Tuesday, December 30, 2008


~A monologue for an unfunny comedian transcribed on several Burger King napkins with a stumpy pencil on the J-5 bus to Silver Spring-as gleaned from a rambling rant by an aging hippy-type -presumably cranked on crystal Meth- one Saturday as a result of car trouble~
by MTF
(And I Quote:):

While we’re on the subject of Groupies..(..are we? Or is it just me?)..Well,y’see..the point is, I’m sort of a Groupie’s Groupie; that is to say- rather than shrinking away, my nose wrinkled in disgust at the imagined sexploits of these persons who chase,scheme, AND YES;at least in some cases..) even Plaster Cast the rich and famous… I find myself FASCINATED with Groupies..I mean, face it, this AIN’T collecting butterflies , folks..this is TRUE adventure..this is HUMAN quarry..the two-legged beast. Now of course- to be sure- we’ve all heard of the flamboyant, and a few cases, MUCH publicized and MUCH maligned ROCK ‘N ROLL Groupie; the actions of whom we scarcely need to speculate. given the tawdry volumes on the market, which set down in lusty detail,WHO DID WHAT TO WHOM where and with which brand of utensil or fish species in fetid intimate detail leaving DAMN LITTLE to the imagination..so really, I admit it! Groupies Fascinate me..so,y’see, the deeper I delve into the subject, the STRANGER and more forensic the subject becomes…why- I’ve found Groupie-ism has split into so many sub-variants that’s becoming tough to keep up and categorize them. I’m running out of thumb tacks and wall space. I may need to rent file cabinets from Homeland Security. Now most of us have read or seen or been exposed to the more common variety of sexual deviants- usually on the evening news..or..um..in the vestry-the print media and the film loop at eleven..these are your considered NORMAL everyday deviants- we’ve got them pretty well sussed..so okay! We’ve got ten fingers! Let’s count ‘em up! Homosexuals, Bi-sexuals, A-sexuals..oh yeah and HETERO-sexuals (for those of you living in the Castro District of San Francisco who may need a refresher..) then we have TRANS-sexuals..(which I always get confused with subway or metro-bus gropers..) And we have in fact a new category- METRO-sexuals, which brings us BACK to rapid transit issue - at least IN MY mind..which is admittedly confused by the apparent possibilities. I mean, so what does one do in order to become a Trans-sexual or a METRO sexual? Get a bus transfer? A SMART-pass? Well, in any case, thanks to the Cable network, we’ve become pretty well a jaded and ALL-KNOWING culture of voyeurs. We know everything there is to know whether we started out or PLANNED to know it or not. Ignorance in deviant behavior is no longer an option. Even in Jesus Camp they have a special tent(or closet-if you prefer..) where they give courses on the subject..for credit. I think Jimmy Swaggart and that Christer(and cousin to Jerry lee Lewis the Piano Rocking Fornicator) from The Republican National Committee are the Department Chair. I always heard that the Vatican has the BEST pornography library in the world. Yep one has to ask, JUST HOW NAKED IS THE TRUTH? In Italy they show tits to sell granola..yeah, right there on TV..those Italians take their breakfast SERIOUSLY man. It’s visceral. Tits mean good nutrition…to the British, French and Italians this makes sense, but I wouldn’t know first hand. I’m an American child weaned in the Dr. Spock generation…I’m bottle-fed while my Mom smoked Lucky-Strikes and drank strong black coffee and considered Thalidomide an option for morning sickness. I grew up with Have-Gun-Will-Travel playing on the TV. Mom told me that when she was stressed out from my caesarian delivery she bummed a cigarette from the Attending Doctor. He had a couple packs extra in case things ran on in the Birthing chamber a bit longer than expected. Yep. Pall Malls. Unfiltered, man…that’s right..unfiltered and that’s me. I’m a BOOMER. Yep..part of the ME generation. I hope yer taking notes..we made the cultivation of sub-culture a science, a rabid hobby..a way of life. Oh SAY IT TRUE! We’re in charge now. That’s why you turn on the TV and are treated to Fashion Models eating worms and what an autopsy looks like after salt water submersion…while you chow down on your microwave dinner. Fun for the entire family! Cinema verite, baby! Cellphones with cameras. Hello IRS? Here’s a close-up of my anus..yes..yer welcome! My pleasure! Ain’t technology a hoot? Why waste it on egg-head scientists and Captains Of State? Hell..lets all go “Trailer” and have some real fun!
So, to return to this GROUPIE thing- it’s definitely more of a HOBBY than a gender preference or a cult of some sort. Ok, it’s more like collecting seashells or motel matchpacks with John Holmes or Linda Lovelace, or swapping baseball cards with the nice Asian lady at the Massage Parlor. Or scrabble with a Sex Therapist. Jeez..how bout that GREY’S ANATOMY show? Wow..now there’s a far cry from Doctor Killdare and his weeney little soap opera. They didn’t call it GENERAL Hospital fer nuthin. Welcome to the BOREDOM WARD, we all know what REALLY went on at General Hospital- or at least WE THINK we do. Nurses doing M-Dieties; Nurses and Radiologists, Radiologists and Proctologists..whoa! My head hurts thinking about that pairing. And then the final most Logical pairings between Proctologists and Insurance Adjusters…yep- it always comes down to viruses. It’s love in the WART WARD with Doctor Killdare…(what a name fer a Doctor…you think they did that on purpose? Subliminal name play in Hollywood? Ya Think?)..Hey forget the underwear catalog! We got flesh on Television now, Grandpa! No need to be a shrinking violet, Grandma! How bout those boob implants! Grandma’s eighty and stacked like a VIRGIN! Hey! It’s Viagra in case you old guys couldn’t figure it out the FIRST TIME! Talk about REDUNDANT ReDUNDANTCY and Nostalgic Fixation ! We put that goofy Sears Catalog to shame..We discuss and show things that the last generation got put in prison for. In fact some of em ARE still in prison in TEXAS. Yep. Right next to the guys they put away fer life for possession of eight seeds of Marijuana. They have a special Criminal Social Deviant Wing in most Texas prisons. That’s where those Naked Woman mudflaps are manufactured that you see in Truck Stops all over this great Nation. In case you wondered, WOOPIE Cushions come from Florida Prisons. I understand that Jeb Bush gave free Woopie Cushions to all State Employees and Chad-counters who served in the past couple of Presidential elections. Katherine Harris has an entire Time Share in Orlando FULL of Woopie cushions. There is speculation that Katherine Harris IS A WOOPIE CUSHION. It’s a bionic thing. Congressman Mark Foley has been working on a new design in his new “consulting” position for The Florida Correctional Department in Tallha –ASS-ee. Talk about a possible WINDFALL for a former CEO of Hypocrisy Incorporated. There’s one in every crowd. Jeez, given the state of politics, entertainment and road-rage out here- Groupies seem positively refreshing! Wholesome! Creative..what with the Plaster and all. Shoot, it’s a Petri-dish out there in Groupie-Land! Groupies are no longer just for Rock Stars! There are Groupies who love Cops, firemen,soldiers,Cable guys and The Roto-Rooter man! Damn..there’s even a sub-sect of women who love Uniform shop owners. (think of the possibilities in that wardrobe closet..) Hell..before it all went sordid and haywire yer everyday Music-type Groupie was about FREE LOVE, conquest, a notch on the ol’guitar neck. I mean this whole FREE LOVE thing and fetish specialization thing started it all! I ask you, AMERICA..where does it stop? As long as the Art Types were in control it was fun and earthy…NOW it’s like, INTENSE! Like having an Electric Hari-Krishna with a Viagra boner,a DVD burner and a Cellphone Camera camped out across from your toilet. It’s like MAGIC…you pee and it is on YouTube and your body cavities are being Googled in seconds for the forensic amusement of thousands of subscribers in Poukeepsee, Riaad , Baghdad and Waukeegan. Now that’s space age! That’s a triumph of the Computer-Age! It’s not like this is unprecedented..Hell, it’s magnificent, Heroic Post-apocalyptic Voodoo..ask yourself how long Elvis has been mulch- and yet HE STILL can impregnate from the grave. Ah Hah! Sex with the Dead is not shocking..it’s the next step away from Video dating or cellphone masturbation. It’s a logical progression. Just the printed image can be enough- been to the Grocery Store Check-out lately? MULTIPLE ORGASAM caused by Elvis photo in Grocery store. Love Me Tender…legal tender.
Hey- how bout those Princess Diana autopsy photos? The Sadaam Hanging video. No wonder that guy at the 7/11 always seems to be mopping the floor when you need a coffee. The floor is getting slick from the auto-eroticism in our Modern World convenience store. Fans are being Hospitalized. Forensics and Proctology and Computer Repair are the hot new fields for today’s college graduates. Cut and Paste. Images defy the imagination. LIBERACE FONDLES THE Apparition of Edgar Allen Poe FROM THE CRYPT LIVE ON CABLE. Everyone is driving and watching it ALL LIVE on their BLACKBERRIES and CELLPHONES.
Talk about rude-rage, This is a true DC bottleneck on the inner-loop. Your Traffic report from the Radio Station Hellicopter- “ I Don’t Know WHAT’s going on, Cleet! It looks like thousands have forgotten how to drive! They’re out on the pavement! Naked, Groping in one giant earthwormlike Orgasamic mass! Slow Down…slick conditions ahead! Definitely STAY TO THE RIGHT TO GET BY.”
It suddenly strikes me that most Advertising Executives are PROMO-sexuals. People with stomach problems? BROMO-sexuals. People who love Alaskans? KNOMO-sexuals. The list is endless…see? Groupies for impotent? TRY-sexuals. Groupies for bank managers? LOANO-sexuals. Hungry Dogs? You guessed it BONO-sexuals. Pillow salesman? FOAMO-sexuals. Yep…the list stretches from here to Tiahuanna and right back to Dick Cheney’s rifle cabinet.
I had a dream last night that I was Hitch-hiking and E.T. gave me a ride in his new Hybrid car and he turned out to be a Bi-Species SHLOCKO-sexual. He tried to fondle my ears and when I wouldn’t submit to his unwanted advances he took me parking at the Washington Monument. He left the car running and ran out to greet the Space ship as it landed. It was full of Space-voyeurs. They had come from the Mounds of Venus to admire the largest man-made Phallus in human history. They ALL had cellphone cameras made of some space-age material. I felt a tap on my shoulder.
It was a two-headed Space-guy. One head looked like Allan Greenspan, The other President Bush. They leered at me lasciviously, winked, and put a hand on my ass.
“ Mind If I Ask You A Personal Question?”

Sunday, December 7, 2008


The Story Of The Last Lariat Band
Or How A Reformed Hippie Georgia Cracker Died,
Was Transported To The Western Maryland Mountains,
And Resurrected as a Living Hillbilly Rocker;
(Sort Of)

MYSTR Treefrog

Ok. I really didn’t Die. I just used Shock and Awe to hook you. It wouldn’t be the first time such tactics were employed to get your attention.(Lately.)
Death means Drama. Everybody knows that there are different kinds of Death. My kind of Death, and subsequent Reincarnation could best described in Tarot Card terms. There are different schools of thought involved in the interpreting of the symbolic use of scary scull pictures in Human history. There are scary skulls represented on the Death Card in Tarot Card divination, scary skulls on motorcycle jackets, scary skulls on the back of said-type jackets of guys NAMED Skull (or Blackie)- and bottles of, say- arsenic, mountain bathtub moonshine or (inject personal disgust here)any sandwich containing sauerkraut.

My death was spiritual, but not necessarily accompanied by an angelic choir. It was accompanied by the chorus of “ Sweet Home Alabama” by Lynyrd Skynyrd. It was more like the sound of a large Saltine Cracker being crushed underfoot by a big Motorcycle Boot. This lends credence to the Native American concept that all objects have life and that there are transcendent life affirming moments for boulders, trees, used Fiats and-Yes!- even a confused, misplaced Georgia hippie snack Cracker.

PART ONE: I enter the City Of Frostburg in a Haze.

Literally. My first reaction to Frostburg was: Where the Hell IS it?
After being on the road for 3 days, eating Howard Johnson food, and being frightened to death by secondary West Virginia mountain roads, and being forced to travel from rural South Georgia,(read Peanutland) upwards into a strange topography containing hardwood trees and Northern people,(on my 17th birthday,no less.) – I found myself, my family, our moving truck, our overheating car hauling a home-made wood rail trailer full of farm mammals- completely enveloped in a cold pea-soup thick fog.

This is the kind of FOG that would make a London Bobby-Cop curse.

“ Well, kids- we’re here!” said my mother in the mock cheerful tone she usually saved for dish-duty;” This is our new home.”

“ Uh. Where exactly. I can’t see a Goddamned thing.”

“ Watch your mouth, son.”

“ I’d watch my mouth but I can’t see it OR
this suppose-ed Frostburg place cuzza fog. Y’all ‘er dreamin’ if yuh think I’m Living here,”

“ Stop being negative, son..the Fog will clear up.”

She said this prematurely. Not only did the Fog NOT clear up for three days- We hadn’t even driven over Big Savage Mountain yet. This is the mountain where I learned the term WHITEOUT and that thick impenetrable fog could go from blinding to solid- in the form of ice crystals, in a matter of minutes.
In mid-June.

To this day the memory causes my heart rate to accelerate to unhealthy levels.

There is no Easter Bunny. There is no Santa Fraud. There is NO summer in Frostburg in June 1972. Not what a Georgia /Florida boy would call summer anyway.

Things had been worse.

I hated Ty-Ty Georgia. Never had I been so glad to leave a place.

South Georgia was a hot, below sea-level, Redneck promulgation of vicious nose talking wielders of multiple shotguns and racial epithets who, between beer-drinking and Bible thumping, relaxed by hunting Hippies in their spare time. These Rednecks weren’t without their own kind of charm. They had talent. Not everyone is capable of growing Hogs as big as your average Volkswagen Beetle.

When my Mother moved us from Athens, Georgia to this impossible outpost of Post-Agrarian Lynch Mentality- I was pretty sure my Hippie ass was done for. A year of sprinting for survival in Sumner County Georgia was quite sufficient, thank-you. I was ready to leave. No one in South Georgia understood my Alice Cooper records. I declined many an offer for a free haircut from Deputy Sheriffs and Deputy Sheriff’s brother-in-laws.
Enough already.

I was cautiously optimistic about moving closer, incrementally, to New York City. That made traveling with my parents, three sisters, my brother, his wife and newborn son, five dogs, four goats, three mean geese, eight Siamese cats and a parakeet- tolerable.
But I hadn’t been prepared for this strange unknowable block of Ice-Smoke called Frostburg Maryland.

“ Yep, “ I whispered under my breath;
” Hell indeed hath frozen over, bubba.”

This was the quixotic parallel Death of the Crestfallen Teen-ager.

Temporary, perhaps- but not without gravity and consequence.

The Parakeet died. And I’m not being symbolic. Poor Damn thing was dead and hard as a freeze-dried biscuit by the time we crossed Big Savage Mountain and pulled into our rental house(hut) just over the Garrett County line in Frog Hollow.

I’m no Iroquois , but this was not a good omen.

My sisters cried all week. The unfortunate tropical avian tourist was buried on a hill under a glued together couple of popsicle sticks by the Goat shed.

The Goats, who are famous for not really giving a damn, ate the Funerary marker within days.

Goats are resilient creatures.

More so than Teen-agers.

PART 2- I Leave Western Maryland With No Intention of Returning
Unless It’s a Holiday

That was the plan anyway. For a few years it worked.

My domestic life was in turmoil. The little house my Mom rented sight unseen was tiny compared to the big Southern houses we were used to. There was only one bathroom for eight and a half people. Squabbles broke out in five minute increments. My family began to disintegrate. By the end of the first two months the situation met it’s breaking point. My Mother and step-father rarely spoke, my brother and his brand new little family literally hitch-hiked out of Frog Hollow and spent their last hundred bucks on a Greyhound bus back to Athens, Georgia. And my sisters began to rebel about doing domestic chores for everyone.

I spent a lot of time in the upper meadow with the Goats.
I had taken to calling our new hill cottage, “Mount Bitchmore”.

The surrounding mountains, as beautiful and interesting as they were, had little appeal to a seventeen year old.
Being an average 17 year old in the early 1970’s, my thoughts turned often to beer, pot, rock n roll and pussy-and though some may intone that three out of four ain’t bad- they are mistaken about the magnetic pull of item number four.

My acclimation to altitude proved confusing. The beer tasted like fermented potato peels. My Mother wanted me to go to College.
The mountain people I met that first “summer” were mildly engaging- especially The Amish, who know how to party at a Barn raising. I thought their black garb was cool. They look kind of like cool Goth Preacher-Cowboys. They rarely made it over Big Savage Mountain in their horse drawn buggies to Frostburg. I assumed that this was because it made no sense to nearly kill a team of horses in search of the goods or services provided by the corrupt Modern World.

Or, perhaps, in search of a decent Pizza.

Amish, not surprisingly, do not consider the eating of Pizza a culinary option. This fact alone, rad impressive black hats notwithstanding, made it pretty certain that I wasn’t gonna run away and join The Amish.
I was in my Alice Cooper pizza eating beer drinking(reefer smoking) phase. I’m pretty sure joining a band of Amish would’ve meant going to a little more church than I was used to.
The wardrobe possibilities, however, seemed endless.

Let me remind you- this was way-y before Goth music had been identified as an Art form or The Children Of The Corn had been released for our viewing pleasure.

My mind always did tend to work that way. I like the Art of cultural collage. Mix that with a pretty smart-ass sense of humor and an angry crayon and in 1972 what you get is a home-schooled 17 year old. And an impressive 100 yard sprinter with a G.E.D. High School equivalency diploma.

I was ready to go. I’d had enough. I managed to score a job down the road stacking hay bales from an insane Farmer named Buzz. He had a steel plate in his head from a mining accident. This made Farmer Buzz a bit unstable in temperament. He had long obscene angry conversations with hoes, pitchforks, and broken pick-up trucks. The pay was meager and unsatisfying, but I thought it prudent not to ask for a raise. I didn’t want to rile Farmer Buzz.

The one improvement over South Georgia is that no one, Farmers or otherwise, said a thing about my hair. No one particularly cared.
This was weird. I had spent a few years keeping my adrenaline at peak levels to fend off frequent long-hair-hating Bubba attacks down South, and these people didn’t seem to care too much. The Western Maryland Hill Folk were not a particularly demonstrative or emotional lot. Except of course for Farmer Buzz. But that was medical.

SYNOPSIS: I took the pitiful pocketful of money I earned stacking hay for Farmer Buzz, bid my family goodbye, and hitch-hiked back to Athens, Georgia. I returned to Frostburg only occasionally, marvel at a mostly bearded population who would put up with such a climate, harvest some fast female company, drink and smoke a lot of cheap Mexican weed- and leave again. This fancy-free hit and run rover life worked for a few years. During these hitch-hiking dead-end job years I learned to play harp and acoustic guitar. This probably wouldn’t be considered much more than a lateral move toward job security, but I didn’t give a Rats ass. Attitude, as they say, is everything.

In late 1977 I took a job delivering medical supplies all over the Washington D.C. area. One hung-over morning, while trying to free a wedged box, I brought my left groin down on the corner of a wooden crate with strong enough force to rupture myself and abruptly end my career as a delivery man.
Ouch. It was as bad as it sounds.

I ended up virtually penniless in Frostburg to undergo surgery and convalesce at the family homestead- now located in Slabtown, a tiny hamlet between Frostburg and Mt.Savage, in mid-freezing ass- snow and ice covered=January.
Hint fellas: A hernia operation entails a CLOSE shave in areas one usually likes to leave alone.

Upshot? No skirt chasing til we can be sure the sight of our mighty sword doesn’t evoke peals of laughter from the opposite sex.

This left me and my stitched-up gut little else to do but play my Dobro and draw obscene underground cartoons. In an attempt to parley my new found obsession with cartooning and funky Dobro playing into more than a pastime; I hooked up with a couple Art students and a couple Townies to jam. We played a pretty eclectic mix of Old And In The Way, Little Feat, Bonnie Raitt, Acoustic Rolling Stones, Allman Brothers, The Band, Bob Dylan, Byrds and of course -Grateful Dead.( NO Alice Cooper..I kept that side to myself.) We played house parties, little semi-acoustic shows here and there, and our buzz grew. I named the band “ The Last Lariat Band” as a dark joke alluding to how I viewed my options without music.

The Music Scene in Allegheny County at the time consisted of nothing but Hard Rock and Heavy Metal cover bands. Some good, like Full Steam Eddy, and The Neighbors, some horrid- (no need to bash the forgotten)- and a good deal of generic bluegrass or truck drivin’ country bands for the County Fairs, Veteran’s Day parades, and church bake sales.

In Grantsville, at the now defunct National Hotel, (an historical structure dating back 1801-a last chance motel for the first settlers headed west to sleep in a bed), there was a little basement club called The Blue Moon Saloon. The Blue Moon was a rarity for this part of Maryland in that it had imported beers and a decent menu. It catered to the skiers from DC and Baltimore headed to the slopes in Oakland, and a more thoughtful Bohemian college crowd willing to make the drive from Frostburg.

Kenny P.; a Baltimore escapee from Fells Point ran the place and was the first to bring a much more acoustic coffeehouse and jazz eclecticism to the area. It was also far enough out in the Boonies so that a certain amount of 70’s type wild behavior went largely unnoticed. Kenny P. was the first person to book me as a solo in the Blue Moon.

Kenny P. is also a contender in my top ten craziest- motherfuckers I- ever- knew list. That’s quite an accomplishment considering the OTHER nine on that list and the amount of time that has gone by.

The Last Lariat band grew out of these first appearances in the funky, spooky, beer cellar of The National Hotel. Some swear the place was haunted. We were snowed in more than once and had to spend the night til the roads were cleared. I saw ghosts. It may have been the mushrooms and Bach beer.

We started out very much as an anti-Foghat anti-metal type Roots band. I liked Southern Rock, but Kenny wouldn’t allow electric instruments into the tiny club. We did much more low volume arrangements of otherwise heavier music using congas and a lot of dynamics. And we drank for free, as long as we kept the people happy. Much to our surprise and delight, we were popular. We were therefore drunk a lot. We stayed booked. Eventually it became evident that we had to go more electric in order to play the larger venues for better money.
The thing that set us apart was our ability to adapt easily from semi-acoustic low volume to an electric rock unit with ease.

The Last Lariat Band was in a class by itself. We had the first electric fiddle player in the area. We mixed funk, country rock, newgrass, Psychedelia and a large helping of Southern Rock into our sound. As our popularity grew, we added as crowd pleasers, some pretty fair interpretations of songs by The Marshall Tucker Band, The Outlaws, and a lot of Charlie Daniels Band. We did a seriously kicking version of The Devil went down To Georgia , and we did our own version of an Orange Blossom Spaceship(Special)..with flanged and wah-wah Fiddle.

To this day I can recite the lyrics to that damned Devil Went Down to Georgia song. This causes my head to ache, and my brow to furrow. Jeez, I can’t remember what I did yesterday but that song is forever conjoined with my brain waves. It must be because I learned and performed it tripping my ass off on L.S.D. I wonder if any Government studies have been conducted concerning lyrical recall and bathtub Acid.

The Last Lariat Band could be in the Main Control Group of THAT little psychiatric sled-ride. Trust me.

Another big reason for our popularity was our willingness to let other players from other bands sit in and Jam. We were big on stretching a 4 minute song into a 30 minute extravaganza of leads from guitar to fiddle to sax ad infinitum. Jam bands are nothing new. Bands like The Allman Brothers and The Dead were doing it long before someone decided to use the Jam Band “genre “as a marketing ploy.

The definition of a Jam Band?

Keep playing til we figure it out cuz everyone- including the club owner-are too stoned to notice that weer playing the same song over and over for 3 hours.

It’s great practice. Really.

The Last Lariat Band morphed from acoustic/eclectic to commercial Southern Rock in a matter of 6 months. This was a mixed bag for me. The music I listened to, and the music I was able to play were two different things. I liked playing the “B” sides of great bands rather than the “Hits’. It frustrated me mentally and artistically. I knew the only way to finally break through was to write original music and leave these mountains and perform it in the metropolitan areas.
We were big fish in a little pond. The money rolled in, we drank as much as we wanted, had regional pre-hero status, all the women we thought we wanted- (different sets for each county)- and this made most of the band members quite comfortable with the status quo.

What started as a side goof at parties became an actual full-blown business enterprise, and my pushing to play originals was met by my bandmates with a cold response. We kicked around an idea or two, but it never went further than that.I was the musical weak link on my instrument- but I was determined to evolve by writing my own songs as much as could in my spare time.
It has been proven again and again that musical virtuosity without soul or originality is BORING. There is this odd 20 –something male thing that makes everything- even in music- a competition. Only time, experience and the wisdom that comes from self-awareness and artistic fulfillment can cure this. Many a successful band of young men break up in lieu of this. There is always someone in the periphery whispering in your ear. Disintegration is the cost. Whiskey and dope are the enemy. So is time.

We were in constant demand and played every roadhouse and gin-mill in the tri-state. Make no mistake- these joints were pretty rough. Fights and all out Free- For- All bar fights were common and expected. When you mix Jack Daniels and Coal Miner,(or Coal Miner progeny) you get a short fused type of Mountain dynamite ready to rumble as soon as a song by Lynyrd Skynyrd starts.

People in that Appalachian triangle of Maryland, West Virginia, and Pennsylvania are a mighty hardy lot. They like to drink, party, rock n roll, fight(did I mention that?) and drink some more.

Other than intense town rivalries, they usually sober up and remain the best of friends afterwards.

Fact: If Hill People like the songs your band plays they don’t clap- they yell- otherwise they’d smash their plastic beer cup.

Or they start pounding the shit out of one another. This usually means you have chosen the correct songs as soundtrack of their lives. A little friendly blood may be spilled, but your money will flow too.

When I tell these stories to my city musician pals they think I’m embellishing the facts. I most assuredly am not.

Remember that scene in the Cowboy Bar in “ The Blues Brothers” movie? That’s no joke..that’s exactly what it was like. Beer bottles, chairs, flying Miners, flying Miner’s girlfriends, flying Miner’s wives throwing flying Miner’s girlfriends. Yep. Yee Haw. Gimmee Three Steps indeed. Free Birds all around. Saturday Night Special and lots of drunken stalkers of skittle wielding women.

The Devil Went Down To Georgia Cuz in Western Maryland he’d get his demon ass beat.

The Last Lariat Band played in Road Houses so tough that the
“NO FIGHTING” sign was over The Ladies Room Door.

I shit you not.

I have personally been put in the Hospital 3 times playing in Western Maryland Rock N’ roll bands.

I state this not as a testament to my bravado or my superior intelligence, but as simple fact.
It would be more apt to call these incidents a testament to my temporary chemically induced UN-intelligence…and my choice of company and location..location..location.

Hell man, like they say-

If You Remember The Seventies You Probably Weren’t There.

I Meet Biker Bad Ass#1, And His Best Buddy-
Biker Bad Ass#2- and Live To Tell about It.

James McMurtry had it right when he said that he started out each evening as an artist only to end up being a beer salesman. This is the sad but true fact of the Bar Band life. To this description I would add part-time gladiator and pugilist.

We were popular with the Bear Hill boys. This is a Mountain area between Grantsville and Deep Creek Lake. They were what I came to term as “Acid Gomers”- kinda like psychedelic well meaning Hicks and Hillbillies with a lust for life and Fiddle rock. They were friendly, loyal and followed The Last Lariat band wherever we played. The boys from Bear Hill were big. Like the name of their home- Bear-like Men, burly, bearded ,strong ,rambunctious and REALLY high. They rarely ventured into Allegheny County, but for us they made an exception. Our Bass player Dick was one of their own, so the rest of us relatively scrawny musician types were accepted despite our obvious midgetry and inability to smash beer cans into our foreheads. They felt sorry for us and became our troupe of protector-giants.

In Frostburg city proper there were only two places rock bands played. One was called The Republican Club. The other-you guessed it- The Democrat Club. Bands in the mountains were pretty territorial. They guarded the few venues there were to gig at pretty jealously. It could be tough to get a gig at either club on Fridays or Saturdays, but Thursday nights were pretty wide open. The Last Lariat Band began bringing in a crowds from the college(Frostburg State) and more townies, we were in the paper quite a bit, so The Democrat club gave us the gig. There was a small problem. The Democrat Club was a favorite in-town hang-out of the local Bikers. They pretty much ran the joint because they were prodigious and loyal drinkers. Most of these motorcycle enthusiasts were a pretty reasonable lot as long as you didn’t go out of your way to piss them off. And you HAD to play Born To Be Wild. We were at a tiny disadvantage because we considered songs by Steppenwolf, Foghat, Bad Company, AC/DC or Van Halen…well..stupid music for stupid people. I’ve since tempered this attitude somewhat, but we were in our 20 something smart-ass superiority of taste phase. There were plenty of bands playing selections from the afore-mentioned bands, and we quietly and stubbornly held our ground and played a lot of Skynyrd and Charlie Daniels as a sort of consolation prize for those who preferred Southern Rock over Biker Rock. We liked it too.
But more importantly The Bear Hill boys loved “Sweet Home Alabama” and their drinking accelerated to double the ordinary intake. This meant bar owners made money. Bar owners enjoy that type of reaction to a band. Thirty cases of beer consumed in the space of a 4 minute song is a good return on your investment.

Of the Bikers there reined a king miscreant Bad ass and his second in command, they went by the names(I’m NOT making this up)

Blackie and Skull.

Blackie, as I was told, was a Viet Nam Vet who saw action in the Tet Offensive. He was medium height, tattooed with the slogan
and had a gaze that it was best not to meet if he was in the mood for kickin’ butt. His minion, Skull was far less impressive in the tortured history department, but had several of his own crosses to bear. He was in fact the son of one of the more well-to-do families who pretty much decided on an illustrious career as Master Fuck-Up. Skull was bad because he desperately wanted to be Blackie- and Blackie was bad because he ..just was.

They sat on the naugahyde grommet stud bar stools and sneered at our wussy half queer jazz lovin’ fiddle country intellectual bullshit band and drank Miller High Life with Wild Turkey chasers.
Every once in awhile the Bikers shouted something rude or made requests that we perform actions that were physically impossible to recreate, and laughed amongst themselves.

People in Western Maryland talk funny. Being the son of an English Professor, I have always been fascinated by local vernacular, dialect and regional accents. The Western Maryland dialect pretty well dispenses with normal use of the verb “to be”.
People say things like:

“This jacket needs sewed.” Or “ this beer needs drunk” or my enduring personal favorite, “ Yous needs yer ass kicked.”

I mention this only because one amusing and endearing feature of this dialect and local pronunciation makes “L” sound a lot like “W”.

Milk becomes “Mowk”. Mile becomes “ Mow” and Miller Beer becomes “ MIWWERS”.

It cracks me up to see a Bad Ass Born To Be Wild Biker order a beer sounding like Elmer Fudd.

As an extra helping of hilarity I have also heard the words
“LI-BERRY” and “PUS-Kewwy n damada sauce.” Uttered in my presence.

It kinda makes my “Yawls” and “Might coulds” seem tame and urbane in comparison.

It goes without saying that mocking a Biker Elmer Fudd in Leather boots carrying a knife the size of Schwartzenegger’s forearm and drunk on three-quarters of a case of Miwwers Beer may be hazardous to yer health.

I guess some guys gotta learn the hard way.
The night in question was when I learned that lesson rather well.

The Bikers, being the sort of charming Peckerheads one might come to expect, had brought firecrackers to light and toss into the dance floor if they disapproved of our musical selections. This frightened our college crowd.

This was affecting our performance and scaring the shit out of Sam, our mellow Grateful Dude guitar player. The Fiddle Player, Pete, a tall Aryan ex-Army guy was scowling through Orange Blossom Special, the bass player Dick had a hard to read stone face black fury aura about him, and young Pete(we called him RE-Pete) the drummer looked ready to rumble.

I was just plain old Georgia Boy pissed.

We were halfway through the second set when a boisterous and enthusiastic herd of Bear Hill boys showed up and began hootin and hollerin with great gusto. They brought women with them, but not enough women to go around. At some point one of The Bear Hill boys began romancing a Frostburg Biker moll and things became tense. Skirmishes began to break out during Seatrain’s electric Fiddle version of the Little Feat song “Willin.”

It was as if we had picked the score for the Wild West Saloon scene. Chair and stools were sailing through the air. Firecrackers went off. Bodies crashed into tables, smashing them into sawdust.

One of the Bear Hill boys took a break from bludgeoning, grabbed Sam the Mellow by the throat and demanded ;
” Yous Play Sweet Home Alabama Right Now!”

Considering the situation and the look in Sam’s eyes it seemed a reasonable request.

We broke into that song, not knowing what else to do, it was like being a pit orchestra being sprayed with hard cow patties at a Human Rodeo.
In the immortal words of Ronnie Van Zant-
“…turnit up!”

Two of The Bear Hill Boys ran past using a screaming college kid
as a battering ram against a raging clump of Bikers.

Now a word about Microphone stands: The standard circular metal weighted Mic stand, when used properly, can dissuade the aggressive advance of a 250 pound charging Hillbilly. If deposited squarely in the shin area or the foot area above the steel toes of a motorcycle boot, can afford at least a full three to five minutes of escape time(per Hillbilly, less per Biker) for the average musician under siege, further allowing those playing stringed instruments to unplug and run like Hell- using their guitars as clubs or lances to clear the way for an hurried column of retreat or as a flanking maneuver to afford the escape of the drummer- who when backed into a corner or in close range combat can use his hickory drumsticks-and in a more lethal battle, his ride cymbals(or stands) to affect his evacuation.

Direct contact of a weighted mic stand to the head is to be avoided at all costs. The object is to subdue and redirect an over-excited music enthusiast, not dispatch them eternally. Such extreme actions tend to reduce gate receipts and make it necessary to audition new band members.

A heavy standard mic stand is your best friend, soldier.

It took me years to accept those twinky-lite little aluminum tripod stands as being in any way credible in live situations. That was before I moved from the outer provinces into a city venues wherein Club Bouncers were provided for protection against music and a drug induced temporary insanity.

It may also be noted that this was before my Punk period where the physical contact in a moshpit was both appropriate and encouraged.

There was blood and at least one tooth missing from one of The Bear Hill boys, who, though possessing of bulk and Hill bravado, did not strut the streets with numb-chucks, chains, or sharp objects for rumbling.

“…now Watergate does not both me, does this bloodshed bother you?-now tell the truth!”

One of my many talents is improvisation when least appropriate.
Now there was a hand around my neck. It was Skull.

“ Play Born To Be Wild, NOW!”

Before I could wriggle away and answer, Skull was attacked from behind and became otherwise distracted. The Band, in almost telepathic and clatch-like consensus of opinion, quit taking requests and left the stage in a phalanx of near military precision; regrouping in the rear by The Men’s room by the beer coolers.

The fracas was over. The Bear Hill boys, though they fought valiantly, were ejected. The Bikers and their allies won the day.

The dust settled- but not the adrenaline. I did the most logical thing I could think of. I strode through the broken glass and furniture to order a Miller Beer.

And there stood Blackie, looking square at me and advancing to finish me off.

“ Why you little faggot- you and yer Hillbilly crew- When I say play “Born To be Wild” you play “Born To Be Wild” cuz yous needs yer ass kicked!”

Now Blackie, king of Bad Ass Frostburg Bikers, the Mordred of leather garbed killer- pricks, had me by the collar and had his studded fist cocked to deliver the final blow.

So I did the NEXT most reactive thing I could do.
I took my beer bottle and using the butt end where the glass is thickest, stamped Miller Brewing Company, St. Louis Missouri, U.S.A. on Blackie’s forehead.

There was a look of absolute surprise on Blackie’s face as he went down. He was out cold.

There was a dazed silence from everyone in the room. It was a sorta David Georgia-Cracker and Goliath Frostburg-Biker kinda moment-Biblical in scope, massive in drama-no one could quite process what had just happened.

Least of all me.

I stood for what seemed like an eternity holding a shattered neck of a beer bottle -frozen in shoulder position where I had struck the blow -while Blackie’s Lieutenants gathered around him and dragged him away bleeding. It unfolded in what seemed like a slow motion battle sequence from Mad Max. The loyal soldiers pulled their fallen bloody Biker King toward the door.

The rest of The Last Lariat Band, almost in unison, muttered
“ Uh-oh.”

From the back of the crowd came the Prince Of Darkness, an avenging leather studded anti-angel, flying on evil bat-wings, over and through the gathered herd of besotted bit players.
It was Skull, he was screaming-
“ Did you hit Blackie! Did you hurt my brother Blackie?!”

I remember my insightful and poetic response
in that moment of clarity as I backed away and retreated behind the bar.

“ Holy Shit.”

The rest of the ballet was recounted to me second hand. I wasn’t conscious, so I’ll have to take on faith what Re-Pete and the rest of The Last Lariat Band told me when they visited me in the hospital.(This is a paraphrased synopsis;)

Skull smoked yer ass and mopped the barroom floor and the entire top of the bar with you. The cops came in and saved your life.
It took awhile for the Ambulance to get there. You look like crap. We gotta gig in 4 days opening up a liquor store. Rest up.
Try not to piss anyone else off.

In addition my van had a smashed windshield, four flat tires and had been ticketed and impounded by the police.

Frostburg is a little town. News of excitement gets around with lightening speed. The incident made the Cumberland Times. People were engaged in conversation and in giving sage advice. Some of this advice came in the mail. The Get Well Card read;
“ We’re gonna kill alla yous.”

It was a month of high drama. Our audience grew and in fact, tripled. People showed up to the gigs for the same reason people go to Stock Car races and Fire Dances. There is a certain anticipation and skewed optimism in the audience of gladiators and Southern Rock. There is a modern flashier version of hard luck than one might see in the Blues.

I survived. The Last Lariat Band grew ever more popular until artistic differences and my decline into substance abuse (mostly alcoholic in nature) took it’s inevitable toll.

We recently had a 20th anniversary gig. Our personal life paths have become diverse- but we all still play music.

Blackie and I became friends. Not close friends. But we smirked at one another in passing. He seemed proud of the half-moon shaped battle scar that is still on his forehead. I think at one point I heard that he had approached The Anhauser-Bush people about an Endorsement contract. I’m not really sure how that turned out. I heard he got a job on the Railroad.

Skull continued to hate me from a jail cell on un- related charges. He was eventually released from jail into his Mother’s custody.

I was regarded as mercurial and unstable in temperament. Kind of “Artistic” type( times ten )and therefore to be kept at arm’s length by the local inhabitants and other musicians, watched by local cops and regarded suspiciously by Pizza delivery men even though I tipped well.

No matter. I had discovered The Clash and The Ramones.
I was no longer interested in playing Lynyrd Skynyrd covers.
I had been ReinTARnated and ReinTARnated once more in an unfolding metaphysical and spiritual Drama.
It was Magical to Behold. Like stop-action sequential National Geographic nature photography of a Carnation-blooming,growing, fading and turning to dust.
From Cracker to Hillbilly Southern Rocker and finally, by virtue of the Alpha Zen state brought on by the little death known as concussion and oxygen deprivation- I was again transformed.
I was now a living breathing Born Again Punk Rocker. A reinCarnation safety pinned to Jonny Rotten’s lapel.

Who says Lateral evolution is mere theory?

My Thanks is in order to members of Lynyrd Skynyrd.

And I owe it all to Sweet Home Alabama.

Go Figure.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

MYSTR Treefrog

Work was scarce in the mountains of Western Maryland in 1978. In fact work had been scarce since 1946 when the Coal mines began winding down production after WW2. The little towns of Western Maryland, West Virginia and Pennsylvania, the coal mining region where all three states come together, were the very poster children for poverty stricken Appalachian welfare states.

The City of Frostburg, Maryland is about 16o miles West of Washington DC; and it is a city aptly named for the frigid winter weather it receives by way of stiff winds that blow East and through the mountains from the Great Lakes. For a transplanted Georgia boy this is no place to be in the cold months.

Yet it was here, on a 3-story roof of a dilapidated school building, that a chance meeting with Anthony McDaniel changed my perspective and my musical aspirations.

I was working on a C.E.T.A. weatherization crew,(this was a Carter Administration work and Training Program for hard core unemployables) with “Ant” as he preferred to be called, and our job was to go out into the impoverished areas of Alleghany County and weatherize homes for the poor and disadvantaged against the harsh winters. We replaced storm windows, doors, put on roofs, insulated and weather-stripped houses that were in such dilapidated states that it seemed that the only thing holding these dwellings up were the windows we installed. Ant was also the only black man on a crew of seriously inbred hillbilly rednecks. “Ant’ was a strong well built fellow who took no bullshit from the hicks who occasionally would try to challenge, insult or belittle him. Ant could take care of himself pretty damned well. He had a generally detached but genial demeanor, a good sense of humor and a certain knowledge of who he was dealing with. It was easy for me to figure out he wasn’t from western Maryland. For one thing, his accent was wrong. I think he sized me up pretty quick when I stood up to a few of the Hillbillies we were working with for calling Ant a nigger behind his back.

“ Hey Ant…I think a couple’a these morons have something they oughta have the balls to say to yer face.”

This, of course branded me as a Hippy Liberal and began my immediate rejection from the “club” of mountain hick white supremacists that made up the Weatherization crew. I took a lot of insults, crap duty, and evil pranks as a result. Ant saw what was going on and quietly watched out for me. He stayed aloof, but kept the Rednex off my back.
We became friends when an old redneck woman accused Ant, the only Black Man who had ever been in her house, of stealing some silver dollars from a drawer in a bedroom we had been installing storm windows. I knew he was innocent. We had been together the whole time. The accusation was racially motivated. When I vouched for Ant and made it clear that he had never left my side, the old woman miraculously “found” the coins and the whole incident was dropped.
Ant was cleared, but the incident stung him. It was clear that the others in the crew had prompted the old woman’s suspicion and had caused the whole scene.

When work got slow, we were put on top of the Hill Street School, site of the main C.E.T.A. offices, to replace the massive roof. The Hill Street school was on the highest hill in Frostburg, was three stories high and the view of the surrounding mountains was spectacular. And so were the winds. It was late Autumn and we were assigned to the roofing project, in part, because we had been branded “trouble-makers” for pointing out a certain amount of theft and corruption that was taking place by the Weatherization crew and the Supervisors. Putting us 3 stories up in the air on top of Hill Street School in 30 mile an hour winds without safety harnesses was their way of “altitude adjustment”.

At lunch Ant and I would crawl up behind one of the huge chimneys in a roof valley and out of the wind. We’d hang out, smoke a reefer, eat lunch and bullshit about music. I always carried a “D” harp in my shirt pocket, and I’d play snippets of rock or blues tunes and Ant, who had a good voice, would sing along.

It was on this Roof Duty that I began being called Treefrog by the other guys because of my apparent disregard for gravity and my own mortality by working 3 stories in the air at the edge of the roof holding a rope with one hand and a hammer in the other. They were amused by the way I hopped across the roof. The name, irritating to me at the time, sorta stuck after awhile. There were two other guys on the crew named John, and Treefrog made it easier to identify me. I just shrugged it off and allowed people to call me Treefrog. It became funny after awhile and I started to enjoy it.

One day at lunch, after I had impressed Ant by playing the harp break for the Doobie Brothers song “Without Love” (and hopping around the roof like a nut case ;) Ant said;

“ Hey Treefrog, I’m gonna tell you something I haven’t told anyone ‘round here. Do you know who Bo Diddley is?”

“ Hell YES! Are you kidding me, Ant? Chess Records! One of the Fathers of Rock N’ roll!”

“ Uh-huh. AND he’s my Daddy.”

I didn’t believe him at first. I thought it was the reefer talking. Ant was a great and skillful bullshitter.

“ Um..yeah, Ant right…and Buddy Holly is my long lost brother.”

Ant just smiled and shrugged. “ Whatever. You don’t know what you don’t know.”

Four weeks later in January, Ant called me up to ask a favor. His truck had broken down and would I give him and his family a ride to D.C. that night. He wanted to bring his kid to meet his grandfather, Ellas McDaniel..Bo Diddley, who would be performing at the Ontario Theatre with some British punk rock band neither of us had ever heard of called the Smash, or The Crash.

Four hours later, after a hairy trip down the mountain passes through a harrowing snow storm, we all arrived in Adams-Morgan, a section of Washington D.C. and were ushered up the steps at the theatre to the dressing room.

And there he was, the man himself, wearing a black cowboy hat with conchos. Bo Diddley.
Ant was NOT bullshitting. Bo Diddley was his father. We all hung out and ate the nice fruit plate and the dressing room food. I went out and watched the Punk band on stage. They were pretty good. Full of energy and they jumped about. “ Who are these guys?” I shouted into one guys ear. He looked at me in disbelief.
“ It’s The Clash, man! Don’t you know where you are?”

After the set I sat back stage smoking spliffs with a nice British Cat named Joe Strummer. He was more impressed with me than I was with him. After all, I knew Bo Diddley’s son. The Clash, like many British musicians were in awe of American Blues greats.

They were a nice friendly bunch of lads and we got completely stoned on reefer and hash backstage.
They asked about the city, I told them where The White House was. It was their first US tour.
It must be noted that Bo Diddley, while tolerant of other peoples smoking habits, never smoked weed.
He didn’t like how it made him feel, he told me. It wasn’t his “thing’.

I ended up being accepted into the clan and after the show we all ended up in Arlington somewhere at Ant’s cousin’s house, a fellow named Ricky DeJoilet (spelling may be wrong) who played around calling himself, (with Bo’s blessing), “ Bo Diddley Jr.”
We jammed and partied til nearly sunrise and drove back to Frostburg that morning.

A year later I was forming a Punk band called The Names with Ant standing in as singer and drummer. There was a small problem. Ant didn’t actually OWN any drums. And when we borrowed a set he had a bad sense of rhythm. Oops. His sang well and had lineage. We all started calling him “ Toe-Diddley”.

We all decided on the spur of the moment, to pile into Ant’s car and drive to Archer, Florida to Bo Diddley’s ranch to borrow the money for a set of drums. It was me, Ant, Ed Arnold, Don Ullery, and Ant’s half brother Wendall.
Wendall didn’t like any of us too much. He tormented Ed and Donny incessantly. He thought they were queer white boys. They weren’t of course- but they were eccentric.( Why else would I be in a band with them?)

We showed up at Bo’s ranch unannounced. Bo wasn’t home from a gig yet, but his wife somewhat reluctantly let us into the guest house. The guest house was surrounded by chainlink fence. Roving around inside the fence were a dozen of the stangest dogs I had ever seen. Bo’s wife put the dogs in, then after we were safely inside the house, let the dogs back out warning us not to go out into the yard when the dogs were present. What kind of dogs are these ?,I asked. Two kinds, she answered.
The ones that don’t bark are Australian Dingos. The ones with big heads growling at you are called Pit Bulls. Bo is mating them. Fact: Australian Dingos DON’T BARK. Now imagine a cross breed with Pit Bulls. This brings a whole new meaning to the term- SILENT BUT DEADLY.

Needless to say, we didn’t go outside.

This left us all trapped in the guest house with Wendall, who spent his time scowliung at Donny and Ed and, just for fun, awakening Donny with the unloaded barrel of a .22 rifle against his head.
This amused Wendall no end. Donny and Ed weren’t that happy about it. Toe Diddley had to hide the rifle and whack his half-brother upside his head a few times to gain a certain amount of compliance.
It was hot and we were running out of beer fast.

Bo returned that evening and was a little perturbed that Ant had showed up unannounced with a menagerie in tow. He liked me, but was a little unsure what to think about my bandmates. He warmed up eventually and cooked us a great feast of Red Pepper Snapper Fish which he prepared Cajun style(Bo is originally from Louisiana and was born in Mississippi) by slow baking underground in a sandpit.
We got along pretty well and Bo drove me around his spread and showed me his garden.

We spent the next couple of days tooling about his Ranch doing what Bo liked to do- which was working on cars, watching adult movies, clearing brush. Everything BUT playing music. Finally he decided he’d humor us and we jammed, he on his famous square guitar, and we on our instruments. I blew harp and sang. We played some of our originals- which Bo deemed”Alright” but a little loud. He humored us by playing some of his newer material he hadn’t recorded yet. It was funkier than what the public may have ordinarily associated with the Bo Diddley beat. The lyrics were humorous with a great call and response chorus. He had us play the rhythm parts while he worked out his lead breaks.

Bo never bought Ant that drum-set. We returned to Western Maryland pretty excited from our adventure. After a couple months Ant dropped out and we found other drummers. I moved to DC and lost contact with my friend Ant.

I did see Bo a few times after that and he remembered me. Bo was inducted into the first annual W.A.M.A. (Washington Area Music Association) Hall Of Fame, and I saw him there.

He played the old 9:30 Club a few times and I was able to chat with him as he browsed the collection of fine Adult “literature” at Doc Johnson’s bookstore around the corner from the club.

Some years later, when my wife Shana was talent buyer for Mick Fleetwoods’ Blues Club in Alexandria, Virginia- I had a chance to shoot the breeze with him backstage. We told off-color jokes, bullshitted about the music life in general and mentioned Ant in passing. He told me Ant had moved back to New Mexico with his wife and child. I didn’t feel it was appropriate to press Bo for details. I never knew what became of Ant. I always wondered. He disappeared as quickly as he appeared, it seemed. I think about him from time to time and hope the years have treated him well.

But for that chance meeting on that Hillbilly Roofing crew, my direction may have been different.
I know ONE damn thing. I sure wasn’t considering a career in Roofing after that series of adventures.

I quit that hellish job and started playing my guitar for a living.
You might call it fate.
Or Simple Common sense…either way I’ll take it.