Wednesday, August 01, 2007


Jim Carroll was late. The couple we were drinking and waiting with at the Magic Stick in Detroit were proof of the old adage that married couples hanging out with singletons is a dangerous proposition. When I immediately realized the other woman was far cooler than my wife, I knew we were in trouble. And when I looked at the other man, I saw proof that Piltdown Man might really have existed --with the help of horn-rimmed glasses and a stroke of good luck. On the way there, the steam rising from the street grates had looked hellish, even though it was winter -- February 21, 1998, in fact. When Jim Carroll finally came on stage, he looked to be in an altered state. By then, so was I.

I'd seen The Jim Carroll Band play in the early 1980s, in a dive in Raleigh, North Carolina. "People Who Died" was a personal favorite, and I remember him being late then, too. In a van, coming from New York City, the band had been pulled over, he'd said then. "I thought they might make me squeal like a pig," he'd quipped in his quavering voice. This time, in Detroit, he did a pitch perfect impression of William S. Burroughs and read poetry, told stories, looking as cool and deranged as ever. I don't remember how the night ended, but I remember how it all began.

My sister Linda and my brother-in-law (i.e her husband) Roy recently saw The Drive-By Truckers do their sizzling cover of "People Who Died" in Greensboro, North Carolina, which triggered a number of memories. The dive where The Jim Carroll Band played also showcased Steppenwolf (the real deal) and The Violent Femmes. The place was so small, I got to talk to members of the Femmes. What I remember most was Gordon Gano's dismissal of the beer on tap: "It tastes like piss," he said.

Above: A picture of Monokini, an early 2000s tribute album dedicated to 1960s French pop.

Todays Rune: Defense.

Birthdays: Francis Scott Key, Richard Henry Dana, Jr., Herman Melville, Mother Jones, J. Lee Thompson, Dom DeLuise, Yves Henri Donat Mathieu-Saint-Laurent, Étienne Roda-Gil, Jerry Garcia, Jim Carroll, Robert Cray, Chuck D (Carlton Douglas Ridenhour), Coolio (Artis Leon Ivey, Jr.), Sam Mendes, Valery Ortiz.

Oui, joie de vivre!


Charles Gramlich said...

I've never heard of Carrol. I like the title of his work, though. Reminds me of my own childhood.

Pythia3 said...

It's always been my fear to be the "uncool wife!" Really, the uncool anything! Ok, now that I admitted that I guess I'm on my way towards recovery.
Please do a post on 'cool people!"
John Lennon in the top ten of that list.
I'm not familiar with Jim Carroll - I'll have to check him out.
Oh, and Ricky, you got some 'splainin' to do to your wife. LOL
Enjoy the heat.

the walking man said...

Brother, just to keep the line woman is cooler than your old lady. Unless of course your bags are already packed and your headed out the door, then as a parting shot you can say something like "Miss way cooler than you and is a better lay."

But until then your woman is the finest one on earth and you have no idea how many people who don't or should I say didn't believe that who still have all their teeth.

My rule is you can say or fuck with me all you want but once you bring my old lady into it then there is trouble. She may not be the finest looking woman on earth or even the most pleasant but she is my old lady and I am her old man and no one, not even in the cerebrum comes between that.


Her Old Man

the walking man said...

Ms. Pythia,
Actually I think Lennon would rank pretty high up on the list but lately I have been re-thinking that; maybe George Harrison may beat him out by a point or two.



Erik Donald France said...

Never fear, that was back in '98 which is quite a little while ago. The ex- has since remarried, no sweat.

Pythia, of coure you're cool ;) And Mark, of course your wife is awesome, I have no doubt. Cheers to y'all!

JR's Thumbprints said...

I grew to hate the Violent Femmes because the college dorm I frequented played nothing but "Blister in the Sun" over and over and over.

Sidney said...

Talking about dives for some reason takes me back to a night out in Atlanta with some friends once up on a time. We saw a nothing group that was more flash than anything, but it was a great evening.

Sometimes it's not the act but the company, I guess. Though that would have been a good time to see Jim Carroll I suppose.