Sunday, September 18, 2011

Being a Carny

When I was nineteen, my sister Kathy got me a job as a carnival worker in Ye Olde Tyme Photo Booth. My job was really strange. I was supposed to dress the women.

The outfits were incredibly hard to get on, with all of the ties and straps in the back, out of sight of the camera. From the front, the old timey clothes looked authentic. From the back, they were sort of like a hospital gown. It was my job to tie the ladies into them.

It was weird because the people who came never really knew why I was there, and often looked at me like some sort of creepy gal who liked to watch women undress. I learned right away that I needed a sort of speech to tell every client, or I was going to get punched in the face. I figured it out, and things started getting rolling pretty well, except that I couldn't help but stare at most of the naked ladies, because of their tattoos.

This was the early nineties, when it was still a little bit unusual for women to have tattoos. The kind of women who came the Ye Olde Tyme Photo Booth were different, though, and they all had tattoos. Some of the tattoos were so beautiful, I just couldn't take my eyes off of them. Full back body art was very common. The ladies would look at me like I was a pervert, and then I would say,

"That is just the most gorgeous tattoo I have ever seen..." and they would immediately soften, tell me all about it, and I would get in trouble because I was just supposed to move them through, hustle hustle hustle!

This went on for I can't remember how long, but not longer than six weeks. We had a set with a whiskey bottle as a prop, and one day, someone knocked over the whiskey bottle. I reached out to catch it and it shattered on my hand. My finger was gushing blood everywhere. Everyone in Ye Old Tyme Photo Booth (which was actually a trailer) was horrified and speechless, until finally my coworker said,

"That was seven year old tea in that bottle! If anything gets infected, it'll be your finger! You have to go to the hospital right now!"

They magically procured my boss, whom I had never before met. He was shortish and brownish and nefarious. He drove me to the hospital, where they fixed me up in a hurry. (I actually don't remember that part at all. But I do remember the next bit...) Then he put me into a cab, shoved a gigantic wad of twenty dollar bills into my hands, and told me it was,

"Cab money. You don't need to come back! Season's over! Thanks!" and he ran away.

I took the cab home. In my room I had only two mattresses, laid out over the entire floor, so it was only soft. A friend of mine was waiting in my room. I was late coming home. I showed the friend the bandage over my right ring finger and the wad of cash. We lay on our backs and I threw the money up into the air, so that the twenty dollar bills fell down on us like green snowflakes. I gathered them up and did it again. Eventually, the money was counted, and it turned out to be $500.

I still have a little scar on my right ring finger. It never got infected.

New Topic for August

Making money.

Sunday, September 11, 2011


The Decemberists
Wolf Parade
Cold War Kids
Fleet Foxes
Mumford & Sons
Local Natives
The Avett Brothers
Pearl and the Beard
The National
Arcade Fire
Vampire Weekend ....

I am having a hard enough time keeping up with all of the new bands I like to remember which ones I wish were still around. In fact, I am frustrated right now. I am so busy and overwhelmed with all of the million things that I have to do right now that I can't keep up on all of the new music I love. I drive past Lake Kegonsa everyday and I always think of this song:

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

More Mainstream

I'm much more mainstream than I thought I was. Here you are all listing these great bands I have never even heard of, and I'm about to bust out with stuff like Gin Blossoms and Counting Crows.

Counting Crows is one of my all time favorite bands, and I miss their music. My favorite song by them is called "Raining in Baltimore" from their August and Everything After album. I love the emotion and feeling Adam (the lead singer) puts in the songs. You can feel the heartache or happiness depending on the song he's singing. I also like the lyrics. Counting Crows was the first concert I ever went to. The Wallflowers opened up for them and the concert was really good. I was hoping they would perform this song, but then Adam announced that they took it out of their tour. Everyone was bummed, but then after a few minutes Adam just walked over to the piano, a single spotlight shone on him, and he soulfully began to sing the song. It was awesome. Afterwards he said he wasn't going to sing it but felt like he needed to that night. Here's the song from the CD:

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Mother Love Bone

I miss Mother Love Bone. They were a Seattle band on the edge of the beginning of grunge. Their lead singer overdosed on heroin right after their first album came out. Two of the members of Mother Love Bone went on to form Pearl Jam. Mother Love Bone had quite a few influences...and you can hear it when you listen to the entire album. I'm going to share my favourite song:

Spooky Tooth

It's hard for me to pick just one. At the top of that list is the obscure, barely-successful late 60s/early 70s band by the name of Spooky Tooth. The band roster reads like a Who's Who of B-List 70s music, including Gary Wright (aka "Dreamweaver"), Ariel Bender (aka Luther Grosvenor during the Spooky Tooth years) from Steeler's Wheel and Mott the Hoople (another band I wish was still around!).

So why is it that I want these quasi-celebrities to still be crankin' out the jams? Because this perfect storm of lackluster stardom produced one of my all time favorite records from that era. I was raised by music-loving hippie parents. My mom was all about the 70s and disco. Dad was all about the drug-fueled, peace loving, psychedelic hippe music... the man's hero remains to this day David Crosy. 'Nuff said. Step-dad was all about the hard-rockin' music, Led Zeppelin, Steppenwolf, Jethro Tull. Between them, I received a first rate music history education. Still, and not surprisingly, Spooky Tooth went under the radar. The produced a number of records, one of which stands out as an achievement in my mind. Spooky Two is one of those rare albums where every song can stand alone as a hit. To this day, that is still difficult for a lot of bands. The guitar riffs and bass lines have the same vibe as T. Rex, Cream, and Jethro Tull. The organ is solid and not overbearing. Considering who's playing those instruments, this is one hell of an album.

You can listen to a preview here. Or just go buy the damn thing through iTunes.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

The Carbon Yard

This is the band that nobody ever heard of, but they invented grunge. They were the originals. If any band deserved to make it, they did. Unfortunately, they didn't make it, and they broke up. I think it was because

a. They were before their time. They played grunge in the late '80's,

b. They were in Berkeley, and grunge finally emerged in Seattle.

c. They were unlucky.

They have a myspace where you can listen here.