“Whiskey, gin, and brandy, with a glass I’m pretty handy”
– AC/DC, Have A Drink On Me
It occurred to me recently that I don’t have any hobbies. I don’t golf, I never have. While its true that I was on a bowling team when I was a teenager, I dropped that hobby when I realized chicks don’t dig guys in polyester shirts with their names sewn on the pocket and goofy shoes on. I watch the Kansas City Chiefs football team, but that’s merely a seasonal, heartbreaking distraction. You have to be a real masochist to cheer for the Chiefs. There are really only two activities that I seem to return to again and again, drinking and listening to music. From my teenage years stealing Falstaff from my father’s beer fridge in the garage, to my current fascination with high end bourbon, drinking has been a mainstay of my social life for as long as I can remember. Or can’t remember as the case may be. Rock ‘n Roll entered my life about the same time drinking did, when I purchased my first vinyl album, Some Girls, by The Rolling Stones. My life changed that day.
That landmark Stones album was a gateway drug for me. It wasn’t long before I was spending all my allowance money on music. When I got into a group or an artist, I was a completist, I had to buy the entire catalog. I even own Dylan’s “Christian albums” and I’m at best a pagan. Soon I had crates and crates of albums which makes moving a complete pain in the ass. Soon I was searching for rare B-sides and foreign imports. If I could find a Japanese import version of an album with bonus material on it in the classifieds at the back of Hit Parader, it was a certainty that I was going to order it. Eventually this led me to the world of bootleg recordings. There was a record store named “Tiger’s Records” where for a few bucks the clerk would let you into the “backroom” where they hid the “boots”. I came home with plain-paper, wrapped packages, not of porn but of live recordings of Springsteen.
Oddly, as time passed, many of the artists who were so important to my maturation as a human being seemed to disappear (whatever did happen to PJ Proby?). They were all still making vital, incredible music but the radio and mainstream rock press seemed to have largely forgotten about them. Well, I haven’t. I still buy all the albums and go to the concerts. Like I said, that Stones album really was a gateway drug for me. I started writing reviews of the records and concerts and sent them to my old buddies. In the corporate world where many of us find ourselves in, focusing on teenage hobbies like rock n roll music is a luxury many people can’t afford. I felt like I was doing the research for them.
Actually writing about rock n roll got me interested in the act of writing. I was always an avid reader, mostly of the classics (which sadly are largely ignored these days) and transitioning to writing was a thrilling experience. I actually wrote a full length novel. But since it wasn’t the story of a post-apocalyptic, dystopian world where the entire future of mankind rests on the shoulders of a teenage, virgin girl with a vampire boyfriend, I couldn’t get it published. (Bitter, party of 1, your table is ready). However, when I read that Christopher Hitchens used to drink all day while writing, I realized perhaps I’d missed my calling.
And that in a nutshell, brings me to BourbonAndVinyl. My novel was essentially about drinking and rock n roll, why not blog about it? Writing about drinking and rock n roll, preferably combined, seemed like a brilliant idea, or at least a fun idea. I have the weirdest things happen to me on those occasions I still drink. When I was just out of college, on a sales call in Ft Smith, Arkansas, I had a woman in her sixties confess to me she’d recently been on a cruise and slept with a cabin boy. I had to ask my friend Joel if I had the word “party” written on my forehead. Apparently I do. That weird, drunken stuff still happens to me to this day. People like to share their party stories with me. It is my hope on this blog to share those stories. The names will, of course, be changed “to protect the guilty” as Bon Scott sang all those years ago.
Along with my drinking stories, which I hope to amuse people with, I want to share my view into the world of classic rock ‘n roll. I know, I know, every asshole with a turntable thinks he’s the next Lester Bangs. That’s not my approach to all of this. I just love the music and want to share what I find out there. Although I recently confessed to a friend I was listening to early recordings of Lowell George’s band Little Feat and he couldn’t stop laughing at me. So, be it.
I think what I’m trying to do here is best described by the term, casual blasphemy. Webster defines casual as: happening by chance, not planned or expected. He further defines blasphemy as irreverence toward something sacred or inviolable. Most of this will be unplanned, very casual. And most of it will be very, very irreverent. For me, its enjoyment of the process of writing. Hopefully for you, the reader, it will be a source of humor and comedy. And at the very least, I hope you’ll read something here and either download a song or an album, turn it up loud, and pour yourself a tall glass of brown, strong, murky liquid. Cheers! And as it turns out, with a glass, I am pretty handy….