Posts Tagged ‘Rock And Roll’

Book 2 AKA Doc Pomus and Book 4 Whazzup on the flupdup.

May 19, 2012 1 comment

BOOK 2. AKA Doc Pomus

AKA Doc Pomus (a Docu-Biography about my mentor, manager and friend Doc Pomus) has just opened in Toronto. I hope that it will be a completely resounding success in every way.

Even thought the running time is said to be somewhat less than the minimum one thousand hours that it would take for any one of us to begin to communicate clearly what Doc and his work has ment in and to our lives. Still, I  can’t wait to see it, or more accurately for me, hear it.

That I am in a movie..ah..I mean film (You may recall my writing about it last year when I went to New York to be interviewed) about the good Doctor is a great honor. He was really a great soul and a great man. I feel very privileged not only to have  known him, but to have had his arm around me literally and figuratively for all these years. Turn the stove off, forgeddabout dinner and rush out to see AKA Doc Pomus immeadjitly.  You will dig Doc to bits.

Book 4 Whazzup on the flupadup.

Last week I was in St. Thomas to sing for my sweetheart “Sula” at her Birthday party. She turned 110. I have never had a 110 year old girlfriend before and I doubt I will ever again, so it behooves me to listen and learn. To look and love and listen and learn. And if I had done that more perfectly in the past, the girls from yesterday might  still be willing to smooch me on the noggin, fry me some corn flakes and lay me down to sleep. I didn’t, they don’t, but at least at last, I’ve learned to listen. And.. I like it.                                                                                                                                                                                     

We are still waiting for developments from Johnstown on the production of a concert version of my mighty Rock Opera “SOON”  and flopping about trying to find a way to finish recording our new album “10 Great Songs In Search Of An Audience”  I am working my way back to the memwa? Its a question of time management. Thank you for looking in, and please go see AKA Doc Pomus quicko kasplitto. You will love Doc Pomus.


Book 4. Zoom! and Book 1. Isla Grande.6

Book 4. Zoom!!

Zoom..We finished the first run of the new CD just in time for me to  get to the airport and back to St. Thomas for the French Man’s Reef Concert, The concert is a fundraiser for COAST, the local affiliate of The National Council On Alcoholism and Drug Dependency. The event honors The Reverend Ray Joseph and local businessman and COAST Board member Ronnie Lockhart.

Zoom Zip Zoom

The need for recovery services is very acute in The Virgin Islands and is dramatically illustrated by the following bit of information (reported to me by Nancy Waite O’Brian former director of COAST and Clinical Director at The Betty Ford Center) from the National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependency: “The incidence of alcohol related deaths in Texas is twice tha of the other contiguous states, The incidence of alcohol related deaths in Alaska is twice that of Texas, and The incidence of alcohol related deaths in The U.S. Virgin Islands is twice that of Alaska.”


In other words, The Virgin Islands have the highest incidence of alcohol related deaths under the American Flag, and possibly the least number of recovery support services under the American Flag as well. I am doing this fundraiser in an attempt to help COAST do something about that.

Zoom, When I get back to the states, we will do a CD release/Launch Party and focus on “The Virgin Islands Songs, The Musical, in Concert, and the single from the album, the new recording of “Surrender To The Sun” and..  Zoom, I am in St. Thomas. Tomorrow morning I start doing radio interviews to promote the Concert event.

Unfortunately, someone set the ticket price @ $75.00 per, which I’m afraid is way too high for most working people. In fact, I’m tempted to say “hey wait, if you are coming to see me, come and see me somewhere else at a price that you can afford”, but, as I am clearly the living embodiment of the “anti moolah” and obviously, not the best authority on manifesting the glittery green goulash,  perhaps I ought to defer my own lah de dah and concentrate instead on the fact that we are  doing a much-needed fundraiser for a good and necessary cause.. Zip

I will do my best, and hope that my people will understand. (Hey waitaminnit, “my people” are the very people most likely to benefit from the very services that we are raising funds for the agency to be able to provide to…hmmm, Oh yeeeahhh…) Ok.

 Double Zoom… today is the 22nd of April,and it is Sula’s 108th birthday, She will have her Birthday party on Saturday, we will gather at her little very old “wood house”, on the hill above Neltejburg Bay and sing and laugh and celebrate the love of a young girl, who at one hundred and eight, has maintained her enthusiastic innocence in spite of having seen it all. What an extraordinary gift she is.

Zoom Zoom and Zoom I did three radio shows at three different radio stations for three completely different demographical groups today and another yesterday, each one an interesting host and personalities and conversations and settings

Zoom, yesterday at 8 AM was with a very interesting and energized activist member of our community Ms. Lesly Commisiong, host of her own show on talk radio 1000. We had a great time and may have enlisted her as a potential board member for COAST. She is a great resource for this community and we shall see if time will allow het to join the board.

Now this morning at 9:00 AM the first  show was with “Sisi” a real fast talking happy talk rockin’ chick on “HITS 100”, Sisi is a young local rocker of color woman, whose parade of addresses and places lived in the states, reminds me of no one more than my self, we had a great time together, and it was beautiful to watch her interact with the young local college student interning with her.  Zam! Next was radio station “WGOD” (really) at the very tippy top of Crown Mountain. Not much to say other than it was the closest thing to Heaven since “Calwin’s Caribilly Bar” and we had great fun (really) with those good folks also. Third was “Zim Zam Zoom” WSTA and “Brownie” always fun, always wonderful. Brownie (and WSTA) have been a primary support for my music and me for over forty-five years. Their kindness is always very much appreciated, and Brownie is one very funny man. 

 Zoom to Saturday! What a good time we had at Sula’s 108th Brithday party today. Old Island recipe birthday cakes galore, warm wonderful family friendships, the Nisky Congregation out in force, and the power of love in evidence and evident everywhere. And…”Food ke-an done, me bouy wha!”

 Zib, Zubb! Tomorrow is the big Concert and I will sing my heart out,. I have prep work to do in the morning so I am going to go to bed… Good night,  it’s been a great day! God bless you each and every one!

 incidently, I was talking with Tut’s wife Mary last evening while a stateside TV show was “noisifying” in the background. In the story, some awfully self-righteous prosecuting attorney with the most insultingly superior attitude, (supposedly representing “The people” ah…that would be us) was prosecuting a case by harassing and haranguing a Rock and Roll Band’s sound man on the stand, in a most diminishing, disrespectful and demeaning way.

It was crazy! The tv writers seem to think that the viewers will swing right along with them, and co-sign anything. Don’t they know that everybody knows, that any good sound man is worth double his weight in law degrees and ten times his weight in condescending, arrogant and square lawyers? What kind of crazy reverseled up value system are they promoting? How could the producers and networks broadcast such a cockeyed premise? How could the advertisers support it? Gol dang, Sometimes I wonder if the people in TV land think the rest of us out here in the free world, are still back in the 1950’s, or just plain stupid er whut.

 On the other hand, it’s a fact that no one would believe the real adventures of “Life In The Bongo Isles” either..I guess you just have to suspend belief…

We did the concert, I’m happy to report that I was in fine voice and our sound preparations were sufficient (the sound man is Marcellus Edwards, Tut’s son who is also the owner operator of ZIP car rentals in St. Thomas) Marcellus is a fine lad, a dread-locked jewish gent of the “Lion Of Judeah” lost tribe school of Hebrish history, and so my friends we see again the grand combinations of flavors in the God Soup of life doen in the Bongo Isles 

Marcellus’s Great Grand Mother (on his father’s side) was a full blooded Carib from the reserve in Dominica, but his Great- Great Grand Father (still on his Fater’s side) was a black, black smith from Ethiopia (that’s the lost tribe part, but lost tribe as filtered through and  from The New York City penal system’s cauldron of salvatory spirituality. most specifically, the Rikers Island rabbinical school of this that and the next thing, as proselytized and evangelized to and through  our very own “Terry The Pirate” AKA “Crossbones” AKA “The Rabbi” The long and short of it all is.. Marcellus is a grand and good fellow, and in large part because of his loving kindness,and skill, the Concert went well

Zoom, Carnival village for one night and then Zoom, back to the states. I’m so Zoomed out I’m downright dizzified.

Book 1. Isla Grande.6

That thing about Rock And Roll that I wrote about earlier, that thing made all the difference. The music moved me. Not just emotionally or in terms of excitement, but it moved me up from a sense of almost complete vulnerability (aka childhood), to a kind of independence.

That was the effect that it had on both of us, both Gale and I. Man, do I love my sister Gale. She was the leader, she led us carefully (or as carefully as an 11 1/2 half-year old girl could) ou of dependent childhood into an wonderneverland of “boppers” the land of “electric Rock And Roll  Pan”  a land which I inhabit to this day.

God bless that Gale, after our time on our own, (once Mud and Howard had come back into the scene), she  decided that we (she and I) would start going to church on Sundays. We did that for a few Sundays..we woild get up early and put on our best clothes, and head out to one or another Catholic Church in Santurce, it was a bit odd I suppose for the regulars to thy and grok what the heck two little dressed up but raggedy white kids were doing coming to their Church all by them selves, but whatever their concerns, they were kind. However, what ever “scent in the air” Gale was following or looking for, it wasn’t there at Church.

Eventually the scent led us to English-speaking Radio Station WHOA and it’s Saturday afternoon “on the air” Elvis Presley Fan Club and “Rock And Roll” dance party. Only the Lord (and Gale) knows how she managed to find the bus fare and then the station, but she did and there we went, on the bus, on our own, away from the snooty rich kids, across Santurce to Rio Piedras and beyond. Our excitement building every parada of the way. Gale had found and followed the scent that led to the great fountain of life, the Fountain Of Youth, only instead of making us younger, it brought us to the immensely joyful spirit of youth eternal, of youth in rebellion, the bottomless pool of timeless energy that empowers and informs and reinforces the impregnable and impervious optimism that transforms a child into timeless youth. We were instantly  older and instantly hipper, and ever so much forever more free. The vehicle was Rock And Roll and the casteless, classless  collective consciousness that it invited and created everywhere it went. And boy I’ll tell ya, my sister Gale and I were ready. Continued…

Book 4. and Book 1. The Boy Who Stowed-away, all the way to Baltimore.

February 22, 2010 Leave a comment

 Book 4. and Book 1. The Boy Who Stowed-away, all the way to Baltimore.

I’m heading back to the states today and I am somewhat anxious. I Know that I’m singing well, and I know that the individual songs and spoken word pieces included in the one man presentation of the “Virgin islands Songs” are good, and further that the presentation (or show) itself is good. However, I have never been able to successfully manage the management of the business of any or all of, this, that, them, or those things.

 I have made a commitment to do better (to do what better? to do everything better) and I am committed to the bitter or, lets say, better end. Why? Because as my hero Popeye sez, “I yam whats I yam” And, if it’s yams we gots, then it’s yams we gets to bring to market. We shall see what we shall see.

My comrades from the MAAC collective ah..ah.. I mean friends from the MAAC (Middletown Area Arts Collective). Have said that they will be meeting me, I hope that there is no last minute email change of plans because there is no email in the present configuration of things, as all systems are go and our electricals have fallen away…the next number in the countdown is “giddyup!

And giddyup we did, over to the airport, where all Airlines computers were down…and every untrained trainee was called in to do things they knew not how. I will leave the clever caustics to the 1000 or so other folks who swore vengeance and worse and simply say “Oy vey Caraho!”

As the soup (or mess) tumbled, I surfaced for a moment and found myself in the airport terminal at Isla Verde, Puerto Rico for the first time in many years. I began to think back on how it used to be.

Me mind seized on one transiting in particular, one fine early evening where in I arrived at Isla Verde, as a 16 year old stowaway from St. Thomas.

Like everyone else I was required to change planes here if I wished to continue on beyond… There were a number of things about that trip that were out of the ordinary among them the fact, the happy fact that I was not weighed down by any luggage whatsoever, or required to stand in any lines and interact with overwhelmed airlines personnel. Instead, I spent my time in a warm and hilarious conversation (en espaniol) with a wonderful “Jibaro” gentleman with a bottle of Don Q in his hand.

He was on his way to “New York” for the very first time, and was happy to have someone to talk and share his rum with, and I was happy to listen and refuel.

I was 16,  fully ignited, and had been burning incandescently forty-five minutes earlier, when I had walked off Lindbergh beach, jumped the airport fence in St. Thomas, and stepped on to Caribair flight number “who the heck knows”. I sat down next to a beautiful teenage tourista girl, let her know that I was stowing away and that she was now a co-conspirator to high adventure down in the Bongo Isles.

 In her defense, I will say that I was quite a pretty fellow in those days, and the process of reconciling such a pretty young man-child with bizarre behavior in the extreme, generally takes more than the thirty minutes required to fly from St. Thomas to Puerto Rico.

It is likely, even probable, that at precisely thirty one minutes she would have leapt up from her seat screaming and imploring all the other passengers and crew to “For Gods sakes grab this kid and tie him up for his own safety, American Civilization and the future of Rock and Roll” but fortunately for me, American Civilization and Rock and Roll, we had a good tailwind.

Once in Puerto Rico (in spite of the strong and dangerous environmental toxins continually kabooming in my brain) I had the gentlemanly good sense to bow graciously and step aside allowing her to run to the waiting arms of her family, out of my teenage reality and back into her own.

I of course now had to improvise and implement my next action, but first I had to figger out what it would be.

When I realized that I had successfully stowed away to Puerto Rico (Something that every pair of eyes that ever watched a beautiful DC 3 sweeping up up up into the air banking over the sea bound for where ever they wished to be, had wished to do) I heard the stillest smallest voice say “Hey, What the heck is the que pasa that’s goin on?” I answered it saying “Don’t worry about a thing, I’m going to the states to see my father and make Rock And Roll records”

But, first how to do it and first, first, the Don Q.

In those days the terminal was a wonderfully open-air tropical affair that I was very familiar with. There was one long main “ticketing floor” running east to west, where all the airlines had their counters. I was partial to Pan American, having flown with “the world’s most experienced Airline” many times, but was no stranger to Eastern either, in any case, I sussed out the sitch, and discovered that there was a stairway out to the tarmac where the big transcontinental boys were being prepared for their next hop. When I got out there, one of them was all lit up and appeared to be more ready than the others,  I walked up the loading stairs through the empty interior and to the lavatory  (coming down the aisle) on the left. In ten minutes they began to load the plane and twenty minutes after that, we started rolling.

I was congratulating my self on arranging my own trip to Miami, when the overhead cheerfully welcomed everyone aboard Eastern Airlines flight number “who the heck knows” to Baltimore and Philadelphia,

After takeoff, I stepped out of my private compartment and took a seat next to a grown up gent that I knew (by sight only) from St. Thomas. I told him what I was up to, and he seemed somewhat shocked and frightened. I dismissed him as square and unadventurous even though he did buy me a drink.

I closed my eyes and before you know it we were landing in Baltimore. An interesting element that I hadn’t considered was that it was winter, and I was wearing white dungarees and a bright flowery Island shirt open to my belt buckle, the elementary element came to my consciousness when I got a blast of winter wind upon disembarking at Friendship Airport.

By now I had decided that, I would tell the good folks at travelers aid (in Spanglish) that I had gotten on the wrong plane in San Juan, and would they be kind enough to redirect me to Miami which was after all, as anyone could see by my clothing, my intended destination. I felt confident that my idea was working until I was nabbed by the Baltimore Police who happened to be at the airport  looking high and low for a teenage boy, who had escaped from a local “Juvie” facility.

In any case, or rather to avoid serving out his sentence for Lord knows what and how long I was able to convince them that I actually wasn’t from these parts and didn’t know a thing about zip guns, rumbles and hotrods. Unfortunately, to prove it, the clever devils insisted I give them the name and phone number of my poor dear put upon, poor dear Mudder dear.

Ah my poor dear Mudder dear, good lord awmighty I burdened her aplenty…and though she would often look directly at me and say “Bonehead, I want you to know that I have ESP” for some reason  she wasn’t quite able (from only two thousand five hundred miles away) to pick up on and grok my whole convoluted spanglish confabulations with out the benefit of having spoken to me, and consequently, inadvertently let slip that No, I wasn’t the son of a wealthy Castiliano, traveling unaccompanied for the first time to “La Florida” unaccustomed to attending to trifles beneath him, including such things as  airline tickets, identification and the sundry mundane like.

Ah well, Travelers Aid was kind enough to put me up in the YMCA over night, where I was able to jive a gent into getting me a six pack of beer and a newspaper which was full of advertisements for Rock and Roll Shows all over the Baltimore, Washington D.C. Area. Loud Beautiful ads jam packed with excitement. Ads that I read and looked at over and over all night long.

In the Morning, before I could do even a single interview with LIFE or LOOK magazine about my adventure and to launch my career, the Baltimore Police and Travelers Aid put me on a plane back to the Islands. 

Ah well I’d just have to settle for the attention and admiration generated by my peers for “The boy who stowed away. Not once but twice, all the way to Baltimore”

Ah my poor Mudder Dear…