Thursday, June 10, 2010

Why Rockabilly is Bad for You.

Those of us immersed knee-deep in rockabilly have to seemingly indulge in habits that are bad for our health. It takes a lot of grease and sacrifice to be into rockabilly-you just can't be into it- you ARE a rockabilly.

Hippies have their own health issues because of poor lifestyle choices. It is tacitly implied that they will have brain damage incurred from excessive pot smoking, although I suspect that one must have previous brain damage to want to be a hippie in the first place. Their ailments pale by comparison. The worst they can complain of are innocuous as bongo callouses, dreadlock related cootie bites, sore arms from holding signs at protests, birkenstock induced back pains and atrophied muscles due to avoidance of any type of work.

Some of the filthier hippies may see the onset of the bubonic plague, scabies, protein deficiency from eating seeds and dirt or cadmium poisoning from rubbing too many crystals. Your average hippie, however, probably just has sore jaw muscles from constantly flapping their fucking gums as they denounce everything in sight.

The ailing hippie does not believe in doctors. Somebody who went to med school for 8 years can't possibly know anything in the hippies' opinion. They seek out the advice of some hirsute charlatan at the local herb store and ingest whatever this lunatic suggests. The resulting lack of protein from ingesting these vile concoctions combined with the draconian vegan diet results in some frail and very angry hippies. And the cycle continues.

Rockabillies are made of sterner stuff. The accouterments and lifestyle requirements are not for the faint of heart. It's not easy being greasy. Here are a few hazards of the greasy lifestyle.

1. Hair Grease.

This is the quintessential defining factor. The heart of all greasiness. Without grease you can't have a greaser. Most of this slimy shit is petroleum based and about the same consistency as axle grease. We enthusiastically put dollops of this stuff in our hair and pray that it won't make our hair fall out.

Some of the cheaper shit is flammable. Actual warning on container of Dax. "Keep hair away from open flame".  Immolation is a definite possibilty.

 Elevated blood pressure is also one of the associated risks because of all the fussin' required to get the pomp just right on a Saturday night.  Apoplectic levels of rage are sometimes attained after messin' with the pomp in the mirror for two hours and still not getting right.  Howls of anger  and barrages of cursing ensue as we scream at our reflection. " No WAY I'm, wearin ' a fuckin' hat !"

Rickets is also a possibility when you have blown the food budget on hair grease.

2. In The Garage.

Greasers often congregate in shops. It's almost like a natural habitat. There will be cars revving and copious quantities of exhaust fumes will be inhaled.

I ain't talkin' about those retarded Japanese tuner  catalytic converter laden with electronics cars. I'm talkin' about straight up flathead exhaust fumes or vintage Hemis that burn leaded fuel (strangely enough, still available).

Burned rubber molecules will also be ingested while witnessing all those testosterone-fueled burn outs ( the excessive testosterone alone could take ten years of your life).

Other hazards include possible arc flashes from looking directly at a welding bead when you too hammered to realize what the the hell that pretty blue light is. Smashed digits from misplaced hammer blows, rusty bolt induced knuckle-busters, lakepipe burns and possible fights with accusatory tones looking for missing vice grips (that pesky testosterone again).

3. Loss of Hearing.

Rockabillies' other natural habitat is in a bar where the bands are. We like it loud and the searing guitar solo from a vintage Gretsch is what we live for.

Unfortunately, even at rockabilly shows, there will be the prerequisite spaz-dancers present. Our desire to see the band will preclude our desire to punch these wayward hippies into submission, and instead, we will simply get closer to the stage.

Nothing says ear bleeding, cilia annihilating, permanent hearing damage like standing in the direct line of fire of a sizzling Fender twin reverb guitar amp. You'll be hearing voices for days, but it was worth it.

To further increase the onset of complete loss of hearing, the loud conversations that are held directly into each others ear as the band is playing will just add to the mayhem. It doesn't matter if the band is playing at 130 dB; there's a hot gal, and we're gonna talk to her.

Your ears will be ringing the next day, but it was worth it.

4. Various Muscle injuries.

As I have mentioned in some of my previous posts, one the major rockabilly problems is wallet chain snag. After repeated snags in car seats, bus stops or really long dreadlocks, the right hip is likely to suffer damage. The damage to your ego for such an embarrassing episode is another matter altogether.

If you are wearing your chain on the left side, you're doing it wrong.

Converse slippage is another problem. Cool as they are, let's face it; these are crappy shoes. When the tread wears thin you will be slippin' and a slidin' all over the place. Combined with prodigious quantities of alcohol, this a potentially calamitous situation. I personally have had a few injuries as a direct result of falling on my ass while walking with Chucks, but damned if the ego didn't hurt more from strangers seeing me wipe out and thereby completely blowing my cool.

Guitar playing is a well known cause of tendinitis and other ailments, but the hole that I wore out clean through the top part of my acoustic remains a mystery to me . A few beers and some good tunes must elicit a psychotic response to the music. Sore fingers and a some very fine sawdust the next day are but a small part of the puzzle..

Rockabilly bass players are a breed unto themselves. The sheer stamina required to slap a behemoth of a fiddle is a trait that is enjoyed by a select few. Some bass players actually stand on their basses, kind of riding a bucking Bronco. Rodeo-like injuries are sure to ensue.  The select few that choose to play steel strings are sure to require the services of paramedics at one point or another.

5. A Punch In the Mouth.

Whether for honour, chicks, fools in your face or that very last beer ,you will eventually receive or administer, a punch in the mouth.

Rumbles do happen. Like a old friend's Italian grandfather once told him, "If you are strong, people will hate you".

Some people ( mainly louts from the burbs) seemed threatened by the whole rockabilly aesthetic. It's definitely a bad idea to start shit at a rockabilly night.

The deeply inured rockabilly code will compel us to intervene when an injustice is done. I recently did the same and received a fat lip in the process. At least I managed to throw that drunken sack of shit off the bus and managed to suppress my desire to drive said bus when the driver disappeared into the night.

The top three credos of the rockabilly code, is don't drink the last beer. If somebody drinks your last beer, then by law, you are entitled to punch them right in the mouth.

"The good times, they are a killin' me" Nathan Abshire, 1957.

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