"What do you mean ‘Carlton isn’t here?’ No no no no, see, my friend Jeff over there is blackout drunk—I just saw him almost puke on a model. He’s getting married on Saturday, and I was really banking on him waking up tomorrow and going ‘wait…did I do the Carlton dance with Carlton’ and we’d be like, ‘no, dude, you vomited down the front of his sweater vest and then he punched you in the  face,’ and we’d all laugh and tell that story forever. So I don’t want to hear some flimsy excuse about how he needs to tighten up his tango for Dancing With the Stars, manager of the Pool After Dark—you PROMISED an Epic Saturday with Carlton, so you best get Carlton on the horn right the fuck now."

(excerpt from my new one act play “Happy Birthday Alfonso Ribeiro”)

"What do you mean ‘Carlton isn’t here?’ No no no no, see, my friend Jeff over there is blackout drunk—I just saw him almost puke on a model. He’s getting married on Saturday, and I was really banking on him waking up tomorrow and going ‘wait…did I do the Carlton dance with Carlton’ and we’d be like, ‘no, dude, you vomited down the front of his sweater vest and then he punched you in the face,’ and we’d all laugh and tell that story forever. So I don’t want to hear some flimsy excuse about how he needs to tighten up his tango for Dancing With the Stars, manager of the Pool After Dark—you PROMISED an Epic Saturday with Carlton, so you best get Carlton on the horn right the fuck now."

(excerpt from my new one act play “Happy Birthday Alfonso Ribeiro”)

(Source: m.tmz.com)

Storytelling 101

Back cover of Smokey Robinson and the Miracles’ Going to a Go-Go (1965)

Back cover of Smokey Robinson and the Miracles’ Going to a Go-Go (1965)

Weed Hounds’ self-titled just got released. Like this a lot. The best Slumberland album that isn’t on Slumberland.

I always loved record shopping in Chicago, except I really hated how most interactions with record store employees deflated any excitement I had about actually finding something. I’d hold up an inexpensive clean copy of an album I loved and had never held before and would take it to the counter—still smiling—to be met by a dude who did not give a shit about my giddiness. (In my experience, Reckless was always the worst when it comes to this.) Ultimately, it was always fine, because I still got to take the record home.

I only shopped at Kstarke one time, and it was an extremely fruitful outing. Found an Alice Coltrane record, Computer World, and Born Under a Bad Sign by Albert King. When I picked up that King record from the stacks, I was smiling. Of course I was. This album is incredible—King backed by Booker T. & the MG’s and the Memphis Horns doing his best songs. A classic.

My quiet moment was interrupted by the dude who runs the shop. “I knew it,” he said, smiling knowingly. “I knew I was going to make someone happy with that one.” And then we had a genuinely nice conversation about it. 

Why didn’t I shop there more often?

(Source: Spotify)

I went with my mom on a road trip to see Jackson Browne in 2004 as part of the Vote for Change tour. It was in Erie, PA—he co-headlined with Bonnie Raitt—but the main event for me was the next night: Springsteen, Fogerty, R.E.M., and Bright Eyes in Cleveland. The tour was an ill-fated attempt on everyone’s part to get John Kerry elected. There was a Rolling Stone cover story about it. 

Jackson Browne’s set was mostly just songs like “Lives in the Balance”—his political protest stuff. Bruce didn’t have a problem playing “Because the Night” with Stipe, and if Fogerty does “Fortunate Son” with the E Street Band, well, nobody’s going to complain about “the political material” because that shit is fun.

But Jackson Browne’s 1980s political stuff is very boring and too self-righteous to enjoy in a live setting. (Or, for me, in any setting.) I remember a dude screaming, a couple times, “Play ‘Running on Empty’!” Makes sense, right? That guy paid money to see a Jackson Browne concert, so he was probably a fan of Jackson Browne’s hits.

Jackson Browne, who hadn’t really talked to the audience at all at that point, just looked up for a second and said something like, “I’m not going to play ‘Running on Empty’ because if I did it would be about the Bush administration.”

Ha! Good one, Jackson! Way to let literally everyone in the crowd down with that hilarious joke! Now please, go on, I’m just dying to hear your version of “I Am a Patriot”.

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