Monday, January 17, 2011

"Original Motion Picture Soundtrack - BAY STREET"

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[The League Of Soul Crusaders, left to right: - Stephen T. McCarthy; Twinkie; Wally; Torch (driving); Napoleon; and Pooh.]
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This blog bit is dedicated to POOH, unquestionably my best olde-tyme drinking buddy and a guy whose company I really miss.

[. . . And Pooh, that's not all: May we never forget to fondly remember those fuzzy nights we've forgotten and blessedly can't recall! Alcohol-induced Blackouts: Just God's little way of saying, "I've punished you enough already. Receive My mercy."]

Here is an infamous line Pooh came up with back in our "Bay Street Daze":

"He's not our breed! He's not our breed!"

Pooh repeatedly said that about some rich kid - an acquaintance of a friend of ours - who showed up one night at one of our house parties. That was shortly before Pooh started the fight. :o)

"The Bay Street Daze" refers to the years 1980 through 1983, when Pooh, Torch, Twinkie, Cranium, my brother Napoleon and I, and a revolving cast of occasional "pinch hitters" were partying wildly day and night and headquarted in a house at 824 Bay Street in Santa Monica, California - a four minute drive from the beach. We formed what one might accurately describe as "a drinking gang" called The League Of Soul Crusaders.

Here's how we came by the name: Napoleon (Nappy) and a couple of the other gang members were fond of shouting out "Leadin' the league!" when they were being particularly rowdy and/or creative. (Yes, believe it or not, we weren't just drunk most of the time, but also very funny and very creative. We couldn't walk into a bar or party without half of the other patrons or partygoers gathered around us within 15 minutes time.)

So anyway, Nappy and some of the others liked to imagine that we were involved in an alcohol-related sporting event of some kind and that, like baseball Hall Of Famers of yore (think Babe Ruth, Ted Williams, Willie Mays, Ty Cobb, etc.), we were "Leadin' the league!" That became a sort of rallying cry.

Then one year our unofficial leader, Torch, had a birthday and I presented him with a birthday card to which I had signed all the names of the great young rebels of the past that I could think of - James Dean, Chuck Berry, Eddie Cochran, Bruce Springsteen and many others. And to this whole grouping of talented punks I applied the name "The League Of Soul Crusaders".
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At that time, Springsteen was pretty much "The Boss" to us, and the "Soul Crusaders" aspect of the name I had borrowed from the lyrics of his song 'Night' in which he sings, "The rat trap's filled with soul crusaders / The circuit's lined and jammed with chromed invaders." Well, shortly after Torch's birthday party, we in the "Leadin' the league" drinking gang began referring to ourselves as The League Of Soul Crusaders.

Hell, we'd drink almost anything, you name it - NyQuil, Rubbing Alcohol, Lighter Fluid, Brut Cologne, Coppertone, Bain de Soleil ("for the San Tropez glow"). If it might induce a high, we'd give 'er a try!

Some years after we had matured a little bit and sort of grew up (Aww! Don't say that!!), Pooh encapsulated our drinking habits in a short, funny, and perfect three-line poem:

We drank.
We drank a lot.
We drank more than we did not.

Now that's what Pooh said. Below is something that someone once said to Pooh. He'd been 86ed in '86 from the Bucket Of Blood Saloon in Virginia City, Nevada, the night before. I wasn't there - I was lying on a motel bed with the worst hangover of my drinking career. The next day, Pooh and I entered the Bucket Of Blood Saloon together, the bartender took one look at him and said:

"I remember you from last night."

Over time, the Bay Street Daze of The League Of Soul Crusaders inspired me to write two poems and one book. Below is the shortest of the poems, written on May 20, 1983. It's not good but it's accurate and it was read at Pooh's (first) wedding:

THE LEAGUE OF SOUL CRUSADERS
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Last night there was a birthday party
The League Of Soul Crusaders met

And these boys make commotion
Excitement
Altercations will arise

These boys know no fear
Almost
Living and dying every moment

Oh, and these boys drink beer
Whiskey and beer and
Beer

These boys bleed red
Twice each
But they rather enjoy it

And they don't accept East Coast
Bullshit
Poking fun at Brooklyn accents

These boys don't cry when they should
And laugh
When they shouldn't

They have talent
Dream of glory and
Imagine victory

Energetic boys, wild and innocent
Leading a league
That doesn't exist

These boys lack courage and confidence
Telling jokes and howling
To nowhere

Many years ago, I put together a tape cassette of songs that I figured would be the ideal musical soundtrack for an imaginary movie about the Bay Street Daze of The League Of Soul Crusaders. I titled the tape "Original Motion Picture Soundtrack - BAY STREET". I mentioned this tape to my old friend Pooh recently and he asked me what was included on it. This blog bit is my way of answering his question. [Sorry 'bout the wait, Pooh!]

I have included links to YouTube videos for all songs where possible, and in the case of a few of the more obscure songs, I even included the lyrics. [I will be interjecting in brackets some relevant comments here and there in red text.]

And now take a musical trip with me in the Waybac Machine to the early 1980s and party with The League Of Soul Crusaders when they were Wild and Innocent and didn't have a grey hair to speak of :
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[Jolly Jack's bar - a second home to The League Of Soul Crusaders, 1980-1983.]
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SIDE A:

1: THE LEAGUE OF SOUL CRUSADERS - by Twinkie
[Twinkie was a singer and this is a song he wrote and recorded after our partying ways had come to an end. My computer skills being next to nil, sadly, I know of no way to include an audio clip. And it's too bad because I think it's an excellent song that truly had Top-40 potential and which includes a Rock guitar solo that is so quirky and yet so melodic that I number it amongst my all-time favorites.]

Ritual of the summer
Obligation passed on from generation to generation
He's got a mission - He don't know it
He's on a mission - He won't show it
He's headed right into the arms of his savior, yes he is

[Chorus:]
He's living in the League of the Soul Crusader
Livin' in the League of the Soul Crusader, once again
Livin' in the League of the Soul Crusader
Livin' in the League of the Soul Crusader - Soul Crusader

Plyin' his magic - But is it what he's a-lookin' for?
Losin' would be tragic, yeah!-yeah! - Would it even the score?
He's on a mission - He's got a vision
And he don't know it!

[Chorus]

Real joy's when you follow your passion
I said, real joy's when you follow your passion!
A boy has a dream of being in the circus
But isn't that a shame? - You've got to be a man
Whoa-ohh - Waww!

[Great Guitar Solo!]

Tonight's the night!
Tonight's the night, we're gonna jump into the sea, yeah!-yeah!
You and me
We're gonna ride the blue sky, we're gonna try to touch the moon!
You and me
We're gonna jump into the sea!

[Chorus]

2: 93-KHJ Los Angeles, Beach and Traffic Reports
[Here, I placed some beach and traffic reports that I happened to have taped from a major AM radio station broadcasting in Los Angeles. Mention was made of the new Agatha Christie movie "Ordeal By Innocence" then playing in the theatres. So, depending upon whether that movie was released in 1984 or '85 (I've seen both years noted on the Internet), that's what year these radio broadcasts went out over the airwaves in Southern California and were captured by my tape recorder. Below are a few excerpts from the reports.]

"93 KHJ - We are L.A.'s greatest cruising station ... Coming up, Diana Ross And The Supremes. ... It is 12:50, Jay Gardner riding along with you on a beautiful day - out at the beaches? Ohhh! Heavenly! Heavenly! Air temp is about, oh, around mid-seventies, and the water temp is about 65 to 70 depending on which beach you go to. Just BEAUTIFUL! ... Freeway reports ... Westbound Santa Monica Freeway past the San Diego Freeway, disabled in the center divider area. That's Westbound Santa Monica Freeway past the San Diego Freeway."
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[Then came another beach report from likely a different day. With the Surfaris song "Wipe Out" playing in the background, a lifeguard named John reported from Santa Monica Beach:]

"Sunny skies - visibility about ten miles - air temp 73; water temp is 68."

3: SUMMER - by War

4: A PIRATE'S LIFE FOR ME - from the Disneyland
(E-Ticket) Ride
[This is a song we often sang, but changing the lyric to: "Yo!-Ho! Yo!-Ho! It's a PARTY life for me!"]


6: ADAM-12 - Television show theme song

7: HELLZAPOPPIN' - by Louis "Satchmo" Armstrong[Click on the title, then scroll down and click the linkythang to hear the song. It might be that no song lyrics capture the Bay Street Daze better'n these.]
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Hold your hats...the roof is 'bout to tumble in
Holy cats...the walls and floors are crumblin'
Hellzapoppin'...Hellzapoppin'...Hellzapoppin'
The whole gang's whoopin' up the whoop-de-doo
Me-oh-my...it's gonna be uproarious
We'll fly high...tonight we'll be notorious
Hellzapoppin'...Hellzapoppin'...Hellzapoppin'
And you're invited to the party too

Better look out...ain't no cook-out
We're playin' this one by ear
We threw the book out!

It's a bash...the signs are unmistakable
What a smash...we're breakin' all that's breakable
There's no stoppin'...Hellzapoppin'...why not drop in
We won't stop until the night is through
We won't tire...we'll fly higher
We'll be hotter by far
Than a four-alarm fire

Raise your glass...the party will be riotous
What a gas...the cops will never quiet us!
There's no stoppin'...Hellzapoppin'...Hellzapoppin'
We'll be Hellzapoppin' till the night... is... through!

8: WANG DANG DOODLE - by Howlin' Wolf
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Tell Automatic Slim , tell Razor-Totin' Jim
Tell Butcher Knife-Totin' Annie, tell Fast-Talking Fanny
A-we gonna pitch a ball, a-down to that union hall
We gonna romp and tromp till midnight
We gonna fuss and fight till daylight
We gonna pitch a wang dang doodle all night long
All night long, All night long, All night long

Tell Kudu-Crawlin' Red, tell Abyssinian Ned
Tell ol' Pistol Pete, everybody gonna meet
Tonight we need no rest, we really gonna throw a mess
We gonna break out all the windows, we gonna kick down all the doors
We gonna pitch a wang dang doodle all night long
All night long, All night long, All night long
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Tell Fats and Washboard Sam, that everybody going to jam
Tell Shaky and Boxcar Joe, we got sawdust on the floor
Tell Peg and Caroline Dye, we gonna have a time
When the fish scent fill the air, there'll be snuff juice everywhere
We gonna pitch a wang dang doodle all night long
All night long, All night long, All night long

9: BADLANDS - by Bruce Springsteen
[If I were going to alter this tape, one change I believe I'd make is to save Twinkie's song 'The League Of Soul Crusaders' and place it last, as the grand finale. And I think perhaps I would move 'Badlands' up to have it function as the opening cut of this imaginary movie soundtrack.]
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10: Song samples from THE PIANO HAS BEEN DRINKING by Tom Waits
[Here, I just "sampled" some lyrics from the Tom Waits song heard earlier at #5. You won't understand why I selected these particular lyrics, but the League Members, the Soul Crusaders, they'd know why - believe me - they'd know why. One word: Zucky's!]

"And you can't find your waitress with a Geiger counter - and she hates you and your friends and you just can't get served without her - and she hates you - and she hates you - and she hates you and your friends and you just can't get served - can't get served - can't get served without her.".
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[Backside of The League, left to right: Torch (driving); Pooh; Napoleon (in a Bruce Springsteen Los Angeles concert T-Shirt); Stephen T. McCarthy; and Wally. Twinkie scarcely visible. Some of the bumper stickers read: "Crush All!"; "I'd Rather Be Killing Communists"; and "You Gotta Have Art". The car is a 1964 Cadillac named "Tiburon" - Spanish for "Shark".]
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SIDE B:
[Side B begins with "The Hangover Waltz", known to the rest of the world as Side 2 of The Beatles' "White Album". We Soul Crusaders partied to a lot of different music although Bruce Springsteen reigned supreme. At that point in a night when the "Born To Run" LP got put on the stereo, we were in high gear.
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However, on the mornings after the nights before, when we would all wake with hangovers, there was one album and one album only that we would begin the new day with and which would get us started toward the next hangover, and that was The Beatles' "White Album". And not just any of that double-album's four sides - it HAD to be Side Two. And as the needle tracked the songs we would become more and more energetic, and invariably by the time we got to 'Rocky Raccoon' the hair of the dog had revived us and now we were dancing and prancing and romping and tromping around the living room in a frantic activity we called "The Hangover Waltz".
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I did not include on this "soundtrack" the last two songs on Side Two of The Beatles' White Album, "I Will" and "Julia", because by the time those songs were playing we were usually already heading out the door to get breakfast at one of several "Breakfast Club" destinations.]

1: MARTHA MY DEAR - ibid.

2: I'M SO TIRED - ibid.

3: PIGGIES - ibid

4: ROCKY RACCOON - ibid.
[One of YouTube's very best videos! I love this one!]

5: DON'T PASS ME BY - ibid.


7: THE BACK ROOM - by Van Morrison[I have 3 different associations for this song: "The Back Room" of Seamus Liquor Store in Venice where Pooh worked for the liquor store owner, Seamus, who also happened to be Pooh's Dad. "The Back Room" behind the Bay Street house, where Pooh would sometimes "sleep it off" and where Mickie, our truly insane dog, once ate Pooh's eyeglasses while he was passed out. (Nappy referred to Mickie as "Part Shepherd, part Keeshond, and part Pain In The Ass".)

And this song also formed an essential part of the Soundtrack for a major 1986 road trip that Pooh and I took together. I used to give names to all of my road trips, and that particular trip was called "The Show No Emotion In A Big Way Tour", which pretty much sez it all!]

8: ADAM-12 - Television show theme song
[OK, you're wondering why the Adam-12 theme song has made a second appearance. Our Bay Street house was well known by the Santa Monica Police Department. They were constantly being called to pay us a 415-visit. In California Penal Code/Police Terminology, the number 415 stands for "Disturbing The Peace" (remember that, you'll need it later). In fact, I learned from an old friend of mine who happened to be a Santa Monica Police Officer at the time, that at the police station there was a map of the city with stick pins inserted into all the regular trouble spots. Well, you guessed it: there was a stick pin in the map at 824 Bay Street.

You see, they were getting called to try to quiet our loud parties so often, and there were so many people coming and going to party with us on such a regular basis that the police were convinced we were dealing drugs out of the house and they often had plain-clothes cops conducting stakeouts of our house from the dry cleaner's parking lot nearby. Sometimes we'd say hello to them as we walked by their unmarked car on our way to our favorite liquor store (Lucky Liquor).

In truth, not only were we not dealing drugs from the house but there was a standing rule that no drugs were even allowed in the house. Which is not to say that rule didn't get broken a few times. I'm not going be naming names of the transgressors, but Pooh and Twinkie know who they were.

Our all-time 415 response record was the night 8 cop cars were sent to the house. The whole street was bathed in a red glow and there were squad cars from one end of the street to the other. What was it about? Aww, nothing really. It's just that Nappy learned some guy had grabbed our Sister in an inappropriate place earlier that night at a dance club called The Music Machine, and he made a scene about it. It was just another night.

Which reminds me of the time that some friend-of-a-friend brought his girlfriend to 824 and was partying with us. When I later heard that he had gotten into an argument with his girlfriend and had hit her, I went looking for the guy and tracked him down in the kitchen. We were rowdy as hell, but there was also a code one had to live by. And any female who had the courage and enough faith in us to party with us at 824 (and there were a few), she had ironclad protection under our roof.

So I told this guy that he had to leave. He protested, and when I grabbed the beer bottle he was holding, to remove it from his hand, he made the mistake of yanking it back. Napoleon happened to see that and just went absolutely GONZO! (Nappy was The League's 5'6" "Enforcer". Hence the nickname. Think "Joe Pesci" only 100 times tougher!) Well, with about six guys trying to hold Nappy back, this guy literally - literally! - went crawling out of our house through the back kitchen door, and was very happy to be doing so!

Then this "friend-of-a-friend" went to his car parked in front of the house and called the police from his automobile phone to complain about being assaulted. This was before cell phones, of course, and he evidently had a little money, from dealing drugs I suspect. The cops arrived and in the process of questioning him, discovered cocaine in his car and hauled his ass off to jail. The cops never even knocked on our front door. They must have figured he'd been assaulted for good reason. Ha!-Ha! Man, do I ever have some great stories from The Bay Street Daze!]

9: MISCELLAENOUS LYRIC SAMPLES
(Warren Zevon from the song 'Join Me In L.A.' and the song from the Disneyland ride Pirates Of The Caribbean.)
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"Well they say this place is evil, but that ain't why I stay. 'Cause I found something that'll never be nothing, and I found it in L.A. -- Yo!-Ho! It's a pirate's life for me. We pillage and plunder, we rifle and loot. Drink up me hearties, yo ho! We kidnap and ravage and don't give a hoot. Drink up me hearties, yo ho! ... We're beggars and blighters and ne'er do-well cads, Drink up me hearties, yo ho! Aye, but we're loved by our mommies and dads, Drink up me hearties, yo ho. Yo!-Ho!, Yo!-Ho! A pirate's life for me."
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10: FRIENDS - by The Beach Boys

We've been friends now for so many years
We've been together through the good times and the tears
Turned each other on to the good things that life has to give

We drift apart for a little bit of a spell
One night I get a call and I know that you're well
And days I was down you would help me get out of my hole
Ohhhhhhhh . . .

Let's be friends - Let's be friends - Let's be friends

You told me when my girl was untrue
I loaned you money when the funds weren't too cool
I talked your folks out of making you cut off your hair

We've been friends now for so many years
We've been together through the good times and the tears
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11: SEALED WITH A KISS - by Brian Hyland
[Why is such a "romantic" song on this soundtrack? Well, back in those Daze, we frequented a few different dance clubs, you know, trying to score chicks and usually just scoring another hangover to add to our collection. But the one dance club we went to most often - and quite often at that - was called The Music Machine, located at 12220 Pico Blvd. in West Los Angeles.

This place was pretty large, attracted a good crowd, had two bars and seemed more down-to-earth, without the usual snooty, stuck-up glam people one might expect to find in most L.A. dance clubs. For quite awhile a house band there called The Gumbys played current covers but also a lot of old Rock 'N' Roll songs that had a good beat and you could dance to. 'Sealed With A Kiss' was the song they closed with every night, and to this day, I can't hear that tune without being mentally transported back to The Music Machine.
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Incidentally, it was just outside The Music Machine one night where our Mr. Johnson acquired his classic nickname "Twinkie". The story is funny as hell, but this blog bit's already too long.
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It also happens that living so near to the beach, Summer was an extra special time of year for The League Of Soul Crusaders. Cranium actually had a job monitoring the beach parking lots, and we'd often spend weekends at the beach and sometimes drive down there in Tiburon just to drink a few beers and watch the Sun set. So, there's also a bittersweetness to that line in 'Sealed With A Kiss', "I don't wanna say goodbye for the Summer."]

12: MISCELLANEOUS SONG SAMPLES
[The "Bay Street Soundtrack" closes with a whole slew of lyric samples from Disneyland's "Pirates", Warren Zevon's 'Desperados Under The Eaves', 'Sloop John B' by the Beach Boys, and audio clips from the Adam-12 theme song. It sounds like this] :

Yo!-Ho! It's a pirate's life for me. We pillage and plunder, we rifle and loot. Drink up me hearties, yo ho! - all the salty margaritas in Los Angeles, I'm gonna drink 'em up - drinkin' all night - drinkin' all night - drinkin' all night, got into a fight - One Adam-12, a 415 fight group - One Adam-12, a 415 fight group - Yo!-Ho! Yo!-Ho! Drink up me hearties, yo ho! - drinkin' all night - drinkin' all night - drinkin' all night, got into a fight - One Adam-12, a 415 fight group - a fight group - a fight group - a fight group - a fight group - fight group - a fight group - a fight group - a 415 fight group - One Adam-12, a 415 fight group - got into a fight - drink up me hearties, yo ho! - got into a fight - a 415 - a 415 - a 415 - a 415 fight group - Aye, but we're loved by our mommies and dads, drink up me hearties, yo ho! - One Adam-12, a 415 fight group with chains and knives! . . .

[And thats how "Original Motion Picture Soundtrack - BAY STREET" concludes.]
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[The trunk of Cranium's 1959 Cadillac. From left to right: The RCA Victor dog, "Nipper"; Cranium's chair for working the Santa Monica Beach parking lots; Cranium's straw hat; and bottles of... Jack Daniel's whiskey, Gordon's gin, E & J brandy, Jack Daniel's whiskey, Popov vodka, Jack Daniel's whiskey, Gilbey's gin, and Gilbey's gin. -- Now we know why his name was "Nipper". If you ask me, that dog had a drinking problem!]

Overall, I think I managed to capture that personal era in song pretty well. If I were remaking the soundtrack today, as stated before, I would lead off with Springsteen's 'Badlands' and close with Twinkie's undiscovered Rock gem 'The League Of Soul Crusaders'. And I would correct an egregious omission: where the #%&! was 'Come On, Eileen' by Dexy's Midnight Runners?! The Bay Street Daze coincided with the birth of MTV and we spent plenty of time sitting in front of the tube getting hammered to MTV music videos. At that time, 'Come On, Eileen' was in heavy rotation and few songs take me back to The Bay Street Daze more effectively than that weird but joyful tune does.
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And finally, I would add a kind of coda; a song to provide my perspective on those Daze from nearly 3 decades down the road: In the Summer of 1982, Eddie Money released an album titled "No Control" which spawned a couple of radio hits, one of them being 'Shakin'.' Interestingly, the goofy video for that song, which also got a lot of air time on MTV back then, was filmed at a popular little diner in Santa Monica called Rae's - a place where The League Of Soul Crusaders often conducted their Breakfast Club meetings. Click here to see Rae's in that old video: Shakin'. (Play it loud!)
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I liked the hits on "No Control" and bought the LP in '82. Played it plenty of times under the 824 Bay Street roof. However, when I switched to compact discs in 1988 and sold off all my old LPs, I didn't reacquire "No Control". That is until four and a half years ago . . .
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For some reason I recalled a song from that album titled 'My Friends, My Friends', and now with decades separating me from the height of my partying daze with my friends at Bay Street, that melancholy song took on great significance. I had no personal context in which to place 'My Friends, My Friends' back while I was still living that rowdy life with The League Of Soul Crusaders, but now I am able to fully relate to the sentiment being expressed by Eddie Money in that song. I own "No Control" on CD now and guess what! - As much as I still dig the rockers like 'Shakin'', 'Think I'm In Love', 'Take A Little Bit', and 'Keep My Motor Runnin'', my favorite song on the recording, by far, is Track #8, which I will place last, as a sad coda on my new, classic, updated, old-fashioned "Original Motion Picture Soundtrack - BAY STREET":
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13: MY FRIENDS, MY FRIENDS - by Eddie Money
["I really do miss my friends."]
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With several major changes soon to be imposed on my life, and at the age of 51 and feeling like this go 'round is coming to a close, I don't mind telling you that video for 'My Friends, My Friends' nearly brought tears to my eyes.
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Well, thanks for reading, y'all.
Yak Later . . .
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~ Stephen T. McCarthy
(Known as the character "Moody" in the book 'The League Of Soul Crusaders', but known by Pooh as "Mr. Intense" back in The Bay Street Daze.)
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YE OLDE COMMENT POLICY: All comments, pro and con, are welcome. However, ad hominem attacks and disrespectful epithets will not be tolerated (read: "posted"). After all, this isn’t Amazon.com, so I don’t have to put up with that kind of bovine excrement..
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16 comments:

DiscConnected said...

Stephen-

You're too young to be wriiting your memoirs!

We had a similar group, but our hangouts were Llanerch Park, Cobbs Creek Park and Kent Park in our high school years. At some point, we moved into Dave's basement, then Dave's apartment, then Dave's living room, and some of them still congregate in Dave's tricked out shed.

Dave's still playing the same friggin' CD's!

No one tells ya how soon those wild days are gonna turn into yesterdays!

And now, they're just a haze!

So your memory lane post took me down a lane of my own!

Disc Dude

Sheboyganboy #6 said...

Well, Stephen, not only will I not say "Oh yea, I used to have friends like that," I will say that I did not even KNOW anyone like you guys!

What a rowdy bunch of hooligans!

It was an interesting trip into your past. You were a bunch of clever drinkers. I hung out with a bunch of clever prohibitionists!

Stephen T. McCarthy said...

McDISCDUDE ~

>>.....You're too young to be wriiting your memoirs!

Not so sure, Bro. I'm done all worn out. I'm cryin' "UNCLE!" Let me up, God - I've had enough!

>>.....We had a similar group,

I don't mean to be disrespectful, boastful, nor conceited but... color me "Skeptical".

I have a rule of thumb that goes like this:

"Any person who finds the movie 'Animal House' funny, outrageous, or outrageously funny, does not understand what I mean when I speak of The Bay Street Daze of The League Of Soul Crusaders."

Why not?
Because what we did in REAL LIFE was funnier, more outrageous, and more outrageously funny than anything found in the movie 'Animal House'.

It was a very, very special group of people. It wasn't just a "loud partying and cranking the stereo thang".

This is perhaps one of the best ways I could illustrate it: You know me (or the subdued and civilized me of TODAY anyway), and you know that if there's one thing I'm not (other than a "Socialist"), it's a "Follower". And yet, I was not the leader of the The League Of Soul Crusaders.

Torch was the most quick-witted and the most charismatic person I have ever known in my 51 years of life!

When one combined the charisma and energy of Torch, with the energy of Nappy, and the creative capacity of the group as a whole, it added up to something too special for words.

It's as simple as this really: I was not exaggerating at all when I wrote, "We couldn't walk into a bar or party without half of the other patrons or partygoers gathered around us within 15 minutes time."

Once, while on Catalina Island, just Nappy and me and a League "pinch hitter" alone, were asked by some young Black guys - total strangers - where we would be later that night, because they wanted to party with us.

That's how it wuz. I wuzn't the tired old man with grey hair that you know now, and The League was something much, much more than just a "Fraternity House" lifestyle. It's hard to explain.

>>.....No one tells ya how soon those wild days are gonna turn into yesterdays!

Man, ain't THAT the truth! Why it was only YESTERDAY that the Soul Crusaders were drinking at "YESTERDAYS" in Westwood Village, and there wasn't a grey hair to be found on any of our heads!

Where did the time go?!

~ D-FensDogg
'Loyal American Underground'

Stephen T. McCarthy said...

MR. SHEBOYGANBOY SIX ~

>>.....I hung out with a bunch of clever prohibitionists!

Yeah, we were more like "clever EXhibitionists".
;o)

~ D-FensDogg
'Loyal American Underground'

DiscConnected said...

Like I said on your other post, we were similar only in that we were always together.

My friends were a pretty rough crew (I was mostly along for the ride) and a lot of them still live the same way. A couple aren't around anymore due to the way they chose to live.

I still have a lot of fond memories of those days. But I was the only clever one-I got out.

Stephen T. McCarthy said...

McDISCDUDE ~

I hear ya, Bro. Yeah, we were more fun-loving than brawling. Of course, as one might expect whenever a lot of alcohol is involved, there were some scuffles here and there, but fortunately nothing really brutal. And by and large, we were far more likely to hurt ourselves than to hurt anyone else.

Running around together as we did, like a pack of wild dogs seemingly being energetically charged via some form of inner nuclear fission, others were sometimes needlessly fearful of us. But as I said, it was all like some sort of Monty Python group soaked in 80-proof, and it was all about self-expression, having fun and digging life.

Naturally, I look back on some of it now with a bit of shame and embarrassment, but at the same time it was a BLAST! And though I seriously doubt I could even survive a single weekend like that today, I wouldn't change it for the world. It was probably the most free I ever felt and the most fun I ever had.

It's really too bad I didn't know you then, 'cause I think you would have fit in and you'd have dug the scene we were into. Not that you don't have your own fun-filled memories, but, heck, the more the merrier, eh?

~ Stephen

DiscConnected said...

Sadly, charisma and creativity were NEVER words used to describe my friends.

In high school, you get associated by your friends, and I was no exception. At the five year reunion, I got a lot of "I figured you were dead" reactions to the news I was a CPA.

These friends were good ones, but they were a lot rougher crowd than me-I was the lone creative type in the bunch (and the lone educated one, and the only one without a police record).

I was a misfit...but I wouldn't trade those times (or these friends) away. A lot of what I am stems from those days...and I like what I am.

A couple of these guys would still drive cross-country on a moment's notice were the need there, and I'd still do the same for them.

The only regret I have is that it's hard to relate to that group now, because they're still stuck in their twenties.

It would have been cool to know you guys back them. Even if I didn't fit in, CA weather has PA weather beat HANDS DOWN!

Arlee Bird said...

How about we add Tull's "Living in the Past" to that soundtrack?

Seriously though that was some good reminiscing and a fine soundtrack. I agree that those good old times would be something that we would probably not survive now. I'm surprised that so many of us made it to today.

I was just thinking the other day about how many of my old friends were no longer living. And of the ones that are still around, most of us are scattered and rarely see or even communicate with one another. I try, but us old codgers got other things we're busy with now. When I do get together with any of my old buddies it's just like old times, except without the intoxicants or mind-altering substances.

It's fun to remember though. I have my own soundtrack for my memorable era that I really don't remember that well. Maybe sometime I'll put up my soundtrack. Er...maybe I don't need to be telling any of those old stories there--my daughters and my mother read the blog.

Good stuffs.

Lee
Tossing It Out

Stephen T. McCarthy said...

McDISCDUDE ~
>>.....I was the lone creative type in the bunch (and the lone educated one...

Well, that's why I suspect you could have fit in with The League Of Soul Crusaders. You have a creative streak, you have a sense of humor, you're not a Neanderthal (even if many people mistakenly took us for Neanderthal Hoodlums, we were actually pretty intelligent and could fake civility when absolutely necessary) and, perhaps most importantly, you were a major Springsteen fan!

All of those traits would have given you a leg-up when it came to fitting in with The League.

>>.....It would have been cool to know you guys back them. Even if I didn't fit in, CA weather has PA weather beat HANDS DOWN!

I took it all for granted back then. I thought it was 75 degrees and sunny 360 days a year EVERYWHERE!

The idea that most of the people in this country couldn't have used a blowtorch to cut off the hardtops of their old Cadillacs and still been comfortable riding in them all year long would have struck me as preposterous!
;o)


r-LEE-boid ~
>>.....I have my own soundtrack for my memorable era that I really don't remember that well. Maybe sometime I'll put up my soundtrack.

I would LOVE to see it, McBoid! Please do!

>>.....Er...maybe I don't need to be telling any of those old stories there--my daughters and my mother read the blog.

Dude! What were youz thinkin'?! The "First Rule Of Blogging" iz: NEVER give the URL of your blog to your Daughters and your Mother!

I mean, for cryin'-out-loud, it's RULE #1! EVERYBODY knows THAT!

>>.....Good stuffs.

Thanks, McBro! It's too long, I know, but heck, as my sales slogan goes: "If it ain't too long, it ain't a genuine McCarthy!"
;o)

~ D-FensDogg
'Loyal American Underground'

Arlee Bird said...

Maybe I'll do that soundtrack someday, not to be confused with the "Soundtrack of My Life" that I posted last year.

Perhaps I need to set up a tell-all secret blog for a select few. Then again would there be any point to it?

Reading my blog posts are one of the highlights of my mother's week.
I don't know whether I'd have much to say that she didn't know already.

Lee
Tossing It Out

DiscConnected said...

Wow-I expected a MAJOR reaction to the suggestion that you include a Jethro Tull song on your soundtrack...since your love of all things Jethro is so deep....

Stephen T. McCarthy said...

DISCCONNECTED ~
I may have refrained from going down that road, but that doesn't change the fact that I still just say "No" to "JethNO Tull".

As I have previously stated on this blog [http://stephentmccarthysstuffs.blogspot.com/2008/05/so-you-want-to-be-rock-n-roll-stooge.html#uds-search-results]:

"I never did like Rush, Yes, Ted Nugent or Jethro Tull (call me a homophobe if you must, but I just felt there was something unnatural about a longhaired man in tights prancing around on a stage with a flute in his mouth!)"

~ D-FensDogg
'Loyal American JethNO Tull Nonfan'

Sheboyganboy #6 said...

This is all as interesting as hell... which I assume is probably at least interesting, though warm.

I didn't know you hated Tull. I used to really love Tull AND Yes. Listened to them every day on my lonely 45 minute drive to high school. Rush was OK, but mostly only because I loved the fantastic drumming of Neil Peart. Nugent: naw.

I suspect you won't buy it, but after reading your comments here, your group sounds A BIT like mine, only drinkers and (as I said before) hooligans. Of the seven guys that I hung out with, 3 were occasional drinkers and would have most certainly fit in with your group. One was a MAJOR Tull fan as well as a MAJOR fighter, so you'd probably have had to duke it out. He also is 6'4" with an 8' wingspan, so you'd have had to gang up on him or have the excrement beat out of you.

I know you dislike references to intelligence (though you have it is spades) because it does not necessarily mean anything, but every one of these guys would sail through a Mensa test, loved Monty Python, and were darned near as clever. We were like some sort of Python group NOT soaked in 80 proof. Sometime I'll have to email you tales of some of the pranks we did. Fully sober, of course.

Well, three of them did gulp it down sometimes. Those are the three that decided at midnight to hop on their motorcycles (Ninja style bikes) and book it to Vegas at 140+ mph. Yes, they made it, and the normally 5 hour drive at 70 from San Diego was made in less than 3 hours.

Thanks for helping us all to remember our own groups, as well as learn about your fantastic-sounding group of friends. The past was fun. The future?

Stephen T. McCarthy said...

MR. SHEBOYGANBOY SIX ~
>>.....This is all as interesting as hell... which I assume is probably at least interesting, though warm.

Oh yeah, I'm sure it's interesting. And has great music - all the dead Rock Stars play there!

>>.....I didn't know you hated Tull. I used to really love Tull AND Yes. ... Rush was OK, but mostly only because I loved the fantastic drumming of Neil Peart. Nugent: naw.

I don't care for "Progressive Rock" - never did much. And don't really want to hear a song about a guy with snot running down his nose. And yeah, I strongly dislike Rush. Best thing ever said about the singer, Geddy Lee: "He sounds like Donald Duck after inhaling helium."

>>.....One was a MAJOR Tull fan as well as a MAJOR fighter, so you'd probably have had to duke it out. He also is 6'4" with an 8' wingspan, so you'd have had to gang up on him or have the excrement beat out of you.

Well, I certainly don't want to get into a pissing match about violence, which I detest, but...

I wouldn't be too sure about that if I were you. Torch himself was probably 6'2" and a freakin' human dynamo with red hair. The only person I've ever known who matched Nappy's energy level. (The last thing I heard about Torch - a couple years ago - he beat up an off-duty cop for taking photos of little children on a playground.)

Napoleon - only 5'6" - we sometimes referred to as The Tasmanian Devil. He was THAT kinetic! He turned down a couple of opportunities to have a professional boxing career because he felt beating up men for a living was uncivilized. I applaud his moral outlook, and cry myself to sleep nights thinking about the millions and millions of dollars he would have surely made in the fight game.

This guy, Jerry Trimble [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jerry_Trimble], once saw Nappy working out in a boxing gym (just for the exercise) and told him that he was really missing his calling by not fighting professionally. That's high praise.

Why God gave it to him I don't know, but Nappy has a serious "fist-gift", and I don't care how big his opponent might be, my money would always be on Nappy. Nappy and Torch roaming the streets and bars together - that was a "Dy-NO-Mite!" combination. Made me look quite wimpy by comparison!

But anyway, we wuz about FUN, not FIGHTS.

>>.....loved Monty Python, and were darned near as clever. We were like some sort of Python group NOT soaked in 80 proof.

Well, anyone who appreciated Python to a large degree definitely could have fit in with The League Of Soul Crusaders. That was our sort of humor.

But a month hangin' out with us and your friends would have been 80-proofed too. ;o)

>>.....The past was fun. The future?

Yeah, the future ain't what it used to be.

~ D-FensDogg
'Loyal American Underground'

Pooh Lynth said...

Steeeheeeheephen, I am truly speechless...but then again...UGGGGGGGHHHHHHH!
Poooooooooooooooh!

Stephen T. McCarthy said...

...And POOH ~
We'll always have the UGGGGGGGHHHHHHH!

~ D-FensDogg
'Loyal American Underground'