Lucky Buzz & the superstitious matter of guitar.
Let's slip outside the theater of reality for a moment to explore the absurdity of living within it. Stick with me here, then we'll get into the musical part of this newsletter.
. . . to live — fingers crossed with the guilt of being superstitious enough to not push Luck you don't believe-in anyway, although it thrives under that charming alias, because you both know its real name: Chaos. Too elemental as pure essence to even be a norm that merely shapes, chaos is the actual matter. It's why "What's the matter?" is sometimes answered "Nothing." — any further embellishment of a reason has no rationality — it's chaos! Another true reply to "What's the matter?" could also be "Everything." But, with that, the response is likely to be pitied for just being rational.
Some truths are so reasonable, there's simply no need to bring them up. Why push it?, I hypocritically say.
With my musical upbringing, it was a matter of other multiple-choices: relocations to where educational basics could freely come & go within living ellipses, without any comprehension of order — not just in the sense of Order as dissected by Chaos, but also that more relative way of sequence — skipping a rock across a pond, so to imagine:
. . . to fill in the rifts, as some might be tempted to try, finding one void just as empty as any other, mending can be haphazard — ventured after a wrong stumble right into a drop-off, crashing with a mispronounced word or blanked definition no matter how much guerrilla enlightenment you cling from — not a game of catch-up as much as tying down loose beginnings to open-ended conclusions that come to none . . .
for instance: reasoning out an instrument with instructions spaced years & counties apart.
In my case, particularly flimsy or physically chipboard, the guitar: begun with a Modesto babysitter who nurtured a few basic chords — dropped off at a Yuba-Sutter YMCA group class of staggered cluster-strumming — teenaged past Sierra Nevada jazzy private sessions that didn’t personally fit — followed into a remote Deep Gap of country-blues — occasionally anchored in Mel Bay — not too young for the Laurel Canyon folks — finger-tipped from Dust in the Wind — reared on familially fabled Kern Co. Teles — & later, schooled by peachy recordings of higher-string learning that chimed the remnants together into a crazy quilt, fashioning a sensory thread that seamed ole Chaos & bridged home-schooled refrain into a mutt medley of curious movement.
The guitar strings formed a wrist rocket & I settled-in as a projectile — shooting over a broken trajectory of the present-past divined from flight in overview as a stitched pattern leading anywhere to try to grasp-with — fingers crossed, knowing better but practiced secretly like a bad habit of an addictive dream — to live . . .
Speaking of luck, this post is also about a song called Lucky Buzz from an album entitled Since, released-yet-not by MCA in 1998.
The lyrics suggest that I was checking-in with myself. Thirty-two was the age of my first ciggy & second album.
The line I traveled was a torrid blacktop vision seeing itself through a heat dancing an inviting shimmer, waving while passing recognizable wrecks at their own dead-ends. I wasn't attached to a soul or scene, allowing the vast expanse of time to spread faster than I could keep up with. I wondered how long I could last. But, I'm no quitter — even when I should be.
Everything was, & still is, a burning guess, a delusional bluff or an outright hallucination some are lucky enough to have lived through.
A fine-tuning footnote: Ego's, mentioned in the song, was the name of a bar in the basement of an office building that had lounge chairs with wheels, allowing you to roll around like a bumper car on the dancefloor & spinout to a band playing in the corner until — as the world would also spin — inevitably spitting you out, dizzy with no cash left nor ego intact.
This live version of Lucky Buzz, recorded for a promotional CD that the record label didn't promote, was performed at Schuba's Tavern 8/28/98 right after the pedal steel player on this track (Eric Heywood) and I had finished our parts on Since but weren't done with ongoing shenanigans — because we were professional about everything we intended to either accomplish or reasonably destroy. I remember after this show we aimlessly buzzed around Chicago until stumbling upon breakfast as the sun rose like a fried egg over a lake of beer.
Lastly, for you guitar players, on this song I use one guitar with two capos — the first one at the fifth fret to secure the high E (becoming an A), then capo'd again at the 7th fret over the lower 5 strings, leaving the high string to either peal in unison or question what the upper capo is ringing on about. There are possibly easier ways to get this effect, but, as is my way, I went with my first knee-jerk instinct.