Gospel According To JC
I was brought
up on the coast listening to "A Boy Named Sue."
When I was four years old it was my favorite song.
Last February, thirtysome years later, I was driving
along Sunset Boulevard in Hollywood when I first
heard Johnny Cash's rendition of "Hurt" on the radio.
They say it never rains in Southern California,
but it was pouring down that day. I had to pull
the car over to the side of the street to listen
to the song. I knew the voice, I knew the song,
but it brought chills. It was old. It was raw. And
it was real.
and I are sitting at the bar in
our favorite downtown strip club. It's smoky and
hot and loud. I've been layin' off that whiskey...
But I'm sipping on my usual Bacardi and Coke that's
way more Bacardi than Coke. Almost as good as the
bartender's slice of New York pizza. Occasionally
I look over to admire the intriguingly graceful
makes an analytically elitist comment about one
of our less fortunate fellow patrons. Todd adds
an obnoxiously accurate color commentary. JT tosses
in a conservatively compassionate yet pragmatic
view. Joe pipes in something about Mexico... They
overtook him down in Jaurez, Mexico, maybe? I agree
with all of them, wander over to toss a few stray
bucks on the rack, and stumble back.
is dancing to "Wanted Man" by Johnny Cash. "Wanted
man in Kansas City / Wanted man in Oh-hi-oh..."
Johnny Cash is a good choice for strippin' music.
obligatory buck-a-song, customers should tip more
when the music is good. Not that everyone has good
taste in music. But they do at this bar. Love &
Rockets an extra dollar...
or the Velvet Underground a couple more bucks...
Tom Waits, Leonard Cohen or the Man In Black himself
should get at least three more...
are needed, some boundaries, some rules...to be
creative, a basic structure. Can't "think outside
the box" when there's no box. Tres says good things
come in pink boxes. But that voodoo stuff don't
do nothin' for me. At least that's what Robbie
Robertson says that she said.
So I tell
myself I'm tipping for the music. Although the
view is, at certain angles and glances, nearly
as awe-inspiring as the songs. But it could be
my own self-manipulating form of inner, passive-aggressive
irrational exuberance. Whatever that means. I
had to use exuberance, says Jimmy-G. Although
that could be some draconian subterfuge. Like
going down and the flames going higher...
that time again. No more wake-up-baking-naked-in-the-sun
mornings. Don't really get a lot of those around
here anyway. No more see-through summer dresses
in the afternoons. No more too-hot-to-fuck evenings.
No more sticky-hot-sweaty summer nights.
always things to look forward to-- Like the death
throes of the rotting, corrupt recording industry...
The imminent downfall of the current Republican
administration... The sex scandals karmically
awaiting Attorney General John Ashcroft... Al
Franken's Lying Liars and Big Fat Idiots finally
getting their due... And "Jesus" Cash of Nashville's
quote, "I'm going to heaven. I've spent my time
now, it's time to walk the line. And start dying
a little more once again.