Autobiography in Music and Roots
Remember that business I told you about, about the institutional bullying in a talent show at one of those science institutes ...
they dressed in capes?
This is what they sang and played, and one of the guys dragged out his old platform shoes and wore them for the performance.
I was going to be more organized in my recollections this morning, and tell you why Frank liked Magritte: "the mystery of the ordinary" and what I perceive as his compositional intent,
and why I always laugh (or coo and say "oh ... wow" like I'm watching a good puppet show and the puppets suddenly become completely human and the feeling is sentimental or a kindly warm and fuzzy nostalgia) when I hear him mention Greyhound lockers in a lyric line in the middle of a song (which I did the other day, when I watched one of his movies online, as I used one of those lockers to temporarily keep my guitar safe when I first hit San Francisco in 1963 when I was in search of the disappearing beatniks, and when Kenny Edwards and I had a brief unsuccessful stint together on the coffee house circuit there, and of course I thought I was the only person in the world who knew about them ...
I could turn the key, and they didn't keep track of the time accurately then, so you could leave your guitar there for days for a dime while you explored and it would remain safe. They were the best invention, I thought. Frank and my sister would hear about some of my beatnik adventures there, and of course a bit later I was always outdone even talking about the death of Aldous Huxley, but still I thought it a marvel that someone I'd met had even met Aldous Huxley! But mostly I would laugh about door to door sales jobs, as I had tried selling encyclopedias door to door in San Francisco in between my folk songs in the evenings. A straight commission job, but a job, that Kenny Edwards had helped me land because one of our church group's dads ran the business.
That phrase about "greyhound lockers" just jumped right out and touched me, and I'll bet it jumps out and touches other people, too, but in different ways and wrapped in their own personal experiences or unique autobiographies of themselves).
So I always was, also, interested in people's personal connections to music. I like hearing those stories.
I also like, for instance, informing people about music roots. For instance, yesterday my dog got out a gate someone had left open and went missing, so I went down with a leash to retrieve her because my neighbor called. He's nice that way, and in between discussions about what he's been doing and who he's seen lately (he 'd also, strangely for a recluse, had a recent visit from another neighbor to reclaim a chicken on his fence), he imitated the "myip myip myip" sound a wild cat makes when staring in the window at his cat (the cat comes around often enough for him to give the cat a name "Spookycat", his home improvement projects, and last but best the fig trees (because we were snacking on those) and how gophers go after the roots of those trees, and communication and how people talk, when he suddenly (I must have mentioned something about music and my current Frank Zappa "memory project") and abruptly I thought brought up the song "Voulez Vous Coucher Avec Moi" that he had seen in Moulin Rouge on Roku
So instead of talking about Toulouse Lautrec and the bottle of absinthe I have squirreled away and I keep a box of sugar cubes in the event (because he doesn't drink alcohol), I said "what a great song!" but because he had worked as a forest ranger during the period of its first release and was away from great metropolises and media, he was totally unaware of LaBelle, the original version.
So I just sent him a link to Patti LaBelle singing Lady Marmalade, so he could understand better what I was talking about (I turned to his friend, who had graciously given me his portion of figs, and said, "Don't you remember THAT? You must! It was famous in dance clubs everywhere!") and this might turn into a music lecture next time I see them.
There was another great one at that time, "All night long, we did the bump, bump, bump" (and that developed into a dance almost anyone could do).