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plunk88 View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote plunk88 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Aug 06 2008 at 9:26pm
Yeah....myspace primarily, but they can go anywhere that accepts html code (Bebo, Blogger, Etc.)

You should check out the features of reverbnation however....its a pretty cool management tool....very slick.

I don't know if you can see the tutorials as a straight user, but start a ficticious band account and get inside it as an administer....its truly amazing.
Life's but a walking shadow, a poor player
That struts and frets his hour upon the stage
And then is heard no more: it is a tale
Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury,
Signifying nothing.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote plunk88 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Aug 22 2008 at 1:48pm
When I was right in the middle of the maelstrom of "Hungarimania" (more of a manifestation of my own twisted mind than what was actually any type of reality), every once in awhile, I would receive that little tidbit of validation that would keep me motivated to work 23 hours a day to maintain a 12 piece greasy soul orchestra and a blossoming independent record company. This is an example of one of the larger points of validation in my life, one that would be sorely mischaracterized as a "tidbit".

A little preamble:

As anyone who is in the business of selling records knows (especially little indies) there is a cycle of inception, production, and most labor intensive, the marketing cycle.

I had just released our double disc set, "LIVE" at Styleen's. All the initial radio packages had gone out (over 4,000 packages world wide), and it was imperative to stay by the phone and computer to solidify relationships with programmers and independent D.J.'s, either by following up or receiving calls as they came in (I set up an 800 number so they could talk to me on my own dime….ended up being a lot of dimes)….

But during this time, the Hungarians were also maintaining a pretty solid schedule of performances…on the particular night in question, we were playing a club in Rochester, NY called "The Creek", a pretty well known routing venue for national acts. We always did very well there, and this night was no exception, as the band was building a big head of publicity steam behind the new record.

As we were doing our patented mass levitation thing, The Dirty Dozen Brass Band (who had played a concert that night in town) walked in, and dug the band so much, they crashed the stage and jammed with us until closing time…. and the liquor was flowing quite freely…by the time I got in my battered Nissan truck to make the long drive to Syracuse…well lets just say driving wasn't an option. I slept for a couple of hours in the parking lot.

I will say that having real musicians from New Orleans grooving on the band put me on top of the world, albeit with questionable drunken equilibrium….and that was adrenaline producing enough for me to eventually make the drive home.

When I got there at around 7am, deader than the proverbial doorknob (drunker than the proverbial doorknob is more like it) I crawled into bed with my sweetie, Styleen. We were both working very hard long hours, and we had to steal our moments when moments became available….this was one of the rare ones.

So at the moment she straddled me and slipped me inside her, of course the phone rang.

"If you pick that thing up, you're a dead man", she hissed.

Now any man rooted in reality would have just let the damn thing ring…but if any devotee of things Little Georgie knows, one thing I'm not is rooted in reality…. especially in a manic phase of selling records. It was my radio cycle; all the DJ's that play independent music do so on public radio on Saturdays and Sundays…. I had to answer the phone.

Now if this moment couldn't get any more surreal, on the bedside table next to the phone was the recently published autobiography of Jerry Wexler, one of my music heroes…and as I snatched the receiver with one hand and assured Styleen that I would lose the call ASAP (Don't move!) I heard a crusty old guy yelling at the other end of the line yelling in a New Yorkeese accent, "Georgie? Georgie, is that you?"

"Who is this?"

"It's me….Jerry…Jerry Wexler!"

I thought it was one of my buddies pulling my leg.

"Yeah, and I'm fucking Ahmet Ertegun…who is this?"

"No really, it's Jerry Wexler…I wanna talk about your records"

And that my friends, was a start of one of the most amazing conversations I've ever had, with a true master craftsman of all the music that I truly love.

I forgot that I had hijacked the master contact list of the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Foundation's Board members, and had sent packages to that entire database, including Allen Toussaint, Dr. John, and Mister Wexler....can't blame a snake oil salesman for buckshot promotional techniques, can ya?

This amazing man had taken detailed notes of every bar of music on the two recordings I had released to date, and for the next 3 hours he broke down every ancient reference I had intentionally peppered each record with, in the advent that someone musically erudite enough would read the transmission. Jerry Wexler caught them all.

"The thirteenth bar in "Gut Bucket….you stole that from Freddy Slack, didn't ya?"

I was flying around Pluto when I hung up the phone…that folks, is real validation. Jerry Wexler dug me, the architecture, the conceptual elements, the amazing band…. and on top of that, he got the deeply embedded  musical messages and jokes.

Sorry darlin', but that beats morning sex any time…. A big contributing factor in why I have such a difficult time maintaining romantic relationships!

I remained in contact with Jerry through the years, and we exchanged the odd phone call, letters and postcards…. but as I got further away from "the biz", I kinda let this one slide…I have always felt guilty about doing so, but what would Jerry Wexler want with a schmuck that ended up playing "Piano Man" for drunken Tulane co-eds eight times a night at Pat O'Brien's Piano Bar and Plantation Vibe Emporium? I didn't feel I had anything to bring to his table. I had turned into a whore.

But I never forgot how he made me feel that first day…. that maybe what I was doing might have some lasting worth…. some lasting value.

Jerry passed on to the other side last weekend…I should have been around, and I shouldn't have hidden from him…. he was all about THE MUSIC: FIRST, and probably would have talked me out of turning myself into a Bourbon Street music prostitute. It would have saved me a whole lot of grief....

And being about music first probably rendered him useless in a business that sells music, but doesn't really concern itself with caring too much how it's created. I know he felt marginalized…. in my mind, a crime against nature, but he was pretty philosophical about it.

If you listen to any of those early Ray Charles records on Atlantic, or the classic Aretha Franklin recordings she did in Muscle Shoals / NY…Jerry was a producer that knew how the process of creating great art worked…I am grateful for his attempt to remind me to stay true to form, and always, be about the music.


Wish him well on his journey.
Life's but a walking shadow, a poor player
That struts and frets his hour upon the stage
And then is heard no more: it is a tale
Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury,
Signifying nothing.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote M I X E Y Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Aug 23 2008 at 6:35am

plunk88...

I feel you.  That was a beautifil tribute. 

 
Jerry Wexler passed August 15, 2008
 
RIP... with "More Bass"
 
Mixey
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Jeff Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Aug 23 2008 at 7:13am
plunk88,
 
I came late to this thread and I'm catching up. I'm enjoying your posts!
 
Yeah ... a call from Jerry Wexler - especially one in which I learn he'd digested and deconstructed my music - must have been fabulously exciting and surreal. Wow.
 
Dunno if anybody's ever done a definitive documentary on Jerry's career ... the type of which was done on Tom Dowd. No doubt somebody somewhere is already out of the gates on this project. At least I hope so.
 
 
Jeff
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote plunk88 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Aug 23 2008 at 7:35am
Yeah....that was a real big highlight in a career filled with "low lights"!

Wex was an incredibly sweet man....and very supportive.

When I was re-tooling the press kit for the Hungarians, I asked if he would give me a "quote" that I could lead off the whole shebang with (sort of a "letter of recommendation")....he sent me 20 blurbs!

The odd thing about our conversations was that they were always prefaced  by him in expressing his frustration that he really couldn't "do" anything to "help" me....he never really accepted the fact that by making contact and really talking about music, taking what I was doing seriously....that that was more "helpful" than he could possibly imagine....I never could get him to believe that....

I would always remind him that validation of this nature allows me to "dream big", ie expand into the Universe without fear...but he never really wrapped himself around that concept...he really did feel kinda marginalized by "the Industry" even during the moments that his Autobiography  had just been published with glowing reviews...it was sad, really...but as I said, he was pretty philosophical about that too....he knew who he was, and what he did.
Life's but a walking shadow, a poor player
That struts and frets his hour upon the stage
And then is heard no more: it is a tale
Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury,
Signifying nothing.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote plunk88 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Aug 23 2008 at 7:41am
Oh BTW....here's the blurb I used:


"Little Geo And The Shuffling Hungarians are an outrageous agglomeration of manic pickers. Beyond category,they combine jazz, rock, r&b...as true an ass kicking evocation of professor Longhair's legendary second line syncopations to be heard outside of New Orleans "
- Jerry Wexler, producer, Atlantic Records



Life's but a walking shadow, a poor player
That struts and frets his hour upon the stage
And then is heard no more: it is a tale
Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury,
Signifying nothing.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Gene_Leone_Mix Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Aug 23 2008 at 10:35am


George!!! (((plunk88))),

OMG! What you have experienced, and now written and shared with us here ....Wow!
... This musical path crossing with Jerry Wexler is a fantastic life experience and no doubt, an inspiration and a great memory!!!

Amazing story and, as usual, well written and beautifully expressed, from the heart, by you.

Geno
~~~~~~~

RIP Jerry Wexler

~~~~~~~



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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote toad Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Aug 23 2008 at 1:58pm
     George,
   What Geno said.
        Thank you for sharing all with us here.
  Your posts are always a great read, and we could not have
a better representative here for the fine city of New Orleans.
    You have done Mr. Wexler proud with your written word..
 May he rest in peace.
 
toad
Down, and nearly out in Detroit......
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote plunk88 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Aug 26 2008 at 2:14pm
CREATION, VALIDATION, INSPIRATION …FOR GENO, MIXEY, TOAD AND JEFF

As I read through the piece about Jerry Wexler I just posted, it started to bring some issues to the surface that I feel the need to extemporize on a bit…. I’ve been delving a bit lately on the subject of creativity, and I’d like to share some thoughts…maybe open a dialog with anybody that might have their own spin on the conundrum that is “creation”…. and it’s little sister known to all us “outer-directives”, validation.

I’m posting this here, not because it’s germane to the topics, but this is where my Soulful Buddies are used to reading my musings…. if a violation of protocol, my apologies.

I’m just gonna dive right in here, so be forewarned…the squeamish or faint-of heart should probably stop reading at this point…. parts of the following are going to get ugly. If you are of the type that likes to waltz through this life blissfully unaware (which seems to be the rule rather than the exception nowadays), and cannot handle getting your hands sullied by brutal truth, raw exposed humanity, ugly reality or any variant thereof…. please proceed at your own risk. My personal advice would be to stop reading…. now.

About eighteen months ago, I found myself, cross-eyed, sucking on the barrel of a .45 (if you’re going to do a job, do it right.) with my own finger on the trigger. As meticulously as I arrange or write music, as well crafted (at least to the best of my ability, anyway) as I write these posts, as methodically as I have achieved the modicum of success in the music “biz” (at one time…. not recently. More on that later), I planned my own demise.

At that moment, I had finally achieved a total clarity that had eluded me my entire life…the white noise that had been blaring between my ears in every waking moment since I can remember was finally silenced…the only other time I felt this clarity was only momentarily after a particularly strong orgasm (which was a strong element in my self medication regimen to stay “even”, along with Beethoven, Chopin, coffee, alcohol and cigarettes: all in copious daily doses).

This was different: The choice to finally give in, give up, prepare my affairs (about a two week process, including pre-paying for a cremation and manipulating discovery issues to insulate loved ones and family members from having to deal with a headless corpse with brain matter splashed all over the walls), and flick the switch to the final “off” position with one squeeze of the trigger…. provided something that I had always heard about, but never truly experienced: Peace of Mind.

At the time, I didn’t know what forces were in play to prevent me from pulling that trigger and flicking that switch…at the brink of total madness, it’s hard to recognize Fortuna’s hand on your back, or the Universe (or God, or Buddha, or Allah, or Shiva…. whatever you’re into) tapping you on the shoulder, whispering in your ear: “Not ….yet: Maybe later, but not yet.”.

In retrospect, I can tell you that that is exactly what happened to me…. but at the time, in my supposed state of grace and clarity, I just felt my grip loosen, and heard the sound of my teeth clacking against cold steel as the barrel left my mouth, and felt like a total failure.

Immediately the decibel level of the white noise rose exponentially and started whipping through my cranium, but before it reached it’s sustained crescendo, I made a resolve to get some help and see just what the fuck finally was really going on.

And so I got some help…. (Thank You, New Orleans Musician’s Clinic), and got diagnosed: Yes folks, what was always an undefined fear was now a bonafide medical reality: I got the dubious distinction of being classified as “Borderline Stage 2 Bi-Polar”, or in my own personal vernacular, officially “crazier than a shit house rat”.

Two interesting things came to light between the period of diagnosis and the commencement of treatment (Drugs…. a lot of drugs and intensive cognitive therapy sessions two times a week for a year).

1. The psychiatrist that diagnosed me made this statement and then asked a very interesting question: “Most stage 2 Bi-Polars your age are either dead or incarcerated…do you have any idea how much energy you’ve expended during your life time just to stay nominally functional?” (She then added the observation that the fact I was even sitting in her office was an awe-inspiring feat of human endurance to pain…she had never seen it). So basically, I just ran out of gas…a relieving thought at the time.

2. The other point was the diagnosis in and of itself: It functioned as an overlay that I could apply to my entire life’s history…. Every imploded relationship, every misstep, every self destructive episode, every blown opportunity, every missed save… And everything finally made sense. It wasn’t their fault; its was mine…I was crazier than a shit house rat!

One thing about being nuts is the total confusion that you have relating to the outside world, to reality and the people in your orbit functioning within reality…. In other words, to a shit house rat, every one else is nucking futz, and you the rat are the only sane one in the room… so when things go kablooie (and for us crazy shithouse rats, everything eventually does go kablooie), it ain’t the rat’s fault.

So the diagnosis immediately pointed me in the direction of understanding. Like a recovering alcoholic in a twelve step program, I went back to these incidents and the people involved in them (those of whom still spoke to me, of course), and explained and apologized with the ah-ha moment of understanding firmly attached, just in case there was a little part of them that felt remotely guilty about their own responsibility in their participation of things “Kablooie”. All contributors of the choreography to the “Danse Madness” can now let themselves off the hook.

I own it all. Clarity of a different kind.

And immediately after that folks, the drug therapy commenced…. and thus my long journey into the true heart darkness began once again.

DRUGS…LOTSA DRUGS

On a daily basis, 1,200 mgs. of Lithium and 900 mgs. of Lexapro were pumped into my little cracked egg of a head…an extremely potent combination of salt and serotonin re-uptake inhibitors so massive that I literally couldn’t see straight for about a year…it took every ounce of energy to go to my therapy sessions and walk my dogs.

Work, let alone create? Not even a possibility…I couldn’t think. Characterizing this as momentary “lapses in the synapses” would be a gross understatement. Every bit of wiring was ripped out, chemically and cognitively. Waking up and being ambulatory was a rare major success…most days I didn’t even bother with that. Not that I didn’t want to: I just was incapable.

A corpulent Elvis waving a gun at a television set would be a shining example of mental health compared to me.

This went on for about a year…I’d like to tell you that my spelunking expedition stomping around in my own gray matter like a skill-challenged electrician with the grace of Godzilla at a disco was an enlightening experience…it was to a certain extent, but at the time, enlightenment was far off my radar screen. I was hanging on to life by my fingernails.

Which leads me to the point of this little confessional epistle.

The major thing that kept me away from getting help sooner was my fear of losing my mania, because any thing I ever created of any value was birthed in the context of a high manic phase. In other words, if I lost the mania, I would lose everything that defined me as a high “creative” in the process. I would lose…me. The chronic depression is the price I had to pay in order to reap the cr
Life's but a walking shadow, a poor player
That struts and frets his hour upon the stage
And then is heard no more: it is a tale
Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury,
Signifying nothing.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote toad Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Aug 26 2008 at 5:18pm
        George,
  Through Mixey's efforts to Bring life to this Soulful Planet Forum,
 Our members and observers have recieved a lot of wonderful life
 stories and expiriences from all parts of this country and other
 places far and wide. My personal ties to Mixey,Jeff, Geno and most others
 posting here has been a "On-Line" episode in my life that I wouldn't
 trade for anything. I have only met a few of the members here face to 
 face.
     These great people have given me much VALIDATION, that I needed
 very badly. This Village gives me a reason to drag myself to my computer
 to see what is happening in the rest of the soulful world, and I look
  forward to reading everyone's contributions.
      Your posts captivate me to savor all the words, and your writing
 takes me to YOUR place, which is has been a great trip for someone
 locked in a sorry state of affairs. [temporary] Confused
     You must remember that there are many people besides the members
 that post here that are also reading about your trip through life,
 and I am sure that you have more fans, that are so far secret.
      It takes balls to spill your guts to the world, but sharing our
 stories is the path to knowing our fellow men and women.
    We all learn from each other. It is the only thing that is constant
and real to me. Things are good, but people make the world go round.
    I feel blessed to have met you here, and hope someday that we can
 meet in person. I have never been to your adopted city, but they
have a fine reprsentative, wether they know it or not.
   Throw your hat in the ring !  I'll vote for ya !!!Big%20smile
 
toad
Down, and nearly out in Detroit......
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote M I X E Y Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Aug 27 2008 at 12:18am
Plunk88 (George). . .
 
Thank you for recognizing what Soulful Planet is about... and for trusting that your words are valued here.  I feel honored to receive validation from you!!
 
I resonate with all of what you've written very personally.
 
Even at your lowest points, you exhibit a high degree of responsibility and care for others.  There's no way to expand, minus that ethic. So even though you may have been involved in some toxic situations (haven't we all), you've come out of them.
 
The creative mind, rarely receives the validation it deserves.  Accolades that are false, are even worse somehow, although they might due for the moment, as you've pointed out, if only for a reminder, or a learning tool.
 
Your interaction with Wex, caused you to think in a special way.  I'm sure he knew that, and felt good about sending that intention your way.  Sometimes that's all that's really necessary in a communication. Well done!
 
I wrote a song awhile ago called "Keep The Music Playing"...
 
Part of it goes...
 
The harmony we feel within
will in unison make us whole...
 
Keep the music playing
and let it touch your soul...
 
ohhh...
keep the music playing
keep the music playing
 
 
Thanks for opening up here Plunk88...
As I said before... you're are much valued here on The Planet!!
 
Toad...
Thank you for everything you've done for me and this place.
This Village wouldn't be the same without you!!
 
Much Love & Thanks,
Mixey
 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Gene_Leone_Mix Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Aug 27 2008 at 10:32am

George!!!

I just read this last night... several times... several times.

I am awe struck, honored, humbled and damn near speechless, about all of what You have been through, and successfully endured through the some of the lowest of moments of what life can throw at us. Incredible!

George, as always, your words jump right off the screen and go right to the heart... along with your many other incredible talents, you have an incredible gift with this. Never stop using it! Never be afraid to put it out there!

And for me, from the awe struck, honored, humbled and the damn near speechless part of this,
Toad's words say it perfectly, and once again MIXEY has said so well exactly what I feel with these words, and I know that my closest dearest friend in the whole wide world Mixey, will probably not mind me restating this part here... loudly:


"... Thank you for recognizing what Soulful Planet is about... and for trusting that your words are valued here. I feel honored to receive validation from you!!

I resonate with all of what you've written very personally.

Even at your lowest points, you exhibit a high degree of responsibility and care for others... "



... Ditto!!!

George, we're all with Ya here, and Ya know that...
and as Toad said well about NOLA... "they
have a fine reprsentative, wether they know it or not."

Hang In There, Keep Creating, Keep Getting It Out There!
~MuchRespect & MuchLove To Ya,~
Geno   


p.s. oh and by the way... from the VALIDATION Department... I think these are Yours!

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote plunk88 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Aug 27 2008 at 11:05am
Well Guys....it wasn't exactly a soundbite, but it was something that I needed to say....and all through the two day process of writing it, the four of you were the fuel that made my "engine" run (Along with waaay too much coffee, and waay too many cigarettes)....

I made some edits after I posted it here... I depersonalized it for public consumption, and added Shakespearean chapter headings, and posted it on http://myspace.com/littlegeorgieandtheshufflinghungarians...but as I said, you guys needed to read it first, in original form, with it's original intent.

I really don't know where I'm going with all this...I do know that I feel a big need to create...anything....after a long rip van winklesque snooze, and writing (words) is a relatively new platform for me...one that all of you clearly were trying to get me to see over the past year.

I am pretty technologically challenged however...if there is any idea or suggestion that you might have to teach me how to throw this stuff out farther, harder, and with a wider trajectory...I need advice.

Love to you all,

G
Life's but a walking shadow, a poor player
That struts and frets his hour upon the stage
And then is heard no more: it is a tale
Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury,
Signifying nothing.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote toad Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Aug 29 2008 at 7:15pm
          Plunk88[George],
        I prey that you are lucky enough to escape any problems
from the hurricane that seems headed your way. The news about this thing doesn't sound very good, and we can only hope that your city
 can survive another big hit, if it should come.
     Don't wait to get out of town if they tell you to go. They are already saying that you will be "on your own" if you decide to stick around.
 That sounds bad to me.
     Here's preyin' this thing fizzels out, or goes to Mexico.
 
toad [in2012]
Down, and nearly out in Detroit......
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Gene_Leone_Mix Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Aug 31 2008 at 12:08am


George...
Oh No... not again!

— Gustav enters Gulf of Mexico - New Orleans Prepares for Hurricane —



— Gustav enters Gulf of Mexico after slamming Cuba —
Sat Aug 30, 2008 11:40pm E
By Tim Gaynor - Reuters News

NEW ORLEANS (Reuters) - Ferocious Hurricane Gustav moved into the oil-rich Gulf of Mexico on Saturday where it was expected to strengthen and threaten New Orleans after its 150 mile per hour (240 kph) winds cut a swath of destruction through western Cuba.

The Category 4 storm swept across Cuba in a matter of hours and now poses a threat to Gulf oil fields on a projected path that could take it ashore near New Orleans, still recovering from Hurricane Katrina in August 2005.

Forecasters said Gustav's winds had dropped to 140 mph (220 kph) crossing the island, but, like Katrina, it could swell into a catastrophic Category 5 storm, with winds above 155 mph (249 kph), as it surges across the Gulf's warm waters.... ... ...
Reuters News Story Continues (Click Here)


~~~
George,
We've already got the Weather Channel on here non-stop watching and hoping for something positive like Toad said... a fizzle out.

Hoping the very best for YOU and everybody in NOLA.
~Please Be Safe~
Geno




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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote manifoldgrace Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Aug 31 2008 at 2:10pm

I wonder how many of us in other parts of the country would have the stamina to get wiped out, start over, get wiped out again, and get back up on both feet to start all over again.  It takes a special kind of person ... I think a lot of people left after Katrina and Rita and never went back.

This is kind of philosophical, but if everyone left NO and the surrounding area for good and never went back, what would happen to the music?  I wonder if they took it to new cities - that distinctive NO sound - would it change the face of the music scene forever in those places ... mixing, blending, or staying a separate entity altogether ...
 
Just wondering ...
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote dream207 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Aug 31 2008 at 2:55pm
Great philosophical question, manifoldgrace.
 
Having been to NO several times, I don't think it would ever be the same.  The sound of NO jazz is like no other.  It fits with the culture and ambiance there.  If it were split up in other cities, it might blend in, but it would never sound the same IMO.
 
New Orleans folks are unique, the city is unique.  When you're a tourist there you can feel the vibes.  I've seen the NO Preservation Hall Jazz Band in other cities.  They were fabulous, but it wasn't the same as seeing them in NO with all the wonderful smells, sounds and energy that permeates that city.
 
dream
http://cdbaby.com/cd/eugenepitt
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote plunk88 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Sep 09 2008 at 10:37am
Again, not very germane to the topic of "New Orleans"....but this is where the gang of four (+1) seem to congregate for my off-beat brand of musings, so here goes: (you can access all blogging at: http://littlegeorgiesblog-a-thon.blogspot.com/)

KEEP SMILING, MONKEY BOY


I was chatting with my buddy "Fuzz", a friend who has been involved with the rock and roll “industry” for as long as I have…. and the conversation always turns to the phenomena of brushing the brass ring with your fingertips, but it invariably always evades your grasp. It’s happened so many times to the both of us, that now we actually find these stories amusing, but at the time, they are the farthest things from it.

"Fuzz" road manages “Otis Day and The Knights” (the penultimate frat house party band of “Animal House” fame) as his bread and butter gig. He was advancing an upcoming gig for a private party to be held at the 2008 Republican National Convention, and was bitching about the amount of paperwork and hoops you have to jump through with the Secret Service and National Security wogs (basically, every member of the band and entourage has to be completely vetted, just in case a terrorist / axe murderer happens to be the bass player, per example).

And, yup, you guessed it, every one in the band either has a past as chequered as a checkerboard, or long standing drug issues, so getting them cleared by various governmental security agencies is…a stone bitch. It’s a lot of extra work on top of the normal hoops you have to jump through to make it a smooth experience for the act you happen to represent.

As he was kvetching about the succession of  dis-organized assholes from the RNC and  Secret Service that he was dealing with on an hourly and daily basis leading up to getting a posse of substance abusing, non payment of parking tickets, arrest warrants issued for various misdemeanors musicians to a high paying gig, I had to tell him about my own brush with the Secret Service and the N.S.A, one of many of the files stored in my “Epic Failure Folder” of memory:

It was the spring of ’97.

I had just booked The Shuffling Hungarians (for those uninitiated, a 15 piece greasy soul orchestra-circus, fronted by yours truly) at a club in Martha’s Vineyard called the Hot Tin Roof (owned by Carly Simon) for Saturday August 30th.

The premier club, at the premier Eastern Seaboard vacation spot, on the premier night of the summer season.

The Hungarians had a lot of national buzz behind them, as I had just released a double “LIVE” recording and was furiously trying to get it noticed…. and doing pretty well at it, quite frankly, which is why I got the gig. (Insert the sound of me patting myself on the back….. here)

Immediately after the signed contract was returned to me, I got a phone call from a 202 area code…we were doing a lot of marketing in DC at the time, so that wasn’t too unusual.

Me: “Good Morning, Queen Bee Records and Furniture Emporium…. How may I help   
        You?”

202 Area Code: “This is the Office of The President. May I speak to Mr. George Rossi?”


Me (in my internal monologue): “What the Fuck?”

Ok, here’s the skinny: somebody in Martha’s Vineyard talked to somebody in DC, and somebody on the President’s PR team thought it would be a good idea to have him show up at The Hungarian’s Vineyard Wing Ding (we were pretty media “hot” at that point)…. and leak it to the press.

Sounds good to me…. little did I know what I was getting into.

On a daily basis, I had to deal with some knucklehead from the Secret Service, the NSA or The Office of the President…. I had to hire a lawyer to clean up all the arrest records of various band members (constant conference calling between the Embassy of Trinidad and Tobago, the Secret Service, and myself on the behalf of our percussionist was a particular “head in the pencil sharpener” exercise of note), which of course put a marginally profitable gig squarely in the red financial “loss” column.

The thing evolved from President Bill showing up, high fiving, and cruising back into the limo to President Bill wanting to sit in with the band.  The set list had to be vetted for questionable lyric material. Charts were Fed Exed directly to the White House. I had to go back into the studio and mix five songs in a “Music Minus One” format so he could practice along with a recording (Bill took his saxophonage seriously, evidently).

This was a ton of extra work and expense…. but it was going to be a big break…. live feeds from every cable and “big three” network, print media, magazines…you name it, they were all gonna be there, all at once.

A global puff piece, but a piece shot ‘round the world. So well worth the monetary and sweat equity investment.

And of course, everyone in the band was well aware of what was going on, due to the total invasion of his or her collective privacy. But they recognized it a big break as well, and it was heartening to finally be able to deliver a big one to my extended “Hungarian Family”…all of us had been working hard, and it was morale boosting to finally have something concrete in the form of a pay-off.

As we approached the big day, an Eagle Tour Bus was rented (You gotta fake it before ya make it, friends…and another pre-programmed morale booster). The gear was stowed in the cargo hold, and we all piled in (getting 15 nut balls to collectively pile into a bus with surgical precision is a feat unto itself), and started the long trip from the East Side of Syracuse to the Wood’s Hole Ferry…. for our date with destiny, well earned and long deserved. It was a fun trip.

When we arrived at the Hot Tin Roof for sound check, the parking lot was already starting to fill with mobile broadcast units from various global news agencies, their rooftop satellite dishes armed and ready to raise heavenward, for the eventual world wide broadcast of a sound bite of “The Hungarian Manifesto”, beamed into potentially millions of homes.

Everyone was frisked, metal detected, every bag rooted through, every instrument case opened and every instrument thoroughly inspected, just in case the kick drum was packed with C-4 explosives or the trumpet was rigged for automatic rifle fire.

Amidst many individuals in black suits with earpieces, chatting into their sleeves…I relished this moment. It was time to go out and grab the ring, and I had been preparing for this moment my entire life.

The room was packed, and the excitement was palpable. The Novena candles were lit ( about 300 of 'em... our trademark), the intro tape cued, the fog machine belching out its unique sickly smelling cloud of noxious gas…. and we started the show, a confident army of friends, battle tested and blazing. Five minutes before “The Prez” was about to make his grand entrance, a Secret Service Agent walks on stage and hands me a note. It read:

“Princess Diana has just died in a car accident. The President WILL NOT be appearing.”
Life's but a walking shadow, a poor player
That struts and frets his hour upon the stage
And then is heard no more: it is a tale
Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury,
Signifying nothing.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote plunk88 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Sep 11 2008 at 9:17am
Again, not very germane to the discussion, but more output for the four horsemen (and anyone else that may be reading)



EPIC FAILURE FILE #2 or: "Wasn't That A Rug That I Was Just Standing On?"



I spent most of my third decade on the planet pursuing the dream of being a “Rock Star”.

I quit high school to travel on that road, and stayed on it. Throughout my twenties I came very close to realizing that dream… but it always persisted in being just outside my grasp.

I closed that decade out as a member of a band that had a record deal ("The Bogeymen”, Delicious Vinyl). Delicious Vinyl was a hot little indie at the time, Tone-Loc, Young MC, and The Brand New Heavies being there most recognizable roster talent.

The brothers Ross ran Delicious V, and its creative output was overseen by Matt Dike (sort of the “West Coast” Rick Rubin, at the time)…. They sued us for a year to sign the band (another “Epic Failure File” in and of itself: more on that little “music biz” tale later), so we weren’t exactly happy campers by the time management conceded to accept a deal that was way below our market value.

But they basically left us alone to record the first record… and all the outwardly appearing steps toward eventual success were starting to materialize (advance money, drunken junkets to LA for mix down, video on MTV in nominal rotation, preparations for a tour, tons of international press, endorsements, etc.).

But then they became cash poor. So it was decided rather than hit the road and play, the band needed to get back in the studio and get another one in the can.

We spent about a year on that one, and by the time we delivered the master, the label was bankrupt. A year’s worth of work was permanently shelved, never to see the light of day. No more record deal, and the dream was hurled of a cliff in a mangled ball of fiery metallic twisted wreckage…. again. 

When everything officially crashed and burned, and I found myself penniless, jobless, my marriage also crashing and burning simultaneously (Another forthcoming entry in the “Epic Failure Folder”)… I decided to basically hide under my bed for a few months.

All dreams shattered, all at once… I was living the nightmare, not the dream.

Out of the blue, in the depths of depression, I got a late night phone call:

Me: “Yeah?”

Them: “ This is Henry Hirsch…may I speak to George Rossi?”

Henry Hirsch was Lenny Kravitz’s partner / producer. After giving me a little background on who he was (I already knew, but his schpiel was obviously honed and prepared…and I                love a good schpiel.)

Tracing the linear history of how he got my phone number (The fellas at Delicious Vinyl to George Drakulious (Rick Rubin’s engineer and future producer of The Black Crowes) to him... evidently  Matt and Mike felt bad about how things ended at Delicious Vinyl, so Karma points were and still are awarded), he made this offer:

Henry: “Lenny’s looking for a keyboard player to tour with him for the next
             three years…would you like to audition?”  

My Internal Monologue:Holy Shit!”

Me: “Uh…. yeah, I guess so….”

The only problem was that auditions were being held the next day at 10am… in Hoboken, NJ. I was in Syracuse NY, about a five hour drive away, I didn’t own a car that could even remotely make that trip…and it was midnight.

So with no preparation whatsoever, sleep deprived and road weary, I pulled into the Hoboken parking lot (in a rented car) of Lenny’s and Henry’s warehouse studio facility at 9:45 am.

I’d like to tell you that my invitation was an exclusive one, but it wasn’t. There were about fifty leather-clad rock and rollers, way cooler looking than me, in full dress waiting in front of the studio’s door. It was a cattle call, and I was the last steer...bringing up the rear.

When it eventually came my turn to sit with Henry at the piano (Lenny skipped the audition process), his first point was they weren’t interested in “New Orleans Style” piano playing…a huge liability for me, since this was my area of expertise…and although familiar with the “Let Love Rule” record and never having heard Lenny’s sophomore effort, the music was piped in the piano room, and I was expected to shine.

I didn’t. I flat out sucked. Shot the pooch, ran over it with a tractor, and then had anal sex with it’s corpse kind of sucked.

So with the classic utterance of “Don’t call us, we’ll call you” ringing in my ears, I took the long drive home back to Syracuse, hoping to get there before I got charged another day’s rent on the rent-a-wreck.... the acrid taste of failure in the back of my throat for the entire trip.

Two weeks later, I received another midnight call.

Henry: “George, it’s Henry…. can you make a call back at 10am tomorrow?”

Me: “Jeez ,Henry…. I’m five hours away…couldn’t you give me a little advance
        notice?”

Henry: “If you want the gig…. be in Hoboken by 10am”

Me: “ See you tomorrow”

And so my dance with Henry and Lenny had officially started, always following the same pattern…the midnight call, the car rental, the incremental counting of chickens before the are hatched along with the Lenny “carrot” getting dangled closer and closer, the sleep deprived and absolute suck ass playing during the private audition with Henry, the “don’t call us, we’ll call you” unceremonious kick out the door, and the long cross-eyed drive of savoring complete and utter failure back to the wastelands of Central NY.

But Henry kept calling (at midnight…every fucking time!)…finally admitting after four auditions that a field of two hundred and fifty candidates had been winnowed down to only two: Richard Bell (one of the greatest NY session players of all time) and me (The cross-eyed, sleep deprived, clueless one handed pianna plunkin’ choke artist). One more 10am, next day call back. But this time, Lenny will be there.

“Do not count your chickens, Jack…” was the basic mantra on the drive down.

So I went and did a private audition for Henry, Lenny and his entourage (never once did I actually get to play with the band), cross-eyed, sleep-deprived and shooting the pooch for the fifth time, and taking the same solo drive of failure: Sitting on my tail, which seemed to be getting quite comfortable on these Hoboken NJ to Syracuse NY treks in its familiar resting position of being situated firmly between my legs.

The midnight call came two evenings later.

Henry Hirsch: “George, it’s Henry”

Here comes the lowering of the boom…I’d love to say that at this point, getting hit in the head with the boom didn’t matter, but at this point…it did matter. It always hurts, and I had experienced enough boom lowering to last a lifetime…I know exactly how much it hurts, and how much recovery time is needed after getting your skull cracked.

Me: “ Hey, Henry…. what’s up?”

Henry: “ Congratulations, you got the gig. The tour starts in Japan in two
              weeks…. get down to Hoboken five days from now…. Fax your   
              passport info and lose fifteen pounds before you get here.”

My Internal Monologue:Holy Shit!!!!” I had finally won one…and this was
              &nb
Life's but a walking shadow, a poor player
That struts and frets his hour upon the stage
And then is heard no more: it is a tale
Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury,
Signifying nothing.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote toad Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Sep 11 2008 at 12:48pm
     Georgie,
 I waited a while to post, so the others in our gang of admirers could see your posts, and know you didn't get swept out to sea in the recent
 hurricane bullshit that hit your city again.
      Your Clinton gig story, and this Lenny epic confirms my view that
 your story needs to be read by the millions, and not just here on the     
 Planet Village.
     The world of musicians and artists is a road full of pot holes that
 can't be navigated but by the most determined people on the planet,
or the crazy-ist. I have witnessed the struggle, by observing some
 tight friends of mine go down that nasty road.
     Some are comfortable plodding along in their profession, putting
in the required time,and settleing into retirement.
    Others, like you, have a passion for more excitment, and are willing to roll the dice for a shot at fame or recongnition for your craft.
    I think we all dream about changing ,or effecting the world, but
are restrained by the shit that life throws at us.
     The Enstien- time/ space thing is the major factor in your quest.
   Being at the right place,at the right time can make all things possible.
        As long as you can get out and socially function, you have
 the ability to seek that time/ space oppertunity.
      Your gift to communicate through your memoirs you are sharing with     us here, is very special and should be shared to a wider audience.
         Most won't roll the dice, but are thrilled reading your antics,
and struggles to get your piece of the pie. It is vicariously living
your life through your words that give folks their own "dice roll"
 to expiriance. No strain, and no pain, but folks love to imagine
 how it would be to step off the cliff and jump into the fray.
     I am proud that you happened to land here in our little
 Village, and prey you stick around a while before fame and fortune
 sweeps you away from us.Smile
 
toad
 
Down, and nearly out in Detroit......
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