Long may you run

It’s Neil Young’s birthday
No, let’s make that Youngs’ – there are
So many of him

Heart of gold folkie
Blow the doors off hard rocker
Flayed one-note solos

Protesting for peace
Living the good Earth’s green life
Helping found Farm Aid

Movies directed
“Bernard Shakey” behind cam
That’s Neil’s nom de film

Bridge School benefits
Helping those who need it most
Breaking down some walls

Godfather of grunge
Radiohead tuned in, too
Musical offspring

And all the great songs
Tales of conquest and romance
Blinding, soul searing

Springfield, cinnamon
And sugar, sand and powder
The hurricane’s eye

All the waste of war
The toll of lies, corruption
Drugs’ dark nights, death’s kiss

The comforts of home,
Playing with good friends, old man’s

Showed us how to keep
Creativity’s fire lit
Don’t burn out, don’t rust

Hello, Mr. Soul
You’re still strange, all the changes
Never regret them


Dave Alvin’s Folly show, redux

Another great thing about 11-11-11 is it’s the birthday of Blasters’ alum and rockin’ blues man Dave Alvin. His latest album — “Eleven Eleven” — is his 11th and has 11 songs on it. I had the pleasure of catching him at the Folly this summer, and of trying to capture some of the flavor and feeling of that show with these. The YouTube clip is from the same tour. And these are followed by a couple of other concert batches — for a Sarah Jarosz show and the Concert for Bangladesh.

From July 9

Dave Alvin hits town
It’s American music
Rock, rhythm, and blues

He writes those stories
So real — of love, death, heartbreak
Of people he’s known

He sings those stories
Cigarettes-for-breakfast voice
And beer for dessert

He plays those stories
Electric and acoustic
With scorpion’s sting

You can taste the dust
See the waves of heat rise up
As he spins those tales

Waves of emotion
Build and crash — great work by Dave
And his three band-mates:

Silver-haired shaman
Of slide; Telecaster set
To “telepathic”

Bass man slick and tall
He could’ve been a Blaster
30 years ago

Powerhouse drummer
All the little touches, too
Like tick-tock woodblock

They rocked the Folly
KC’s century-plus gem
Right place, righteous act

It all added up
To one whale of a show on
A hot July night

Anniversary 22 haiku

I was married Nov. 4, 1989. Amazingly, I still am. Thanks, Tina.

Groom walks down the aisle
That crazy percussive sound
Was his knees knocking

Twenty-two years passed
I’m not sure now what I feared
Shouldn’t have worried

Went without a hitch
— Except for the one we planned —
And we’re both still here

Thanks Yael, Alison,
Gary for standing with me
My two brothers, too

And Bob for singing
“From a Distance” for Tina,
For me, and our world

The Kelley Hunt Band
Rocked out at the reception
It was quite a day

Lots of memories
And two great children later
I count my blessings

You gotta love it

A tip of the hat,
John B. Stetson, size 7
To Lyle Lovett

Lyle Pearce Lovett
Came out writing songs, this date
In ’57

Wonder how he looked
As a baby? He’s truly
One of a kind now

That sweet, goofy grin
First ‘do like ball of black yarn
The cat had played with

Handsomely homely
Married Julia Roberts
How did she catch him?

That one didn’t last
But his talent surely has
Consistent brilliance

Killer band, backups,
Or just Lyle, his guitar
You’ll be entertained

Transcending showbiz
By mastering all its tricks
To showcase his art

Fine storytelling
Meaning — or at least fate — pulled
From slightest details

Insightful writing
Claiming life’s joys and sorrows
By lampooning them

So what’s it all mean?
Not sure he would say he knows,
But you have to try

That hallowed feeling

Halloween horror:
Came as my best self — no one
Could recognize me

Jack-O-Lanterns carved
Porch light switched to the red bulb
Scary music’s on

Cider’s warming up
Scarecrow’s in the front porch seat
Time for trick or treat!

Ghosts and princesses
Little pumpkins, bumblebees
Vikings, vagabonds

Witches with itches
Darth Vader wheezing, sometimes
Costumes just don’t fit

All will take your stuff:
Pirates and politicians
Just dress differently

First-time toddlers cute
Jaded teens out for some loot
And that sugar high

All brought to you by
The American Dental

Enjoy this fine rite
The little ones’ lack of guile,
Sense of make believe

Their masks worn but once
We put ours on every day
— And don’t get candy

“Once more with filling,” redux

From a visit to the dentist, where actually I’m always treated well and kindly, by dentists and hygienists alike. This is the first of some “Everyday things” postings, followed by an annual checkup and a haircut.

From Feb. 22:

Dental cleaning day
My God, excruciating!
Hearing “lite” FM

They didn’t numb gums
Or teeth, but Jeez my poor brain
Went catatonic

“Easy listening”?
To rock ‘n’ roll ears that’s just
A big freakin’ lie

Molars, incisors,
Bicuspids all were agreed:
This music bites it

They thought I had lost
A filling. “No, music’s lost
“All feeling,” I said

“Please switch the station,”
I beg; they refuse, tell me
I should know the drill

Next time I’ll demand
Some Hendrix, or else I take
Hygienist hostage

Or maybe protest
Nonviolently, eat box
Of Oreos first

Or I will wimp out.
The mean hygienist, Flossy,
Always has me cowed

But please, just no more
Little River Band; how ’bout
Root canal instead?

Note: The “lite FM” station has changed formats, so on my recent dentist visit for the first time in memory I did not hear “Reminiscing” — and I didn’t miss it a bit.

I’m on vacation, redux

I wish I were on vacation, but I’m not. Instead, I’m posting this batch from a spring vacation. It’s followed by a pre-summer-vacation batch, and then six batches from a July vacation in Southern California.

From March 30:

“Boo hoo, no haiku,”
A friend writes. “So what’s the deal?”
I’m on vacation!

I’m on vacation
But going nowhere real fast
Kinda like working!

I’m on vacation
All of me, not just my brain
Which checked out years back

As the Ramones say,
I’ll have to tell ’em I got
No cerebellum

I’m on vacation
But I did go to Borders
Discounting good sense

My home’s already
Crammed full of unread volumes
Begging to be cracked

My CD shelves sag
With rock ‘n’ roll, classical
And, yes, all that jazz

But could I resist
Borders’ zombie siren song?
You know the answer

Borders closeout sale
Books on everything except
How to walk away

“Famous Last Words” book:
Jeez, if I can’t top these quotes
Pray I die silent

Doctor Laura’s book
“Stop Whining and Start Living”
You go first, “Doctor”

And for just 5 bucks
“A Short History of the World”
Nah, not short enough

Man, it’s depressing
It seems that the only “Glee”
Is in the CDs

Borders closeout sale
87 copies of
“Essential Yanni”

Borders closeout sale
Punk prices rule! 5 bucks for
“Rocket to Russia”

One section does seem
Alphabetized: ZZ Top
Follows Vivaldi

Elsewhere, Fogerty
Meets Manilow, but what will
They sing? “Proud Copa”?

In another row
Britney, next to Placido,
Hits a high G string

Borders closeout sale
“Blue Kentucky Girl” real cheap
Makes me not so blue

R.E.M.’s right: End
Of the world as we know it.
And I feel a sigh

I’m on vacation
Giving further proof: A mind’s
A terrible thing

No moss haiku, part 1

Bill Wyman’s birthday yesterday makes this as good a time as any to get some past Stones stuff onto the blog. From Mick’s birthday, July 26, 2011.

Happy birthday, Mick
68 years of big lips,
Those skinny-ass hips

The rolling-est Stone
Fronting THE rock ‘n’ roll band
Nearly five decades

For generations
He symbolized rebellion
But was he that wild?

Born in Dartford, Kent
Dad Basil and mum Eva
Teacher, hairdresser

Sang in church choir
Guess he learned sympathy for
The devil later

But Mick, Keith Richards
Were school chums early, got back
Together later

Chance train stop meeting
Joint love for Muddy and Chuck
Glimmer Twins were born

Keith, Brian Jones planned
A band; Mick kept up
London School studies

But the music won
What’s a bachelor’s degree
Versus world conquest?

Mick and Keith, wedded
For life, like rhythm and blues
Yeah, like rock ’n’ roll

Mick said he was just
“This guy from suburbia
“Who plays in this band”

But he had the look,
Strut and swagger to make him
Rebel No. 1

And he had the band
To mine the grooves, much longer
And so much deeper

“The Last Time”: first time
They wrote a No. 1 hit
It wasn’t the last

No stopping the Stones
They played with fire, tears went by
No satisfaction

His cloud and his thumb
Flash, shelter and street fighting,
Women, wild horses

The music’s menace
Took shape and then came to life
A little too real

The suburban boy
Grew up fast in the spotlight
Brian dead, fans killed

Drug charges, tax bills
Women troubles multiplied
But the band played on

Killer albums all
For years on end, and the best
Came while in exile

Forty albums, give
Or take, hits beyond counting
Across the eras

Glam rock and disco
Country, punk, soul, but always
Back to R&B

He played the celeb
Better and worse, married twice
Seven kids all told

But for all his wealth
You know he couldn’t always
Get what he wanted

“Sir Michael Jagger”
Knighted by the Queen, caught some
Grief from Keith for that

Star turns with Tina
Vamping with Bowie, singing
With Michael Jackson

Stones’ output slowed down
But tours still broke all records
Fans’ hunger untamed

Mick just keeps rolling
Shaking it on the Grammys
Forming a new group

And there should be more
Music from the Stones, the itch
Mick still has to scratch

Happy birthday Mick
Thanks for being you, helping
Us get what we need


Gilda Radner’s Mick tribute and Patti Smith send-up: “Gimme Mick”

No moss haiku, part 2

Bill Wyman’s birthday yesterday makes it as good a time as any to get some earlier Stones stuff onto the blog. These are from Charlie Watts’ 70th birthday, June 2, 2011. I know nothing about playing the drums, but I always thought Charlie was the perfect drummer for the Rolling Stones — flexible, solid, content to be in the background. And he always seemed to have some sort of cool jazz or blues project going on the side.

Haiku powered by Charlie’s wattage

Today’s the birthday
Of Charlie Watts, Stones’ drummer
Renaissance beat man

Rock traces its roots
To folk, country, mostly blues
But how about jazz?

Jazz caught Charlie’s ear
“Flamingo” and “Walkin’ Shoes”
He lusted for drums

Before his first kit
He hacked off a banjo’s neck
Drummed on its body

Soon he played skiffle
‘Round London street corners, joined
Alexis Korner

Keith and Mick showed up
Blues Incorporated group
Morphed into the Stones

Whatever a song
Needed, Charlie knew the beat
Time was on his side

The Stones, the rolling
Circus, creative chaos
Charlie was the rock

Pick any Stones hit
Listen to Charlie’s drumming
It will be just right

For instance, it’s there
On “19th Nervous Breakdown”:
Sticks, cymbals, big toms

He didn’t forget
His first love, either, once formed
A jazz orchestra

Boogie-woogie lived,
Too, in his great pickup group
Rocket 88

With Stones and without,
He’s played it all, and he marks
One more year on time

And on “Moonlight Mile”
Charlie Watts proved he drums to
A different dancer