UNCLE G’s STORY CONTINUES
Uncle G’s Corner
Topic: Headphone Memories
By age twelve, weed had entered my life. It’s side-kick; music. But really music should be first in that order. So it’s side-kick; weed. Either way, they always been interesting, and wickedly entertaining in one sort or another, either separately, or combined.
Way before becoming a cannabis user for medical reasons, and while just a wee lad, I fell in love with music. To this day it’s an important ingredient in my general makeup. Mom having been the one to plant that seed. A professional musician. Her name was Thelma. Unfortunately, I don’t know as much as I would have liked about her. Already mentioned, she passed away. At age 49. I was seven years old at the time of her death.
Alcholic. Hard core. Whiskey. Would have fit right in with Bill W’s first one hundred. Hid bottles all over the house. Disregarded the consequences. Ingested liquor with total abandon. As a result, many a times got sloppy, fall down drunk. Let’s assume at any given opportunity. Entertained in bars. Booze consumed the woman. Yet every time I looked her way, there was a vision only a small child sees. She was beautiful. All courtesy of unconditional love. Bottom line, she was me Mum. Sure I witnessed bad situations. But I was too young to comprehend fully what was going on around me. Which actually saved me. Was a natural protection mechanism. Fact is children don’t completely understand everything they fall witness to. Not the same way an adult does. Elementary my fellow potheads, it’s all in the skull. The time spent with Mom, my brain was nowhere near being fully developed. Not in seven years. I was a bright child. Memory worked. Processing those as I got older. Like playing tapes over and over, which sometimes caused apprehension. To say the least. I struggled for years coming to peace with past events that off and on, sometimes daily, bothered my subconscious.
I remember Herb Albert’s Tijuana Brass. My Mom really dug them. I can recall her recording on a reel-to-reel tape system, an appearance they did on The Mike Douglas show. Daytime chat program. This is in the 1960’s. The album I remember by them more than any other; Whipped Cream And Other Delights. The green cover with a brunette woman wearing nothing but whipped cream. Hence the title I imagine. The dairy industry must have loved this. Sales through the roof. Whipped cream now being eaten, and not at all times from a plate of ice cream, or on something made from flour, found in a bakery. The image, forever stuck in my young mind, igniting further my fascination with the female race. Get this…..speed up time….it’s now the wonderful 1990’s. I purchase a Herb Albert Greatest Hits cd. Take it home. Play it. I know every song that he’s with the Tijuana Brass. Note for note. I could whistle along with it (my bird loves when I do that). Imbedded in my brain all that time. I went thirty years not hearing many of those songs. And still I remembered them.
My Mom played piano, and accordion. Sang. My favorite song that she did was called; Red Roses For A Blue Lady. It’s a dear song that I hold very close to my heart, yet with over the two thousand music compact discs that I have, I don’t have a version of that song by anyone. This tune is from 1948. I actually think if a good vocalist recorded that song now, that it would chart and make money. Up the tempo. Just saying. Maybe that guy Casey Abram from the last American Idol? Season 10. He can play that stand up bass. Do the Wolfman styled vocals. He grunts. Surprised he never howled. Make Steven Tyler say; crazy good! And speaking of, what a loose cannon he was on that program. I was fascinated just keeping up with him. My only time watching a whole season of the show. By the way, my pick(s) lost. Imagine that.
Now let’s take a jump back. Back to my teenage years. At the second home I lived in, after my parents were both dead. A pair of Sennheiser head phones. I’d go outside, and smoke some weed. Then come inside, and put on the head phones. What music I was listening to you ask? Remember, this is around the middle of the 1970’s. OK? Here you go:
Uncle G’s Top 10 Headphone albums (cd’s that were meant to be listened to with the stereo headphones on, while under the influence of pot). And here we go:
Jeff Beck – Blow By Blow
Kraftwerk – Autobahn
Mike Oldfield – Tubular Bells
Yes – Fragile
The Beatles – Sgt. Peppers Lonely Hearts Club Band
Emerson, Lake & Palmer – Brain Salad Surgery.
Led Zeppelin – Physical Graffiti
Pink Floyd – Dark Side Of The Moon
Nektar – Remember The Future
Alice Cooper – Billion Dollar Babies
Honorary Mention: The Who – Who By Numbers / Who’s Next
Note: Listened to these two Who studio releases on 8-Tracks, while smoking weed, and having dropped blotter acid one night. What a trip! Made me a fan of the band for life. And Pete’s solo material as well. His album Psychoderlict; the misses and I so dig this. Came out the year we started dating.
I later on while under the influence of said reefer we were smoking, and the acid I dropped, decided to go to the beach. A cool place to trip. Done it already a few times. Here I was with this girl name Diane. A cute blonde. She stayed straight that night. Our guardian angel for the evening. Me and another guy whose name escapes me at the moment. While peaking, we go to a pool parlor. A block from the boardwalk. Place was named; The Wild Carrot. And this is in Manasquan. So there I was playing a game of pool. I swear, the balls glowed. Could not finish the game. Ended the night on the beach. Most my experience with acid was good. Once while doing it, I jumped head first into a big bush thinking it was a giant mushroom. One track mind.
While a young teenager, I hung with guys who sometimes had older brothers in their life. And their friends. Socialized after school. On weekends. At get-togethers (like they say nowadays; just chillin’), or parties. Big, small, and by private invite only. Lots of weed. And always playing in the background, was the tunes. My mind was one big sponge soaking up whatever sounds that was out there. Explored what I liked. Ends up, I got turned on to lots of good bands / musicians just by being around like-minded individuals. Unfortunately, I lack any ability to play a musical instrument. A friend gave me a bass not that long ago. It sits in my living room. “One day” I still tell myself.
For the most part, I stayed in two small seashore towns; Manasquan, and Long Branch. Bruce Springsteen and The E Street Band was huge in that part of the World. The Jersey Shore. The same way ZZ Top is big in Texas. Each having their own respected local followings. Way before becoming national celebrities.
From what I can tell, The Boss has stayed loyal to the Jersey Shore over the decades. Good for him. You know, he once gave my first wife tickets to a show. She worked for his answering service. One day Bruce was rehearsing and he hurt his foot / leg. He ends up impressed, and thankful for the speedy service she gave him finding a Doctor. Gives her two tickets to the Thanksgiving Madison Square Garden performance. She baked him a loaf of banana bread.
Springsteen had just come out with The River. Double album. A very important performance. Critics. We sat with the press / record company folk. They for the most part just sat there and watched the concert. No jumping up and down and actually getting into it. And we did have one drunk try to fuck with us. He got flagged. Bruce and the band were great. Another long show. We had to leave before the end so we could catch our train home; the night owl out of Penn Station.
As I got older I started disliking Springsteen, mainly due to his politics. One example. He publicly supported John Kerry. And here’s what killed me. Not for any specific reason. Only because he opposed Bush. On national TV this came out. It was an interview. Asked why he supported Kerry, Springsteen said nothing. The quietness was deafening. Spoke more to me then if he opened his mouth.
Regarding entertainers. Let me get this straight. I’m spending hard-earned money, and precious free-time consuming myself with their products, not just Springsteen’s, due to their performance abilities. That’s why I purchase the concert tickets, and their latest releases. I’m attracted to their acquired musical skill, and or their talent to entertain. I’m not doing this because of their current views on drilling for oil in the Gulf, or whatever the hot topic of the day is. Mix those two, and you lose me. My singers I want to sing. My actors I want to act. Not educate me, or instruct me as to how to conduct myself in certain situations. It’s a pet peeve. I know I’m not the only one who feels this way.
Throwing controversy aside, Springsteen & The E Street Band, especially the early material,is simply outstanding. Worth getting, or checking out if not in your collection already.
As a youth, I collected albums. Had some of the most simplistic home sound systems I could barely afford. Foster kid. No money. Check this out….I had one empty cigarette box, housing a tweeter. My friend would have Pioneer speakers, and I’d have Marlboro. But it worked. And I’d be playing all this great music. Would sometimes put pennies on the tone arm so the needle would not skip. And all this enjoyment, mostly under the influence of cannabis.
Attended concerts. My first rock show was Yes. They were touring the album, Relayer. Played two summers in a row. I attended both concerts. Roosevelt Stadium, Jersey City, New Jersey. The second summer show was on the radio; WNEW 102.7 FM. Out of New York City. Where most of the entertainment came from when living in New Jersey. I have wonderful memories of this radio station. One of them was a DJ name; Scott Muni. What a natural deep radio voice he had. We’d turn the bass up when he was talking. Would rattle the windows. Made us stoners laugh, every time. Then there was Alison Steele…The Night Bird. Listening to her late at night, could turn a penis hard, and keep it there till morning. Like it was an antenna zoomed in on her radio frequency. Besides the dee-jays, for many years they played what was new then, and now the classic rock hits of today. Would spin whole albums; Emerson, Lake & Palmer’s Pictures At An Exhibition. The 1970’s. A wonderful time for radio. And music in general. I once heard Steve Howe of Yes / Asia / GTR fame, say in an interview how the record companies were way more relaxed back then, allowing complete freedom to create. Lucky them. And lucky me. And Lucky Man was one of my favorite songs. One of the many that made for a cool soundtrack to my growing up. And life today as well.
Music cd’s playing in the background while I typed this; Jon Anderson – Survival & Other Stories / Steve Hackett – Out Of The Tunnel’s Mouth / Ant-Bee: Electronic Church Muzik.
I saw Led Zeppelin. At Madison Square Garden. June 13, 1977. Pot everywhere. Got super wasted just walking around the outside of the Garden. Joints being passed to anyone who wanted a hit. Not to mention inside the place. What a blow out! Was hanging out with a girl name Loretta. She smelled so sweet. We hitch hiked from Long Branch, to the city. Was at Zep’s Swan Song office building most of the day. Met a lot of characters. And later that night saw one of the best rock bands ever. These guys were like Gods. A concert I’ll never forget. When back home the wee hours of that evening, Loretta and I detoured a couple blocks from her home, and we went into the woods. Some time later, she was yelling “I’ll be right there Mother” with her panties down, and me munching on her custard pie.
Onward Through The Fog,
YOU MAY CONTACT UNCLE G, THROUGH THIS WEBSITE Ganjagrannysez@greenribbonworld.com or
Rest In Peace: Clarence Clemons (January 11, 1942 – June 18, 2011)