the rocks with a trough load ‘a bitters.”

Lake, poorly hiding his bewilderment at his long time partner’s limp attempt at a joke, “Good one mate. You know I said Bass though, like the ale, sounds like the name of the fish.”

Emerson, slowly but precisely, raising his head as if attempting to peer through a periscope, surmises, “I was never a fan, don’t mind a good haddock and chips ever now and again, but I can’t stomach their music. I thought you would know that about me by now old friend.”

Lake, “You know I mean fish, the food, not the jammy noodle troupe.”

“Alright, there there. Has lih’uhl Greggie got his bass strings in a tangle?
What’s the uproar? What I shoulda said then was if wear dreenkin down what we playin on these days then I’ll have a ‘Tickled Ivories’ straight up yer arse!”

“And a yodelayhehoohoo is the pry-eye-aye-ieece of thee eearring,” all sung in a fake drunken Irish pirate/Popeye the sailor man voice not unlike those new indie bands from Brooklyn sometimes use to accentuate verses like, “Molly got her PHD but all she ever needed was what she learned at The Blarney on the street named Kiernan’s Knee and Joe was a whisky prick though he traded his father’s doctor’s smock for a frock of lamb’s wool from LL Bean and Teddy gets mean with his widow’s peek while trying to pinch a lass’ cheek but she laughs because all he’s got’s an MBA and on and on and Craigy Finney’s underpants and Peg Blue’s bustier while Taryn Snow sings love songs about mops. It shall be noted that Taryn Snow was brought into the business on the coat tails of her brother Terry Snow, who at his manager’s behest finally gave in and became known as simply, Snow, agreeing that maybe the whole feel of “Informer” might not register if it was known that his first name was Terry.

“Christ, I’m your friend, not your enemy you joyless soap dish residue. You flaking cock rash. You cricket bat smuggler,” Lake says as he tries to simmer Emerson down.

At this very moment Arnold Palmer, asserting himself via an exaggerated posture, arching his back, his arms wrapped around what seems to be a rather large Persian rug, asks in a Dean Martini/Moons Over My Hammy Davis Sr. inflection, “Do you two tea lovin’ sallies ever give it a rest? Want to lift up your feet Keith, so I can put this rug down? What do you say chappie?”

Keith Emerson, believing that Arnold Palmer is actually his drummer, Carl Palmer, and not Arnold Palmer the legendary golfer, says, “You know the drill, mate. Circle of fifths,” an obvious yet indecipherable reference to Arnold Palmer’s weird responsibility amidst the trio.

Greg Lake never had the heart to tell old Keith Emerson that Arnold Palmer was an amply adept, and not to mention iconic, professional golfer who was so good at golf that he somehow transformed his incredible skill on the green into a mild telekinesis that magically produces a delicious fusion of iced tea and lemonade out of thin air. Every time he takes a swing of the old 9-iron a glass somewhere is filled with the elixir that bears his namesake. Palmer explains, “When life hands you lemons don’t tell me that terrible AIDS joke, make Arnold Palmers instead, baby.”

So whenever Emerson, Lake, And… as they are currently known, because Lake recently forced the group’s manager to copyright the word “And” as part of the band's new and official trademarked moniker. The ruling granted ownership of the word And in favor of ELA and subsequently swept the entire gutless industry stripping ALL bands, past and present, containing the word And, or any symbol in their monikers connoting it, of it, forcing them in a display of musical totalitarianism to “revise” their catalogs, recalling all visual artwork, advertisements, publishing records, licensing agreements and so forth. Many were ordered to have platinum records commemorating sales re-engraved. For example, Gun & Roses became Guns Roses, Simon Garfunkel, Prince The Revolution, Loggins Messina, Love Rockets, Kool The Gang, and so on. In order to not upset or confuse all the old school rabid tweekers, the one way streeters, the plumply withered grey old cats on the scratching posts, and most importantly the lobster smurfs, Emerson, Lake, And played a free “awareness raiser” at the Mohegan Sun in Danbury, CT, one humid June night during the Solstice of 2010. Hot Tuna opened, or what’s left of them anyways.

So, Greg Lake, enmeshed in more webs than a spider in a spider whore-house, is not only concerned about not deceiving his supporters and preserving his legacy as progressive rock papacy but also about helping his friend live a lie, that being Keith Emerson’s belief that Arnold Palmer is the other original guy from their band. To keep the lie afloat Greg Lake just hires Josh Freese to fill in live outfitting him in golf attire to create the visual decoy. Live, Emerson doesn’t see or hear anything except the rug so it’s been an easy coping mechanism for all three of them actually, three people with one-third an unshared talent.

After Palmer finishes “dropping the rug,” which is what his responsibility has become whenever the old progsters decide to perform, go to a bar, dine out, or attend an awards ceremony, Arnold asks Keith, “Aren’t you going to ask me what I’m having?” Keith Emerson, never having heard of any drink or man by the name of Arnold Palmer obliges, “Well, what are you having mate?”

Arnold, Palmer says, “Well, I’ll have an Arnold Palmer, naturally, Keith. You know, I get them free everywhere. It’s great. I never have to spend a dime hydrating the old pallet,” carrying on as Hammy Sr.

“I get it we’re making jokes about drinks you’re trying to make a joke about a drink. Seriously, what’ll it be mate?” Emerson is visibly agitated.

“You have no idea who I really am do you Keith?”

“I know who you are. You’re Palmer. No need for the old litmus test...”

The conversation comes to a halt as Keith Emerson, Greg Lake, and Arnold Palmer look up to the television monitor broadcasting above the mirrored wall behind the bar, a scene not unlike the back cover of Huey Lewis The News’, “Sports” album. The three look up to see indie celebrity Vick Winner doing a two step with a literal mop on the prime time reality television boogie competition, “Dancing With Scars,” a program which pairs modern day “celebs” with a dance coach to eventually throw down in a Rug Cuttin’ Royale. Greg Lake breaks the silence, “I think Vick Winner’s choice of the mop as his instructor and partner was purely calculated, a nod to his DIY ethic and artistic voice. Cheers! Although, I wonder, is there something wrong with the bloke’s neck, or is his head just too heavy to hold up.? I’ve shot my arm full of black tar dragon dust with a fourteen gauge spike and’ve been able to hold my head higher than that lad’s up there.”

Their drinks arrive as the bartender asks Arnold Palmer for an autograph finding it odd to encounter him mingling with the two others. Palmer assures the bartender, “I know my roots kid. I used to get all jintzed up with Jackie Gleason. I’m just horsing around out here, doing time for past infringements, paying in to the old karmic retirement fund so to speak for when I’m just another link in an endless trail of bones, gone, then forgotten, then reborn in disguise to repeat the whole damned tragic-comic episode.” The bartender changes the channel. Emerson, Lake, and Arnold Palmer collide their pint glasses and begin a conversation about Huey Lewis The News’ upcoming gig in Montclair, NJ, complaining about being snubbed as openers.

A living room in Los Angeles, CA, strewn with instruments, an upright bass, guitars, old and new, acoustic and electric, boxes of strings, amplifiers, and as few as three dogs at any given time, a pound and a half of freshly grown weed drying in a closet over a non-functioning toilet, small rat shacks with thin walls, a middle bedroom with a tractable bed which descends to half the room’s height in order to allow for storage and workspace underneath, which is comprised of an old mixing board, vinyl records, old tennis racquets. This room is also full of instruments, a faded stencil the size of the entire northern living room wall displays the impression of some original flag, a hole from the living room floor which leads to a hole dug out underneath the house which acts as storage for more instruments and amplifiers and also serves as a live recording room. Old surfboards, wet suits, bicycles, old shoes, and a bookshelf brimming with books occupy the enclosed patio's back porch. The backyard, accented with plumeria, overlooks the whole of downtown from a few clicks northeast of Elysian Park…

An old roommate once mentioned that celery and pineapple, when taken antecedent to a night of coitus, act simultaneously to thicken and sweeten the byproduct of a man’s ability to manufacture rope. In the laid man’s terms, “It makes the old butternut taste like it was washed with sugar while being squashed from way over across that there room,” Known in some circles as the Peter North diet, pineapple and celery are nothing less than delicacies fit for a decorator and guidos, or whatever you want to call them, on both sides of the Rocky Mountains, know this. In a conversation that inevitably veers into “fellatial waters,” a young woman who has recently undergone extensive jaw surgery is overheard saying, “You gotta please me before I do any of what I used to do,” a defense undoubtedly aimed at the gaudy innuendo offered by her macho companion, “How are we going to test this hypothesis?”

“Where else but LA?”

In college Yahanaya was a budding feminist and a card-carrying member of the Subterranean Penis-Stomping Movement wherein she habitually defiled photographs of random men performing random activities by X-ing out their johnsons with splotchy red ink. Unlike the johnsons usually hidden beneath the pants or slacks of Yahanaya’s random targets, Yahanaya herself wore her adolescent ‘lust rage’ not so much on her sleeve as on her polka dot lapel. A life of privilege had it perks, monetary freedom to use book money for designer drugs, alcohol, and plane tickets being one of them, an expensive quirky wardrobe meant to look inexpensive being another.

Admission to the SPSM was gained through recitation of the mantra:

I tread
On dainty
Of pink cock

Drinking was the prime activity and general “idea maker” in the SPSM. Driving while drunk, meandering off two lane highways at high speeds through cornfields, and physically challenging boys to fist fights were activities reserved for downtime and weekends. Yahanaya was not only known to piss out literal conflagrations started in her dorm room but also to piss in jaggedly halved aluminum Coca Cola cans while crouched in the back of a moving Volvo, the cans ripped and drawn apart by Yahanaya’s bare hands.

Yahanaya once sat on a boy’s lap at a party. “I hear you have a crush on me,” she said with eyes aflutter. Yahanaya leaned in for what the unknowing boy, undoubtedly stunned and speechless, thought to be an unsolicited kiss coming his way. Before the boy could close his eyes to pucker up, Yahanaya revealed a halved lemon previously hidden in her left hand and promptly squished it into the boy’s left eye. The boy, not so much enraged as shocked and stunned, his left eye a burning world of citrus fire, flung Yahanaya from his lap, her absence thereby revealed the hard on she had been responsible for, and yelled, “What the fuck? You just punched me in the face with a lemon?!”

Yahanaya, always using reverse psychology in situations of sexual affront, perceived nothing wrong with her course of action for determining whether or not this boy liked her. Yahanaya, with deadpan ease, put it in plain terms for the boy to comprehend, “If you have a crush on me you have to fight me FOR REAL in the backyard.” This is a challenge the boy would later regret accepting not because of the immediate and authoritative kicks to the left shin he withstood from Yahanaya's forthright boot, or the realization that he was actually in danger of getting his ass kicked FOR REAL by a girl, who tattered the boy’s shirt and knocked him to the ground before thoughts of how hard to actually approach a seeming lunatic, whom he really didn’t have a crush on at all, congealed in his mind. The boy, like all young fellows looking for the path of least resistance to the hole, fatefully decided to admit, “Ok. I do have a crush on you.”

The boy came to regret this admission via submission because it eventually lead to a year’s worth of sporadic unannounced visits to his bedroom in the middle of the night where Yahanaya dressed up like a superhero and incoherently drunk, would somehow shimmy her way through the boy’s window and curl up next to him in bed. After the first few times the boy no longer attempted to disturb Yahanaya’s slumber. Rather, once the boy awoke to find Yahanaya by his side he would instinctually get out of bed and leave his own apartment, aimlessly.

One night Yahanaya showed up dressed like Elvis, replete with wig, faux chest-hair, gold shades, glued-on side burns, jump suit open at the cleavage revealing medallions, the works. Not even reluctantly, as if she had meant to intentionally blur the distinction being that their names were only a few letters apart, Yahanaya admitted on that night that she looked more like a shitty Evel Kenievel than she did Elvis. Yahanaya, again deadpan but with a tinge of an accent a la “Aint Nothin But a Hound Dog,” inquired with the boy, “Do you want to know what it feels like to fuck the King baby?” Instead of fleeing, the boy for once decided to take her up on her offer. So, Yahanaya did her fair share of banana harvesting during her time with the SPSM. She relegated her aggressive concupiscence to the principle of, “Action for the cause, or a cause for action. I forget which one,” as she’d put it.

For years Yahanaya ran through ‘twos of ‘em,’ would love ‘em then leave ‘em both, then move on to the next pair. Usually the naïve sets of pals never knew what had hit them. A poor young man would be crushed when Yahanaya broke the news that she was now fucking his best friend and, “What to do,” or “How to be,” after so many honest heartfelt nights, and haunting low moments, were merely notions of false attachment. Through a sea of ale and ecstasy, once even crack-cocaine, Yahanaya’s self-ordained quest for enlightenment was, according to her, “an attempt to see things for what they really are and to abandon figments of false reliances and attachments borne by the ego.” Hers was a quest leading to a daunting and inevitable fork in the road, an early defining moment Yahanaya would later revisit psychically in AA for spiritual strength.

During a night of heated collegiate debauchery, Yahanaya, while attempting to perform a rooftop-pissing demonstration, leaned over a gutter from two stories above ground. The subsequent plunge brought Yahanaya to grips with her own mortality as the break she suffered in her arm thereafter would force her to sleep with nine cold metal plates in it for the remainder of her mortal life. This was a productive arm, this arm of Yahanaya.

These days, utter sobriety is the invisible but necessary cast for Yahanaya’s modified arm, an appendage steering a ‘fresh start’ life where looking back is to perceive the shadow-self, a different part of the soul that is never truly extinguished but re-channeled. A continual living reincarnation within the conscious mind is achieved by actively choosing NOT to revert back while also acknowledging the realness of a shadow-self representing the past as a not so jolly green giant chaos figure, imagine the alcoholic hulk, a force that can re-present itself and quickly wreak utter havoc on serenity, a Dionysus to utter sobriety’s Apollo.

After bearing her first child and long after the SPSM had spit her out, Yahanaya’s longing to re-channel the chaos deep within benignly awakens with a desire to once again create art and music on her own. At such a tender age Yahanaya peered deep within the chasm and kissed the mouth of the melancholic abyss, the limits of human consciousness, the incapacity to comprehend the causal structure of being, the inability to negotiate the parameters of reality, and the way things really are.

Yahanaya, a hyper-aware special breed of intelligence and creativity, possessed a passionate longing to be liberated from the attachments of the material world. Yahanaya was once paralyzed by the irreconcilable dialectic. A life lost in thought is a life misspent while a life with too much doing is surely ill thought. During the years of the SPSM’s operation, Yahanaya’s anxieties reared their heads like baby medusas and were manifested through an obsession with destruction, mostly psychic, but sometimes physical, a rebellion against the human condition enacted through inadvertent self-destructive attempts to commune with the black sheep of consciousness, the “other better half,” the beast within, humanity’s dark animal, the shadow-self.

The fire in the soul of the child is truer than that of the aged as years spent beating ones head against brick walls cause senility. Excuses to no longer want to know, laziness, and complacency extinguish the nubile ‘lust rage’ within that urges one to go beyond, “in spite of,” a very different notion than forging ahead, “because of.” As Yahanaya now looks back on her life she questions whether the balance necessary for achieving true fulfillment is contingent on this “in spite of versus because of” dilemma. Or is it something entirely different? Yahanaya now understands that it is not something different at all. Rather, growing into awareness, true fulfillment, and peace of mind are borne through an inner desire to live “because of.” It is in “because of” that one finds meaning and the power to transcend the limits of human understanding. “Because of” is the bridge from total awareness over the bottomless pit of loneliness toward liberation and enlightenment, a higher power for which Yahanaya traded what she deemed to be the misspent days of her youth. “Because of” is the pineapple and celery in the cum-shot that is life, sweetening it and making it go a little further.

Monday, September 7, 2009

Beauty Ray

Beauty Ray is Ramon Alejandro Pagan, a Puerto Rican American and Spanish male freestyle singer born in Staten Island, NY. In the summer of 1989, after a severe falling out with his then famous nephew, Noel Pagan, Beauty Ray undergoes a primitive yet successful cryogenic freezing with the intention of being unfrozen on the day after Labor Day in the year 2009 in order to restore freestyle to its rightful place at the pinnacle of music.

Download Beauty Ray - Actually (Cynthia Left Me)

Thursday, March 26, 2009


I spent my formative years growing up in the kitchen of an Italian deli. My entire family worked there starting in 1975. My great-grandfather, grandfather, grandmother, mother, father, brother, aunt, uncle, and various cousins all did stints cooking, slicing salami, or delivering lunch at some point during the thirty years that the delicatessen remained operational. In its twilight the family establishment was kept going by my mother, grandfather, and grandmother. I would work there in between being on tour and unemployed.
I have fond memories of my grandfather’s reactions to certain songs played in heavy rotation on mainstream radio a few years after the turn of our current century. My grandfather once referred to a Weezer song as sounding African. He also assured me, upon asking his opinion of the song, “Would,” that if he ever met Alice In Chains’ front man, Layne Staley, he WOULD indeed greet him by hitting him in the face with a frozen mackerel. My grandfather and I saw eye to eye on the latter. The former always seemed a bit of a stretch to me.
A close friend and band mate of mine, D. Lee, once worked as a delivery person at my grandfather’s deli during the late 1990’s and received a complimentary yet accidental burn as a result of my grandfather mistaking D. Lee’s hand for a cup where scalding hot chicken soup should have been poured. With bubbles and puss emanating from his freshly wounded hand, D. Lee, still in shock, calmly suggested to my grandfather that he may need to leave to go the hospital, to which my grandfather replied, “Toughen up.” My grandfather’s remedy: to submerge D. Lee’s hand in the stagnant bleach laden water used for washing the day’s accumulated pots and pans, not exactly new age holistic practice.
There are countless tales attesting to my grandfather’s old world and colorful personality. For our purposes though I’ll refrain from delving too deep. Everyone who has ever met my grandfather knew him as a fiercely independent, passionately imaginative, and entrepreneurial-minded combination of Joe Pesci or Robert Dinero and Michael Landon, if Landon were Italian, of course. My grandfather loved his family more than anything on earth yet every other word that came out of his mouth was either “motherfucker” or “cocksucker.” As a result, I was allowed to utter curses as early as the third grade. And I’m not talking about the occasional, “Damn,” or, “Oh hell.” I was allowed to drop motherfuckin’ F bombs. And it ruled! I’ve always been thankful for that part of my childhood. But I digress. As much as I loved my grandfather when he was around, the method he employed for making tuna salad made me cringe.
The way my grandfather made tuna salad at the deli was the way I, in turn, learned to make tuna salad at the deli, which is the reason why I always urge close friends who reach for that tuna salad sandwich at the local Quick Check or 7 Eleven to strongly reconsider their choice for satiating afternoon hunger pangs. Keep in mind that the deli was established in 1975, the dawning of what I like to refer to as, “The No Consequences Era,” subsequently referred to as the NCE, during which most of my friends and I were raised. The NCE began sometime in the mid-seventies, hit its peak around 1987 with the release of Appetite For Destruction, and petered out around 1991 when everyone “got all grunge.”
The NCE is earmarked by a blissfully ignorant lack of foresight for any actions committed in the present as having negative effects in the future. For example, “If only one single tear is coming out of only one Indian’s eye then what the hell is so wrong with disposing of raw garbage in the middle of the street? Let’s litter away, celebrate with a hot plate of disco fries, and smoke a pack of Kool Kings to wash everything down with.” And of course there’s the typical, “These seat belts make it very difficult for me to drink while I’m driving. It’s bad enough that I have to slip these little plastic covers that have the Pepsi logo on them over my Budweiser can to now be able to drink while driving in the first place.” The late seventies were all about drinking while driving. In the nineteen-eighties, the focus shifted from drinking while driving to the calamities associated with drinking and then driving as seen with the formations of MADD and SADD. In other words, if you want to be down with Nancy Reagan then don’t drink before you get behind the wheel, just drink while you’re behind the wheel because the buzz won’t really kick in until you’re at your destination, so you’re good, but you might want to take a cab home and pick up your car in the morning. Thus is the logic of the NCE.
I believe that my grandfather’s method for making tuna salad precedes the NCE but becomes etched in stone as the preferred method throughout the NCE which is why it carries through as the paradigm for tuna salad preparation long after the NCE comes to an end and remains as such until the deli closes in 2005. The point here is that older generations can be set in their old world ways. More importantly, people lived through the late nineteen-seventies and the entirety of the nineteen-eighties without Purell anti-bacterial hand sanitizer.
Accordingly, when making tuna salad at my grandfather’s deli you went RAW DOG. You definitely didn’t wear a hairnet because your hair was too important to mess up just because some “banana” wanted a tuna salad sandwich, which was apparently a sandwich, along with turkey, that shouldn’t be ordered in an Italian deli anyway.
You washed your hands but you didn’t take your rings off. Did Liberace take his rings off whilst performing? Nope. Liberace put more rings on when tickling the ivories in order to provide himself with that extra strength that made his performances so breathtaking. Thus are the rings of the tuna salad artisan. When you pull that excess tuna from underneath the rings of each finger and throw it back into the salad batch you are infusing the flavor of the tuna, mayo, and celery with the power of the ore, all the trials and tribulations that those very gold bands, adorned with rubies and faux cat’s eyes, have withstood over the years.
Are you going to put that cigarette out just because you have to make a new batch of tuna salad? Why would you waste a smoke? As a garnish, ash easily passes for pepper. I’m not saying that pepper and ash are interchangeable. However, some existentialists believe that the universe is a random collection of accidents. So, if an ash from a Marlboro Light 100 accidentally made its way into the tuna salad it would surely be mistaken for pepper and the flavor of the batch would most certainly not suffer as a result.
When you’re at the bottom of an economy-sized vat of Hellman’s mayo how are you going to get to those last scoops when the spoon just won’t reach? You go elbow deep into that bitch because waste is a cardinal sin. So, when you throw that final mayo blast into the mix to get the right proportions, achieved by feel as opposed to actual measuring, you’ll then commence a final mixing of everything by the strength of your bare hands. Then, repeat the finger/ring cleaning ritual to avoid waste and lock maximum flavor into the newly married tuna. As one can ascertain here, making one serving of tuna salad for yourself in the comfort of your own home is an entirely different task than making tuna salad in bulk for sale in a delicatessen.
I recently purchased a couple of chicken cutlets from a local supermarket. This transaction occurred at the deli counter. I was simultaneously delighted and disgusted to witness a woman preparing tuna salad in plain view according to old world NCE regulations. Any tinges of nostalgia I felt for days spent with my grandfather in the kitchen of his deli quickly dissipated as a severe feeling of nausea washed over me.
The deli counter in the supermarket on that fateful day was understaffed. As a result, I was made to wait for the tuna salad artisan to complete her fresh batch before I could order the two cooked chicken cutlets. I intended to put the cutlets in a soup I had planned for dinner. As I’m waiting I come to realize exactly what the woman behind the counter is doing. Mixed emotions well up inside me and I begin to question whether or not I would be able go through with my intended purchase. The tuna salad artisan is indeed raw dog and elbow deep sans sanitary glove inside an economy sized vat of mayo getting ready to administer a final blast to her fishy mélange. As she is performing this task she is loudly making yummy noises, almost as if to taunt any onlookers, “MMM… MMMMM.” Then, shortly following the yummy taunts the tuna salad artisan lets loose two bellowing lumber jack sized sneezes, “BLAHCHOO…WHAGACHOO!.” She then turns around, wipes her nose with her non-mayo’d forearm, and walks over to the sink to clean the mayo off of her bare hand, tattooed forearm, and the tip of her elbow. While doing so she makes a few more quiet yummy noises.
I am utterly stunned at this point as I realize I’m in way too deep to abort my order because the tuna salad artisan has already addressed me saying, “I’ll be right with you hun.” It takes every ounce of strength I have left at this point to refrain from vomiting in my own mouth. “What can I getcha hun?”
“I’ll have two grilled chicken cutlets please,” I muttered reluctantly. The tuna salad artisan hastily weighs the cutlets, wraps them, and marks them with their respective total price. At this point, I am just itching to get the fuck out of there, not knowing yet if I will eventually be able to add these tainted cutlets to the soup I have planned for dinner. Moments before the tuna salad artisan is getting my order wrapped I notice in my peripheral a young pleasantly plump woman wearing blue nurse’s quarterlies waiting patiently holding a garden salad in a plastic to-go container. As I’m handed the cutlets I turn to walk away and hear the tuna salad artisan inquire, “What can I getcha hun?”
The pretty nurse raises the plastic casing containing the virgin garden salad and politely asks, “Can you make this a tuna salad?”
I scream wildly inside my mind, straighten my gait, and quicken my pace toward the door. So, even though cunnilingus is not adultery EAT’N can be CHEAT’N. In this case, the unknowing nurse would be CHEAT’N death if she lived to see another day after voluntarily EAT’N that modified salad of hers. Trying not to think about the blood on my hands for not stepping in after what I had witnessed I went home and added the cutlets to my soup pretending that there were no such things as sneezes while longing for the days of the NCE.

Friday, March 20, 2009

"No Thanks" Or "Cutthroat Greek Businessman"

A good friend of mine once told me that rock critics are failed musicians and bloggers are failed rock-critics. Music is the joke that keeps us laughing. So, with the economy harshly wounded and the words “stimulus package” on the lips of every breathing bag of bones both sides of the Mississippi River, what better time to pack up, avoid responsibility, ignore all the world’s problems, and resume the “business” of being an American band prepared to “make it” at this year’s South By Southwest Festival? Ol’ Bluetooth got a severe makeover for the special occasion, new brakes, new tires, major front-end work, and a lube-job just so The Black Hollies could make the pilgrimage. When the repairs are all said and done I realize that if my mechanic was half as good at fixing vans as he was at method acting I wouldn’t feel so cheated. “You’re lucky I cut the rotors,” he says. “Those brakes disintegrated in my hands. If that would have happened on the highway you’d a had no brakes,” dramatically thrown in by the old time gear head to soften the blow of the bill being double the initial price he originally quoted for me. I don’t take the bait as I notice he can’t look me in the eyes.

With that being said, The Black Hollies have dubbed their current trek to Austin, “Cutthroat Greek Businessman Week.” For people such as the four members of The Black Hollies who have been taught that good manners are of utmost importance, “Excuse me,” “Sorry,” and “Thank you” go hand in hand as conditioned responses casually uttered with out even thinking, reflexes. You brush against someone in the street. You say, “Excuse me.” You accidentally step on an old lady’s toe in line at the local CVS. You say, “Sorry.” A waitress gives you the bill for food that you ordered and you say, “Thank you.” Why are you thanking her? You’re the one paying. We of good mannered stock are conditioned to mindlessly say, “Excuse me,” “Sorry,” and “Thank you,” so much so that these sacred phrases have been rendered meaningless empty gestures, especially amongst the members of The Black Hollies inside their van during a thirty hour trip.

As a result, Justin Angelo Morey recently instated a new game, albeit mandatory still considered a “game,” to be played amongst the members of The Black Hollies for the duration of the trip to and from Austin, TX. The game, which can be called either “No Thanks” or “Cutthroat Greek Businessman,” is to be played as follows. Any time a member of The Black Hollies says, “Excuse me,” “Sorry,” or, “Thank you,” to any of his fellow band mates, whether in English or a in foreign language, the recipient of said verbal nicety is granted carte blanche to punch the band mate thanking him in the arm with as much force as is deemed fit. In layman’s terms: he who is thanked administers hasty dead arm to he who thanks. It is important to note that the game is only played amongst band members and is by no means a license to exhibit bad manners against the general public. The Black Hollies truly value kindness, gratitude, and genuine good karma but for some unknown reason have grown tired of being polite to each other just for politeness’ sake. Also, certain discrepancies have been discussed and for the purpose of simplicity, “Thank you very little,” in place of “Thank you very much,” does not grant clemency to the thanker in breach.

So far, the best example of how to take “No Thanks” or “Cutthroat Greek Businessman” to its utmost limit is illustrated by a Morey/Wiley tag-team effort against Ferrante only a few hours after the game’s inception. On the road somewhere in Tennessee, Wiley asks Ferrante if there are any ballads on Zeppelin II. Morey feigns ignorance, and names The Lemon Song, casting the bait right in Ferrante’s vicinity. Wiley then dangles the bait, “The last song on side one I think. I can’t remember what it’s called.” Ferrante answers, “Livin’ Lovin’ Maid? Heartbreaker?” I notice Morey, who is driving, subtly clench his hand in the shape of a fist. Ferrante is deep in thought. Wiley goes in for the kill, “Yeah. I know those but I know there’s definitely a ballad on there. I can’t for the life of me remember what it’s called though. It’s killin’ me.” Ferrante eagerly cuts him off as if he just discovered a new equation modifying the theory of relativity, “Oh! Thank You.” Two punches immediately and simultaneously rain on each of Ferrante’s arms, one from Morey who is driving, and one from Wiley in shotgun. The entire band is in disbelief that the ploy is carried out to such length and that, in the end, Ferrante actually winds up taking the bait. Such is the justice of “No Thanks” or “Cutthroat Greek Businessman.” Two days after the game has been in full swing most members of The Black Hollis are having trouble lifting their arms. The Black Hollies highly recommend this game to be played amongst circles of friends everywhere as an experiment in weighing the qualitative value of “Thank yous” uttered against their quantitative value. After a dozen dead arms your friends will think twice about thanking you for passing the peas.

Lo and behold, karma can be stifling. After two entire days of continual driving and playing “No Thanks” or “Cutthroat Greek Businessman,” The Black Hollies arrive at their hotel. At the exact moment of inception Ol’ Bluetooth dies once again. It seems that either the van’s battery or alternator is on the fritz. The good news is that the band is playing its first 2009 SXSW showcase on Friday morning at 7:00 AM in the Sears Auto Center. WE PLAAAAYED. (To be read aloud in an exaggerated southern drawl.)

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Beers In Heaven & The Rules Of Pigeon Racing

Admitting sickness is a sign of weakness. I can’t count the number of times I’ve felt a hearty flu coming on only to have my admission be met with, “You know there’s something going around,” as if to say no matter how bad you think you may have it someone else is always more fucked, far out, and beyond repair than poor little you. A good friend of mine once shared a secret for continuous health; don’t stop to honor the symptoms. Carry on just AS IF. In other words, power through. Act like you’re not sick and don’t ever say you’re sick. It’s actually terrible advice but for some reason it makes me feel better sometimes. And keep in mind while at the upcoming “Dead Reunion” that no matter how much acid you take there will always be someone there who is more freaked out than you, someone who has taken more acid, and if I had to guess I’d say specifically, Jerry’s cousin, Terry Garcia. He’s the one who’s probably taken the most acid.

It’s not that easy to die. I proved this in the wee morning hours of March 2, 2009, as I foolishly yet reluctantly drove home from Scotch Plains while the worst snowstorm to hit NJ in two years was peaking. We timed it perfectly so as to be traversing the Bayonne Turnpike extension bridge running on fumes around 4AM during the height of the blizzard’s intensity. March can be a douche.

Jerry Garcia, pronounced GAR-SHUH, Kanye West, and an actual grizzly bear are standing at the gates of heaven. God says, “OK. So, I gotta ask you all, what’s with the bears? Bear, you’ve lived a life of hibernation and ferocity. Sometimes you bite through people’s skulls and rip their eyes out leaving them just enough strength to hang on with so they can later appear on television wearing cheap sunglasses only to remove them at the crucial moment revealing their face with eyes sewn shut. And sometimes you’re all cuddly resting up in caves. Kanye, first you were rapping with your jaw wired shut. Now, you’re wearing the wild scarves but the kid on the album cover dons a cartoon bear costume and he’s late for school but he still has time to register or change his glasses or something. Even though you’re always giving me mad shout outs in your jams I still haven’t understood why D. Lee believes you to be a genius. And Jerry… All of those cute little teddy bears and super savvy Grateful Dead merchandise items somehow got you into the ice cream business. The three of you are enigmas to me.”

The actual bear responds uttering a very bear-like growl.

Kanye quips, “Yo Peter, turn me up in the headphones. Yo, God, I give you shout outs ‘cuz you helped me power through. My obsession with cartoon bears in my artwork stems from a trip Jay Z and I took to Japan in 1993. We went to all these Japanese schools and we realized that all the little shorties were sportin’ these bags with all these lil’ green froggies on ‘em. Jay was like, ‘Yo, K, those lil’ motherfuckas are cute. Yo, do me a favor. Brush that frog’s shoulda off real quick. And check out that Hello Kitty gear all these little Beyonce’s are reppin’. Yeah, Jay, that shit is selling like hot cakes to boot. I think I’m gonna incorporate some of that in my packaging to help me sell more albums one day except I’ll use like a cute baby bear or something."

Jerry Garcia, in a southern accent not unlike one used by a member of Lynyrd Skynyrd, interjects, “Oh I get it God. This is a mash-up intervention, like healing through cross-pollinating the genres or something, right man? Very clever. Nice touch with the ice cream business comment too. I really appreciate that, man. I actually learned that the best way to smuggle the heroin I was doing all of those years on the road was in those little Grateful Dead teddy bears we’d sell for $19.95, pre-economic crisis, throughout the seventies and eighties, man. $19.95 then is the modern day equivalent of about $199.50. Do the math God. I think we honestly sold about two hundred and thirty-five million of those bears, man. That’s a lot of money for me to buy heroin with. We’d load those lil’ fuckers up, you know stuff the shit out of ‘em, and put them under our bus, man. Customs never had a prayer in detecting the truth. Hell, we had a dummy set of them too that our chief roadie, who’s name happened to be Cubby, would wind up offering to the customs agents as a token of gratitude. The customs agents of course thought they were so darned cute, and couldn’t resist bringing them home to their children. Ah, Canadians, so damn friendly sometimes. Bein’ a hippie was good for those kinds of things, man. You could literally get away with murder ‘cuz everyone always thought you were mellow. Contrary to popular belief, I didn’t really dabble in the lycergic though. I’d see freaky electric spider webs and shit. Heroin was MY champagne. After a nice laid back gig of taking way too much meth-amphetamine and making more noodles appear than a street vendor in Hong Kong, nothing was more relaxing than cookin’ up and tyin’ one off, man. You know I owe it all to those cute little tye-dyed teddy bears, man. I always thought we had a lot in common you and me, God. You’re omniscient and you allow people to feel comforted by letting them pray to you all the time. I was trying to channel that with my noodlin’ and sellin’ of ice creams.”

The overarching point here is not so much a punch line as it is a stark reality. Cute little animal characters sell millions upon millions of records and hippies get away with murder because everyone thinks they're laid back.

Eric Clapton: a hippie that got away with murder. How? The answer being the difference between an eight pound of cocaine and a baby. Thanks again D. Lee. How did they reward Clapton for writing shitty song upon shitty song during his sham of a solo career? With grammys and MTV Moonmen. Tears In Heaven, I would get so pissed when that video dominated MTV air play because it cut into Guns N' Roses' videos being played. Bad Love, nails on a chalkboard. Getdown Sally or Waydown Sally, whatever it's called, aurally offensive. After Midnight, terrible. I Shot The Sherrif, not only offensive, but celebrating the fact that hippies murder in it's very title, albeit a cover song from another laid back hippie's catalogue. Cocaine, nah-nah-nuh-nah... so-lame. Laila, co-written with a dude who bludgeoned his mother to death, the list goes on.

Barack Obama made history. There is certainly no question about that. But how did he do it? The Shepard Fairey “Hope” rendering of President Obama was a severely overlooked component to Obama’s Chester Cheeto-esque heist of power. By the way, the new Cheetos commercials, if anyone hasn’t noticed, are sinister. In one of the ads a person who has recently eaten an entire bag of Cheetos gets back at a foe by wiping her cheesy hand on the back of the unknowing recipient's white shirt. And in another, a gal uses Cheetos crumbs to lure a flock of pigeons to interrupt an annoying cell phone talker by swarming on her while she’s dining at a sidewalk cafe. The Cheetos commercials represent the dawning of eye for an eye renegade marketing which appeals to a base common denominator, revenge. The Cheetos commercials represent the 'reverse psychological companion' to the aforementioned fuzzy cute bears. The subliminal tactics of the Cheetos commercials serve the same purpose and can be just as effective for moving units. Case in point, whenever I'm rolling late night into a gas station there's no chance I can resist that huge three dollar and seventy nine cent bag of Puffy Cheetos. Is it the underlying promise of revenge that enables me to reach so freely for the orange bag or is it the craving for emulsified cheese powder? But I digress.

Evidence of the Shepard Fairey “Hope” poster’s efficacy recently came to light in speaking with my great-grandmother, a ninety-seven year old Italian-American. My great-grandmother confessed to me that the only reason she voted for our freshly elected president was because she believed McCain was running against none other than the Pope. Flabbergasted, I asked her what exactly she meant by that. John McCain clearly did not run against the pope. McCain clearly lost to Barack Hussein Obama. I assured her. I asked why she was re-writing history and attempting to pass it off as common irrefutable fact. My great-grandmother says, “Whadda ya talkin about? Everywhere I-a-look I see deez-a pretty posters that a-say “a-Pope-a” with a handsome guy on them. So I thought it was a bit strange that no one told me he was-a-finally a-running. But then he came to Yankee stadium and he went to talk-a to Bush so I just-a-figured, you know? But really those-a-posters looked so nice I thought nothing bad would come of it. I saw the real Depression. The only stimulus package the government offered then was a-steel-a-rod-a-home-a-Polio kit. I’ll be honest I was little bummed when I found out Obama wasn’t really the pope. I felt that Italian senior-senior citizens everywhere were cheated. But I read in a-Rolling Stone-a that he hangs out-a with-a Bruce Bon Jovi a lot and that he listens to the Grateful Dead so I think he’ll be a-pretty mellow. I’ll tell you what’s not mellow though, this a-toikey. It tastes a-like-a shoe leather.”

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

NO CARE PLAN: Hospitals VS Bars

The amount of Americans currently lacking proper affordable health care is startling. I, myself, have been a card carrying member of the NO CARE plan since 2001. Leave one little job to follow your dreams and the electric blanket of co-payments and marked down dental work is replaced with the wet napkin of, "If it aint broke don't fix it. If it IS broke and you can't fix it yourself, you're fucked because YOU'RE broke." During the passed seven years I've willfully endured financial hardships in order to dedicate as much time as possible to writing and performing music. I've chosen to work countless, actually I could probably count them, freelance jobs in order to barely make ends meet and now consider this portion of my adult life without health care to be, "The Saving For The Big Operation Years." People who hate their jobs are sometimes afraid to aspire to something more in tune with their true interests and passions because leaving would ultimately entail the relinquishing of certain benefits deemed to be survival necessities, i.e. steady income, health care, pension, etc. These earmarks of stability are by no means anything to scoff at. I'm actually jealous because the "independent contractor" position down at the Bluetooth office doesn't exactly come with a built in benefits package.

I want affordable health care. I'd even take free health care and then tip the doctor, as if he or she are a bartender, depending on how personable, adept, and thorough they are. Then, the amount one tips determines how one is treated the next time one returns to the doctor's office just as how much one tips a bartender determines one's "buy back frequency" at any given bar. I'm running under the assumption here that the universal buy back round for all bartenders when serving a well established tipper is the second round. This, of course, is wishful thinking on my part. To follow suit, let's say one visits one's family practioner for a routine check up. During a previous visit one throws down a twenty spot as a tip for the old MD. A perfect world would have it that big tippers don't have to sign their names on waiting lists or make advance appointments. Big tippers can just roll up, "Yo, what up Huxtable? You mind taking a peek at my bum leg real quick? I don't have time to wait for an hour and a half. I gots hot tracks to make. Y'heard?" By this logic, a local clinic is considered the equivalent of a well kept neighborhood pub whereas a free clinic is akin to a dive bar. Hospitals can be compared to certain bigger bars/venues/clubs, the Webster Halls/Henry Fonda Theatres of the medicine world. Doctors with better booking agents get placed at better venues and eventually become big name surgeons. Seeing a specialist like a proctologist is the equivalent of going to a high end wine bar like Terroir. You're paying for the best, no surprises. Doctors cut off and refuse care to hypochondriacs just as bartenders use their discretion in deeming when a patron has had too much to drink.

It is not esoteric knowledge that paying for an emergency room visit out of pocket is not exactly cheap. It pretty much costs a thousand bucks just for them to clasp that little plastic bracelet with one's name and DOB to one's wrist. I went to the emergency room three summers ago, just finished making my fifty dollar a month bare minimum payments, and aside from making me wear the requisite assless paper half-robe the only thing they did for me was give me ass cream. The visit literally cost me eighteen hundred bucks. You scream. I scream. We all scream for ass cream, the expensive kind of course. On that day, amidst the pain, little did I know I would eventually wind up paying almost 2 G's for the Ben and Jerry's of ass creams, not cheap.

All kidding aside having no health care is no laughing matter. So, at the end of the day I can sleep assured knowing that, at the very least, I have the NO CARE plan going for me. Mark my words, you will hear about the NO CARE plan during the upcoming 808 Sounds Great Presidential Candidates' debates. Furthermore, the NO CARE plan at its very core is precisely in tune with Barack Obama's defining message of HOPE in that, "I HOPE my fuckin' thrombosed hemmorhoids don't fall out of my ass on Kennedy Boulevard because if they do I'm fucked." Have you ever seen a pair of Christmas balls the size of two grapes? One may pose the question, "Well if you knew you didn't have health insurance why the hell'd you go to the emergency room Einstein?" A fair inquiry. The easy answer is, of course, a question, that being, "If you looked at YOUR own ass and saw something resembling a Christmas ornament coming out of it where exactly would you go?" In times of dire circumstances when experiencing severe amounts of pain or in times of fear for your life the right thing to do is ALWAYS to seek immediate medical care. And surely the older one gets the less one wants to fuck around. It sucks that on top of experiencing the anxiety of not knowing what one is in for physically coupled with knowing exactly what one is in for financially one without health care is thereby forced to leave the hospital, no matter how much better one may feel, with brand new pains, courtesy of the hospital, in one's nose, from it having been paid through.

If all this works out and Palestinian Bluetooth's vision for a greater health care system comes to fruition you will be able to buy gift certificates for your husbands fortieth birthday colon examination at participating Outback Steak Houses across our beloved nation. It'll be great. The whole family will go out and suck down ribs and scrimps on the barbie with fudgie the whale cake for dessert or whatever the fuck... And then after the whole Outback staff sings Happy Birthday and little hubby blows out his candles the staff will say, "And here's your voucher for your free Outback Steakhouse Fortieth Birthday Colon Exam On The Barbie sir. Enjoy." Eventually one might even be able to earn reward points or frequent flier miles toward hospital visits under the Palesinian Bluetooth health care umbrella.

Palestinian Bluetooth's model for reconfiguration so that hospitals and clinics are more like bars while doctors and nurses are more like bartenders and barmaids can solve problems that extend far beyond our nation's current health care dilemma. Think about the repercussions for people's sex lives. Fellas, if you're really looking to impress that lady you've had your eye on at the office, who finally agrees to accompany you for an evening about town, don't foot the bill for dinner at Hearth. Take her to the emergency room of the local hospital and say you refuse to let her health insurance pay for it. If you think she'll be impressed when you splurge for that 2003 Bordeaux, how do you think she'll react when you start the evening off with a little His & Her saline IV injection? Buy two bags of IV and you're in there like swim wear. "How are you both doing? I'm Robert. I'll be your doctor this evening. Can I start you two off with some drinks? Might I recommend the saline IV apertif with a little hint of Nexium for the nausea?" For the price a hospital charges for a bag of fucking salt water you'd think you were being injected with Austria's finest Reisling.

In earnest, all I'm saying is that hard times call for reliable coverage. Perhaps it's time that we start thinking in different terms when thinking about coverage. Palestinian Bluetooth already has. I urge you to do the same. Ladies, and gentleman interested in female wigs, all the answers to your coverage problems await you at Learn more about "America's natural choice for beautiful hair." Considering that a wig company is in essence peddling artifice, the antithesis of 'natural,' one cannot help but be reminded of the old line, "Who are the ad campaign wizards that came up with that one?"
So, in closing, as the hairline of our current health care system recedes beyond repair we each need to ask ourselves, "If I were choosing a quick fix wig for myself, would I go with a wisped away kind of feel, with monofilament parts, open ear tabs, and a hand tied front with a neck extension while deep down inside knowing that I'm only masking the symptoms, offering the perceiver a seeming sense of 'all's good in the hood'?"

And furthermore, "Would I feel comfortable wearing a hair piece that bears a human name?" For example, "Hi, it's nice to meet you. My name is Rose. The wig that I'm wearing is named Iris." If you can answer these questions honestly then you'll be OK when it's time to cast your vote for 808 Sounds Great Presidential Candidates ElectorATEs.

Friday, July 4, 2008

Embracing Black Outs

Justin Angelo Morey is a magnet for black-outs. On the eve of the thirty-ninth anniversary of Brian Jones' death me, Morey, and Wiley get caught in the maelstrom of a Pearl Studio power outage. We take solace in the fact that for once the absence of electricity is not caused by Morey's First Class hair drying apparatus. It turns out that the culprit is a faulty transformer which PSE&G apparently fixes the day before, apparently being the key word. We arrive thinking PSE&G's presence a second day in a row to be a bit strange. At first, the power in our room seems fully restored. The false sense of restoration lasts less than an hour. Lo and behold, the Black Hollies persevere against absurd conditions as the band finalizes a song arrangement in the hallway of their rehearsal space, at first under the hazard lights of the building's exit signs and then eventually in complete and utter darkness. The band notes shortly thereafter an investment in candles to be of utmost importance.

During the eve of the eve of the thirty-ninth anniversary of Brian Jones' death myself and Morey battle through a half-powered session trying to get ideas to tape without the availability of proper amplification. Our studio is barely lit by half dim X-mas lights as the air conditioner drools at an extremely weak frequency, kryptonite to Morey who is an admitted freon addict. Instead of calling it quits we decide to make due and hash out an idea by taking advantage of the fact that it isn't quite "rock o'clock" throughout the rest of the studio yet, meaning, "Dude, I punch OUT at five from the day job but I punch IN at 7 at the studio where me and the boys try to take it up a notch and let our neighbors know that the 90's were, and remain to this day, a very powerful time for music. Rock o'clock is the only time we can unwind after a long hard day of feeling Minnesota at the office." The jobless members of the Black Hollies prefer to keep early studio hours to avoid the off-putting rock o'clock hour at all costs. It is, at its worst, a time when the sounds emanating from other rooms in the studio produce a mock weight lifting, more specifically bench pressing or quad exercise motioning from either myself or Morey, meaning, "Hell, I drink Bud. I'm strong. My nation is strong. 'Aint no mistaken my fuckin' music is goan be strong. Raaaah!!! Riffs and spliffs, maaan. Candlebox rules!"

So, all the other tenants heed Joe Pearl's, aka the landlord's, notice that the juice in the joint is fucked. Apparently me and Morey miss out on the memo. Not a soul lingers at the studio so I place a phone call in a disguised voice to Joe Pearl's voice mail. I alert him of the power problem in case he is unaware of it. I say in a deeper than usual voice, "Joe, it's Tommy Plascko from The Boots band calling. There's something severely wrong with the power at the Forest street location. Just wanted to give you the heads up..." This way Pearl knows what's up but doesn't call anyone from The Black Hollies.

Distance from a landlord is crucial. It is important to note that myself and Morey avoid all things Joe Pearl related but not because upon first look Joe Pearl resembles a lost extra from the cast of Hillstreet Blues, sporting eggsalad yellow socks peeking over the cusps of a weather beaten pair of Spaulding high top sneakers which match his Spaulding sweatshirt, a paradoxical compliment to a pair of distressed blue denim cut-off shorts which bleed frayed white cascading shag just above the knees. In order to gain insight as to the particular vibes that Joe Pearl unknowingly channels please understand that Spaulding is to the 1980's what the Champion brand is to the 1990's. Pearl's hair is a relaxed curl congregation, the paradigm of Pert Plus in action. When checking any microphone Joe Pearl opts for the industry standard, "Two, two," sometimes straying and adding his own, "Hey, hey... Hey, two." The Black Hollies attempt to avoid all face to face encounters with Pearl because the band is admittedly first of the month challenged and suffers from a severe earning disorder which usually results in Pearl's outrage culminating in a voice mail left on Ferrante's mobile, the gist of it usually, "Nick, it's the 22nd of the month and I still haven't gotten a fucking check. I think you need to make a phone call. Click." To his credit though, Joe Pearl has been entirely flexible and supportive of every incarnation of band The Black Hollies have been involved in for the passed fifteen years, not to mention that Pearl can blow a mean woodwind.

Attempting to defy the power as it sporadically surges from the studio's damaged transformer, me and Morey record a sketch of an arrangement on the eve of the eve of the thirty-ninth anniversary of Brian Jones' death. We ignore the acid trip like swooping, swelling, speeding up, and slowing down sounds during playback thinking that the next day when the power in the studio is fully restored the aforementioned blemishes will remain undetected. After splitting a jug of southern wine we call it a night, encourage each other that we made the best with what we had, and look forward to working with Wiley on the arrangement the following day.

Deja Vu hits hard on the eve of the thirty-ninth anniversary of Brian Jones' death by drowning when the three of us listen to the previous session's distorted play back and go through the same emotions. We curse the lights as they die, not knowing when or if they'll be turned back on. At this crucial point, the easiest thing for the Black Hollies to do would have been to call it quits for the day using the excuse that the entire studio is maim as a result of not having any electricity. The funny thing is that the Black Hollies don't even discuss this option among each other. The band carries on sharing southern wine in the light's absence. While in the not illumined hallway we use cellphones to light our way in order to use the toilet. My camera's flash attests to how we each look ridiculous in the dark affirming once again that we're not dead but alive, not really knowing how far one of us is from the other, listening, and using our ears to determine which moves our hands will use to navigate the necks of our guitars. The best ideas often flow swiftly. So what a bummer it would have been to have to leave on account of a black out. More than ever we refuse to let go of our passion. After almost two hours of renegade operating the repaired transformer restores proper power to The Black Hollies' rehearsal space. The clock struck rock with the coming on of the lights as slowly but surely the other tenants arrived at Pearl to maximize their monthly rates. The Black Hollies celebrate overcoming the night's obstacle by sharing the final sips of southern wine together and putting to tape the structure for what the band considers to be it's most developed work, a testament to Palestinian Bluetooth's ethos that the easiest way is always the most boring and least fruitful.