Saturday, August 31, 2013
I'd discovered years later (c. 1965) that Kenny Edwards (Stone Poneys) had purchased or obtained somehow a portrait of me, that a young artist had done (c. 1962) all done in drab browns the way the early expressionists drabbed as they dabbed.  And I saw that portrait that year at his mother's home in Marina del Rey, where he had installed it in his bedroom.  (God, what does that mean?)
Saturday, August 24, 2013
If music is all about connecting us to a group, why do people listen in solitude as well? I think even when you listen by yourself, what makes that feel good is that you are kind of being tricked—much like when you watch TV—into thinking you're interacting with people, tricked into thinking you're part of a group. Our core motivation is to feel like we belong. Anything that tricks you into feeling that way is going to feel rewarding, you're going to pursue that like a drug. ("Why Did Humans Invent Music?", Marc Silver, National Geographic, Published August 24, 2013)
Friday, August 23, 2013
And at the Padua Hills Theater, onstage, were performers who played guitar and guitarons and sang rancheras in warbling sweet high voices. They always sang "Cielito Lindo" at one point or another, and I would try to remember the words and the tune. Which was difficult for me, as I did not speak Spanish too very well, although I was surrounded by the language down in town every single day where the Mexican kids and their parents lived (in the barrio, down by the tracks, where the old packing house stood, or occasionally if lucky in the manager's old home, which was an orchard house) and went to school with us all. "Cielito Lindo" sounds like such a wonderful love song, carried originally from Spain to Mexico to Padua Hills, and everywhere in between, until you grow up and learn to study, and read something about the original lyrics. (In the article "¡Hasta que me cayó el veinte!"[1] Mr. Ortega Morán discusses the origins of the first verse of this song. His research discovered that in the early 17th century, armed bandits would take refuge in the Sierra Morena mountains of Spain and that people feared for their lives when they had to travel through the region. The words of the first verse of "Cielito Lindo" were found in a song from that era, hinting at that fear. But with time the meaning of the verse changed as people began romanticizing it. "Your face is the Sierra Morena. Your eyes are thieves who live there." The verse had other melodies put to it and variations on the lyrics. Mr. Quirino Mendoza, the composer, adapted the verse to his own melody and gave us the song we know today. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cielito_Lindo But "Cielito Lindo" the phrase came down unchanged, and though nearly untranslatable and shifting between different circles of implied meaning, remains pretty much every bit the same. And what I found strangely fascinating, is that the composer of the piece we received at Padua Hills that evening, (by we, I mean my sister, my parents, Frank, and I, and everyone in the room, and everyone elsewhere who had ever heard that version at any point in history or on into the future) had just died a mere few years prior (1957) to our splendid dinner party at Padua Hills (1959 maybe, 1960 or 1961 perhaps). And if I found out something like that, I would always mention such a thing to Frank as he was interested in music, you see, and all types of music. (And when I tried picking it out on guitar, I was clumsy, and faltering, though I would not move my head to the beat like the fellow on the left ... so I had to practice a lot to gain any kind of technique with fingerpicking, especially back then, when I was just learning my way around the fretboard). I never really was very good on the guitar, as any of my friends of the time would tell you.) They'd put on plays at Padua Hills, too, performed in Spanish. Later on, I ran into some people who were interested in hearing more about the plays as they were into theater and had an interest in such things. But I never went to one of the plays, though I saw some of the performance schedules for the play season in the local newspaper. The play season at Padua seemed to run only during the summer, and it was most expensive to get in (theater and a play, music, plus dinner), so that was another reason I never attended a play there.

(But the guy on the left playing the guitar was younger and more unfamiliar with the piece, and he would bob his head and point himself to the note where his part should exactly double with the upscale run of the other guitarist's, and I'd try to remind myself, "no head bobbin'" ... he'd bob his head every run on "Cielito Lindo" to remind himself where to fall in on the right key ...
da da DA da da da da DA da da da da DA
da da BOB da da da da BOB da da da da BOB)

(See what I mean? )
  I Have a Hamburger and Learn Too Much
Prior to 1964, before his job at the bow wow auschwitz experimental station constructed to control the troublesome behaviors of certain types of schoolchildren, Beefheart's manager had worked in a landscaping business started up by a friend's father, and had built himself strong shoulders shoveling sand to better cover the ground of new larger houses being constructed in the Valley. In the fall of 1964, he had returned from a small touring trip to Europe, and having let go of his position at the pharmaceutical kennel, he was obliged to return to work for the friend's father after a brief unsuccessful and unsatisfying stint as a car salesman somewhere in the Valley. He was, finally, about to fly away from the comfortable nest of his parent's home and was looking for a place to live somewhere in the Los Angeles metro area that was within easy commute of Hollywood and the media centers there, as he was building a desire to work in show business. So I helped him look for a place, and we arrived at an apartment complex, where there was a large pool and young women and men tanning themselves poolside, where we spoke with the apartment manager at the wrought iron black gate. She was a much older lady, about the age of my grandmother, who tended to rentals there. She asked, "Are you swingers?" We laughed about that, he and I, as we returned to the car with the newspaper that held other possible rentals circled in the classified section. Once ensconced in his new residence, I went to visit him, and he said he was thinking about finding another job (but wouldn't share what kind of job he might want) because, "I can't shovel sand forever." In his new residence, his mother, who knew he was struggling financially, would send over small packages of food. One such package arrived when I was there, which contained 3 filet mignon. He ate two of them. Once we dined out at Bob's Big Boy, likely in nearby Northridge,
where a huge plastic Bob stood out front offering a tray to passersby in need of a plastic cheeseburger. Just he and I, and as I was hungry as I really didn't have a lot of extra money for too much in the way of food after paying my own rent, saving for school, and working for a meager salary at my job, and eating only when the paycheck arrived at the end of every week, I ordered a hamburger. As I had just eaten perhaps 3 hours prior with him, a bowl of green beans at my own place, he disapproved, and told me, "You better watch out with that" (it was not the meat he objected to. girls, don't overeat when your boyfriend might pick up the tab, because you might grow fat and make his wallet slim, and he doesn't like that, is what he seemed to be saying).
When younger, as an older teenager about 18 or 19 years old, while living in his parent's home, a small estate with a separate cottage and a small greenhouse, the young man who was to become Beefheart's manager worked in a testing facility somewhere in the San Fernando Valley that was in some way attached to a laboratory and pharmaceutical company. His job was to tend to the dogs who were used for experimentation of new substances. He had a St Bernard, remember, and could get along with dogs and genuinely liked them.<\b> <\b> The company that marketed the pharmaceutical product was called Riker. The drug they had developed c. 1964 was called Deaner. At the time, the drug was marketed and designated for use only for children, those who were overactive or "hyperkinetic". This drug was examined and eventually written about in a journal published by Britain's Royal Pharmaceutical Society in 1977, in the study called <\b> <\b>"2-Dimethylaminoethanol (Deaner) in body fluids"<\b> <\b> Journal of Pharmacy and Pharmacology<\b> <\b> Volume 29, Issue 1, pages 373–374, September 1977<\b> <\b> Gunnel Ceder,<\b> <\b> Jan Schuberth*<\b> <\b> Article first published online: 12 APR 2011<\b> <\b> DOI: 10.1111/j.2042-7158.1977.tb11341.x<\b> <\b> 1977 Royal Pharmaceutical Society of Great Brit<\b> <\b> The drug made it to the marketplace and met with some success until withdrawn in 1983. When a pharmaceutical spin off called "Deanol" appeared, which had a wide variety of uses for suggestion prescription under ICD-9. And ICD-10 had even more.<\b> <\b> "Deaner Pharmaceutical active ingredients containing related brand and generic drugs, medications or other health care products: Deanol Acetamidobenzoate Deaner available forms, composition, doses: N/A Deaner destination | category: Human: Biochemical precursors Indications and usages, anatomical therapeutic chemical and diseases classification codes: N06BX04 - Deanol Pharmaceutical companies, researchers, developers, manufacturers, distributors and suppliers: 3M"<\b> <\b><\b> <\b> More: <\b> <\b> Deaner Pharmaceutical active ingredients containing related brand and generic drugs, medications or other health care products: Deanol Acetamidobenzoate Deaner available forms, composition, doses: N/A Deaner destination | category: Human: Biochemical precursors Indications and usages, anatomical therapeutic chemical and diseases classification codes: N06BX04 - Deanol Pharmaceutical companies, researchers, developers, manufacturers, distributors and suppliers: 3M <\b> <\b><\b> <\b> The ICD-10 had even more spin off psychoactive and nootropic drugs listed available for prescription and use. <\b> <\b><\b> <\b> <\b> <\b> <\b> <\b> Deaner, the brand name for deanol, was a drug primarily prescribed for learning disabilities in children. Based on my references, deaner was not specifically used for the treatment of aphasia. However, the prescribing physician may have believed that there was merit in taking deaner for this condition. Deaner was marketed by a company called Riker (currently 3M Pharmaceutical). Although the drug was considered to be safe, it was discontinued in 1983 because there was no evidence that deaner was effective. To my knowledge, there are no prescription drugs like deaner which are indicated for the treatment of aphasia." <\b> <\b> <\b> <\b> This is all very interesting, perhaps to students of medicine and pharmacology, but for people like me, at the time in 1964 Deaner barely had a name. And Beefheart's former manager was
a teenager and liked dogs, and was good with them, so he got a job as a kennel worker in a pharmaceutical testing laboratory, a job that had ended when this photo was taken.<\b> <\b><\b> <\b>
Thursday, August 22, 2013
This is an old (1934) photo of the entrance to Padua Hills restaurant, which was carefully maintained and intact for decades. This is very much what the place looked like when my parents took my sister (and her friend Frank Zappa) and me for dinner there long about 1960-1961. I told you about this gathering earlier in this blog, when I described the cheese enchiladas and the Mexican hat dance moves. On the way up the winding foothills road to the restaurant, you'd maneuver through steep hills and turns, push up and on past an occasional yucca, and the earth was in some places a rich red, a feldspar, that was a good coloring for the work of ceramicists, so the potters would sometimes hoe and scrape there to take away a shovelful or bucketful for their works down in town. As you approached the doorway in the photo, in the summer days sometimes you could catch scent of the sweet smells of foothill shrubs (mazanita, sage, others) combined on the air, lifted and carried aloft by the warm thermals and directed by gentle breeze to collect and then waft through the side opening (at the end on the left to the wood entrance door). This aroma would eventually move out and down through the columnade walkway. A lovely welcoming, beckoning scent, which grew in intensity until you reached the wooden door to pull open, as if the whole place were throwing its arms open wide to genuinely welcome you. Inside, as you moved closer to seating at the large heavy colonial wood tables, the air was full of a rich mixture of spices and the smell of beef cooking off its fat. My mother didn't really enjoy Mexican food, nor did my dad because of his constant digestive problems (he preferred steak, or meat and potatoes anyway), but they liked the atmosphere of the place so it was easier for my sister to persuade them to carry us all there. My sister had turkey mole and it's likely that Frank did, too.
  Proper English Usage
That precious village I once lived in was crammed full (all 1,000 or so people at the time) of young white women adorned in bouffant hairstyles and fuzzy pink sweaters who socialized in strange near secret organizations like Job's Daughters or the Rainbow Girls, or more public presentations like the Girl Scout's and cheerleading societies, while the remainder were given National Student Association grants for their college educations and they wore dickies. And the college girls usually were descended from families of great wealth to foot the bill for their private and very expensive educations and they assembled to see musicals brought to the big screen of the local theater.

This was an oasis, of sorts, surrounded by a huge geography brimming with the descendents of German immigrant farmers and many many people who had some immediate geneaological or geographic or cultural connection to Texas. You could tell, because even a young man who at first glance before he opened his mouth appeared nicely featured and otherwise well turned out for an evening on the town in his finer western wear once he formed the question could display some modicum of fine southern manners in public by asking, "Say, where's the toilet at?" When they ordered, when they were young, they'd say, "Gimme a coke." When they were older, they said "Gimme a beer."

For my own reasons, I never liked rednecks very much. Nor really did Frank, I think. We'd comment on their stubborn attitudes, and willful ignorance. They were lazy. They had funny accents. Like they were too lazy to say the whole name of the town they came from. They'd call it "San Ber'dino". That was proper usage, their pronunciation of the place name.

Anyway, Sandy made his small shaker out of a plastic film cannister (remember those? they were used to hold 35mm film for cameras back before digital became popular and Kodak going out of business yesterday) and were dark grey cylinder with light grey flip-top lid). He laid cotton in it and three or four seeds on top of that and it made a soft sound that had to be miked very closely and then brought up into the mix later when tracks were assembled) but he still called it "match box" percussion out of respect to the street musicians who would use larger objects for a more rattling rhythm sound when playing blues on the streets in Olde Chicago to break through the street noise.
Compiling the best online articles about music so there will be more of both in the future. In periods of drought, the reader will be innundated by my own blogs on the matters.

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