Coaxing Greatness Out Of A Roughneck 5621

Pedro greeted us at the entrance of the banquet room like an excited child ready to hit the playground. “I’m ready to go, Sir,” he exclaimed. “Good deal, Sir, I wish these guys had your enthusiasm,” I replied, pointing to my sleepy band. “This is such an honor, Sir.” “You might not be saying that in a few minutes, but let’s get started and see what happens.”

As I expected, Pedro was ready because Joao gave him the lyrics and music to the songs yesterday, which allowed him to practice beforehand. The young man’s voice is strong and pleasant, which made the rehearsal a lot easier to take. We plowed through the songs yesterday, which the band said they had down and proved it by playing them correctly.

That meant they could handle more tunes.

I got groans, mainly from Glen, which I ignored. I handed everyone a copy of the compositions, which got me more griping that I dismissed with indifference. “I’m feeling ambitious, so prove to me you’re up to the challenge,” I told the band. “A Brief History of Wasted Time” “Darby in the Morning” “Deal With What You Made” “It Ain’t Too Bad” and “Swine Man” were the songs I chose for inclusion in the show that I hoped would carry us through. The band already had a good number of tunes down, so I figured this would cover it for the tour–at least for a spell. “Shit, look at some of these chord changes,” my brother whined. “Shut up and let’s get started,” I replied.

Pedro sang beautifully while the band did their thing. Kim played the like the polished pro he is, and I could sense a real connection with his playing. I know I’m throwing a lot at him, but he’s a sublime player who can handle the load, so I’m leaning on him. I’m also becoming more impressed with Orville’s bass playing, which is far more than rudimentary. Glen’s stellar drumming didn’t surprise me, nor, did his constant complaining about being overworked, which meant that he’ll get pushed even harder. Fortunately, Tom is always a pleasure to work with, so everything works out.

This band has the makings of greatness.

“Alright, that’s a start,” I declared after we played the songs. “They sounded damn good to me,” Glen hollered. “Me, too, Scragg,” Kim added. “Well, my standards are a tad higher, so we keep going.” “Shit,” the Man from Broadway sulked. “You see, Pedro, some men are destined to be leaders while others need to be led, otherwise, they would perish,” I said, which amused the young man. “You’re an asshole, Scragg!” “Take Glen, for example. He’s half illiterate, scrawny, nothing to look at, but the little bastard can play, but you have to coax the greatness out of him while a leader like me is always striving for better,” I said. “Asshole,” Glen scoffed. “Again, instead of taking a path toward self-improvement, Glen prefers to wallow in ignorance, which doesn’t speak well of him.” “Yeah, like you’re some high-class guy from the right side of the tracks!” “Perhaps not, but I’m constantly looking for ways to improve myself.” “Yeah, by becoming a bigger asshole!” “Another example of Glen’s lack of refinement: instead of strengthing his argument, he instead, raises his voice and resorts to profanity to get his illogical point across.” “You’re such a dick!” “His unexamined life is glaringly apparent everytime he opens his mouth.”

Glen finally shut up.

“Are we all ready to proceed,” I then asked.

We had a productive session the rest of the way minus any outbursts from Glen. He’s right: I am an asshole, but my name is on this tour, which means I get the fame and the blame, so we do things my way.

And along the way, Glen’s brilliance will shine–you just have to coax it out of him.


Published in: on March 20, 2018 at 12:50 am  Leave a Comment  
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Doing Whatever To Get The Job Done 5620

We walked into the banquet room a little before six in the morning and began practicing for the show on Wednesday. I found myself somewhat amused by the situation that I didn’t factor in before we embarked on this tour. Fortunately, the band is comprised of professionals who understand the gravity of the situation and they came to the session ready to go.

A half-hour into it, we sounded like five guys playing separate pieces of music.

I didn’t panic, but I wanted us to start sounding like a band, so I told the guys to loosen up and just play. “Fuck it, just imagine like your life depended on it,” I said. “That’s fucking great, Scragg, you tell us to relax then tell us that we’ll be killed if we don’t get our shit together,” Glen screamed. “No, just you, Glen.” “Fuck you.” “Just play.” “We’re trying.” “Try harder.” “We are, dickhead!” “Christ, I reckon Glen wants three chords and the truth.” “Asshole!” “Let’s pull out some old Johnny Cash.” “You’re such a dick.” “Get me a singer,” I told Marty. “Where?” “I don’t know.” “Where the fuck do you expect Marty to find a singer,” Glen asked.

That did it.

I walked to the front desk and asked the clerk if there was anyone in the hotel who could sing. The young lady laughed and said that Joao, the assistant manager, sings in a weekend band. “Where is he?” “In his office.” “Get him, please.” The clerk called Joao to the front desk, and I told him I needed his services. “How can I assist you, Sir.” “I need your voice.” “Excuse me.” “You have someone who can run this hotel for a spell?” “What?” “I need someone to sing.” “I’ll call Victor, go, Joao,” the clerk said. ‘Yeah, Joao, I need you.”

Joao Silva, a pleasant young man with a big smile, looked about in a daze as I told him I needed him to sing the lyrics to the songs while we played. “Here are the lyrics, just sing them with all your heart,” I said. He looked over the words to, “Smilin’ Devil” and then said he was ready.

We then played the tune.

Everything fell into place as Joao belted the tune with gusto and emotion. A good singer with powerful pipes, Joao sang the number like I wanted while the band played without any glitches.

“Mule Drawn Plow” was next.

Again, Joao found the grove of the song and performed it with guts and style as the band did its thing. “Blind to the Light” and ‘Dust Storm” were also impressive displays of vocal power from the young man who now was ready to roll.

And I shut up Glen.

“We ready to take off now,” I asked. “I’m ready,” Joao hollered like a convert ready to spread the word. “What about you, Broadway?” “Yes, Scragg.” “Good, band those drums; that’s the only sound I want to hear from you.” Fuck you.”

The band looked over the music to the songs: “Ain’t That Right” “The Little Man Who Wanted it All” “For Those Who Passed Without Much Notice” and “County Walls” It took a few runs, but the guys then caught on and put on a display of musical prowess that made me proud, especially Glen, whose drumming is vastly underrated. Tom’s harmonica came into play, which he never could have imagined before the tour; however, he embraced his new role with enthusiasm and attitude that infected us all.

This is going to work.

We did two more songs: “Vinegar, Red Pepper, and Salt” and “Someone Call the Law” two upbeat numbers that Joao belted out with reckless abandon. We played the songs again in order, and Joao nailed them without any glitches. The band performed flawlessly, and I couldn’t have been happier. Orville is a bassist; not on Rory’s level, but a competent one who can play. Kim is a world-class player, as is Glen, Tom also surprised on guitar; again, he’s not Kim, but he’s good enough for when we need him, which is all I care about. Naturally, when it comes to harp, he’s peerless, so we have this covered.

Joao deserved special mention.

“Young man, you did an outstanding job that deserves a big hand,” I said, which the band gave him. “I had so much fun, Sir, that I should be thanking you,” he replied. “No, we needed you today in the worst way, and you came through. I can hear you’re getting a little hoarse, so tomorrow is probably out of the question,” I then asked. “I’m afraid I don’t sing that much, anymore, Sir, but Pedro, a chef here does, so he could step in.” “Excellent, can he be here by six?” “Anytime you want?” “That’s when I want him, and he speaks pretty good English.” “Send him here.” The hotel manager, Roberto, laughed and said that he was glad Joao could be of assistance. “Give this young man a raise,” I told Roberto. “Or at least his own dressing room,” I added with a wink.

Sometimes, you have to break from convention and do whatever is necessary to get the job done, and today was one of those times. I’ll admit, I do that more than is comfortable, but as long as it keeps working, I won’t complain.

I reckon we’ll find out Wednesday.

Published in: on March 19, 2018 at 1:41 am  Leave a Comment  
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Broadway Glen 5619

We checked on the crew in the hospital before going to the airport, and they all were alert and ready to get out of there. Barton said he has a private plane that’ll fly them home, probably Tuesday, but that depends on their ability to travel and if the doctors release them. I asked them how they all ended up with broken arms and legs. Kevin said that the bus had vertical hand-rails down the aisle of the bus, and when it flipped, they crashed into them, which is amazing that they weren’t more seriously hurt. I told them to recuperate and get back to their lives. “You guys are lucky that you’ll all fully recover, so don’t complain about missing the rest of the tour,” I told them. They were all bummed but realized that it could have been fatal, which softened the blow.

We landed in São Paulo and navigated our way through the airport without too much hassle. Our driver, Luis, got us to the hotel in a flash where he dropped our bags and then went looking for food. The hotel restaurant served up good-looking steaks, which I couldn’t resist, so we walked in and were treated like royalty. “Steak with all the fixins’, I told the server. The rest of the crew said the same, which made it easy. We then relaxed and tried to get our bearings in order.

It’s always something.

I looked at Jacque, who insisted on saying on. “Well, buddy, it’s just you to look out for us,” I told him. “Yes, but I’m ready.” “Good, because we’re going with what we have. Glen will be here in a couple of hours, and then the band will be complete. I don’t anticipate bringing anyone else on. There might be a few guests, but no will be joining us as a regular member. I’m confident that we can get this done, and so we will.” The crew nodded in agreement, and that was that.

I then turned my attention to Ben.

“You’re it, young man, so do your thing and know you have the confidence of the band behind you,” I told him. “Thank you, Sir, it’s a great honor to be here. I just wish that terrible accident didn’t happen.” “So do we, but that’s not how things worked out. Hopefully, you’ll still feel the same way after the tour ends. We’re all impresed with your work, and you know I love “Sweet Beast.” “Thank you, Sir.” “You miss Jorge?” “Aah, well, aah.” The crew laughed and told him he was in for it because he was the baby of the bunch. “I kind of suspected that,” he replied. “You calling us old and feeble,” I snapped. “No, Sir.” “Just fucking with you.” “Oh boy,” he blurted out.

I then addressed the change of dynamics in the band.

“Glen is not Kevin, but he’s a good guy; just a little rough around the edges. He cusses a lot and isn’t refined, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing. This is mainly directed at you, G.A., Glen isn’t one to mince words, so make sure he’s shown in a positive light as much as possible and if his shitty side does show, then soften it up.” “Will do, Scragg.” “Alright, I think that’s about it.”

After our meal, we went to our rooms and crashed. I must have been knocked out good because Kim woke me up to say that Glen arrived. I got up, and we all assembled in the hallway to greet my old friend, who was in a banquet room with Luis and the hotel manager.

I don’t know if all this was necessary.

We walked to into the banquet room to find Glen dressed in jeans, a blue tee-shirt, tennis shoes, and a ballcap, looking at us indifferently. “Well, nothing like a warn=m greeting, Scragg,” he said. “Hello, Glen, I said as I shook his hand. “Shit, I’ve been on a fucking plane for what seemed forever, but you’re the one wiped out.” “Yep, hey guys, this is Glen McCabe, a real asshole and nothing like Kevin, so you’re lives have taken an unfortunate turn by his presence,” I said. “Dickhead,” Glen scoffed.

Old McCabe hasn’t changed.

The crew greeted Glen cordially and welcomed him aboard, which he appreciated. “I see you guys have class, unlike your leader, but I already knew that, so I’m prepared.” “Yep.” “What about some grub,” Glen then asked. “Shit, now you want something to eat?” “Asshole, I’m starving.” “Christ, Broadway Glen thinks we should acquiesce to his every whim,” I cracked. “You dick, you know I’m hungry, now get me something to eat.” “Do I look like a chef?” “My God, I forgot just how much of an asshole you are.” “Well, get used to it because I’ve just begun.” “We’ll get you something to eat, Sir,” the hotel manager told Glen. “Nothing fancy, just what’s ever leftover,” I said. “Fuck you,” the country boy from Broadway sneered. I laughed and patted my old buddy on the back. “Thanks for coming, Glen. “Anytime, Scragg, we did this once before down here, so we’ll get this done,” he replied. “We sure will, this with a full band and new moniker for you,” I declared. ‘What’s that?” “Broadway Glen.” “Shit,” he replied.

The crew laughed and said it was perfect.

Published in: on March 18, 2018 at 4:42 am  Leave a Comment  
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Proceeding From The Wreckage 5618

We did interviews with the  Uruguayan press, which they appreciated, and got us more positive PR. After we wrapped the interviews up, Kevin decided that he wanted Burger King, which didn’t sound appealing to me, but to each, his own and I told him to go for it. Rory, Enrico, Barton, Pierre, Renaud, Thomas, along with some members of the press joined them on the bus as they journeyed to the fast-food joint so Kevin could satiate his Whopper fix.

The rest of the crew had a light meal at the hotel restaurant that hit the spot for me. I was still a tad tired and planned to turn in early tonight. “We leave tomorrow afternoon, so we all need to get plenty of rest and take it easy until the next show,” I said. The ragged crew couldn’t have agreed with me more, and my brother added that he was thinking about turning in before sundown.

Damn, I thought we were wild rockers?

We chatted in the restaurant for a spell before heading for the courtyard. The hotel manager hollered at us as he walked down the hall and then came frantically running toward us. “Sir, Sir, there’s been an accident. The members of your band were involved in an accident, and the police are on the scene now,” he said in a winded voice. “Do you know any details,” I asked. “Only that the driver swerved to miss a child who ran across the road and he lost control of the bus, and it flipped over, Sir.”

Oh shit.

It took two hours to get the full details, which were pretty much what the hotel manager said. The bus flipped over when the driver swerved to avoid hitting a child. The bus was then struck by another vehicle. Kevin, Rory, and Enrico all suffered broken legs while Thomas, Pierre, Renaud sustained broken arms, ribs, and concussions. Barton got a concussion and a broken foot. The four members of the press suffered similar injuries with one sustaining a broken neck, which was the most serious injury. The driver was also hurt with a broken arm, leg, and hip.

Thank God, no one was killed.

We arrived at the hospital and waited there until evening. I called Blake and told her I was okay, which relieved her, but she was concerned about the rest of the band. I told her what I knew. “What’s going to happen now, Elmer,” she asked me. “I’m going to talk to the guys, and then proceed.” “Are you going to continue the tour?” “Yes, if I can.” “That sounds like you, and I don’t mean that in a bad way.” “No one was killed, and they’re all going to be okay. Marty already called Glen, who is getting ready to fly down here as we speak.” “Elmer, only you.” “No, only Kevin and that Burger King.” “Brie is a mess.” “I know, but he’ll be home in a few days, so she’ll be fine.” “So it’s you, Kim, Orville, Tom, and Glen,” my wife asked. “I reckon. “Good God, that’s a band.” “What’s that supposed to mean?” “Wow, from Kevin to Glen.” “Glen’s a good drummer.” “Yes, but Kevin is, well, forget it, Elmer. “Yeah, yeah, yeah, none of us are much to look at now, but that’s okay, we will get it done.”

Marty then said we could visit our injured crew.

Kevin and Rory were in the same room and were in relatively good spirits considering, but then they realized their time on tour was done, which changed their mood. “I’m sorry, Scragg,” Kevin said. “You’re alive and will recover, so don’t worry about it.” “What are you going to do?” “You mind if we continue?” “No, go for it.” “Fucking right, get it done, Scragg,” Rory added. “Alright, we’ll do it.” “Who’s gonna play bass?” “Orville, he said he can, so we’ll see.” “Is Glen coming down,” Kevin asked. “Yep.” “Go for it, we’re behind you all the way.” “Of course, I wonder what the fans will think,” I then asked. “Don’t worry about that, they’re pleading for you to continue if at all possible,” Marty said. “Tell’em that’s going to happen.”

I briefly spoke to the rest of the crew except Barton, Thomas, and Renaud, who all had concussions and were out of it. Enrico was groggy but wished me luck. I told him to save his strength. Pierre shook his head and gave me a thumbs up, as did the journalists. I asked about the one who had the broken neck, and the doctor said he’ll make a full recovery, but it’ll be a while.

Shit happens, but that’s life. This could have been a lot worse, so I’m thankful that all of our friends are still alive and will fully recover.

Now, it’s time to put a band together and proceed.

Published in: on March 17, 2018 at 3:48 am  Leave a Comment  
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Full-Throttle In Montevideo 5617

We arrived late in Montevideo, on Thursday night, which meant today was a tad hectic trying to get ready for the show. We all slept late and still hadn’t gotten out bearings when we left for the stadium. It would have been nice if the concert were tomorrow, but that’s not the case, so we’ll deal with the situation. “Sometimes Clayton isn’t too bright,” Rory grumbled, still trying to shake the sleepiness off him. “You can rest tonight,” I replied. “What good does that do me?”

Sometimes Rory’s logic isn’t too sound.

Estadio Centenario greeted me with a booming applause that blasted away any cobwebs that were lingering in my brain. The packed stadium chanted my name for a solid minute, which gave me a rush that never gets old. I thanked them for the greeting that left me humbled. “I feel right at home in Uruguay,” I declared, which set off another round of cheers.

I then played “Michelangelo and Leonardo”

The song was well-received by the crowd, and that gave me the nerve to play “Innocence by the Creek” and “”Where Did All the Hope Go?” two songs about growing up with Lyle that were on my mind. I wasn’t sure if they were appropriate to play now, but I decided to give it a go and find out. If the crowd disapproves, they’ll let me know. Both tunes reminded me how fleeting life is for those who give up. Lyle decided early on in life that he wanted little from it, so he accomplished little and got nothing. It was a tragedy that ended in evil, which infuriates me because he knew better. I reckon his life didn’t matter, so no one else’s did neither, which makes my brother a wretched human being. It’s painful, but it’s the truth.

The crowd gave me a standing ovation after I finished performing the compositions.

The band played flawlessly, and the concert was a rip-roaring crowd-pleaser that kept the fans on their feet cheering and stomping their feet. All the griping about being tired was a distant memory as we played with reckless abandon and full-throttle energy that drenched us in sweat and kept the adrenaline pumping.

I was determined to put on a terrific show for the good people of Montevideo, who paid good money to see and hear play. It’s not their fault that they’re in between Buenos Aires and São Paulo, and the Rio. Every concert is important, and the tonight, the packed stadium in Montevideo proved that. “They were loud and ready to have fun,” Thomas remarked. “Yep, and they did,” I replied. “Now I’m wired,” Rory said. “Take a shower, relax, and then you’ll fall asleep,” I told him. “It’s not that easy, Scragg.” “You’ll get the hang of it one day.”

After going full-throttle, I’m ready for bed.

Published in: on March 16, 2018 at 10:45 pm  Leave a Comment  
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The Buenos Aires Experience 5616

The final show in Buenos Aires was a barnburner that rocked fans who shook the stadium. After the opening set, we put the pedal to the metal and never let up, which left us all sweaty and exhilarated. When the concert ended, Rochelle said that she would need to rest for a week before getting ready for her own tour. I told her that she was young and full of vinegar. “I’m the one who needs to recuperate,” her husband said.

What a terrific experience.

We had a fantastic dinner at the hotel restaurant. We all had planes to catch tomorrow, so morning was going to come early. Honey thanked us for allowing him to join in the fun and experience the tour up close. I told him he’s welcome anytime. Rochelle did the same, and I told her the same. “Congrats on a wonderful album, it really is special, and I was surprised that so many of our label’s artists contributed to it. Honey and I were talking before you came and he said it was a pleasure to record with you,” I said. “He was so great, and so was Stray. I’m so proud of that album and of all the people who helped me make it a reality. Scragg, this was beyond my wildest expectations, so thank you again. I know you guys catch a lot of flak, but ignore it, you guys are the best,” Rochelle said. “Thank you, Rochelle, and thanks for coming down and sharing your talent with us, and I mean that. You and Honey made this extra-special for us and the fans,” I replied.

I then turned my attention to Nova and Saar.

“Well, did you young ladies enjoy yourselves,” I asked. “Sir, if we had any more fun, it would be illegal,” Nova replied, which cracked up the crew. “Good.” “Oh my God, this was amazing beyond words. We’re going to go home and tell stories for years to come and have the pics to prove it,” Saar screamed. “That you will.” “Thank you so much, Scragg Man, you’re the best, and I wish everyone could see how great you and your band are. I can’t wait for you to play Amsterdam because you’ll get a wild reception, I know you will,” Nova said. “I sure hope so.” “I know you will because we’re going to make sure people get crazy,” Saar added.

I then thanked Ben for the guitar and his services. “You’re a wiz with everything electrical, and I’d take you with me if I could,” I told the young man. “You can,” he replied. “Don’t you work at your father’s store?” “Yes, but Martin works there, as does my cousin, they do without me.” “Get him a ticket,” I told Clayton.” “How long will he be staying with you?” “Who knows, but he’s valuable.” “Alright,” Clayton replied. “That’s why he’s the Scragg Man,” Nova declared. “Hey, I can use this young man.” “I know, and you go ahead and hire him without any bullshit, oops…sorry,” Nova apologized. “Don’t worry about it, yes, Ben is hired, hopefully, at a reasonable price,” I said. “Yes, Sir,” “Yes, and make him earn his money,” Jorge added. “Don’t, we will,” Thomas added. “If his mother weren’t sick, I’d take Jorge,” Barton then said, which stunned Ben. “Thank you, Sir, I’m sure Ben would have loved that,” the security man replied. “I’m sure he would have, isn’t that right, Ben,” I asked the young man. “Aah, yeah, sure,” he stammered. “Please give your mother our regards and get well wishes,” I then told Jorge. “I sure will, she appreciated the flowers.”

What a time we had in Buenos Aires.

Published in: on March 15, 2018 at 8:50 am  Leave a Comment  
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Innocence By The Creek 5615

Saar felt like a real journalist when her website wired the hotel money for the extra night’s stay. “It’s only right that they did that because I’ve been getting them exclusive content,” she proudly declared. “Absolutely,” I replied. “Rochelle is very nice and was gracious enough to give me an interview, so I have one from everyone now. I guess I am a journalist,” the Dutch gal said. “I guess you are,” I told her. She giggled and said that this was the greatest experience ever.

Oh, to be young again.

I picked up my acoustic guitar and began to play a tune that popped into my head. It was about Lyle and me when we were kids standing by the creek eating ice cream. I can still see the joy on my brother’s face. He was only seven; when hope was possible. “Why can’t all days be like this,” he asked me. “I reckon we wouldn’t appreciate them if they were,” I replied. “But we would always be happy.” “I reckon we would get bored. “Who could get bored of eating ice cream, Scragg?” “You gotta point there, Lyle.” “I do?” “Yes, you actually do.” “Wow, that’s a first.” “You’ve made good points before.” When?” “Like the time you told me not to go messin’ with the Yellowjackets that Kirby decided to fuck with and got stung to shit.” “Oh yeah, Kirby ain’t too bright,” Lyle replied. “No, he was blowed up from those nasty buggers.” “Yeah, and he told Gene that we laughed at him, but Gene told he was was a stupid motherfucker.” “Yep, Gene tells it like it is. Then there was the time you said that snake in the backyard might be a rattler and sure enough, it was. I sure would have hated to get bit by that thing because he was a big’un.” “He sure was, he probably had enough venom to kill ya,” Lyle added. “That would have sucked.” “You be dead.” “Yeah, that’s why it would have sucked.” “Well, I could get all the ice cream then,” Lyle said with a grin. “Yeah, I reckon you could.” “Just kidding, Scragg.” “Yeah, yeah, yeah.” “If I wasn’t, I’d a let ya mess with that snake.” “True.” “Any other times I had a good point,” Lyle then asked. “No, mostly you’re a dumb motherfucker like Kirby,” I cracked. “Fuck you.” I laughed. Cussing was something Lyle, and I did when Mama wasn’t around because it made us feel grown up. We had no idea what we were saying back then. We learned most of the words from Gene, who used profanity as a language. Despite our gutter mouths, we were innocent. We were young. I didn’t know that Lyle was doomed. It was innocence by the creek, and it’s a vivid memory that I hope never fades.

Why did it go so bad, Lyle?

Published in: on March 14, 2018 at 10:54 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Surprise And Magic 5614

We were tearing through a rousing show that had the crowd on its feet and cheering themselves hoarse, which is always wonderful thing at a concert. When we finished a song, Kim stepped to the mic and told the crowd that we had a special guest tonight.

We do?

Since I already introduced Honey, I couldn’t imagine who it might be, and furthermore, I wasn’t made aware of any guest. I looked at my brother who patted me on the back. “Yes, here tonight to perform the hottest song in the world is a lady that has had numerous hits and one who sings particularly well with my brother. Please give a big hand to Rochelle Vonson!”

Wow, this is a surprise.

The diminutive singer walked onstage, and I smiled as she approached me. I gave her a hug and asked her where she was hiding. “I’m short, Scragg, it’s for me to stay out of sight,” she joked. “I sure didn’t see you.” “We got in last night, and we’re staying at the hotel across from you. My label wanted to promote the album in a big way, so I suggested this, and they loved it. I called Clayton, who said a surprise would be great.” “Let’s do this.” Rochelle acknowledged the fans who were still going wild. Orville turned the piano over to me. I told the crowd to give Rochelle another hand, which they did.

We then performed, “Blue After You”

Rochelle’s powerful voice filled the stadium as she sang the song with emotion and nuance that has made it a hit. Our voices blended nicely on record and I was hoping for the same live, but having no preparation, I could do just that. We finished performing the song, and the crowd burst into a cheer that shook the stage. “That’s what I’m talking about,” I declared. Rochelle looked out into the mass of humanity and then stared at me. “Wow, this is incredible,” she said. “You know any other songs,” I asked her.” “Salvation on the Run,” she said with a grin. “Really?” “Been listening to the “Holy Sinner” soundtrack.” “Let’s go for it.” I introduced the song to the audience, which was played on a resonator. I picked up my Eastwood and told Rochelle to give the sign whenever she was ready.

And boy did she tear it up.

Putting everything she had into the tune, the petite gal with the mighty voice made the composition her own, which made me proud. After that song, I brought Honey back out so he and Rochelle could do “Winter Came Early” another cut off her new album. The crowd gave them a big hand, and the night, which was already wonderful, turned magical.

We ran over a tad, but it was worth it, and the fans went home with smiles. After showering up, I met with Rochelle and her husband Al, who said the night was amazing. “You guys are incredible, it was an out-of-this-world show,” he remarked. “Thank you, Sir, and your wife was a big part of that.” “This is surreal, Scragg, but it’s glorious. Your fan base down here is something else,” Rochelle said. “They’re the best,” I replied. “How did you like the surprise,” Clayton asked me. “I loved it, you ought to do this more often,” I told him. “That resonator sounded great, I guess Ben does know what he’s doing,” Rory said to the luthier, who was beaming from ear-to-ear. “Yes, good job, Ben, keep it up. You ready for some grub,” I then asked Rochelle and Al. “Sure,” she replied. “Excellent, oh yeah, Sweet Beast is a monster,” I told Ben, who grinned. “Thank you, Sir.” “I got my own luthiers with me,” I proudly declared.

The press wanted some words from Rochelle, so she obliged. We told her to meet us at the hotel restaurant. Nova and Saar were wired up and in constant motion. They looked at me and then hung their heads. “What’s up,” I asked. “We did something we probably shouldn’t,” Nova replied. “What?” “We convinced the hotel to let us stay until Thursday, but now we have to convince you to let us go to tomorrow’s show.” “Go for it,” I replied. The ladies squealed with joy and began texting their bosses.

Rochelle and Al met us at the restaurant, and we all agreed that she could stay for tomorrow’s concert, but that we would do a little planning beforehand. We can leave Thursday night,” Al said. “Sure you can,” I added. “This is unreal,” Rochelle said again. “Yep, but it’s fun.” “You guys find a way to do that.” “Always, we’d all rather be home, but we’re so we make the most of it,” I said. “That can be tough.” “Yes, but with surprises like tonight, magic happens, which carries over, and then we look forward to the next one,” I replied. Rochelle laughed and said I have a unique way of looking at the road.

It it was it is, so you have to make the most of it.

Published in: on March 14, 2018 at 5:09 am  Leave a Comment  
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A Ferarri Was Once A Yugo 5613

The crew relaxed in the courtyard before heading to the stadium. Jacque, Pierre, and Renaud all wore disgruntled looks as they pondered how their native countries could not let us play. I told them that the United States also has that problem. “We can’t play on a lot of college campuses, a lot of speakers can’t speak on them. People are being blacklisted for crimes that they haven’t been convicted. Feelings trump logic, so this problem is exclusive to Europe,” I told them. “Some people literally don’t think free speech should be a right; most of them are on college campuses, so what kind of future does the country have,” Rory added. “If you don’t like the news, you merely find a source that agrees with your view,” he continued. “That’s true,” Kim chimed in. “Right, so the world is a mess, now let’s focus on the show tonight,” I then said. “How do you do that so easily,” Nova asked. “Easy, it’s what I love to do,” I replied. “Oh, that makes sense.” “And the people paying to see me deserve my best. I can’t control what other people do, but I can control what I do.” “Nothing gets in the way of business, especially on show night,” Kevin added. “Right, so let’s put on one for the ages.” “You always say that,” Rory chuckled. “Because that’s what I expect.” “I know that, Scragg.” “You ready, Ben,” I asked the young luthier. “Yes, Sir.” “Good, Jorge will be ready if you’re not,” I then told him, which made him buckle. “Just kidding.” “I know, Sir.” “You didn’t look like you knew it,” Rory said. “I knew the Scragg Man was joking.” “Are you ready, Jorge.” “You bet, Scragg.” “Can you still deliver the same kind of compassion you meted out when you were a cop?” “I think I’m even more compassionate now.” “Really?” “Yes, look how shiny my boots are?” “They are shiny.” “Well, I’m sure Benjamin won’t disappoint me.” “I got my leather gloves, too,” Jorge said while grinning at Ben. “Is that old bloodstains on them,” I asked. “Probably, maybe this punk’s, but maybe I can get some fresh on it tonight,” the security man replied. The crew burst into laughter while Ben shook his head. The young man then laughed and said he was ready to do a terrific job. “I know you will, so let’s get moving and give all the instruments a look over,” I replied.

As we headed to the stadium, Jorge looked at Ben and laughed. “You know, Scragg, there was a time when this Ferrari was a Yugo, and I mean a raggedy, broken down one.” “Was there any other kind of Yugo,” I replied. “No, but Ben and his brother were Yugo’s that you’d leave by the side of the road. Fortuantely, their parents, along with some kindly officers, helped steer them right, and now look at them,” Jorge declared. “Yes, he’s a finely tuned machine,” I remarked. Ben smiled but undoubtedly couldn’t wait to get to the stadium. I put on my earphones and closed my eyes.

A Ferrari was once a Yugo–that’s pretty funny.

Published in: on March 13, 2018 at 10:12 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Punks, Pricks, Vultures, And Licks 5612

Nova and Saar joined us for dinner and were still a bundle of energy. They said they turned the trip into a working vacation that has already paid off big time for them. “The website I work for told me to keep the pics and articles coming because they’re getting a lot of hits,” Saar said. “And I’ve been able to get a lot of work done including this,” Nova declared, as she showed us a copy of the band and me onstage with colors swirling around us, which looked super cool. “We ought to do something with that,” Marty said. “Yes, I agree.” Nova’s eyes lit up, and I told her to get up with Marty after dinner.

Saar then brought the cancelations.

“Well, at least the Netherlands is standing firm,” she said in a sarcastic tone. “We got new gigs,” I replied. “I saw that, and those people look excited.” “They are.” “The world is insane,” Nova then said. “We keep going despite that.” “Nothing gets you down, does it,” Nova then asked me. “Only stuff that really matters,” I replied. “That’s right.” “And the Netherlands isn’t going to cancel,” Clayton assured the Dutch gals. “You’re James Clayton,” Nova said with wide eyes. “Yes, Ma’am.” “So the concerts will happen?” “Yes, Ma’am, the reason the Netherlands canceled the last time was for concerns over criminal allegations that were proven false, but your government didn’t know that. Scragg was accused of some horrible stuff, which ironically, the countries that canceled now let him in back then. I don’t know, nothing is normal when it comes to these guys,” Clayton added. “All this nonsense is over me,” Rory then said. “Let’s cut the crap, it is, and I’ve offered to step aside, but Scragg will have none of it because he won’t allow anyone to dictate who can and can’t play in his band other than him. There is a lesson in all of this.” “There sure is, but not enough people are heeding it,” Nova said. “Well, enough people are to make it worth our while to go to Europe,” I replied.

But enough about who is and isn’t going to let us play in their country.

Ben Ferrari joined us for dinner with my Eastwood resonator that he worked on. He handed me the instrument in its case, and I put it next to me. I introduced him to Nova and Saar before explaining their situation to him, which delighted the young man. “I’m working with Thomas tonight and tomorrow at the concerts. It’s so exciting,” he told the Dutch ladies. “Ben made me a beautiful guitar that Ill be playing tonight, so it’s going to be a special show,” I added. “The Scragg Man is awesome,” Nova declared. “He is that, and I can’t wait for tonight.” “You’re working with a brutish Neanderthal,” Rory told the young luthier. “What?” “Rory’s just jealous that he’s not as brutish as me,” Thomas replied. “I remember Benjamin when he was a teenager, and he was pretty brutish himself,” Jorge said while smiling at the young man. “Yes, Sir.” Was Ben an unexamined young lad,” I asked. “Yes, he and his brother used to run the streets and get into mischief until a kindly police officer set them straight, right, Benjamin?” “Yes, Sir.” “Who was the kindly officer, Ben.” “Jorge, Sir.” “Was he really kindly?” “Aah, well, aah, I guess.” “Were you kindly, Jorge?” “Scragg,  aren’t I a teddy bear?” “I think so.” “Well, wouldn’t I be one with thirteen-year-old punk with a filthy mouth who needed some serious leather up his rear?” “Of course.” “Right, and Benjamin knows it, too.” “Yes, Sir.” “And I’m sure there was nothing but love and concern for this wayward lad,” I added. “Scragg, would I put my put a boot on his throat and threaten the stomp him until his eyeballs came out of their sockets?” “Never.” “Would I bounce him off the walls while slapping him silly?” “Inconceivable.” “See, Benjamin, I was just a bleeding heart officer trying to straighten troubled youth.” “Yes, Sir.” “Boy, those were the days,” Jorge said before letting out a hearty laugh. Ben looked terrified, which amused the band. I jostled his hair and told him that we were just joking. “I can’t vouch for Jorge; however,” I then added. “I know, Sir,” he replied with a smile. “I would have given Jorge the finger and told him he was a punk,” Rory joked. “Oh, I would have loved to have gotten my hands on you, boy,” the security officer said with wicked glee. “What about Scragg,” my brother then asked. “Yes, Scragg sounded like a young man who needed a serious adjustment, but my father would have had to have done the honors with him,” Jorge replied.

Rory then pulled up the pic of Kim when he was twelve or so posing like a little prick.

“What would you have done with that,” he asked Jorge. “Oh Lord, who is that little punk,” he asked. “Kim.” “Good Lord, you did need someone to punch you,” the security man remarked. “Why, because I wasn’t a punk,” Kim replied. “No, because you were a prick,” Rory fired back. Nova and Saar looked at the pic and giggled. “Yes, my brother was a hopeless geek until he picked up a guitar, but then he became a vulture before reverting back to who he was, so Kim is a rare bird, indeed,” I said. “Scragg!”

What a wacky crew we have.

Published in: on March 13, 2018 at 5:11 am  Leave a Comment  
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