On Music

why do you use those fallen angels
why do you take them there
whatta we need with fallen angels
whatta we even care

Need an article on contemporary music. Ben Myers is too busy; his record label, book publishing company, his new book being released, bunch of other stuff. Matthew Coleman prefers older music. Adelle is busy writing a novel, and final exams for MFA. So…knowing nothing about contemporary music, decided to write an article myself. It all started with Chuck Berry, and Elvis, and Buddy Holly; but really it was Chuck Berry. Ask anybody.

For me it was this kid Lukie, giving me a copy of the Stones first live album. “Listen to it” he says “you’ll like it.” Yeah well, changed my life…forever. My sister and I used to save pennies to buy a three or four dollar album, maybe The Association’s greatest hits, or John Davidson covering popular songs. Not bad. For thirty-nine cent you could get a 45 of somebody covering radio hits. Being poor aint nothing like you rich fuckers. Things like that are really special to poor kids, get all excited about it. I think I still have a bunch of those 45’s in the basement, if the cat hasn’t pissed on ‘em. But none of that was anything like the Stones live album. Man that’s bluesy gutty punk ass rock ‘n roll, like Love in Vain. And that kid just walked up and handed it to me, like that.

I once took Lukie up to Minnesota to see a band called Crank. They were great. I’d drive all over hell to see them play at some little town bar, packed with a bunch of little town kids stoned out of their minds. On the way to Minnesota, Lukie wanted to stop in Southridge to pick up his girlfriend Angela. They lived together in a little gingerbread house in an alley, back home. Like somebody’d fixed up a little garage all nice and neat to rent out to kids as a place to live.

He’s still wearing that long scarf around his neck like Mick Jagger on the back cover of the album. She’s naked in bed with this asshole Brad Benner, in a sleazy cheap apartment in some old run down house. Lukie begged and begged her to come with. Finally I told him to just forget it. Too bad, Angela was such a gorgeous bitch, tall skinny blonde looked like a model or a movie star. Wish she’d a come with us.

Don’t know what I regret more, Lukie finding his girlfriend like that, or me never getting naked in bed with Angela. Her brother was a great big stoner kid, so quiet. I don’t think I ever heard him say anything. He drowned up at the lake one summer. Sixteen years old. Life is so sad, and I don’t want it to be. Want it to be like calling up the prettiest girl in town. Your hands shaking on the phone; and she so soft, smells so nice. Holding her, everything you ever want in life.

So…we go up to Minnesota to see the band. Lukie never says anything. Give him a hit of acid to ease the pain. As far as I know, the show was pretty good too. Funny thing about acid, people get real loose and spacey, shuttery eyed. I get straight, it’s the only time I actually feel right, peaceful, wild, alive. Driving back home on the little country roads it’s so cold and black night. Then the temp hits the dewpoint. And if you took flying in high school like I did, you know you know you know, what that means. Fog. At the tops of the hills it’s clear, otherwise we’re sunk in a blanket of fog.

I’m doing ninety ‘cause I’m feeling so good. What are the odds that a farmer’s tractor or pickup truck would be out on the road at four in the am? I think we passed one going up hill. But what are the odds there’d be more than one? I dunno, Lukie never even says to slow down.

He lives a few blocks from me. Haven’t seen him in decades, he’s got Parkingson’s or something like that, but still arranges music for local rock bands. Sent a mental kid over to talk with him one time when I was a case worker; seemed like they had stuff in common. The kid got back to me later. “Did you know he was bald?” “Nah, haven’t seen him in ages.” “Did you know he was gay?” “Well, I’d heard that, but…like I said, haven’t seen him.” I dunno…if a young man can be an angel, then Lukie was one. And wuz is one of those shitty words too.

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