Friday, March 15, 2013

Guitar Army


It's Chet Atkins and Doc Watson and Leo Kottke in the hallway and they're just messin' around like Michelangelo doodling on the outhouse wall or something and I probably should say something about them that's pithy or insightful but I can't, I can only remember things from my own life because I'm kind of a jerk and other people's lives don't interest me as much as they should and so I have to insert them into my life or they don't count, but I was in Nashville a long time ago in a Toyota that didn't have a dent yet but was gonna, and I was buying a bass I couldn't afford from a man I didn't know with money I didn't have so I could play in bands that weren't gonna be interested in me anyway, and the man behind the counter was so nice he took that plank off the shelf and unbolted the rosewood neck and swapped it for a maple one even though upon reflection I wish I'd have kept the rosewood one, and he was chatting with me and my brother who was riding along with me in that Toyota without the dent in it yet, and he was no use to that neck-swapping fella because he's left-handed and the shop didn't have anything sinister in it except me and I play right-handed, and that fellow said he was friends with a fellow that was friends with Chet Atkins and his friend was performing that very evening and thought Chet was going to drop by unannounced and sit in and we should go and see him with his best wishes but not his company, probably because he had fleeced me and wanted to go out with his real friends with a bankroll instead of a bedroll for a change and get tight; so we set off to find this place he sent us but Nashville was as unfamiliar to us as a steady paycheck and we wandered a bit and saw every closed and locked storefront that fine city had to offer a weary traveler until we happened upon Irma's Dusty Road Cafe hiding behind a banner that told wild tales of jam sessions being held with instruments provided, and it didn't have even a passing resemblance to the place we were looking for, but we went on in because it was getting so late that OPEN seemed right on time to us, but there was next to no one in there and they only served Pabst in cans, that's all they had, don't you fellows even think of asking for anything else, you just hold up the requisite fingers for the amount you require and you'll find Blue Ribbon succor in just that amount; and there was a blind man sitting at a table playing guitar, but in the back, nowhere near the stage, and my brother didn't pick up on the fact he was blind and insulted him by accident in his innocence, and all of a sudden that man had enough friends of his to form an entourage or a military detachment or a lynch mob gathered in a circle around him, and us --mostly us-- and there was a faraway look of PBR and anger in their eyes, the ones that weren't glass, anyway, and I thought I'd better smooth things over so I identified my brother as a bass player and told the assembled posse that he was dying to play bass with the blind fellow, who was pretty good as I recall, and my brother looked at me daggers because he didn't want to play bass in Irma's Dusty Road cafe instruments provided because the instruments provided were all broken, and a very particular kind of broken they were, too; they were broken in a right-hand way, like insult to injury to my brother, who didn't yet realize what he had done to poor us in his innocence, and one way or the other he was about to experience insult and injury, so I figured he might as well get it metaphorically, playing a broken bass upside down in an ad hoc country band instead of in the alley outside via the shod foot; so he figures he'll fix my little red wagon, and tells them his little brother would love to play the drums, knowing full well that I have never met a drummer, never mind a drum teacher, and I'd be in a bit of a bother to play the things, but he didn't care and I didn't care and the audience didn't care because they were so full of Pabst Blue Ribbon that they could barely hold up their fingers in the correct number to get the additional amount they required to stay lit, and we set to making country and music noise, my brother upside-down, and me, more or less sideways, I think, and it was jolly, I guess -- or at least the audience thought the noise we were making was jollier than beating us like carpets in the spring, and then they started going up to the bar and holding up two fingers for every one Pabst that they desired at the time, and put the extra on the bandstand for us to drink, free-like, and soon I lost any idea of striking the floor tom because it was crowded with cans of beer I was just getting to, and so was every other horizontal surface on the band stand, and the application of so much PBR to my nervous system made me play the drums with a wild abandon commensurate with great ability, despite the fact I had no ability, and it was then that a fellow told me that it would be considered a great insult if we didn't finish a beer that the audience had purchased for us, and the fact there was a dozen and one in my bullpen and it was only the second inning wouldn't cut any ice with anybody in that place, and then that same fellow, who was obviously having more fun than me and my brother put together, went up to the bar and told the assembled throng gathered there that that carpetbagging yankee drummer and his confused brother that don't know which way to hold a bass, never mind which end to blow in, well, those fellows claim they can drink more Pabst Blue Ribbon beer than we can buy them.

So you see, when I see a video of Chet Atkins, I look at it differently than you. After all, he's a friend of mine. 

10 comments:

BJM said...

Thanks, that rinsed the Mayer douche away. You can't leave us hanging,man. Didja get an ass kicking or not?

vanderleun said...

I'll let you do that once. The second time I will come to your house and leave only when you are on a feeding tube.

SippicanCottage said...

Somebody remind Gerard that I ain't no bandleader.

And I don't own a horse, either.

julie said...

I was mentally reading along, and started to run out of breath somewhere around the first quarter of that sentence. I think my face was blue by the end.

Totally worth it.

The music's not bad, either.

Leslie said...

I just read that out loud. I think I need a beer...

Joan of Argghh! said...

Puts my scrawny 500-word sentence to shame. I loved this, though. It's how I would always write if I weren't afraid of Gerard...

Totally tweeted it. Twice.

Sam L. said...

Not thet's whut I calls "wringin' out the writin' some kind a good!

Good thing words can't get pregnant, Mr. Sippi; you're a caution!

Joan of Argghh! said...

Looks like the guy who wrote this liked your post.

SippicanCottage said...

Hi Joan- Thanks for reading and commenting and linking and tweeting, which is a dark and bloody mystery to me. I just see the gobblety-gook hashtag URLs and scratch my head.

It appeared to my eye that the writer you pointed us to spelled many of the words in his essay correctly, so we're proud to know him, even though we don't, won't, can't, and shouldn't.

Cletus Socrates said...

Leo was in some pretty good company that night, huh?