Number 21 – You Wanna Come With Me?

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Close Your Eyes, 
You’ll See…

When I started this book 100 days before the 2015 Tahoe Concert, I can think of a 100 things going at the time, and even over the course of the past few years, that helped this one climb up my list…

 I don’t expect this one to be much higher than 82 on anyone else’s list, but for me personally, it gives me a message,
and something that I continue to strive for
.

Whether it was Police violence, or a group of people using someone else’s valid plight against brutality, as their own excuse to loot and riot without a cause, it makes one question what’s really going on.

Or, whether it was a group of gun hungry banshees, rallying around a millionaire rancher against a very small group of government workers ordered to confiscate property by the District Supreme Court. Whether it be these same self titled “Militia”, who took up arms against Americans with families, and bullied their very young children in school, or whether it be about the seemingly new reprisal of racial tensions in the country, or the plight of the homeless in my hometown where police destroy their only habitat, because some don’t like them walking by their street to get to their tents along the bank of the river, all  because it invades their comfort zone, a lot has happened over the course of a few years time, that keep this one up on high for me.

I like to consider myself an excellent judge of character. I like to trust, rather than not. 9 times out of 10, I’m gonna’ offer someone my assistance, where others won’t. However, with that said, that doesn’t mean I haven’t been wrong many, many times… Still, I’m gonna’ give someone who I don’t know, the benefit of the doubt every single time, at least twice. I believe strongly in 2nd chances. I believe strongly in innocence. I believe strongly in learning a man’s story before casting judgment. I’m not saying I’m immune to judging. I’ll admit upfront we all do it every single day.

There’s a saying I use often that helps me justify my thoughts, or even actions in a way of disapproval, resulting in a negative opinion of others; “I’m not judging, I’m just forming a pretty damn good opinion based on the information your putting out there”’, and there’s the one I learned from my own kids; “hey, don’t judge me for judging”. The truth is, we all do it on a daily basis, whether we realize it or not. I think the key though, is to do exactly that; realize it. And then ask yourself; was that fair, what do you really know about these people?

We’ve all seen “The People of Wal-Mart” pictures and videos, and we’re all guilty of negative reactions to them, but how many of us stop and ask ourselves; “Does she have a thyroid issue?” “are those the only clothes he owns?” “Is she that big, because frankly the food that is good for her, is out of her budget?” Or any number of legitimate reasons for people’s plights?

I’m not trying to bleed your heart all over the floor here, just asking how much we really know about others’ conditions. I’m also not trying to say that maybe they didn’t necessarily  put themselves in these situations by making bad choices, but I’m asking for some to realize that we don’t all get the same decisions, same choices in life to make.

In this country alone, not to mention so many others, religion plays a role as in the Angels that we all need, but also plays the Devil’s hand with the hypocrisy many exude. So, I ask the question; how would the world look, if we could not see? How would we react to what some may look like, or even act like at times, if we weren’t capable of forming an opinion visually?

Truth is, we do have eyes, most of us anyway, so back to the choices people make… do we choose to judge without knowledge? Or do we choose to trust first? The reality is it’s usually somewhere in the middle, at least I hope so. However, if you’re still at one extreme or the other, you may want to ask a Blind Man about what he can help you perceive… He might just teach you something.

Then again, with all that said, let’s look at the simple idea, of just taking another look at who, and what you got in life. Instead of seeing what’s wrong with your relationships, try to take a look at what’s right in your relationship. This is another lesson I personally continue to learn on an almost everyday basis. For a man who tends to create a lot of his own issues and problems in life, it’s a really good idea, to look at your partner in life, and instead of asking what the hell is wrong, It’s sometimes a lot better to ask yourself; what the hell is right…  In my case, I’m damn glad she was blind to so many things, and eyes wide open to others…

The song was written in ’94 by Steven and Joe, and Taylor Rhodes, as a new track for another compilation album. And in my humble opinion, if I’m gonna’ listen to ballad, this might be at the top of my list on any given day. Obviously it was as low as 82 a few years back. It’s probably not a song you’ll ever hear live again, as it seems to have been retired from any potential set lists since the GAG tour.

Although we see this song as a message of looking for the good in people when they may not show it, it can easily be turned around, and give you the usually very hard lesson to learn in life, being that not all that looks rosy is rosy. Don’t be gullible; don’t be blind to those that would just assume see you fall. So again, we have Steven “The Master Contrarian”, in such an upbeat, and fun way, asking you to just take a look through a different pair of sunglasses.

Joey admits that video for the song directed by Callner is his least favorite overall, but I have to say, if you can get Pamela Anderson in for a cameo, it can’t be all bad, besides it does really look like at least Steven’s having a good time.

Some have said it has a lot do with being sober after such a long period of dependency, that Steven sees things, not before seen. I don’t know if it’s that simple. There’s another story floating around that the idea for the song came from a guy who had a really bad car accident. The guy’s vision was really bad shape, who happened to know a lawyer for Aerosmith, and because of his own troubles from the accident, he was able to help this lawyer who was going through some tough times of his own, and as a result of the lawyer coming out okay, the attorney gave Steven the idea for the lyrics. True or not, it makes for a good story.

Allmusic.com confuses me a bit in their review of the song, starting it off as not such a good review, but then giving 4 out five stars? “A let down after many great songs, “Blind Man” never really captures the mood it’s trying to get and seems like Aerosmith was trying to copy their success of “Amazing”. That being said, it ain’t too bad of a song and the lyrics; “Until I met a blind man, who taught me how to see”, always find a way to please my ears. 4/5

Indulge me in what might be your #82, as the ballad I’d rather hear over IDWMAT any day of the week….

“I took a course in Hallelujah 
I went to night school for de blues 
I took some stuff they said would cool ya… hea ha 
But nothing seemed to light my fuse 

But it’s all in the past 
Like a check that’s in the mail 
She was a tall whiskey glass 
I was an old hound dog 
That just loved to chase his tail…”

This is; “Blind Man”

Number 20 – I’m Really Not That Choosy…

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I won’t be choosy
long as I get a view of a bloozy

Still has enough heart to be in the Top 20.

Take me back to Bennett Valley (Santa Rosa, CA)… 1976 (like I said earlier, this was my discovery year).  My, soon to be Step Brother Ronnie, who lived in an apartment with his brother Kenny, down on Maher Dr., across Yulupa Dr. from where I lived with my dad (at the time), two of my sisters, and a brother, in the “Bennett Valley Apartments“. There are a few people who might remember these days, and maybe even my early obsession with the Boys from Boston. You know who you are…

Ronnie introduced me to a sound… a “feel”, that was so uniquely American, so Rock N Roll, so raw, so fresh… this wasn’t the delta sounds of CCR, or the now very commonly known, sounds of Southern Rock, or the British tribute to the blues sounds of Zeppelin, or the Stones, nor was it the beautiful harmonies, yet wimpy sounds of The Eagles, or the wholesome sounds of the Doobies. This was new! It had an edge! It was “real” in every sense of the word!

It was energy in sound! Only AC/DC at the time had the same consistent edge, but these guys had meaning, and more fluid talent, with the lyrical genius of a Jagger and Richards, and the audacious and unrestrained energy of The Who, yet as American as anyone could wish it to be. It was a blend of all of the above with a little bluegrass, and funk, and soul thrown all together to make a sound so very different. This was not the ‘gimmick rock” of the age. This was not Gary Glitterer, or David Bowie, this was not KISS in full make up, or the New York Dolls. This was; “In Your Face”, “Take it, or Fucking Leave it” Rock n Roll! This was Aerosmith!

I would visit Ronnie quite a bit in the summer before my 10th grade year at Montgomery High School, my 1st year in Santa Rosa. Once again without a clue, in my short life already, of who my friends were going to be, or where I would fit in, and once again needing to prove myself to new people that I not only didn’t know, but for the most part, didn’t give two shits about knowing either… at least not yet anyway. You move 11 times in 14 years, two states, and 6 cities, and be the new kid in town / school 5 times between your 1st year in Junior High and your 1st year in High School, you kinda’ learn to just go with the flow.

With teenage adrenaline, and hormones flowing, you can’t help but search for something that is relatable, identifiable. I didn’t go looking for this band, in fact they weren’t that frickin’ popular out here in the west. But These Guys… These Guys spoke to me! And Ronnie helped translate what they were saying. Lot’s of pot, good pot! Lot’s of beer and whiskey, and other things that I won’t get into, created a definition of understanding that was not just “Sex, Drugs, and Rock n Roll”… but it certainly was the first chapter of The Handbook of my life, with a full dose of those three, just for good measure.

This song is deep with me, not only because it’s one of my first 5 real discoveries of the band, but the relation to it was spot on. As I was saying earlier, a 14 year old kid, who not only needed some friends in another new town, but damn… a girlfriend would be cool too! Someone who had a bit of floozy, but who could also stand up… I also knew, even way back then, that I would not be an easy guy to be with. A very complicated boy, who could never define the differences between need, and desire, and want, and satisfaction, yet very simplistic in what appeals to him.

Something many, many girls would find out along the way… and something very few among them would be willing to understand.

It’s weird in a way… a desire to have love, but then, “leave me the fuck alone!” Someone who would be cool enough to be happy with “what is”, rather than want something “that isn’t”. Unknown to me at the time, but then again… absolutely known, I was gonna’ lead a new life from these years forward.

No more silver spoons, only “sporks”. No more nice dishes, just paper plates, or the dishes someone was getting rid of because they were broken or chipped, and nothing matched. No more new clothes, no more new shoes, no more dental check ups, no more doctor’s appointments. There wasn’t gonna be any car daddy would buy. Hell, there wasn’t even any bread that daddy bought. Picked up on one side of the tracks, and dropped off on the other, and I certainly wouldn’t mind if I found a girl of the same background.

In a matter of months, I would find out what it truly means to be alone. Alone at 15 years old… It would be cool to meet some friends made of the same “steel” too, and a woman who could handle the road I would follow. It would take another 15 years to know her, and maybe another 15 years after that to realize I had already found her.

This song was supposed to be a hit in ’73. It was put out, as the B side single, opposite of “Dream On”. Who knew? Written by Tyler, and Steven Emsack, who was a friend of Tyler’s back in his days with William Proud, also one of Aerosmith’s 1st roadies.

John Mellencamp’s “I Need a Lover” is kind of written in the same vain as this one. Maybe that’s why I liked that one so much also. Such an upbeat song, the song is sung from someone who is so alone, yet not at all lonely. He knows who, and what he wants, but not in the sense of wanting too much.

One of my first favorites! That early backbeat Aerosmith rhythm with dueling guitars, and a raspy personal voice. A voice that sings WITH the guitar, on the guitar.

Wiki says ; “they haven’t played this song since 1988, but that’s not true, it was played on the “Get A Grip Tour” in 1993-1995. But I also know they played 102 different songs on that tour, and it was by far the best concert I’ve ever seen in my life! Although I did get to see a few of my other Top 20 favorite songs during that tour, along with the first known live performance of “Stop Messin’ Round”, but alas, I didn’t hear this.

Brad, when interviewed by rockcellarmagazine.com for the “Rock For The Rising Sun Tour” was asked; Which songs from their early career he would like to play? His answer;
“Yeah, there’s some. We talk about those kinds of things, but we still haven’t pulled them out of the freezer yet (laughing). We play the song “Somebody” from our first album. We always do it in rehearsal and it just kicks ass! But it never makes it to the stage. I think we’ll continue to pull out more obscure songs because it’s a lot of fun to play them. But a lot of times it’s difficult because you go; ‘Oh my god, I haven’t played that one in awhile, how does that one go? (laughing)…”

I hope they remember how this one goes. My life just may be complete if I see this one live before I leave this earth… (As if there’s another earth?)

If you’re an old soldier of The Blue Army, if you are of the ilk of Blue Army, whether you are 63, or 24, this one starts my Top 20. This is the boys from New Hampsha’! This is the boys from 1325! This is Nipmuc High School! This is the band and the beginnings, the infancy of the greatest rock n roll band in history!

I sure hope you like this one…

Enjoy the studio version, really is the best anyway.

“Good Lord send me… good Lord mend me
Send me down someone for me
Said I won’t be choosy, you could send me a floozy
Send me anybody ya please…”

This is; “Somebody”

Number 19 – Just try and Chill…

Pump-cover

The song is close to the vest for me, for many reasons…

Besides the cool laid-back melodies that ultimately explode into raw aggression, with that so very Aero sound, it’s also a tool that I’ve tried to use within times of my life, in order to not fall to far.
That doesn’t mean that I didn’t fall pretty fucking far and hard anyway…

This is the part of the list, where many may not agree, but there are always reasons for people’s favorites. Mine vary from reasons such as just plain loving a song with its perfect melodies and lyrics, to having a bearing on my life.

Utimateclassicrock.com, along with others that don’t necessarily need to be named right now, actually didn’t have too many kind things to say about the album, and even less about this particular song. In fact, out of the 10 songs ranked on the album, the afore-mentioned Classic Rock website ranks it the 2nd worst on the entire album. Whatever guys…. Personally, I guess I’m just a sucker for life lessons, catchy riffs, and awesome harmonica. Maybe not so much life lessons “to be” learned, as much as life lessons learned in parallel…

1989 was a good year for the boys from Lake Sunapee. Not that we should ever look at rock n roll as competition, but it just is by its nature, an adrenaline filled, hormone driving competition.

At the time, groups like Motley Crue and Poison were doing their best, to be the best. But wait a minute! These old dudes from Boston said; “Just watch and learn boys”… And of course the awards were there to back it up. They came out with their 2nd best selling album of their careers, and the best album of the year. So, I’m never quite sure what “some” of these so called “critics” expect or are looking for with this band.

For me though, the song I’m introducing here really started to hit me in the early to mid 90s. So much was going on at the time. America was coming out of its own “In Excess is Best” personality. In excess of everything, whether it was hair mousse or pastel Madonna style scarves, and bootie socks, or the guys with multiple polo shirts and skinny leather ties. Everything in the 80s was over the top, cars, drugs, everything! Catch an Episode of Miami Vice and you’ll surely get my point.

However in the 90s, it was all about trying to hold onto whatever you had, and there always seemed to be someone waiting to shoot you down. In work, in school, in society in general, everyone was looking for the crack in the armor to squeeze through, and if that meant taking some one else down in their pursuit of another ladder rung, so be it. This is where the phrase “Yuppies” really started to take off.  The phrase started in the 80s, but blossomed into what it really was in the early 90s.

But this album would prove to be way more than just the innuendos, and yes they are certainly there… Perhaps bigger, and more direct than ever… But the lyrics in this album along with new sounds, which were a lot less “poppy” than Vacation was (Thank you Joe!!!), this album brought back the “rawness“, the edge that is Aerosmith. It’s amazing what coming clean can do, and it’s amazing what Joe does when he is allowed to just play.

Rolling Stone wrote; “Aerosmith is still the reigning king of the hard-rock double entendre…”

The 90s were full of people who were just in it for the quick buck. Not a lot of substance, it was more about seizing opportunities than it was about being qualified. We saw this in Corporate America everywhere, we saw it in the housing boom of the later 90s, everywhere you turned John was trying to get one over on Jack. It was easy to get mad at people at the time. It was easy to have a little animosity towards some who slithered their way ahead. The trouble was, also during the same time period, things like digital paper trails were forming. This was the beginning of the phrase “Politically Correct”, saying things that were socially acceptable, rather than saying what you really felt, saying something that would not, or could not be held against you later, because someone has a copy of it somewhere, or even more slithery, a “screenshot”

Funny too, here we are in 2016, in the middle of maybe the most disturbing Presidential Race in the history of our country, and the Frontrunner is campaigning on the fact that he is not “Politically Correct”, but is as much a snake as anyone can ever be, threatening lawsuits left and right, because someone said something, and there’s a digital copy of it somewhere…

But I digress; The 90’s were a time when people regularly tripped over their own tongues, only to be recorded in a conference room. And sometimes that trip turned into quite the fall. It was a time when Paparazzi was really becoming more than just the National Enquirer. People would pay to see you fail!

When I first started relating to this song, there was a tremendous amount of turmoil in my own life. Lot’s of backstabbing, not only corporate wise, but also within family. To make matters even worse, there was “Family Corporate” backstabbing… my own family kicking me off the corporate ladder, just to appease. There was family hierarchy backstabbing, just to claim favor. There was financial and real estate conniving behind closed doors, just for sole purpose of accumulating dollars that were earned by others.

In a quote out of Wiki, the kid gets it;
“Pump changed my life,” said Justin Hawkins of The Darkness“I’d been listening to bands like The Cult and The Mission and then discovered this album that was about “fucking” from beginning to end… It just blew me away.

And this song is about “Getting Fucked” and how to deal…

It was a very difficult time for some of us to not get angry. In fact many of us did, on a fairly regular basis. It’s my opinion that the 90s gave birth to the “I don’t give a fuck!” attitude that we have in America today. All the back stabbing and ladder climbing had a profound effect on the personality of this society of ours.

Joseph Kennedy is often credited with the phrase, in reference to politics; ‘Don’t waste your time getting mad, get elected, and then get even”. His point was to wait until the time is right, and then exact your revenge in a political way. Is it about getting revenge, or killing them with kindness? “Get Even”, like in balance, or doing damage in return? You tell me. Personally, I think it’s about finding an “even keel”, not that I ever refrained from revenge in my life. At times, especially back then, it was probably a driving force, more often than not. 

This where I get my interpretation of this song. Although Steven writes lyrics about ‘kicking ass’, I think the song is more about finding yourself a better way to deal. He writes about the snakes in society who will “roll you for a dime”, and he sings about how one’s indiscretions will come back on them, whether it be your own, or someone you trust. He’s telling you to be wary of sharks everywhere, and if you put down your guard, you’ll get jumped. But what do you do with that anger? “You got to be discreet”, or you’ll be tossed.

So, when you get angry, just try to get yourself to “even”, to “balance”, and karma will take care of the rest. This is a lesson in life, that I have truly tried to learn, but I’m still such a novice at it. I still have a lot trouble with it, and I’ve been schooled for years. When you’re someone who often speaks without much of a filter, you can often find yourself with your feet in concrete. However, I won’t sleep with the dogs, for fear of catching their fleas.

Sure, it’s relatable to a couple who cheats on each other, and for all I know, that’s probably the original message. In fact I’m sure it is. But for me, the girlfriend is those who you thought you could trust in life, lifting their skirts to get ahead, and if you end up on the street, or in the alley, well that’s just part of doing business for them.

I’ve heard this song described as “Swamp Blues”; maybe that’s a really good description of it. Maybe it’s even better described as “Aerosmith Original Raw Blooze”. This song takes me back to the 1st album. It takes me back to OWS and Movin’ Out, and maybe that’s a big reason why it makes my Top 20. Either way, the Tylerisms flow through this like water through a sieve. Joe’s twang and slicing riffs in this song cross from Bluegrass, to Funk, to Blues all in one song, for that so uniquely “Perry-esque” brand of Rock N Roll! Many try to copy, but there’s only one Joe “Fucking” Perry!

The hardest thing about going to an Aerosmith concert is, watching two Super Stars at the exact same time…

Joe says that;
“When we went to do this album, we knew what we wanted, we wanted to strip off a little fat we felt on our last one. We didn’t say ‘We need a drug song or a child abuse song,’ but when they fit, we used them. That’s Aerosmith: we aren’t bound by any rules.” 

Also from Wiki; that lack of rules lead to the instrumental interludes between the songs. The interludes were done with the collaboration of musician Randy Raine-Reusch, who was brought to the studio after Perry and Tyler visited his house to search for unusual instruments to employ.

On this song you’ll hear Randy’s “didgeridoo”… Okay everyone sing along this one’s fun!

“Ahh roll the dice get lucky, 
‘Cause they you for a dime…
You got nothing left to lose,
If ya only lose your mind…”

When pleasure that is shallow,
Gives you trouble that is deep,
You been dusted with the devil,
While he sweeps you off your feet…”

This is “Don’t Get Mad, Get Even”

 

Number 18 – Who’s Hungry?

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Wait… If I eat This,
Is It Gonna’ Make Me Sick?

If you don’t get it the 1st time, try again. The 1st time around, I admit it’s hard to follow, but damn this one’s good!
This one is Pure, This one is Rocks, This one is DTL, This one is Toys,
All grown up, and ready to kick ass!
You just gotta’ get it

 “Money can’t buy happiness”
The dumbass who said that, obviously didn’t know how to spend his/her money. Either that or, he/she was a Terminal Asshole…

The song I introduce at 18, takes a shot at some people who, because of their wealth, entitles them to look down on others. I’m not sure that people with money do this consciously though. It’s my thought that they either evolve to this kind of outlook by osmosis, or it’s hereditary. And I’m not saying that the majority of the wealthy do this at all. To be honest, I’m not even saying that wealth, in the sense of money, has anything to do with this type of outlook.

My thoughts the subject of the song, are that it comes more from a sort of “class disassociation”, than actual riches. By that I mean, it depends on what you do for a living, what you “would” do, what you “could” do for a living, What you would NOT do for a living, and how you look at others who would do, and are doing, what you wouldn’t do.

In my lifetime, I’ve been “unfortunate” enough to be in a family of “riches”, only to see it all taken away. I’ve seen, my whole life, the people who will welcome you, as long as you “have”, until you no longer do, and then stay away from you, and pretend they didn’t see you in the store, because what happened to you might just be contagious. I’ve made a living on both sides of the window, the side that “gives it out”, and the side that has to “take it”.

I’ve spent a large part of my life delivering meat and grocery items to the very small Mom & Pop stores of the Tenderloin, and Bayview districts of San Francisco, and what used to be East 14th, and even the Willow Park areas of Oakland before the Cypress Freeway came down in the ’89 quake, and the MacDonald & Barrett areas of Richmond, CA before the transformation. I’ve met, talked to, and had conversations with the lowest of the low, I’ve been welcomed, and I’ve been accosted. I’ve had conversation with the pushers and the hookers, the pimps, and the mothers and fathers. I’ve also spent time doing the same in Nob Hill,Menlo Park, Atherton, Woodside, Belvedere, Tibouron, Walnut Creek, Danville, Blackhawk, where btw; the same conversations weren’t often had. Not because of lack of effort on my part, but rather a ‘contagion’ that I might be carrying. At least that’s the obvious perception from the impression.

I’m not saying that the more affluent people aren’t real. I actually think they’re exactly that! It’s evident and obvious, it’s just, for the most part, it’s a reality that exists on a whole ‘nother level. Getting back to the distinction of class though, I don’t think it’s measured by dollars. Rather, I think it’s measured by hands. What have your hands touched? What are you willing to touch? Do you run for a wet-nap, after shaking hands? Do you wipe down the shopping basket? Did your mother do that? Your father? Your Grandmother? Did your parents die, or even go the hospital for catching the dreaded virus, “low-life disease”? Do whatever you want! Say you “don’t judge”…

I’ve seen very wealthy and clean cut men and women both, absolutely get their hands dirty. Whether that be a construction company owner, or an Interior designer getting into their work, and I’ve also seen the tatted up forklift driver, who won’t get off his lift to pick up 1 case that fell off the pallet, because he “Doesn’t do that”, that’s beneath him. I’ve seen longshoremen who try real hard to “look real hard”, but are soft as fuck, because they “do not do”. I’ve seen the guys who put on their weekend leathers, and show off their tattoos that still have color , and cut their sleeves off their shirts, to look like some kind of “bad ass”…  but they’re really just an “ass”, looking down on someone else, because they “don’t have”. So when people say do not judge wealth by money, but rather by the riches in your life, I can only say that riches are not often measured by beings or possessions, but by character.

I saw a story when I originally wrote this, sometime last year, in the morning on (I believe it was) KCRA news about a Parolee walking the neighborhood streets of an affluent neighborhood, and the absolute outrage on “How the state, the county, and city could let something like this happen in this kind of neighborhood”… WTF is the difference between your neighborhood and mine!!!???

When the homeless search your cans that you put out on the streets every Tuesday, do you immediately lock the doors, and call the police? If you see a man in tatters broken down on the side of the country road, do you just go home thinking “wow, bummer”, or do you stop and ask him if he needs some help? When you ask yourself what has happened to America, do you look to yourself for the answer? When you say; “I made my fortunes by making good decisions, and everyone has the ability to do the same”, are you willing to say that to the 14 year old homeless girl in the tenderloin, who ran away from home because she was constantly beat by her mother who was an alcoholic, or just had a bi-polar problem? What decision did she have at 10 or 5, when it first started?

The guys in this band are very, very wealthy, both financially and with character. They’ve gotten their hands dirty. They know where they came from, and never lost touch…

“Joe Perry and Steven Tyler of Aerosmith wrote this song with Jim Vallance, a Canadian songwriter who also co-wrote “Rag Doll” and “Young Lust.” They put the song together in Vallance’s basement studio. The jungle rhythm came about after Tyler started banging away on a keyboard. Perry came up with a guitar riff, and Valance added a guitar phrase. The song’s rhythms were played on Polynesian log drums. Six musicians were brought in to play them.” – Unknown

The “Intro” and song were the opening to the immensely successful “Get A Grip”, which also had four Top-40 tunes on it, and gave Aerosmith more play on mainstream radio, and of course MTV, before MTV forgot what their initials actually stood for.

This song has tremendous attitude about attitude! It’s loud, it’s angry, it’s a big “F*** YOU!” to so many. The sad part is those people really will never hear the message, and even if they hear it, they’ll think it’s for someone else.

When everyone is starving because a few have all the wealth, then the solution is obvious; eat the rich.

I am thoroughly convinced when I see the video below, some of the very best Aerosmith songs are when they just “LET JOE GO!” Steven starts us off in the intro with maybe, at least a good argument for, some of the best Tylerisms ever put down on tape, at a tempo that is reminiscent of Walk This Way, and he doesn’t stop there. He then lends voice as only he can do this good, into a whole ‘nother instrument within the song, rolling his rain forest calls into the wild.

The song’s lyrics are so fucking clever and to the point, with a razor sharp knife… and fork, that you can’t help but eat this stuff up. Tyler’s delivery on this song is exactly what the old Blue Army guys were always looking for through the 80s… Then we get Joey and Tom giving a tremendously strong bass, and percussion line… As strong as any song in their case! Thundering at times!

AND THEN Brad!!!! Just feeding off of Joe almost like identical twins, knowing where each other’s going before they get there…. But Joe!…  Fuckin’ Joe starts us off with a little WTW tease to bridge from “Intro” to the song, and then breaks into a frenzy of different licks, tying each one into his own precise, and yet varied fast paced melody, that seems to go all over the place, but with complete cool and control, always coming back around.

Absolutely one of the best J.’F’.P gems of all time! He cooks this fuckin’ song!

I sure hope you guys get off on this one as much as I do! There ain’t no Mercedes with “Pink” license plates in this one…

“I got all the answers and lo and behold 
You got the right key baby
But the wrong key hole yo…”

“And they’re dancin’ in the yacht club
With Muff and uncle Biff
But there’s one good thing that happens
A when you toss your pearls to swine
Their attitudes they may taste like shit
But go real good with wine…”

This is “Eat The Rich”

Number 17 – Sometimes Ya’ Just Gotta Say Shit! Just to Find Peace of Mind

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Sometimes real life gets in the way…
Sometimes all you want to do is lose touch with all that’s real

It’s tough livin’ like ya wanna’ when the landlord spats with his wife
and texts you; “ya got 60 days”
Because YOUR house, is HIS Dog House
Sometimes “The way I see it, ya’ gotta’ say Shit!”
Just to find peace of mind…

Where does one start with this one? This is really the song that made Aerosmith right here. It wasn’t ‘Dream On’, it wasn’t ‘Sweet Emotion’, and it wasn’t ‘Walk This Way’, or ‘Train’. It wasn’t even the song Steven and Joe thought would launch them, in Movin’ Out. This is the song that got Clive Davis’ attention. This is the song that got Leber and Krebs to really push the guys with Columbia, while Columbia was busy pushing and supporting Springsteen and BOC. This is the song that had the edge, the “Something Different” that would become their identity for the next 40+ years. It’s raw, it’s fresh (for the time), and it’s addictive.

Steven wrote the song, or at least had the idea for it before Aerosmith ever got together. He cops to stealing some chords from a Blodwyn Pig song called ‘See My Way’, for the main lick, he started scatting and the song was born. As Steven says in his book; “If Mick can say “oh we got Stray Cat Blues’ from ‘Heroin’ on Velvet Underground’s 1st album, I can cop to a little larceny…”
The song was also the first from the band, though certainly not the last, to use a curse word.

There are so many different interpretations, or meanings for the song. Most of which, people think it has to do with family, and never forgetting where you came from. I mean people even say the original lyrics were written “Sleepin’ late in Sunapee”. Personally, I’ve never read that with any credibility, so I kind of throw that right out the window, at least until I hear it from the source. Besides, another song on this album relates to family and home. And“Sleepin’ late and smokin’ tea” makes a hell of a lot more sense in ’’71, ‘72-’73.

Getting back to the double meanings though, that these guys have made their whole identity since day one, I’m sure that this song definitely relates to family and home, but Steven has said in the past that; “Mama Kin” is his idea of a spiritual force that drives his creativity and pleasure. “Keep in touch with Mama Kin” means remembering the desires that drive you to excel.

Steven also had a tattoo put on his left bicep with the words “Ma Kin” on it. Joe says it doesn’t say “Mama Kin” because Steven’s arm was too small to fit the two whole words.

In the early 1990s, the band opened up a music club called The Mama Kin Music Hall in their hometown of Boston , near Fenway Park . Since then the club has closed and even re-opened under other venues.

For me though… personally, this was a song, along with a few others, I could really relate to in my teenage years as a high school bachelor, with his own place. “Livin’ like I wanna, (or like I wanted too), “sleepin’ late and smokin’ tea”, and just sayin’ “shit!!”. Because it was futile to think something better was coming. And all the while livin’ like a gypsy was a way of life for me, and as hard I would try to change that over the next 37 years, “Livin’ like a gypsy” came to be more than just a character trait. Oh the stories I could tell…

“It ain’t easy, livin’ like a gypsy…”

When I was a young boy growing up in the 60’s and 70’s, gypsies were only seen in old westerns or maybe something like the Zorro movies from days of old. The gypsies in these movies always had a dark side, yes mysterious, but almost always crooked, always a person of questionable character… People these days, romanticize about being a Gypsy. You’ll hear women of all ages try to somehow, identify themselves as a “mysterious gypsy”. They see freedom in the Hollywood and artistic conceptions. Many of these very, very American women have a perception of a “Gypsy Life” being filled with mystery and enchantment. They identify with a type of free spirit, and even liken themselves to the seductresses that Hollywood and Music has designed these gypsies to be…

It’s kind of sad though when you really look into the lives of the Gypsies that so many of these people naively, and some even ignorantly idolize. It’s obviously not all, but many. However, this isn’t to say that being a Free Spirit is a bad thing at all. Frankly it’s who I am, when I’m not trying to be on the straight and narrow. For the Gypsy though, there is no mystery beyond where their next meal will come from. There is no enchantment other than the fortunes and superstitions they believe will somehow right all the wrongs in their lives. Most of these people would gladly trade their free spirits for something, someplace more secure than yesterday. As far as seduction goes, if it comes down to how you will eat that night, how you will feed your family, most of us will find the means to seduce who or what we can…

I’m sure there was a time in history, even fairly recent history, where the Romani people and their nomadic bohemian cultures were perhaps, looked upon with a sense of enticing curiosity. However, to survive as a Gypsy in the 21st century… well, it’s is not at all romantic. They do what they need to do to survive, and for the most part, that’s all their doing, “surviving”. Yeah, they’ll pick your pocket, or sell you glass pearls, or shine your shoes for a temporary distraction from what’s next. But most of it is not to be some kind of hood, or a criminal, or con artist, it is simply to do whatever they can to survive, using skills and secrets passed down by generations.

I look back on my years, i look back on my life, having moved almost as many times as I am years old. Seemingly every few years, and even multiple times per year, having to pack up the pick-up truck and go. Often times bartering for a meal as young boy, stealing from Peter to pay Paul, and in between making a deal with Lucifer himself here and there, just to survive. And Karma, and mysteries, and fortunes told? Well, they’re all just convoluted road signs on a never ending journey to find safe harbor, and peace of mind… I’m still not sure I’ve totally found it, but I do like where I’ve been lookin’.

Yeah, many of these women, and even some men, will pay big money to look that awful. They’ll decorate their bodies with multitudes of tattoos and piercings. They’ll invest in only the finest of raggy looking clothes, and shop for the perfect bandanna, with the best eye make up known to Macy’s, just to give off that sense of free spirit, only to realize they’re not deceiving anyone…

It’s literally amazing to me how these songs have become the soundtrack to my life. It’s sung from the perspective of a kid, a guy, a young adult who literally lives like a gypsy. Which at the time is fine and all, but watches his friends or friend party like a “Rock Star” stuffing his mouth with “bennies” and smoking to come down from the high of being “up”, all the while working under the care and supervision of daddy’s money, and mama’s cookin’. A friend who talks as if he’s mad at the world, that has no clue how good he has it, because it ain’t easy on the other side… Story of my life.

To this day though, this one is close to me. I’m no Bible Thumper, although I believe in spirit. I’m no Hari Krishna, although I believe in Karma. I’m no Buddhist, but I believe there has to be something better. I get my peace within the granite walls of Yosemite. I get my peace within the thunder and spray of waterfalls. I get my peace, not by standing in awe, but getting under them, to feel the power, to soak myself in the glorious feel of what cannot be controlled. To let it go through me, like blood through my veins. And yet, I can get a sort of peace just “floatin’ down the stream ‘n losin’ touch with all that’s real…”

The difference is in what is real… At least, at the given moment.

You can have your idea of what “Mama Kin” means to you, you can wear it as a moniker, you can use it to address your mom, you can use it as a duplicate tattoo, you can call your dog or cat by the same name, it’s all good, it’s all cool…

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But for me, Mama Kin is the spirit who touches me underneath, as I dunk myself under the falls… And I never want to lose touch with her. Maybe overdue for a conversation…

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Just a little side note; That kid who’s always got his or her tail on the wag, shootin’ fire from their mouth just a like a dragon… I’m sure it’s safe to assume Elyssa makes quite the impression…
But that’s just me…

This is their core, their roots. Enjoy!

“It ain’t easy livin’ like a gypsy
Tell ya honey how I feel
I’ve been dreamin’ floatin’ down the stream
And losin’ touch with all that’s real…”

Whole earth lover keepin’ undercover
Never knowin’ where ya been
You’ve been fadin’ always out paradin’
Keep in touch with Mama Kin…”

Number 16 – Take a Look Through My Kaleidoscope… You Might Just Like The View

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GET YOUR HEAD OUT OF THE 70’S,
AND JOIN THE 21ST CENTURY!!!!!

A lot of… No… MOST of the Old Guard from the Blue Army doesn’t give much cred’ to anything after Done With Mirrors. I say; why Draw The Line there? Mirrors was almost a Bullet In the Brain for this band. Yeah, Vacation’s commercial success gave them the Magic Touch for a second life, but that doesn’t mean that a true fan only recognizes everything prior, and the rest gets sent to a Hangman Jury! Because when Push Comes to Shove, you have to Let The Music Do The Talking. I mean if Lightning Strikes twice then it’s No Surprise to me that these guys can put together some really great songs in the 21st century also. Take Awhile, Think About It”, could a band this good, with a Combination of this much talent and hard work, really not succeed again? As far as I’m concerned, Pump, Get A Grip, and yes, even Just Push Play and Nine Lives, show everyone that they were Back In the Saddle to stay. It’s Nobody’s Fault, except their own that these members of the Blue Army can’t feel all of the Sweet Emotion after 1979.

You know what though? We’ve heard this Same Old Song And Dance before from these types of people. They’re their own parents yelling upstairs; “Turn that crap down!” They’ve forgotten what it’s like to be Somebody who’s still young enough to get their Dream On. Nope, these guys surely have their heads down a One Way Street. When you get so caught up in your own perception, and your own time, all you do is remember the good ole’ days, but you’re so Jaded, that you may not realize the good ole’ days may be happening right now! I don’t know…Something’s Gotta Give, right? It all comes Full Circle sooner or later, so you might as well just enjoy the ride… And if not… well, I Just Gotta’ Go The Other Way, Yes I Do!…

So, if you’re still inclined to go Trip Hoppin’ in the Sunshine, or go chasing waterfalls, You Gotta Move damn it! So Stop Messin’ Round, let go of the negative, and it’s just Beyond Beautiful.

Just Push Play was Aerosmith’s experiment with Modern Rock. Maybe not the best album they did, but it’s definitely got some good songs on it. A few have made my Top 100, and a few more inside the Top 40. Joe has some really harsh words for the album, so I truly do understand where some people just don’t like it. I guess I should say; there’s a lot on it I don’t like, but there’s also a lot I do like. Just to be fair though, here’s Joe’s quote;

“I don’t think we’ve made a decent album in years. Just Push Play is my least favorite. When we recorded it there was never a point where all five members were in the room at the same time and Aerosmith’s major strength is playing together. It was a learning experience for me: it showed me how not to make an Aerosmith record.”

I guess he really doesn’t remember making Draw the Line. You’d think he learned that lesson once already….

What is “Trip Hoppin” anyway? Wiki says it’s;
“A chemically induced style of dance in which a white male attempts to move his body as if he is a hip hop artist. Often done at Grateful Dead-like concerts or during bluegrass sets of the Shotgun Brothers.
That dude was trip hopping like a stoned-out wigger.”

Wow! ReallY??!!

There’s another idea of “Trip Hop”, but I don’t think this song really relates to the scene of music it shares a name with. From what I understand about the song’s namesake type of music, this song doesn’t reflect “a genre of electronic music”. It doesn’t sound like it’s “synthetic”. I mean there are real guitars, and bass, and drums in this song, and it has actual lyrics, so although it may be experimental to these guys, it’s hardly experimental in the true sense of the word. I don’t think it contains a whole lot of soul, funk, jazz, or any type of fusion sound either, but there is a touch of each if you let it. At least for me there is. Who knows, maybe they went to a club in Europe, and this is what they got out of it, I don’t know. Maybe it’s Steven’s take on a new sensation that hadn’t happened yet.

Whatever it is, this song is fun! It’s fresh! It’s new! It’s catchy! It makes you wanna’ move and sing along. It makes you wanna get out in the sun! That’s what these guys do best. They don’t confuse you. They don’t lecture you. They don’t try to make you think like them. They just rock and roll… with a thanks to Tower of Power, and Dan Higgins for the horns on the song.

For lack of a better video out there, you can  Trip Hop through the attached that I made while on a trip, with my daughter Natalie, and two of our dogs Blue and Koda, to my own little piece of paradise close to Yosemite. No jokes about the fat old white dude! He still jumps! And besides, I think this video gets my interpretation across better than most anything else I’ve ever seen. Maybe that’s why it has such a high place on my list, the video is what I see when I hear it…

I love the funk! I love the lyrics! I love the beat, the hooks, the solo, I dig this song… take a listen and then take a jump off that cliff!

And just so it’s clear: Hey Joe Perry; the offer is still open!

“I got a wild thing for you… huh
We’re talkin’ hoops you got me jumpin’ thru
You got those lemon drop martini eyes
And if my karma suits you
Cross the line into another place and time…”

Tell me how pretty she is
When she turns the colors of the rainbow…”

“In my kaleidoscope I’m lookin’ thru
My only color was a neon blue
I was hangin’ on to yesterday
And now the only way out is thru…”

This is; “Trip Hoppin’”

Number 15- “Get The Fuck Off ‘A The Fence!”

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You won’t hear this one in a show. Not anymore… Although, we may need it now, more than ever before…

Some of you are just gonna’ be a bit too young to get this, and for those that fall into that generation, I only ask that you ponder the thoughts of how we have gotten to where we are today. Then, some of you will vaguely remember, and then some will remember vividly, what I’m about to convey with this interpretation of a fantastic song. A song that conveys the ‘wild’, the untamed, the problems of a society at almost the point of rogue, under the intention of covert and even sometimes overt. In no way is this solely about American society. It can’t be. It’s about a world. A world of people in desperate need of guidance…

Before I get into this, please understand that I am in no way, a politician of any sort. And I allow people, all people their views on any subject matter. That in itself is one of the core ideals my country was founded on. So with that said, there are NO controversies being started here, there are NO conspiracies, or faults being laid. There are no specific lines being drawn, or even crossed. It is simply an interpretation…

Please remember the time period the song was written. The message still holds true decades later. That may very well be, my reasoning for it having such a high spot on my list. If a song can still mean something almost 30 years after it was written, that scores a lot of points with me. Of course, as we will soon see, not all songs have to have such a meaning at all…

Whether it be Admiral John Poindexter, or Colonel Oliver North, exposing truths and/or lies about the IranContra Affair, or the Kuwait Airways Hijacking, with the hijackers demanding the release of 17 Shiite Muslim prisoners held by Kuwait, leading to 16-days of Terror and 2 passengers killed, before it ended, or New York City Garbage Barges with nowhere to take human beings’ waste of products, or the truth behind the Pan Am 747 bombing over Lockerbie, killing all aboard, and 11 on the ground, or the U.S. Navy shooting down an Iranian airliner, saying they thought it was a fighter jet?, or the constant demolition of the Rain Forests in South America, and or even the wild (?) fire that ravished 750,000 acres – 36% of Yellowstone National Park, or even today’s so called and self appointed militias squatting on public lands, and taking the land by armed hostile force, for no apparent reason, other than they disagree with the country that gave them the right to disagree, or that someone is shot by Federal agents because he wanted to go out as a martyr for nothing more than land rights that were legally sold 50 years ago. It’s unclear what the message in this song was about, but there is a message. You figure it out…

They’re not going to tell you what kind of opinion you need to have. They’re just going to ask that you “have a fucking opinion”! They’re not going to tell you which way to look at it, they’re just going to ask you to “look damn it”! The group does not often get political, except on very few occasions. They’re not gonna’ get so deep as “Another Brick in the Wall”, or “Allentown”, or even Springsteen’s “Born In the USA”. They’ve never been the group to create a song of sorts, against a certain type of economics that may be affecting their fan-base, while they live high on the hog. They don’t patronize, or piggyback on a cause. They have their own beliefs, in which they give themselves to, and for the most part, they are not trendy. For example; their recent tour in Japan after the tsunami, “Rock for the Rising Sun” Tour, was in large part, a Charity Relief tour. They also became very involved in Boston Strong, with charity shows after the bombings at the Boston Marathon. And just this past year Jo and Steven have taken on even more charities to reach sio many in need. Not politicize, but just simply to make a difference.

Once in awhile a song comes out, that has so much meaning, it becomes timeless, and you’re able to apply its message to any day and age. Although it may very well be about a specific date and time, its message lingers past a moment. There is pure emotion in this song, from the bass line, to the drum beat, to the battling guitar riffs. It’s almost like Joe and Brad are conversing in that language that we all understand, but don’t speak. We can just listen, to the emotion they are handing out. And when Steven throws his voice into the song as not only a lyricist, but as an instrument, as he has done since day one, like no other vocalist in Rock History, the song becomes a passion!

Aerosmith also touches on religion in this song. Over my years of being a fan, I have read people’s intrigue on whether or not they have Christian beliefs, or anything similar. Just to be clear, they have answered all of those questions ten fold. with Joey’s Jewish upbringing, and Steven and Joe’s Christian homes, there might be a question or two that Tom and Brad can still be asked, but the essence of what they believe, has been told many, many times. What they have often conveyed is a simple belief. They are not going to ask you to believe in the same vain. They are only going to ask you to accept their views and their privacy in the matter.

But with this song, they indeed are not only asking for help from the Divine, or even Spiritual world, they are saying straight out, that we need it, whatever and wherever that help comes from, it’s desperately needed! So, yes they address religion in a sense, but in no way do they box it up.

So listen to your own heart’s content. Listen and decide where you want to apply the message. Listen and have an opinion. I have my own ideas of what this song is about, I believe my clues are in the above paragraphs. And although, they do not lecture you, and/or tell you to “bring more money, because all she wants to do is dance”, they do go a little deeper. What they’re trying to say is; the decisions we make have consequences, let’s try to make better decisions, before we put our faith in something, or someone else that may or may not exist.

Aside from the message within the actual lyrics, I can personally relate to Steven’s opening lyrics to introduce a sense of “wild”, a sense of “alone”, not loneliness, just alone. Remember, It’s a story… He’s telling a story. But he’s telling that story from a sense of relation. No, he was never abandoned as a child, but he has real and true memories of such a time that felt as if he was alone in the wild, not only as a young boy, but also as an adult. In that opening, I share that relation.

No, I was never left in a forest with wolves. But I do know what it’s like to raise yourself at a way, way too early age, because your parent moved out, and left you to fend for yourself, “left there for dead”. It’s a very odd sense of wild, but wild non-the-less. We often think, as young adolescents and young adults, and even as parents of late-teen children, that the golden age of 18 is the time to make your own way in life. It’s often a time of extreme tension and desire to set out on your own. I can attest to the fact, that it is just a number. The world is a very difficult place at 18, 19 years old. I can attest further, it’s more difficult 3 and 4 years before the “Golden Age” of 18.

Guidance is a much needed and beautiful thing in this world. It’s such a pity that some of us are above it. Such a pity that some of us refuse it…. It’s an even a greater pity that some of us are never offered it. I’ve been lucky…There are so many out there who weren’t, or aren’t. It can affect your ability to simply have a relationship in a way to just function properly in society, let alone any semblance of what might be considered a normal life, or a healthy relationship with loved ones.  I say this now, for only one reason, not to have you open your wallet, and or your home without question, but to simply take another look out a different window…

So many are left there… for dead… Right now as we speak, we have so many of our own, who’s views of so many over seas, is better off Left there for dead. Maybe personal experiences need to be had, before one can feel what it’s like to just try, or worse “need” to survive. Maybe people need to know how it feels to be truly abandoned, in order to have true compassion. I’m really not sure anymore, but it seems a valid question today.

So as you may look at the title, and main character of the song as a silly, almost aboriginal ancient belief…  I ask you this; Is it any sillier than any other faith, or belief in what cannot be proven?

In the immortal words of Steven Tyler;
“GET THE FUCK OFF ‘A THE FENCE!”

By the way, if this isn’t turned up to “Eleven”, you might just miss the message….

“Sired by a Shaman… I was left as a child
Dragged from the cradle I was weaned in the wild
Running with the wolfpack
Flesh torn to shred no compensation
I was left there… for dead…”

“Everybody’s lookin’ at the sky
They don’t believe the cover-ups and lies
Yeah… they been tellin’ us since birth
Pissin’ off old Mother Earth
My gones are by-gones prophesized …”

This is; “Hoo Doo Voo Doo Medicine Man”

 

Number 14 – Let’s Take a Walk Down Memory Lane

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ParT – I
It’s a chapter out of the handbook,
I didn’t even know I was reading…

I’m thinking some of you may be just a little surprised at this one’s position in the book. No disrespect to it, it could be higher on any given day. And depending on my mood at the time, it could be even lower.

Actually, I give this song immense respect! I mean. without it, there would be no “Dream On”… Yep, the success of this record, and song, gave Leber & Krebs, and Columbia Records the idea to re-release the first album, only the second time it would be known as “Aerosmith – Featuring ‘Dream On’”, rather than just “Aerosmith”, and of course no more little picture, make the picture of the band on that record, the whole cover.

Back to this song though… This song not only made these guys who they were, but also later, it would make them who they are… again, for the 1st time to many.

The year was 1975, and the guys were coming off the road absolutely ready to record, full of creativity. Joe, Tom, Brad, and Joey, all came into the studio with licks, and riffs ready to go. Their work ethic during this album may have been at the band’s peak. Obviously, the eventual success showed that in spades. I didn’t mention Steven being ready, not to slight him at all, it was just the way he / they worked.

Steven was always last. He often got inspiration from just listening to what the guys already had, but he also got inspiration from a multitude of other sources. Jack and Steven would often just trip on down 44th Street, down Broadway, then 42nd and 8th… You know, “Hell’s Kitchen”, just to talk with the street dudes and the hookers. They did this often, for more than a few reasons.

Some of which, I leave alone, some of which are worth a read;
Number 1; They liked the people of the community they were in, but more than that, it was Steven’s focus for the album, remember? He wanted to hear words that are only used on the street. The fact is Joe had some awesome riffs he pulled from his funk influences such as The Meters and James Brown. Joe wanted his own “funky” song, so they wouldn’t have to play those covers, (which is why they often used to start this song in concert with James Brown’s ‘Mother Popcorn’) but Steven couldn’t come up with anything to write, hence the walk into, and around Hell’s Kitchen.

The rest of the band was getting pretty frustrated once again with Steven’s lack of material, so they just let Steven be, to try and figure it out on his own, after 4 nights working together with nothing come from those efforts. Believe it or not, they were ready to just scrap the whole concept of the song that Joe came up with the licks for. The guys said; “Fuck it, let’s go to the movies”, and went and saw Young Frankenstein… Yep, it was Marty Feldman, as Igor (not Egor), telling Gene Wilder how to walk; “Not that way! Walk this way”… The title of the song was born, even without any lyrics yet. But I guess that’s the inspiration Steven needed.

Look back to “Walkin’ The Dog”. Remember Steven wasn’t at the movie. When he heard Joe and Joey say the song’s title was going to be “Walk This Way”, something else came to Steven’s mind. But even then, it wasn’t that easy…

Steven goes back to his hotel room, and over the next 24 hours he wrote the lyrics (At least that’s his story). He actually had a notebook this time too. Proud as Fuck, he catches a cab to the studio, to show everyone what he’s got. Jumped out of the cab, paid the dude, ran upstairs, “Hey Mother F’rs look what I got!!!”… “Hey wait… where’s my notebook?” Everyone called him a liar. And of course the fighting commenced.

A lot of ‘FUCK YOUs’ back and forth, and Steven leaves all pissed off, takes the elevator up to the 6th floor stairwell, and just starts singing his lungs out…. Nope, bad sound, he goes down 2 flights, sits in the stairwell, and finds the right sound, grabs his notebook… “Oh Yeah! No Fuckin’ notebook!”… He starts writing on the wall…. Remembering what the hookers were saying, what the dudes on the street were saying…

So, yeah… “Back stroke lover” was the kid playing with himself, and his daddy caught him, and told him “you ain’t seen nothin’ ‘til you’re down a muffin”

And then it gets into some of his own thoughts of having chicks dress up for his fantasies. And then we truly experience the birth of Steven Tyler’s genius with lyrics and the incorporation of sexual innuendo and double entendres, The song is a smorgasbord of all that will be from this day forward…
“I met a Cheerleader…” 

A song was born! A song that would sky rocket 3 careers. An absolutely amazing song! A song, that because of its acronyms, would get play on both AM and FM. A song that teenagers could sing along to, with parents in the car.

Now personally, I think the first few years I heard this song, I didn’t get it at all. It wasn’t until 1976-77, when I moved to Santa Rosa, and spent some time with my soon to be Step Brothers Kenny, and Ronnie. I never got to know them real well, don’t know them now, and probably never will. Not sure why, maybe I was too young, maybe I wasn’t cool enough, maybe… who cares? But the time I did spend with them, I really enjoyed. I have to say though, the best thing I got from these two, was music like I’ve never heard before.

Kenny introduced me to his band “Slipstream” and I fell in love with their cover of Marshall Tucker Band’s ‘Can’t Ya’ See’. Still one of my All-Time favorites! But Ronnie!!! Ronnie turned me on to Aerosmith. And not with this song or album, it was with songs I’d never heard before, so as we move through this list, you will hear what captivated me for a lifetime. And with that captivation came more records, more songs. I would listen to Ronnie sing, I would learn the lyrics to the best things I’d never heard before. When I read the lyrics from the songbooks sold at Stanroy’s Music in downtown Santa Rosa, and listened to Ronnie sing this song, I was floored. “WOW!…  I FUCKIN’ GET IT!” I learned what it was about. It was more than just a song, more than just an album, it was a lifestyle. It was a fucking manual! A FUCKING HANDBOOK! The first few chapters of the handbook I would keep and use my entire life…

The video below will show you a band of 5 guys being the best there is on the planet! It will show you the most recognizable opening drum beat ever! It will show you two of the coolest guys on the planet, doing what they do better than anyone else on the fucking planet, one with a riff as maybe the most recognizable funky rock n roll jam of all time. Not just playing the riff, but feeling it, and in turn translating that feeling to the audience. The other reciting, one of the best lyrical proofs of genius in rock ‘n roll history! Also one of the most recognizable set of lyrics in the whole world. He’s not just singing a song, he’s showing you a story. Go ahead, watch the video, but do yourself a favor and turn it up, feel it, live it!

For now, at least on this intro, I’m gonna’ close, but I will offer this to anyone who might be interested, to scroll at your own risk past this video for a story of my own experiences, and relationship with this song. However, it is a “[MA] L.S.N.” version, so at this point, you can click on the link and enjoy the video, or you can scroll down. I just ask that you reserve judgment of nothing more than a boy at the time. It’s a chapter out of the handbook, that’s all… The handbook that I would read and follow for a long time to cum…

Until then; “Oh the times I could reminisce…”
Let your fingers do the walking…

This is; “Walk This Way”!

Part II
Oh The Times I Could Reminisce
Chapter ???

There are so many songs in life that we all relate to, at one time or another, or from one reason or another. Whether it be “Freebird”, or “Fooled Around and Fell in Love”, or “Faithfully”, or “American Pie”, or countless others. But have you ever asked the question… Have you ever thought that maybe somebody else wrote the story to your whole life, or at least a big part of it?

This song has meaning, both good and bad, both pride and shame. But none the less, it’s a chapter. It’s a part of 3 or 4 or 5 years out of my life. It was a manual that I didn’t even know I was reading. It was my handbook, chapter… ?

“Back-stroken lover always hidin’ ‘neath the covers” –

When we enter the years of puberty, and adolescence, things happen to us. Foreign things, beautiful things, wonderful things, confusing things, nasty things, dirty things, kinky things, guilty things, fun things, things that make us feel good. It’s a time when even baseball takes a backseat, but I have to say I wasn’t much of a fan of “The Backstroke” back then. However, a pamphlet on how to deal with what was happening would have been nice….

“’Til I talked to your daddy he said”

I can remember, clear as day, a drive with my dad. I might’ve been 11 or 12 at the most. We were talking about girls in school who were writing my name inside a heart, graffiti style on the walls; “Mike + K.G.”. I can remember asking him what I should do, not knowing who “K, G.”. was at the time. I remember hoping it was Kelly Garcia, although later finding out I was so far off with that guess. Anyway, I can’t remember any real advice he gave me for the graffiti at Hill Jr. High, but I do remember the advice he gave me to use at a later date. My dad, was never much of a role model. Not to me at least, but I can remember this piece of advice seemed to mean something worth listening to.

He started talking about the kind of vehicle I might drive when I get older. He told me; “Whatever you do Mike, whether in a pickup truck or a Nova, you should absolutely get a stick shift on the floor, with bench seats”. He told me; “That way when your girl sits next to you when you’re driving, after you’re done shifting, your hand drops right to where it should be, the best place you will ever want it to be.”

Although I was pretty young when he told me that, and I truly didn’t understand at the time what was so important, I had seen enough of his private stash of Playboy magazines to know what he was talking about. And I must admit, my 1st girlfriend, Stormy and I had already attempted, at only 9 and 10 years old, to see how the puzzle pieces of boys and girls bodies might fit together. Yeah, even at the tender age of 9 and 10, down by the creek at the openings of the municipal water pipes of our still new subdivision in Novato, Stormy and I were already trying to play with the kitty in the middle. Truth be told though, it just doesn’t work for kids that young, and nor should it… However, unlike many who will immediately look at these acts as if they were sick, or twisted, I’ll tell you right now it wasn’t. It was just two very young people, who’s souls, through time, were sexual, not at all criminal, or like so many of the Christian Right like to say; “deviant”. Nope, not all, this was pure innocence, with a complete lack of understanding of who they were born to be.

Like I said; I didn’t “get it” (yet), but I can distinctly remember having the conscience of mind, to put my dad’s piece of advice in my back pocket. I truly knew at that moment, that I might use it someday.

‘He said you ain’t seen nothin’ ’til you’re down on a muffin”-

The 2nd time I saw a girl in full bloom, was my 1st summer in SOCO… and oh what a summer it was! I think I was 13, maybe 14 years old.  Still a young man whose banana was still green, if you know what I mean? I met a group of 3 sisters, who had a mud hut hot house to sauna in. Smoke a little, toke a little, and take a sauna. Only one of the sisters was halfway cute, but when you’re that young /old and surrounded by young sweaty naked girls and young women… well let’s just say it’s hard to hide your appreciation for what you see.

Then there was also a girl I met named Roberta “Bird” Antonio (last name changed to protect the innocent), and her friend Marcy, who later became the wife of Tommy Smothers, which is a strange story in itself, because she’s my age, and Tommy Smothers was already about 92 already in 1976. Anyway… we would ride horses up onto Tommy’s ranch in Kenwood, CA and skinny dip in his pool, and stroll through his crop of pot plants… But the point I’m getting at is, I am finally “seeing” the muffin and truly knowing the desires of which the female body stirs in a young boy… And maybe even more than my fair share…

“Then you’re sure to be a changin’ your ways”-

It was about this time in my life, that things like baseball, and football were starting to take a back seat, maybe because I wasn’t as good as I needed to be to continue on that path, maybe it was the pot, maybe it was the beer, the whiskey, maybe it was the girls. I know this line is about self gratification, but I truly wasn’t there, not yet at least. But this new found beauty I was seeing on a semi regular basis with summer-nightly saunas in the mud hut, and skinny dipping with a 14 year old beauty with 36 C’s were definitely changing my path.

“I met a cheerleader was a real young bleeder”

This line was both hot, and creepy at the same time to me. Yeah, I get it, but still… Anyway, I won’t say, or use any names here, in order to protect the guilty. But man oh man! A boyhood fantasy, come true, more than once. Although, I had no clue what I was doing, it was fun “to do the do”. When I was 14 years old, my 1st real girlfriend was a cheerleader. And although I had already been down the road with  a few swingin’ kitties, the memory of her asking me to show her the way, is so pure! More on that later.

I was about 16 years old, living on my own, It was kind of “party central” at my apartment. You learn things about people when there’s no rules. And in my house there were no rules. It was nothing for some girls at school, to want to stay a little longer after the party. More girls than you would think, and girls you would never assume, but it’s best to keep the secret. After all, why would you want to spoil a good thing, right?… But when she’s a year, or two older than you, and the Captain of the Cheer Leading Team… “Oh the times I could reminisce”

‘Cause the best things of lovin’ with her sister and her cousin
Only started with a little kiss
A like this…”
Heh, heh, heh,

This one takes me back to 14 years old…
I had a few friends in that little apartment complex in Bennett Valley. Some were sisters, but we were all too damn young… When you play Truth or Dare, are there any rules? Sisters… Heh, heh, heh, My fingers learned how to walk that summer, and took an awful lot of leisurely strolls. Of course it was always by invitation only, but yes, exercise was a good thing…

The 2 sisters introduced me to their cousin Michelle, who was a Santa Rosa H.S. Cheerleader. (Yep, another cheerleader), who had sex appeal just oozing from her. Eyes that that could make a young man cry, lips to make an old man weak, strawberry blonde Dorothy Hamel haircut with just enough bangs to make you wonder what’s behind them. The sex appeal was real, and it was fucking drippin’!

Awkward at first, with all the time that I spent with the sisters, having no real idea of the emotions I was literally playing with, and the damage that may have been done from those sex-capades. Friends with Benefits way before the phrase was ever coined. I decided to look at a much loftier prize though, at least in my eyes. I mean after all, it was all in fun, right? Michelle and I showed each other what it was like to “want”, to “need”, to “give”, to “receive”. And it was often, and it was wet, and it was silk, and it was no secret, and it was full on desire without restraint, and it was cool, and it was a fucking blast!… and her parents even approved!

“Seesaw swinger wit da boys in the school
And your feet flyin’ up in the air
Singin’ hey diddle diddle
Wit’chor kitty in the middle of the swing like you didn’t care…”

Being a High School bachelor with his own place was really odd at times, especially as I got a little older. 16-17 years old, I knew a lot of guys. Certainly never tried to be the most popular guy in school, and I certainly WAS NOT, but popularity actually did come easy for me… Comes with the territory I guess of having your own apartment and just being an all around fun guy I guess… At least when the insecurities weren’t showing.

I knew a lot of guys, and girls both. And as guys do in high school, “we” talk. We talk more than we should. And often times conversations would come up about; “who was with whom, and when”… I had a hard time with this. You see, living on your own at such a young age, with no parents to talk to, and not being able to talk with your friends, because they were the ones singing “hey diddle diddle”, the problem often came up where I just had to keep my mouth shut. While the guys were telling stories of nailing “her” on Saturday night, “her” was with me with her “kitty in middle” on that Saturday night… So there was no way their stories could be true. An awkward time to say the least, and later, maybe the reasons for close friendships ending. Actually on a few occasions, there’s no “maybe” about it. As I said earlier, there is also shame in this remembrance…

“So I took a big chance at the high school dance
With a missy who was ready to play
Was it me she was foolin’ ’cause she knew what she was doin’
And I knowed love is here to stay
When she told me to
Walk this way…”

Didn’t go to many high school dances, but I did take some chances with a few “missies” who were ready to play. Back to Bennett Valley Apartments, 14 & 15 years old. With a “neighbor who needed a favor”… or maybe it was just a “want” more than a “need”. I first met “Linda”, and a friend of hers, no idea what her name was, but Linda was just wow! She was a Georgia born classy, but sassy Southern Belle. Who was “hotter” than hell, before the word “hot” meant hot. She wore a white bikini with gold rings to hold it together where it needed to be. And just barely at that. “Can I look?” … “She’s old; She must be 28 years old!” What if her (Air Force) husband catches me looking?”… “She’s got two little boys!”… “This is so wrong!” But damn!!!! She looked so fucking good, that you knew it was bad for you.

Linda asked me if I wanted to help her bring some lemonade back to the pool from her apartment. Tripping over my tongue, I said “sure!”, and made sure to walk just two steps behind… It was probably obvious with just swim trunks on, that I was delighted to do this. I started to just wait outside while she went in. She came back and took me by the hand, with both hands, and a caress that said; “I wanna’ show you something you’ve never seen before”… She put a white see through mesh over-shirt on, and said she had to change her top. “Holy shit! Right there in the kitchen!”… Yep, looking at me right in the eyes, with an occasional glance down, she pulled her arms inside the over-shirt, and took off her bikini top just watching my jaw drop, and another part rise…. She giggled, and asked if I was uncomfortable. As nervous as I was, I said’ “No, I’m not uncomfortable at all”. She asked if I’d like to touch, and of course I did… And that was it for the day… FUCK ME!

Linda was the Queen of Tease with a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. She quickly ran upstairs, changed her bikini, and we went back to the pool. Little did I know at that moment, that it was just the beginning.

This was the start of a summer long education program that to this day, I am so grateful for! Trips to the beach in the back of a pick-up truck, showing me the things that only a woman knows, only a woman loves, things that “girls’ have no clue about, but would know soon enough. She was teaching me lessons in life that my daddy could never teach me, and I was a damn good student! Always early for class, stayed in at break to learn more, stayed after to go over it all again, and again, again. How to let your fingers do the walking, how to give a little kiss like this, and where those kisses should be given, among other things. It was the first time and eventually the only time I would ever ask a girl or woman for pleasure, and she was okay with that. But all the while, teaching me that I would never have to ask again for the rest of my life. She was teaching me how to expect without force. How to take what is being given, and to recognize the very moment a girl decides she willing to give. She even taught me the boundaries girls and women have, that are not permissible to cross. She made it so easy, almost like asking to borrow a cup of sugar. Linda sure knew how to blow a kiss!!! And in turn, I learned what a Lick and Promise was all about. Little did she know, all she had to do was talk with that southern charm, and that might have been enough, but damn I’m so grateful for the time well spent.

This scene would play itself out all over again in almost one year’s time with Debbie, and her roommate (can’t remember her name either) who lived next door to me and Mitch, on Bethards Dr. in Bennett Valley, across from Safeway. Again twice my tender age of 16, these two chicks were about as crazy as girls could get, with “Misfits” for boyfriends, I think I’m lucky to be alive, but man talk about “Feet flyin’ up in the air”!!! Both could not get enough… Not enough rides, not enough kisses, not enough licks, and not enough blow… Both with tramp stamps before there were tramp stamps, these two absolutely “wronged all the right outta’ me”. It was really something to pass out while doing the do, and wake up 3 hours later because they were right back where they left off, like some sort of human alarm clock. I don’t think they were educating, just using… But at the same time, I was very willing to loan my time…

Walk this way
Walk this way
Walk this way
Walk this way
Walk this way
Walk this way
Walk this way

“A just gimmie a kiss… like this
Oooh… uuh
Schoolgirl sweetie with a classy kinda sassy
Little skirt’s climbin’ way up her knee…”

A few come to mind here… “skirts climbin’ way up her knee”. I would love to call out their names, but I’m sure the best thing to do is refrain. But after Linda, I learned how to kiss, and to give a kiss that would bring a girl bliss… This would actually come to be a blessing, and a curse both. I lost very close friends because of my desire, and my learned expertise to please, even if it was pleasing those who weren’t mine to please.

“There was three young ladies in the school gym locker
When I noticed they was lookin’ at me”.

Just because they look at you… you know “LOOK AT YOU”, doesn’t mean you always have to return the favor. Adolescent hormonal desires are a very difficult thing to control, when you live in a world without control. My house was their home if they wanted…

“I was a high school loser never made it with the ladies
‘Til the boys told me somethin’ I missed
Then my next door neighbor with a daughter had a favor
So I gave her just a little kiss
A like this…”

Nope! Was NOT a high school loser… not me. I probably won more than I should’ve, but when my next door neighbor who’s daughter had a favor, I made sure to help where I could. Again, not a proud memory here… Just real, and truth. When a girl comes to you and asks for “The Favor”… Unless you’re willing, and able to be the lifelong memory she’s looking for, then I would advise against it! It will haunt you, and haunt her. I said yes… “at least”, one time too often.

This story is not to pat myself on the back. It’s not to brag, it’s not to put shame on those who were there. It’s just that life sometimes imitates fiction, sometimes fiction imitates life. Sometimes fantasy is reality, sometimes reality is a fantasy. and sometimes you just follow the handbook…

It’s a memoir… that’s it…
Just the beginning chapters to a manual that I read most of my life…

Now step back in time, to one of the best versions from the days I just shared with you. Feel the funk, feel the grit, feel the sleaze, feel the fun! And then one more from Boston Strong to give you the Mother Popcorn connection…

 

Number 13 – Anybody Got a Wet Nap?

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What a beautiful mess!

Up 14 spots for 2015, just because of the day…

The whole album was fueled by drugs and discontent, and booze, and puke, and withdrawals, and blame, and guns, and motorcycles, and fast cars, and “Tommy Guns”, and more drugs, and Shotguns, and more drugs…

Even drugs in the food… Cocaine was an everyday thing. It’s a known fact that David Johansen was their heroin courier, just so the guys wouldn’t go out and get “street dope”. 6 weeks, everyone in different rooms, only coming out to meet a supplier, or take a spin, or shoot. Jack assigned each of them to different rooms within the seminary to work on, and record their parts of the songs for the album. They almost barely saw each other. It took another 6 months and 1/2 a million dollars to complete it, and that’s a lot of cash in ’77! They came to the “Cenacle”, (The seminary) right off the road. No rest, no songs, and zero ideas!

The generic thought of the time when this album came out, was that the name of the record, and title song had something to do with cocaine. The thought was that it implied “drawing a line” of coke. The ironic thing is that IT DID have everything to do with cocaine, but rather than drawing a line with it, it was about drawing a line from it. The name of the album, came from a buddy, a roadie of the band named “Rabbit”. The story goes; The band got an ounce of coke from the mob, but it was bad, so they decided to return it, but then Steven gave it to another guy and told him to hold it. The guy put it in a manila envelope and then switched the envelopes, because he knew that Steven would want it at 4:00 in the morning. The next day Steven was all pissed off and asking “where’s the fucking blow?!?!”, asking the guy why he switched the envelope. Rabbit jumped in and said “Steven, you don’t know when to stop! You don’t know when to ‘Draw the Line!” And there you have it. Continue reading Number 13 – Anybody Got a Wet Nap?

Number 12 – Careful How Much You Bite Off…

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Let’s go back to The Cenacle one more time, and take a bite out of what was being offered…
 
Hard to refuse those loose hearted ladies…
Besides, if you say no, you may never get that offer again

Up 16 from 2014

Wow! I’ve said so much already about “Draw The Line” already, and everything that was going on during the making of this album, I don’t think I’ve got anything new to say,

Maybe just the fact that while the album AND the group were being trashed by Rolling Stone (again!), and many other media, this was the song I first latched onto from the album, not “DTL”, not “Kings”, not “Can’t Get it Up”. Nope it was this one! Pure Aerosmith through, and through! I’m sure there’s nothing new to say about the song either, with the same innuendos as other songs such as the Eagles; “Life In The Fast Lane”, or later, the Crue’s “Dr. Feelgood” relating the word “Doctor” to a dealer. And I’m sure the word “love” could easily be an acronym, for the drug of the day, or even the hour. With Steven’s getting upset, and throwing fits, during their time at the convent, about the “Bad” blow they were getting, it very well could be.

Or who knows? Maybe he’s asking for help with his relationship with Joe, knowing it’s just about over. Knowing that Joe is one half of him, and it’s gonna’ be real tough to keep going without him, However the infighting, he feels, is a dual edged sword. He knows he needs him, he “yells his name to crowd”. He knows they’re brothers, “Et Tu Like Birds of a feather”. Is he telling Joe to “Wake the fuck up!” and get his “sweet ass off the floor”, and make a record? Continue reading Number 12 – Careful How Much You Bite Off…