Archive for April, 2010

Now for some of my  kind of dance music: 

This song invaded my sleep last night and cancelled my dreams/recollections of my deceased friend, Roddawg , in the early morning sleepless hours,  for some mysterious reason.  When I tried to HIP him to this genre, at least he didn’t just dismiss  it out of hand; yet gave me the kind of semi-blank look for a second, LOL.

We had male and traditional manly chemistry – way it SHOULD be –  continuously for the survival of our collective species as male and female humans.  Males and females were NOT created to be the “same” , contrary to popular legal and populist opinion.

Pickhitt: Without  one, there can not be the other.  “Chemistry, Chemistry…” LOL    On the SERIOUS though.

Another major cloud has cast itself upon my sky: Have you ever had a friend, who though many years younger than you,  who became kind of integral to your life suddenly freakin’ DIE? And in the wake of that event, have you said to yourself, “I’d have gladly given MY life so that he/she could keep living because they seemingly had it “all together” ?  Making you wonder what is it about our “lives” that make them so random at the end of the day?  Well, this weekend I just had that experience again, I’m sad to say.  Sad…Hmmm, because this guy was such a happy friend to all who had the pleasure of making his acquaintance and personally one of my guardian angels.  He would call me on the tele, or I’d be visiting him at his famous home sportsbar ‘The Garagemahal” , mentioning  that I was on my way to buy [whatever it was at the moment], and Rodney would say, “Dude! I got plenty of________, come’ere, TAKE ONE!” and I’m like are your SURE??” several times…but that is how he was, and he never wanted to refuse a request or an opportunity to help a friend out.  He even wanted to hook my former g/f up with concert tickets after she dumped me! LOL (A true friend calls you to ask permission to grant a favor like that, and I vetoed that bill, “just because”)  Had some psychic reader predicted that one of the ‘”top five” things that would happen in the first six months of 2010 would be that Rodney would die, I’d have said “GTFOH!”

The weather is cloudy again today here as I write these words- appropriately – after about three weeks of nonstop sunshine and June-like weather,  it fits my “mood” of mourning on this, the day of his funeral.  Such an outpouring last night after the wake at his house where he leaves a wonderful wife, an twelve-year-old son, and seven year-old daughter.  I always thought that was the way I wanted my family to be back when I was thinking about such things in my future.  Oh, and by the way, Roddawg was twelve years younger than I – making it even more difficult to fathom the randomness of our existences here on this volatile Earth.

one of best friends a guy can ever want

Billy Joel sang: ‘Only The Good Die Young”, and again I say, “how true.” . This,  juxtaposed against this boiling caldron upon which we live, the Earth, and its recent quaking, shaking, blowing and now spitting up clouds from Iceland that have halted airplane traffic for a significant part of the Earth –  and you know the “economic repercussions” will now follow if that keeps up much longer.

It is another back to basics moment for the commerce industry.  ” May they have to go back to transoceanic boats to ship our goods and (more dreaded) have to WAIT longer for stuff to arrive??”  OMG!!  it is another “reality check” for me the mere mortal that gets to survive to tryand figure it out for another day.

It is like the planet under us is “friending” us in order to let us know she is not happy with the way things are going, and she is now going to take over and possibly end our collective nightmare.  Right…no such luck…we will continue to endure the “slow death” in most cases, but it might solve a lot of the petty shit that we give too much attention to, and give the needed “reality check” on our existences. Which takes me back to my friend, Rodney Irvin’s,  sudden death (just the way he would have liked a Pittsburgh Steeler game to end – them winning of course!LOL).  Here I am a bachelor just struggling to get by, and this cat, who seemingly “had it all going for him”, taken away all together too soon.  Where is the logic herein, please? Today I am not motivated to go on, except to eulogize him herein this place – my worldwide web diary.  I know you “feel” me, right? This post is dedicated to Rodney,who was the first person ever to introduce/describe me as “DJ” , the huge St. Louis Cardinal and Pittsburgh Steeler fan who coined the phrase about my beloved New York Jets, “J-E-T-S means Just End The Season, Dawg! LOL’ another OMG    I only knew him for eight years, but it seems like I always knew him and only brought very special people by to his house (dates that is).  Always with a clever, funny story or anecdote of wisdom that belied his years, Roddawg was a class act, and I wish you who read this to experience a friend such as this in your lives and that you live to grow old together and share stories as the microscopic volcanic ash circumnavigates the skies of our globe and precipitously falls upon us, and this post is an example of the wide-ranging conversations that Roddawg and I had, I guess – from sports to current events, we settled the world as best we could and agreed upon it 99% of the time in spite of sometimes coming at issues from possibly opposite ends of the spectrum.  A magnanimous act all the way.  Maybe the ash can turn into the dust of an angel.

– And now, in the words of Rodney, “lets go have a ‘beverage’!”

Nashville, TN, April 7, 2010

Most of us “musical types” have had the experience of going to a show at a small venue, to see a band that we have never heard of before, only because we might know some of the players in the band, or through word of mouth that they are good.

Nevertheless, it never ceases to floor me when I hang out at such an event and am absolutely blown-away, head-nodding style, by what I see and hear.  Thus was what I experienced tonight while visiting Nashville Tennessee’s 3rd & Lindsley pub when I was invited to hear The Consoulers.

When I first read the email invitation from drummer Tim Buppert, who I had just met for the second time (the first time we met we both didn’t remember and it didn’t matter) at an impromptu Easter Sunday evening jam session out at mutual friend, “Fred’s” house/studio while I was visiting “Music City”, my mind saw “the Counselors”initially.  I think that partly was because I’m always the English major, my mind knew the verb “to console” didn’t have a “u” in it.  After hearing them do dead-on, tight covers of classic hits from The Spinners, Jr. Walker & The All Stars, Stevie Wonder, The Doobie Brothers, Sly and the Family Stone, Firefall, The Four Tops and more and looking once again at their name, it made perfect creative sense the “ConSOULers” make their mark playing classic soul hits and doing them justice as if they were spawned yesterday…

“Cover” never sounded so good.  Tim’s solid foundation and leadership glued each number with authority even as he sang vocals – something I could never be as coordinated to do back when I played drums in my high school band. Lead guitar and vocalist John Foster had on the “foster Grants” and performed with the attitude of a Huey Lewis-style rock star.  Don Barrett, the group’s founder, was creatively disciplined and precise on bass, rendering a dead-on version of the Spinners’ 1973 classic “I’ll Be around.  Steve “consistent” Williams played a beautiful piano on electronic keyboards and sang his own true vocal version of The Impressions’ ‘It’s Alright” and almost had them going, OMG with a rendition of the Chi-Lite’s “Oh Girl”.

Each of the five members took turns specializing in staying true to the original version’s sound according to their unique personal talents.  The saxophone player, Randy Leago, deftly switched-off between a tiny alto (I don’t remember seeing one so small), his tenor and the congas.   I thought, “Are these cats studio musicians just jammin’ for practice?”

After their fantastic yesteryear set where they had members of the audience – including many beautiful women – literally dancing in the isles down front-row, they performed a few original numbers from their forthcoming album that they had been working on.  I can only say that those tunes were yawners only because they had their own tough act to follow.  Maybe they should mix them into the soul set, as they were only two or three songs.

Who says Nashville, TN is “just Country music”?  See the Consoulers and you’ll be proven wrong for sure.  Being from New York City and in the music and radio business going on forty years now, I was so happy to be wrong about the oneness of the musical perception in that town!  Oh, and I must mention that these gents in their middle ages (like I am), and totally belie the myth that they “can’t jump” through the rhythmic hoops necessary to entertain and move to the groove on the (super) fly.  I was amazed by their enthusiastic effort to rock these tunes as if they are still hot on the charts.

Although I never met  this impresario and didn’t even know he was  the founder of the Sex Pistols until the news of his death came over NPR, I reminisce his music at this time of his passing from the physical world because my inspiration for getting into radio, the late Frankie Crocker, broke this music in New York City while I was jocking on the competing station, which was then owned by RKO.  They had us playing his stuff back during the era of Break-Dancing during my time on WRKS FM ( “KISS”),  and I still have the 12-inch vinyl, special party mix album

 and 45rpm vinyls of the Island Records hits that we played too! This was when “scratchin” a record first came into vogue as a DJ’s skill while rockin’ da crowd.   So now, just in case you only thought he was a Brit with spastic punk-style rhythm, here are a few jams we used to move to at Danceteria and Private Eyes, to name only a couple of the clubs poppin’-it back during the early-to-mid-1980s in Manhattan.  I loved ‘Hey D.J.”; “Do Ya Like Scratchin’?”; “Buffalo Girls”, and of course every freelance DJ’s anthem back then, “The World Famous Supreme Team Show”. I am reminded that this “special PARTY MIX with…” was very hard to get back then because inside the 12″ album are some 45rpm versions…thank you Debbie Howard wherever you are, LOL  

This  sound takes me back to a free era in the world where there was no such thing as “terrorism” and the planet  just partied universally – at least we did in New York City – very judiciously to this infectious innovator. Just wanted to pay homage and hip you who may not know…ya HEARD?? LOL

R.I.P. Mr. McLaren and thanks for recognizing the DJs…and “all the Buffalo Girls going around the outside/all that scratchin’ is makin’ me itch!” LMAO

I was on the basketball court by myself just doing some “moves” as I had always done since Haggarty Park in Jamaica, Queens back in the 1960s and ’70s.  It was  late May of 1995, and I was doing my doing my playful “fake [Michael] Jordan low post move” when I felt and heard a “snap” or “pop” on the back of my right ankle.  At first I thought that a stone or a rock had hit me there or thrown by some kid being mischievous, but moments later, much to my sudden chagrin, I was unable to lift my right foot or push-off of it.  I had heard of the dreaded “Achilles tendon injury” but immediately my mind went into denial overdrive because, after all, I wasn’t into competing with anybody at that moment, so why would that be the deal?

So I collected my ball and stuff and made my way over the low fence and into my Mustang, heading for the Emergency Room at a very nearby hospital.  When I got there, I found that it must have been new Spanish immigrant and children day as the place was packed with these folks.  “Damn!” I thought, “I ain’t got time for this waiting room shit…” So I just went up to the gals clad in those “nurses blues”  smocks and described what had just happened to me.  One of them offered that, ‘You probably just sprained your ankle” and that is all I needed to hear – for the moment.  “Why don’t you just go and put some ice on it for a while”, she continued, and I drug my lame ass back off to the car, beer house for ice and home.  My conscious was bothering me however, and telling me that something wasn’t right.  It proved not that simple, when I found myself crawling around my apartment on hands and knees in the hours that followed.  The ice treatment wasn’t helping;  all of my toes on the right foot were swollen twice their normal size, and if I stood-up, I could only drag my right foot around.  It wasn’t so much the pain as it was the horror and tingling sensation of it all.

Fortunately, days prior I had reunited with Guy at a college reunion, and we kicked it during a follow-up,”nice to see you again” phone call that next day.  His Dad was a doctor, as we all knew, and when I told Guy what happened, he didn’t hesitate in telling me to get back to that ER and get examined!  That is a real friend; no sugar-coating when you need the truth from a concerned amigo.

So when I went back there to Memorial Hospital, it was now after ten at night and I got examined relatively fast.  Ironically the Doctor who did my X-rays had suffered the same injury and it was from his lips that I heard the word “surgery” in a major way in my adult life for the first time – I was forty-two years old – and it sent me chills up my spine, because he took my index and middle fingers and put them in the place of the rupture which was a space below my calf  and heel on my right leg.  I was recommended to an Orthopedic surgeon with a great reputation locally there in south Jersey, but when I saw him, it was the weekend before Memorial Day weekend, and his next available time to mend me would be a week after the holiday.  “Uggh!” What could I do…he put a temporary “boot” on my ankle, gave me a script for crutches (which I still have) and said “See you in seven days!” ( or whatever it was, I can’t exactly recall).

When I awakened from the surgery, I had a cast from my toes all the way up to my hip on my right leg.  I was collected by another dear college buddy, Eskridge and his wife the next day who drove all the way from Philly, after a mostly sleepless night in the hospital, carried up the fourteen steps to my second floor apartment after a stop to get my pain-killer pills (“Yay!”) and left with a pre-planned case of Heinekens, my TV remote, and other “toys” within arms reach.  It was a warm early June day.  What followed was about six weeks with the cast; food stamps, interesting courtesy from women at the supermarket who opened doors for me much to my shock, LOL; trying to use those silly go-carts to get around the store, interesting adventures trying to take a summer shower and not get the cast wet; trying to use a coat hanger to scratch an itch waaay-down inside the cast,  having sympathetic visits from my partners who would come over with “remedies” to ease my pain, and “beach therapy” at the nearby Atlantic Ocean boardwalk.

After six weeks Doc cut my cast down to an ankle cast (that I still have as a kind of momento on my altar) and assigned physical therapy to learn to walk again – and this is the key point – mentally one has to overcome the fear that the repair will “snap” again or somehow become undone, and THAT takes a whole lot of time, trust effort and a great Physical Therapist who was, in my case “Kate” a tall, Swedish-looking blond who took me through my paces during the next ten months or so.  In order to regain strength and trust it again you have to do exactly what your better judgement  tells you not to do, and that is pull upon/against it; use a treadmill, ride a stationary bicycle, stretch it9″ouch!”), etc.  At least I got lucky that way – a great-looking  teacher to help me learn to walk again…”Fantasy Island”! LOL

Since I recovered, whenever I see an athlete do that unique “hop” like David Beckham did, I know immediately what went down; and  he even seemed to have a “guard” of sorts on the back of his ankle, which leads me to believe that he may have had symptoms of Achilles tendonitis leading up to that rupture! 

Looking at the nature of Soccer, I always cringe because the player’s legs have absolutely no protection.  So if Beckham were to try to come back (too soon as most pro athletes are pressured to do), it would only take another player to “accidentally” run-up upon the back of his leg or ankle for him to re-injure it again – permanently ending his playing days.  I know…he will have better and more prompt treatment than I did, but still…my prediction is that he is done playing soccer at the level he used to play, if not for good.

If I were him, I’d enjoy my millions and take up a tamer game – like Billiards.

pickhitt: true fact the Achilles tendon is the slowest tendon to heal in our bodies due to its location and tardy blood flow.

pickhitt: other notable pro athletes who suffered the ruptured Achilles and were never the same: Dan Marino and Vinnie Testaverde…

pickhitt: My repair still bothers me, especially first thing in the morning. I still use my “Pro-Stretch” device and sometimes wear an ankle “compression bandage/sleeve” if I want to barefoot it around the house. It feels the best, however, after a nice long cycle ride on the ten-speed, oddly enough – Go figure. This injury ended my days of playing the drums because you have to flex your right foot strongly on the bass crum pedal, and it just doesn’t feel “right” anymore (some would argue that I never could play drums, but that is a topic for another post, LOL).    If you read  The Iliad you will understand how I view it as  my ball-and-chain for the rest of my life, and possibly female-related.

[From my book: “Sad Face King”]

You are one confused tree;

Have multiple identities.

Don’t know what you want to be,

Are you a flower or a tree?

Blooming so prettily,

Late in March annually.

A floral bouquet that itches my throat;

Reminding me that allergy time is nigh.

Pelting me with heavy petals as I sit reading.

You are a schitzo-making no sense tree;

Every year I say with money and a chainsaw,

I’d put you out of your lavender, white and ultimately green misery.

After-all, I must clean up after your moods.

Because of so many compliments from passersby,

Oh colorful one, you will maintain.

But when those petals fall and touch ground,

They shrivel-up and turn a rusty brown.

pickhitt: a poem about a tree in my front yard. – I know, I need to”get a life”…LOL

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