Heres Your Sign, A-Hole

Human Mind Becomes Archaeological Dig Site Following Discovery of

Tiny Funk Band Competing with Commuters and Train Over Inner Ear Real Estate!


A few weeks ago, I wrote about recognizing the signs that your life flashes to keep you on the right path.  Sometimes the signals are so faint, they often go unseen. In those circumstances, what results is an unstable isotope known as the American dream. Basically, instead of recognizing one’s own path, he or she defaults to what the ‘White Demon”(more on this asshole later) has spent the last hundred years telling everyone.  I  am unfamiliar with the inner workings of this default path, but what little I have heard, sounds truly awful. Evidently it involves traveling long distances in a vehicle that the White Demon rents to you, while wearing expensive, uncomfortable clothes that the Demon let you put on your credit card. Upon arriving at this default zone, which most refer to as their Jomby or something like that. JayObe? Geobe? I can’t remember all the nonsense lingo used by those folks. You are made to do all kinds of nasty tasks while being timed. When you’re daily usefulness is consumed,  you are sent back to your default family and rented dream, to resume the charade of success and happiness that you are so proud to owe to someone.

   My own path could have easily been defaulted. I would carry on,  unaware of the other way. Once it is clear that there is no chance for sign sight, you are relieved of any and all of the visceral and agonizing emotions that are required to follow your path.   You carry on ‘Happy” and ‘Successful’, proud of two paid weeks a year…….I admire the discipline  and selflessness required to live on that path. I have proved incompatible and disruptive on that particular dimension. For many years I viewed my inability to function on that path as a character flaw or a disorder. No I know it to be a gift.


Elvis can't Hold no Groove

Elvis can’t Hold no Groove


The most recent sign on my path was a service announcement stating that muffled and energetic music that I have been hearing in my head and unable to identify since age five, would be available to me in real time from now on.  Did that just say what I think it did?  The music in my head is not just a funky jingle that I memorized somewhere along the way? I knew it. 

   For my entire life, from the age of 5, I have been hearing a certain kind of music coming from somewhere in my head. My uncle Patrick told me that it was my theme music when I was around 7 or 8.  I was only ever able to catch a couple of  measures  every once in a while. It was very muffled and cloudy sounding, like it was behind a door.   The inside of my head sounds like a convention of murmurs and chatter all the time. It’s very distracting and discouraging. I have never in my life heard silence. These few bars of indecipherable music had a tendency to increase in volume and clarity during times of hopelessness and exhaustion caused by all the murmuring and chatter. Often times saving my life.  I always secretly thought that if I could just figure out what this music was, maybe I could learn a few of the tunes on guitar. There have been countless failed attempts at recreating it with bands. I was never able to hear it clear enough to categorize what style of music it was. Never able to convey it to anybody. I have heard a few bands over the years get very close to the sound in my head. Have ever been to a music festival and witnessed a guy in the audience that seemed to be dancing like he was on drugs or electrically connected to the music somehow.?  Usually a crowd forms around this guy and eventually the whole place becomes a pulsing sea of smiles and joy. If I could identify or recreate my theme music, I bet it would cause this effect with lots of people.


    Now all of a sudden there is a sign telling me that I can hear this music whenever I want. Count me in and Thank you very much.  Your path doesn’t have actual signs. There is never a plank on a stick with letters painted on it. They could be anything.  The sign about the theme music came to me shaped like a Mexican gardener.  This Mexican gardener was in fact, a Brazilian artist that I will call Mex.(not his real name. His real name is Luis Torres, but he wouldn’t want me using his real name)  Mex is what I refer to as a serious musician.  I live close to a town that is awash in hipsters carrying gig bags full of  emotional expressiveness who call themselves musicians. If they are using the word musician, then I need a new word to describe Luis, I mean Mex. Serious Musician. His quest is unrelated to fashionable trends and is more akin to dimensional  exploration. Harmonic bliss.  A little over a year ago my path led me to the middle of fucking nowhere, and shut off the light. When the light came back on, I was somehow inside the music inside my head.  During a particularly dark and discouraging time in my life when the murmurs and chatter was an orchestra in mutiny, it was Luis that heard my theme music. With a little elbow grease and lubricant, he forced open a big steel door in my mind, subsequently silencing the evil murmurs and releasing a sweaty funk band with cosmic grooves a plenty, a cool guitar player, and a scrawny white ex-junkie that sings like he ate Al Green.














































Go Hug a Maple Tree

Imagine this if you will. It’s a warm sunny morning, you have just finished your short stack of flapjacks and are sitting in the shade of an old tree, playing your guitar. You are feeling grateful and wish to express this gratitude, but aren’t sure who to thank first. The sun is strong this time of day, good thing that you have this shade tree in your yard. As you lean against the trunk of this majestic organism, all of a sudden your surrounded by drones! Hold on, those aren’t drones, they are seed pods cascading from the canopy like tiny helicopters. Without a seconds thought, you crack one of them open and stick it to the end of your nose. So peaceful and silly. Then it hits you like a log truck. Thank you Maple tree.
Try to imagine those fluffy hot cakes with something other than real maple syrup on them. Just so there is no confusion, I am not talking about that stuff claiming to be your aunt. Calling that maple syrup is like calling a pig, salad. Then, see yourself sitting directly in the sun, with nothing on the end of your nose. Starting to get the picture? We haven’t even gotten to the the guitar yet. There is something about your favorite guitar that you really love and can’t quite put your finger on. It’s got such a bright and crisp sound, and its more beautiful than your spouse. I’ll give you a hint…..No I won’t

Even the Zebra Envies the Mighty Maple Tree

Even the Zebra Envies the Mighty Maple Tree

–  As a woodworker, I am constantly in awe of  the wide range of stunning grain patterns and the  workability of Maple. Be it the hard stuff,  Eastern Rock Maple (acer saccharum). or the Softies,(acer rubrum and others), maple is far and away my favorite.  As an instrument maker, I can’t think of another species that I rely on more for electric guitars. Visually, it has no equal. There are few trees that exhibit the wide range of extreme figuring like maple does. I have seen birdseye maple with so many ‘eyes’ that it causes dizziness. Tonally speaking, maple is the sharpen feature on your digital camera.  A  thick piece of maple bonded to a less dense species, will typically add volume and clarity to the sound.  Rock maple guitar necks are lively and stiff. A maple bodied archtop guitar like the one on the right in the above photo, broadcasts loudly and clearly separates the notes in a chord.

maple 003 This time of the year in the great state of Vermont, the maples are doing their best to show their splendor. The sappers are hanging pails and stoking their fires for  what we hope is another bumper season. The trees have taken on the glow of an expectant mother and seem to really stand out among the other varieties that they share the forest with. The tiny nodes on each branch are getting plump, and will soon turn the hillsides a vibrant, neon green. For me, it this amazing color that signifies the waking of spring and the promise of another beautiful summer in the Green Mountains.

 Thank You Maple Tree, From the Bottom of My Heart.

Keep your bolts and car paint off of my instruments

Keep your bolts and car paint off of my instruments

I am not a religious person in the sense that I do not belong to a particular denomination. I am however a strong believer in the theory that God has a plan for us long before our trip down the birth canal.  Unfortunately,  most folks never end up on their own path because all the signs that direct you are often ignored or overlooked.  I suspect that many people believe in whatever they are told and live their whole life questioning the direction they are headed.

  –My first sign had the word Destroyer written in plain english-

   When I was eleven,  my uncle came home from California during Christmas with what looked like a medieval weapon in a leather case  over his shoulder.  It might as well have been a UFO or Bigfoot because I could not believe my eyes when he unzipped the case.  A 1983 Ibanez Destroyer 2. Sunburst curly maple top, cream binding, abalone inlays, gold hardware, and it wasn’t shaped like any guitar I had seen up til then. I had never seen anything so beautiful before. How did they get all those tiger stripes on the wood?  What was that shiny stuff on the neck and how did that get in the wood?  I had never felt such a powerful amazement with anything . What happened next is clearly the first sign I was given. My uncle went out to the car and came back with this little black box that had the word Marshall written in really cool cursive writing on it. He plugged in the little amp and turned it on standby. He fiddled with some knobs, adjusted the little knobs at the top of the guitar and flipped the standby switch. The hair on the back of my neck stood up when I heard the hum of the tubes and everything got kind of blurry for a second.  The next thing I remember was my head exploding .  The sound that I was hearing was better than any of the presents under the Christmas tree.  My uncle was playing the intro riff to Ted Nugent’s  Stranglehold. I had no idea what it was at the time  but it didn’t matter. From that day forth the guitar was a constant in my life. 

I guess I needed a flashy sign
I guess I needed a flashy sign

The next few signs were shown to me by a state official with a mustache and crew cut.