Okay, Folks. I am okay. Ish.
If you are in the Bay Area and want to see me in Oakland at the Fox this Friday there may be some tickets left but it’s close to selling out. It’s the same with Seattle at The Moore on Saturday. I believe there are still tickets for The Vogue in Vancouver for Sunday. If you are in Minneapolis and want to come to the taping of my special on April 29th at The Pantages I would get on that now. There are two shows that night. Cool.
Chuck Berry is dead. The King is dead. Long live the King. If there is one guy whose ghost will always be active in rock music it's Chuck. No matter what you thought of him as a person that sound is the shit. Okay, he was kind of an asshole and a perv but that riff, that signature riff, changed my brain. I’ve been chasing that Berry bounce and that riff around for most of my life. The first time I heard Roll Over Beethoven was when I was around nine. It was on the Beatles' Second Album. I followed that song to Mountain’s version and then finally to Chuck’s. It changed my life. It left an imprint or perhaps a neural pathway or river where almost all music had to ride down into my heart for years. It took me to the blues to the Stones to jazz to country. It was the gateway riff, the Rosetta Stone of my connection to music. Yesterday, the day after he died, I was at Gimme Gimme Records and the Chuck Berry box set had just come in. Mint condition. I listened to all six albums straight through. Rock on. RIP, Chuck Berry.
Another great poet warrior who had an impact on my life died two days before Chuck: Derek Walcott. I took a playwriting workshop with him in college. My friend Steve Brill and I wrote, acted in and directed a show in the class. Derek was a big presence who was powerful, creative and aggressively encouraging. He was the kind of guy that inspired you to eat life. He also wrote a recommendation for me when I had the dumb, drunken idea that I could get into Yale Drama School using a photo booth strip as my headshot. He wrote it for me standing in his bathrobe smoking a cigarette on an old Underwood typewriter atop a file cabinet. I had just woken him up at his house as I was leaving Boston for my ill-fated and ridiculous audition in New Haven. He was a good sport about it. I don’t think he thought I had a hope in hell of getting in but I was cocky and not aware of how humbling life would be moving forward. Always. Somehow. RIP, Derek Walcott.
Today on the show I talk to the very humble, very funny Paul Rust about his show ‘Love’ and about coming up in Iowa and LA. Good talk. Decent human. On Thursday I move through faith, religion and life stuff with Reza Aslan. Real thoughtful talk. Engaged. Good shit.