“The sun has to shine on my guitar someday” – Derek & the Dominos, “Got To Get Better In A Little While”
Has 2020 been a drag or what? Well, except for the little matter of the Kansas City Chiefs winning the Super Bowl for the first time in fifty years. I can literally say I’ve been waiting for that to happen my whole life. But other than the small percentage of the population who were excited by the Chiefs victory, for everyone else it’s been a real drag of a year. Everything is cancelled. Bars and restaurants are closed. Californians have been ordered to “shelter in place,” an order usually reserved for the aftermath of earthquakes. While I’m not under any order to stay at home like in California, I can say that all work travel – a key component of my job (Thoughts From The Traveling Salesman And A B&V Playlist: Hanging On The Telephone) – has been cancelled by corporate. My email in-box is virtually empty. Needless to say, it’s quiet out there… too quiet.
Like many of you out there, I’ve gone into “self-quarantine.” I am practicing what the new nomenclature is calling “self-isolation.” I’m just thrilled I got type the word “nomenclature.” Anyway, I should be good at self-isolation, it’s how you could describe dating in my twenties… although that wasn’t entirely voluntary on my part. But like those days I have, as Styx once sang, “too much time on my hands.” Luckily I’m not all alone. I can only imagine what those of you who live alone out there in this time of social distancing are going through. I imagine there are a lot of people talking to their plants and their pets. I am here sequestered with the Rock Chick, which helps a lot. Well, it helps me a lot. I couldn’t help but notice at dinner last night, after six days of fierce “togetherness” that at a few times during our discussion her hand hesitated over her steak knife just a few seconds too long… I’m not sure why there were steak knives on the table, we were eating salads. Am I in danger? Probably. I wouldn’t want to be locked away with me for weeks at a time.
Every time I cough I think, “COVID… is that you? You finally found me… I knew this day would come.” I find myself asking the Rock Chick if she thinks I have a fever every couple of hours. My daughter was home last weekend. We actually went out to dinner Friday night… and then hit a jazz club for an hour. Since everything around St Patrick’s Day (the only religious holiday I still observe) were cancelled, we did a little pub crawl of our own last Saturday. All of that social interaction looks insane now, like a crime spree. Fortunately nobody in my world is ill with the virus or any other cold and flu. For those of you out there who are sick, my thoughts are with you. Fingers crossed on a quick recovery.
I’ve never seen anything like this. While many of us are complaining about the loneliness of this isolation, we should just be thanking our lucky stars we’re still healthy. I’ve never seen so much confusion and added anxiety in society due to the lack of preparation or crisis management skills at the top. I’m still confused as to why people are hoarding toilet paper. It’s like having the stomach flu and hoarding throat lozenges. As a man whose pretty regular, I’m starting to get nervous. I can see rationing here at the house coming soon… Toilet paper may become the new currency in the post-apocalyptic world we may find ourselves in. Sadly, in that vision of the world, I may be broke.
I have to say a big thank you to all doctors, nurses and medical personnel out there. They’re on the front lines of this battle and I thank heaven they are. As a person who spends a lot of time in bars, restaurants, and live music clubs I am deeply concerned about all of the bartenders, waitresses, cooks and others who work there. Many of those people rely on tips to pay their rent and generally have no health care. I worry about smaller, local band who rely on shows to stay alive. Please keep those folks in your mind when you’re thinking about charity and donations. We’ve got to keep those folks afloat. It’s a dark time and we can only beat crap like this if we stick together. If you haven’t talked to an old friend – pick up the phone. If you know someone whose all alone, Skype them. Reach out, it’s more important than ever. I realize phone calls are, “primal” now…but let’s get back to that. I have found, like a t-shirt I have says, “whiskey helps.” Or, as a woman yelled at me from a car when I was on vacation with that shirt on, “So does vodka.” I do believe this will get better… this will pass.
With all the aforementioned time on my hands, besides worrying about the sick or the out of work, my thoughts turned to, yes, rock and roll. Music has not only accompanied the happy times in my life, it’s helped get me through a lot of the dark times. I started thinking about “end of the world,” sickness, isolation and doctors – happy thoughts, right? I started collecting songs and suddenly I realized I had a playlist. The original meaning of some of these songs might not actually fit a pandemic, but for our purposes of helping kill two-and-a-half hours, they work just fine. I am not, in any way, trying to minimize the outbreak or to make fun of it. I’m just trying to entertain. This is the most serious health challenge I’ve seen in my lifetime.
This playlist could have lasted several days instead of several hours but these are the tracks I latched onto. As always if you have suggestions on adds, please put them in the comments section and I’ll add them to the Spotify playlist, “BourbonAndVinyl.net Pandemic Playlist.” See the link, below.
- The Rolling Stones, “Gimme Shelter” – One of the Stones greatest tracks which invokes a real sense of danger and menace. Perfect for these times.
- Talking Heads, “This Must Be the Place (Naive Melody)” – “Home… is where I want to be…” Clearly being ironic as we’re all stuck at home.
- Jack White, “Alone In My Home” – Many are… if you know someone, call them.
- Prince, “1999” – If it’s the end of the world, lets make it a party.
- Cinderella, “Sick For The Cure” – Great song about wanting to be free, which many of you who have been cooped up may relate to.
- Iggy Pop, “Sickness” – I hope none of you or your loved ones face this.
- Queen, “Keep Yourself Alive” – Yes, please do people.
- Van Halen, “Somebody Get Me a Doctor” – Hopefully you’re not a hypochondriac like me who walks around yelling this randomly.
- The White Stripes, “The Nurse” – Toughest job in the world.
- The Rolling Stones, “Dear Doctor” – A song about heartbreak, of which there is plenty connected to this thing.
- Pete Townshend, “Exquisitely Bored” – A song about being stuck in rehab but aren’t we all stuck right now?
- David & David, “Being Alone Together” – I’m lucky to have the Rock Chick here with me… she’s not so lucky.
- The Clash, “Armigideon Time” – The Clash doing a reggae cover about the end of the world.
- Lindsey Buckingham, “End of Time” – A pretty little ditty about the end.
- The Police, “Don’t Stand So Close To Me” – Seriously, six feet apart folks.
- Robert Palmer, “Bad Case of Loving You (Doctor, Doctor)” – Hopefully none of you have a case of anything.
- John Lennon/Plastic Ono Band, “Isolation” – Even if it’s self-isolation, it’s isolation.
- Alice In Chains, “Sickman” – A little heavy rock to keep this moving.
- Aerosmith, “Livin’ On the Edge” – We certainly are. We need to be more thoughtful about the leaders we elect around here, people.
- Pink Floyd, “Empty Spaces” – A bit of connective tissue from The Wall. It seemed to fit as we’re all basically separated right now.
- The Rolling Stones, “Doom and Gloom” – “All I hear is doom and gloom…” Indeed.
- John Hiatt, “Alone In the Dark” – Many are… keep them in your thoughts. Use your phone.
- The Beach Boys, “In My Room” – Where I’m spending my time these days. This is one of the few songs by the Beach Boys I can stand to listen to.
- Ray Charles (*I had to sub in Humble Pie’s version, Ray’s isn’t on Spotify), “I Don’t Need No Doctor” – One of Brother Ray’s best tracks. Rocked out to its max by Humble Pie. And, I hope you don’t need a Dr.
- The Police, “When the World Is Running Down” – It certainly is running down…
- Little Feat, “Rock And Roll Doctor” – That’s us here at B&V, serving as your rock n roll doctor!!
- Warren Zevon, “Splendid Isolation” – Yes, some of us enjoy being alone.
- Iggy Pop, “Isolation” – I hope some of you come out of this as Iggy Pop fans. While you’ve got time, explore the fringes of rock and roll, why not?
- Black Crowes, “Hotel Illness” – The lyric, “This room smells like Hotel Illness” could very well describe my home office. I spend too much time up here.
- Pearl Jam, “Alone” – Great B-side.
- Bob Dylan, “You Ain’t Goin’ Nowhere” – Well, if you’re smart you’re not going anywhere.
- U2, “Until The End of the World” – Let’s hope it’s not…
- R.E.M., “It’s the End of the World As We Know It” – Although, it may very well be…might as well rock out.
- Aerosmith, “Sick As A Dog” – “Cat got your tongue?”
- Jackson Browne, “Doctor My Eyes” – I forget how kick ass Jackson Browne’s early music is…
- Starcrawler, “Home Alone” – Again, I hope you’re not alone right now.
- The Rolling Stones, “Rock And A Hard Place” – While we find ourselves between the two places in the title, we can get through this. I know my friend Doug will say, “too many Stones tracks…” but I love the Stones.
- The Cult, “Stand Alone” – We may be alone, but we will stand up against this bullshit.
- Journey, “When You’re Alone (It Ain’t Easy)” – No it’s not, but hang in there, this too shall pass.
- George Harrison, “All Things Must Pass” – Even this will pass.
- Derek & the Dominos, “Got To Get Better In A Little While” – This thing may last longer than we think, but it will get better. It’s got to.
- Warren Zevon, “Don’t Let Us Get Sick” – Ending with this hymn from Warren. And yes, please don’t let us get sick. None of you.
Stay healthy, stay isolated and be careful out there. I can see all the different countries where my readers come from. It’s fun to look at the map and think people on the other side of the globe are reading this… so I mean it when I say this – wherever you are – I hope you stay healthy and safe. This will get better if we all do our part. I hate the idea of social distancing but you can still be social with all the technology available to us. Take care to stay way from the elderly. Take care of everybody.
Editor’s Note: It dawned on me after I posted this that I’d forgotten some great songs that fit the theme:
- The Police, “Message In A Bottle”
- Bruce Springsteen, “The Fever”
- Elvis Presley, “Fever”
- Judas Priest, “Fever”
- James Brown, “Cold Sweat”