Monthly Archives: November 2017

birch trees in private

The thing about Birch trees besides occupying space in the book of fire starting techniques, besides acting as paper in certain circumstances, besides having at least three vivid tonalities: white, pink and grey is that they can play the banjo as fast as Eugene Chadbourne. It’s like that damn bugs bunny frog singing “hello my baby hello my honey hello my rag time doll” but act like any other tree when I take it to record companies and introduce it. I end up looking foolish. I’m no good at keeping secrets. I’ve already said too much. I asked Eugene when we were touring together how he became so fast on the guitar. It was a crazy speed experience to hang with him and watch his show each night. I wasn’t sure how he would receive my query like asking superman to talk about kryptonite. He had a blunt answer, Bluegrass.
Never considered of that. I understood after how he took the ball and ran straight into the avant garde. Like Nina Hagen took opera and ran straight into punk. Like Trump took bold egotistical traits, impaired empathy, celebration of the delusional and ran straight into the
White House. On second thought that isn’t so unique.
There is another chapter on pine needles. They light up and light out, just instantaneous. Like singing with Groucho Marx “hello I must be going”. First I build a little fort, maximize their duration before the show is over. Hope the balance is just right, prepare kindling dominos. My high school chemistry teacher should have explained chemistry by making fires or cooking food. I would have understood it all clearly. World would have had many more eager science students. I would never teach music by first playing Bach. I start by playing sound, by encouraging hearing what is musical about the world and exploring instruments as if we are cave people. Those who think the rules are what is important are all about the right way and the wrong way. Those guys are the last people I would share secrets with about Birch and banjos.

After the dog story.

When he writes about the main issue after first writing about the quality of ketchup, everyone just wants to share ketchup stories. All of them miss the point. I told him the same thing happens to me and anything different is just fairy tales. He said he knows but the premise of people getting it is a big motivator. What was it Mark French said while hanging by one arm from one pipe at the Paddock? If 1988 had a best moment the Cartwrights nabbed it then and there. He said it didn’t matter if people got it, what mattered was that you believed in telling them. Like it might change anything.


Lived with a dog that used to howl if I played a certain note on the harmonica. Like pressing a start button on his brain. Felt the same way about smoking, just couldn’t stop it if a certain thought in my brain was pressed. Never subscribed to the line of thought that nicotine was the problem for am I not my own master? No apparently. There is no free will and there is. One of those things that can’t be explained exactly with words. I tried to empathize with the dog and how it lived especially being a creature that should be running free that found itself restricted by people and their important television watching schedules. I promised the dog to be different and not contribute to unnecessary suffering. The dog promised to not judge me which made me feel worse. I play a bit but have remained inadequate because I compare every note to Little Walter. And why not judge yourself against those who hit the mark? Maybe because judging yourself is like pressing a button on your brain, like starting a tape loop, like entering something that will end negatively, again. Maybe better than shaking a paw is to be disinterested in participating.