No Particular Place To Go.

Chuck Berry is my hero.
Always has been, always will be.
There’s only ever gonna be one of that guy.

When it comes to Rock & Roll, it’s hard to pin down exactly who did what first but it basically comes down to Chuck, Elvis, Little Richard & Jerry Lee Lewis and for my money, I think Little Richard invented Rock & Roll but right behind him and ready to take over was Chuck Berry.

I never got the chance to see Little Richard pound that piano live but I once went to a Chuck Berry gig!
…The only problem was that Chuck Berry wasn’t there.

It was a few years ago now in Glasgow but basically Anna and I sat through the crappy support band for a LONG time until we realised that Chuck probably wasn’t gonna show up.
I remember feeling disappointed because it’s not often that Chuck Berry rolls into my town to play but I’d read a couple of books about him and I half expected him to be a no-show or at the least, very late.

I kept saying to Anna: “He ain’t coming. He’s probably arguing about money backstage! I’m never gonna see Chuck Berry.”
And you know what folks? I never did get to see Chuck Berry.
Goddamn.

We knew that we’d have no problem getting our tickets refunded so we left the 2000 strong audience to argue and complain at the box office and went for a drink.

I think it took us about a week or so before we actually found out what had happned to Chuck because it made the papers.
Apparently, Chuck had wanted to drive himself to the venue for the concert and although his hotel was less than a 10 minute walk away, Chuck is said to have insisted on driving.

His people had to explain to him that you can’t drink & drive in Glasgow and that you also must have a license to drive a car here.
Ol’ Chuck didn’t have any of these things going for him so that was that.

The story goes that he showed up later on at the empty venue demanding to be paid. – Whadda guy!
It’s easy to get pissed off at an uncompromising old feller like Chuck Berry but read any book about him and you will see how badly promoters and managers in the 50’s burned him for cash.

Also, he wrote “Johnny B. Goode”. 
What the hell have you ever done?

Chuck Berry comes across as really difficult at times and as you can see HERE, nobody knows this better than Keith Richards.

New York Diary: Part II.

New York Diary: Part II.
When In New York.

I feel pretty good today even although I only had about 4 hours sleep.
We all did a power of walking yesterday and today, like tomorrow, will be the same.

New York street traffic is pretty ruthless.
Everyone knows exactly where they’re going and they are in a hurry.
That suits me fine.
Like I said, this is my 3rd time in this City and I know my way around better than I know my way around back home in Glasgow!
Matter of fact, we’d constantly get asked for directions and we got pretty good at pointing people the right way.

Ever stood at the foot of the Rockefeller building and looked up?
You can’t see the top of it for clouds sometimes!

It’s dizzying and for some reason unknown to me, we all thought that it would be a pretty good idea to pay 80 bucks and go up onto the roof and look at the city.
I don’t usually have much of a problem with great heights but tonight I do.
Hayley does too.

We’re up on the roof of the Rockefeller building.
They call it “Top Of The Rock” and frankly, It’s fucking terrifying!
At the top of The Empire State building, there is a big wall and big iron railings on account of all the folk who used to go up there and jump off it.
These days, you feel pretty safe and secure up on top of the Empire State.
I wish I was up there right now because the Rockefeller is a sheer drop only surrounded by one thin looking layer of clear plexi-glass.

It’s real windy up here tonight and Hayley and I feel the building sway.
Its better that a building this tall sways a lot rather than not at all.
But still.

New York twinkles from up there and it feels good to be young and alive etc…

All the same, I’m glad when we finally get back down to the street.
Fuck doing that again anytime soon.

My folks and Hayley planned their trip out.
They had designs on shopping like mad people possessed and that is what they did.
They shopped like Paris Hilton on cocaine!
I can’t stand shopping.
I hate it.
I don’t care about what’s in or out.
I don’t care whether it’s designer or vintage.
If it’s black and I need it then I’ll buy it but even then, I don’t care.
I only buy clothes and shoes when my existing ones fall apart so I left them to it and off I went again.

I hadn’t even thought about what I was gonna do in this city.
I don’t tend to plan anything out because I like not knowing what will happen every day.

I pounded the streets again tonight and ended up outside of Madison Square Garden.
Elton John’s playing tonight and you can’t move for people trying to sell fake tickets at 20 bucks apiece.

Over I go to Hell’s Kitchen which is maybe my favourite part of the city.
It’s laid back. Not as laid back as the village but just enough.
The village doesn’t really have the edge that Hell’s Kitchen has.
I wrote down a list of locations where notorious mobsters were murdered but I’ve forgotten to bring it.
You can meet a lot of interesting characters walking around Hell’s Kitchen if you’re not careful.
In 2002 I quickly learned that if someone comes up to you and starts telling jokes then walk away because he’s gonna demand money when he’s done.

If someone comes out of the blue at you and says “Sir, do you mind if I ask you a question?” then walk away because that question won’t be a question.
It’ll be “Gimmie money!
If you get involved in any sort of conversation with anyone in any street then be prepared to be asked for money.
These days, I find myself in-step with most other New Yorkers;
On my way to somewhere in a hurry with no time for anyone who tries to stop me.
Walk fast enough and you probably won’t even be approached but stop for a second to light a cigarette or tie your shoelace and you can forget it because there will be 3 people standing around you wanting a piece of you.

Tonight was the night I got lucky and found The Tempest.
The Tempest is a bar on 8th Avenue.
It’s right beside this big Post Office:

It’s not hard to find nice bars in New York but it can be really difficult to find the kind of dives that I like.
The Tempest doesn’t look like my kind of place from the outside.

You could easily mistake it for some touristy Irish themed bar which inside, it definitely ain’t.
It’s a dark, Rock & Roll dive.

I ended up getting pretty friendly with quite a few people in The Tempest.
The sound of Dr. John singing “Such A Night” led me to this bar.
In here you can hear The Flaming Lips, Radiohead, Little Richard, Bob Dylan, Black Sabbath & Sinatra records and like I say, it’s pitch black inside.

I ended up going to The Tempest when I couldn’t sleep at night because it stayed open to 4am and when it closed I’d get invited to hang around inside which was great.
After hours, Chris the bartender and Bob the bouncer would tell me where to go to find the best live music in the city.
They’d also point out characters on the street and tell me which ones were okay and which ones I should avoid.
In fact,
Chris and Bob pretty much clued me right in about New York and it made my stay a helluva lot more interesting.

For instance,
I got introduced to a guy who managed a recording studio across the street and one night at 4am about 5 of us all got invited over for a couple of drinks.
I sat down and played a black Baby Grand piano!
I’m not a very good piano player at all but who cares.
When in New York!

Too much wild turkey later and I went back to the hotel in the drizzling rain for my 3 to 4 hours sleep.
That particular part of town was deserted on that night and I decided there and then that I was gonna do this again on my last night with the soundtrack to “Taxi Driver” in my ears.
I knew it was a good idea to put it on my mp3 player!

Thanks For That Little Richard.

I’ve updated my funeral music list and the same rules as before apply.
If you’re my friend or part of my family and this music doesn’t get played,
I will come back and dedicate my entire afterlife to haunting you.

Fair enough?

How many songs are you allowed at a funeral?
I want a humanist funeral so I think that entitles me to about 5 or 6 pieces of music.

I don’t care if I’m cremated or not but yes,
I am tempted to have “Great Balls Of Fire” by Jerry Lee Lewis played as the heat gets turned on.
I’ll need to think about that.

But anyways,
Here’s what I would like played (…and hopefully my Spotify links will work):

Miserere Mei Deus” by Gregorio Allegri.

Long Tall Sally” by Little Richard.

Sleepwalk” by Santo & Johnny.

Life Is But A Dream” by The Harptones.

The End Of The Road” by Jerry Lee Lewis.

Philadelphia” by Neil Young.

I don’t care which order those get played in as long as they’re in that order.

Now,
Hopefully I won’t die for a very long time but just incase,
You’ll find all of that music on my ipod and I have them all on record too.

P.S.
For some reason best known to himself,
Little Richard re-recorded “Long Tall Sally” later in his life and put these drums on it which I fucking hate alright?
It wrecks the whole song.
Richard got carried away with the Rock and forgot about the Roll.
(Thanks for that Little Richard).
So the version I want played HAS TO BE from the album “Here’s Little Richard!” okay?

It’s only my favourite song in the entire World.

That’s all Little Richard!

Balls & Noise.

I’ve found myself listening to opera recently.
No reason really.

Michael at work told me all about Puccini so I’m gonna investigate him soon because Michael says that when it comes to opera, Puccini is the very man!

I’ve also been making my way through a Stockhausen boxset and last week I got lost in every Sufjan Stevens’ record back to back but sometimes,
I just want Dirt & Rock & Roll. I’m talking about amps turned all the way up to 11.

It seems to me that fewer bands today are making any music with real balls and noise. There’s great new music out there made by millions of interesting artists but in terms of Hard, Loud, Dirty, Rock & Roll, who is there?

Here are 10 of the ballsiest records I own:

Neil Young: Live Rust. (1979).
Ballsiest Track: ‘Hey Hey, My My (Into The Black)‘.

Iggy Pop: Lust For Life. (1977).
Ballsiest Track: ‘Sixteen‘.

Nirvana: In Utero. (1993)
Ballsiest Track: ‘Radio Friendly Unit Shifter‘.

The Beatles: The White Album. (1968).
Ballsiest Track: ‘Yer Blues‘.

Black Sabbath: Paranoid. (1970).
Ballsiest Track: ‘War Pigs‘.

Rob Zombie: Hellbilly Deluxe. (1998).
Ballsiest Track: ‘Living Dead Girl‘.

Muddy Waters: Hard Again. (1977).
Ballsiest Track: ‘Mannish Boy‘.

Little Richard: Here’s Little Richard. (1957).
Ballsiest Track: ‘Long Tall Sally‘.

Led Zeppelin: Led Zeppelin II. (1969).
Ballsiest Track: ‘Heartbreaker‘.

The Stooges: Raw Power. (1973).
Ballsiest Track: ‘Search And Destroy‘.

I recommend getting all of those albums.
Especially “Raw Power” by The Stooges.
That record’s a monster!

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