Beginning of the Beginning

Jason and the Scorchers got me kicked out of my first band. We all went to see them at the Pan Am center in Las Cruces in the spring of 1987. The University was hosting a lot of great shows at that time. Sure they had ZZ Top and Van Halen in the big basketball stadium, but they’d split the building in half and put on shows by people I found more interesting like Joe Ely, Foster & Lloyd, The Alarm and Joe King Carrasco too. I knew a little about the Scorchers before the show from sparse MTV sightings and a few magazine articles. The punk rock meets honky tonk ethos was exactly where my 15 year old head was at. My bandmates on the other hand were in a different place. The guitar genius Eric Johnson opened the show and blew their minds with a dazzling array of fretboard pyrotechnics, which in all it’s brilliance left me completely cold. When the Scorchers hit, I’d ditched my bandmates for my older cousin and his punk rock friends, it was pure joyous rock’n’roll mayhem. Continue reading “Beginning of the Beginning”

Ghost Stories

As a kid growing up in Las Cruces, NM, my grandparents lived about an hour north of us, a mile off the old two lane highway, in a little farm town called Garfield. Tipped off to the agricultural opportunities in the valley, in lieu of going all the way to California, my grandmother’s family had settled there in the 1930’s fleeing the Oklahoma dustbowl. Almost a decade older, my grandfather had left the same conditions, traveling around the west before coming to the Hatch Valley to build roads and bartend. The pink adobe house my grandparent’s eventually owned was a hundred yards east of the family’s original homestead where my grandmother’s sister lived. In the summers when school was out with both my parents working, Continue reading “Ghost Stories”

Running Kind

In my youth I romanticized the underdogs, the forgotten, the under appreciated. I gravitated towards those who’s misfortunes and bad decisions kept them on the fringes of the music business. The job of wanting to be an Elvis was already taken. I wanted to be a Billy Lee Riley or Jimmy Donley. Whiskey drinking half breed Indian guitar pickers born to working class dysfunction in the cotton fields and industrial towns. Rebellious punks who left home young, gave their best opportunities to someone else’s fortune and died broke. Their songs and licks were found only on scratched up 45’s until scholarly British record men made them marketable in the CD reissue boom of the early 2000’s. These were the musicians I idolized, my role models, and still are, for better or worse. Continue reading “Running Kind”