30 May 2010

Last of the Full Grown Men

It's a quarter past the 90's and the true start of summer is about to happen.  The measure of the change from spring to summer came not with Memorial Day or an equinox, but with seeking out the idol of idle youth.  One could set their seasonal watches by the first Webb Wilder show of the season at 328 Performance Hall.  There was never a set date for the beginning of summer.  It always happened in that magical time when the weather broke enough to wear shorts and before the humidity became so oppressive one had to swim from one's car to the club's entrance.

In those days, going to a Webb show was a youthful ritual pilgrimage.  Summer might not happen at all if the trials of 328 were not met.  Securing a free and non-towable parking space... Slinking through the side streets leading to 328 without getting mugged or running into someone headed to the Jungle down the street... Cutting a hole through the thick coating of clove cigarette smoke and second hand patchouli that lingered around the club's entrance... Hoping the bartender had the foresight to stock an extra case of Guinness... Trying to start a conversation with the out-of-your-league Vandy girl who would never give the time of day to a guy who drove a Rabbit convertible...   Waiting out the Gun Bunnies or some equally horrible band for Webb to take stage... The ritual had to be maintained for the sake of summer after all...

It wasn't that Webb Wilder held some Phish-like sway over the audience, but the shows were always fun.  You were never sure where the shtick ended and the truth began for the rock-n-roll private eye.  That coupled with the honky tonk inspired tunes made for one hell of an evening. And sometime around quarter till 2000, the summer ritual ended.  It must have been around the time Nashville Scene sold out to Village Voice and In Review went under.  I moved on and my idle college and mid 20's years drew to a close too.

I hadn't thought of that ritual until my wife sent me an email about Webb playing at Dragon Park today.  Perhaps Webb had a mystical revelation that Nashville hadn't been the same since a quarter past the 90's and decided to appease the ghosts of the old Nashville Scene.  No matter the reason for the reemergence of the Webb-summertime link, I had to find out for myself.  Packing up the family, I set out to see for myself.

We got to the park a little late, but in time to hear Human Cannonball as we found a spot to get our groove on.  As we walked around, I looked at the crowd and most everyone mirrored myself.  We had taken the family out to seek out the beginning of summer and introduce our idle youth to the wonders of a Webb Wilder show.  I noticed that all the kids, like my own, weren't into the show at all.  The acrid smell of clove cigarettes and patchouli was conspicuously missing.  The strongest thing to drink was my own Mapco Diet Coke.  All the while, parents were chased their idle youth around Dragon Park. As quickly as the show had started, Webb's performance was cut short due to a thunderstorm.  Somehow I thought it was for the best because I realized that Webb Wilder wasn't the last of the full grown men.  He was just the first...

09 May 2010

Tonight on the Miserable Men's Sirius Radio Show.. Me?

Tonight should be a pretty interesting night for me.  At 9:00PM CST, I'll be appearing on the the Miserable Men Show on Howard Stern's SIRIUS Channel 10. I'll be discussing Skullduggery: 45 True Tales of Disturbing the Dead. You might want to put the kids to bed before tuning in.  The program is uncensored and while I promises to behave, I can't say the same for the show's hosts....

It's been a pretty interesting ride promoting the book these last few months.  I've had 15 or so different appearances on podcasts and national/big market radio shows trying to live up to my own maxim of being able to tell the best stories in any given setting.  We'll see if my true tales of creepy things that happen to the dead hold up bounced off a satellite.

I guess I should never have doubted the great Webb Wilder, you really are never too small to hit the big time.  Thanks for everyone's support, and tune in tonight if you get the chance.

05 May 2010

Nashville 2010 Flooding; The Day After

After the long dark weekend of the monsoon Nashville suffered, Monday brought about blue skies dotted with friendly cotton ball puff clouds.  The sun had been replaced by the stinging rains of the weekend and all was right once again with the world.  My home, christened years ago by an unremembered friend as "Fort Donelson", had done an admirable job of sheltering my family from a very pissed off Mother Nature for the last two days.  Thirteen inches of rain and Fort Donelson took on a thimble full of water around the door to our utility room.  Even after the rains stopped Sunday night, there was a large puddle at the end of our driveway and three small limbs downed in the front yard.

My home rests less than half a mile from the intersection of Mill Creek and the Cumberland River, but all weekend I wasn't concerned for the safety of my family.  Fort Donelson sits approximately 100 feet above the  banks of the Cumberland.  I had even once brushed off an insurance salesman hawking flood insurance to me with,"If my house gets flooded there won't be a Nashville left."  Now with a large tracts of Davidson Country underwater, I left to go to lunch.

Making my way down the street, no one could tell that anything was even wrong in Nashville.  A woman leisurely swept her porch and a man at another house was even cutting his grass.  In my neighborhood, the day after brought just another sunny day.  The realities of Nashville the day after were just down my savior of a hill. The basin next to Mill Creek had turned into a lake. The Donelson marina, that failed due to capital investments, had secured funding from the rain gods.   Large rolls of hay that were in that basin were bobbing through the brown water like corks in a science experiment.  The homes on the opposite side of Mill Creek were underwater.  For a good half a mile from the usual western banks of Mill Creek, families had lost everything.  Their homes invaded by water and their existences forever shewed, and I had left to go to lunch.

I was faced with a feeling that I had never had before.  With 37 years behind me, I simply thought there was nothing new left to feel. It must have be something akin to survivor's guilt.  Why was my home, my family, my life spared in the worst tragedy since the Battle of Nashville in 1864?  I can't even begin to guess at the motives on high for this passover. The only thing I was certain of, is that once the waters begin to recede there's quite a bit of volunteering in my future.