Monday, June 20, 2011

Daily Dose #25 (06/21/2011)


About a month ago, I got a lovely email from a gentleman "Les", from London. He plays bass in a pub band and very respectfully asked me for permission to cover "Gutbucket", a song I wrote in November of 1993, and was the opening track to The Shuffling Hungarians first recording, released in November of 1994.

"London Les" had heard "Gutbucket" recently on some little private (or pirate?) radio station that specialized in American Jazz, Roots and Blues obscura, found the Hungarians Reverbnation Site and a live performance of the song from Brugge, Belgium.

He presented it as a possible cover song to his band mates, they dug it, and the permission letter was issued.

London Les didn't need my permission granted of course. No one would have known or been the worse for wear if he hadn't. But by following some kind of internal Karmic protocol and an ethical compass with it's needle pointed at True North, he not only secured permission, but he gained a new friend, and blessed me with a new friend at the same time.

Please allow this to serve as an example: The Universe doesn't "payout" on a quid pro quo linear basis but it does payout eventually. If you launch your creations into all creation, that energy comes back to you, and usually in the form of solid, connected relationships... at least that is where I recognize the real value in that energy exchange.

Sometimes those gifts are immediate, and you can really see "cause and effect".

This one took almost twenty years. You have to have patience, and to truly "fly" through that system, "All you need is faith and trust... and a little bit of pixie dust!", as the immortal Peter Pan says.

That's a phrase of seduction to convince Wendy to jump out a window. It's Pan's snake oil, but it's a snake oil that absolutely produces results, and Pan absolutely knows it to be true.

A test flight in the bedroom was just the example that the Darling children needed to be convinced to take that leap of faith out the window and fly amongst the stars.

These "Daily Doses"? Think of them as test flights.

I'm not pushing anybody out any windows. But I do believe if I can prove the theory of faith through continuous example, that perhaps one day you'll jump out the window of your own accord, and soar freely amongst the stars.

If you don't like where you're at, you can change that. If you are unhappy, happiness can be achieved, thoughtfully... not just through random flailing.

I know this is my heart, because I have done it myself. I don't know if the things I've learned on this Earth will work for you, but I do know that they worked for me.

Yes, you WILL get your ass kicked by the limbic driven snake brained who don't realize the true value of trust. Those are just life lessons, and as your soul grows, you learn how to direct that faith trust a little more accurately, take responsibility for your own choices, and forgive a whole lot more easily in a much more timely fashion.

You learn how to make a quick read, see the red flags, and move on before any real damage occurs. That's a process, and a skill, that takes a lifetime to develop. At least it did with me.

So maybe this project is just my way of trying to save you some time... time I've wasted trying to learn it on my own, with no help.

So with that, Lets zoom through approximately 90 years of the gifts of sharing music in a relative nano-second.


As with the end point, so is the beginning: The culmination of everything that transpired before it. Early Jazz was a mash up of African Culture, Western Tonalities, Western Instruments, The African-American Diaspora and experience of Slavery, Post Slavery Economics, and a whole host of other spices from points of the world that had New Orleans has its destination and drop off point. "The Eternal Gumbo".

All of this crystallized under the stewardship of "Pops" Louis Armstrong and preserved through the advent of recording technology.

I first became aware of the term "Gutbucket" from studying the history of music, and primarily blues, but obviously the term had been around awhile even before Louis got to it. "The Bucket of Blood " might be a term bandied about by Pirates, or perhaps is a reference to the clean up process after a brawl in a rough and tumble roadhouse, where the rawest form of blues were played... Gutbucket Blues. A backing soundtrack to fighting, fucking, shooting and throat slitting.

But by the turn of the Century, it became almost quaint, and part of the vernacular. Clubs named themselves "The Bucket of Blood". Our standard hangover cure "The Bloody Mary" was first christened "The Bucket Of Blood" by its inventor Fernand "Pete" Petiot, an American in Paris mixologist and bartender in 1921. The new cocktail "reminded him of a club in Chicago, "The Bucket Of Blood". Eventually with the aid of Tabasco Sauce produced in Iberia Parish, the concoction was dubbed the "Bloody Mary in 1934 by the re-patrioted Petiot at The King Cole Club in NYC. Legend has it that Georgie Jessel dumped one accidentally on a girl named Mary, hence its name.

The terms "Bucket of Blood" and "Gutbucket" have been around for quite some time, and when you drink a Bloody Mary, the DNA of those terms is right in there with the Tabasco and Worcestershire sauces, celery stalk, pepper, lemon, lime and horseradish.

A history that is hot, spicy, tartly bloody, and gets you high. Important concepts that led to the conceptualization and composition of the song "Gutbucket". It ALL had to be in there.


"Gutbucket" was written as an exposition to a part of a narrative, but I won't get into that now.... I have to stretch this over 365 days, peeps!

But mechanically, both musically and lyrically, it had to be a in song form of a "Bloody Mary". Steeped in history, of the phrase "Gutbucket", and the music that the phrase represented.

So in terms of music, I threw the entire history of piano rock in it, including a kitchen sink or two. Based on Fat's Domino's first single "The Fat Man" (consider by some to be the first legitimate rock and roll recording, due to Earl Palmer's drumming),
but there were gospel and spiritual voicings, call and response field hollers, raw pile driver rhythms, boogie woogie cadences, sophisticated "Gershwin" like changes in the pre-chorus, a slick and powerful horn section... you name it. All the shoulders I stood on as a piano player and American musician had to be represented, and it was deliberately intentional.

Mark and Paul were an absolutely critical component to this process, because they knew all this stuff as well or better than me. They had the ability to pull it off as a rhythm section, being alternately sophisticated and raw, with a powerful intellectual knowledge of music combined with being fearlessly boneheaded in deployment of the knowledge. Loose and tight as a gnat's ass all at the same time."Gutbucket" had to be a real time performance evaluation of the countless hours the three of us spent refining that language together.

Lyrically, on the surface the song is a drunken ode to the joys of piannnaplunkin' and indescriminant screwing, but with me there has to be more meat on the bone between the surface lines.

GUTBUCKET (George Rossi/Hunihive Music, BMI)

It’s got to be thumpin’
Rockin’ piano pumpin’
Make my big toe. . . shoot up through my boot

I need them bone-head licks
Pound me down right to my bricks
Don’t have to be clever. . .ya don’t have to be cute

Like a drunk in a liquor store
I’ll soak it up like a sponge
Stick my ladle in. . .your bathtub gin

Gutbucket... Gutbucket blues
Oh, yeah.... you really got a a hold on me
Gutbucket... Gutbucket blues
Oh yeah,.... ya really got a hold on me

I get intoxicated. . .my 88’s get radiated
I’m a real gone daddy when I’m puttin’ out that sound
You can throw them sticks an'stones
I’m still gonna feed my gutbucket Jones
I’ts the only thing that has never let me down

Like a drunk in a liquor store
I’ll soak you up like a sponge
Stick my ladle in. . . your fish drippins

Gutbucket. . . Gutbucket blues
Oh, yeh. . . .you really got a a hold on me
Gutbucket. . . gutbucket blues
Oh yeah, ya really got a hold on me
Ya really got a hold on me
Ya really got a hold on me

The critical lines in the song are:

"You can throw them sticks an' stones
I’m still gonna feed my gutbucket Jones
I’ts the only thing that has never let me down"

When things are more accountable than people, and you gravitate toward that anthropormorphized "accountability" in an addictive co-dependent fashion, you're in trouble. This was auto-biography, and this was part of the narrative thread that was woven through the entire recording.

The performance on this video is interesting, because the band had just gotten out of the studio, and really hadn't logged much time as the expanded version of The Shuffling Hungarians. For me, its like looking at a sauce pot with all the ingredients assembled within, but it hadn't cooked down yet, and reduced to its eventual concentrated power and full flavor.

This is a perfect snapshot of the band transitioning from a concept to a reality. It has flaws and imperfections, but it is embued with the spirit that would be focused tighter and then further amplified. Compare this to the live version of "Gutbucket" in the music player, and you'll hear where we started, and where we ended up.


And that leads us to the beloved The Bizzarros. This is their maiden performance of "Gutbucket". Its a bit shaky, but it still has all the elements in a mutated form... the singer has an almost punk delivery, which is again, just an extension of music history eighteen years after it was written, and makes total sense to me.

The changes are different, as is the structure. They put their own unique Brit spin on it in front of a drunken crowd at the Round Midnight Bar, Islington, London last Friday night, and got the ball into the net with the right spirit attached.

Listen to the feedback from the crowd... they were made happy if only momentarily. Sometimes, that's all you need to affect change in the world. They got their first taste of what its like to be a denizen of Hungaria, and they got exposed to "The Tribe" Zeitgeist.

It like going back in time to all those Wednesday's at The Dinosaur BBQ. Back to the root of all things.

But what a gift! Not only for me and The Hungarians past present and future, but for The Hungarians birth place, The Salt City. Y'all are represented in foggy London Town, peeps. It took a while, but let's see where The Bizzarros go with this. It could be interesting.

Test Flights. Test Flights, Auditions, and to those who know, Dog Contests.

We're here on Earth to learn, and to grow our respective souls as we walk the path.

I've learned a lot from all of this, hopefully will continue to learn.

Thank You, everybody, for chipping in and taking part of this little 18 year event in the making. We all did this together. Don't forget that, because I certainly won't.

"You may shoot for the stars and end up in a back alley behind Pluto, beaten and bloodied, but at least I dare to dream, and that’s better than being Earthbound, mired in the muck of mediocrity.

I judge my forward progress and success by the crushingly epic nature of my failures.

The more epic the crash, the more I’m convinced I must be doing something right"




1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Pretty damn cool.