Sunday, April 29, 2018

Guava Paste Hangover

No, that's not the name of a band that's playing Jazzfest, it's what I might have felt upon arising at 2:30 PM, an hour past my usual wake up.

I had had probably a 20 dollar night, but it felt like more as I had scooped a couple handfuls of bills out of the basket, after having seen a couple young African Americans seem to suddenly take an interest in the Lynyrd Skynyrd song that I was doing, after having stared at my basket as they walked past, and then stopped a few feet further down the sidewalk to seemingly debate something.

On the other stoop sat Lilly and her newest tenant, David.

David spends as much time sitting on his front stoop (as if to tell the world that he lives there) as he does wherever he stays in the back.

He came up to me as I was setting up and was picking up whatever little bits of trash had been left by whomever had been skeezing there.

"I don't mind them begging, but their leaving trash behind is not acceptable," said David.

"I always leave my spot spotless," I assured him, in an attempt to use word-play and to cater to his apparent issues surrounding his feeling that it is his house that people are dropping trash in front of, making that a personal thing.

Lilly has reacted similarly to graffiti having been sprayed on the front of the house, or to having eaves (?) broken off the shutters, but her main concern had been whether it had been done by the neighbors that she has been feuding with, looking for intelligence to that effect in the grafitti, type of thing. A neighbor who would throw a grapefruit in a pool might do anything; even spray "homophobe!" in colorful paint on the front of her house...

But, David, I suspect would be happier if I didn't in fact know Lilly (who would probably evict him before asking me not to play there) because then I would have to kiss his ass, like the skeezers that are being "allowed" to beg there, through his "grace," but to not leave their trash behind.

While sitting on the other stoop the entire 3 hours that I wound up playing, David was joined by Lilly for a good portion of it.

He seems to welcome, and enjoy interacting with, the skeezers who can't seem to let a resident sit on his front step without running their: "Things are pretty rough for me right now, I'll be honest with you. I'm hungry and living on the street..." skeezes on them.

It's the: "You got all this; and I ain't got nothin'" skeeze.

Barnaby used to sit with the door of his place open behind him, revealing the chandelier that hung in the front room which made for a great conversation piece: "That's a beautiful chandelier, there...Listen, things are pretty rough for me right now, I'll be honest with you...etc."

David must be at least an interesting conversationalist for Lilly to have sat for almost 2 hours with him. I'll have to try to talk to him at length at some point. You never know, I might wind up getting a job through him, or something, if I keep my mind open.

The Videos

I'm trying to work on videos while at the same time becoming sick of hearing the same song a hundred times while editing.

I have learned that it is hard to match my voice to a phrase that has already been sung in such a way as it doesn't look like I am lip-syncing. One spot where the mouth is closed when it should be open is enough to destroy the "effect" of it.

It has to be done in stretches of, like, 3 words at a time, paying attention to breathing, syllables and accentuation, and even the facial expression should match the emotion of it.

Lyrics that are "ad libbed" are especially difficult as they may have been used to exhale the last of the air in my lungs and squeezed in to fit the beat, maybe using 5 syllables over 4 beats of music type of thing.

These need to be mimicked, as if the guy in the video, also, just had the phrase pop into his head and decided to throw it in, even if it's his 84th take and he has forgotten what the song was about in the first place by then...

It will be easier to record the music first and then to actually lip sync over it, rather than try to match the output of a guy who is making things up as he goes along. I guess that's why it seems "the professionals" do it that way.

I need to take the next couple of days to lay down rhythm tracks with the metronome, play the guitar perfectly through on whole verse, and then use the "repeat" effect to extend it to multiple verses.

I shied away from this at first, thinking that it would better if different verses had slightly different accompaniment, to "move" the song along, but now realize that the static guitar part that just repeats is going to be buried under the subsequent layers of other instruments and voices and cat meows and that most people are really only paying attention to "the singer" and "the words."

I also thought that using a click track was going to make things sound more stiff and regulated, but it's possible to fall slightly behind or to anticipate slightly the next click and to make the rhythm swing despite the monotony of the click-click-click-ing.

As long as the metronome tempo is adhered to then it can be used as the glue to keep every subsequent thing together.

So, why am I sitting in front of the Uxi Duxi at 8:53 PM on a Sunday night, when I should be laying down click tracks with bare-boned rhythm guitar parts along with them, to guide a forthcoming vocal rendition? The answer, my friend, is blowing in the wind.

The Smart Phone

I got a third letter from Assurance Wireless, telling me that someone at my address already is signed up for a lifeline phone. Yeah, probably about 119 people at 3222 Canal Street are.

I now have to send them proof that nobody else in apartment A 110 is already signed up. This will require a visit to Tim, my caseworker, tomorrow morning to procure some paperwork to that point.

The "Bongo" video that I posted here last week was originally going to be sent to him alone via e-mail, as I thought he might get a kick out of it. I will have to ask him if he saw it on this blog yet.

Tim is a type C musician himself. He plays the acoustic guitar and 12 string one.
"Type C" is a term that I just made up to describe the left brained, or more "cerebral" musicians who are technically very savvy, usually like to play ragtime or stride guitar where there is basically only one way to execute the piece, and it is either played correctly or with a few mistakes -not a lot of room for "interpretation."

Whereas I might have 10 songs begun, though not finished, with titles like: "A Heart Shaped Raisin On Mars," the type C musician would have a few already composed and set in stone, but with names like: "Untitled #1," and "Untitled #2" and probably the most interesting one, "Untitled #3."

Back in 1988, I was talking to guitarist Vinnie Moore in Albany, New York, who was considering hiring me as a "lyricist" because he had all of these songs, intricate flashy technically advanced pieces, but couldn't compose lyrics to save his career. I might wish that I had pursued that, Vinnie went on to become Deep Purple's 19th guitarist, after Ritchie Blackmore left the fold.

He had just released his album, bearing the left-brained title of: "Time Odyssey" and so, yeah, he needed a word man. So does Joe ("Time Machine") Satriani, for that matter.

I just got a text from Geo, who is going to marry Mindy Lee in Jackson Square on May 7th, with the first dance song played by myself for a fee of 50 dollars (I Googled: "How much do you tip wedding musicians?") who said that he would be at the Lilly Pad about an hour and ten minutes from now, with another hit of acid to give (sell?) to me. I won't pay more than, say, 7 dollars for one. I still need kitty litter, potting soil and dish soap, not to mention weed and kratom...

Saturday, April 28, 2018

To Measure Success In Guava Paste

  • 25 Dollar Friday Follows 24 Dollar Thursday
  • Rose And Ed Evicted

A distraught Rose called me at noon.

I had been asleep for maybe a half night's worth by then.

I remember laying down and snapping the lamp off to find that nearly as much light was spilling through the blinds from the outside as had been coming from it.

I am living a charmed life; to be able to wake up in beautiful Louisiana with nowhere to go, nothing to do, I keep thinking.

"It all has to do with child support and certification and we had to get something notarized and we didn't have the money to get it notarized and we asked them if we could have until Monday but they said 'No, the eviction notice goes in Monday morning,' and then we would have to go to court, so we're just going to leave and stay at my sister's..."

Soon the distraught couple were at my door, pulling a cart behind them that they had apparently borrowed from Wayne, my neighbor who is a Mardi Gras "vendor," and uses it once a year for that. It was laden with food.

Rose unpacked, and explained, each item as she handed them to me...
"This is guava paste, it's kinda sweet. This is already open so be careful, but I didn't stick my hand in it, I just poured some out when I made my chili. These drinks are cold, do you want them in your fridge? This is some really good coffee, but you need a grinder, do you have a grinder; do you still want it?"

"I have the Crown Royal bag and hammer type of coffee grinder."

Ed began to speak, but Rose cut him off: "I'm talking to Daniel right now, Ed!!" The latter visibly shrunk, as if struck on the nose with a rolled up newspaper and, for perhaps the first time in my life, I could smell anger and fear and frustration on another person. I could hear Ed counting to ten in his head.

I could see that the eviction was a tense situation, bringing about some turmoil in the relationship between Rose and Ed. Ed had always been such a good provider, with his disability checks and the sale-able narcotics that are byproducts of his dozen or so yearly "surgeries," and it was sad to see him so humbled by these recent developments.

He had probably wanted to talk to me about the furniture, while Rose had probably wanted to dispose of the food matter first.

As soon as I had drifted off to sleep again, secure in the knowledge that I would have guava paste waiting for me when I awoke, the phone rang again.

It was Rose again, calling about the wooden kitchen table and the sofa that is in the room that her now 13 year old daughter occupies over the weekends when they have custody of her; something they are no longer certified to do, I guess.

I really didn't want any more furniture. As it is, I am stacking smaller tables on top of larger ones in an effort to reduce the clutter of my living space.

It crossed my mind that it would be easier for them to give furniture away (and then have the people they gave it to help them drag it to their respective apartments) than to haul it all the way outside to the waiting U-haul.

They were probably hoping that I would take the stuff to my place, even if I was going to set it outside by the dumpster as soon as their U-haul disappeared down the road.

But, I'm sure Rose will pop in for an unannounced visit at some point in the future, when, like a dog to its vomit, they come back to visit their "old friends" here, and "Oh,....where's the table and the sofa I gave you...I was looking forward to seeing them in their new environment...?" might be the first thing out of her.

They returned the bike that I had sold them almost a couple months ago, now, and that is now a piece of clutter that will always seem to be in the way, no matter where I try to shove it. And I no longer have 30 dollars to look forward to "the first of the month."

I suppose I can list the thing on Craigslist and offer to ride it to anywhere within the zip code to deliver it -included in the 30 dollar purchase price, 40 if I have to leave the state, type of thing....
"Oh, we're 'Chocolate Milk Heads' -been following them around the country in a minivan for years now..."

25 Dollar Friday

I suppose I earned every penny of what I made Friday night.
The "Jesus" clock was almost at 10:30 PM, as I realized once again that I can't seem, for the life of me, to be able to arrive at the Lilly Pad at my target time of 9:30 PM, which is when the piano bar guy starts playing inside Lafitt's.
If, in his professional sensibility, he deems that time to be when the dinners have been digested enough and enough Hurricanes have been swilled down to have put them in the mood to sing along with "Piano Man," by Billy Joel, then I suppose that might mean that they are likewise in the mood to hear "Guitar Man," (an adaptation of a song by Billy Joel) out of me.

This time, I had been waiting upon Bobby to return to his place with some weed. He had just "re-upped" and would soon be back, like Santa Claus with a big transparent bag full of a green leafy substance in his "sleigh" instead of one full of toys.

I thought to myself: "I can leave now, and be at the Lilly Pad by 10 PM without a bowl to smoke while I tune up, or I can wait for Bobby.

I was leery about it turning into a situation where, if he wasn't back by a certain time, I would have to man up and go out to perform my duties without the added luxury of an experience enhancing hallucinagenic. And, yeah, it seemed like I was being tested in some way.

After a reasonable amount of time, I decided that I would just ride through the parking lot of Banks Meat Store, ready to spend 5 bucks on a nickel of their regular bud, but a call to Bobby before I left resulted in him telling me to "hurry" to his place, where I had to take my place in line behind guys who buy from him and then sell it in the Quarter. They all arrive in vehicles, so they can't be doing all that bad.

I got to the Lilly Pad to find a beggar sitting on the stoop, who cleared off of it as soon as he saw me arrive on my bike. I was almost ready to offer him a puff off my tune-up joint.

It felt like the night was successful after group after group of people walked past with almost all of them throwing me at least a dollar; or more like: with almost all of them throwing only a dollar.

But, there were 21 of them, along with a 5 that had evaded my notice, along with about a pound of change in my basket when I knocked off for the second time, after having run out of motivation and talent and ambition at 1:03 AM, then having taken a break to smoke another bud and drink a Monster "Zero" energy drink.

I hit the stoop with renewed vigor at about 1:20 AM and played for about another 45 minutes. That was probably when the 5 dollar bill went into the basket, making for a 25 dollar night, give or take a pound of change.

This is a good sign. The small tip amounts are in line with the fact that this was the second night of a Jazzfest which spans 2 consecutive weekends, and tourists aren't going to come out of the gate throwing 20 dollar bills at every street musician, even if he is singing about carcasses. They will hold on to their money until the second weekend.

Then, after feeling as if they had seen all the performers at least once and had walked the gauntlet of Bourbon Street and been skeezed enough so they are starting to recognize the difference between them and someone who actually has something to offer, they will give larger tips to those few who were their favorites.

This is why it is important for me to be present at the Lilly Pad and biding my time, happy with the 25 dollar Friday night for the time being.
And, I guess the positive energy that I aligned myself with has caused blessings to flow my way. I just have to measure success in guava paste, that's all...
I slept with my song "Computer Geek Blues," looping continuously on my stereo. At one point, I woke up and could hear horn parts in my head that would fit -I almost was going to turn the microphone on and mouth the parts ala Peter Cetera, of the band Chicago, just to capture them; but I didn't and fell back asleep.
Left; Where was this "oldie but goodie" photo from 2012 when I was pasting together my "Cavorting With Amy," video? Next time I edit it, this one, along with a few others will be inserted. It should take me only about a half hour to do so.
Then, I'll have to delete the previous version from Youtube and replace it...I'll probably wait until I've finished the music to it... 

Later, I woke up and could hear a snare drum part in my head, implied by the rhythm I was strumming on the guitar, but fell back to sleep. The rest of the wakings up had to do with Rose calling on the house phone, giving away food and furniture.

I am going to take the best parts of the song and make them repeat, deleting the verses where I sang off key, and then play an additional guitar along with it, to use as a guide for singing the missing verses.

I will wind up with a song with the verses having been rearranged from the order that I sang them. All I have to do is cut and paste and I can move the 4th verse to be the 2nd verse, etc. It will be cool to listen to the finished song knowing that that was the case.

It must be equally cool when bands send a tape to one of its members, who takes it into a nearby studio and adds his part to it, before sending it back. "The guy playing the tambourine was in Australia, the piano parts were recorded in California and the rest of the band laid down the basic tracks in New York," type of thing.

The painstaking part will be to match the clips of me singing in the park to wherever those verses are heard, and then I guess to switch to a still shot of Leslie Thompson during those sections when I sang entirely different lyrics at a different spot.

When I get my smartphone, I will be able to play the song through an mp3 player or something and then walk around the Quarter shooting a video of myself singing (or mouthing) along with it, with all kinds of French Quarter scenes in the background and I'm looking forward to that.

Some bands talk about having come up with the idea for a video before the idea for a song came. I'm hoping that, once I get started making these videos I will come up with "...You know what would have been even better there?!?" types of ideas.

I think if I just walked around filming whatever I saw in the Quarter and just let clips of those run in the background while one of my random songs played, it would at least hold a viewers interest.

And, should I capture any "rare" moments, like one of the mules spooking and bolting down the street with a terrified load of tourists in the carriage, then I could even modify the lyrics with a line such as, oh I don't know: "But, you ran from me like a scared mule, woman!" or...something...
Spell Checker, ignore all occurrences of "skeezer."

The point, though, is that sometimes the scene might inspire lyrics, and vice versa.
If I'm recording a song about Lilly, then I can visit the botanical garden in City Park to capture images of her namesake flower, but if a cross-dressing old geezer walks past while I'm doing that, well, that might inspire a whole new song!

Friday, April 27, 2018

Jake Shimabukuro, Anyone?

  • 24 Dollar Thursday
  • More Videos On The Way

A lady walked up, who appeared to be in her late 40's and who appeared to be a bartender (she just looked like one; I could picture her saying: "It's last call, you need anything? as she wiped a bar in front of me) and probably a pack a day for the past 25 years smoker, and handed me a 20 dollar bill around midnight last night.
The bottom half of today's (Friday) lineup at the Jazzfest (above).
I look at these things (scheduled performers at big-time events) usually with a couple of regular thoughts in my head.

One of them has to do with my feeling that I have fallen behind the times, still listening to 1960's era music (or Sting, for that matter) while the whole world has moved on, with all the performers who might have played at Woodstock having been supplanted by the likes of the above. "I'm going to have to Google all these artists, check out their music, and in doing so, bring myself up to date..." I might think.

The second thought is usually: "I'm going to be so jealous if I see any musicians that I know on here."

Jake Shimabukuro, I Googled, after throwing an imaginary dart at the schedule from 15 feet away, and there he is (left).

The sight of him reminds me that, if you play a weird instrument, not only do you have less competition for being one of the best in the world at that particular weird instrument; you have a better chance of finding a niche in the Jazzfest lineup.

Sturgill Simpson is another "who?" who appears to the left.

He is kind of an anti-establishment country artist (if that's not too much of an oxymoron). A "You can shove that Country Music Association award up your ass, because it's all politics!" type of country music artist.

Is "Sturgill" a special snowflake name, or what??

Bartender Looking Lady, Cont.

"Here, put this in your pocket," said the lady from 3 paragraphs ago.

"Wow, thanks. You must work a job that pays better than mine!," I said.

"No, I'm poor, but you just made my night," she replied.

I then thought that, perhaps, she had in turn, just made my night, and since my night was already made, why not call it a night?

That tip had brought my total for the night to 24 dollars. Not bad for a guy who went out with only $1.42 on him, and who needs toilet paper, cat litter and kratom.
Oh, I see how Shimabukuro does it!

She had hidden herself somewhere, and I had thought that I was playing for nobody, and decided to just free-style.

I had mentally prepared myself for making only something like 9 dollars, before going out.

It was the cerebral: "If you have less than 20 dollars in cash, you must go out to busk!" thing that drove me out there.

"Wow, and I had actually considered staying in!," I have said to myself after similar nights, especially after the 175 dollar ones.

On my way past the Lilly Pad after having dropped my milk crate back at The Quartermaster and gotten coffee and cat food, I saw Brett the cello player just sitting down on Lilly's stoop. Wow, he's just starting at 1:30 AM, and here I am taking my 24 dollars and getting the hell out of Dodge... I thought.

"Oh, wow," he said upon seeing me, and started to grab his cello case as a prelude to leaving.

"Oh, I already played -did pretty well with the key of A minor," I said and rode on.

Brett has an understanding with Lilly that I have dibs on the spot. It wouldn't be right for me to try to keep other people from playing there during the 23 and a half hours when I might not be there on such a day.

It being Jazzfest, it behooves me to try to get there at 9:30 PM tonight, and to play straight through until 4 in the morning. I do still need toilet paper and kitty litter...
I suppose that, when he hadn't seen me there by almost midnight, Brett might have thought that I wasn't going to arrive.

The Next Video

The next video that will come out of the session in the park will be a version of "Computer Geek Blues," that I managed to sing most of the verses of almost well enough to go on the final production.
This one will involve cutting and pasting to make the song and video repeat, so as to accommodate the extra verses, solos, etc. something I haven't tried yet but which seems to work "on paper," at least.

Thursday, April 26, 2018

A Little Boy Named Milo

12 Dollar Wednesday
After having ushered the sun to a spot below the horizon, shooting what turned out to be a 15 minute video, about 4 and a half minutes of which appear above, I went out and made 12 bucks in order to cover the kratom and cat food that keeps me going.

The song, "Cavorting With Amy," I wrote when I was staying with Leslie Thompson in 2014, and he had left Thanksgiving morning to go to The House of Blues for their free Thanksgiving catered meal that they offer to the public each year.
About a dozen restaurants send a diplomat to the place to take their place in the line and cater to people from all walks of life, from important people, all the way down to Leslie Thompson...
The song, is at "Level 1," which means that I have separated the audio track from the video, added compression and delay and reverberation as appropriate (though that is a matter of taste) to it, mixed a couple of background voices in, then put it back on the video.
I can add any number of additional instruments to it and, just as importantly, cause sections of the music to repeat, so I can eventually have the full set of lyrics represented on it.
As far as being creative with the placement of images, so as to match the lyrics, for example after the line: "She was standing in her unique spot in front of the Unique store," it would be cool to have that particular image of her fade in at that point. However, this is the kind of stuff that makes Openshot crash-prone, and so there is less of that kind of thing than I would desire. I make a few simple changes, just making sure all the pictures appear at some point in the video, and that is an accomplishment, with the Openshot free video editor.
It is an incredible piece of software, still, and if the next 5, or so, years see the fixing of its bugs then I foresee the time when I might make a video of myself playing in front of the Eiffel Tower, or Big Ben, with tourists seen milling about and cartoon David The Water Jug players walking up and saying "Pleeeze tell me you're smoking on somethin' Daniel!"
I can dream.
The Bigger Picture
The more important issue is that, as heard in the video, the brand new Epiphone guitar that Bobby bought for me, sounds a little less grand than the Takamine, which needs probably about a 20 dollar repair job done unto it.
This sound that you hear on the video was improved upon by putting the new set of strings on it, replacing the ones that had been put on at the factory maybe 5 years ago.
So, the next video that the Epiphone is used in will sound, say 8% better as far as the guitar track is concerned.
I can go back and replace the tracks with ones done on the Takamine, but that will only be a concern when I am attempting to polish off a song after having added drums and bass and maybe a piano, if I ever go back to Baton Rouge and use the one that is in a little chapel that nobody ever seems to be praying in...

Wednesday, April 25, 2018

On A Friday Night, I Would Mind

Oh, About A 14 Dollar Tuesday

Following the 16 dollar Monday night with the above amount, has been keeping me going, making me feel like a junkie, as I pedal my bike with a highly caffein-ated (sp?) energy drink on my mind, picking up half smoked cigarettes along the way, blaming the bowl of weed that I just smoked at Bobby's for turning me into a fiend, and a self conscious, paranoid one who can feel the eyes of all those around me upon me, and hear their thoughts: "Look at that fiend, looking for tobacco on his way to get an energy drink to mix with a shot of kratom that he will soon take! He probably drank like 4 coffees before leaving his place!"
And the cloud of knowledge hangs over my head, which could be called "The knowledge of to what constructive purpose the same 30 dollars made over the coarse of 2 nights could be put to."
Hubert Borg
My friend in Massachusetts, Hubert Borg, whom I last saw in 2004, is my role model in that regard.
He worked for a couple months over the summer of 1988, in order to save "money for college."
That fall, he was a roommate of mine at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst.
He had made around $2,200 working that summer, and, over the course of the 10 weeks of it, had spent $90 of it.

I repeat, he spent $90 the whole summer.

I think he said that he put 5 dollars of gas into his car each of those weeks.

The other 4 dollars went for things like art supplies, violin strings, maybe a used paperback book or two, and a 75 cent can of Coke-a-Cola on a warm day when he might be doing yard work and gardening around the house.

He still lived in his parents house, at the age of 44 when I last saw him, and did all the yard work and gardening as part of what could be seen as paying "room and board," but would do them anyways, out of enjoyment.

He enjoyed listening to free AM talk radio, playing the free piano in their living room, drawing or sculpting, and holding long, free conversations.

My song, "Hubert's Trip," (a recording and/or video of which is forthcoming, as I have been revisiting it a lot lately, due partly to having a D major harmonica) is about Hubert.

He gassed up his 1978 Plymouth Grand Fury with 428,000 miles on the odometer and embarked upon "a circumnavigation of the nation," as my song puts it.

But, yeah, I dream of being able to get by on 4 dollars a week.

Of course, there are a couple verses that address Hubert's frugality in that song:

"He goes to Vegas and he walks the strip -walks it like he owns it and in fact in his mind it is Hubert's strip.
He's approached by a couple ladies and they are really lookers.
Hubert soon realizes though that they are really hookers.
They make Hubert a proposition that will have to stay in Vegas.
Concerning a business that has been going on for ages.
He's doing some math as he looks over their figures.
Making some calculations as they push his buttons..."

Hubert chintzes out in the song (after determining that sex without love is over-rated) which shouldn't have surprised the ladies had they known they were talking to someone who once spent only 90 bucks an entire summer...

It is getting dark.

Even though the breezes have stopped blowing outside, I blew off the idea of shooting another video in the park. I have enough work to do on the existing ones, as soon as I find a spot where I can spruce up the vocals at.

I need to grab my headphones from the apartment so I can do the vocals off camera, and then paste them back onto the video, so it will appear that I'm singing (even) better on the finished product.

16 Dollar Monday cont.

Monday night, along came a girl with a violin, who asked if I would play with her.
We did play, with myself concentrating upon the thought of Tanya Huang.
It was an excellent exercise for me in that regard (seeing that I can keep a steady beat and can use chord changes that hinge upon moving bass notes, etc.) and the girl must have thought that I was an ambitious musician indeed after I had played about 20 minutes of straight accompaniment on the chords to "While My Guitar Gently Weeps."

No Tanya Huang on the violin was Mischa, as that was the name she introduced herself as.

She confirmed my suspicion that that wasn't her real, but rather her "traveling kid," moniker by staring at me blankly after I had asked: "Like the Russian version of Michelle?" Anyone whose birth name had been Mischa, would have found out at some point in her life that her name was the Russian version of Michelle. I mean, I know that Daniel means "judge" and that there is a Daniel in the bible and about the lion's den etc.

At the first pause in "our" music, Micha said that she was tired and reclined on Lilly's stoop.

While we had been playing (and no tourists had been walking past, so I didn't feel like I was missing anything)   a gaggle of her traveling kid type companions and a dog had arrived. They all followed suit and Lilly's front yard became a crash pad for them all.

I was ready to leave anyways, and didn't really care. It (her wanting to jam) had been a ploy to gain the spot as a place to sleep, I am thinking.

"The lady who owns the house loves dogs, so she won't say anything about you chilling here," I assured them as I left. This was partly to communicate to them that I knew the lady that owned the house, as a preemptive strike against them trying to make a habit of sleeping there. On a Friday night, I would mind.
Super intelligent puppet shows
outside the Uxi Duxi, coming soon!!

Harold Has Fleas

I discovered a certain number of fleas on the body of Harold the cat last night.

Last year, Wayne my neighbor who also has a cat had treated Harold with some of that stuff that costs 110 dollars for a 6 month treatment.

At least I'm pretty sure that he did.
Harold just one day stopped having any fleas on him whatsoever after being outside "all day," and it was not hard to put 2 and 2 together. Wayne had kind of hinted to me that he did that.

Some owners might become enraged over someone else having doctored their pet. My only ancillary concern would be about just what kind of new-fangled chemical can be used to ward fleas off of a cat for 6 months, while leaving the pet and its owner totally unharmed.

Maybe I'm petting Harold and then eating with my fingers, ingesting some of the stuff and it is causing me to become super-intelligent, making my brain function at 10 times its previous speed. I mean there is some evidence that might support that theory, right?

But that, I'm sure, is why Wayne never "admitted" to having hooked Harold up. Maybe he's not sure that I'm cool with the increased intelligence, and all.

Harold Has Ear Wax

I have regularly been going into Harold's ears with a Q-tip coated in olive oil and/or vinegar and removing a very dark brown tar.

When I manage to get the tip of the Q-tip near what I'm guessing is his ear canal, his rear leg on the same side of his body will go into a scratching motion towards the ear, often lacerating the skin of the hand that is holding the Q-tip.
This is a blood sacrifice that I am amenable to making, as there is a satisfaction that comes with knowing that I have gotten right to the spot where the mites, if that is in fact what this is, are irritating him the most; where he wishes he could get his claws in to scratch at.
Well, Here We Go!
I'm about to Google "cat ear dark brown wax-like buildup," actually, so I had better do so.
I'll be back here soon, perhaps with a decent video!

Tuesday, April 24, 2018

Up And At 'Em

  • 16 Dollars On A Slowly Moving Monday
  • Epiphone A Drop Off In Sonic Quality So Far

Now that a shot of kratom has gone from $3.25 to $4.25 at the Uxi Duxi, it is time for a kratom-head like myself to become more industrious, and this would mean certainly going out on a Monday night to busk, like I did last night.

This would be the second night of playing on the new Epiphone guitar.
As it stands now, the Epiphone is not sounding as good as the Takamine, even though it is brand new.

I think of the Epiphone as a brand new shiny PT Cruiser, and the Takamine as a convertible Corvette from, say 1988, one thats tail pipe is loose and keeps scraping the road and throwing sparks whenever I traverse some mound.

When the Takamine is repaired, it will sound better than the Epiphone does now.

String Theory

I have a theory, though, as to why the Epiphone is unstable in its tuning, with the strings that came on the thing being the area of interest.

It's possible that the strings that were on the thing, had been on it for years, after it was manufactured and warehoused and then eventually shipped to Guitar Center, where it maybe sat for months before having its price reduced to the $99.95 that was the dancing silver lure in the muddy river that Bobby struck at with a vengeance, like a pike, emaciated after a long spawning oddysey.

The strings had been tuned down just about 5 steps. It is possible that there is some kind of memory in the metal of the strings whereby they seem to gravitate towards the tension they sat at for so long.

The reason that it is recommended that guitars be stored like this is to take stress off of the wooden parts of it. Under constant tension, yet changing humidity and temperatures, wood will eventually warp.

But, my theory is that the strings on it now had just been sitting under a lesser tension for so long that they don't want to stay at the new one.

Oddly, though, a guy came along who listened to me for about 10 minutes and, after I had stopped and chatted with him, offered me 10 dollars if he could play my guitar. I told him to feel free to tune it and then told him about the trouble I was having with it.

An "Oldie But Goodie"
He played "Wish You Were Here," by Pink Floyd, where I jumped in on the harmonica, and then played "Blackbird," by Paul McCartney of The Beatles, then handed it back to me saying "It sounds really nice," telling me that it had "a vibe."

Then, strangely, even though I hadn't seen him adjust any of the tuning machines, I resumed playing it and it sounded a lot better...

Plus I had 10 bucks on the way to a 16 dollar Monday night that had "7 dollar night" written all over it.

It is Tuesday now, and I woke up at my usual time of around 1:30 PM and managed to make it to the Uxi Duxi by 3 o' clock.

Unfortunately I found that it was breezy, perhaps too much so to do any outdoor recording, unless I get a windscreen for the Snowball microphone. But, some of that lolly gagging around, preparing myself with coffee and whatever tobacco I could scrape up off the coffee table, picking out an outfit (I decided to go "French" today, with an all black ensemble, featuring the black tee shirt upon which is written "FCUKᶜ MOI?," and the beret on my head) etc., was due to having packed the microphone along with the laptop and then bagged up the guitar.

I kind of entertain the notion that the girl who sometimes wears equestrian boots might think that I have a crush on her.

She married (in a ceremony held at the Uxi Duxi) a young Frenchman, named Max, who has long hair and who usually wraps a headband around it.
When I appear there in like garb, I can't help but wonder if she thinks that I'm trying to be attractive to her. Who, moi?

In order to not waste the extra effort of bringing the microphone and guitar (prepared to break it out and play the Radiohead song that I learned, but not because they are the girl who sometimes wears equestrian boots' favorite band) I'm determined to shoot some kind of video with it.

I might go down to the spot that Colin Mitchell talks about, which is way down the river walk and past "the ships," which I guess are down there somewhere.

"The Fifty"
The prime concern will be setting up my stuff where it won't attract the attention of thieves. I can remember recording outside the abandoned house in Baton Rouge where Howard Westra and I were homeless for a while (the "Dancing Days," song in the sidebar was recorded there) and having to battle the distraction of half expecting to be hit in the head from behind, as part of someone's attempt to steal the laptop, right in the middle of a song. This is the blessing/curse of a spot that is so remote and quiet that it is excellent for recording.

Another spot I am considering is on the other side of the river in Algiers, where I was also homeless with Howard Westra for a while, and where I can sit by the river and sing as loud as I like, and be able to see the approach of anyone (probably a jogger on the bike trail) from a mile away; having plenty of time in advance, to discern if they look like a couple of laptop and guitar stealing hoods.

But, it is 5 PM right now; the sun will go down in 2 and a half hours.

Putting the new strings on the Epiphone to see if it will cure the intonation problem is job #2 on this Tuesday.

I should go out and try to follow up the 16 dollar night with at least something.
I might have to go on the recording excursion soon.


Street Musician Daniel Extra: I found the following by hitting the "next blog" button at the top of everyone's blog:

 I think it's time for another rant, don't you? ( Wait, don't answer that.)
Anyone who knows me or has followed the blog knows I have a rather complicated relationship with social media. This is especially true of Instagram. Yes, I know it's a lot of preening teens, bodybuilders, and the like.

But, you know what's the worst, by far?????

The drum videos!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
The drum-related Instagram stuff seems to generally fall into 5 categories, they are.....

1. Chops Galore.....
This actually also contains two subheadings, velocity of hands, and velocity of feet. Sometimes they have both, but in any case the point is to show how fast one can play without any musical context or any real reason to be playing this way except that,'s fast!

2. I'm so cute!
A type of video where a young, good looking person ( of either sex. Believe me, I've seen some shirtless beefcake drummers on there! ) usually plays along to a track ( often categorized as a "drum cover" )  with super-exaggerated arm movements and a big smile. In essence,  it's long on show-biz, short on content.

3. The showcase play-along......
Arguably a subset of #2,  this features someone playing along to a piece of complicated music that exists only to show-off fancy drumming within it. You won't find any singable melodies, interesting chord changes, or thoughtful lyrics here, because the track is accompanying the drums, rather than the other way around.

4. Stick tricks, pads aplenty, and drum corps gone mad.....
In these type of videos, no one ever plays on a drum, but rather gives us the incredibly inspiring sound of wood striking plastic or rubber. It's really more the idea of being a majorette, but with sticks rather than a baton. Leaving the feet out helps the participants avoid any semblance of even trying to keep time, and again, show-biz reigns supreme!

5. Look everyone! I'm playing a Rock Beat on my drums in a really bizarre place!
What's way better than playing a beat everyone's heard a thousand times? Playing a beat everyone's heard a thousand times in a swimming pool, a snowy backyard, or in front of your favorite barbecue restaurant beside a major highway!!! I'm sure when space travel becomes even slightly more common, it'll be one small step for mankind, but one giant leap for stupid Instagram videos....

Monday, April 23, 2018

A Time To Work

  • 24 Dollar Saturday
  • Sunday Off
  • Monday Right Back Out There

"Light Emanating From My Body / Bongo"
I slapped this video together after I saw Bongo getting off the street car across the way and was able to capture him walking past. More verses and a bridge are forthcoming. I kind of want this one to sound like the theme from Gunsmoke, but to be about a cross-dressing hairstylist who has a deceased dog in his freezer, rather than whatever Gunsmoke was about.

It is Monday night, the sun is setting.

I had grabbed all my gear, thinking that I would do a shot of kratom at the Uxi Duxi and then go to the Bayou Saint John Park to shoot another outdoor video, but it was pretty breezy when I stepped outside, something that I had forgotten to consider.

Then, I got to the Uxi to learn that they had gone up on their prices. A $3.25 shot is now $4.25. This is about a 30% increase.

It reminds me of the kid with a lemonade stand who charges one cent a glass and at some point has to raise his price to keep pace with the cost of living.

He is faced with the choice of either doubling his price to 2 cents, or making his glasses smaller.

What he would probably settle upon would be to go up to 2 cents, but make the glasses 50% bigger...

So, as darkness falls outside, I am down to less than 2 dollars, after having made 24 dollars Saturday night in 90 minutes, using the brand new Epiphone guitar.

I can hear that the Takamine will be a slightly better sounding instrument, once I get it fixed. Also, though, Bobby gave me the receipt along with it, and even suggested that I might want to "trade up" at some point.

There was a used Ibanez for about 200 bucks that is every bit as good as the Takamine.

Again, I will feel much better once I'm at the Lilly Pad and the first dollar goes into my basket. I got a free set of Martin strings with the Epiphone, too.

Sunday, April 22, 2018

The Fix Is In

6 Dollar Friday Marred By Guitar Malfunction
Bobby Has The Fix

Broken Guitar Blues

I think I will now shoot a short video right here in front of the Uxi Duxi (even though I just told Bobby: "I'll see you in about an hour" and video "projects" can run more like six of them) and then will quickly (because it's short) upload it to Youtube and then turn around and embed it back in this blog; how exciting does that sound.

So, if you are reading this and there isn't a video, then I am working on the video and it will appear here shortly...

I woke up at 1:30 PM, Saturday afternoon, and started to feel a sinking feeling in the pit of my stomach.

My Takamine guitar had one tuning machine on it, that I had "Jerry-rigged*" months earlier, winding the string in the opposite of the intended direction so that I could tighten the string up to pitch.

It had worked, and I had gone right back to busking with it, knowing that the day was coming when the temporary fix would fail. That day was April 20th, 2018.

After seeing if Jerry had any more ideas up his sleeve, I turned my attention to my "back up guitar," which is an Oscar Schmidt brand, made by Washburn, which was given to me by Tim, my caseworker, probably about 3 years ago now.
I was able to put the six new strings on it that I was in the process of putting on the Takamine, and to tune it up.

I went out to busk with it.

I found that the intonation on it was terrrible, probably due to the extra high nut piece that someone had installed on it, perhaps so they could play slide guitar on it, a style that is not dependent upon where the frets are located and if they are properly intoned.

The extra high plastic nut piece, I would have filed down to a more normal height, but it was hollow, making this an "iffy" gambit. And, I never got around to trying to find a suitable nut piece which might make the thing a decent instrument.

I had thought about giving it to David the Waterjug player, as the thing is pretty heavily constructed, so that it is literally a heavy guitar.

This is probably because Oscar used a more inexpensive wood than the types that can be shaved down more, like the spruce or maple hardtops that fetch higher prices. This was a 129 dollar guitar back in 1978, which was around when it was made. That was the kind of money required to buy an entry-level, beginner's instrument that wouldn't be such a piece of crap as to discourage the new student from continuing to learn.

It was probably the installation of the extra high nut piece that had led someone to determine that the whole guitar was unplayable and to give it to Tim, my caseworker.

He fulfilled one of his requirements as my caseworker by giving it to me, with the peace of mind that it brought to me from knowing that I had a back-up instrument, so I could go out to busk with a "go ahead and grab my guitar from me and smash it in the road, I have another one," attitude.

Well, I played the thing.

20 seconds in, it was like: "Houston, we have a problem" as, the strings that were tuned electronically when open, became "way out" when I fretted notes.
I switched to a song that leaned heavily upon open stringed chords and was able to get a dollar thrown to me.

I could see tourists hesitating, as I must have appeared to be playing the hell out of things, and then stepping within range of the horrendous chords that the guitar was churning out, and maybe just throwing the dollar in appreciation of my "effort."

Jerry wasn't finished, though.

I then tuned the guitar to one chord (a G7) finding that the fretted notes were about 20% sharp on the meter, and had to be lowered accordingly.

I then wailed over that one chord on the harmonica until someone threw me a 5 dollar bill, at which point, I felt that I had proven to myself that I could make money with a piece of crap guitar and decided to end the experiment there.

I should have been freaking out, but had a sense of peace and calm within me, as I packed up, having made only 7 dollars on a Friday night.

There had been a bit of shrugging of shoulders from the skeezers who hang out on Lilly's block, as if they were baffled as to why I had came out and sounded like crap this particular night. "Maybe he drunk..." might have been bandied about by some of them.

Having only 6 dollars to my name and a broken guitar, I ran through my options.

If I Was A Great Busker...

A real hero would have set the guitar down and then started singing a Capella: "On the day that I was born!" then throwing in the riff on harmonica "The nurses all gathered 'round!" harmonica riff, etc. and would have made enough money to pay for a 40 dollar set of brand new tuning machines, along with having learned something about interacting with people at that level.

I decided, though, that that would be like someone who still finishes a marathon even though he twisted an ankle and had to limp the last 3 miles of it.

I still bought Harold the cat some food, like I normally do, and even got myself an energy drink, leaving myself only 5 dollars to lay on the coffee table at home, where I had no coffee nor cigarettes.

Then, I woke up at 1:30 PM and was able to feel peaceful and calm, once I realized that the feelings of dread were being created by a mind full of apprehension and anxiety that may have been imagining the worst.

One option would be to pedal over to Webb's Bywater Music, and try to buy a used tuning machine off him for 5 dollars. This is something that I have been able to do in the past, and it left me with a guitar having mis-matching tuners, 4 gold, one silver and one mother of pearl plastic, type of thing.

But, was Webb's still in business, how could a guy who sells pieces off of used guitars to street musicians still be?

I called Bobby's phone.

He didn't answer, but I wound up leaving a pretty detailed message on his machine.

This was option 2: Ask Bobby if I could borrow the 40 bucks to get a new set of machines, and maybe if he would ride me over to Guitar Center in his truck to do so.

Option 3 might be to call my mom to ask her if she could wire me money to fix the guitar, but then she would know that all this time, I had procrastinated and let the problem fester while I was happily playing away and making money that I could have set aside for such a contingency...

My phone rang as I was headed towards the Family Dollar to get a can of food for Harold. It was Bobby.

"Meet me at the apartment," he said.

"I can be there in a couple minutes," I said.

"Oh, I didn't realize you were so close. That's good, if I'm not there, just wait for me."

Bobby was there, just getting out of his truck in front of the building when I arrived.

I had turned the couple minutes into more like 15 (due to the tone of his voice) by running into Family Dollar for the cat food and some instant coffee, which I was just pouring in my mouth and letting dissolve, having woken up with none in the house.

"This is your lucky day," said Bobby as he put the truck in gear and we raced off.

He made only one wrong turn and cussed out only about a half dozen other drivers on our way to what turned out to be the Guitar Center.

"It's that guy up there that's causing it!" he said about a small gray car about 3 cars ahead of us that was moving slowly, causing our lane to back up.
"I should go and ram into the back of him," he added.

Bobby asked me how long it's been since I drank alcohol (27 months), congratulated me on that and then asked me if I would be happy about getting a job "some dish washing job somewhere."

"Sure. If I didn't feel like I was flushing my time down the toilet doing so, I would be filling out applications for one."

He said that we were going to go to The Guitar Center, where they had used guitars, some of them for as low as 75 dollars, and that he was going to solve the problem of the stuck tuning machine on my Takamine by buying me a whole new guitar.

The Epiphone shown in the photo (bottom) is the result.

"No strings attached," said the punster, but made me promise him that I would pursue getting some dish washing job somewhere, insisting that I would be happier then.

A job like that would be a stepping stone on my way to greater success as a busker; I would be able to have the gear necessary to play with Tanya Huang, for example.

I promised him that I would try to get a job. He worries about me being shot by paint balls and other things, the way a parent might worry about their kids, and wants to see me "do better" with my music.

It's probably true that I over-value the amount of money that I make at the Lilly Pad, thinking that the 200 dollar tips that come around every 11.5 months are an indication of prosperity (when I could make that every Friday afternoon playing for 2 and a half hours with Tanya Huang, even splitting things 70/30 like I would propose doing, should I ever be set up at her spot, sounding good and having a small group of listeners to prove it, on a given Friday morning when her van full of equipment arrives.

"I'm holding the spot for you," I would say to immediately assuage any trepidation she might have over her having access to it.

She would already have posted, though, people who are doing just that. People who would have been advanced the 20 dollars or whatever the previous evening so they would have, already, drinks in the holders of the canvas chairs they sat in, and thus no reason whatsoever to leave their posts of duty.

These people know that I know Tanya and that "they like him," and would figure that, if I say that I am only intending to play there until she arrives, then I am to be believed (none of this: "Can I have just one more hour?" b.s.).

And, if I can be pretentious enough to say this, I think her "people," might think it swell if she were to go back, at least here and there, to playing with a live guitarist, if not for the sonic qualities, for the fact that, like his predecessor, this one would be steering the music towards the more "September," by Earth Wind and Fire stuff and away from "The Theme Song of The Character Unknown To You From The Disney Cartoon That Is Very Good, But You Didn't See It" type of stuff.

*Jerry rigged might not even be a term that I have heard before, but if it is, would it refer to the cartoon Jerry of Tom and Jerry, did he rig things?

Friday, April 20, 2018

A Legitimate Concern

16 Dollar Thursday

I was out of money after having eaten one third of the strip of acid that Geo and Mindy Lee, as those are the names of the couple that want me to play at their wedding, had given me, and given Bobby the other two thirds.
Picture yourself on a train at a station...

I ate the acid as I sat outside the Uxi Duxi, at 8 PM on Wednesday night.

"Did you eat it?" asked Chloe as she was leaving, after having done her closing chores.

"Yeah, one third of it; it was supposedly three hits all told..."

"Be careful," she said.

Comet Headlights

I kind of knew what she meant. I can remember driving a car once, so dosed that the dashes in the middle of the road (indicating that it is legal to pass) had turned into arrows which, were veering up off the road and flying over my head, instead of going under the car. I think this was due to the way my windshield was refracting the light, something I had become sensitive to.

Also, the headlights of the cars coming toward me in the other lane had grown long tails, and were whizzing by me like comets, to my left.

Having been "experienced" before, I knew enough to keep the arrows flying over my shoulder and to avoid crashing into any comets, and I made it home fine.

Wednesday night, I was getting the same sense of time distortion that I was familiar with, from 1984, whereby, the mind, which is fixed upon some destination or some result that is desired in the future, has to fight against an increasing fascination with what is happening in the present moment, and what seems to be a slowing down of time.

Like, if you really want to just get home and sit in front of your fireplace, and you can see your house up ahead, it will seem like, with every step you take you get closer to it, yet, time is slowing down proportionately, so that it seems like by the time you get to the house you won't be able to go inside because time will have stopped and the few seconds it would take to walk inside will take an eternity.

This is how you might be observed sitting in the flower bed in front of your house, staring at a flower for an hour.

What you are doing that second becomes more fascinating than anything you can bring about by the disciplined placing of one foot in front of another, blocking out "distractions" and focusing upon yourself sitting in front of the fireplace.

"What a great place to trip," you might think -the warmth of the fire, the fact that the heat is actually sunlight that was trapped and photosynthesized by leaves then stored as energy in wood, which is now being released by the flames using some of the oxygen the leaves released (trees have always been sunlight batteries to me in this regard) along with light and crackling sounds- but then what you are doing at that particular second rises up to compete with the yet only imagined future scene.

Even if you make it home before becoming trapped in the current moment, you aren't out of the woods yet, so to speak, because you still have to light the fire, instead of sitting for hours staring at the wood and seeing whole worlds in the knots and bark of it, or perhaps hearing the tree tell you its story. This could delay the setting of it upon kindling and ignition of it -kind of rude to cut a log off in the middle of a sentence like that.

So, as soon as I noticed the first signs from the one-third of the strip, I hopped on my bike, thinking of Cinderella and my bike turning into a pumpkin at "midnight."

But, I decided to pop into Bobby's apartment to tell him that someone had given me some acid the night before and that I had taken some of it and that he was welcome to the rest of it.

I wound up picking up his acoustic guitar, which I felt I was able to breath life into. As a musician, acid takes one back to the fundamental joy of just the sound of a steel string, stretched so taut that it vibrates at, say, 359.6 cycles per second, being set into motion.

This was kind of the "problem" that the group Pink Floyd was having with one of its founding members, Cyd Barrett, who was often so dosed that he would tune up for 45 minutes, deeply fascinated by the process, or wander off the stage in the middle of a song in pursuit of a helium balloon that someone might have released, following it until it is far away from where the Pink Floyd concert is proceeding, minus one guitar player and singer.

So, I had enough wherewithal, after playing Bobby's guitar well enough that he handed me a bud of weed "for the impromptu lesson," to will myself to my apartment, having avoided falling into the trap of sitting on the back steps, petting Harold the cat all night, because he was hungry, and became my master, meowing me along, like Lassie leading someone to where someone else is at the bottom of a well with a broken leg, until we were inside, and I made him a plate.

I had bought him food on my back from the Uxi Duxi which put me at risk of spending hours looking at all the pretty candy bars, or opening the cooler door to stick my hand inside and then pulling it out, fascinated by the effect of the temperature change on my nerves, type of things.
9 Players, One Tip Jar, And A Dog To Feed, Yikes!

I set up the Snowball microphone and fired up the laptop, through an act of will, so that my subsequent noodling around on the guitar (the musical equivalent of sticking my hand in a freezer then pulling it out) would, at least, be captured.

It was after 11 PM on a Wednesday night, and I knew that if money was my only motivation for wanting to get to the Lilly Pad, dodging comets all the way, then I would be setting myself up for disappointment, and so I stayed in.

Last (Thursday) night, I was faced with having to go out to busk with only a dollar and change to my "name."

Not having money for kratom, I mostly ruled out doing a shot.

I decided to go the the Starbucks, bringing my laptop, guitar and other gear with me.

Getting there around 6 PM left open the possibility that, should I be able to buy someone their coffee off my gift card, in exchange for an equal or lesser amount of cash, I would still have time to pedal up to the Uxi Duxi for a shot before they closed, which would put me right back on my regular schedule. I could drop the laptop back at the apartment, so as to have one less thing to worry about, should someone run off with my backpack.

At one point I decided that I would feel too much like a kratom addict, racing 3 miles on my bike to get a shot of it, and then having to turn around and go right back to the Quarter to busk. One never wants to lean on the crutch of any drug in order to produce results, if that were the case, I probably would have gotten on crystal meth a long time ago and would be pulling wads of money out of my pocket at the end of 12 hour long busking sessions...that's a temptation, though.

My laptop wouldn't connect to the wi-fi at Starbucks, most likely because they changed their log in page to include a form asking for e-mail address, name and zip code.

This is ostensibly so they can send you coupons and offers, but is possibly a step towards them solving their problem of "people hanging out and not buying anything."

The New Orleans contingency of these is comprised of groups of young, African Americans, who sit in the place, poking at phones that they have, panhandling customers, and ready to snatch anything that those same people that just gave them a dollar might turn their backs upon, etc.

Colin Mitchell was counting his busking money there once, and had it snatched off the table and run out the door by an older black man, who had walked by the place, seen what Colin was doing, then come in and stood by the restroom door as if waiting to use it, but probably positioning himself so as to gain a running start.

He was out of Colin's sight then, but was watching his reflection in the window -Colin now reflects- waiting until he did something -bend over to find the electrical outlet under the table to plug in his own laptop- which gave him the precious couple seconds that he needed.

That's what you get for arranging your money on a table in front of you, as if playing solitaire with it, in The French Quarter.

I couldn't help thinking that it had been part of Colin's way of telling the world: "Look at me, how well I'm doing...I'm 67 years old and there is no slowing down in sight for me; I play for 5 or 6 hours a night, and you can see how much people appreciate me!"

Johnny B.,
"...Two hundred and one, two hundred and...
Hey, Come back here!!"

another busker (the clean guy) would frequently expose a fat wad of bills, in places like on the streetcar, after having having had a 300 dollar, or so, day, lest any of the other riders think he was using that mode of transportation because he was as poor as some of them, who didn't even own a bike.

Instead of thinking: "Wow, I wish I was as good, and as good looking, as Johnny B. so I could make that kind of money," which might be what he wanted me to think, I would always think: "Now he has to get off a block past Galvez Street and walk to his apartment through a bad neighborhood, unarmed, and pulling his amp behind him on rollers with his "$3,000" Martin guitar on his back, to get home, and a bunch of low-lifes now know he has a lot of money on him. What an idiot!"

I count my money locked in the bathroom at Starbucks, or standing in front of the liquor case at The Unique Grocery, like I'm probably going to use it all for a bottle of booze, and so, will be broke when I leave.

I asked Colin if he was going to pay cash for his coffee.

He was only going to get a free glass of water, he said (and then spent about 5 minutes telling me about how he no longer drinks coffee before busking) but then gave me a couple bucks (after I spent about 5 minutes telling him about having stayed in and tripped on acid instead of busking the night before). That was very nice of him.

It was too late, then, for me to make it to the Uxi Duxi, so I proceeded to the Lilly Pad. I scanned the area for David The Water Jug Player, but mostly so I could avoid him. I had only a tiny bit of bud to smoke while tuning up.

The busking was slow, but steady.

I have a feeling that the 16 bucks that I made in a couple hours would have at least doubled, had I forced myself to stay out another couple hours.

But, this problem of feeling like I have nothing left to give after the tune up joint wears off is a legitimate concern.

It was only 11:09 PM when I felt that I needed to take a break. This is before Lilly and her daughters usually arrive home, and before the night shift (who make fresh coffee) has come on at The Quartermaster.

The traffic at the spot seemed to be increasing.
But, it was a bit chilly -too cold to play in just the black tee shirt, and the only other shirt I had was the one I wore in Starbucks, so I would look "studious" and I didn't feel like I was going to get tipped while wearing it. This was just part of the insecurity that can set in from smoking pot.

Yeah, a legitimate concern, that.

E-mail Snaffu

I haven't been able to send The Lidgleys of London a thank-you note via e-mail because my frozen hard drive had my user name and password on it and I have forgotten both. I opened that account in 1996, and it is hard for me to remember what zip code I was in at the time, what fake name I might have used, and if I was lying about my age back then.

So this is the thank you note. Alyne mentioned that she had been sad to read on this blog that I had been hoping that there would be coffee in the box, which there wasn't, in physical form, but those hopes had been fulfilled by the Starbucks gift card. I might not have communicated that correctly. Who would I be to complain about anything that wasn't in the miraculously appearing box from London, anyway?

Wednesday, April 18, 2018

One Of The Cool Things

about tripping on acid is, that if you have, say, a tape recorder running, you will capture yourself in moments that seem sublime at that particular time, but that will still sound interesting once the acid wears off.
I woke up like a lover full of regret, wondering if I would respect the music that I had done in the small hours of the morning, before falling off into sleep, well after the sun had come up, and even after the sounds of vehicle doors slamming outside told me that it was around 8 AM.
I really hadn't banked on tomorrow ever coming, as I had stayed in from busking, knowing that I had only 52 cents.
I had gotten Harold some good food, though, before going broke.
The music that I recorded is good enough to be used in a project. There were long stretches where I played rhythm guitar without singing, leaving room to sing over them in the park, or maybe at the spot down the river walk that Colin Mitchell uses for practicing and warming up.
It is better to record vocals in the dryness of the open air with almost zero reverberation and echo, and then to add those later. It is the opposite of singing in a shower, or maybe even a car; where you might be inspired by the reverberation, which actually gives the singer a backing track of sorts.
Sounding good out in the middle of a field is the true test of a vocalist; even the "Sound of Music" singers were in the Alps and had that "alpine" reverberation and echo mixed in with their sound.
If Colin likes that particular spot for "the acoustics," then that would pose a problem for me if I wanted to apply my own processing to it. Or accept that all the vocals are going to sound like they are at that spot.
I sort of have to go out and play tonight, to balance off the working on projects with the generating of income.

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

The Wedding Singer?

11 Dollar Monday
I want readers to know: "I am here for you."

I was playing, and trying to block out the distraction of there seeming to be very few tourists out.

It seemed like the times that I stopped, when I couldn't see anyone within earshot, someone would emerge through the gap between parked vehicles, whom I hadn't seen.

I finally decided to just run through my material as a form of practice.

A couple came by and stopped.

They were in their mid to late 20's and the guy was carrying a guitar in a case.
They tipped me 5 dollars, and then sat on Lilly's stoop.

I launched into "They Love Each Other," by the Grateful Dead.

I could sense that something was up, because the couple began to stir on the stoop and become quite agitated.

They then told me, with astonished looks on their faces, that they were in New Orleans to get married and that they had, earlier that night settled upon "They Love Each Other," for what would be their "first dance" song at their wedding, which is to be May 7th.

They thought it either enough of a coincidence that I played that particular song, to be a sign from God; or maybe just a direct sign from God, if they don't believe in coincidences.

The guy asked me how much money I would require to play it at their wedding, to be held in Jackson Square.

I told him to just consult the "tippers guide," manual that is in existence somewhere, and look up "guy who plays first dance song at wedding," and how much you should throw him.

This is bound to be more than any amount I could have brought myself to ask for. I have kind of fallen behind the times and still think 20 dollars is a lot of money, because it is; to me.

It would give me exposure; it might lead to offers to play other gigs...

I know that Tanya and Dorise charged a flat rate of, I think it was $1,800, to play a wedding. Of course, that was doing more than just playing the first dance song, but, having become a person who has seen the value of a 20 dollar bill appreciate considerably since the time I was paid in 17 of them every Thursday, I just couldn't coolly say: "Eh, I'll do it for two-fifty..."

So, I'll take whatever the standard flat rate fee is for a first dance song at a wedding. It might be that people subconsciously want to pay a pretty penny for such a thing, maybe so they can add: "That guy was like, 500 bucks, just to play one song, I mean we spared no expense for our wedding!" to the history of it.

What kind of newlyweds is my music fit for the likes of, as they dance together for the first time as man and wife, I had to wonder?

What is the life expectancy of such a union?


"Do you dose?" asked the guy before they left.
New Orleans Musician Daniel McKenna
"One pill makes you larger..."

A reasonable question for a guy who had just played a Grateful Dead song.
I told them that I would certainly take the 3 hits of acid that he then offered, this promises to be some kind of wedding...

I said I wouldn't eat them right then, for reasons that would be obvious to anyone who has ever been found curled up in a fetal position in a flower bed, hugging a plant, after eating a couple hits.

It was easy to imagine the effect my playing the song that they had just hours before decided upon as being their "first dance" song, had upon them if they were dosed on acid.

I can remember looking in the mirror when tripping (back in 1984) and wondering "who the hell is that guy?," not sure if I liked "him," and half afraid that the image in the mirror was going to do something of its own volition to try to startle me, perhaps lunging towards me from the medicine cabinet.

I've only tripped once in the past 25 years, and I blogged about that experience, about a year ago, now, I think it was.

The guy told me that the stuff was "clean" and that it "mic-ed out at 20," a term new to me which I intuit to mean that they now have a way to measure the number of micrograms of LSD in each hit, using technology that might not have been available, back when they were only just sending men to the moon, when acid wasn't always "clean," and when you might get a piece that had been in a low spot in the tray, which would "mic out" at considerably more than 25, and, well, certain flower plants could tell you how that might turn out.

The ones that mother gives you, by the way, still don't do anything at all.

I put the 3 hits of acid in a harmonica case that is in my backpack now.

It's hard not to think about it every now and then, the way you think about the "hyperspace" button on the old Asteroids video game. "Beam me up, Scotty," would be something one might say after swallowing a dose. If there is a time and place for everything then a Tuesday night in the wake of the French Quarter Fest might be the season.

Gee, I think LSD is still a Class A controlled substance, right up there with heroin; maybe I had better swallow the thing, to get rid of the evidence, hee hee hee.

I suspect, though, that if I eat them, it could wind up being just another indication that I have transcended my mind by adhering to Eckhart Tolle's tenets, and I might find myself kind of removed from the immediacy of visual and auditory hallucinations, unable to totally buy into them; and I might just find that it only diverts me from the deeper inner peace that comes through meditation.

Or, it could bring on that "bee" hallucination again.

May 7th, after the wedding, and after I get paid for the song (that I now need to memorize the complete lyrics to) I am penciling in as the time I will make my trip to New England.

Buying a 5 ounce bag of Green Borneo kratom and busking from town to town would be ideal.
Of course, if I make enough in, say, Mobile, Alabama on my first night out, I would be able to proceed directly to the Greyhound station and get a ticket on a bus bound for Boston from there, but I think I would like to check out Nashville, Ashville, and maybe Charlottesville, on my way. I could just let the money accumulate, hiding most of it in my boot or something.

That would depend upon whether or not I was making enough to stay in hotels. I want to avoid the whole dilemma of how to sleep outside, given the weather and the cops and other homeless people. If I still drank, it would be as easy as getting slammed enough so that I didn't give a damn, and would crawl under the nearest bush and sleep like a baby.

The Spring Trip, I will call it.

No; The Great Spring Trip.

Colin Mitchell can give me a lot of information, as he has busked (and stayed in hotels and eaten at restaurants) all over the country. He could tell me where to set up in Baltimore, Maryland, for example.