Story Archive

eSwag-23

ROLL UP -- ROLL UP - ITS THE TRAVELING R&R SHOW

Posted on July 19, 2012 by
Raymond
on the road at
Tnorala

 

I'd make a lousy journalist. They can file stories between bomb landings and offices filled with the terror of deadlines. While I am on tour, even with a group of meditators, it is impossible for my mind to develop a piece of writing that requires extended thought. A part of my brain, as it it should be, is always attentive to the next walk, or meal or when to pick up the blackfellas. Even when I am not on tour I am too new to this writing game to be able to produce anything without the most diligent attentiveness.

My friend and meditation facilitator Paul Wilson is conducting the current tour and has taken The Electronic Swagman idea to heart. Paul is equal part mediation guru, a best selling author and an entrepreneur. He also plays in a rock and roll band so he can't be all bad. Paul sees my future career path a lot clearer than I do.

To him there is no doubt that I should perform as a traveling story-teller in small towns around Australia. He might be right. It would be fun huh!

So in the tradition of the SWAGGERS being the first to sample new stuff, lets give it a go!


ROLL UP ... ROLL UP LADIES & GENTLEMEN - TONIGHT ONLY - JUST FOR YOU FOLKS - SOME SNIPPETS OF THE ROCK & ROCK YEARS FROM HIS UPCOMING BOOK

THE ELECTRONIC SWAGMAN

 

Extract from Chapter 19 - Rock & Roll
Towards the end of my rock era, I was walking along Military Road on a stinking hot Sydney day and across the street sighted drummer Brent Eccles. In the midday sun he wore tight jeans, black T-shirt, a leather jacket, long hair and pop star boots. Grow up I thought and caught my own reflection; tight jeans, black T-shirt, a leather jacket, long hair and pop star boots. And you too! It’s a good story and true, but change, as it usually does, flowed from a more fundamental source, desperation. I ended up burnt to an emotional crisp and was bloody lucky not have to been so physically. It is with exhausted relief that I look back now, rather than nostalgia.
 
So here are two rock and roll stories to take us out ladies and gentlemen, both true, polar opposites, like halves of a vice holding a paradox.
 
The band’s last song in Boulder, Colorado. The Angels, or Angel City as we were known in America, had blown the main act, the Kinks, off stage. In the Rocky Mountain high country of Bob Denver the tough sound of Australian Rock had worked. Me out in the front of house operating the lighting, or the dregs that the Kinks lighting guy left. With the classic Angel’s song Marseilles in its death throes, the crowd, guitar and drums building to an ecstatic climax. From the rear of the colosseum someone threw a Frisbee. A great throw curving perfectly on the intended passage to the stage, a majestic arc that visits the entire left side of the massive stadium. The rhythm guitarist, John Brewster saw it coming, I saw it coming, the crowd started to see it coming. I called a follow spot to pick it up, and the guy was good, catching its mid-air flight path . . . It couldn’t be happening but we knew it was . . . everyone knew . . . rockers, band, security guards . . . the musical crescendo was almost peaking . . . five more frenetic bars to go . . . the whirling satellite veering in towards John . . . John stepping up to the microphone for his characteristic GOOD NIGHT BOULDER as his hand played down hard on the final chord then continued to full height and a perfect catch of the frisbee. ROCK and ROLL! Boulder Colorado went insane, I was already insane and the band were beside themselves.
 
Here’s the other. My passage to right here, right now, is littered with young men dead well before their time. It was like an undeclared war for which we volunteered. Perhaps there are a group of men who will always seek that edge, crave it, risk life itself, just to survive. You have not met Jeff Meriweather and even now his memory casts a pall over the rock years for me. Jeff was young, talented and handsome. Where I had no technical skills, Jeff was a master craftsman. He worked as a kid in a lighting company, got his first gigs, became the industry’s second pop star roadie [after me]. He lit the band Misex, started touring with international bands, all by his early twenties. His beautiful girlfriend did a centerfold in Penthouse while he was in America, and Jeff hung himself, the passion he had for lighting transferred to the pain he felt at her public exposure. Each year, once or twice at least, I think of all those years he could have had.
 
I pull the troopy to a halt. Under the blue sky the horizon is down to my bootstraps. A boomerang would fly clean and true, like a frisbee. Tommie is wondering why we have stopped in the middle of nowhere, absolute nowhere. A couple of half dead mulga trees are all the life that is evident. I put on the Divinyls and turn it up so loud that the outback is filled with sound.
 
VALE to Jeff and to all the others. One more gig, singing you out in my mind with Christie Amplett on stage.
 
Life can be lonely . . . life can be very sad . . . life can be something you wish you never had . . . yeah yeah . . . yeah yeah . . . as the band starts to leave the stage, instrument by instrument, until it is just Chrissie, alone in the centre, under a single spot, letting her hair swing left and right, rocking like a child . . .  yeah . . . yeah . . . yeah . . . yeah! . . . and the lights fade to black.

Raymond


 

Comments
Post Comment
Anne Looby
Reply
And the crowd goes wild!!! MORE they yell and start stomping their doc martens loudly - a slow hand clap begins.... more please Electronic Swagman. 
Raymond
Reply
Hey Loobs. Maybe Ill start at the Oodnadatta Pink Roadhouse. Rxx
Tracey Saggers
Reply
Hi Raymond Thanks for inviting me into the wonderful world of you and Tommy. Reading this and some of the past posts I have both burst into laughter and been close to tears, a cathartic quality I love in good writing : ) please let tommy know that I really enjoy his insightful and eloquent musings and I concur with your friend Paul - a travelling storyteller would be fabulous and you really must invite your friend Daryl on the trip. Thank you also for a wonderful adventure around the beautiful McDonald ranges with the writing group - what a funny trip. I write this after an amazing time at Uluru, kata tjuta and kings canyon ( wow isnt Australia a truly spectacular and rich country) and am now reveling in the thermal waters of Mataranka. Looking forward to future blogs and the book. Cheers : )Trace
Raymond
Reply
Hey Tracey. Sounds like the rest of the trip worked for you. Just back into Hermannsburg after the Quiet. Fereezing out here. Thanks for your kind words. Raymond & Tommie.
Janet
Reply
Great blogs Raymond. Jx
Raymond
Reply
Thanks Janet. I'll sign the book if you buy it. But of course you will. You are singing at the launch.
Marg
Reply
Glad that you came out the other end and sorry that Jeff didn't. A moving post.
Raymond
Reply
There but for the grace of God go I. Raymond
Jenni
Reply
Oh Ray... soooo many times I've been in hidden in the crowd of of bands like the Angels, dyvinals, inxs and chisel, so close and yet so far... I don't know how many trips - Gippsland to Adelaide I have done to watch Chisel, the Brewsters and co and perhaps one of the best (in my opinion) to also suffer from loss was the Adelaide band Stars... What the hell are you doin mucking about out in the desert! Dude cut the swaggie crap and spill the beans on my world, and make it soon, Thats the way to get more posts than Tommie (as much and all as I think Tommies grand!)
Raymond
Reply
Been there .. done that .. another world now my dear. Ill be a travelling act myself doing readings and story telling. You can come and see me this time. C ya Raymond
Jenni
Reply
You're on bud! Looking forward to the first gig of your own!
doris
Reply
Thats a great idea the life story telling..we need more of those ...and inviting the locals to tell the stories of their town as well.Enjoy your blog and book! :)
Raymond
Reply
Hey Doris. Where are you? I am looking forward to it. Starting to plan my little show. Might do a New Zealand tour when I get going. Raymond
Rosa
Reply
Beautiful stories well told. I think a travelling storyteller spruiking at each of the towns he visits is a fabulous idea.
Raymond
Reply
Hey Rosa. It is capturing my imagination as well. Makes the life a living and taps some traditional role as well like a swagman. Hope you are well. R
Jenni
Reply
Story telling is so important for our collective mythology and history. There is an entire Australian generation that has never had the†privilege of hearing a storyteller first hand. Particularly one who has lead a full and varied life.
Raymond
Reply
Hey. Yes. I must say I am getting very excited by the idea. Be fun to do little tours through country towns.
Jenni
Reply
You're such a natural it would be right up your alley I would have thought.
Susan
Reply
Muso! My son is a wonderful, creative musician. Writing, voice and guitar. He had to give it up...he's lucky he came out alive. What is it about these talented soul's? Perhaps life is a shock - I didn't sign up for this!†They need perhaps a kinder more gentle planet?! I look forward to seeing you at the Soiree. I hope you can make it.
Raymond
Reply
Hey Susan. Yes. Its a tough world. Ill talk more about it when we meet. I have every intention of getting to the Soiree. cheers Raymond
Margaret
Reply
Hi Raymond, Did you know that storytelling was the first profession? (According to that past quizmaster Barry Jones).
Raymond
Reply
Well that is interesting. I will investigate that. So storytelling is the worlds oldest profession, not prostitution.
Margaret
Reply
Well, according to Barry Jones. Actually I remember this from "Pick a Box" with Bob Dyer. The answer given to the oldest profession question was prostitution and Barry challenged the answer and was proved right that it was storytelling!
Raymond
Reply
Good .. then I'll be joining the oldest profession in the world.. Thanks for that Margaret.
Me N Roll
Reply
Me N Roll Welcome to Me N Roll, a hub of Fusion food in Japanese and western food. Here you can get food of your own choice and taste. Rice Wines, sake and freshly prepared Western and Asian food is available all the time. http://www.menroll.com.au/