That’s me in the spotlight, losing my….

(this was from a Facebook post from a year ago today, and perhaps more true now than it was then.)

…religion – ALL religion, regardless of denomination – amplifies who you are as a person. it’s a channel through which your natural inclinations are shown to your fellow man. if you’re cut from kind, loving, charitable stock, then you’ll find inspiration from your faith to escalate your game in that direction.

conversely, the same is true if you’re someone who walks the earth with a chip on your shoulder, full of hostility and general disdain for your fellow man. If you’re a hateful person, you’ll use your faith or your religion as a crutch or a banner to propogate and spread your hatred and fear of anyone who doesn’t hate the same people you hate.
Whether it’s ISIS or the Westboro Baptist Church, the latter scenario is true across the board with all of them.
People who are inclined to hate will do it in the name of their chosen higher power, because they find absolution in it. It frees them from personal responsibility for their own character.  
It’s not Islam, specifically, that we need to be worried about. It’s the alarming rise in population of people who only know how to hate each other. And they exist EVERYWHERE, in every color and creed.  
And there are more in your own backyard, dressed like you, speaking the same language as you, going to the same church as you…than you may want to realize.
Blame religion, blame guns, blame politicians, whatever gets you through the night…but our downfall will be our failure to simply see our fellow man through a different lens – and choose kindness over hate and exclusion.


what Al Franken SHOULD say…

so there’s been an announcement that Al Franken intends to address the public at some point tomorrow.

Hi, Al – just in case your speechwriters were maybe hitting a wall, I went ahead and wrote up a little somethin’ for you to consider incorporating into your remarks.

You’re welcome.


My fellow Americans…

You see before you a man who, on a lark nearly a decade ago, did something stupid, insensitive and just plain wrong.

In fact, I’m willing to bet that you’re seeing an awful lot of guys who have done stupid, insensitive and wrong things regarding their treatment of the opposite sex lately, and regrettably, I’m one of them.

If there’s a silver lining to this maelstrom of courage that’s swept up our victims this past few months, I’d say it’s this – it’s given us an opportunity to have open, frank discussions about gender, harrassment, and shame in this country.

Tonight, I’d like to focus a bit on the latter.

Friends, you are living in a parody of a once-great country, a Nation Upside Down and at war with itself…a war being fought largely via a tidal wave of hypocrisy, and this issue is no different.

I don’t come before you today to argue that the scrutiny of my actions has been unwarranted – rather, I want to remind you that ALL of us – Democrat, Republican and Undeclared – are willing participants in the most staggering double standard in modern political history, where the notion of scrutiny is concerned.

I would remind you that the very people calling for my resignation are supporting the candidacy of a pedophile to take office in the same legislative body that I’m currently a part of.

I would remind you that my colleague, John Conyers, just resigned from Congress for the same offenses that Blake Farenthold is accused of, and Mr. Farenthold’s repentance is comprised of cutting a check to reimburse the $84,000 settlement that American taxpayers paid on his behalf…and oddly, no one seems to give a rats’ ass about his transgressions, if media coverage is any indicator.

I would remind you that just last year, sixty two million Americans went to the polls after hearing their candidate brag about “grabbing women by the pussy” and throw their vote behind him anyway…and I would submit to you that those are the very people who are currently calling for my head on a spike.

I am not defending my actions, nor am I asking that you overlook my behavior – but if you’re willing to be truly honest with yourselves, you cannot ignore the fact that, at present, WE ONLY SEEM TO DEMAND ACCOUNTABILITY FROM DEMOCRATS.

Let me say that again, so that you have a moment to let it sink in….


We are currentlly less than a week away from a historic election, in which an accused pedophile may very well be seated in the United States Senate. The Majority Leader of that body voted in favor of Bill Clintons’ impeachment twenty years ago, but his moral position seems to be considerably more flexible all these years later, as he’s all in for the guy. Jeff Sessions also voted for impeachment, but he’s clearly possessed of the same selective integrity as the other leaders of his party. John McCain, Richard Shelby, Orrin Hatch, Lindsey Graham, Chuck Grassley…all found their voices to condemn a sitting President two decades ago, but now – with a man sitting in the Oval Office carrying the accusations of over a dozen women of the same sins I have publicly confessed before you, they have fallen silent.

I will say again – what I did was wrong.

But I didn’t jump through hoops to distract, deny, or otherwise obstruct the words of my accuser…I issued an immediate apology, and I called for an Ethics Committee investigation the day the incident came to light.

In other words, while I can’t change what happened, I’ve done everything in my power to own it and be a man about it, before God, my family, and my constituents.

Where others who stand accused of similar – and much worse – are concerned, I seem to be in the minority in that regard, and you know it.

And I know you know it.

So to those who have steadfastly called for my resignation, I stand before you today to say to you:

Either spread it accordingly amongst your own kind, or just go the fuck away.

There WILL be an Ethics Committee investigation. My fate will be decided after a thorough review of the facts involved in my case.

In the meantime, I would ask those of you who keep parroting the notion that “the people of Alabama should decide” whether or not a pedophile can be a senator or not to kindly go fuck yourself before weighing in on the future of my political career.

Merry Christmas.

We Get The Government We Deserve

In less than two weeks, Roy Moore will be the newest member of the United States Senate.

Why?  Because he’s exactly what the people of Alabama, and the nation, deserve.

Now of course, you’re reading this, and you’re already offended, because if you’re a person who runs in the same circles as I do, you’re not someone who traffics in the same ideologies that people like Roy Moore does…you’re a generally tolerant person who puts a lot of stock in “live and let live”, you don’t trade in hatred, in bigotry, in sexism, in demonizing people based on race or religion…you understand that the constitution was actually written to enforce freedom of religion, and you don’t twist that principle to leverage Christianity over other faiths or practices.

And that means that you, like myself, are in the electoral minority in this country.

Sure, we all know that there’s a huge unrepresented ghost-herd of “reasonable disconnected citizens” out there who don’t hate people, but also don’t vote, don’t participate in the process, and as such – don’t COUNT…because they’re unwitting participants in the rise to power of unrepentant assclowns like Roy Moore.

Let’s be clear, here….political scandal is NOT a new thing.

But the vast majority of scandals past ended predictably – with the ensuing publicity resulting in resignations (Mark Foley, Larry Craig, Tom DeLay, etc.) and occasionally jail time (William Jefferson, Duke Cunningham, and the like).  There have been the odd outliers who managed to escape any real electoral scrutiny after coming out on the other side of various scandals, but – until very, VERY recently, they seemed to be – by far – the exception rather than the rule.

We’ve entered a new age, though.

We’ve entered the Age Of Zero Accountability here…where you can publicly rape and pillage as long as you have an R after your name and walk the streets unmolested.

Now, we have assholes like Scott DesJarlais, who managed to get re-elected by a horde of trailer dwellers in East Tennessee after a laundry list of shitty behavior.  For those of you who are old enough to remember this past summer, there’s Greg Gianforte – who was elected LITERALLY THE NEXT FUCKING DAY after being brought up on assault charges for physically attacking a reporter…and first lying about it, but being disproven by an audio recording of the attack.  (some of you who actually bother to watch the news may remember the “man on the street” soundbites of folks who said that the fact he went at Ben Jacobs actually made them MORE likely to vote for Gianforte.)  And, hey – if you remember that, you probably remember the good folks of Georgia electing human cardboard cutout Karen Handel after famously telling her potential constituents that she “did not support a living wage”.

You see, we don’t punish our lawmakers for wrongdoing now, and – shit, even WORSE – we reward garbage humans with seats on Capitol Hill in light of incontrovertible evidence of shitty behavior.

Alabama, the state currently in question, actually has a colorful recent history of rewarding shitty behavior in lawmakers – their state Speaker of the House, Michael Hubbard, was famously brought up on two dozen counts of corruption prior to election day and – guess what – he won re-election.  Oh, and not only that – once re-elected, he was given his old Speaker job back by his fellow lawmakers WHILE AWAITING TRIAL.

Then, of course, there’s Robert Bentley, the gross, Viagra-popping, secretary-groping, dirty-talkin’ Governor who got caught on tape saying some truly creepy shit to the object of his affection.  Oh, and due to the politically exquisite timing of that particular shitstorm, it turns out that there was a Senate seat to name someone to – what with perennial Disney Bad Guy Jeff Sessions becoming Attorney General and all.  So Governor SexyTalk named his Attorney General, Luther Strange (no, you really CAN’T make shit like that up) to replace Sessions on Capitol Hill…mere moments after he managed to squelch impeachment proceedings against Bentley in his capacity as state Attorney General.

So you see, that’s how shit works now.

We are a nation of knuckle-dragging, Budweiser-swilling intellectual midgets who are not just unafraid, but PROUD to reward garbage humans at the ballot box.  And in the Gilded Age of Trump, all bets are off.

Beat up a reporter?  You Win.

Fuck a mannequin out of wedlock while your terminally ill wife is dying of cancer, all while leading a good old torches and pitchforks revolt against a sitting president for a less shitty plot of your own story?

You Win.

Arrange for an abortion for your mistress while running on a staunch pro-life position?

You Win.

Two Dozen Counts of Corruption?

You Win.

Alabama, it’s not as if it’s a choice between two similar fucking shades of grey, here.

You’re not choosing between two similar mindsets who have slightly different outlooks on intricate legislative points…two guys who are both shitty but maybe one is slightly less shitty than the other.

There is ZERO nuance involved here.

You’re literally choosing between a fucking nutjob whos’ been thrown off the bench not once, but TWICE – for failing to enforce constitutional law.  A dude who, even BEFORE the truly shitty stuff started coming out recently, was ALREADY a drastically awful candidate – but in light of his fondness for teenage girls and getting banned from the mall and all the avalanche of crap that’s come out lately, it’s as if the cherry on top of the whipped cream somehow actually became the entire fucking sundae….

…you’re choosing between that guy and a lawyer with decades of prosecutorial experience fighting for the people of your state, to include actually sending members of the Klan to jail for bombing a church and killing four children.

You’re literally being asked to choose between John McClain and Hans Gruber, and you’re charging to the polls yelling “Yippie Ki-aaaaay, Motherfucker!” in a German accent.

In two weeks, Doug Jones will join Jon Ossoff and Merrick Garland on the sidelines to watch the final chapter of this shitstorm run its course towards swallowing up our democracy…and we’ll deserve every sad, ridiculous, avoidable landmine that we collectively step on.

Hide your daughters.


Tom Petty

So I’ve come to the conclusion, based on almost two weeks’ worth of introspection and careful consideration, and…I’ve decided that – during the course of my lifetime, anyway, that there have been three deaths within the realm of rock and roll that, within my world, could be considered seismic in nature.

Ronnie Van Zant, Jerry Garcia, and…Tom Petty.

Certainly, there have been deaths that affected me more deeply on an emotional level (Dan Fogelberg, T-Bone Wolk, Stevie Ray Vaughn, Gregg Allman, Michael Hedges), and there have been people who’ve passed that would be considered more influential (John Lennon, Bowie, George Harrison, Prince, Kurt Cobain), but – from the perspective offered from my own view of the world, these three mark significant, distinct turning points.

Ronnie Van Zant and the infamous Skynyrd Plane Crash happened when I was twelve years old and literally just discovering rock and roll from my perch in rural western Tennessee, and their importance within my peer group couldn’t possibly be overstated. Southern Rock was at its zenith at the time – I hadn’t been around for Duane and Berry…or Hendrix, Joplin and Morrison, even…and The Day The Music Died happened years before I was born – so the first death within this new world I was just discovering was the grim and grisly events of October 20th, 1977…now almost exactly forty years ago.

It was surreal for a 12 year old kid to hear music coming out of the radio played and sung by folks who’d shuffled off this mortal coil. I’d experienced Elvis’ passing, but – no disrespect – his music didn’t speak to me at all. Elvis’ music didn’t belong to me, it belonged to “old people”. I didn’t have the respect for history then that I have now, clearly. In retrospect, it’s odd to think that Elvis passed away barely more than 60 days before the Crash, but the two events affected me completely differently.

The Skynyrd Crash was a perpetual subject of discussion among all the kids I knew who were remotely into music…and even the ones who weren’t. And it’s interesting to realize now, all these years later, that my first memories of the music that I was discovering, the specific stuff that I related to was already inextricably married to tragedy. It’s a thread that’s run through almost everything that I’ve been musically attracted to ever since, somehow. If there’s a self-destructive tortured artist involved somewhere in the mix, I’m sold. Gram Parsons, Chris Bell, Ted Hawkins – I’m all in. But with Ronnie, his songs and voice were literally everywhere. And, as has been thoroughly chronicled in the time since in print and documentary alike (the BBC alone has done Song of the South and Sweet Home Alabama: The Southern Rock Saga to cover the subject), the Skynyrd Crash was the bellwether that foretold the end of the dominance of Southern Rock as a microcosm of rock and roll in general. Obviously, I had no way of knowing it at the time, but in retrospect, the turning of the tide is undeniable. The shift was bigger than just the music, through…times were changing all around us, and music was just a means by which to measure the direction. But by the time the wave had crested and broken on the shore, I had ventured well past the Point of No Return. I was coming home from school and plopping down behind the drums and playing until my mom told me that everyone else was going to bed and I had to cut it out. I was gone, and there was no coming back for me…and the footprint left on my impressionable palette by Ronnie Van Zant, Steve Gaines and the lost Skynyrd brothers was permanent.

Time went by, my focus drifted from the drums to the desire to write songs…I saw Dan Fogelberg at the Mid-South Coliseum in Memphis in 1983 shortly before leaving my hometown to join the military, and – it wasn’t that I lost interest in playing drums as much as I felt like there was an entire world that had opened up to me, and I intended to learn to play guitar and learn to write songs. The future, as it’s said, was wide open.

Rock and Roll was my identity. In a lot of ways, it still is. I learned to play guitar. I became a pretty decent singer. I learned how to record myself. I made demos of my amateur songs and taught myself how to sing harmony by singing along to those homemade Portastudio recordings. Music was all I thought about. Sure, I had a job, I had shit that I had to take care of, bills to pay, groceries to buy – but any sense of purpose I had at all was related to my identity as a musician.

My first wife was a self-professed “deadhead” – and I’d heard the Grateful Dead in fits and starts prior to meeting her, but it was one of thousands of blips on a huge radar screen, and my attention was focused on what I thought were bigger, more important dots around the radius. But she hipped me to the fact that the Grateful Dead Experience wasn’t just about buying the records and listening to the music, it was much, much bigger than that – and that, in fact, “The Dead” didn’t really give a shit about making records. Making records was, to them, an afterthought…and their tours and live performances were not only their bread and butter, but the lifeblood to an entire counterculture that found its way into their orbit as the Sixties became the Seventies and the tectonic plates shifted beneath our collective feet.

Still, my path went in another direction and it didn’t really intersect – at the time – with what the Grateful Dead were about. It took some years of absorbing their music and a gradual understanding of their work ethic for it to sink in. To this day, I’m still more a fan of their songs than I am the extended, improvisational jams that were their trademark…I’ll listen to American Beauty and Workingmans’ Dead all day long before I’ll put on a tape of a show from 1971 with an extended “drums and space” segment. I’m a song guy. That’s just where my head’s at.

In August of 1995, I was playing a lunchtime show on an outdoor stage in Hershey, PA – and a buddy of mine tended bar during the day at a club in town that I played at on a regular basis, so I went over to pop in and visit before I turned around to head home. When I walked in, everybody in the room was morose and Brokedown Palace was playing on the jukebox. I sat down and ordered a Rolling Rock and opened a volley of small talk. “Yeah, kind of a bummer of a day,” he volunteered.

“Garcia died today.”

I sat there, silent, for a minute…he filled in the details, but I don’t know that I really heard him. I don’t think I stayed for more than another five or ten minutes before I got in the truck to drive home…I was as much stunned as I was saddened by his passing – it very much felt like the final nail in the coffin of an era that – without Jerry Garcia and the Grateful Dead, couldn’t possibly forestall its demise any longer. Sure, the sixties, hippie culture – it had been over for fifteen years by then, but you could still go to a Dead show and forget, even for a few hours, about Ronald Reagan and the collective sellout of the Hippie Ideal. Jerry was a musical and visual representation of something that, I came to learn later, he quietly resented – he never set out to carry the burden of being the Shepherd of the Anti-Flock…and all he ever wanted to do, from the beginning, was to Play In The Band.
I’m not sure which demons eventually consumed him, but he was gone.

I drove home and grabbed a blank VHS tape and popped it into the VCR and spent the rest of the night watching and recording news reports of Jerry’s passing. I called off sick at work for the next two days…I was both saddened beyond belief and – honestly, very much surprised by how affected I was by his passing. For years afterward, I would mark the anniversary of his passing by watching that tape with a six pack of Rolling Rock.

I’ve come to learn a lot more about the clouds that surrounded the band in the final days, and I’ve also come to appreciate the improvisational nature of the band to an extent, as well – but I still feel a deep sadness that I didn’t appreciate Jerry and his contributions while he was here as much as I do now. And I’ve had opportunities to dip my toes into the DeadHead waters as a musician and a bystander to what still exists of Deadhead Nation, and I’ll be eternally grateful for his spirit for the rest of my days.

In the years since, there have been legions of talented musicians, writers, and “rock stars” who’ve left us…and again, this isn’t to catalog our fallen brethren by net worth or cultural relevance or any other means of measurement other than their significance as signposts in my life. Your mileage, of course, may vary.

Time passed.

I matured as a musician, I wrote songs, I recorded my own songs, I played my own songs for other people, and…I eventually found a path I was comfortable travelling that was much more centered on being a sideman and contributing to other peoples’ visions than trying to force my own works on people. I put tens of thousands of miles behind me, played hundreds of hours’ worth of shows….changed a LOT of strings, played a lot of sessions, made a LOT of friends, had a lot of experiences I’ll never forget, and I’ll be thankful for the road I’ve taken until the day I draw my last breath.

It really has been a Wonderful Life.

So I suppose it’s fitting in a sense that, at this point in my life – as I’m reaching the twilight of my own musical career and looking down the road to a point that I can begin to identify as The End Of The Road that we would lose someone like Tom Petty.


For me, there was literally never a point in my musical life that Tom Petty wasn’t a part of.

My mother got me a clock radio for Christmas in 1977, and that bullshit little $15 radio became my tether to the world that existed outside my ridiculously limited view. The following summer, the movie FM came out, with Breakdown on the soundtrack and an actual appearance by the band in the movie, so – as far as I was concerned, they were part of the echelon. They weren’t one of those bands that I stumbled upon later that I got the privilege of going back and rediscovering their back catalog after they’d already done a handful of records….they were there from the outset, and they just NEVER. FUCKING. WENT. AWAY.

I need to admit a couple of things, though.

They were never my favorite band. I never put them at the top of my personal musical food chain, and – truth be told, there were periods of his career that I wasn’t particularly fond of.

But then again, I’d be willing to bet there are fans of Neil Young and Bob Dylan who would admit the same thing if they were willing to be completely honest.

I didn’t care much for the Jeff Lynne method of making records where it applied to Tom’s music…I had become too much of a fan of the records they made in a largely live setting, and the Jeff Lynne process just didn’t resonate with me. Obviously, I’m in the minority there, as they were some of his most successful recordings, but – as I’ve said multiple times, your mileage may vary.

For me, the Holy Trinity of Tom Petty albums are:

Damn the Torpedoes
Hard Promises
Long After Dark

As with Bob Seger, he had the good fortune of having a three album run that – for me – really perfectly represented his artistic identity. For Seger, it was Night Moves, Stranger in Town, and Against the Wind…for Petty (again, in my opinion), it was those three records.

I know Tom wasn’t fond of Long After Dark – I think it was made with waning interest from Jimmy Iovine, and there were a lot of distractions that didn’t fuel the creative process, but – man, it’s a fucking great record. The singles were phenomenal, and the album tracks that most folks aren’t familiar with could easily be cornerstone material for a lesser band – Deliver Me, I’m Finding Out, Straight Into Darkness…seriously, those songs are just plain unbelievable, and I wish the record had been successful enough that more people heard those songs.

As I fell deeper and deeper under the spell of the electric guitar, Mike Campbell became one of the faces on my personal Mount Olympus, and those records were textbooks.

And as I started to figure out what I wanted to be when I grew up, they were a huge dot on the map for me…and, thankfully, towards the end, they rediscovered the mojo (pardon the pun) that they seemed to have lost for a moment there, when they were making records instrument by instrument for those years between Long After Dark and Highway Companion.

Too often, when we’ve lost important, influential artists, we look at their work in a typical creative curve with low points at the front and back and an apex in the middle…but I feel like they were really doing some of their best work on Highway Companion and Mojo…and their live shows over the past decade have been Springsteenesque tours through not only their own discography, but through the history of rock and roll in general.

To me, that’s one of the biggest tragedies of Tom’s passing.

I feel as though we’ve lost a thread that connected us all to the very seeds of rock and roll. Tom still had the fire, right up until the very end. Tom came from The South, just as Ronnie Van Zant had – he had that particular soulfulness that seems to emanate from this particular plot of land down here in the Southeastern quadrant of the US…and he carried that spark with him, in varying degrees, right to the bitter fucking end. It’s to his credit that he went out with all his sensibilities intact. Maybe he couldn’t hit the high notes of Refugee or Here Comes My Girl anymore, but he still played like he fucking meant it, and he still brought it, ALL of it, every night, right up through the last show of their 40th Anniversary Tour at the Hollywood Bowl, just a week before he died.

Now, that tether that tied us to the genesis of rock and roll is gone.

And maybe to much of the world – the world that’s enamored with Real Housewives, Bullshit YouTube channels, and InstaCelebrities like Nicki Minaj and the like – maybe they won’t notice so much. They’ll hear some fuckskillet like Jason Aldean when he turns up on SNL and do one of Tom’s chestnuts and that’ll be the extent of what they know about any of this. They didn’t live through it, it didn’t comprise any of the rings inside the tree for them…they know his name, they know the video with the top hat or the video with Johnny Depp or the video with Kim Basinger and that’s about the extent of what they know or can relate to.

I find myself often thinking about Johnny Carson in the days since Tom died, and how he was just Always There. No matter what else might be going on in the world at large, you could turn on the TV after the evening news and Johnny and Ed would put a smile on your face. Likewise, where TP was concerned…it could be said that some albums were better than others, he had peaks and valleys…but you always knew that he had another great record in him. Or that if you went to a show, you were going to leave with a smile on your face and a memory that no one could take from you.

We’re riding out the waning moments of 2017, and there are quite a few folks still walking among us that, frankly, I’d have expected to have preceded Tom Petty. And there are still others who I can’t really allow myself to consider the thought of losing at the moment.

Springsteen. McCartney. Dylan. Any of the CSN principles. James Taylor.

And God help me when either Jackson or David Lindley passes. It ain’t gonna be fuckin’ pretty in my neighborhood, folks.

I remember an Idlewheel show from 2010 or so in New Jersey….we were sitting at dinner between soundcheck and showtime, and Craig said something about the notion that, at some point in the not too distant future, we were gonna hit a slick in the road and all our heroes and musical icons were gonna start dropping like flies. I still think about that conversation all the time…as if I’d know when we’d arrived at that point. But I think I’ve come to realize that it’s not an impending landslide, it’s a constant, undulating erosion of the landscape. And it’s getting harder and harder to maintain a foothold.

But I’ll try to remain grateful for the fact that I got to walk the earth before so much of the musical topsoil washed away.

it was never about the song.

I know you’re tired of reading and hearing about this shit. So am I.

But whatever you might think of Jerry Jones, the Dallas Cowboys, or the NFL – they taught us all something last night. Brought this whole thing into focus, if you will.

Less than 24 hours after stating in a nationally televised interview that he didn’t think it was appropriate to make such statements, Jerry Jones walked onto the field with his players and coaches to collectively take a knee…

…BEFORE the anthem played.

Then, after their gesture, they all stood for the National Anthem – to a chorus of boos from the spectators.

So in one fell swoop, America’s Team has proven once and for all that Conservative America’s Collective Butthurt over this issue really doesn’t have shit to do with respecting the flag or the Anthem at all.

If the solemn ritual of standing for the Anthem is so sacred, I’d think you’d be moved to stand there quiety and STFU during the process…and maybe, oh, I dunno…not boo the players? Show the reverence and respect that all your pseudo-patriotic posturing would demand at the very moment that you claim to demand it?

But no…go ahead and release your inner redneck and boo.

Because that’s where The Tell lies in the first place.

None of this is about the song, the flag, the troops, the game…none of that shit was ever the issue.

The issue is that you can’t stand any reminder that the America that you live in IN YOUR HEAD isn’t the America that’s real – or even available – to all its citizens.

You want to continue to let all those propaganda slogans play on a loop in your head and delude yourself with all that “we’re the greatest” bullshit while the fact remains that – as was so famously pointed out by Jeff Daniels’ Will McAvoy character in the now-viral clip from HBO’s “The Newsroom” – we lead the world in only two categories: The number of incarcerated citizens per capita and defense spending, where we spend more than the next 26 nations combines, 25 of which are allies.

The fact that black men are routinely shot dead by police with nearly zero repercussions doesn’t fit in with your fantasy of America, and you HATE being reminded of it, so you don’t want to hear about it on Game Day, you don’t want to hear the Hollywood Elite remind you of it at the Oscars, you don’t want to hear about it from artists and musicians…you want all the ugly shit to go away, unless it’s Ted Nugent inviting a sitting President to suck on his machine gun – that, of course, is just fine.

So man up. Admit, for once, that there’s no such thing as an acceptable means of protest for you, because you’re part of the problem and not the solution. Show the world an honest representation of who you are. Tell them honestly that you don’t really give a shit about the plight of victims of unprecedented police brutality.

Tell them that you think all those dirty Occupy hippies oughtta get a job because you don’t want to be reminded that you’re working for next to nothing while leeches like Steve Mnuchin are getting rich and then rubbing it in your face from the leather seat of a private, taxpayer funded jet.

Have the balls to say to man and God alike that – yeah, I eat Pringles on my sofa while the Anthem plays, but the last goddamn thing I want to be reminded of on Sundays is the fact that somewhere in America, probably not far from where my patriotic ass is planted, there’s a racially profiled traffic stop that’s about to end with shots being fired.

Because when you go Super Saiyan Snowflake Butthurt over this, you’re essentially saying exactly that, anyway.

the right kind of crazy

Earthquakes in Mexico.

Hurricanes that show up more often than my paycheck.

Cops in St. Louis behaving like fucking Nicaraguan rebels, mowing down people of color without any consequence and then having tear-gas parades to celebrate not guilty verdicts.

American Lawmakers that blatantly look you in the eye and tell you they’re gonna fuck you, because the Koch Organization is taking their allowance away if they don’t.

People overdosing on heroin in McDonald’s restrooms.

a POTUS incapable of basic conversational English.

Armies of zombified idiots on social media repeating talking points from their Sean Hannity flashcards that they bought on Breitbart without even knowing WTF they’re talking about half the time.

Getting Older.

Heroes Dying.

Lately, it’s getting harder and harder to get outta bed in the morning.

But – there are blessings to count…a late night phone call from my firstborn last night that lasted into the wee hours of the morning…watching my oldest son grow up to be a better man that I could have hoped to have been at his age…and an 8 year old that refuses to let me remain in a bad mood for very long.

I veer back and forth from one side of the highway to the other at a manic pace lately, where music is concerned – one day, I’m ready to take on half a dozen new projects and dig into everything with both hands, but more often than not of late it takes actual effort to even bother to pick up an instrument. I can’t lay that at the feet of any one thing, but it’s real, and it’s demanding, lately, that I make up my damned mind and either shit or get off the pot.

My Instagram feed is a pretty solid indicator, when I look back over posts and see eight or nine pics of Danny to every photo from a gig or a session or something else similarly musical…and the thing that probably frightens me about that is the fact that…it doesn’t really bother me that much. As recently as a few years ago, that would’ve kept me up nights. But nowadays, it seems like there’s a hell of a lot more dangerous shit to worry about than whether I have a gig or not.

One of the things Jayda and I discussed last night was creating a place away from the chaos and the madness where you can feel protected from the bullshit of the outside world…and I’m not sure I’ve ever allowed myself the benefit of something like that, because my ghosts follow me everywhere I go. She and I are a lot alike in that regard, but she’s got a better handle on it than I do, I think.

I have a lot of miles on my odometer. I’ve done some pretty cool shit in my life, and I’ve made some boneheaded mistakes, too. Some days, I’m pretty certain that I’ve been an asshole more often than not, and I’m pretty sure there are plenty of you who’d agree with me. A lot of you are folks that I’ve had the pleasure of riding the road with, of spending time with in person, of getting to know beyond seeing photos of your pets and your dinner on the screen of my computer…and my life is certainly the richer for it.

Y’all keep the odometer moving, and enjoy the miles as best as you can.

The world is a crazy fuckin’ place. Don’t hide from it. Go out and make it the RIGHT kind of crazy.


no, wait…


Is it more scary if I shout it over and over again? Try to make it sound intimidating?

In case you haven’t gotten the memo, ANTIFA is the new right-wing boogeyman…the new dog whistle that’s supposed to give them an easy label to slap on everyone who disagrees with them. It’s all over social media…I even had some nutjob try to tell me last night that Rachel Maddow was “Anti FA” (sic).

If you’re “of a certain age”, you’ve seen this movie before.

“ANTIFA” is the new “SOCIALIST”, which was the new “LIBERAL” – brought to you by that political genius Lee Atwater, who made Willie Horton famous almost thirty years ago.

The thing that ends up being lost on the folks for whom these false flag labels are such delicious fodder is that – well, yeah…the irony is almost comical.

“ANTIFA” is a chopped label for “Anti-Fascist”…I’ll leave it to you and Google to determine whether that’s a label someone should be ashamed of. As for me – I’m not gonna lose any sleep over being labelled “Antifa” by a social media troll.
Before that – remember how “Socialist” used to be the slur of choice? That one was especially delicious coming from folks who were on Medical Assistance, Food Stamps, Welfare or some other form of Government-provided aid…using the word “Socialist” as a term of derision for those with whom they had some form of political disagreement with, while benefitting from the very definition of the word.
And of course, there was “Liberal” – which came into fashion as a derogatory term for us softies on the left during the Bush-Dukakis race in 1988 and eventually subsided in the shadow of newer, less rationally explainable terms in its wake.

To wear the label of Liberalism as some form of shame was handed off to the media in the backfield at that point in time, and some of them are still running with that ball, all these years later. Somehow, a few suits in front of news cameras managed to spread the notion that “Liberals” were somehow inferior, and in the wake of the Reagan Fever that swept America in the eighties, a lot of basic notions were forgotten.

Somewhere along the way, folks managed to conflate “Liberal and Conservative” with “Democrat and Republican” – they forgot all about the tectonic shifts that took place during the Civil Rights era and Nixon’s subsequent Southern Strategy – and how Republicans inherited the Conservative mantle as the Dixiecrats of old died off or were replaced in Congress.

But “Liberal” and “Conservative”? Those have always been pretty accurate labels.

Now, I’m not ranting with the direct purpose of slandering Conservatives, because – where traditional Conservatism is concerned, anyway – on the surface, the two terms are nothing more than labels for differing political viewpoints. Blonde and Brunette. City Slicker and Country Boy. Punks and Mods. Jocks and Nerds. Liberals and Conservatives.

And it likely would’ve remained within that echelon until someone decided to try to weaponize the word “Liberal” and make it derogatory…and the world played along.

But, y’know – I’m sorry, but I ain’t playin’ that shit.

Call me a Liberal all day, every day. I’m happy to wear that label.

It’s tempting to rehash the laundry list of instances where Liberals fought for, bled for, and – in some cases, DIED for many of the things we take for granted nowadays…from voting and civil rights to the 40 hour work week. But if you care about that at all, you know that already – and if you don’t, you won’t care now, either.

So call me Liberal. Or “Socialist”. Or “Antifa” if you want.

Because all you’re doing is publicly telling the world that you’re declaring yourself to be on the wrong side of history.