Norwegian Hospitality 5810

We did interviews with the Norwegian press yesterday that went well and allowed our fans to see another side of us. Rory’s formidable guitar skills impressed the journalists, as did Orville’s. Kim dazzled them with his powerful voice and knowledge of the oldies. Enrico’s affable personality charmed the vultures, while Glen’s guitar chops wowed them. Tom blew some wicked harp and told funny stories about his years on the road. Thomas, Ben, and Gustavo also got some of the spotlight as they described their duties and what it’s like to work for the band.

The morning news programs all featured the interviews from yesterday and people were calling in to comment about how genial and professional we are. They also commented about how much time we spent with the reporters, which allowed them to get an in-depth profile of the band, but what impressed the callers the most was how we treated our shows in Norway like they were just as important as the ones in the bigger countries, which made me happy.

After breakfast, Fillip asked if I wanted to see something. I asked him what it was. “It would be better if I showed you,” he replied. “Okay, I like a surprise.” “The whole band should see it.” “Okay, let’s roust them out of bed.” “I don’t want them pissed at me,” the young man replied. “Don’t worry about it, I do it all the time.”

We got the crew assembled in the lobby. Rory scowled and asked why his sleep was disturbed. “I want you to see something,” I informed him. “What?” “You’ll see.” “Damn, I could be sleeping.”

This better be good.

We drove to Ullevaal Stadium and pulled into the parking lot. I asked Fillip was going on and he pointed at a giant clothe mural hanging from the stadium. I gave it look, and as we got closer, I could see that it was of the band with all of us playing our instruments. It was done with great detail, and the caption read: “Welcome to Norway, Scragg Man and his Amazing Band!” The crew and I studied the mural and them smiled. “That’s mighty nice,” I remarked. “Wow, who did that,” Rory asked. “They don’t know, someone gave it to the stadium workers who decided to hang it. I thought you guys would like to see it.” “I’m glad we did, it’s incredible.”

I then noticed that there was a mass of people walking toward the mural.

The folks were snapping pics of the work, which I found charming. I looked at the security guys, and they sprung into action. I stepped out of the bus and took a picture of the mural. The crowd then noticed me, and they turned their cameras on me. “This is humbling,” I declared, pointing to the painting. The people cheered, and I posed for pics. The rest of the band joined me, and we thanked the folks for their Norwegian hospitality. We chatted with the people, and we took a group photo.

The cops then showed up.

The policemen were friendly and pointed to a food truck driving up behind them. The driver then got out and asked us what we wanted. We weren’t hungry, but we couldn’t turn him down, so we all got a meatball sandwich on the house from Stig, a friendly middle-aged man with a warm smile. “I hate to put you out,” I told him. “My pleasure, Sir, We love the Scragg Man in Norway,” he replied.

We ate our sandwiches and chatted with the people, who took pics and texted about how cool we are. I told them that we’re mighty thankful for the reception here and can’t wait to play our shows. The people cheered and thanked us for making Norway more than just a stop.

Its times like these that make me realize how lucky I am and how grateful I need to be.

I sure love Norway.

Published in: on July 17, 2018 at 4:54 am  Leave a Comment  
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Simple In Theory 5809

At breakfast, I told Rory not to get too worked up over the antics of John and Dovey Cassini, as there is nothing he can do from Europe, and more importantly, the situation is being dealt with. “Folks are working on this situation, and they’re providing advice and support to Bella,” I assured him. “How,” he asked. “They are, Rory.” “Is it going to make any difference?” “Yes, at least I hope so,” I replied. “Scragg is right; people are on this,” Barton added.

Fortunately, there was positive news regarding the label, which we were able to celebrate. “So far, it’s been a terrific year the label acts on the road. Naturally, this tour is the big one, but the label’s other acts are doing well. Trigger Lanigan, The Rattlers, The Snapjacks, Clyde Zugg, The Ugly Guys, Winford Lawson, The Drifters, and The Prairie Dogs are doing a music festival in Mississippi, Alabama, and Louisiana in September that is already sold out, so things are looking bright. Harry Wembrary and Caulson Pomeroy are continuing to pack them in smaller venues. E. Sr. said that old-fashioned hard work is paying off and I couldn’t agree more; it’s about getting out there and delivering a great show,” Marty said. “Hey, Sr. is spot-on for a change,” I joked. “I’m happy to see the label developing young bands,” Barton added. “And ones who aren’t afraid of work,” Marty remarked. “Why Mississippi, Alabama, and Louisiana,” Barton then asked about the festival. “It’s where they could book the venues, but they’re hoping to expand it in the near future,” Marty replied. “Wow, that’s going to be a wild festival,” Rory commented. “Good, that’s what the concert circuit needs,” Lacy chimed in.

Marty then told us about upcoming releases and marketing strategies that the label is working on. “Amber suggested that we consider releasing deluxe editions of albums and perhaps adding some goodies, which can be dicey, but if done right, they can be profitable. She also told all the acts to keep their websites current. I suggested that the label handle that while they’re on the road, so they’re looking into that. We still have a ways to go, but we’re actually looking and acting like a record label that knows what it is doing. Jordan’s input has been valuable as has Moriath’s. The key; however, is still releasing top-notch albums because that’s the product we deal in and still the most important thing. Despite that label’s small size and budget, it’s a major player in the music industry, and not just because of Scragg and a few other acts. All of the artists are generating positive buzz and proving that it is warranted,” Marty said. “It’s all about the product, and then the marketing. You can only promote shit for so long before you’re covered in it, so we have to maintain a high-level of quality, and everything else will follow,” I added.

Creative endeavors are a dicey proposition because what some consider art others see as trash. Then, there is the issue of keeping your craft fresh, which means coming up with new material that isn’t a rehash of your last hit, which may alienate fans who aren’t always receptive of innovation. The creative process starts in a room and then grows from there. Writing songs can be a painful experience, especially when you’re under pressure to deliver a hit, or at least get on the charts.

Come to think of it, the label has the easy job.

Published in: on July 16, 2018 at 2:53 am  Leave a Comment  
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A Toothless Chihuahua 5808

After sleeping most of Saturday, we all decided we should get out and move about. We took a tour of the city courtesy of Fillip who pointed out the locations of interest. Rory then informed us that it was noon and time to eat. “Louie’s Pizza,” he then said. “Who made that decision,” Barton asked. “I did, not be quiet and stuff your face.” “Asshole.”

Yep, still on tour.

We pulled into Louie’s Pizza, a small joint that looked a little ragged. “Fillip said this place has the best pizza in town, so if it sucks, blame him,” Rory said. “Want if we don’t want pizza,” Barton snapped. “Too bad.” “Why you!” “Let’s go before Barton blows a nut.” “Asshole!”

We walked into the pizza parlor, which has a quaint feel. A pretty server told us to sit anywhere. We took a table in the back and looked over the menu. I was discussing which pizza we should order with Kim when Blake called. I clicked on and greeted my wife who sounded upset. “Is everything okay,” I asked her. “That asshole, John Cassini confronted Bella at her house while her fiance was away and used filthy language and threatened to punch her. He then cussed out Robin, who had Francesca with her,” Blake said.

That no good piece of shit.

This occurred in the early evening on Saturday. The two-bit shithead drove over to Bella’s house to threaten her with ruin and misery while Robin and Francesca were about to leave. Blake said that Robin told her that John Cassini was like a madman and looked ready to use violence. “Naturally, Steven wasn’t there, so he showed his true colors. He told Robin to shut the fuck up when she told him to calm down. He then pushed Bella,” Blake said. I could barely contain my anger, but since I didn’t want to make a scene, I listened and then assured my wife that everything will be fine. “Farley wants to kill him, but I told him to keep his head on. That little asshole needs to be dealt with along with his wife, but they’re not worth getting in trouble over. I told Robin to tell Bella to take papers out on him for assault, but Bella won’t do that.” “Tell Robin to steer clear of him, and I imagine Bella’s beau will look out for her. It’ll be okay, baby,” I told Blake.

Blake and I talked about the babies and family for a spell before I clicked off. I then the crew what Cassini did, which infuriated them, especially Rory, who said something needs to done immediately. “Goddamn, I wish I were there,” he then said. “We’ll take care of it,” Barton said in a low, menacing tone that I hadn’t heard in a while from him. “Who is this guy,” Thomas asked. “A wannabe badass whose nothing more than a bug-eyed pussy,” I replied. “It takes a real man to threaten women,” Jorge seethed.

John Cassini is toothless chihuahua who folds at the slightest pushback. I’m more concerned about Dovey, who is the brains in that family and has a bigger pair than her worthless husband can only dream of. Being a cagey lawyer and having no scruples makes Dovey a dangerous opponent, but one that can be neutralized, it’s just a matter of finding her weakness, which I suspect won’t be hard with the right people on the job. “It’s time to deal with the source of this problem, and that isn’t that homely sack of shit,” I said. Barton gave me a hard look before cracking a slight grin. “You’re right,” he replied.

Wed then gorged ourselves on pizza.

Published in: on July 15, 2018 at 4:47 am  Leave a Comment  
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Heidi Of Norway 5807

Leave it to Clayton to save a buck, regardless the toll on us. After the show, we showered up and then waited around for a couple of hours at the airport to catch a flight on a business jet that had plenty of spare seats. We flew with European businessman who offered the flight as a way to hobnob with us for a forty-minutes. The crew was polite, and we had a pleasant time with the guys. I couldn’t help but marvel at the promoters penny-pinching, which he has taken to a new level, but then again, I agree to his cheapskate ways and would do the same thing if I were in his position. “Are we staying at a roadside motel,” Rory joked.

We flew into Oslo, did our thing at the airport, and then got a shuttle to our hotel, where we checked in at three-thirty in the morning. Our driver Fillip said that they can call in a chef to prepare us breakfast, which I told him wasn’t necessary. We then walked to our rooms and put our bags away.

I then walked back to the lobby and asked if they had any convenience stores in Oslo. “Deli de Luca,” Fillip replied, it’s right down the road,” he added. “Let’s go, I’ll call the crew.” Everyone was game for the experience, so off the Deli de Luca, we went.

We arrived at the convenience store that looked ultra-modern and clean. When we walked in, I could see that it was a deli, coffee shop, ice cream parlor, and bakery all in one. “This is what I’m talking about,” I said. The refrigerated section had cold cuts of every kind along with cheeses, salads, and fruit. I scanned the next section and saw different breads. Gourmet coffee, smoothies, and various fruit drinks took up another section. I got me some fancy bread, ham, roast beef, and turkey with Gouda cheese. I got me a cup of coffee and a bowl of fruit. I took a seat at a counter by the window and chowed down. Two cops came in, and I gave them a wave. They immediately recognized me and walked over to shake my hand. “Someone said you were here,” one of them said. “Who said that,” I asked. “A passerby.” “Oh, well, get yourself a cup of coffee, my dime.” The cops grinned and did just that.

We chatted with the cops for a spell. They could speak enough English to get by. The early morning stragglers walked in and gave us a glance. The few didn’t recognize me, but a group of young men spotted me and gave me a wave. One of the flashed me his tee-shirt with my mug on it, which prompted me to call them over. “That’s an official tee-shirt,” I said. “Straight from your label,” he said in decent English. “Much obliged.” “We’re going to your first show here,” another young man said. Eirik, Jan, Olav, and Karl formally introduced themselves. I posed for selfies with them and signed autographs. A group of three girls then came into the store and saw me. “Scragg Man,” one of them squealed. Annette, Julie, and Heidi then introduced themselves while giggling. I told Heidi her name is notorious to football fans in the States. “Well, older fans who remember the game,” I said. The young lady gave me a perplexed look. “The movie Heidi,” Daniel, one of the cops asked. “Yes, they broke away to the movie because the Jets were ahead with a minute left, so they figured was over, but the Raiders scored two touchdowns in the final minute to win the game; thus, the people on the east coast missed the comeback,” I said. The young Norwegians had no idea what I was talking about, but they were interested because it was something uniquely American. “Did you watch the game,” Heidi asked. “No, that was fifty years ago, I was a mere baby.” “I watched it and screamed,” Lacy said. Barton also groaned when he recalled the game. The youngsters smiled and listened to the two older men rehash the game from memory. I then reminded them that they’re old and us whippersnappers can’t relate. “Scragg, you’re not that young,” Barton replied. “Where was Heidi from,” the Norwegian one asked. “Switzerland,” I replied. “Oh, at least wasn’t from Norway.”

It was fun chatting with the youngsters.

Published in: on July 14, 2018 at 3:31 am  Leave a Comment  
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The Wretch And The Bug-Eyed Bastard 5806

I got an e-mail from Blake that was sad and infuriating. It concerned Bella, whose awful mother has been giving her a hellish time about getting pregnant. According to my wife, who got the information from Robin, Dovey has called her daughter a “knocked up slut” a “shameless hussy” and a “girl of means acting like a street whore.” Dovey isn’t content to shame Bella, she’s aiming to hurt her by tearing her down psychologically, and unfortunately, it’s working. Blake said that her father has also gotten into the act.

I could feel my blood boil.

I know the Cassini’s are back in the area after a hiatus in Florida. I don’t want to have Robert and Pavel pay that bug-eyed bastard another visit, but I’m getting mighty close to doing that. My wife wrote that John Cassini is threatening to take the land back he deeded over to Bella, which further enraged me.

It’s time to play hardball again.

At breakfast, I let Barton and Lacy read the e-mail, which they both found disgusting. Jacque and Jorge felt the same way and asked if any action would be taken against the two-bit land baron and his shrill and shallow wife. “I’ve had it with that little asshole,” Barton declared. “I’m going to make a few calls later to show him we mean business,” he added. “John Cassini is nothing but a little weasel who got lucky. Dovey is a wretched woman, but more dangerous opponent; however, she’s not much, either,” Lacy added. “It’s incredible that Bella isn’t one screwed up mess after being subjected to that for most of her life. What do you know about this Steven Pomley,” I asked Barton and Lacy. “He’s a shy kid who got lucky when he got Bella. His brother is a lawyer who handles mostly civil cases. His father, Ross, is a lawyer who does the same. Their mother’s family owns several nursing homes, so they have means,” Lacy replied. “Okay, so Bella has allies?” “I would think so.”

I’m not surprised that Dovey and John Cassini are treating their only good child this way, but it doesn’t lessen my anger. Hopefully, Barton can make their lives unpleasant, and they’ll go back to Florida, but should that fail, it might be time for someone to pay the bug-eyed dick another visit. I hope it doesn’t come to that, but I’m not going to stand idly by while two fucked up assholes sabotage their daughter’s happiness because they’re pathetic losers.

No one screws you like family, but that can run both ways.

Published in: on July 13, 2018 at 4:54 am  Leave a Comment  
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Nebraska In Tampere 5805

The first show in Tampere was another memorable gig that I’ll never forget. It all started when I made a harmless joke about being banned from certain countries, which the audience ran with. Chants of, “Sweden sucks” “The hell with England” “Screw France” and “What’s up, Merkel? You let everyone else in,” which I found humorous. I told them that the good folks of those countries aren’t to blame, and I extolled their virtues, but the Fins were having none of it. “You folks are the experts, so I’ll defer,” I said to rousing applause.

I then performed the first song of the opening set.

I found it utterly cool that Bruce Springsteen would drive to Philadelphia to see Paige’s concert, and I wanted to put that feeling into a song. I composed, “The Boss is in the House” as a way to commemorate it. I know Bruce wouldn’t want me to make a big deal out of him going to the concert; however, it’s not every day that rock legend goes out of his way to attend a show by a young superstar. I’m sure he’s been to a lot of concerts, but he went to my baby’s and said it was an incredible show, so I feel it’s worthy of notice.

And the crowd loved the song.

I then played, “Johnny 99.”

The Springsteen song has always been one of my favorites of him and is off his album, Nebraska, an acoustic album he recorded in his kitchen. The album stunned his fans as it proceeded, The River, a classic double album full of Bruce’s rocking tunes. The album immediately resonated with me, especially, “Johnny 99” a ditty about an unemployed auto worker who commits a murder and is sentenced to 99 years in prison. The song deals with the plight of the unemployed, poverty, hopelessness, and the dark side of human nature.

I had a blast playing the song.

Feeling emboldened, I decided to do the title song from the Nebraska album, a tale about the spree-killer Charles Starkweather, which is another classic cut. The haunting tune also struck a chord with me and one of the best acoustic compositions I’ve ever heard as it captured the senselessness and evil of a psychopath’s crimes in plain language that made the song even more powerful.

I finished up the set with another tune off the Nebraska album, “Reason to Believe” a story about people’s need for hope in a cruel world. As I performed the composition, I realized that I knew every song off the album, which meant that I listened to it a lot. My friends found the album depressing and didn’t cotton to it when it was first released, but years later, Kirby said that he now thinks it’s Springsteen’s best work. With albums like  Born to Run, Born in the U.S.A., Darkness on the Edge of Town and The River, that is saying something.

I managed to get one more song off the album near the end of the show. “Highway Patrolman” a story about two brothers, one a lawman, the other a criminal. Kim and Tom provided expert backup, and I had fun playing the number. “Are you going to do the rest of the album tomorrow,” Rory asked. “Maybe,” I replied.

Nebraska in Tampere proved to be a big hit.

Published in: on July 12, 2018 at 6:49 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Chatting With The Boss 5804

I was sitting on the bench in the courtyard soaking up the rays of the mid-morning sun when my cell phone went off. I usually don’t carry the thing with me, so I found it strange that I would be getting a call. I checked the time and saw that it was a few minutes past ten, Finland time. I took the call.

And boy was I in for a surprise.

“Hello, I replied. “Hey, am I talking to the Scragg Man,” the man on the other end asked. “Yes, you are.” “Great, I’m Bruce Springsteen, and I thought I would give you a call, or should I say, Marty told me that today would be a good time to call.” “So I’m talking to the Boss?” “Aah, come on now, you just call me Bruce.” “Not Rick?” “Excuse me.” “Oh yeah, he’s Springfield,” I cracked, which made Bruce laugh. “Marty said you’re a handful.” “What do I owe this honor?” “I saw an interview last week where you said you would like to do one of my songs in concert and I told my wife that it would be interesting to talk to you. She told me to call your label and see if they could arrange that. I know you’re busy, so I didn’t want to intrude, but Marty said that it would be perfect if I called this morning.” “What time is where you are?” “A little after three.” “Wow, light sleeper?” “No, just wanted to chat with the Scragg Man.” “Cool, I’m glad you called.”

Bruce and I discussed family and some of the people we know in the business. Naturally, he knows a lot more folks than I do, so I let him do most of the talking. He then brought up Honey, whom he is friends with, and asked me some questions about him. “You two have a history that is fascinating. Of all the people I know, Honey is the most straightforward man I know, there is no pretense with him,” Bruce remarked. “That is true, he’s a hard man at times, but a good one.” “It’s wonderful that Johnny, Stray, and he took in that girl. Honey told me that he remembered being in her situation when he was that age and if it weren’t for Ray, he doesn’t know what would have become of him. Man, leave it to him to throw a curve.” “It’s who he is, as long as you try, Honey is game.” “I guess Johnny, and you have a history, too.” “Yep, we were both in the joint when our paths crossed. Johnny wasn’t always the charming little guy he is now, but that’s in the past.” “I know, it’s an engrossing story with those three,” Bruce replied.

Bruce and I chatted for a good spell and covered a lot of ground. He told me that his daughter is ranked equestrian rider, which I knew. “She’s a big fan of yours, and she’s impressed with your knowledge of horses and your riding skills,” he said. “You ride,” I asked. “A little, I mainly pay the bills.” “Oh, that’s what daddies are for,” I joked. “You got that right.” I then asked him about his wife and kids, who are all doing well. He praised all my grown daughters for their talent and said that he saw Paige’s show in Philadelphia, which he said was incredible.

I then realized that we spent little time talking about ourselves–which is a good thing.

“We just do this for a living, it’s not what I live for; don’t get me wrong, I love being onstage, but there are important things in life that need attention. We all have an ego, but when it comes to family, I would rather talk about them any time over me. I was a fuck-up most of my life, so there’s no need to rehash that debacle. What I have now is what I’m most proud of,” I said. “Right, we’re just guys who have been blessed,” Bruce replied.

We ended the call by saying that we need to talk in person after I get off tour. I thanked Bruce for calling and sharing some stories with me. “The pleasure was all mine, Scragg, I hope we can talk again soon.”

So do I, Boss.

Published in: on July 12, 2018 at 4:06 am  Leave a Comment  
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Rides, Ribbing, And A Whole Lot Of Fun 5803

I decided that some fun was in order, so I told the crew that we’re going to Särkänniemi Theme Park in Tampere. Marty groaned and asked if they had roller coasters and other terrifying rides. “I sure hope so,” I replied. “Scragg, just let me disappear,” my manager pleaded. “Don’t be a pussy, ” I snapped. “I’m not a pussy, I’m just terrified of scary rides.” “Well, there’s only one way to cure that ailment.” “Scragg, I could suffer a heart attack and die!” “Oh well, you can’t live forever.” “Scragg, I have a phobia of scary rides that could make me stop breathing from fright!” “That’s interesting.” “I’ve read where people have died on rides because they were so frightened that their heart stopped.” “That’s nice.” “Nice! I’m serious, Scragg, my life is in peril if I’m forced to get on one of those rides,” Marty continued to plead. “You done,” I then asked. “No, I have to stress the severity of this situation.” “Okay, what other maladies may befall you if you get on a ride?” “Isn’t death enough?” “Well, I reckon it stops the incessant bellyaching,” I replied. The crew laughed while Marty made plans for his funeral.

We arrived at the park, which was nothing like the ones back in the States, but the rides looked decent. I immediately went to the roller coasters with Esa right behind me. The rest of the crew sauntered back before deciding to join us. I told Marty to go to the kids rides and try not to get too excited on the merry-go-round. “I can handle being called a wimp,” he spat out.

Man, that’s pathetic.

While waiting to get on the coaster, we heard a middle-aged man whining to his teen daughter about being afraid of coasters and fearing he would pass out. Since he was speaking in German, I could hear every word, and finally, I told him to man up and have fun. He looked at me before falling to pieces. “I’m not a wuss,” he declared. “Yes, you are, and shame and disgrace will hound you for the rest of your life if you back out of this ride,” I informed him. “Oh God!” “Hey, you look like the Scragg Man,” his daughter told me. “A lot of people say that.” “That’s because it is the Scragg Man,” Rory said.

All eyes were on me.

“Okay, who here is trying to wimp out,” I asked everyone in line. A son pointed to his father, who hung his head in shame. “You found’em yet,” I asked. “Yes,” he replied in despair. “My papa is also trying to get out of this,” a pretty girl in her teens told me. I walked over to her father who said he was good and wouldn’t chicken out. “Alright, let’s get on this ride and whoop it up,” I said.

And we did just that.

The coaster was too timid for my standards, but it was still fun. The crowd then followed me to the next one with the wet noodle men forcing to find some backbone. We rode the second coaster and then headed to the third. “Karina, I’m going to faint,” the middle-aged father said to his daughter. I gave him a steely stare, and he stiffened up. “The two other fathers, fearing humiliation, wore smiles and said they were ready for the rides.

We reached the fourth coaster where a Russian father was pleading with his kids about the dangers of coasters. I smiled at him before scowling. I broke out my Russian and told him to stop making a fool of himself. “Your kids want to have fun, but you’re acting like a putz, so grow a pair and get on the coaster,” I said. “It’s the Scragg Man,” his son said. “It is,” his sister screamed. “Right, and I’m here to break it off into wimpy fathers who don’t want to have fun.” “No, it’s a nightmare.” “Knock it off and get in that line.” “Scragg Man, I’m not a brave man.” “Stop this, now let’s go.” The hapless Russian father got in line while looking like a condemned man.

I then spotted the vultures.

Jere Linna, Karin Vanhanen, Marko Ranta, and Marjo Nyland, all Fins who I recognized were joined by two other journalists who I didn’t. I called them over and found out that the man is Dmitri Vlacic, a Russin vulture, and the woman, Eden Collins, an Irish reporter who is on assignment here to cover me. “So, vultures all speak the same language,” I said. “I’m Russian,” Dmitri declared while glaring at me. “Oh, am I supposed to be impressed?” “We know all about you,” he the said. “Okay, what did I do in the second grade to get suspended?” “Very funny.” “No, that would be you,” I fired back. The crowd laughed while the big Russki frowned. “I guess Eden here laid off the whiskey this morning to get up this early,” I then said. The Irish gal gasped and then stared me down. “It’s the afternoon, and that was very crude,” she replied. “All the times you upchucked in the toilet, and you’re calling me crude?” “Why you,” she screamed. Sorry, Dmitri, there’s no potato soup or vodka here, but I reckon you’ll make do,” I then said. “Hey,” he yelled. Their Finnish counterparts couldn’t contain their laughter, and the crowd was equally ruthless. “Get on the coaster,” I then ordered the vultures. “Aah, aah, I should probably refrain,” Dmitri replied. “Why, because you’re a putz?” “No, but I have indigestion, and I just ate and I could…” “I’m Dmitri, I’m trash-talking Russki who can’t back any of his smack up, but I’m the very definition of a macho man,” I broke in, mocking the reporter into silence. “Bastard,” he muttered under his breath.

Our stay at the park was a grand time that gave the crew a chance to relax and get out among good folks. It also provided the vultures with another side of us, which they said was a pleasant revelation. Eden and Dmitri said they heard that we were cool guys but today they got to see it for themselves. They even laughed at my insults by the end of the day.

Oh yeah, Marty was shamed into riding one of the coasters and then got dramatic afterward, which earned him a trinket that Esa won playing a game.


Published in: on July 11, 2018 at 5:12 am  Leave a Comment  
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Exposure To Virtuosity 5802

Before turning in, I read a review of Paige’s concert in Madison Square Garden last night by a young journalist for The Clarion Call, a small publication aimed at millennials. It’s a curious critique of the show because the reviewer, Keena Lygan, a young woman born in the mid-90’s, was utterly shocked by what she heard. Ms. Lygan began the piece by saying that the opening song, “Mystic Beach” an instrumental that featured an extended guitar solo by Paige that floored the young reviewer. “I’ve never seen anything like it, especially from a woman. The extended instrumental had extended interplay between the musicians and sounded like something from a virtuoso who knows she’s better than you. I assumed she would open the show with a song that had lyrics, which would seem more appropriate. The songs that followed had lyrics but were older and equally complex. I felt lost at the concert because it wasn’t what I expected. I was well-aware that Paige Ambrose is an amazing singer and instrumentalist; however, I couldn’t wrap my head around some of the songs that were intense and filled with intricate arrangements.”

Then there were the fans.

“Again, I expected a show that was about female empowerment and the experiences from a woman’s perspective, but there were just as many men there as women, and many of them looked like metalheads who cheered and bowed in respect to Paige’s formidable guitar, piano, and violin skills. She even impressed on the harmonica. There is no questioning her abilities, it’s just that sometimes it became overwhelming.”

Ms. Lygan went into detail with the song list and was flummoxed by its musicality, which I found sad and hopeful. She never criticized Paige for being a world-class musician, but it was clear that she went to the concert with a narrative that she was hoping to expound upon only to discover that her preconceived notions were blown out of the water by a band that dazzled musically. Lyrically, Paige doesn’t write compositions exclusively tailored for women, and she would never compromise a song just to score cheap points with feminists or any other group. My daughter is a feminist in her own right, but one that views it through a measured perspective. Simple anthemic songs promoting women’s rights aren’t her thing, which makes her a true feminist; she’s more than able to play with men and beat them at their game.

By the end of the review, Ms. Lygan admitted that my girl is something else and deserves the all the accolades. She clearly didn’t like the makeup of the show, but that, too, is a positive step for feminism as Paige proved that women can play as well as men. Orville read the review and remarked that many of today’s young people listen to music that is heavily synthesized and propelled by computerized beats. “It’s more manufactured than anything, Scragg, so when they hear someone like Paige, they’re stunned because everyone is playing their instrument with skill. Much of today’s music doesn’t translate well live,” he added.

The reviews of the show from the major media outlets were terrific, and the extolled my baby’s sublime voice and musicianship, but I also like to read what the smaller publications have to say because often times, they’re the voices of the younger folks who see and hear things differently than the established and older journalists.

I then put in Paige’s album and listened before going to sleep.

Published in: on July 10, 2018 at 7:29 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Spite And Envy 5801

I spent a good portion of the morning surfing the net and reading up on the goings-on around the world. After I got through the disaster and mayhem, I checked on who was doing what on the label. I read an article about the Accelerators, who said that the addition of David Bratton has given them a shot of adrenaline and prompted them to re-record their album to include some of his songs. “David is exactly what we needed, and his enthusiasm combined with his sublime bass skills have given the band a sharper and tighter feel. The infusion of youth and desire makes all the difference in the world and Lance, Barry, and I can’t wait to hit the road to show the world what we have. It wasn’t long ago that we were talking about packing it in, but David’s presence has put those sentiments to rest. We’re rejuvenated and have gotten rid of the negativity that previously plagued the group,” Bobby Oliver told Rolling Stone. 

It sounds like Brady just got slammed.

I’m delighted that the Accelerators feel rejuvenated, but I couldn’t help but wonder just how wide the rift between Brady and them had become. I asked Marty if he heard any scuttle and he said he hadn’t until today. He alerted me to an article in Music World where Brady unloads on his ex-bandmates. “They’re in a pissing contest, Scragg, which isn’t necessarily harmful, but it’s petty and not worth their time,” my manager said.

I then read the piece about Brady.

I was disappointed in the bassist’s incessant name-calling and self-pitying anger that makes him look small. Brady Knight is a renowned bassist and considered one of the finest ever, and for him to act like a petulant child is off-putting. “I guess everything was my fault; fine, let them blame me, but we all know the truth. It’s not like I had anything to do with their past troubles. If they want to forget that I ever existed, then that’s their prerogative; however, there’s no way they can deny my contributions to the band because I was there. Bobby, Barry, and Lance all have issues that they seem to forget, but they’re quick to condemn others. I never got filthy drunk, did drugs, or act like an out-of-control teen, but then again, those who pass judgment never look inward. I guess they would be happy if I just faded away,” Brady said.

Wow, that was lame.

It’s cringeworthy when grown men act like middle-schoolers. I remember wincing when Ted Nugent and David Crosby had a public spat, which made them both look silly. Taking the high road is always the answer in these ridiculous clashes of personalities, but I reckon social media is too tempting and their air their differences hoping to get the last word. Instead of congratulating David, Brady felt the need to tear down his ex-bandmates, which is small of him. Making this foolish situation even more embarrassing is the fact that Brady willingly left the band for health reasons and publicly stated that. Apparently, there was more to the story, which is now coming out in the worst way possible.

Spite and envy don’t look good on anyone, especially adults.

Published in: on July 10, 2018 at 1:47 am  Leave a Comment  
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