Let’s Go Crazy

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prince

 

This post belongs to a blog hop of friends, go read theirs.

Smacksy

Good Day Regular People

My Blog Can Beat Up Your Blog

The Mama Bird Diaries

Midlife Mixtape

When Did I Get Like This?

Arnebya

Up Popped A Fox

The Flying Chalupa

Suburban Scrawl

Elizabeth McGuire

Two Cannoli

Genie in a Blog

  I have some pretty “out there” music freak friends. We’ve all done things that normal people would consider to be certifiably insane, perhaps criminally so, to hear, see and experience great music. On March 12, 1993, I did something, a series of things, that no conventional thinking person would’ve done to see Prince in concert. His shocking death at the age of 57 not only has eliminated any regrets I had, but it made what seemed like a good idea at the time, become a terrible one and back into a good idea, all at once.

In March of ’93, I was wrapping 4 1/2 years as a student at the University of Alabama in Tuscaloosa with undergraduate degrees in communications and English. I had handed in my senior thesis papers and was essentially done as Crimson Tider. I was in a serious but failing relationship with an older woman, co-managing a friend’s alternative rock band, working for two different radio stations and trying to not freak out about my uncertain future.

My soon to be ex was a major Prince fan. I was knee deep in being a punk rock jerk and Nirvana fanboi and had decided anything ’80s was awful and should be shot like a lame horse. For some reason, I gave Prince a pass. And went to a concert without her.

After an epic fight with my girlfriend, I was hanging out in a bar in Birmingham, Alabama with my friends’ band, watching them drink their profits for playing earlier when the drummer’s wife said “hey, I can’t go to the Prince concert tomorrow night, who wants my ticket?”

The night was hazy and so was I, but somehow I accepted the ticket for whatever money I had in my pocket.

The show was in Atlanta, my hometown, thirty-five miles from where I grew up. I was without any money and a once in a generation ice storm had enveloped the southeast. Yet, there I was, in the back of 1970s four door something, I think it was an Oldsmobile, with a bad transmission.

We broke down a couple of miles from the Fox Theatre in Atlanta. An argument developed between the driver and one of my friends that led to fisticuffs. This was a winner of a night.

Finally, me and two friends who shall remain nameless but there are no innocents in this story, walked to the Fox and what happened next can only be described as Purple Pleasure.

For over two hours, Prince slayed a city. It was unbelievable. The capper was an almost 10 minute tour de force performance of Let’s Go Crazy. I could feel the flu growing inside of me after the long walk in the ice and rain but the Paisley Prince of rock and roll made me feel like I was perfectly fine.

Prince’s death is devastating. He was a musical genius who could do anything, artistically. I have more memories with his music than I realized. The news of his passing brought them all on. The fact that his last ever show was at the same Fox Theatre I saw him at in 1993 is both poetic and heartbreaking.

He will be missed.

After I left his amazing show, I had to call my soon to be ex-girlfriend to drive four plus hours to come pick me up. I was a terrible boyfriend, a stupid 22-year-old kid and very immature to even think about going to that concert. But that’s what Prince did, bring out the crazy in so many of us.

It seemed like a good idea at the time. I regret nothing.

Dearly beloved
We are gathered here today
To get through this thing called life

Electric word life
It means forever and that’s a mighty long time
But I’m here to tell you
There’s something else
The after world

A world of never ending happiness
You can always see the sun, day or night

So when you call up that shrink in Beverly Hills
You know the one, Dr. Everything’ll Be Alright
Instead of asking him how much of your time is left
Ask him how much of your mind, baby

‘Cause in this life
Things are much harder than in the after world
In this life
You’re on your own

https://www.izlesene.com/video/prince-lets-go-crazy/5275039

Thinking Out Loud – A Valentine’s Day Playlist

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If you’ve read this space more than once, you’ll know music rules my life in so many ways. The one aspect of my existence that doesn’t get a lot of run for tunes is luuuuuvvvvv or love. I’m not a huge fan of the songs of those types or the subject, at all. Maybe it’s because I never found “success” with that part of life until I was 37 years old, when I met my second and current wife. We are approaching our 8th year of marriage so through her insistence, I mean love and care, I’ve started to appreciate the songs of the heart.

My fellow musichead bud, Nancy Davis Kho of Midlife Mixtape asked me to put together a list for the Day Of Valentine’s containing songs that “put me in the mood”, for the love not necessarily the love making. That’s a WHOLE other post.

Here are a few ditties that dig into this dark spot in the middle of my chest and tell my tiny heart its okay to feel something.

Every Little Thing She Does Is Magic The Police. I dig this group a lot, they’re a top 15 band of all-time for me but I couldn’t stand this song until a few years ago. Now, when I hear it on the radio or on my Ghost In The Machine album, I smile. It reminds me of the sunny blonde I live with and how I’m pretty much nada without her.

At Last Etta James. If I have to explain this one, then it doesn’t work. The woman can sang, not sing, but sang and it makes the cockles cockle.

Wonderful Tonight. Clapton. Guitar. Perfection.

Kool Thing – Sonic Youth. I have to maintain some sort of music snobbery alternative indie cred in this post. I know the lyrics have nothing to do with “love” but Thurston’s guitar and Kim’s snarling, sardonic vocal are sexy and funny and well, mood enhancing.

Thinking Out Loud – Ed Sheeran. Um what? Who? Where’s Lance and what have you done with him? This is blogging fraud. Nope, sorry kids, I’ve gone soft and this song rules. It’s my significant other and I’s song of songs. The ginger popper does it all and I don’t care what card I giveover or bridge I have to burn to proclaim it.

There you go, five songs for my V-Day and yours if you want them. Happy Hallmark Day, lovahs. Go read my fellow music loving pals’ picks and enjoy yourselves this weekend with your Valentines.

Midlife Mixtape

Good Day Regular People

My Blog Can Beat Up Your Blog

Laurie White

Smacksy

Mrs. TDJ

A Funny Thing Happened To Me On My Way To Quit Writing

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If there’s a universal truth among every person it is that they want to matter; to their loved ones and to themselves. For creative types, the ones who paint, sculpt, play, conduct or write like me, we want to express ourselves in the most real way we know, our art.

I’ve been writing almost every day of my life since I was eight-years-old. I’ve written four books, published two, and worked as a journalist on and off for over twenty years. I turned forty-five less than 2 months ago but I almost quit writing earlier this year because I thought I didn’t matter.
Writing online is a full contact, brutally damaging intellectual activity. After a decade doing so, I’ve noticed that not being able to look people in the face when you critique them makes it easier to be ridiculously cruel and ultimately very dishonest.

At the beginning of the summer, the first week of June, I did something to salvage my love affair with writing.

I became a stand-up comedian.

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It’s the best artistic decision I’ve ever made because now, I can see people in the face when they tell me I suck.

I’ve always liked comedy. I listened to comedy albums of many famous comedians growing up. Once my parents got cable television in the early 1980s, I watched any comedy special that aired. I grew to admire people who could stand before an audience and make them laugh, just like the musicians I also idolized. I thought comedy and music were the greatest forms of artistic expression because the audience feedback is immediate and very organic.

Writing is different, especially on the internet. You spend hours, sometimes days writing something, and finally after crucial, gut-wrenching edits, you hit send. The reaction is also fast, but I’ve learned it’s not always true.

Many studies have been done about online bullying or “trolling” and while an argument can be made that it’s more sociological than psychological, I’ve come to my own conclusion that understanding why people behave the way they do over the computer is a lost cause. Some people just want to watch the world burn and take others into the fire.

Twenty-two years ago, at the age of 23, I took to a comedy club stage for the first time. Over a span of about 15 months I did dozens of open mikes, five to fifteen minute comedy sets, then didn’t pursue it further. I thought I was just a writer.

Earlier this year, to both break through writer’s block and find out why I had become so disillusioned, I talked with several comedian friends I know through the internet. Surprisingly, they all encouraged me to give stand up another try because of the material I shared over the Twitter and Book Of Face (Facebook). After this advice from friends, I penciled jokes, one-liners, asides and funny stories about my life with a blended family of a wife and 3 daughters into a notebook, practiced in front a mirror and my dog then booked a set at a local comedy club.

What happened next not only changed my perspective on people, it saved my love of writing.

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Onstage in a comedy club, there’s a weird sense of equality. Everyone’s there to have fun. If you’re funny, you’re funny. If you can make people laugh, you can make them listen and eventually think. After five minutes of telling a room full of strangers how unpredictable and dysfunctional my life is, I was transformed. I didn’t “kill” but I didn’t bomb either. I did get immediate feedback and it was more honest than anything I’d ever received from writing online. People came up to me with smiles on their faces and told me what they liked and disliked. They were encouraging and even thought I’d been doing comedy for a while.

Since that night in early June, I’ve performed more than 30 times. One recent set happened in a pizza pub turned comedy club for a night in front of about 50 people, mostly college students, twenty years younger than me, you know, my college sophomore daughter’s age. I made a room full of diverse jaded millennials laugh consistently for over 10 minutes. The best part was sharing the stage with several comedians who have been doing comedy as long as I’ve been writing. The democracy in their constructive criticism made me appreciate my writing.

I’ve even found two to three “regular” places to show up and do comedy each week. I’ve even been paid a handful of times.

The lost hope I’d felt from faceless review was now buoyed by the in your grill honesty of heartfelt evaluation.

I’m not saying everyone who blogs or tweets or tosses up a status that gets more than 5 likes should find a hot mike to justify their online existence but for me, using another creative venue to expand myself artistically helped. Now instead of avoiding the comments, I can just use them in my next set and become slightly more annoying by adding “comedian” to my media that are social bios.

Plus, I feel I matter, at least to myself, a little more.

Thanks a lot, that’s my time. My name’s Lance. I’m here all week.

Here’s a song about a comedian, one who did everything he could to be different and find himself, Andy Kaufman; immortalized by R.E.M.’s Man On The Moon.

What I Like About You

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In two weeks I turn 44-years-old and what scares me the most is I still have little to no self-esteem. You would think after more than half my life gone I’d have accumulated some cockiness about my resume. Nope.

A couple of months ago, I visited a new psychiatrist. She was a very nice Indian-American lady who exuded warmth, kindness and positivity. Either she was a fantastic actress or the perfect person for her chosen profession. She made me feel safe, welcome, and relatively okay, for a crazy person.

One of the things she told me was I was too hard on myself and didn’t give myself enough credit for the good stuff I’d done and my positive attributes. She gave me homework that of course I didn’t do, until today.

“Go home and write 5 things you like about yourself and say them aloud to the mirror.”

My first thought was, lady, you’re lovely, but I’m a writer, isn’t that enough narcissism for one person. Then I realized I was paying her for the hour, so eventually I obliged.

It was difficult. Five things about me? Really? I’m a mess. Okay, but note, I wrote out like seven, then realized that two of them were sarcastic lies so the five you’ll read are absolutely it. I don’t recommend any of you do this, because I know most of you will whine about paring your list from 37 to a top five and then I’ll have to hate you.

5) My taste and knowledge of music is pretty stellar. I can’t remember my kids’ names but I can recite Lou Reed lyrics from the Transformer album. I always forget at least two things on my wife’s grocery list but I know more about 1970s punk and glam rock and 1990s grunge and alternative music than the average dude or dudette. People ask me for playlists all the time, tag me in their Facebook posts about music stuff, and if one more person argues with me about the merits of Diamond David Lee Roth Van Halen versus Sammy Hagar Van Halen I’m going to curse them to choke on brown M&Ms. If you don’t get that reference, we can’t be friends.

4) I don’t drink coffee or play the lottery. This means I’m the perfect person to be in line with at a convenience store. You don’t have to worry about me bickering over the quality of the cappuccino mix or taking 14 extra minutes selecting scratch off tickets.

3) I’m reliable. I hated this about me until about five years ago. I’ve moved over 30 people by either owning or tracking down a truck, dollies, and boxes. I’ve bailed over 10 people out of jail. I’ve never failed to pick someone up from the airport, school, or work when they needed a ride. You ask me to be somewhere, I’m 97.3 percent of the time punctual and proud to do it, publically. Privately, I’m probably making fun of you and making snide remarks. Seriously, I’m that dude you’re supposed to call because it’s the right thing to do.

2) I can write. I’m not saying I’m Hemingway or Palahniuk or even Franzen but I think I know what I’m doing. Time and deadlines are hard to meet sometimes because of real life but I know my way around sentence structure and storytelling. My editing sucks, but I have people for that. I think I know what I’m doing as a writer compared to most.

1) I’m a good parent. I didn’t say I was a great one because that’s crazy talk. I know my 3 daughters love me, mostly behind my back, but with one in college and two others at the tops of their classes, I haven’t screwed them up or nullified the fantastic work of their mother. There’s a lot of love in our house and all 3 of my girls are smart, beautiful, and can tell a good joke.

What are your good attributes? Please, limit them to five. I’m very fragile, emotionally. You start showing off with more than that, and the next 47 posts will be dark dystopian tales of woe that will make you want to punch yourself in the face, too.

Here’s The Romantics.

http://youtu.be/Rqnw5IfbZOU

I wrote two books. They got good reviews. The third one, a sequel to the first, Woman Of Troy, is on the way, very soon.

The Ballad of Helene Troy, an underdog story about a female musician in New York City, and Soul To Body, about an ex-1990s guitar player trying to raise his teenage daughter after the death of his wife, her mother, are available, digitally, on Amazon.com for your kindles, and in paperback from Lulu.com

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Never Said

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It is a 20-year-old tale told by a fool, full of drunkenness and pity, signifying something, and when the Facebook friend request popped up I ignored her on instinct. The following message made me grin, wide, but guilt as cargo. My wife sat three feet away on the family living room sofa as I read.

What is the airspeed velocity of a flying monkey?

I remembered. Two decades earlier the person behind the message and I sat on a sad, yellowed couch watching The Simpsons. It was the episode where Mr. Burns unleashes his flying monkeys. We quoted every line, laughed at each joke, and plotted our own entertainment successes that never happened. Against better judgment, I answered.

Fly my pretties! Fly!

I didn’t wait for her response. I shut my laptop and walked into the kitchen to look for a diet soda. I opened the refrigerator, popped the top, and drifted into a memory.

I stood in front of a dirty fridge looking at a twelve pack of beer, a pack of cheese, some condiments and left over pizza. She had followed me into the kitchen, chattering about our plans.

“When we make it as comedy writers and stand ups, we’re never drinking cheap beer from a can.”

I swigged a Natural Light while tossing her one as she leaned against the lime green wall phone with a cord that could stretch into all five rooms; kitchen, bathroom, living room and two bedrooms. She caught it with her left hand and said.

“Tell me your first joke you’re going to do at the open mic tomorrow.”

I frowned at the thought of performing in front of just her. As close as we were, it was a competitive relationship. I didn’t trust her. If she liked my material, she’d downplay her delight. If she didn’t like it, she’s patronize my feelings. I took the bait like a hungry catfish.

“Hey, how’s everyone doing? I just graduated college and my post graduate work is making strangers laugh enough so that the important guy in the back running this place gives me a break and I’ll have my own sitcom by Christmas. So please, for the love of poverty, don’t forget to tip your waitresses. I plan on sweet talking one for a twenty buck loan at the end of the night.”

She drank her beer, then grinned. I fumed.

“What?” I demanded.

She stepped toward me, tossed back another drink, and answered.

“That’s so adorable, you’ll get laughs and get laid by the waitress.”

She patronized me. I knew her so well. I walked past her and looked for the black spiral notebook that contained my best stuff. I felt her hand on my back as I reached the bedroom.

“Who is she?”

The refrigerator door shut and I was back. My wife stood a few feet away with her arms crossed, holding her cell phone with raised eyebrows and a mischievous smile.

“Somebody I used to know from my stand up comedy days. I denied the friend request. answered her message, then walked away. I was going to tell you.”

She met me in front of the fridge and leaned in for a kiss. She brushed away strands of brown but gray-tinged hair from my eyes.

“I know, but I was bad. I looked her up on my phone. She’s not as pretty as me, and it looks like she’s unhappy with her life. If she messages you again, tell me, and I’ll have her killed by the end of  the day.”

We both broke into loud laughter. I composed myself, kissed her, then said.

“You’re the funny one, these days. Maybe I should take you to an open mic.”

I followed her into the living room. We never said anything else, about her, or my life, back then.

http://youtu.be/RCP-UIs2kpM

100 Word Song – Worrisome Heart

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No lead in or exposition, just a song, more Silas and Olive, and a request to go see my sometimes writing partner, Tara aka @Tara_R from http://www.thinspiralnotebook.com. She chose today’s 100 word tune, a jazzy number from Melody Gardot called Worrisome Heart.

Here’s my 100.

Last time: https://lancemyblogcanbeatupyourblog.wordpress.com/2014/08/06/100-word-song-wish-i-could-fly-like-superman/

Silas swallowed, thought about Olive, then his hand shook. His finger was close to the trigger. He dropped it on the ground. Archie smiled. Kenny and Roscoe ran next to him, but Archie stopped them with one sentence.

“I know what it’s like to be surrounded by people with troubling ways and worrisome hearts.”

He stepped toward Silas. The gun was equal distance from both men.

“Everybody wants the short cut get to where they’re going. We’re not like that.”

Silas stared at the money in his other hand, then dropped it to the garage floor, too.

My Blog Can Beat Up Your Blog

As always, you have 7 days from NOW, to write 100 words off Melody Gardot’s Worrisome Heart, Use the media that are social to advertise your magic. Also link up to the green Mr. Linky button, below.

100 Word Song – Wish I Could Fly Like Superman

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Sorry for the lateness of this week’s 100 word song. Between work, being featured on my first ever podcast interview, and some Lefty Pop aka http://www.leftypop.com business, it was an overwhelming day. Wait, what? Podcast interview? Oh, yeah. If you do this blogging thing long enough, hit a BlogHer conference and treat people decently, someone will hand you a small snack of internet fame. My writer friend Poppy Marler aka aka @poppyjmarler hit me up in San Jose and asked me to do a Skype interview last Wednesday. It ran today. I wouldn’t shut up and used the phrase “be a whore” professionally. Here’s the link to Poppy and her friends Tammy and Vanita’s site Blogging Betties. They do a great job and were very nice to me. Hope you have 45 minutes.

http://bloggingbetties.com/episode23/

Today’s 100 word song was chosen by Dawn of The Dawnie Project http://www.thedawnieproject.com/ . She suggested 1979’s Wish I Could fly like Superman by The Kinks.

Last time: https://lancemyblogcanbeatupyourblog.wordpress.com/2014/08/04/between-something-and-nothing/

Silas scanned the garage. He saw nothing that Roscoe, Archie or Kenny could use as a weapon. Archie spoke.

“There’s 300 dollars on the red toolbox to your left. That’s what these two owe you from the deal with Bart and that shiner.”

Silas walked over, then picked up the cash. Kenny and Roscoe took several steps toward him. Archie shouted.

“No!”

Archie approached.

“I know who you are, Silas Royster, of Daily, Georgia. You’re better than this. But you’ve got fly away like Superman from those two girls.”

Silas pulled the gun and aimed it at Archie.

My Blog Can Beat Up Your Blog

As always, you have 7 days to give up 100 words inspired by The Kinks Wish I Could Fly Like Superman. Use the media that are social to advertise you magic and the green Mr. Linky button to link up.