I know, my life is surrounded by music. I do radio in the morning and when I am doing things around the house I jam to Zac Brown Band or my favorite Reggae station on Pandora. But I really miss playing music. There was a time in my life when I went to band practice in a cool warehouse and we ran through our 45 minute set of originals 3 times, three times per week. We were tight. The guitars were heavy, the bass melodic, the percussion insane. We were a ‘musician’s band’. People used to come see us just to watch Denny Greco play the drums and to listen to all of our odd time signatures and changes. We dressed in bowling shirts, or all in red, or all in purple. We had super 8mm film projectors playing strange things, upside down lamps, a typing marionette that was beat to death with a golf club by Brian, the frontman. We were Phonetic Plumbing and it was 1994. Marilyn Manson was getting signed by Trent Reznor and Interscope/Nothing records and they had a signing show at the Plus Five Lounge in Davie, FL. The who’s who of the South Florida music scene was in attendance. I can’t remember who they were now, but back then I knew all of their faces, names and their music.
It was the height of the Seattle grunge scene and we were kind of on the outer fringe of that type of music – at first. Then we skewed even further out of that realm into something that was pretty crazy. My musical style was more blues and southern rock than the rest of the group, but I could chime in with a decent mix of the styles so it all worked out. We never did anything with our music. Honestly, there is so much I cannot remember from those days and it has nothing to do with drugs or drinking. We experimented with stuff, but we were serious about our goals and getting into real drugs was never on the menu. We did some cool stuff that, at the very least, was fun to listen to when we were all together – but nobody really cared when it came down to it. Our music had a niche audience that we never were able to reach. Common tale for many a band since bands were invented.
We got some music on the local radio – The Local Show – on 88.5 WKPX, which was Piper High School’s radio station. It was cool to hear our song on the radio. We’d try to request it as much as we could and make the list of most requested. In my previous band “Wood” we got to number one once, I think. I don’t remember that too much either. I do remember that we had to fire our bass player from that band. He was a good guy and was studying law. He was married with a young baby and of course the band was just a hobby, even if he shared our collective dream of getting signed. When we started to write more complicated music, he had a tough time keeping up. He was never a solid bass player when it came to keeping time, which is kind of important in the rhythm section. So I was elected to tell Mitch he was no longer in the band. I cried afterwards because that’s the kind of guy I am.
One day our frontman decided we should move to San Francisco. I wasn’t about to move to San Francisco. Such began a quick decline in the band’s future and overall relationships. Most of us have remained friends over the years and thanks to Facebook, still keep in relative touch. I miss playing music though. It was such a wonderful high and really got me through some tough times. I started playing A LOT of guitar when my life changed drastically when I was 18 and for years after, my guitar was an extension of myself. These days, that part of myself spends countless hours in my basement. That is a shame and I want to pick up the axe again and play. It has been so long that it is actually frustrating to play now.
It all started with a tuna sandwich and an unsweetened iced tea. Henry left his lunch on the picnic table outside in the office courtyard, he forgot his smokes at his desk and there was no way in Hell he was going to miss his after-lunch Marlboro. Henry lives for his simple pleasures: smokes, cocktails and sneaking in the supply closet with Lacy, the Boss’s Executive Assistant. Henry plays a little loose with his morals. “It’s fine,” he thinks to himself. “Twenty years as a Catholic will do that to ya.”
When he returned to the bench he was surprised to see a fox eating his lunch. “Get outta here dog!”, Henry shooed. Instead of fleeing into the safety of the nearby wood, the fox turned his sleek face and glared at Henry. “I’m not a dog, you ape!” Henry froze in fear and wonder. The fox maintained his eye contact as he continued to chew the tuna sandwich. “What’s the matter? Haven’t you ever had a conversation with a wild animal before?”, the fox confidently asked. “Um, not since college.”, Henry stammered. The fox laughed, pieces of tuna fell from his mouth onto the ground. He jumped down and quickly lapped up the tuna chunks. He reached out his front paws and dipped low, stretching his back. He shook his head quickly, licked around his mouth and with the grace of a cat, jumped up on the table to resume his meal. Henry just stared at the fox, internally questioning his own sanity. With his back to Henry, the fox continued, “So, you did a lot of drugs in college? Is that what you meant?” Henry widened his eyes and shook his head as though he just snapped out of a trance. “What? Yeah, um Yes.”, he was incredulous. “I mean no! I didn’t do drugs but that was what I meant.”, said Henry. The fox just grunted and sniffed the iced tea bottle.
“Hey. Wait, what’s your name anyway? My name is Lewis.”, the fox said, sitting back on his haunches. Henry blinked a few times, “Henry. Henry Jones.”, he said with a weak and cracking voice. “Oh, please say Junior, that would be too much for me to handle!”, the fox guffawed. “What?” Henry was getting angry. “Like Indiana Jones! Henry Jones Junior!”, the fox cackled, doing his finest Sean Connery impersonation. “You can talk AND you’re well-versed in 80’s pop culture?”, Henry yelled. The fox nudged the bottle of tea with his nose. “Hey Doctor Jones, can you open this tea for me, I don’t have any thumbs.” Henry cautiously glided over to the table, avoiding the chunks of sandwich the fox dropped on the ground. Henry opened the tea and slowly placed it on the table. With this right paw, the fox knocked over the bottle, the tea emptied out on the table, splashing between the planks onto the ground. The fox quickly lapped up the tea, his paws shook the wetness off instinctively while the tea continued to gurgle out of the bottle. Henry snapped up the bottle and twisted the cap back on. The fox looked at him with excitement, licking his paws and around his mouth. His head snapped back and forth from the tea on the table to Henry with the bottle. “Why did you do that?”, Henry protested. “What? Knock over the bottle to lap up the tea? I’m a fox, how the hell else would I do it? No thumbs, remember?”, the fox replied. “Well, you could have asked me to get you a bowl or something. More than half went to waste when it spilled on the ground.” Henry looked down and noticed the bread crusts from the sandwich. “I also find it interesting that you didn’t eat the crusts.” “Yeah, I don’t like the crust. Since I was a kit I’ve hated the crusts.”, the fox chortled. “So, who made you sandwiches when you were a kit?”, Henry asked. “Again, must I remind you that I am not a raccoon, so I don’t have need little hands.” quipped the fox. ” I’m a scavenger and a thief. I’ve been stealing food. I don’t like to kill for my meals.” He started licking his paws and then moved onto other parts of his body. Henry looked away uncomfortably. “Do you have to do that in front of me?” Henry whined. “Oh, my bad…” chuckled the fox, “…sometimes I forget my manners. The fox took his snout out from between his legs and started licking his paws again.
Henry stared in silent wonder at the fox as he cleaned his crimson fur. He could not believe that he had spent the last few minutes speaking with a wild animal. “So, you don’t kill?” Henry asked. “Nope. A buddy of mine still does and I hate it, but he’s a little closer to the wild than I am.” “Can he talk?” The fox sneezed, then yawned. “He can talk, but he chooses not to. That’s true with most animals.” Henry crinkled his brows and pushed his chin back into his neck. “Really? All animals can talk?” The fox sat back and scratched his ear with his hind leg. “Oh that’s better. Goddamn fleas. Most animals…For example, cats cannot talk. Well, they probably can, but those pompous assholes choose not to.” Henry laughed, “I hate cats too, that’s funny.”
The fox jumped down off the table and did his normal stretch. He trotted up next to Henry and sat down like a dog expecting a treat from his master. Henry went to pat him on the head, but the fox growled and snapped at his fingers. Henry pulled them back quickly and shouted, “Hey, what the hell?” “Henry, when you make a new human friend, what do you do?”, the fox asked in a monotone. “What?”, Henry gasped. The fox started scratching again as he attempted to clarify his question. “Would you pat your new friend on the head or would you shake his hand? People need to realize that when you pat us on the head it is really demeaning…and don’t give me the dog argument, because dogs don’t count. They’re brain-washed. Sorry do-mes-ti-cated. Little fools that live for that shit…petting and whatnot. Animals in the wild want a little more out of life than the excitement of hanging our heads out of the window of your SUV on the way to some manicured dog park.” Henry nodded his head, signaling that he understood the fox’s etiquette lesson.
Henry crouched down to the fox’s level and extended his hand, all the while making strong and sincere eye contact with the fox. “It was a real pleasure to meet you, sir. I hope you enjoyed my lunch and I would be honored if we could meet again sometime and discuss any topic that interests you.”, he said. The fox raised his paw and allowed Henry to take it in his hand. They shook. The fox then scurried off into the wood. Henry cleaned up the remains of the lunch he never got to eat. He lit his cigarette, sat down on the bench and smoked.
We’ve raised Zero dollars to produce #BottomFeeders
Yes, that is correct. However, we are not properly plugged into any kind of network that would have an opportunity to raise funds. I do know that my pursuit for investors has clearly outlined which people in my life believe in my goals and which ones see what I do as a fairy-tale waste of time. That’s quite alright in my book. I won’t hold a grudge, but I will also not smile and hug when things go well. I will not allow them to congratulate me and tell me they knew I could do it, because they really couldn’t care less.
So, What’s Next?
We are going to reschedule this production for next year. June/July of 2018. We will be mapping out our strategy and tackling it after the coming of the New Year. It will include crowdfunding and networking with people who have the means or connections to invest in a hilarious indie feature with a wonderfully talented cast. We have some other ideas up our sleeves that we will roll out soon enough.
We’ve all known a Wormtongue. This is the person you’ve known for years or it is someone you barely know. A friend you’ve hung onto over the years for whatever the reason. Maybe this person was part of your “old crew” from when you were in your freewheeling younger days and he or she reminds you of the time when you didn’t have such responsibilities. Who knows, but we all know a Wormtongue. What is a Wormtongue? OK, I will explain for those of you not versed in the J.R.R. Tolkien character.
Who or What is a Wormtongue?
The name itself hints at something undesirable. Worm-tongue? Gross! Who would want a slimy slithering tongue? Nobody I would want to be close with. It seems like someone with that name would be bad for me. Correct. In the story, Grima Wormtongue was the King’s right-hand man. His advisor and confidant. He advised him on everything from how he felt about his own children to the laws of the land. Grima was an important man in the court of the King. The only problem was, he was a corrupted man. He became a spy for the Wizard Saruman and facilitated the possession of King Theoden. He whispered spells in the King’s ear until the King was compromised. He aged unnaturally fast. He looked sickly and lost his zest for life, his love for family and his honor. (Spoiler) Grima Wormtongue was eventually tossed out of the court and Galdalf the Wizard reversed Saruman’s spell of possession.
Now, think of the people in your life. Do you know a manipulative and negative person who whispers things in your ear that make you less than you wish to be? It gets better, because this person may not be whispering in your ear, but in the ears of others. He or she may be spreading lies about you because of some strange desire to destroy you. Or for a more Machiavellian desire to be powerful. This person is a Wormtongue for many others and has chosen you to be the subject of his or her spells…destroying relationships…your reputation. This person may also be telling you things about others in your life. Pitting you against them so there is tension and angst. These are Wormtongue’s Elixir of Life.
What Can You Do With Your Own Personal Wormtongue?
The most successful way to “cast out” this demon of manipulation is to confront it head-on. If your network of friends or co-workers clues you into the hissings and whispers of this nasty individual, you must face the demon. Your Wormtongue might advise you to hire an ape on your film crew. Would you listen? Of course not, so why listen to other things – like when your Wormtongue talks smack about a friend or colleague? I have a friend who is a very good guy and has had some bad luck. He has a Wormtongue who is manipulating others against him. Hopefully he will adress this person head-on and cast this person out. Wormtongues destroy your soul. Cast out your Wormtongue.
Yes, I just finished The Alchemist, by Paulo Coelho. I don’t read anymore for so many reasons, so audiobooks are my thing. This one was narrated by Jeremy Irons! There is nothing like Scar from the Lion King reading you a bedtime story! I think my favorite part was when the Sun spoke with a Cockney-ish accent. So, holy carp man-bat!
So Fitz, What Did You Learn?
I knew this story before it unfolded. It was a lovely fable and very entertaining. Not sure if it was the writing, the reading or the wonderful mix of the two, but I loved it, despite it being predictable in places. The only reason why it was predictable to me is because I am very familiar with the concept that inspired the story. I read about it in Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill. I watched it in the documentary The Secret by Rhonda Byrne. Though the steps and explanations may vary, it is still the story of following your “Personal Legend”, or your “Burning Desire”, or your “intentions”. These stories attempt to teach you to listen to the Universe – your God – your heart – whichever speaks to you. In The Alchemist, the Shepherd Boy seeks a treasure he dreams of. He learns many lessons along the way, each one leading to a new adventure and a new lesson. He applies what he learns and advances to the next step. As the reader/listener, you can pull any shiny nugget of wisdom that speaks to you. I found a few nuggets.
My nugget is my own, my precious.
I don’t need to tell you what my nuggets are. Frankly, few of you want to see my nuggets, (wink wink) – neither would I if I were you. BUT – now that we’re on the same dirty page, follow me into the Hobbit hole. I know the Universe wants very much to align me with my dreams. I know this, I can feel this – but it’s not a guarantee. I know that I must accomplish things, learn new lessons and follow the language of the world (nature?). I know that the answers are on the wind, in the sun’s light and in nature around me. There is no way to quiet my mind and completely stop thought. I will try instead, to focus that thought on the language of the world which is love. Once I am one with love, I can be one with my goals. I know, it sounds like a bunch of crap I got from a story about a kid who talks to sheep and searches the world for wine and falls in love with the first girl he finds in the desert. I jest, of course. The point is that the fear of the failure is worse than the failure itself. The failure will provide a new path and I must follow that path to the next failure, until I can hear and understand the omens and learn where my treasure truly exists.
That was fun! Plus, I had a great workout and run today. I was chased by a bat. I had no idea Fairport, NY was bat country!