Monthly Archives: July 2011

When You’re Getting What You Want / The Freest Blues Man Alive

Bobby Rush 3rdarm

Tom Ashbrook: Bobby Rush, did you feel like part of a change? Or did you feel like you were just playing?

Bobby Rush: I wasn’t doing it for the change. I was doing it because it felt good at the time.

Chicago blues fest 2007 3rdarm

TA: Bobby Rush, you’ve called yourself the freest blues man alive. What do you mean when you say that?

BR: Well I think ’cause I don’t have the managers. I don’t have the record companies telling me when to go, what to do, but I do have a boss. That is the public. And I try to guide myself into what the public would expect me to do and what they’d like to see me do. I kind of studied the public throughout the years, and I think the public want to hear the trueness of a musician, of an entertainer. That’s what I try to present to them. And I think that’s just where I stand, you know.

TA: Bobby Rush, you’re terrific. You’ve been terrific for a long time. We’re honored to have had you with us today and we’re so grateful to you. Thank you so much for joining us.

BR: Well, thank you. The chitlin’ circuit do exist. It’s just in a different form. It’s almost like playing records. If you’ve been in radio for a long time, you remember when we had the 45s, and the 8-tracks and so on and so on. It’s almost like a bathroom. You modify a bathroom, from the 1800s. Once you get in the bathroom then, you do the same thing as now. You change the look of the bathroom, but you don’t change what you do inside.

-from On Point, Monday July 18, 2011, The Chitlin’ Circuit And The Road To Rock And Roll

Can I tell you something about bears?

Jason Eisener

The bear is a solitary animal. They like their space. They live in a magic circle. They don’t mind if you’re like a mile away, but if you get inside their circle they will maul you. If a bear’s claw would ever strike your face, it would take your whole face right off your skull. Your eyes, your nose, your everything. And you would die from it. Animals… There is something else about bears that not many people know. If a bear gets hooked on the taste of human blood, he becomes a man killer. He’ll go on a rampage, and has to be destroyed. That’s why you should never hug a bear.

-the bear speech from the 2011 film, Hobo with a Shotgun, directed by Jason Eisener

Our Home in the Universe, Part Two

It was getting rid of all the things I didn’t need. It was the job search. The long walks in the snow under dark sky, trudging the grimy streets with a folder of resumes. The goodbye tears to friends and family. Then it was actual move, the endless drive, the speeding ticket, exhausted at dawn. It was a list of things to do that included mail forwarding, transfer of title and registration, new driver’s license, voter registration, car insurance, AAA, transfer of bank accounts, filing federal and state taxes, etc. For a long time it was the couch, for too long, the couch. Where the fuck is my couch? The first job, no customers, abusive chef. The second job, up at 6am for the blood money, the smell of my own feet. The car accident, the bike repairs. It was worrying my girlfriend was with her ex. The break up. Then finding out she had been with and was with her ex. The phone calls (thank you).

It was also getting rid of all the things I didn’t need. It was a love that allowed me to make a move with confidence. The long walks in the snow with determination. The arrival of the couch. The third job, the one with pride, knowledge and enthusiasm. The spacious new apartment across from a park. The cat who is always in my corner. The friends who visited. The phone calls (thank you). It was acknowledging feelings and emotions, honoring them, letting them go. The marijuana (thank you).

The day I left Massachusetts for the Midwest, I forgot to take the poster hanging above my bed. It says, “Our Home In The Universe.” There is a picture of earth and the planets in the solar system. I got it in Chicago ten years ago. Originally it was up on the wall by the big dish washing machine at the Union League Club. The guys let me take it when my mom died and I moved back East. It’s one of those things that is a treasure to me. I found a new home and a second family in restaurants, and it started there. I hated myself for leaving the poster behind in my Harvard Square basement apartment.

Well, my wicked nice landlord Nora offered to mail it to me. I told her to take her time, that when it did arrive I would feel home at last. Jigsaw falling into place. Tonight, hours before I return to Massachusetts for the first time in four months, there it was, leaned up against the door to my place in the universe. ¡Vamos!

Apt 203