Once upon a time, on a crowded street full of cowboy boots and daisy dukes, there was a Shyboy who was uninspired by the sounds he heard and looking for an escape from the repetition of a familiar drumbeat. Desperate to find a place where music was free from the beat box and pre-recorded tracks, he tapped the Uber app on his iPhone and waited for Tony, who would arrive in exactly 7 minutes, driving a gray Chevy Malibu. When the driver asked, “Where to?,” David replied, “I’ll be the Roundabout, The words will make you out an’ out, You spend the day your way, Call it morning driving, Through the south, In and out the valley.” Hoping his dreamy-eyed passenger hadn’t maxed out his credit card on the vintage 1971 Ludwig Super Classic Silver Sparkle drum kit he’d bought off Craigslist that morning, he SAGA WORLDS APART ON THE LOOSEdrove away from this Crazy Town until he’d reached a spot nobody knows. Having fallen asleep for most of the day’s ride, David awoke to a place that looked Worlds Apart from his familiar gig. Looking out over a desert-like expanse, clouded in a Purple Haze, Tony said, “No one can stop you now, Tonight you’re On The Loose, No one to tell you how, Tonight you’re on the loose.” With one foot in the 21st century and the other ready to step into the landscape of forgotten music, David dropped his iPhone in the sand and chose to boldly go to the Point Of Know Return without the help of Google Maps. Mind On The Matter, he waved goodbye to the man who’d delivered him to the brink of musical freedom. It was time to embrace the Journey, with the passion of Motley Crue turned loose on a five star hotel room. We’re talking Bottom Of Your Soul determination to get back to the place where an 8 minute song was a badass concert experience, not a label-determined bad investment. Eyes lifted upward, John Bonham looking down, David was suddenly caught up in the nostalgia he dreamed of, thinking, “Oh the Wheel In The Sky keeps on turnin’, I don’t know where I’ll be tomorrow.” And Into The Night his black Chucks carried him….

     Having walked in silence through the long, dark night, David’s senses were reawakened by the dawn’s early light and the distant sound of an experienced guitar. A smile crossed his face as he thought of the original guitar hero, threw his horns up, and addressed the imaginary crowd, “Excuse me while I kiss the sky.” Recovering his whereabouts and the deafening silence that surrounded him, he thought himself perhaps a Lovefool for leaving the familiar Highway in search of music that knew no boundaries and played by no rules. The idea of Nashvegas was still but a dream, somewhere Over the Rainbow, and the sound of Hell’s Bells could be heard in Destination Anywhere. Craving the music that ripped through his soul and walked in rhythm to the beat of his heart, he looked to the sky for the icloud that held his DIO HOLY DIVER LIVEideal playlist. Reaching for the elusive sounds of his youth, he surrendered to the eternal download that sent him into the blackout of the abyss, a Holy Diver, hellbent on hearing the voice of Ronnie James DIO – LIVE! Dropping heavily into the unknown, David found himself amidst railroad tracks and smoldering rubble. He spied a half-charred sign a few feet away that read: ‘London Astoria, 157 Charing Cross Road, London, UK.’ Through red smoke that burned his eyes, he saw a preacher amongst a crowd of adoring fans paying homage to an iconic venue that lost its value at the hands of Crossrail. Willing himself towards the metallic sound of the speaker’s voice, he was suddenly face to face with Heaven And Hell. Lightning flashing all around him, Ronnie James DIO was commanding this Electric Funeral without the use of Auto-Tune. Thrusting metal horns towards the assemblage, his vocal chords unleashed the power of Long Live Rock ‘N Roll Like a Prayer. Someone sitting in the Back in Black shouted, “Rock and Roll Ain’t Noise Pollution” to thunderous applause. David closed his eyes against the glare of having seen the light, and when he opened them, there was but darkness and silence once again in his midst.


     Fatigued by his Journey and The Crossing of the Giant divide between the Promise Land of classic rock and Big Country, David took stock of his surroundings. Eagles were flying overhead, the beat of their Wings stirring up a lyrical memory and a familiar scent. He walked on, singing with the Eagles, “On a dark desert highway, cool wind in my hair, Warm smell of colitas, rising up through the air, Up ahead in the distance, I saw a shimmering light, My head grew heavy and my sight grew dim, I had to stop for the night.” Was it a mirage or an Oasis in this Teenage Wasteland of static noise? A building, surrounded by palm trees, beckoned him. Approaching the entrance, he sang of what he saw, “There she stood in the doorway, I heard the mission bell, And I was thinking to myself, ‘This could be heaven orINXS X ALBUM this could be hell,’ Then she lit up a candle and she showed me the way, There were voices down the corridor, I thought I heard them say….’Welcome to the Hotel California.’” The woman called herself Luscious Jackson, and to the Naked Eye, she was nothing INXS. Innocence, until you tasted the first bite of the poison Apple she hid. She wasn’t a Queen, but she had A Kind of Magic that lured music lovers of all ages into One Vision. It seemed like a lovely place to be a prisoner, I mean a visitor. Sometimes it’s hard to Know The Difference. She led him to a room with mirrors on the ceiling, pink champagne on ice, and introduced him to a man who enjoyed Fat Bottomed Girls riding bikes. Becoming skeptical of her hospitality, he asked, “What is it that keeps you at such a place any time of year?” She replied, “I’m not expecting to grow flowers in a desert, But I can live and breathe, And see the sun in wintertime. In a Big Country, dreams stay with you, Like a lover’s voice fires the mountainside.” I’m “livin’ it up at the Hotel California.” She was obviously no prisoner of her own device. He KISSed her and said, “You ain’t a Hard Luck Woman.”

     Completely consumed by this Witchy Woman, David became a Holy Diver once more. Content with the riches of her Material World, he forgot his music mission entirely. He became a Believer in satisfying the needs of the flesh above all else, and Luscious Jackson was an Easy Lover. They’d been living At The Speed Of Life since he’d arrived, dancing in the courtyard every time she called to him, BOWIE, DAVID LET'S DANCELet’s Dance!” Responding in kind, he called up to her open window, “Put on your red shoes and dance the blues, Let’s dance, Dance to the song they’re playing on the radio, Let’s sway, While color lights up your face, Let’s sway, Sway through the crowd to an empty space, If you say run, I’ll run with you, If you say hide, we’ll hide……” Those were the magic words that broke the spell she’d put him under: Never Run Never Hide. His music mission came back to him with the thought of dancing to songs they’re playing on the radio. Neither Luke Bryan’s steamy new single, “Strip It Down,” nor the threat of flying monkeys could keep him in her clutches. He’d seen through her Eminence Front and would no longer be charmed by the whisper of these words in his ear, “You’re All I Need To Get By.” Enough of this Sexual Healing! He shouted at her, “I don’t care WHO you are, U2 must answer for the automatic download of an album into every iTunes account.” Enough of this music monopoly! Grabbing the bottle of pink champagne on ice, he popped the cork, and sprayed her with the contents. Wailing, she melted into the floor like a bad dream.

     The last thing David remembered when he woke up in Jeff Beck’s Guitar Shop was running for the door, trying to find the passage back to the place he was before. Shaking off the where he came from dust, he pulled himself together and stood up to shake the hand of one of the most influential rock guitarists of all time. Inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame twice, once as a member of the BECK, JEFF JEFF BECK'S GUITAR SHOPYardbirds, and as a solo artist, David was standing before a guitar legend. Behind The Veil was playing on the store radio and David longed to be behind the drum kit. He’d learned this song as a garage band drummer, and practiced it until he could play it in his sleep. Where was the gig that would allow such songs to be played? Where was the stage that would allow such skilled players to showcase their talent in a challenging set list? Interrupting his thoughts, Jeff asked where he’d come from. He told him about the the Hotel California and the Witchy Woman who made it her home. “Oh, so you met Miss Sarajevo. The last time I saw her she was on stage in Milan being serenaded in Italian by Bono. How is she?” David replied, “She goes by the name Luscious Jackson now, and she’s got a lot of pretty, pretty boys, that she calls friends.” He told Jeff the rest of the Saga, as best he remembered it, from the time he left Tony till now. Ready to get back to the place he called home and the gig that paid the bills, he asked Jeff for the quickest route. Yo, David! He’s a guitar legend, not Garmin! David thought out loud, “Maybe I could click my Chucks together three times and say…” Jeff interrupted, “Stop, wait a minute, Fill my cup, put some liquor in it, Take a sip, sign a check, Julio, get the stretch.” “David, it’s the 21st century, time to say Goodbye Yellow Brick Road.”

     BECK, JEFF BLACK AND WHITEWaking up to the sound of familiar voices in close range, David opened his eyes cautiously. He heard the sound of equipment being moved around outside and searched the bunk for his iPhone. Brushing the sand off of it, not sure how that got there, he checked the calendar. Cricket Wireless Amphitheater, Bonner Springs, KS. “Damn. I am in Kansas, Toto.” Checking his email, he had a message from Tom Hurst. ‘Hey buddy, how about playing Jeff Beck‘s “Behind The Veil” at the next Loud Jamz on October 5? I hear you can play that in your sleep.’ Replying with an emphatic, ‘YES!!!,’ he leaned back in his bunk, clicked his dusty Chucks together and said, “There’s no place like Douglas Corner.”







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Bev Miskus

Blogger of all things music related in Nashville and beyond.

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