by Richard Johnson
I used to work a 9 to 5 job. Getting up and going to work in the morning. In contrast to the mentality of unemployment presenting on a musical level alone, the experience is fantastic.
Let me explain.
It’s 7:00 in the morning. I’m just waking up by the alarm clock. The harmonics as the scene unfolds are fascinating. They actually get a little better if one or two folks can’t carry a tune so good and the note hunts a little.
I’m trying to make my way to the bathroom hitting doors and walls. It sounds like the 4th of July in here. I make it. I wash a couple of pints of blood out of my hair...but wait: what’s this I’m hearing? Not the radio, TV or the telephone.
I’m hearing the telephone. The telephone in slang stands for mental telepathy. The communication between people without words. Thought transference, whose stigma in the mind registers instant non-communication or communicational politics such as, “Do you hear voices in your head?”
I’m in the hallway approaching the door when suddenly I hear music, voices, noise. My head was spinning with a dozen musicians...coming from my brain.
There were three guitars I knew and two I was glad to meet, Skipper Beckman’s stand-up bass, Norman’s flute, Slick Rick on sax, Billy on electric piano, Eugene with his bongos, Jarnis making a fiddle talk in three languages, and a lady I didn’t know with a handmade lute, all of us jamming around a figure in 4/4 that was alternately folk, country, R&B, and tree different flavors of jazz.
Slick Rick finished a solo, and somebody else yelled, “Let’s go home,” and we all jumped in on the final chorus, licks flying like fireworks, harmonies meshing like the gears in the wheel that winds the world. We finished with a bar room walkout, held it, held it, held it, grinning like thieves...then let it kick and resolve and beat the final chord to death with a stick.
On a musical level alone, the experience is edifying, the harmonics are devastating.
Those of us who were not musicians...the majority of course, held onto tonic or dominant to keep us all centered, of course. You know the ones. And those with musical talent jammed around the basic drone, sometimes adding harmonies to make chords, then spontaneously mutating them in weird shifting ways, such as outrageously funny, unbelievably, incomprehensible morning stories. You know the ones sometimes throwing in deliberate and subtle dissonances, the resolving them creatively; sometimes doing raga scales, or Ray Charles gospel riffs, or whatever came out of our head and hearts and mutual interaction. The results were always interesting and frequently breathtaking.
But of late the gang, mob, crowd, what have you, have typically gotten a little too spiritually conservative and had decided that having people chant all over the place offered too much encouragement to our ego.
So the current agreement was to limit the telephone (mental telepathy) to the tonic and dominant notes. That was more democratic. More pure. More basic. Simple.
Now presently we all looked to me and at my signal the gang banked sharply and cut in the afterburners, riding that magic carpet of drone like the blue angels, heading for the clouds in perfect wordless communication. The gang didn’t know our custom about hamming up politic.
I then picked up my briefcase fully dressed walked out the door and started my car up and pulled out the driveway in freeform improve, an unrestricted outpouring of the heart with dough to go.
Good morning all. Smile.
Copyright NEOCH and the Homeless Grapevine published March 1997-April 1997 Issue 20