Back In The Saddle...

Well, well, well… it’s good to be back. Not that I went anywhere, just replenished & refreshed for the rest of the year to come. In 2004 I told you all I take Augusts off, and even though it took ‘til 2016 to actually pry me away from the bench for a bit to TAKE an August off, I did it and it was nice. A surprisingly moist and cooler August was an unexpected treat for the break, enough rain to not worry about the things folks in places like south central Texas always have in the back of their minds when it’s over a hundred, everything’s dry, and it hasn’t rained in months. This is great; it’s been beautiful. 

I kept pretty busy but I didn’t spend any time in the woods vibing with the birds, didn’t wander aimlessly around Austin, never hit my favorite guitar shop (South Austin Music), didn’t work on the van, and didn’t sit back and listen to albums. But I did go running around out in the rain, write a lot, drop the 10 pounds I set out to, cook a bunch of great food, upload my album of the month for August (www.noisetrade.com/scottbeckwith), record another album, put together yet another from previous sessions, and work some fender flares onto the Road Runner.

You’ve met Sarge haven’t you? That my daily driver is a beast of a well-used ’74 Road Runner “Street machine” – slots, 50s, pipes, bars, foot shaped gas pedal, the whole shebang - can’t come as too much of a surprise. I mean where else does a guy with porkchops and mirrored shades go to listen to his old Meat Loaf and Boston?  Authentically what I’d have been driving in 1982 if I’d have been 23 instead of 13, it’s just impossible to drive this thing without smiling if you’re me. Still lots of shaping & sanding to do on the flares but the fenders are trimmed and they’re on there and the N50s don’t rub going over bumps and flying over low water crossings anymore. 

Good food: celery, kale, carrot, chard & choy in red pepper broth; fire roasted poblano & hatch chili peppers on garbanzo beans in veggie broth; the greatest tomato sandwich ever; collard greens with cherry tomatoes.

There’s a little toad living in the corner of the shop by the bay door, he comes out from behind the ever present leaned up workshop corner wood at dusk, waiting for the outside light to be turned on. The other night it was raining and I saw him out on the deck in a very shallow puddle – he had totally spread out with his little legs out, just loving the moment. Getting it all over him. Once he was sitting under the light, saw me walk over and turn it on. He turned and looked right up at me as if this was an epiphany of sorts for him; some supernatural event. Like people, I wonder how it all looks to him and what goes through his mind, but I’m grateful we can consciously interact with each other. 

An epiphany for me musically has been how good Guns ‘n Roses sounds now – I would have lost that bet on this reunion. I’ve been keeping up with posted clips on YouTube and I have to say, for all the couldn’t-care-lessness I had for anything Axl Rose since about… Oh, Use Your Illusion I, this guy totally stepped up AND rescued AC/DC at the same time, singing with them and doing a great job virtually no one expected. With a broken leg. Well it was going to take something big to rescue the legacy after the tantrums, cornrows and a dude with a fried chicken bucket on his head on stage left; but major balls award, he did it. They sound better live now than they did then, and I’m happy they bring original drummer Steven Adler out on some songs here & there too, especially in LA. Classy. I’m glad he’s doing so well to step on an arena stage again. My biggest respect goes though to Izzy Stradlin who doesn’t miss the fame & fanfare and who kept to his mysterious and nomadic path despite the reunion hype and what would’ve been a decent payday. You haven’t seen him because he doesn’t care to be seen. He does his thing. He’s buzy Izzying.

Like our pal the froggy you do have to be opportunity sensitive to survive, to maintain whatever level you’re at – and especially to resurrect or grow something. But given the choice, to decide “Since I don’t need to, I really don’t want to go do that, so I’m not going to regardless of what’s offered…” and stick by that and simply stay on the path that feels right to your spirit, do what you feel needs doing and don’t veer into the bright lights, that’s sometimes the hardest thing in this world. 

There is a little lineup of basses here in assembly soon to sing their first as instruments and then, after more love and care and finishing touches, fly the nest bound for other hands – and lives – and shared musical moments. There’s a fresh batch coming together a few steps away in the green shop and exciting things on the horizon. For right now, we gear back up from the August break for the push through the rest of 2016. Thanks for being here with us, hope all is well, tell everyone we said “Howdy” and give all the kids noogies from Uncle Scott. I’m headed into the workshop to rout a couple of Shortbasses. See ya!     

 

Listening to: Luciano Pavarotti, Ten Years After Ssssh…, and a 2 album set I picked up for a buck in an antique shop. Columbia records PM-1, Stars For a Summer Night complilation, orchestra / big band, jazz – “Brilliant performers in a sparkling program designed for summer listening.” Well, timing is important too I guess!