Archive for June, 2015

Taylor Swift: Electric Warrior

June 30th, 2015

taylorslider2 taylorsmithtrex

 

Something light-hearted to end a shitty month. You may notice that the two images above bear more than a passing resemblance to T. Rex’s classic pair of albums “The Slider” and “Electric Warrior”. Rest assured, this was done (poorly) with that intention.

 

I got a text from someone wondering what it meant? Why does any creator create? What inspires the magician of the creative arts? I had a lot of thoughts about what I was doing and no thoughts at all. Maybe you have to kill your idols (like T. Rex leader Marc Bolan) in order to love them. Maybe it’s a shot at music snobs who would hold one pop artist in contempt while raising another to the heavens. Maybe it’s just a fun juxtaposition, the iconography of T. Rex (including their logo, done in Kabel Black font) with the image of Taylor Swift.

 

Who knows? Maybe if Marc Bolan were still alive he would like Taylor Swift? Or maybe he’d pick Katy Perry instead (they both have songs called “Teenage Dream”… IMHO his is better). You can’t like one or the other. You must pick Legs Swift or Chesty Perry (these are the clever nicknames I came up with for them and am trying to push this onto Bob Lefsetz). Or you can decide that Rihanna is the best and forget the rest, which is what I have chosen.

 

Great art can mean many things, one thing, nothing at all. So can mediocre half-ass efforts like the two images I just posted.

Have A Gay Day

June 26th, 2015

This afternoon, the Supreme Court of the U.S. ruled in a 5-4 decision that the men can marry the men and the women can marry the women.

 

In the fifties, the American Psychiatric Association listed homosexuality as a mental disorder. The Stonewall Riots took place in New York City in 1969. It took forty-six more years for gays to get the right to be married. It took until 1973 for the APA to declare that homosexuality was not a mental disorder.

 

In 1980, Freddie Mercury was carried onstage on the shoulders of Darth Vader. This sign of their unspoken love is ignored by the public. In 1980, Freddie and Vader could not marry. Tragically, they both died young as Vader was killed in 1983 and Freddie passed away from AIDS eight years later.

 

In the 90s, President Clinton signed into law the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy, barring openly gay people from serving in the military. Over twenty years later, and four years after this policy was suspended, President Clinton’s wife Hillary is running for President.

 

 

That woman does not have a sincere bone in her body.  She will likely be the Democratic candidate for President in 2016.

 

Bitch.

Rebel Flag Debate Facts

June 23rd, 2015

The gun/ammunition industry took in an estimated 11 billion dollars in revenue in 2014.

 

That same year by comparison, the Confederate flag industry took in an estimated $6,000 (citation needed).

 

The gun/ammunition lobby raises nearly fifteen million dollars a year, led by the National Rifle Association.

 

By comparison, the Confederate flag lobby raises nearly $72 a year (citation needed), led by Bosh Kledmar of Tulsa, Oklahoma.

 

In 2014, the gun lobby contributed over three million dollars to the Senate and House, mainly the Republican constituency.

 

In 2014, the Confederate flag lobby contributed $25 to the David Allen Coe fan club (citation needed).

 

Since the 2012 Sandy Hook massacre in Newtown, Connecticut, there have been over 125 school shootings, average over one a week.

 

Since 2012, there has been one fatality due to usage of a Confederate flag as a weapon, the victim being Betty Crankshnell-Kledmar of Tulsa, Oklahoma (citation needed)

My Hope

June 19th, 2015

I can’t stand Donald Trump. I may actually hate him. I’ll let the judges decide on that.

 

However, if Donald Trump were to suffer the loss of a loved one, I probably wouldn’t go on Twitter and give him what for. I would hope that I have enough sense to not kick someone while they are down.

 

I would hope.

#700, A Eulogy, A Love Letter

June 17th, 2015

This is the seven-hundredth post on the Kentucky Prophet website.

 

I have not been in a writing mode lately so I will take the time to share and link to Young Mary’s Record and the eulogy she wrote for her late boyfriend, Colonel Jon Hensley, which she read aloud at his funeral. It is funny, sad, touching and long-running like any goodbye worth bidding. No one knew him better over these last few years. Jon and Mary barely had two years together but they were closer than any couple I know. Tracy and Hepburn? Captain and Tennille? Jordan and Pippen? Amateurs, compared to Jon and Mary.

 

A few snippets from Mary’s eulogy, which you should read in full.

 

. . . he’d already been off the phone and heard me inside talking to the landlord and he knew just how my voice raised when I was happy and which one of my comments were genuine and which ones were fodder and he hadn’t even needed to come to the doorway.  “I can always read you,”  he told me.

 

The thing about Jon is – if he knew I had such an audience – he’d want me to have spent none of this time talking about him.  He’d have wanted me to tell you about how his mother and sister are the most beautiful and his daddy was the strongest.  He’d have wanted me to tell you about his Shooter Jennings and about how he is the most fearless  talented musician and the most loyal friend – He’d have wanted me to tell you about his Wanda Jackson – the first female to ever record rock n roll – the apple of his eye.  He would’ve wanted me to tell you that in 1980, Merle Haggard became the only non-jazz musician to be on the cover of DownBeat Jazz Magazine.   And how Dwight Yoakam is a revolutionary.  And how Marcy Playground Sex and Candy is the best pop song.  And how Bob Dylan did not suck on Letterman and if you thought so, you just don’t get it.

 

I laughed yesterday here in this funeral home and I saw a woman look at me, confused.  I could almost read her expression – wasn’t that the 30 year old widow? I worried immediately.  Like every other time, I’d found myself uncomfortable in social world, I immediately wished for Jon.

 

 

Wrestling, Music and Love

June 7th, 2015

I would like to tell you a story about my friend. I met him sometime early in 2013, when he went on a date with my other friend Mary. It may have been their first date for all I know. He became Mary’s boyfriend and I became his friend as much as I was a friend to Mary.

 

For someone I only saw every few weeks at best, I felt like he knew me better than most. He respected my ability as a singer and songwriter and encouraged me to keep at it. I always felt like it was helpful to have someone believe in my work, and Jon and Mary were two such believers.

 

Mary and Jon. Two true believers.

Mary and Jon. Two true believers.

 

For Christmas ’13, I got him an Elvis Presley bootleg on vinyl that I had. He was a major Elvis fan, borderline expert. He had King-ly muttonchops, had just about any Elvis record he could dig up and even dressed like a denim-clad King. He loved the King, he loved Bob Dylan and had a Dylan-ish mop of curly hair. He hated to be considered a hipster. I understand. Hipsters want to look like they don’t care how they look, Jon cared VERY MUCH how he looked, and it showed.

 

Truth be told, he was a bit of a retro-hipster. I’m sorry, Jon. Please don’t get mad.

 

The summer of ’13, we went to a TNA Wrestling TV taping in Louisville. We sat through a sweaty show with a half-capacity crowd just to get a glimpse of Hulk Hogan. After the show, we drove downtown Louisville trying to figure out where Hogan’s hotel was. I can’t remember where we ended up but while Mary and I moped in the lobby, Jon caught a glimpse of Hogan eating in the lobby restaurant and we went in there to have a few drinks and muster the courage to go bother the Hulkster.

 

I heard Jon say something about Sprite to the bartender, and offered to get me one. I said yes, not knowing the Sprite was one-half of a drink. I nursed it and after about a half-hour we got the courage to go bother the Hulkster at his table in the corner, where he was sitting with his daughter Brooke and Wayne from “The Wonder Years” for some strange reason. We mumbled to him like starstruck ninnies and he took a picture with us.

45466_10100932667703652_809987371_n

A few months later, Jon and I had an argument. I have no idea why. We had watched an episode of TNA Wrestling. The one where Hulk Hogan quit and Dixie Carter begged him to stay and clung to his leg like a child. It was so bad and we were in such a bad mood we turned on each other and had words. It was ugly. We made up and I later blamed TNA for being such a terrible show that it almost broke up our friendship.

 

I played him Jethro Tull. He hated it. He played me Bob Dylan. I still don’t know about Dylan. Maybe I’m the dickhead because I prefer Tull to Dylan. I like Tull but not as much as he liked Dylan.

 

 

We exchanged wrestling-related gifts over the next year. I got a pair of Stardust gloves and an autographed picture of Carlos Colon and Abdullah The Butcher battling each other in a Puerto Rican ring, both men covered in blood. I gave him a copy of insider newsletter The Wrestling Observer from his birth month and year (August ’83). I played him some of the songs I had worked on recently and he was always supportive. He always texted me while on the road with his client and friend, Shooter Jennings. Mary always traveled with him, selling merch and keeping her manager boyfriend sane. Long before she began traveling with them, I tried to get her to watch “Frank Zappa’s 200 Motels”, a silly movie with the motto “touring can make you crazy”. While the constant touring could be difficult and frustrating, they never let it break them. The world did not degenerate into a two-dimensional room filled with one-dimensional people like in Zappa’s movie.

 

Jon did not make me less ambivalent about Dylan but he turned me on an album called “Frisco Mabel Joy” by a songwriter called Mickey Newbury (d. 2002). If you’ve seen “The Big Lebowski” you will know a song he wrote for Kenny Rogers called “Just Walked In (To See What Condition My Condition Was In)”. I could not get him to enjoy one second of Jethro Tull but I convinced him to give a listen to Alex Harvey (d. 1982) who was the leader of The Sensational Alex Harvey Band.

Jon passed away June 1st, 2015. Worst Monday ever. The funeral was Friday. I saw him in the casket. Mary could not look. I can’t say I blame her. He looked good in there. Even had his shades on. Typical Jon. His family closed the casket out of respect to Mary. After the service in Central City and the burial ceremony in nearby Greenville, the sky cried a long rain for a Muhlenberg boy who made good and left too soon.

 

Life is ridiculous and random and has no plan. If there is a God, then God’s plan is an eternal mystery to its’ followers no matter what meaning we may attach to events. No matter whether you are religious, spiritual, atheist, agnostic or in the music business, just know that we’re only here a short time and no matter what we say we end up taking the narrow view on things.

 

He’s gonna meet Frank Zappa and Freddie Mercury where he’s going and I’m jealous.

 

 

 

Goodbye

June 2nd, 2015

casino

Shock

June 1st, 2015

I am in shock right now. I vacillate between crying, shouting at the ceiling and muttering “no, no, no, no”. A million thoughts are in my head and none of them go anywhere.

 

 

I am being vague but I don’t know what else to do. It’s not my story. It’s the story of some friends of mine. Some people I love very much. I’m too shaken up to make a grand pronouncement of any sort.