Hurricanes (rant)

Hurricane Harvey kicked the shit out of South Texas making every storm before it look like a warm summer rain.

Meanwhile here comes Irma saying "Hold My Beer..."

Regardless of where Irma hits, We as a nation are in trouble. It's going to further strain an already overwhelmed Emergency Management System, Department of Homeland Security, Department of Transportation, Department of Health and Human Services, Department of Housing and Urban Development, and Department of Defense. The Environmental Protection Agency which seems to have been gutted will be needed to direct the environmental cleanup from the various refineries, Steel Mills, and Chemical plants along the Gulf Coast.

All of the NGO's and Relief Agencies (Red Cross, Islamic Relief, Salvation Army, Food Banks, Humane Society, etc). are stretched thin and about to be stretched even thinner.

Even if Irma were to hit Mexico it will still have devastating consequences for the US. We can't stand idly by and tell our neighbors, "Tough Shit, Sucks to be You" We will be involved in recovery efforts no matter where the storm hits.

Whatever programs or plans that the President & Congress were wanting to enact are going to have to be put on the back burner as every Federal Dime and Nickle is going to be needed for Storm Recovery.

I believe that this will be the Crucible that will end up defining Trump's Presidency, Not a repeal of ObamaCare, Not a Wall, Not North Korea, NAFTA, TPP, or any other Trade Agreement, But about how it is that He and Congress, are able to work together to organize, rebuild, and help the residents of the affected areas recover from the storm damage utilizing every resource available to us.

Harvey kicked us in the teeth, Irma is on the way in and Jose is out there gathering strength waiting it's turn.

....and we are only halfway through Hurricane Season.

Be the One

Had a gig last night where we were ignored by the young hipster crowd...but there were a number of 2, 3, 4, and 5 year olds that kept coming up to dance their little asses off.

That was awesome!

They were digging it. They'd dance for 4 or 5 minutes then run off. 15 minutes later they would be back, dance for 5 minutes and gone again, which is pretty impressive considering the attention span of your average group of 3-5 year olds.....and the fact that we were playing songs like "Dancing with the Angels" etc

 

Then the kids when home and it was us against the hipsters. and the hipsters were winning.

The thing about the hipster kids, they could have left, but they didn't. They weren't actively engaged, but I figure they voted with their feet. They were close enough to hear, but back far enough to talk and not be disruptive. Their visiting with each other was more important to them than actively listening, but they must of enjoyed it, or at least not hated it, because they could have left, or gone around the corner away from the music.

We decided that if they weren't actively listening, and we were just some semi-enjoyable background music, that was cool. We would quit trying to actively engage and entertain them and just entertain ourselves playing various bluegrass tunes. They stayed until we finished. That's a win.

I was feeling kind of down and worried, because the tip jar only had $2 in it, no one really seemed to be paying attention. Finally we packed up to leave and the bartender came up to us and said "You guys were so awesome! Sorry we have such a weird crowd tonight, but please come back"

BAM! Instant change. I wnet from down and depressed to thinking, maybe I CAN actually do this shit..

If you enjoy what someone is doing, please tell them. Just having one person tell you that they like and appreciate what you are doing makes it all worthwhile.

Just one.

Be the One

Songwriter Standoff

Last night there was an event in Winston-Salem called the Triad Music Festival Songwriter Standoff. 18 songwriters gathered to play a song. Three judges. They picked the top 5 and then those 5 played another song. Out of those 5, the judges choose the top 2. They play a song and the audience chooses a winner.

I was invited to participate, the other songwriters were Ken Mickey, Tracy Colletto, Laura Jane Vincint, Tom Troyer, Jack Gorham, Sarah Howell, Randy Carter, Mike Baron, Kendra & Zach Harding, Glenn Jones, Mike Robbian, Derrick Kirkman, Alan Barnosky, Tony Steen, Robert Rominger, and Emily Stewart.

Most of us know one another and we are all fans of each others work. If you don't make the top 5 in a crowd like that, there is no shame.

The top fiver ended up being Tracey Colletto, Laura Jane Vincint, Tom Troyer, Kendra & Zach Harding, and myself.

Really? I beat out Jack Gorham and Glenn Jones? Mike Baron had a particularly strong song and I was sure he would be in the semi-finals. The coolest thing was once they announced the final 5, everybody was so supportive of each other.

My prediction for the final 2 was Laura Jane Vincint and Tom Troyer, instead it was Laura and Tracy Colletto, and then Laura was chosen the winner.

It was an honor to get to play with these people. The crowd response to both of my songs (Love Everybody & Battery Operated Boyfriend) was great. Actually making it into the second round was a surprise.

Lately, I've been trying to book more gigs, and I get a lot of rejection notes, which I'm grateful for. I'd much rather you say No than say nothing at all. So playing this thing and making the semi-finals was a validation of sorts. I paid attention last night and noticed that my songs are not like any of the other peoples songs, in fact my songs are way, way different than most any songwriter I know. That doesn't make them better, or worse, just different. If I'm playing to a crowd that is actually listening, who actually likes songs and not just background music, I get a great response, so I know that I'm doing something right.

I've started posting some of my rejection letters here. Not because I want you to feel bad for me, but because I think they are funny. Obviously my music isn't for everybody, It's half comedy, part bluegrass, it's all over the place actually, and I'm still struggling to find my audience as well as find the right way to market myself. I have something that some people respond to. I just hope I can find those people before I'm unable to do this shit anymore.

You people reading this, I'm grateful to you, for your love and your support, Now I just need to find more folks as awesome as you are.

The Critic

Have you ever really wanted a gig really bad, you got the gig, then everything went wrong? You broke a string...
You blew a fuse...
Your sound was off...
You had a headache, a sore throat, leprosy...
There was a disconnect between you and the crowd...
There was a moat between you and the crowd...
There were several counties between you and the crowd,
There was a noise complaint...and you hadn't even loaded in yet,
The hot bikini go-go girls who were supposed to join you on stage turned out to be two old fat drunk guys in speedos.

When you are off your game and no matter what you do, what you try, it ain't working, so you load your shit up, grab your check, and slink off down the road, and mercilessly critique yourself, and hope that next time will be better....

That's a long ride home...alone...with your worst critic riding along in your head...

"Next time. Right....."
"If there ever is a next time."
"You do understand there's not going to be a next time, you know that don't you?"

"You put a lot of effort into getting this gig, and then you put even more effort into fucking it up."
"Might as well mark this place off the list".
"If I were you, I'd mark any place within 5 miles of this place off the list."
"Maybe you should get a gig as a fuck up. You're good at that. Maybe people will pay money to watch you fuck up the simplest of tasks."

"Play to your strengths. Maybe you should become a mime. You could be a singing mime. You have the voice for it. A singing mime who only performs in the dark. alone. in a closet.
...much like your sex life."

"Maybe you could get a gig at an old folks home."
"I wonder how many Old Folks would request to be put down each week. You could bill yourself as Doctor Jack and the Kervorkians."

"You've heard of the Anti-Hero, and then there was that guy who was the anti-comic, his whole bit was about NOT being funny. maybe you should become the anti-entertainer"

"I'll bet when we get home the cat has pissed on your pillow."
"I bet the people at the gig wish they could piss on your pillow."


"I'm just trying to be honest. You sucked tonight.
...just like most nights."


"I JUST HAD AN EPIPHANY! Bill yourself as the Happy Endings! You suck, you're a jerkoff, and everybody is happy when it's finished!"

Now you know why most people shoot themselves in the head. It's to shut that little bastard up.

Sheriff Joe (rant)

I have some questions for all you Sheriff Joe supporters.....

If Poor White Trash (PWT) are responsible for the majority of the Meth Labs in Wilson County, does that mean its okay for us to stop all the White people coming out of the Highland Heights Church of Christ and force them to prove that they aren't PWT and don't have a Secret Meth Lab hidden in their barn?

Can we arrest and/or detain all the White people who we suspect to be PWT, who are unable to prove that they don't have a Secret Meth Lab hidden somewhere?

Can we put these suspected PWT Secret Meth Lab Criminals we are detaining, in a camp out in the woods, a camp that we refer to as the Cedars of Lebanon PWT Concentration Camp?

You wouldn't have a problem with us making your 80year old grandmother live in a tent in the Cedars of Lebanon PWT Concentration Camp, at least until we are able to confirm that she is not a dangerous hombre hiding a Secret Meth Lab somewhere like so many of these PWT members are known to do?

You know its not racial profiling if the only people who have Secret Meth Labs in this county are members of the PWT community. We're just trying to protect you

And how are we supposed to be able to tell the difference between good upstanding White people and PWT? Y'all all look the same to us anyhow. Maybe the good White folks need to be holding these PWT members accountable, maybe they should be cleaning up their own suburbs and rural areas.

And that 4th Amendment protection against illegal search and seizure, that wasn't intended to applied to Poor White Trash anyhow, as most of the PWT at the time were sharecroppers and indentured servants, or Irish; people who weren't actually considered land-owning citizens when the Constitution was written, so we don't see where it really applies in this case.

Besides, what about the children? and National security? What about 9/11? Or Benghazi? Or those emails? Do you really want to see the PWT taking all of our jobs? Fucking our good women? Forcing us all to live under Hillbilly Law?

How would you feel if suddenly the tables turned and you were the minority? How would you feel if your children, spouse, or parents were treated the same way that Sheriff Joe and his people have treated the Hispanic people? AND THE HISPANIC PEOPLE HAVE BEEN LIVING IN ARIZONA A LOT LONGER THAT WHITE PEOPLE, YOU IGNORANT SONSABITCHES.

How would you feel if suddenly Black people were the majority in this country and they started treating White people the same way that they have been treated for the last 100 years? What if someone told your Grandmother that she needed to carry her Cracker ass to the back of the bus, or told you that they were sorry, but Crackers aren't allowed in this Emergency Room and that you needed to take your sick/hurt Cracker child back across the tracks to the Hillbilly Doctors in Crackertown where maybe they could handle some serpents and rub some possum fat on your Cracker child's broken arm....

RACISM AIN'T MUCH FUN WHEN YOU, OR YOUR CHILDREN ARE THE VICTIMS, IS IT MOTHERFUCKERS?

Post Gig

I had a gig last night. It was dead. It was also hotter than hell inside, so we sat outside. Myself, the bartender, the cook..and some strange guy guy who stopped in for a BLT and a young boy & girl aged 21 who were in town for rock climbing who told us "WE'RE NOT SCREWING. I HAVE A BOYFRIEND WHO IS SOMEWHERE IN CALIFORNIA, WE'RE JUST UP HERE IN THE MOUNTAINS, CLIMBING ROCKS, CAMPING,  TOGETHER. NOPE WE'RE DEFINITELY NOT SCREWING"

They were totally screwing.

The hot, part-time stripper, full-time pickle wrangler, manager stopped in for a few minutes, we talked about blowjobs and the economy (there is a correlation), and then she had to leave

So most of the night it was just the bartender, the cook, and me and the town cop Barney Fife who kept rolling by.

Still, It was a good gig. The people who work at the Living Room Wine Bar, Coffee House & Pickle Palace are fans. They love me, they love my music, and they treated me way, way better than I ever deserved.

I played a gig in an empty bar, sold some merch, and I had a ball.

I love you people.

The DUI checkpoint on the way out of town was a pain in the ass however. I dont drink, so it wasnt a problem, just a pain in the ass.

Once again, I love you people.

Fans?

Stopped by Guitar Center today to look at amps/pa's/powered speakers . I DID NOT SPEND ANY MONEY THERE - I try to support my local independent music store.

As I was leaving. Some people stopped me on the way out the door...

"Hey you!"
"Me?"
"Yeah, You! Aren't You That Guy?"
"What guy"
"That Don't Be Dick, guy? We played with you one night at Dean Driver's songwriter circle thing..We love that song, you're awesome"

So I went from thinking I was about to get my ass kicked to discovering they were fans. Who even knew that I had fans? We talked about gigs and how its feast or famine, and right now for me it's famine and the kid, who is 17 and a good musician, told me "It's feast for me. I'm on my way to play my 6th gig this week" ....so now I'm wanting to kick HIS ass, except I probably couldnt do it and his Mom, Dad, and little Sister were there and I DEFINATELY didnt want to get my ass kicked by the little sister who probably wouldnt have broken a sweat, and then the kid tells me "I bet you could get in here at this place...and this other place, and that other place too. I'll tell you what, give me a little bit to work on it. I'll get you hooked up. I'll Facebook you"

How sweet..

What in the hell is wrong with the kids today? When I was his age, I'd of kicked my old ass and taken my Geritol money.

Pardon (rant)

By pardoning convicted former Sheriff Joe Arpaio, the President has just told us that his Supporters are above the law, that they are able to flagrantly violate court orders, as well as be unabashedly racist, and the Office of the President of the United States will stand behind them.

If you write a big enough campaign check, he'll probably let you hang one of the Coloreds.

I keep trying to take the high road, But Goddamn, how long are we supposed to let this shit go on? I personally know crackheads, who have more dignity, common sense, and compassion that this ignorant motherfucker has.

Apology to W (rant)

I would like to go on record and publically apologize to President George W. Bush.

Mr President, I was not a supporter of yours. I disagreed with a great number of your actions, I accused you of a great many things that in hindsight were not guilty of.

I still am in disagreement with a number of your actions and policies, but there are some undeniable truths about your presidency.

1. You cared more about the Nation than you did your own personal safety and image as evidenced by your actions on 9/11 and the days immediately following

2. You showed compassion, as evidenced with your unheralded work to address HIV/AIDS in Afria

3. You showed respect to the office, your predecessor, and your successor, demonstrating that Office of President should be above pettiness and partisan politics

4. You instigated TARP which prevented a total and complete meltdown of the US finicial sector. Regardless of discussion that it should have gone further, certain entities should have done prison time etc, you negotiated and got this through Congress staving off what experts agree would have been total disaster

5. You helped Senior Americans with the Medicare Prescription drug benefit

6. Following the controversy of the disputed election results between you and Mr Gore, you acted with class. You did not gloat, you did not try to demean your opponent. You just quietly accepted the results and went to work.

There are more successes I could list, but the point I am trying to make is that you looked at the Presidency as an opportunity to Serve America, not to Rule. There are a lot of your actions and policies that I still take issue with, but regardless of our differences, I cannot deny that you are/were an effective leader, a good human being, and that you tried to make a positive difference in everyones lives, world wide.

Sometimes, we need to experience the rain to appreciate the sunshine. The current holder of the office of President has made me realize that you were a much, much better President than i ever realized.

Thank you for your service to our great nation.

Very Respectfully,
Jeff Wall

Bidness Plan

Ive got a guitar, Ive got amps, mics, etc. Ive got a tiny bit of talent. Ive got songs, I've got Cds, Ive got stickers, Ive got tshirts, a website. Ive got everything it takes to be a succesful performer except two things...

1. Gigs
2. Fan base.

I have a few fans/friends/supporters, but not enough that I can guarantee a turnout...

The way to get fans is to gig.

Gigs. Thats the weak part of my business plan.I need to improve my gig game.

Forgiveness (rant)

The key to happiness? Forgiveness. Forgive yourself. Forgive others. Forgive God. Forgive everybody.

Forgiveness does not mean nor say that what you did was okay. Forgiveness doesnt give you permission to do it again. Forgiveness simply says "I'm not going to let it eat at me any longer. I don't need to get even. I dont have to get my revenge. I don't have to keep reliving the event. Forgiveness simply says "Fuck it", I got better shit to do than focus and obsess over this bullshit.

How do you forgive? With love. Start by loving and forgiving yourself, then learn to love and forgive others. Some people dont want your forgiveness. Thats okay, you arent doing it for them anyhow. Forgiveness is for you.

Remember, Haters are gonna hate and Haters especially hate Love. In fact, the best way to piss off a hater is to Love them. They hate that. If it doesn't piss them off, its okay, because you both win then.

Forgive your enemies. It will make you feel better and it will piss them off. Love. It's the ultimate weapon

Statues (rant)

My stance on this statue issue has been evolving. What was the true purpose of so many of these Confederate statues? I never stopped to think about it. Was it honoring our dead? Mourning our lost relatives? Sympathy for the poor cracker who was fighting for Home and Hearth against the evil Yankee Invader?

Or was it more as I suspect a way to say "We got our eyes on you niggers, and don't you ever forget it!"

Here's the thing. I'm white, or mostly so. Being from the South you never know for sure about these things. I have a different viewpoint on these statues than a black person would. To me they aren't symbols of oppression. Nobody has ever tried to oppress me. What;s the big deal?

In my eyes they aren't symbols of a group of people who would prefer that I remain subservient,

In my eyes they aren't reminders of the people who tried to lynch my grandparents.

In my eyes they aren't reminders of the people who wouldn't let my relatives use the same bathrooms as they did, eat where they did, or go to school where their children went, out of fear that they might accidentally get some negro on them.

In my eyes they are not constant reminders of a group of people who want to ensure that I never get the opportunity to rise to my fullest potential, likely out of fear that I might eclipse them, or that one day the people they have trod down upon for so long might one day become the ones in power, the ones who now have the power to do the trodding.

Maybe I should try to look at this issue through someones eyes other than my own....

Maybe the people who feel this way have a point and I should hear them out....

What have I got to fear? What have I got to lose?

How would I feel if I was black?

Alright

Hey, You.

Yeah, You,

You're alright. I just thought I should tell you that.

You're alright. And it's gonna be alright. You ain't alone in this.

This shits gonna be okay, We're gonna get through it. Together. That's the trick you see, They can fuck any of us at any time,..but they can't fuck all of us.

What was it that guy said that one time..."We may not have it altogether, but together we have it all"

Together,

Just remember that. Together. I got your back, you got mine, and together we got theirs.

We're gonna be alright, and if they are gonna try to fuck us, they are gonna have to fuck us all...together,

Privilege (rant)

8/15/17 Check your Privilege

 

I was recently told to go check my white straight male cisgender privilege because I was advocating nonviolence, as opposed to someone who felt we should just start shooting.

I've said it numerous times, Google it, I realize that I hit the Cosmic Jackpot by being born a straight, white, male, in the United states during the era In which I was born.

I could have been born in Sudan and forced to become a child soldier.  I could have been born in Thailand and turned out as a child prostitute, I could have been born at the beginning of theIndustrial Revolution and been forced to dig coal as a 6 year old. I could have been born into slavery on a sugar plantation in the Caribbean, or during the times of the black plague, the Spanish Inquisition, the Holocaust, Hiroshima, Dresden, Pompeii, etc,

Compared to more than 99% of the people who have ever been born, I'm one of the most fortunate creatures to ever walk upon this earth. I had parents who loved me and made sure that I had enough food to eat, I had clean water, I had a safe place to sleep, I had clean clothes, I got an education and learned to read and write,.

This all took place because I was privileged, privileges most of us take for granted.. I have access to clean water. I have access to food - people don't generally starve to death in America, I live in a place that is free from war, It has a police force that prevents the worst of the violence, we have fire departments, I have access to medical care, I have a safe, warm, dry place to sleep. No one is currently trying to kill me because I am from the wrong tribe, have the wrong skin color, practice the wrong religion. I am not treated as property because of my sex or race.

When I am wronged, I have options. I can petition the government for redress. I can criticize my elected officials...and I do, I can run for, and possibly win, the highest office in this land, despite being totally unqualified for the job.

I did nothing to earn this privilege, It was all just an accident of birth.

We, collectively, as Americans, are some of the luckiest bastards on this planet.

It is important for me to remember to be grateful for these things. Many of these righst we all have are in danger of being stripped away.

I recognize that I am privileged and I have no reason to be ashamed of that privilege. There is no need for me to "Check My Privilege" whatever the hell that means. What I do need to do, What I have a responsibility to do, is to work to ensure that EVERYONE has these same privileges that I have.

  • Me working to make you safe does not erode my safety.
  • Me working to improvd your access to clean water does not degrade my water quality.
  • Me working to ensure that gay people, trans people, immigrant people, marginalized people of all types have access to the same things that I do; safety, justice, security, liberty, and the right of self-determination in no way diminishes those things in my life.
  • Same Sex marriage doesn't affect my marriage in any way.
  • Women being paid the same wages as I am paid, to do the same job that I do, does not affect my wage earning ability.
  • Migrant workers picking crops does not jeopardize my employment opportunities as a technician.

Me working to ensure that you share the same privileges that I do does not degrade my privileges in any way. I don't need to "Check my privilege" Instead, I need to work to Share my Privilege.

Hate (rant)

8/15/17 the heart of hate

You want to know what is at the heart of the Far-Right, the Nazis, the KKK, and all the rest of those hate groups?

Fear.

Simply, It's Fear and Greed.

Those people are coming to take our shit. We have to stop them. They are after our jobs, our women, our rights, our privileges, our culture, our music, our food, our religion. Most of these protestors don't know a single immigrant, gay couple, minority, Muslim, Jew, Buddhist,or Atheist.They don't know shit about these people but they heard or read somewhere that they were bad and they were coming after our shit, so we got to stop them.

Fear. Simple Fear and Greed.

Maybe next time they have a demonstration we should show up with stuffed teddy bears and bunnies, we could pass out blankies, and give away hugs. Confront them with love and reassurance as you would a small scared child