SPJ bio reflects on rock and roll's underground glory days
Execution Days: The Life and Times of Spencer P Jones
By Patrick Emery
“Those who can make you believe absurdities, can make you commit atrocities.-Voltaire
"I was stripped of all my dignity, blackest clouds hanging over me, I just waited as the moments ticked away, it was like my execution day..." -Spencer P. Jones
"I thought, hold on, I've got a rock band around here some place!" - Tex Perkins
"Grief felt like fear" - C.S. Lewis
I WAS ALWAYS ON YOUR SIDE
Man I'm a little bit furious that those fucked-up Fascists at Facebook permanently locked me out and I knew it was coming, because I saw them doing all that same shit to all my friends who are antiwar, pro human rights and civil liberties, all us poor suckers who fell hard for all that phony shit they told us when we were growing up about the Bill Of Rights that they covertly dismantled but insist we still have, even though we very clearly do not, or anyone advocating for freedom for Julian Assange.
The bullshit fact checking, accusations of violating their so-called community standards, all that shit. I posted a lot of links to antiwar organizers and truth tellers who've been purged from Mocking Bird mass media. Zuckerberg and his Great Lockstep cronies decided it was better to purge some of us completely, rather than have us actively factchecking the factcheckers and pushing back against their dangerous bullshit police state narratives.
Thankfully, a very thoughtful and considerate friend thought to send me an electronic copy of a book I'd been yearning to read and I guzzled the whole thing down like a pint while I was unable to contact my comrades on social media.
I smiled when I read that some promotor eager to attract a mainstream civilian audience to some hotel show was advertising the genius rogue and mischief maker, Spencer P. Jones, as "Australia's Keith Richards"; at some point, and I understand Spence was more famous on his continent than he was on mine, but I'd say that moniker applies more to say, Malcolm Young, a Chuck Berry rhythm guitarist for a stadium- filling rawk brand who became unfathomably rich and over merchandised, than it ever did to Spencer, who struggled all his days, pinballing between serendipitous moments in the company of the rich and famous and staggering around semi-conscious in the cold.
I always saw Spencer as being a member of the hard knocks school of outsider guitarists, alongside people like Bob Stinson, Jimmy James, Joey Pinter, Billy Burks, and Mister Ratboy - the World Famous one-all the deadliest guns who never quite cracked the bigtime but who had more soul and talent than their rich and famous colleagues.
A PLACE CALLED BAD
Spencer was more than a rootsy guitar player. though. "Fait Accompli" is one of the best records I ever heard by anybody. His singing and songwriting were just stellar! I did not know, until I read this book that "When I'm No Longer Poor" was a cover, but man oh man, Spencer's version really sang to this weary old drifter's last Amerikkkan vagabond heart! All his stuff did!
Ya know, where I came from, and Maysville, Kentucky is a long way from Te Awamutu, New Zealand, they were already dumbing us down back in the late ‘80s and early ‘90s. The rich people did not want folks shakin' loose and doing their own thing, like they did in the ‘60s and ‘70s, EVER AGAIN, so they got busy manufacturing a bullshit world that only existed on television unreality tv, or for the progeny of One Percenter super rich people who few of us would ever meet in real life.
They were conning the kids into believing in some whitewashed, modernized "Happy Days" on "Beverly Hills 90210", "The Hills", "The Housewives Of", and "The Kardashians". The media was training morons to worship evil, unattractive, surgically enhanced rich people with no talent as gods, so by my mid twenties, people I'd known were actually imitating plot lines from those stupid sit-coms like, "Friends", getting Aniston haircuts, pretending Brad Pitt and New Kids On The Block and NSync and Amerikkkan Idol was cool. You'd hear them say things they'd heard from Tom Cruise movies like, "Show Me The Money" or "Greed Is Good". People would actually fucking repeat that shit in real life, it was insane.
Arsenio brought NAFTA Bill Clinton on with a sax and Risky Business sunglasses and the dumbfuck studio audiences would "woof woof woof" like dogs. They were dumbing us down. Who let the dogs out? USA! USA! If corporate media told the animals to sit, speak, rollover, or play dead, they would. They told 'em that it was edgy and hip and rebellious to talk about Britney Spears all the time, or to like Wonder Bread bullshit like Pearl Jam, Foo Fighters, Katy Perry or Taylor Swift. It was very strange to behold, the grip that the tv had on my associates' behaviors. I knew something was askew when people were going to the bar and sitting near a television set to watch the fucking Simpsons.
Where I was interned for a traumatizing, punishing number of years, in a right-wing football town, they just weren't intelligent enough to appreciate Rowland S. Howard or the Scientists. "Show Me The Money", they said. Fatsos wanted to be Puffy Combs pimps. People had all just lost their critical thinking faculties and they bought whatever they were told to but, no matter how banal, mediocre, insulting. Jerry Springer and other daytime TV shows took particular delight in showing poor people behaving like animals. George W. Bush was selected President and the TV people were trained to say it was because Ralph Nader - not because his dad was CIA and the fix was in.
Those were not good times for people like me, who had no desire to line up with the Green Days and Slim Shadies, or Woodstock 99 nu metal, and pretend that happy days were here again. I did not watch MTV when it started lifestyle programming with boybands and Carson Dailey and spring break frat house bullshit. I retreated into my own little underground-a dark dirty dive bar where preppies feared to tread, and ever deeper, into the dark but romantic music of the Australian blues-punk scene.
"From The Belly Of The Beasts" is what I used to play for my potential musical collaborators as an example of what I thought a real rock’n’roll band should sound like. Scared away all the Alternatives. It was a helpful tool for weeding out the wankers and posers and Fauntleroys, from the teenage dreamers in star spangled bandannas and dark horses and sacred cowboys. That double live cd was like my personal rock’n’roll bible. Greatest shit I'd ever heard! I still love everything they done up ta now. "Danger Has Been Kind" is right up my alley.
YOUR FULL MOON FEVER FRENZY IS COMING TO AN END
Patrick Emery from Melbourne, Australia's written this really fantastic book, "Execution Days", about one of my all-time favorite rock’n’roll hoodlums, Spencer P. Jones, most famously of the Johnnys and Beasts Of Bourbon. Spencer never broke into the USA, aside from maybe a tiny clique of Jon Spencer wannabes from Gluten-Free Brooklyn, but holy smokes, was he ever talented. My country seldom produces characters with that much soul power and personality, New Zealand might as well be another planet.
By the end of this book, I was in actual tears. It is like Spencer himself, a wonder to behold, a thing of rare beauty! Spencer was the kinda guy you met, if you were lucky, at a carnival, rehab, or flea market, he had this profound joie de vevre about him and mischievous lost boy spirit, I always related to, in my reckless youth. Even as he spiralled into savage excess and self-parody, he always did it with charmingly disarming honesty and wrenching self-awareness. Easily one of the most blunt and funny and soulful songwriters of the past 30 years, he always makes you feel something, the kinda songs that make you laugh and cry at the same time, esp. if you're drinking at all. Especially if you, yourself, chose that painful road to rock’n’roll with all the damaged greaser wretches passed out underneath the table and bleach blonde wastrels in “Tank Girl” hot pants with the sores all up and down their boney white arms, the ramblers and the dead too youngs, the black-eyed glamour punks and junkie girlfriends. It was just yesterday, really actually, just yesterday, that I was communing with summa my own intimate rock’n’roll ghosts who've gone on to the used record store in the sky.
It was Saint Paddy's Day so I was feeling sentimental thinking about a dead genius songwriting mentor from Detroit whose ouvre could save your life. People somehow preferred his third-rate impressionist, hokey-ass imitators. Then there was the fallen Michael Hutchence lookalike girl magnet bassist from my first real band. And the guy I worked at the record store with who taught me all about the blues and "Beggar's Banquet" as a pre-teen. And I thought about and the Johnny Walker-inhaling, "Buy Me A Scotch!", bible-thumping bluesman, black tooth street drifter who only exists now on two or three YouTube and Vimeo vids that might add up to 15 minutes of him singing and drinking and storytelling. Then I thought about my own mostly unrecorded song lyrics and too-soon-to-publish memoirs, and in the DNA of his son who lives somewhere with his model mum in India.
I used to make mixtapes for all those guys, my close confidantes who've left this earth in the past few years, all of 'em recognized the Beasts Of Bourbon as kindred spirits and fellow travellers, even the songwriting mentor I mentioned who I figured was undoubtedly this country's greatest unknown songwriter. When the music industry has been weaponized by the super-rich, it does not seem to matter how talented a motherfucker is if'n he is unwilling to sell out to the man. Some eager beaver wannabe's will come along and just do a pale imitation of his work and usually succeed, the way that Lady Gaga ripped off Phoebe Legere and turned it evil. Those first few Beasts Of Bourbon records, we heard 'em out of order, it took awhile for 'em to arrive here at used record stores and the hipster record store scumbag in the Midwest who I had to sell all my books to for pennies on the dollar just to keep the lights on for maybe two months, he shamelessly admitted to price gouging their sought-after (by me) work because he was a smirking capitalist weasel who'd charge 50 fucking bucks for an Australian import!
So yeah, we were lucky to have stumbled across a few used discs back in Boston that were like a New Orleans swamp punk gutbucket raunchy gumbo that stunk up the whole building with some tongue in cheek mockery of Amurkkkan Wild West trucker culture, hicks and hillbillies, CB radios, voodoo priestesses, moonshine howlers with face tattoos, who reminded us of all our once dearest friends, and psycho killers. It was all good stuff, but they just got better and better, the Beasts songwriting and all their spinoff side projects were always invested with so much sincerity, fear, grief, failure, regret, lust, brute impulses, broken hearts, carnal yearning, drunken fuck-ups and silvery moonlit midnight misbehaviours, they laid it all out there, courageously, on tape and on the stage. Been a mighty long time since I seen anybody from here do that whole Janis Joplin or Amy Winehouse type o soul baring.
Me and my crew we wanted to dress like the Scientists but sound like the Beasts. We got nowhere with that formula, let me tell ya. It was graveyards, jails, and institutions for our gang, but we never gave up tryin'. My theory is that people from the Divided States Of Fear & Slavery are incapable of getting a band like the Beasts Of Bourbon together, because first of all, the see something/say something, safe space, snitch patrol, nosy neighbor next door would call the police on 'em the first time they tried to have a band practice, and because the militarized males of dumbfuck pledged to forever wars and NFL on Sunday yeehaws simply lack the guts, integrity, or courage to spend even brief moments in any kind of honest introspection that is necessary to be able to write songs like, "I Let You Down Again", or "Hope You Find Your Way To Heaven", or "I Guess It's Really Gonna Hurt". Nobody here ever says they are sorry, or admits any wrong ever, unless it's a famous person getting cancelled for their politically incorrect quip and they've hired a publicity firm to fake apologize in the controlled-press, but mostly it's all just spook-son George W. Bush pretending to be a rancher in his blue jeans, saying he will never apologize for the USA USA!
It takes bravery to sing about fucking up and blackin' out and having complicated, conflicted human emotions, I'm afraid my countrymen will never produce a rock '' roller with much vulnerability or courage, cause they are all born into bullshit bondage, indoctrinated from birth, to only care about "winning", "making it", or "identifying" with "the winners". They are too immersed in the backstab culture of "just me" competition. The Beasts Of Bourbon featured the best musicians in the world, all sharing the spotlight, moolah, songwriting credits, publishing, bottle. There was bound to be some conflicts and resentments along the way, but they always seemed to forgive each other, and get it back together. They got the Real Love. They were Jets all the way. They may have started off as a jokey NY Dolls and Cramps cover band but those belligerent barnstormer alcoholics wrote songs from the bottom of their lonesome bottles and mostly gutted out the good and bad times, together.
One can easily appreciate why eccentric artiste, Kim Salmon, was not always as gung-ho about the boy's club shirtless revelry of his bawdy bandmates and it's always a pleasure to hear them write about each other. Spencer wrote "What's Gotten Into Him" and Salmon responded with "Pearls Before Swine". Spencer collaborated with most all my favorite bands from These Immortal Souls to the Gun Club. I remember his bandmate Tony Slug from Hit List magazine, a punk rag we both ranted for way back in the bleary late ‘90ss. SPJ described his family as a real tough bunch of alcoholics with artistic and musical tendencies. "There was this attitude: you're here for a good time, not a long time." When he reminisces about his Uncle Frank, he reminded me a great deal of this impish barfly I used to know named Beatnik Jimmy-you knew he was getting wound up when his bebop beret came off his head and he let his hair down and started doing this leprechaun jog, kinda stomping like a troll guarding a bridge, he'd always scream accusingly at my beautiful and angelic, long gone bombshell bartender, "Woman! You tryin ‘a KILL ME?!" whenever he correctly sensed she'd started watering down his drinks to help regulate his ability to stand up. He'd go stumbling down the street arm in arm with my narcoleptic genius jazz snob blood brother.
They are all deceased now. Except for me, two other guys and a firebrand stripper, all the rest of em who made that bar so infamous, they all must be getting juiced, up there somewhere, beyond the clouds. I guess the only person left from my own checkered past as a frantic romantic, who really shares my appreciation for the Beasts, is a famous rock critic and tv show host who goes by the name Sleaze. He hand delivered me my first ever copy of "The Low Road" to my heavy drinking all night hootenanny, pre-gentrification, old band house in Cambridge, back in, ohh, '92?
My wife likes Spencer, though. We used to play his solo CDs that Spooky Records sent to me back when I still had a column in a Detroit newspaper in an upstairs apartment, we inhabited in the Midwest back when we first got together like 20 years ago. We'd play "Up For It" too loud and the downstairs neighbor would bang on the ceiling with a broomstick so we'd drive a half hour to a bar where my old cronies bartended and get liquored up for free. Those guys were always up for it. One of 'em is recovering from serious back surgery and got ran over by a car while he was attempting to heal, the other one moved to New Orleans where people such as himself have more freedom. As soon as I told her this book was coming out a few months back, she knew I'd want it real bad, but it kinda went on the list of stuff we know might be outta reach cause we are paupers.
Just as I suspected, the whole life story of Spencer P. Jones reminds me so much of my own: from the childhood cowboy outfits and early drinking, boarding school, early Beatles and Elvis influences, it's no wonder I embraced all his bands so devotedly in my twenties. Like me, he reckoned with a lot of death and loss from a young age and that's some tough shit to bear, as a grieving teen, Spence took comfort from Bolan and Bowie and Alice Cooper and the MC5 - just like me and my scattered gang of semi reformed juvie reprobates, only he was a bit older than us, we weren't really unearthing all the '70s glam until like 1983 and '84. His biographer really does an outstanding job of capturing and conveying the sights and sounds of 1970s nightlife.
Of course, any and all fans of real rock’n’roll, who have any surplus income to spare at all, will wanna order this book right away, it is a perfect companion to the laugh out loud, marvellous Tex Perkins autobiography. You will be sure to place it prominently on your coffee table or high on a shelf, so it's always easily accessed to re-read, like a record. You won't be reading this just once, you'll wanna drink it all in again and again, which is what makes it a worthy investment even in these perilously dystopian days of competing douchelords playing chicken with nukes and cupboards are bare frugality.
His memories of first seeing Bon Scott-era AC/DC are really quite similar to how I felt when I first witnessed the Fleshtones, or the Butthole Surfers at Danceteria while tripping on acid. Vividly I recall when I first saw the pic of the Beasts on the cover of the "Low Road" and innately understanding why Sleaze thought it imperative to bring that disc to me and my band of mirror shades wearing Stooges fans. We were woodshedding in a late-night Bohemian basement back then, writing songs that made other people famous, but never ourselves. What a weird ride it's been! I saw myself in the songs of the Beasts and knew, that like them, I was condemned to rock’n’roll, in style or not, always and importantly even without any permission from The Man, I'd be wasting my days writing more songs about all my doomed friends and crazy experiences for what time remained.
When the book remarks upon Spencer discovering Mott The Hoople and the Flamin’ Groovies, it all rings so fucking familiar, this handsome tome is like a drunken driving madcap misadventure that speeds through the long-lost good times of the sadly forgotten past. Spencer was undoubtedly one of the best, realest, from the heart, rock’n’roll motherfuckers who ever done it. I've always felt all his songs in a deeply personal way. I smiled upon hearing his classic hit, "When I Write My Book", cause I'd started doin' just that over 20 years ago, probably got four books worth of memories stashed somewhere, just unwilling to publish all the too true to be good stories while my fallen amigos family's might be harmed. I even had a long-lasting residency at a dive bar that got closed down and gentrified some years ago during the loathsome smarmy, smiley, moustache waxed hipster invasions and ya know Spencer's song "Clementine" has always meant so much to me. It really nails the feelings of loss and displacement when the juice bars arrive and you know what that means: there goes the neighborhood.
Gentrification is yuppie code for poor people get shoved out. When he sings that song, "When I'm No Longer Poor", it feels to me like he is a rock’n’roll saint sent so I would not feel so all the fuck completely alone! I had this one pal who also liked the Beasts, the dude was really good at Stooges meets AC/DC or Action Swingers type riffs that could sometimes really compliment my three-minute tales of woe is me and what the fuck. Problem was he was like Pig-Pen from Charlie Brown, he just came trailing clouds of darkness and danger wherever he ventured with his larger-than-life presence, abrasive guffaw an undomesticated ball of fiery recklessness and empty bottles and broken teeth and naked girls and vanished amps, so Spencer's wonderfully poetic song, "Don't Terrify Your Friends" always made me think of him.
All my old companions tended to be pirates and anarchists and fuck-ups and hard boozing outlaws who'd wake up with a lonely planet of heavy anxiety on their shoulders each day, that comes from never remembering anything much that happened after about nine thirty, the night before. Haunted, wounded, dreaming men. Heck, we even knew a real-life murderess in a purple dress. Like I've said, though, most of 'em are dead now. I loved reading about Spencer's youth, his influences, his early bands I knew little to nothing about, his surprising love for a sadly sold-out Neil Young, all the stuff I missed, cause I grew up on the other side of the world from him. Cuban Heels opening for the Angels, Saints, and Cold Chisel! Wow!
It's a real pleasure to peruse all these information-dense paragraphs, jam packed with quotes from people like the Damned and Sonny Vincent and Kid Congo Powers. It takes us through his stint with Gun Club, his onery hijinks with fellow crazies like Jeffrey Lee Pierce, Tony Pola, and Brian Henry Hooper. it's almost like an encyclopedia of Australian underground rock’n’roll - the Hoodoo Gurus, Rose Tattoo, Radio Birdman, New Christs, These Immortal Souls, Fur Bible, the Surrealists, Salamander Jim, 6ft Hick,The Church, Lime Spiders, Powder Monkeys, Johnnys, Celibate Rifles, Tex Deadly & The Dum Dums, Escape Committee, it's all here for your naked, steaming, bloodshot eyeballs.
It's astounding that dudes like Tex and Kim and Spencer started off playing shambolic, shitfaced covers of all your favorite old Dolls or Only Ones or Undertones songs for beer basically only to become some of the most prolific songwriters since the ‘70s. Charlie Owen: all these cats were just so fucking talented! Everybody who matters if you are into genuine article blues punk, cowpunk, torch and twang, or snarly, swaggering, half man/half ape, punch-drunk blackout punk'n'roll, with soul. Australians appreciate and celebrate genuine article genius and untamed soul party music in a faithful and always so passionate way that's almost made me wanna relocate there, until I remember how my OWN country treats immigrants. All the bands I like in the USA! USA! are usually ignored into the grave by these dumb and senseless tv people who aint got no heart, who traded in their youthful ideals or principles for some corny membership in a club that stays home watching tv shows about zombies and base their own life choices on whatever they see the people doing on PROGRAMS like "Friends" or whatever.
There are admittedly a few rich people in the big cities who collect records and read "Bucket Full Of Brains" or "Lemon" magazine, who've heard of Nick Cave, and collect import vinyl, who might even have some kinda hobbyist tribute bands, but usually, for me, it feels so academic, devoid of pathos and passion, intimacy or risk taking. It might seem sad to some to recall Spencer climbing on a table before falling on his face, or Tex passing out somewhere, or Tony Pola throwing up, or their producer friend stealing equipment to finance his habit, but man, the work they delivered is really amazing. 'Round here, it's all like private school nerds who bought some stretch jeans, trust fund karaoke, here at best. "Elvis Impersonator Blues"-ya know?
If a rock group tried to really throw down like the Beasts Of Bourbon in this country, college hipsters would not know what to do, they would recoil, flee for the exits, look for their safe space, file a complaint, call their moms for reassurance, ask to speak to a manager, look for a petition to ban them. They'd be shocked, aghast, scandalized and offended, which is so surreal to me, when you consider how much of the music the Beasts were most inspired by came from here - Hank Williams and Howlin' Wolf, Lightnin' Hopkins and Kris Kristofferson. The Urban Outfitter/Hot Topic Crowd who flooded into big city music scenes during grunge, who used their parent's moolah to monopolize every resource and rewrite history in their own beardo image are real into their Catholic school parochial, puritanical, Coach Green, Officer O'Smiley woke politeness. They don't take kindly to longhaired savages singing violent or frustrated noise punk outta key. Their idea of proper music is something to do with vocal training, opera, hitting the big Broadway note like Bette Midler, and about having the biggest collections.
I'd see this gentrification hipster record store sign with all these pictures of old blues and rockabilly artists on it, but when the hipsters who shopped there encounter poor, or crazy, or offbeat, black, or hillbilly, white trash hellions in real life, they'd shit themselves, lock the door, call the cops, expect the worst from watching all that holier than thou, Bill Cunningham and Maury Povich bullshit on TV. They just wanna tell each other about all the stuff they have, and how they used to know that frat boy who got grunge famous. Yeah you mentioned that, already. Poison Idea were right when they said, "Record Collectors Are Pretentious Assholes".
Personally, I can't stand what passes for bars or nightclubs, anymore, all those gentrified assholes holding their I-Phones in the air. The indie-wusses in the states see some wild hearted pole dancer compassionately smooching on a lonesome hobo derelict glam rocker, and seemingly just never get over it. They're like little Tipper Gores. Perpetually outraged. They want more censorship, they are always so OFFENDED! They ever meet anybody like Tex Perkins or Spencer P. Jones, and their immediate reaction is ALWAYS, "He MUST be STOPPED!" They're like little kkkops in second hand Starsky & Hutch leather jackets, these hipsters. UGH! Miraculously, the wild spirit of real rock’n’roll is still alive and well as Johnny Winter and Circus Of Power sang, it's just mostly concentrated for some reason, in Australia.
LEFT MY WALLET SOMEWHERE
I remember being really excited upon discovering the Cruel Sea's "This Is Not The Way Home" cause it reminded me of so many spontaneous road trips I took with my dead friend Mitch and hoodlum thundering sideman N.F. Bastard, where they'd take turns stealing oil to put into our leaky van and we'd always break down somewhere on the side of the highway en route to trying to get some of our songs recorded at our city slicker former associates bigtime recording studios, we had the worst luck in the world, though.
Always with more failure. Tex sang about it beautifully, "threw up in the men's restroom...this is not the way home..." Used to play all that stuff for my hick heavy metal friends from Kentucky who were trying to go Jon Spencer Junior, back when I was still foolishly assembling throw together bands of loud rednecks and suburban punks and trying to hold the affiliated Beasts projects up as examples of quality songwriting, rather than just having some well-funded, novelty, gimmick band digging gold from rock’n’roll.
'Round that time, I went to an audition to become a replacement singer for a broken up old New Rose band, by that time, I think it was just the original guitarist and drummer. They wanted me to learn some real cornball "Nuggets" covers I was not into, at all, plus a cool and heartfelt Stones track from "Metamorphosis" that reflected what I was going through with a chick back then, called, "I Don't Know Why". I sang the shit out of it and the guitarist really did a whizbang job on that guitar solo and I just looked up at the drummer and smiled and he smiled back, we shared the golden moment, I pulled out my flask and took a long tug, knowing we had collectively summoned some real lightning from a bottle and I was tellin' em about all the bands I was into back then-the Comatones, Thee Hypnotics, Gunfire Dance, and the Beasts Of Bourbon.
The guitar player, if I remember correctly, was telling me about how he stole Iggy Pop's girlfriend back in the ‘70s, and that I should take some "singing lessons". I looked over at the drummer who'd shared my in the moment enthusiasm and he kinda just looked at the floor. It was the guitarists' band, but anyhow, my beer buddy, a famous DJ got the gig, and they promptly integrated a song I'd hipped them to, "The Honemoon Is Over" into their set. They were both older than me and were music industry people, both very good at doing showbiz handshakes and getting paid.
SPJ's tune, "You've Peaked Baby" reminds me of still some other former friends who really seem convinced that they are like fourth hand famous, now. The Beasts Of Bourbon have been my favorite band since I was about 22 and I'm now 52, oh my and a boo-hoo. "Words From A Woman To Her Man", "I Don't Care About Nothin Anymore", "I've Got No Reason", "What Do You Want Now", "You Let Me Down", "Goodbye Friends", "I Hope You Find Your Way To Heaven", honestly, those damaged old bruisers mean absolutely everything to me. Their records are still impossible to find in my country but I got YouTube and some old CD's in the garage.
A lotta stuff in the book, I never even heard of it till yesterday, like Working Class Ringos so that's the great reward of loving those guys so much, there's always some other solo album to discover in the days to come. "Can't Say No" is probably, at least, frequently, my favorite song. I thought that Tex Perkins record, "Far Be It From Me" was a flawless masterpiece. I'm still unearthing more Kim Salmon and Brian Henry Hooper stuff. I can still measure how rock’n’roll somebody really is by their body language when I play them something offa "Black Milk" or the "Axeman's Jazz".
Almost nobody seems to get it in a meaningful way, aside from one very surly guy I mentioned earlier who I can't take care of or provide for due to other family commitments. He gets it. But like I said, I can't get him playing his very dangerous guitar without all the accompanying broken bones and broken glass, dirty needles and empty gallon jugs, but when Spencer talks about needing to find a "guitarist with criminal intent but no form", ha ha, that immediately brought to mind my ex-sideman with all the broke down vans, dead friends, wrecked motorcycles, fist fight injuries, that impulsive old rascal was so hedonistic and destructive back in the day, he used to steadily drive away all our other musicians because he was so unapologetically all night rockin' and nihilistic and unafraid, even people who'd toured with the crazy likes of Andre Williams would FLEE him. I love the guy, he wrote some real important black leather and chrome rock’n’roll riffage from the soul. A solid gold hellion, if there ever was one, he is still the Real Thing, and also missing my dead street musician brother I spoke of earlier, whose wet cardboard sign that he'd use to hitch hike down to New Orleans, used to read, "Last Serial Killer For 200 Miles".
Nowadays, it is just me and the memories, last of the vanishing riders, ya know the cheese stands alone, but I have great feeling and deep appreciation for all those Australian rock’n’roll motherfuckers who soundtracked our tumultuous lives. To all my long-gone brothers and sisters and friends of the revolution, I drink a great big whiskey to ya anyways. To Spencer and Speedie and Tony and Brian Henry wherever they are in this big old universe, Ride On, you rock’n’roll sages and thank you so much. We were blessed by your music and shining example. "THANKS"!