I am living proof that Rockabilly keeps you young. Ten years ago I was doing pretty much what I am doing now; DJ-ing and playing Rockabilly. I celebrated both birthdays the same way; by putting together a smokin' band and doing a show ( and drinking copious amounts of beer after the show).
I may be sporting a few extra gray hairs and looking a little more scary in the morning, but I am essentially the same.
It's been a long greasy journey and here are some highlights and things I've learned along the way.
I was living in a decidedly un-greasy city. Very fashion conscious and trendy, therefore good brands of grease were absolutely impossible to find. I grew up with Wildroot and Brylcreem, but that crappy old man stuff just wasn't cutting it.
A friend of mine brought a can of Black and White back from England and I was hooked. I was able to get that pomp just right. Everything I owned was soon covered in grease. My pillow cases and towels were getting ruined.
I was ( and still am ) getting dirty looks from squares and hippies, not sure of what to make of the shiny hair and slight aroma of vanilla.
Years later, I went to Seattle and stopped in Everett at some large department store. They had section for Mexican products and that's when I discovered Tres Flores. Now that was some real greasy shit!
It looked like I had poured a quart of Quaker State on my head and made me want to say Chingalla!
It also had the added benefit of pissing off hippies even more. It gave more credibility to my hippie contempt scowl.
Dax is even greasier, but it's cheap stuff. There is even a warning on the label that says, " keep hair away from open flame."
A case of Dax and couple of bic lighters would be pretty cheap. I could then hang around the park where the longhairs have their drum circles. There wouldn't be any dreadlocks for miles around.
About ten years ago, I was looking at the classifieds. They were all blurry and I thought " those fucking idiots, their printing press is screwed up". The next day, they were just as blurry, " Fuck! they did it again!". I went to buy a magnifying glass when it suddenly dawned on me that if I needed a magnifying glass, I probably needed reading glasses. Now if I hear " Hey, Buddy Holly" one more time someone's gonna get a punch in the throat.
For decades, my old friend, Ray Condo, had been extolling the virtues of the west coast. I needed a change, but was apprehensive about moving to Vancouver. I had heard that there were throngs of hippies.
It turns out Montreal has way more hippies. Way more. They gather every Sunday in a downtown park. They come by the thousands clutching various types of percussion instruments. The djembe is one of their favourites, because they just like saying djembe.
Many hippies with varying degrees of filthiness, set up impromptu booths and sell all kinds of new age shit that hippies seem to be naturally attracted to, crystals, macrame, those dumb Peruvian wool hats, sandals, shitty food, metaphysical books and anything that stinks like shit.
Then the cacophony begins. Hundreds of bongos and tam tams start playing as the head hippie starts a "beat". None of these fools can actually play those damn things so it is just a throng of drums being banged on. Sounds like "hugga-bugga"
You can hear that noise for twenty blocks.I made the mistake of riding my bike through this chaotic hippie-fest on my way to the park. It was like I was in the ninth circle of hell. I pedaled as hard as I could to get as far away as possible.
An hour later , I could still hear that dissonant banging. I had to ride about 5 miles until I found a bar that was out of earshot. I listened to lots of Country music that night, like soap for my brain trying to cleanse the un-clean sounds of evil hippie music.
West Coast hippies are tame by comparison. Just a bunch of disaffected youth from various towns in Canada who don't know fuck all. They can slack off to their heart's content and fry their brains with the readily available supplies of powerful BC marijuana.
Stoned as they are, they still manage to whine about everything. Their new found west coast hippieness has made them self righteous. Next hippie that tells me I can't ride my bike on the sidewalk is gonna get 3 pounds of kryptonite to the side of the head as I force feed him one of his birkenstocks.
For various bike stories see one of my earlier posts " Tales of the Enviro-billy". I've always like riding bikes, but just once in a while if I felt like it. Montreal is a cold place with lots of snow and I usually owned 4x4's.
I used to call vintage bikes "Pee Wee Herman" bikes and I thought the people who rode them looked like goofs. Not as ridiculous as those Spandex clad freaks on very expensive road bikes. I usually tell those guys that the Tour de France is that-a-way.
After having acquired a few vintage bikes, I can tell you that nothing rides quite like it. The bikes from the thirties are strong yet surprisingly light. The were well engineered, and when equipped with new parts make very good commuters.
Vancouver weather makes it possible to ride year round. I also discovered an obscure phenomenon known as booze cruises. About a hundred or so vintage bike enthusiasts go on organized rides, each one carrying a supply of booze.
I have become very adept at riding many miles half in the bag. I carry a "booze helmet" with me just in case. When you are hammered, the miles just seem to breeze by. Exercise and booze; who knew?
So I guess now that I ride vintage bikes, I'm a goof. Maybe so, but it's good exercise, although it's hard to be a bad ass on a goddam bicycle. You can wear leather jackets and biker boots and scowl and look all mean, but you're still on a bike.
When someone cuts you off or tells you to get off the sidewalk, yelling at them is not so effective. "Go fuck yourself" or " You fuckin' sack o' shit" just don't seem menacing when being uttered by some dude furiously pedaling an old bike to catch up to a car.
Just doesn't have the same intimidation factor as looking in the rear view mirror and seeing a big ass 4x4 on your tail. Nothing like a big steel bumper and 40 inch tires says I'll kick your ass and run over your car.
Here is a list of a few random things that I have learned over the years:
1. Never ask a Louisiana State Trooper to have his picture taken with you.
2. Never ride a bike through Bed-Stuy
3.Never take a Greyhound bus to Vegas and back.
4.Don' try to explain Rockabilly to squares.
5.Try not to mosh when you are 50
6.Never go to 7-11 when you are drunk.
7.Never punch a bum in the head. Instead, get him to fight another bum and watch the hilarity ensue.
8. Never walk on ice with western boots.
9.Never put your face in a dog's face when you are drunk.
10.Cats are stupid.
11.Tofu tastes like dirty ass.
12.Always know some curse words in other languages.
13. Never buy electronics in skid bars.
14. If someone tells you to get your bike off the sidewalk, always say," what'r you, a cop?'
15.Never say " what'r you lookin' at,slick" that's how most bar fights start.
16.Nothing makes you pedal faster than an angry dog chasing you.
17.All the bad shit that happens when you are drunk starts off with, " Hey, watch this".
18.Never watch a movie while drunk, you won't remember a thing.
19.Never have a friend who would drink your last beer.
20.There's lots of fucking idiots out there.
21.Those little Japanese cars with loud mufflers are stupid.
22.I don't take requests.Ever.
23.Try not to stare directly at large boobs.
24.Most people can't give proper directions.
25. Most people can't drive.
26.Wine tastes like goat piss.
27. getting drunk and starting campfires is fun.
28. Poking said fire with a big stick is even more fun.
29. Internet dating is weird and scary.
30.Marijuana fries brain cells and makes you squirrelly.
31.Never get a haircut when you've been drinking.
32.The Metric system sucks.
33.When buying a computer, get a Mac.
34.It is possible to drink 27 American beers.
35. Don't let energy-vampires suck your time, life is short. Walk away.
36.Don't pick your nose in public, at least one person will see you.
37.Yes, the waitresses at the Chinese restaurant actually are making fun of you.
38.When driving in the country and coming across a herd of cows, at least one person in the car will go "Mooo-oo".
39.Never wash your bike with salt water.
40. If you are going to kick someone in the bag, do it with western boots.
41.Never look like a tourist.
42.Always have a comb on you.
43.Sometimes you win, sometimes you lose. There's always someone bigger and tougher.
44.Cuffs on your Levi's should be about 4 inches.
45. Watch out for those straps on buses, they will mess up your pomp.
46.When someone brings a box of donuts at work, eat as many as you can.
47.For some reason, total strangers know my name.
48.Some guys don't know how to break up, they just act really retarded until the woman leaves.
49.Drinking whiskey makes me want to to ride little tiny tricycles.
50.Even though you feel like it, you can't punch co-workers in the throat.
51.I hate playing in the key of F.
52.Toronto is like New York run by the Swiss.
53.If I write something down when I'm drunk, I can't read it the next day.
54.Always wear gloves when you're welding.
55.You will generally have a least one neighbour who is insane.
56.Mp-3's sound like mosquitoes taking a shit.
57.Only crazy people put clothing on dogs.
58. Talent plus integrity = poverty.
59. Call 'em like you see 'em.
60. Rockabilly Rules !
Happy Holidays everybody !