The chances are slim that you’ll ever pick up a CD with my name on it, and even if, against long odds, you did, you wouldn’t know, because if I told you my name in this specific context it would force me to run around the vast graveyard (think Pere Lachaise) of my musical past hammering some coffin lids back down,  or piss copiously on some graves, maybe even lever a corpse out of the ground to clutch and rock back and forth in my arms, theatrically. And all I want to do right now is play in relatively corpse free dirt.

But I have had the surprising fortune of having played with remarkably good musicians, despite having only an intuitive grasp of some aspects of music. In other words, I had limited talent, but pushed hard enough I wound up fronting bands who played stuff way beyond the scope of my abilities. It might also come down to bands of my era being desperate for singers, or people shameless enough to fake it.

My first guitar teacher suggested, with a strenuous Buddhist patience, that I should hold on to the guitar as a writing tool, and I’d ultimately find musical technicians that would make my ideas comprehensible to people who’d liquored themselves up just enough to crawl up and pass out with their head against the subwoofers of  a mid-price PA system. I thought he was apeshit, until I got to college and met the kids from the planet where they had school orchestra: Many of them were string players who already knew more music than my sad music theory teachers would ever have the leisure time to think about. They also smoked a better grade of pot than the Skynrd copy bands I’d diligently suffered through. But even here I was in partially good company.  The drummer.  He wound up working with a band that charted around the time I was  shuffling  beers to off duty cops and Marxist philosophy professors . He told me later that the frontman routinely downdressed him on stage in front of the audience. I had to tell him it cuts both ways.  My band played a battle of the bands in college. I was the frontman, but the bassist saw fit to paw me with his foot when I was leaning down to speak to a  friend of mine down front. It hurt my guts.

I knew at that point we would never be able to play real venues, and it distressed me , because it was a good band. But you don’t want to have to travel with some boy who’s never been swatted by his folks. When they deserved it . Deeply.

And when he formed his own happy jazz band of social change he took our drummer with him. Greatest drummer of all fucking time. The speed and delicacy of the young Phil Collins, without the Eurotrash sentimentitiousness. I remember when we were playing small clubs and I was struggling to hear myself sing with the halfass PA’s, he was quietly playing his minimalist kit  tonally. There were times it was so perfectly played i just forgot what I was doing and turned to watch that fucker drum. He was that goddamned good. Eric Idle thought the same thing.

http://atmosmusic.com/Joe.html

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