Sunday, November 22, 2009

Rockin' the Billy

Feeling almost lost amidst a vast array of squares, hipsters and Rockabilly wannabes, I still remain unchanged. I was recently told by a friend that " you eventually outgrow it".

I was taken aback by such a conformist attitude. How can you outgrow something that defines you to the very core? Either you are greasy, or you ain't. Decades of listening to that crazy beat creates certain neural pathways in your brain. As you get older, those pathways become the ones that are primarily used. So in theory, the older you get, the greasier you get.

This would probably explain why many scenesters come and go and cats like myself become living fossils. We amaze new comers to the scene, like a museum exhibit or that scene in Logan's Run when they find the crazy old man.

I recently attended a Rockabilly show in the 'burbs. Some friends of mine were playing in a restaurant in what can best be described as an equivalent to Passaic, NJ.

There was an array of tables like at a banquet, there were kids and it smelled like fish. In true suburbanite fashion, most people were completely oblivious to the band.

As I walked into the place with my regular greasy demeanor, I turned many heads. Like a fish out of water, I had forgotten that what seems normal to me and my greaser buddies, absolutely shocks the delicate sensibilities of suburban squares.

Their absolute tackiness shocked me. It was a funny juxtapostion: All the bleach blond hair and overpriced food, all the squares drinking expensive red wine just because it's expensive, and squeezed at the corner of the bar by the two available bar stools, a handful of greasers huddled together, swilling copious quantities of beer.

Our gregariousness makes us stick closely together like a pack of wolves, but that night we looked more like pack of dogs stranded in the rain.

It was still amusing to see the mild shock on the faces of the squares. When I walked in they might have thought that I was some random, lone lunatic. When others showed up and they realized that there was more than one of me, perplexed them even more.

Never ceases to amuse me.

While nursing a hangover the next day with large amounts of coffee, I reflected upon this and looked around my place. What is commonplace to me and my friends would throw the average square into a state of bewilderment. Here's what I saw around me.

Other than the computer, there wasn't much modern stuff.

Vintage Orpheum guitar

Fender resonator guitar

Vintage car parts

Many empty Pabst beer cans

Rockabilly and Country CD's (yeah, no vinyl however, my Magnaplanar speakers are pretty old)

Engineer boots under the desk

Two pairs of Levis, 4 inch cuffs

On my table, big fat wallet with big ass chain and big ass key holder.

In a vintage Hawaiian koa wood bowl, a bunch of guitar picks.

On a shelf, 4 cans of Lay-Rite, one can of Black and White, 3 cans of Tres Flores, one can of Lucky Tiger, One can of Bloodshot Bill's hair grease, one can of Sweet Georgia Brown all sitting on a thin layer of grease.

As I put my stuff in the closet from the night before, dozens of black t-shirts, vintage shirts, western shirts, 3 pairs of Converse Chuck Taylors, Perfecto leather jacket, Dickies jackets and more empty beer cans.

On the subject of funny hats. Some days, you just don't feel like messin' with your pomp so you need some hats. 3 types of hats are acceptable, cowboy hat, poor boy and that crazy hat that Marlon Brando wore in the Wild One. I'm gettin' older, so I'll wear as many funny hats as I want, dammit.

Other than the hats the computer and a few grey hairs , this pretty much the way it was twenty years ago.

So to answer the age old question; No, you don't outgrow it.

In a month I will be celebrating the 20th anniversary of my first band.

At a recent Rockabilly jam, I was persuaded to get up on stage by a beautiful burlesque dancer that I know because she had never seen me play.

I had already consumed quite a bit of beer, but went up anyway. I borrowed a guitar and did a couple of numbers. I was backed by the sensational Paul Pigat and proceeded to rock the place. ( easy to do when Paul is at the helm).

I thought to myself, " not bad for an old guy". Although those high notes seemed elusive

That's when I had the idea of doing an actual gig. Guitar-slinger extraordinaire, Paul Pigat agreed to play with me. (for more on Paul aka Cousin Harley, see one my older posts).

You ain't never to old to rock 'n' roll and as I've said many times, I'll be greasy 'til I die , they can pry the last Pabst Blue Ribbon from my cold dead hands.

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