The McPresidential Candidate’s McMistake of the Week
Oh, Senator McCain…
You used to be so rational. Yours was the voice of wisdom. You had the experience. But that was then, and this is now.
Years ago, you called for moderation. You said that politicians should neither pander to the far right nor the far left, and said that Jerry Fallwell was an “agent of intolerance.” I applauded. Then you went, hat in hand, to Fallwell a few years later to beg favors, claiming you have common opinions. I was disappointed.
Years ago your voice was strong, your message clear. Now you whine a bit, and your message is muddied by the many retractions and reversals you’ve made. You seem to grasp and fumble. I’m disappointed.
Mumbling “Bomb, bomb, bomb… Bomb bomb Iran” to the tune of the Regents’ hit “Barbara Ann” kinda makes me wonder if you’re not just a bit past your prime; seems to be a rather odd lapse of judgment for someone who’s running for President to show such bad taste. (I know, dear reader. Right now you’re scratching your head, thinking, “but wait, wasn’t it the Beach Boys who sang that song?” Well, the Regents did it first in 1961, then Jan and Dean re-recorded the song a few years later, then the Beach Boys recorded it in 1965 with guests Jan and Dean merrily singing along.)
Senator McCain has a strong background, politically and personally. He sacrificed a great deal in Vietnam, more than any of us are capable of realizing, I think. I think he would have made a good president in 2000 if the cards had worked out that way, though it would have been tremendously uncomfortable for “the party of values” to have a man in the white house who admitted having ongoing extramarital affairs, eventually leaving his crippled wife to marry one of his mistresses source — especially following former U.S. President Bill Clinton’s troubles with a chubby intern.
But it’s my opinion that maybe Senator McCain may be, unfortunately, past his prime, politically speaking.
Postscript: Before I could publish this post, I received an e-mail asking if I’d like to participate in a motorcycle escort bringing Senator McCain to a rally in Sioux City. The timing of the e-mail is eerie. I wouldn’t mind riding in an escort to honor his extraordinary service in Vietnam, but I really rather disagree with his ideology as a presidential candidate… A conundrum indeed.
A couple weeks ago I came to the realization that people around Sioux City no longer view me as a musician. Fine ‘n dandy, I sipped on a tasty beer-like beverage (called “ale” by the way) and readjusted my world-view and my sense of self, preparing myself to be one of those crusty old guys who “used to be in a band” and get misty-eyed recalling the glory days of playing with a band no one’s ever heard of. I can do that. No problem. I even called the Chesterfield and told them I couldn’t take photos at jam night any more. (I told him I was too busy to do it, but if I’d care to confront the truth I’d probably find that going to the jam night week after week and not getting to play much whilst watching all my friends play really and truly makes me sad.)
Yesterday I got a call from Johnny Bolin, drummer for several bands (including Black Oak Arkansas). Turned out he has a gig this weekend just north of here with a three-piece band and his bassist is stuck in Phoenix. “Can you do it?” he asked. “We’ll be playing blues and classic rock, and probably some Tommy songs.” (The late Tommy Bolin is Johnny’s brother. Tommy did a lot of influential guitar work in the 70s, and ended up playing with The James Gang and Deep Purple as well as putting out a couple good solo albums. He’s the guy who wrote “Teaser” and “Post Toastee.” Look him up – there’s some stunning musicianship to be found!) I was more than a little surprised to get the call – I grew up watching these guys play, wishing and dreaming I could be on the same stage with them. I love the style of music, the energy, the tradition… Five years ago I would gladly have pulled a tooth out of my skull to jam with these guys.
“No,” I said. “I’m afraid I can’t help. Thanks for thinking of me, though.”
Ten minutes later I get an e-mail from a different drummer I used to jam with in a couple bands years ago. “Whaddaya think of calling so-and-so and getting together a few times over the summer?” I reminded him that at one of the last gigs we had I was the only one from the band to show up. (Well, the guitarist was there, but he left before the opening band was done, leaving me standing there looking kinda stupid.)
“I just don’t want to go through that again,” I wrote to him. “I liked playing well enough, but I intensely disliked not knowing if enough band members were going to show up to any given gig for us to honor our contract to play.” Unfortunately, when you’re a three-piece band, you pretty much gotta have everyone show up or you look kinda silly. It’s a bit rough to try to stagger through “Funky Music” with just bass and drums. Sounds kinda like… well, nothing particularly good.
How odd that after more than a year of hanging around, waiting for the phone to ring, haunting the jam session every week, NOW I start to see some activity on the music scene, now that I’ve decided to move on with life. It’s going to be hard for me to say no again. But no matter what I do, I have to remember that I’m a different person than I was five years ago. Music simply isn’t such a driving force in my life as it used to be. Can I be like other people and have music be a hobby rather than a way of life? I dunno.
While I’m trying to make up my mind, here’s some Tommy Bolin for you…
Chris, you don’t know how well you would fit in with my DH. Same musical taste, seemingly the same philosophy with life.
Glad to read your blog.
Keep it up.
p.s. I am kinda jealous of Dagmar and I may be seeing if I can volunteer somewhere this summer to work with Down’s Syndrome clients. It isn’t ‘easy’ but just knowing how naive and innocent their thinking is just does wonders for my psyche.
Okay, what did you move on to? And why can’t you take music with you? Geez, you can’t be older than Mick Jagger! If it’s too easy, it’s not good for you.
Leonesse – Dagmar loves her Down’s clients! She tells me they’re the sweetest peopel she’s ever met.
Bert – Oh, just moving on with life in general… Playing in a band is time-consuming. Practice time at home, rehearse with the band Monday and Wednesday nights (or whatever), setup on Thursday nights, play Friday and Saturday nights, then tear down on Sunday afternoons — all while maintaining marital harmony and a day job. It’s not a hobby to be taken on lightly… I’m sure I’ll still play in my living room and will still go to the jam session once in a while, but I simply can’t devote that amount of time to music any more.
Dying to your dream is not always a bad thing. When something is shut, something else always opens.
I sympathize with being a “used to be” guy. But I have a wife who loves me, a roof over my head and every once in a while I get to eat some Oreo’s. What more could you want?