Sunday, January 30, 2011


Sometimes it's just so hard to choose. A wonderful, sunny 78 degrees and sand between our toes... or this
Well... the National Weather Service site pretty much says it all, as you can see. Our winter storm is on its way. If it's going to do it, it may as well be a doozie. None of this messin' around with a half inch of snow. Lets go for a foot! What the heck.

Monday evening (January 31st) weather update: we are now under a blizzard warning. Snow totals have been ramped up a bit, also. They are talking a foot to 15 inches just to our north... probably as close as Bolivar & Stockton Lake. High winds, very cold temps for the next few days. I'm still a bit skeptical about the snow totals, but who knows... They are saying that the snow really isn't going to kick in till early tomorrow morning, but we could see sleet and freezing rain after midnight. It's 10:30 now, it's drizzling, and the temperature is standing at 32 degrees. Tomorrow morning at 6:30, I don't want there to be any doubt as to whether or not I should even bother pulling the car out of the garage. Somehow, though, I don't think that's going to happen. Pam is over at the Manor with her mom... so she has to be out in this awful weather, dangit. And Debbie and Tracy are driving up from Durant tonight, right along the storm track.

Monday, January 24, 2011

The ravens and the lion...

Early Sunday morning... maybe 4:00 or so, I woke up from a dream. There was a fragment of it that was very intriguing to me, and so I made a point to remember it before I fell back to sleep. When I got up that morning, I wrote down the images that I had retained from it.

I was the observer of a small drama unfolding before me. I was in a desert-like place... (fairly barren and sandy, as much of it as I could see) and I was watching two ravens standing next to a burrow in the ground, which was maybe 10 inches across. They were waiting for small birds to come out of the hole, so they could eat them. Two robin-sized birds came out and perched themselves at the edge of the hole, across from the ravens, facing away from them. One of the ravens began to taunt the robins... and was jabbing them with its beak and pulling at their feathers. Just being a bully. At that point, a lion (yes... a regular, big lion) emerged from the hole, and started to walk away. I was wondering why he didn't do something about the ravens, but then he turned around and looked at me, and told me, without speaking "this is not my fight... and this isn't my concern". And then he was gone. A small sparrow hopped out of the burrow, and one of the ravens snatched it up in his beak and swallowed it whole. Then I woke up.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Friday Night At Cody's South...

Our band Sock Monkey will be playing at Cody's South this Friday night (January 21, 2011). Cody's is located in the Steeplechase Center at 1440 East Republic Road, Springfield. We will be kicking it off at around 8:00 or 8:15. Cody's has really good burgers & fries... come in for supper and stay for Sock Monkey! You'll have a great time... I promise.
And no... we don't have a new live recording coming out soon on cassette, that's just a cool looking promo that Rus put together. However, we will be going into the studio here in the next couple of weeks to record a few tunes! I can't wait! As soon as they are mixed down, we will post them on our website. Stay tuned... there's a lot coming up this year for Sock Monkey!

Snowy day in the Ozarks

This is the wintry view from my office window here in Ozark this morning. Most people are moving slow down 3rd Street today. It's one of those days when I think I would rather be home puttering around the house and sipping a cup of hot cocoa. Oh well...
In Springfield the snow didn't start falling till sometime overnight. When I got up at around 5:45 there was maybe an inch on the ground, but it has fallen steadily since then. They have quite a bit more to our north. Schools are closed all over the Ozarks today. It is pretty.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

A really good night

Compared to some people, I really haven't been to that many concerts. As I've mentioned before, when I was younger, the opportunities to see any touring rock shows were few and far between. But over the years, I have had the good fortune to be present for a few really amazing concert experiences. And one of the coolest of those came on June 19th, 1985. I was backstage at Red Rocks Amphitheatre in Denver, for a stellar evening of blues with Albert King, BB King and Stevie Ray Vaughan.

In the mid '80s when we were living in Colorado Springs, our band had a road manager named Jerry Pope. We met Jerry several years earlier while playing at the Sheraton in Bossier City, Louisiana, and became friends. Jerry was a good guy... a big, laid back, former pro football player, who cultivated friendships with a number musicians and managers and support personnel in the music business, mainly in the South. One of those friendships was with a lady who was "dating" the legendary blues guitarist BB King. I don't know all of the details of their relationship, but from what I can recall, BB King leased his tour busses from her, and she and BB were "very close". She knew that Jerry Pope was living in Colorado at the time, and let him know that she could get backstage passes for him, for the upcoming show at Red Rocks. He asked if the guys in our band could go also. She said no problem.
On the afternoon of the show, Ron Wesley & I, along with our good friend Jon Kennedy and his buddy Kelly Winters, piled into Jon's car and headed for Denver. We followed Jerry in his car to the hotel where BB King was staying. A few minutes after pulling into the hotel parking lot, Jerry appeared with the passes and said... "BB is just about to leave for the show... we have to follow his limo to the venue so we can park backstage. If you lose him, you're on your own". As soon as the limo pulled out, it was like Mr. Toad's Wild Ride... trying to keep up with BB's car in 75 MPH traffic across south Denver, to Morrison, about 30 miles to the west. When we arrived at Red Rocks we were directed to the backstage parking area where the tour busses park. Albert King was almost to the end of his set when we made our way to the backstage area, stage right. Being in the midst of all that was like a dream come true. I loved every minute of it! The only thing that would have made it better, is if we had been there to play. Looking out at that huge crowd from the edge of the stage was absolutely thrilling. BB King put on a great show that night, and afterwards, I got to meet the man. I shook his hand and told him how honored I was to meet him. He was just as he had always appeared to be... patient and gracious, and larger than life.

And then came Stevie Ray Vaughan and Double Trouble...

I stood in the wings of the stage and watched as he ripped through two hours of blistering rocked-up blues. Texas Flood... Love Struck Baby... Pride and Joy... Look At Little Sister... Change It... and stunning versions of Hendrix' Little Wing and Voodoo Chile (Slight Return). You have to be kind of a musical equipment geek to appreciate this part, but his guitar tech was set up right next to where we were, stage right, and I can remember looking at him at one point in the show and he was tuning one of Stevie's guitars. Not just any guitar... this was #1, The First Wife, Stevie's famous, beat up old sunburst Strat. And I thought to myself, this can't be real, here I am standing less than 4 feet from this legendary guitar, and I look to the stage, and Stevie turns around to his Marshall stacks and kicks the plexiglass sound screens to one side so he could hear himself better, I'm guessing. And it is loud. Yup, this is real. The whole night was just amazing. When the show was over, and the crowd was filtering out of the stands, and the roadies had begun to pack everything away, I walked cautionsly out onto the stage, behind Chris Layton's drumset and stood there for a moment taking in the sight. That was a good night. A very good night.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011


Thanksgiving day we were at my brother's house, and we started talking about all the concerts we have been to over the years... the first one, our favorites. It was fun hearing about all of those memorable shows.

The first concert I can recall going to was Buddy Rich and his Big Band, playing at (of all places) Cabool, Missouri High School. I'm pretty sure it was in the winter of 1972-73; my first year of junior high band. It was actually a pretty big deal to be able to see such a huge name performer so close to home, in rural southern Missouri. From what I can remember of it, it was an excellent concert. The band was the best of the best in the contemporary jazz world, and Buddy, of course, just brought the house down with his drumming. I'm glad that I got the opportunity to hear him play live, but honestly, as a drummer, he was on another planet. Jazz and swing is great, but Rock 'n Roll was the music that I wanted to be a part of!

Living in West Plains, Missouri, we didn't get very many chances to see touring bands. You had to travel at least 100 miles, to Springfield, or Little Rock, Memphis, Kansas City or St. Louis. That just didn't come along very often. But I got my first chance in the summer of 1974, when I was 15 years old. In early June of that year they started showing ads on the Springfield TV stations for the Winter Holiday Jam, with headliners Rick Derringer and the Edgar Winter Group. I was a fan of Edgar Winter, and had their latest album They Only Come Out At Night, and Rick Derringer's All American Boy, so I was excited to know they would be playing in Southwest Missouri! I felt like the time was right to ask Mom & Dad if I could go. They said yes.
My good friend Greg Lowe asked his grandparents, who lived in Springfield, to get tickets for us. I can just imagine Greg's grandma Lipscomb walking into Kaleidoscope (back then it was a record store and head shop) and asking for two tickets to the big rock & roll show coming to town.
When the day arrived, July 6th, Dad drove Greg and I up to Springfield. He dropped us off at the entrance to the fairgrounds, with a stern warning, I'm sure, to behave ourselves, and instructions on where and when to meet him, once the show was over. The concert was held at the Fairgrounds Motor Speedway, on the north side of the city. Walking through those gates, wading through the crowds of young people everywhere and seeing that huge stage for the first time was an awesome experience. The sights and sounds (and aromas) of that day will always be fondly remembered. The show began with a local R&B/funk horn band called Granny's Bathwater, followed by the band Poco. Poco put on a good, rousing performance. The band included bass player Timothy B. Schmit, who would go on to join the Eagles a few year later. I remember their closing number... the pedal steel player, Rusty Young, had his pedal steel down on its side at the edge of this 20 foot high stage, just playing the fool out of it. It sounded like a distorted, crazy slide guitar solo. It was good. Then Came the headliner, The Edgar Winter Group. They opened the show with Free Ride, and went from there playing most of the tunes off of their last two albums, including Frankenstein... Edgar yelled to the audience "are you ready for the monster?!" In the middle of the show, Rick Derringer did about 30 minutes worth of material from his various albums, also. It was a very good "first" concert, and quite an eye-opening experience.
In the two photos above, I've got my ticket stub from the concert... and the print copy is from the December 6th, 1973 edition of Rolling Stone Magazine, announcing the kick-off of the Edgar Winter Group's tour in support of the album They Only Come Out At Night.