It Is What It Is – January 31st, 2004
by Bing Futch
“I am what I am
I do what I do;
you are who you are,
you’ve got your own view
we are who we are
and that’s our own biz
that’s life in a nutshell;
it is what it is”
“I leave you with these final words
which I’ve plucked from the vault:
‘if we don’t learn that fire burns
it’s not the fire’s fault'”
Where Man Meets Myth On The Horizon
Dark slammed the Pontiac’s trunk lid shut and made a half-assed attempt to slap some of the red Nevada dust from his hands. His efforts were met with a few hearty marshmallows of curling, coiling crimson that floated into the air and slowly diffused into the unseen. He’d still be knocking it out of the folds in his leather boots days from now, long after gassing up the old Grandeville and nosing it’s rotting hulk onto Highway 40; westbound. The place was like Mars; all red powder and jutting landscape. You could tell the locals apart from the travelers by the rojo rash that they wore as permanent branding. On the odd-chance that one of the residents ended up in a town fifty miles in any direction, one would be inclined to inquire, as politely as possible, “where are you from now, Nowhere?”
With a couple more futile, backhanded whacks against his leg, Dark crossed over the pump island, paid the sunburned attendant, returned to his great, brown shit-chariot and slid behind the wheel. His brown eyes flicked up to the rear-view mirror; he adjusted it slightly. No branding happening here, he thought. Not in this town.”
The 455 hummed and said “howdy” when the flush of gas hit the carb. By the time ol’ Grizzo had finished counting the fresh salad that he had just been handed, the Pontiac had broken 120 m.p.h. and was about to cross the state line.
Hit Or Myth?
Stranger things have happened, but never to you. Always heard about it, sometimes dreamed about it, but you were never standing there in living color, stereo surround sound, checking it out and saying to yourself like Mia Farrow in “Rosemary’s Baby” this is really happening! And there is not a soul who could convince you otherwise that it wasn’t, in fact, happening at all, no sane soul would try because they’d be looking at the same thing, thinking what you’d be thinking, more or less. These experiences, the ones that make an impact on the mind in both waking and unwaking instances, are often shared with others in a way that verifies and validates the moment. If you see a green donkey perch in a tree and then turn to cuzz next to you and say, “tell me what you see in that tree” and cuzz responds: “I see a green donkey”, well – chances are you’re not crazy. Or you’re using the same drugs. Which ever.
All of that to say what? Well, to say that in August of 1999 while driving through the Arizona desert on Interstate 10, I was thinking about a musical project. The solo keyboard thing had been fun, but working with the mountain dulcimer was what I wanted to do. Before leaving on a cross-country promotional trip, I had run into bassist Mike Burney at what was then the Sapphire Supper Club (now The Social) . After slipping a super-stinky bud into his handshake with me, he offered up his services for whatever project I had in mind. Not long before that, my co-host and producer McGyver had been sitting on his drum skills while his brother Ronnie Buck talked him up as one of the “best drummers in town.” It certainly came out of nowhere; suddenly I was surrounded by players. With all of this in mind, the concept was given some meditation while on the road.
While musing this at the point along I-10 previously mentioned, I caught a glimpse of what this musical trio could be and at that moment I saw it. A field of cacti, right before an overpass. There were probably 50 or so there, tall, green, healthy, and on the one that was center-most to the group, there bloomed a bright red desert rose. Stunning. Beautiful. I looked at the other cacti, but no other showed any proof of flowers. Just this one, smack dab in the middle of the patch. Beauty in the desert if you look real close.
I marked the spot on our map.
Upon returning to Orlando, I quickly recorded the three or four songs that were written on tour and made cassette copies for McGyver and Mike. They listened to the songs, created parts for them, then we rehearsed for two hours.
A few days later, on August 30th, 1999, Mohave made its public debut at the Downtown Disney House of Blues during David Schweizer’s “Living Room Jam”. After the disorientation went away, it became clear that we were simply pawns for whatever force had decided to rear its musical head. As it turns out, the desert rose was located in Mohave County, a fact that we didn’t know before naming the group. Soon, an entire history began spilling out through songs and dialogue. Like Middle Earth, there’s a continuum throughout the music that ties each piece into a particular time and place within its dusty universe. The locals live in a town-that-time-forgot and spend most of the day in a roadhouse called the X-Marks-The-Spot Pub. Right at the crossroads northeast of Needles, California and directly situated above the tri-state borough, Nowhere is a quick watering stop for the Travelers; people who visit, but never, ever stay. Their stories are how the locals see the world, since there’s no t.v. anywhere in town and the nearest place with a t.v. is too far. Bit-by-bit, story-by-story, like wiping the mud away from a crystal ball, more and more of the tiny town and its denizens shines through and it makes the music real, even when it’s fanciful.
Here in 2004, the group has expanded and continues to dust off bits of the sphere. With work on a two-disc release beginning in April, the band (Randy Kemp on bass and vocals; Bunky on vocals, trumpet, Melodica and pennywhistle; Automatic John on vocals, harmonica and keyboards, original drummer McGyver and myself) has been chipping away at a handful of nuggets that we’re going to shape and shine to a dazzling brilliance. Recording will take place at David Schweizer’s Richter Records studio, which makes great records and Davey Rocker engineers with love for a project. Naked Head recorded “Beautiful Disruption” there between 2001-2002 and it was a warm, wonderful and well-spent time; we’re looking forward to it and Davey has said “we’re gonna make you a good record.” I believe him.
By the way, the two-CD set will be entitled “Here & There”, will contain 27 tracks, and will be released separately (call it our musical “Kill Bill.”)
Austin Coffee and Film (929 W. Fairbanks Ave., Winter Park – 407-975-3364) beginning February 3rd. Show is from 8 – 11 pm and there’s NO COVER! I guest-hosted for the inimitable Susie Cool one night and the next thing you know, I’m doing it every first Tuesday of the month. Weird. Anyway, bring what you’ve got and prepare to lay it out for a hip crowd every Tuesday. The esteemable Mrs. Cool hosts the remainder of shows. (www.susiecoolsongs.com).
SPOKEN WORD ALERT
Get off your ass and go see some spoken word. This cat’s a local legend and certifiable, which are traits that we adore in an artist. Patrick Scott Barnes doing his thing at Bodhisattva at 23 Court St. (Downtown Orlando), Sundays starting at 10:30pm.
At the bottom of this page, the the blurb, there’s a P.O. box – send your music and press kits there. Got something for ya. We’re continuing to work towards the return of WWRR (World Wide Radio Renaissance), but we’ll spin your news (and we do mean “spin”) and tunes in this space for the time being. The mainstream idols are falling! Autonomy is returning to the artists, choice returning to the democracy, the system is corrupt, the system is failing. Support and encourage local art.
To George W. Bush and Michael Eisner both: gidoudahere!
Your fifteen minutes are way up, guys and most of the sharp-dressed, stressed-out corporate types know this is old hat, but you’ve been overstaying your welcome for damn ever. And to think that there are people who buy his rhetoric. The posturing. The photo ops. His administration is now trying to backpeddle on the Weepers of Mass Destruction that are now Programs of Mass Destruction, which should soon be downgraded to Random Thoughts of Mass Destruction shortly before elections.
And Michael. Dear Michael. Take the money and run. Piloted Walt’s riverboat into a sandbar and you won’t be happy until the vessel begins taking on water. Walt will kick your ass if you sink his ship, so just go with the conventional wisdom and step down. Your family is set for life and the life after that, you leave a controversial, yet important figure in the history of the company and can retire in whatever manner you see fit. Just not running Disney.
At Disneyland Resort in California, the locals have taken to buying loads of Disney Dollars and returning them with “Bring Back Roy!” written upon them. They are literally casting their votes with dollars, Michael and guess what? Just about everybody wants you off the island! Let Roy come back, even in his seventies, and run the company for a time. With a real, honest-to-goodness Disney at the helm once again, and a man who has been so instrumental in keeping the quality and legacy of Disney art alive, the stockholders would cheer, the stocks would soar, morale would skyrocket and then like Jesus in the temple, Roy could go through and weed out the weasels with a two-by-four, like “Walking Tall Part Four: Kicking Ass”
A man can dream. It all started with dreaming, now didn’t it?
But what do I know, Michael? Actually, I know a lot more than you think. You probably don’t remember that night in the sex shop on Ventura Boulevard when the security guard walked up and shook your hand, saying it was a pleasure to meet you? If only I had had a camera!
Maybe you and Dubya can both go to a faraway island and trade stories about how you really fucked ’em and fucked ’em good. I don’t hesitate to say that the greater world would be better without either of ya.
Sorry Jane. Sorry Laura. You’re both very nice. Love and good energy to the two of you – but your husbands? They annoy. Annoy much. Annoy, annoy, annoy. Even annoy.
Where did the month go?