I once got a job writing for a magazine because of a James Brown tribute I'd written focusing on his shiny patent leather shoes during his performance on the old '60s television show, Shindig. When the Stones played the Shoe back in '97, I was photographing them and standing on a special step built on the front of the stage just for the photographers. I was close enough to Jagger several times I could've untied his hard leather street shoes, which I thought were an interesting choice of footwear for a hyper-active front man such as he. And Nick Cave? Don't even ask. He used to wear these ridiculous boots with super-long points curling up several times over, like how the dead witch's feet curled up when Dorothy's house fell on top of her. Nick, ha, what a weirdo. But you gotta love him. My point? You can tell a lot about a performer by what they wear, especially on their feet, which you don't ever normally think about or can even see. What it says I'm not always sure but it sure says something. And no, freaks, I don't have a foot fetish. Which brings us to Lydia Loveless at the Rumba Cafe last Friday night. As I was watching the genuinely talented pug of an alterna-country rocker, I couldn't help but shift my gaze to her lower-third. From the knees down, in other words. A little on the short side, she most of the time stood with her legs astride, oh, a little bit wider than her shoulders I'd say. I think she was wearing what looked to be leather tights underneath her leather dress. She played guitar and she strummed it hard and well, unlike most girls. But, yes, it was her boots that got me. And what she did in them. They were sort of pointy half-shin-high, each with sort of a down-turned cuff of several inches. Kind of like, uh, Pirates of Caribbean style, maybe? I'm not real good at describing women's fashion. A real flaw. The thing was, she really accented her pretty emotionally intense singing and songs with her booted feet. She often went to tip-toes only, as if forcing herself on the mic to accent her words, her emotions. I don't know her material, I don't even know which songs were which, but they were going and she was most definitely saying something. Pain, regret, longing, desire's suffering wage. Things like that, I gathered. She's a young woman and she is passionate. Back to the action below her knees (not a place your average sexist rock critic focuses but what the hell, I was just going with my instinct and intuition at that point because The Force made me). She often kept time with her strumming and her strong, competent if over-dramatic band with her right foot. I always get a kick out of that, watching a performer secretly keeping time by toe-tapping. It's a good sign. She's got good timing, among several other virtues. And then, the best part: she'd stomp with her timing foot...hard. But not frequently and only once for powerful emphasis. I loved it. So I spent the entire first set watching her feet perform. Her songs were good, mostly pretty fast, and with a fever of intensity. I could see why people around me were singing along. Lydia's got balls. Oh, that's sexist. How 'bout she's got the most powerful set of ovaries on High Street. Well, that doesn't really work, now does it? Someday maybe, like when Hillary's president. Anyway, she stomped, toe-tapped time, stood like the Jolly Green Giant, rocked forth on her toes, sometimes laid her left foot on its side or at least at an angle, I think to express vulnerability. I'm not sure. I will say this: I plan to see her at least a few more times and figure her out. There seems to be a lot to her, both what she wants to project and that which she wants to protect. And I'm starting from the ground up. There's definitely something there. ___________________________________________________________________________________ Recently changed my morning winter workout. Now it's five songs from the Rolling Stones Emotional Rescue followed by "Back In The U.S.S.R" and "Birthday" from the Beatles White album, followed by Eric Clapton's version of J.J. Cale's "After Midnight" from his fine first solo album which also contains the hit "Let It Rain," and then the cool down phase with Booker T. and the Mgs. Though the other day I let the rest of the White Album's side 1 play on, which gets fairly acoustic as indeed much of the whole album is. When it finished up with "While My Guitar Gently Weeps" and "Happiness Is a Warm Gun," my musical mood was calling for something that took me a minute to figure out. And when I did, I was sure glad: Merle Haggard's awesome The Way I Am, the 1980 album from which I must quote his song, Sky-Bo: Hey, I'm a sky-bo and I see the world from an airplane that's a hobo that can't get around fast enough on a train But from an airport to a depot the motive for leaving's the same I'm a sky-bo, that's a new kind of hobo for planes Speaking of Clapton, everybody's raving about Joe Walsh's "While My Guitar Gently Weeps" guitar work on the Grammys Beatles tribute recently, the original solo being Clapton's, of course. Well, hell, may I nominate Joe Peppercorn's brother, Matt, as equal in his guitar work during Joe's 12-hour Beatles night at the Blue Stone last December? Yes, Matt gets my vote. Joe, you're good, but Matt was there first. Ya stoner. I think about that night a lot, Peppercorn's magnificent rendition of every Beatles song played in chronological album-by-album order. I mean, my god, what balls. Or ovaries. Or something. Actually, what endurance. And this past year his voice seemed even stronger than the previous. People, you've never seen anything like Sgt. Peppercorn and his band of crack Beatles aficionados playing the Fab Four note-for-perfect-note. A life-changing experience--at least for that weekend. But then again it always gets me back into the Beatles heavily and if the Beatles aren't life-changing then baby, you're a dead man. As for you, Eric Clapton, if you'd like a few hours working in my record store, you know, to maybe catch up on what the young kids are buying these days, I could use you evenings and Sundays. There are no benefits, other than looking out the window and also playing anything you want. And maybe, if you're cool, perhaps we can work out something I've always dreamed of doing: Interviewing your ten fingers. What stories they could tell, eh? Lemme know, dude. I'm in the book. ___________________________________________________________________________________ I've been reading economic historian Niall Ferguson's new book, "The Great Degeneration", about the decay of American institutions and the hypocrisy of the elites. Yes, I'm segueing into another round of confrontation between me and my street speaker and OSU. The Mummy called, croaking yet another demand to turn it down. So I asked her if she'd work with me on a mutually acceptable sound-level and she refused. She wouldn't even respond. She just repeated her croaking demand, like a robot. I asked again. And again. And finally hung up. What can you do? Police showed up. They were cool--again. I turned it down. Blah-blah-blah. Ridiculous. I have no idea what the level is that pisses her off so because she's bitched at some pretty low volumes. Typical. ___________________________________________________________________________________ Speaking of the Beatles--again--I've started a list of the most truly psychedelic songs ever recorded and here it is: --”Tomorrow Never Knows” --”She Said, She Said” --”Are You Experienced?” (Jimi Hendrix) --”Third Stone From the Sun” (Hendrix instrumental) --”2000 Light Years From Home” (Rolling Stones) I haven't figured out the most psychedelic Pink Floyd song nor the Grateful Dead's or the Airplane. That's where I'm turning to you, dear readers, for help. Email the paper with your one or two absolutely most psychedelic songs you can think of, stuff so out there just thinking about them returns you back on that acid trip where you thought you were in a tree with Timothy Leary, Jesus and Cher, when in reality you were stuck inside a bathroom stall in the Greyhound Bus station downtown. I'm serious about this. I'm stuck inside a record store in the winter time and my turntable's working and I want to go on musical acid trips, to escape this polar Kotex shit we're in. To me there are two potential psychedelic candidates: well-known and classic; and obscure. I'll take either. Thank you and good night, freaks. ___________________________________________________________________________________ Last but not least: Glen Matlock of the Sex Pistols and Sylvain Sylvain of The New York Dolls will be playing in Bernie's Distillery Saturday, March 22, doing a "Punk Goes Acoustic" show. Yes, you read the above correctly. I can see all the old punks showing up and slamming into each other in their wheelchairs, iron lungs and colostomy bags. Coowell!

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