The morning part of the session was a blast, especially for Kim, who I let cut loose on the song, “Boiler Man” Kevin, Rory, and I couldn’t help but smile as my brother whipped out a can of whoop-ass and played a scorching lead that added so much to the song. Kim also showed that he could play slide and on, “A Pack of Dogs” he did that flawlessly. I also told Rory to break bad on the tune, which he did with his usual jaw-dropping skill. After we had recorded that song, I could see the fire in Kim’s eyes that told me he was ready for anything. We then took a short break.
While getting a little sun, Kim asked me why I let him cut loose like that. “When you have a big gun you shoot it,” I replied. “That’s it?” “Yep.” “Okay, thanks for the vote of confidence.” “My name is on the album, which means I want it to be the best possible record possible. I’m playing with three great musicians who bring an arsenal of talent that I want and need to utilize. It gets boring of I’m doing all the flashy parts,” I then said. “Is it Kev’s turn next,” my brother asked. “Yes, it is, “Volcano” is the perfect vehicle for him to stretch out on,” I replied. “And I’m ready.” “Do you write songs with that in mind?” “No, I play with amazing musicians who can make a nursery rhyme sound incredible, so I tell them what I want, and they deliver.” “You gave me a little guidance on that lead,” Kim said. “You’re dipshit who needs guidance,” I replied. My brother laughed and gently grabbed my neck. “We’re a band, and that means we play like one,” I added.
I then asked Kim if he remembered Willie Mappen.
“Yeah, he a hotshot player from Raleigh, came out in the mid-nineties?” “That’s right, well, he played the McSwain County Fair back in ’95 or so. Naturally, it was the Willie Mappen Band, and although he was a good guitarist, his band sucked because he wouldn’t let them do anything, everything was about him, even though he was a weak singer who wrote insipid lyrics. He anchored his band to simple rhythms while he went off on extended leads that lead back to the banal lyrics followed by another extended lead. Every song was that way, even the covers, which he butchered. After he had played his set, a couple of us introduced ourselves and told him that he was a good guitarist. He tepidly thanked us, undoubtedly disappointed that we didn’t think he was great. You could tell that he thought the gig was beneath him and that he should have gotten top bill. He did say that next year he would be in L.A., and he was. Unfortunately, it didn’t turn out too well.” “What happened,” Rory asked. “I didn’t know until a couple of years ago when his name came up while I was talking to Lance Pletty, who said he remembered that name from somewhere. I had forgotten about him until Kirby brought him up. Well, Lance made a few calls and talked to a producer who said that Willie stayed in L.A. about three years before being told to get lost. The problem with him was that he had to have all the attention and couldn’t stand sharing it with anyone else. This producer said he was a great technical player, but a shitty overall musician because nothing he played sounded good. He managed to piss off just about everyone out there. He left and ended up in Texas where he now plays the honky-tonk circuit. I don’t know if he still is doing that, but he sabotaged his career over his insatiable appetite for fame, which never came because he couldn’t see the big picture,” I said. “Yeah, I remember the music editor for the newspaper up there telling me that Willie flamed out in L.A. He remembers an arrogant young man who thought way too highly of himself, but did say he was a flashy guitarist,” Kim added. “Willie never gave himself a chance because he thought he was all that mattered. Perhaps if he had let his band help him, he might have played arenas or stadiums and been famous,” I said. “How old was he,” Kevin asked. “He was about twenty when I met him.” “So now he’s at forty and playing in clubs in Texas?” “That’s what I was told,”Kim replied.
Talk about a lesson in humility.