Posts Tagged ‘Al Perry’


When I was growing up ages ago in Phoenix, I hated country music, and more especially the creeps who listened to it. It was simply, extremely uncool. Its fans, in high school and beyond, were physically aggressive fascist jerks who were doing their best to avoid the draft, no matter how much they favored the war, and wanted to force the rest of us into fighting it.

I was hanging around with too-early-for-hippies, terminally late post-beat nihilists. We were reading Sartre, Kerouac, Celine, et al. We occasionally got into fistfights with the cowboy creeps, and I remember one drunken night in high school where I got cornered, broke off a whiskey bottle, came at them, and they backed off. (We left before the cops arrived.)

That basically encapsulates it — they were, and still are, gutless bullies who only go at you when you’re outnumbered. God bless America, and sieg heil y’all.

I still despise most country music fans — moronic racist, religious thugs and bootlickers as far as I can see, so stupid that they willingly serve their masters.

Which makes it all the more ironic that I’ve grown to love some country music, and am really enjoying playing it of late. (It’s something new — I’m so used to playing the blues/jazz/soul/funk end of the American music spectrum that country is utterly foreign to me.)

Anyway, here are some of my not-so-guilty country musical pleasures. Check ’em out. I think you’ll like ’em. (The most obvious and classic artists — Hank, Patsy Cline, Bob Wills, Johnny Cash — omitted here.)

  • Handcuffed to a Fence in Mississippi, by Jim White
  • The Bottle Let Me Down (Merle Haggard, Mavericks version)
  • East Bound and Down, by Jerry Reed
  • Highway Patrol, by Junior Brown
  • Little by Little, by Al Perry
  • The Power of Positive Drinking, by Mickey Gilley
  • Now I Lay Me Down to Cheat, by David Allen Coe
  • Broke Down Outside of Dallas, by Junior Brown
  • Confessions of a Broken Man, by Porter Wagoner
  • It Just Don’t Get It No More, by Hank Jr.
  • City Lights, by George Jones
  • The Only Thing That Hurts Now Is the Pain, Al Perry
  • Streets of Bakersfield, by Buck Owens
  • Dreaming, by Al Perry
  • Orange Blossom Special (Hank Jr.)
  • She Got the Gold Mine, I Got the Shaft (Jerry Reed)
  • Old Blevins, by Austin Lounge Lizards
  • Cum Stains on the Pillow, by David Allen Coe
  • (and of course) I Feel like Homemade Shit, by the Fugs

You can find ’em all on Youtube. Enjoy!

And, if you’re ever in Tucson, check out my country band once it’s up and running, probable name “Backslidin’.”

In the meantime, Al Perry and Hank Topless are here in Tucson, appear fairly regularly, and are well worth seeing. A few months ago, Hank opened for Junior Brown — maybe the best living country guitarist — at the Rialto, and I was sorry to see Hank stop playing. First time ever I’ve wanted an opening act to play much longer. Both of these guys are sensational.


We put up our 1,000th post a week ago. We’re now looking through everything we’ve posted, and are putting up “best of” lists in our most popular categories.

This is the fifth of our first-1,000 “best of” lists. We’ve already posted the Science Fiction, MusicInterviews, and Addictions lists, and will shortly be putting up other “best ofs” in several other categories, including Anarchism, Atheism, Economics, Politics, Religion, Science, and Skepticism.

Humor is by far our most heavily populated category, with 365 posts over the last three years. We found it difficult to pick the funniest ones, but we consider these relative few among the best.

Best Humor Posts


We put up our 1,000th post a few days ago. We’re now looking through everything we’ve posted, and are putting up “best of” lists in our most popular categories.

This is the fourth of our first-1,000 “best of” lists. We’ve already posted the Science FictionAddictions, and Interviews lists, and will shortly be putting up other “best ofs” in several other categories, including Anarchism, Atheism, Economics, Humor, Politics, Religion, Science, and Skepticism.

Best Music Posts


Al

Over the last few years, I’ve been fortunate enough to get to know alt-country player Al Perry. Despite his crusty exterior — I’ve always thought that a great country stage name would be “Crusty Sheets” — Al is one of the nicest people I’ve ever met. Also one of the funniest and most insightful. One thing we have in common is that we’re both from Phoenix, and loathe the place. (Tucson is better — much smaller, more scenic [lusher desert surrounded by 9,000-foot mountains], not quite as hot, better arts and music scene, more politically progressive.)

Al sat in a couple of times with my last band, Pinche Blues Band, at gigs, and I was surprised that he’s a really good blues player in addition to being a great alt-country player, vocalist, and songwriter.

As is typical in modern-day America (“We’re number one!”), Al is not well rewarded. He lives in a shit hole about a mile-and-a-half southeast of me, albeit in a slightly less scary neighborhood (fewer shootings), though with a much greater infestation of UofA students.

Despite a fair amount of acclaim over the years — he’s toured Europe four times — Al’s music income has nosedived since around 2000, as people have simply downloaded his songs for free. He hasn’t shared much in the remaining source of income for working musicians, touring, as he simply doesn’t do it of late. He occasionally plays clubs in L.A. or New York, but that about it: it’s not a significant source of income.

A couple of years ago he told me that his income from CD sales had fallen 75% over the previous decade. Both of his CDs are now out of print, so his income from them is now zero. We’ve talked about starting a label (with our CDs and those of other artists/bands we know here in town and up in the Bay Area), but what would be the point? It’s a dead business model.

One other thing we have in common is that we both hate self-promotion, which in large part accounts for why neither of us have been commercially successful — you have to be damn lucky or very well connected to succeed without an onerous amount of self-promotion. (If you can stand doing it and are assiduous at it, you’ll probably succeed — regardless of your talent, or lack of it.)  Al’s (and my) attitude has always been, “This shit is so good you’d be crazy not to buy it. Recognize it.”

Unfortunately, most people don’t.

You can still catch Al around town (Tucson) occasionally as a solo act, and very occasionally with a full band. Once I get another band going, Al will — I hope — be sitting in with us on a regular basis.

In the meantime, you can catch a lot of his new stuff on Youtube. He’s written a couple hundred songs, the vast majority unrecorded, but he’s  putting up new material on Youtube seemingly every week or two.

Here are a few lines from one of Al’s best songs, “Little by Little”:

 

Livin’ with a crazy person since I’ve been livin’ by myself

Got me a big old house

But it seems just like a cell

Sittin’ alone

Without no reason

To ever leave my chair

Checkin’ out the four walls

With a blank and vacant stare

 

The rest of it is just as funny. The self-mockery in it is priceless.

Al Perry is an unrecognized national treasure.

 

(If you’d like to get ahold of Al, you can reach him at alperry@kxci.org. Speaking of KXCI, catch Al’s unique and wonderful show, “Clambake,” on Tuesday nights at 10 pm MST [05:00 Wednesday mornings UT].)

 

 

 

 


First up, Al Perry has a new one on Youtube, Barrio Cucaracha, which gives a good musical and visual impression of his neighborhood, half a mile from the University of Arizona. I live a mile-and-a-half farther away from the U than Al, and my neighborhood is pretty similar, except that the infestation of U of A students and the mini-dorms in which they lurk hasn’t reached this far north.

On a more serious note, there’s a good article on Muckrock.com about the FBI surveillance and infiltration of Food Not Bombs. Your tax dollars at work — paying for the political secret police to monitor and disrupt a peaceful political group explicitly committed to nonviolence.

If you’ve ever had any doubts about anti-“hate speech” laws being a bad idea, look no further than Spain, where three feminists were recently indicted in Seville “for ‘making a mockery’ of Catholic religious traditions after marching with a two metre plastic vagina ‘in the style of the virgin’, according to court documents.”

For the best antidote to Islam (and to PC apologists for it), look no further than the many ex-Muslim atheists on Youtube. One good one is IntrovertedSmiles; his video Things Muslims Should Know About Apostasy is a good introduction to the work of these brave people.

The New York Times, which we generally dislike because of its right-wing, corporatist bias (google “Judith Miller Iraq War New York Times” for the most egregious example of such bias), has, amazingly enough, a good article about the media-fueled hysteria surrounding The Assault Weapon Myth.

Finally, if you’re in the mood for a deeply disturbing, sick but funny article on sex, you won’t do better than attn.com’s piece, This Japanese Company Is Taking Masturbation Tech to Extreme Levels. The nightmare-inducing video loops in the article are not only NSFW, but NSFA (Not Safe For Anyone).

 

 

 

 

 


 

Our good friend and well known alt-country player Al Perry–composer of “The Only Thing That Hurts Now Is The Pain”–is finally launching his web site. It’ll be up within a few days, and we’ll let you know as soon as it is. It’ll feature videos, a store, Al’s artwork, Al’s writing, and a calendar of upcoming appearances

The following review Al wrote of a Molly Hatchet concert originally appeared in The Tucson Weekly. It provides a taste of Al’s lighthearted take on life, politics, and music.

* * *

When a pal informed me that a local band he was acquainted with had secured the opening slot for the George Thorogood/Molly Hatchet concert, I was happy for them. When he offered to get me a ticket, I was slightly dismayed. You see, I detest Southern Rock, and Thorogood, face it, is pretty damn boring. However, the date of the show fell on my birthday, and since I don’t like my birthday anyway, I figured I’d just go for the fun of it. If nothing else it would be an amusing spectacle of hillbilly revelry.

I sure was wrong about that. The concert was nothing less than sheer genius and provided valuable insights into the American psyche.
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Upon arrival, I noted many motorcycle enthusiasts, denizens of mobile home parks, alleged fry cooks and other redneck types enthusiastically stumbling toward the gates. I lost control of myself immediately, and as soon as I got out of the car, I felt compelled to let out a big ol’ rebel yell: “YEEEEE-HEWWWWW!” I felt right at home after that, much to the dismay of my companions.

The opening act (Jammin’ With Jelly) performed quite well, and got to play a full set. It was nice to hear them in such a setting and they were obviously quite proud of the opportunity.

However, nothing could have prepared me for Jacksonville, Fla.’s second-best gift to music, Molly Hatchet. The best, of course, was Lynyrd Skynyrd, who unfortunately were eaten by alligators following a tragic plane crash.

Upon taking the stage, the lead singer, exhorted the crowd to yell “HELL YEAH” many times. Apparently this is their slogan, their mantra. He appeared to have n IQ of about 37, and had long unkempt hair cascading down his back, topped by a cowboy hat. His Southern accent was both appalling and charming. He delivered the material in a gruff, amelodic bark.

The music was very typical Southern Rock. The blues-based twin guitar leads, the white-trash anthemic lyrics, the boogie-rock beats. I need to admit that despite my disdain for Southern Rock, I am sometimes a sucker for boogie-rock, and I love a good Seventies-style rock extravaganza. So I was enjoying this concert immensely. The extremely loud volume levels were delightful. I also found the whole thing quite comical, as I have studied popular music at length my whole life. I wish sometimes that I didn’t have so much knowledge and I could be like the others in attendance and appreciate Molly Hatchet unironically. Perhaps if I drank so much that I’d lobotomize myself, but I am afraid that even then, I would still find the whole thing humorous. And, it was indeed a very funny show, one of the finest comedies I’ve ever seen in rock music. HELL YEAH! It was a real caricature.

The real turning point for me came when, at the end of one song, the guitarist with the poofy grey hair was playing those wanky wheedle-dee-dee guitar licks over and over. It was the Big Rock Buildup. The singer exited the stage, and returned with an American flag, which he raised as a backdrop for the guitarists note-fest. As if that weren’t enough, the band broke into “Dixie” behind him. That’s right: “I wish I was in the land of cotton, old times there are not forgotten.” THAT Dixie.

Confederate imagery abounds in the Southern Rock genre. And, considering that another one of the South’s most well-known anthems is a stupid, hateful and, let’s face it, blatantly racist song (“Sweet Home Alabama”), I was shocked. So, to play “Dixie,” when your music is very heavily indebted to Black music, which springs from slavery and sharecropping days, is nothing short of disgraceful. No one else seemed to notice. Surprise. HELL YEAH!

A couple songs later, he brought out a POW/MIA flag and made some comments about supporting the troops or something like that. I became so agitated that I had to yell out, “Death to Muslims! Kill the (insert racist slur here)!” No one in my immediate vicinity seemed to care.

And so it went. Thumping sludge-beats and lengthy guitar leads, devil horns and fist pounding. HELL YEAH! The lyrics were slogan-like, and they even did some vaguely political material. There was one song with a chorus of “Justice is blind,” which I misheard as “Justice is white,” which might have even worked better, considering.

 

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There were two guitarists, and the one on the right had a misshaped, swollen toad-like face and was quite overweight. This did not stop him from delivering the shit-hot rocking leads the ‘Hatch is known for. I guess he is the only founding member still in the band. There was a time in the Nineties when he left, and they did not even have one single original member. Brilliant! HELL YEAH! The shag haircut guy on the left somehow managed to secure the trademark, and is now considered the leader. He was quite capable on guitar, though he often resorted to solos that were cliche-filled, and wankerous. It was the toad-like guy that was interesting to watch, though. He looked as if he would keel over at any minute, as his jowls vibrated in time to the jams.

Later in the set, something I’d never heard before: They did a serious, without-a-hint-of-ironic-detachment version of … you guessed it … “Free (Fucking) Bird.” It was surreal. They then closed with their Big Hit Classic Rock Song “Flirtin’ With Disaster.” All in all, solid entertainment. If boogie rock and the comic nature of the performance weren’t enough, the Confederate right-wing hillbilly racist stuff really clinched it for me. HELL YEAH!

 

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The icing on my birthday cake was the merch table. My buddy bought me a wonderful gift that I will wear often and with pride: a Molly Hatchet T-shirt. It features their logo at the top and the illustration depicts the famous flag-raising scene at Iwo Jima (huh?), with flames in the background. The flag is one-half American flag and one-half Confederate flag. The caption reads: “The South Has Risen Again.”

I’m not making any of this up. I hope I never have to set foot in Florida.


711I don’t know if Tucson

Is the gateway to heaven

But you’re never more than ten feet

From a Seven Eleven

Hawaii’s got surfin’

We got cactus

New York’s got nightlife

We got cactus . . .

–“We Got Cactus,” written by Bob McKinley, performed by Al Perry on the CD “Always a Pleasure”

prickleypear

And yes, there is a reason I’m quoting these lyrics. They, and the following e-mail I just received from our bass player, Michael Z.,  will tell you everything you need to know about life in Tucson.

Hi Chaz,

I know what you mean about having time on your hands and not using it to drink. I did my lots a drinking on Saturday night. And the explanation starts with…. we have this cactus….

We have this cactus that needed to be moved. My thoughts were of death to the cactus but my lovely esposa had a different agenda. So, I had to dig it up, carefully so as not to get cactus hate all over me and also so as not to hurt the little cactus as well. Clearly, the concern about me hurting the cactus was outweighed by the ability of the cactus to deliver pain to me.

So I managed to dig it up with relative success. I did notice a large collection of the hair-like units of death sported by this cactus, on my $50 leather working gloves that were designed to resist this kind of attack. But, there they were regardless, so I made a note to self… “Those tiny hair-like missiles will definitely leave a mark, so self….. let’s avoid any contact with those haters.” And I did avoid then, or so I thought.

The planting of this cactus was where things began to unravel. The plastic garbage bags that I used to wrap this darling cactus wore through releasing the hate all over me. Additionally, the little spikes of hate began to be airborne, so any attempts of saving myself from the missiles were futile. I have become intimately attached to my bottles of Elmer’s white glue due to this. But there was no relief for my arms because of the hair that belongs there. Removing the hairs to attempt to extract the missiles is not a good tradeoff.

So both arms, my forehead (a rather large target all by itself), my armpits, my ribs, ankles, legs, and other areas of interest all received  multiple missiles fired by the cactus. It is not pleasant. The short term fix of the scotch-induced mini-coma worked to the point of my being able to sleep some in the short run. But now there  is a different kind of agony that simply has to be endured, at least until I grow enough skin to jerk those missiles out of me!

(The rest of the lyrics on “We Got Cactus” will tell you more than you ever wanted to know about the joys of life here in “The Old Pueblo,” The rest of the lyrics are as funny as the lines quoted above. To hear them, find a copy of Al Perry’s “Always a Pleasure” CD.)