Noooo, ALEX CHILTON gone? Only, 59. So sad, some of my favorites gone this year, Jim Carroll too. I met Alex at a show in DC, opening for him in 1991. That night I sang my new song, Song For Brian which is a love song for Brian Wilson, and dedicated it to Alex. He then dedicated a Beach Boys song to me. Back stage we talked about our signs, he a Capricorn and how that didn't fair too well with Gemini, me. He was very sweet kinda flirtatious and it was a great show.
A friend of mine that is in the middle of a relatively amicable divorce said to me, "Now that I'm dating again I'm gonna have to ask any serious contenders to get a physical, guys can start dropping like flies in their 50s if they don't take care of themselves." And in response I said, "Madonna was questioned recently about why she dates men so much younger than her 51 years and she said 'Have you seen men my age?' ".
Okay, I'm thinking I've got a husband in a nursing home and when I do start dating....again. Well, do I go the younger route or the older. A few years ago I was hanging out backstage at a Patti Smith show and I said to my friend, her guitarist Lenny Kaye, 'Is she with that young guy in your band?' And he said yeah, they had a special thing. And I thought, that's nice, that's what I want when I'm in my 50s.
But I love those old guys from the 1960s American Renaissance. Like Paul, Alex Chilton, Jim Carroll. Take care of yourselves. Dang. Maybe this is why it's the women that are the elders in old native American culture.
Which brings me to something in Chinese medicine called Jing and the three treasures. According to Ron Teeguarden's book RADIANT HEALTH: The Ancient Wisdom of the Chinese Tonic Herbs, there are three treasures in the human body. Jing, Qi, and Shen. Jing is the superior treasure, "and existed before the body existed and this Jing enters the body tissues and becomes the root of our body". Sometimes its called essence, when it runs low we are forced to tap into our original Jing reserves, which can become so depleted that it runs out and the person dies. It goes on to suggest we take care of ourselves on a daily basis taking care of our daily immediate energy called Qi. And then Shen is our spiritual energy.
So get enough sleep (I tell myself). I know I'm ranting, I'm feeling the final throes of a cold and too bored to do nothing, too low energy to get busy.
I'm sad about Alex Chilton. When I last saw him it was 1997 in Charleston West Virginia, we were both on a live broadcast radio show. I was out on the road touring across the country and had been booked on the NPR radio show called Mt. Stage with Alex C., John Prine, and Jill Sobule. I played a new song of mine, Antarctica on keyboard that night and my 1996 single, High Jump. I remember Alex being distant and sullen after the radio performance, I thought he wasn't feeling well so I left him alone.
I'd flown Paul in from San Diego for a few nights, we went out to dinner with the shows producer before the taping began and he and Paul got along really well. The next day we drove up to Wheeler and caught a Bob Dylan show and my friend Elizabeth slipped away mid show and next thing I know she's on stage sitting under Dylan's shadow watching the master up close (until a roadie caught on and whisked her away). Then Paul flew home and we got on with the tour.
Alex Chilton I am with you in Memphis digging the soul of the land,
I'm with you in youth crazy with too much too quick sudden crazy fame,
I am with you on the long dark drive of the soul onto the next night show,
I am with you in the stupidity of music business expectations lost gone never existed and enter the new day of Internets dawn,
I am with you in Memphis again at the gates of Elvis eating fried banana and peanut butter sandwiches and puking in the Mississippi River,
I am with you at the Greyhound station where bus driver says to me "only bad girls stay in this town" and I get off the bus sick with strep throat swooning with love for this holy land staggering to the river and back to my shabby hotel,
In my dreams you walk with me bolstering my flagging spirit lifting a lovely melody above the plastic seat of my greyhound up into the sallow yellow of fading light and now/born stars that come to visit again over and over the murky ever rolling river.