donnelly ink

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

The Real Jersey Shore Comes Together

We left The Boss and Big Pussy at the Wonder Bar a little after 3AM. Yeah you read that right. We left.

The “Real Jersey Shore” night ended a long way from which it began, me on my couch in my Sherpa lined slippers, toasty in every sense of the word until giving into to Danny Clinch’s “C’mon, whats da matter wit you, huh? Big Pussy is gonna be there!!!”

It was Saturday night in Asbury, so of course the rumor mill was spinning at max speed that The Boss would be in attendance. So I traded my slippahs for some boots, not quite like trading in my wings for some wheels but you get the point.

We took the beach road from Seaside up to Asbury Park to go to The 10th Annual Light of Day Benefit to Cure Parkinson’s Disease, for a night that would become one of legend. I’m friggin’ serious too, t’was a night of legend.

The night prior, “Light of Day” at the Stone Pony (the weekend was superbly produced by Asbury legend and former Asbury Juke, Tony Pallagrossi) had Clinch and his Tangiers Band ripping up the joint, and I ain’t just saying that because I’m scared of catching the wrath of Tangiers mainstay Lonesome Dave or be victim to the thousand eye stare of King B. King.

They simply killed it and killed it again late night at the Langosta Lounge, with special guests on slide guitar Jon Grabof and Charlie Giordano of the mighty E Street Band on keys.

So the expectation of a good time in Asbury Park was set as we approached the Convention Hall. Armed with camera and his harmonicas Clinch and I made our way to the stage door where we were greeted by The Boss and Pittsburgh legend Joe Gruchesky, who then asked Clinch to sit on their set.

As performers like Jesse Malin, our girl Nicole Atkins played wonderfully to the sold out crowd, I get my first Big Pussy experience. Legally, he’s known a Vincent Pastore, but to everyone in the Drty Jrz, he will always be our Big Pussy from The Soprano’s.

“So, I did dis radio show wit dese friggin’ Canadians da utter day,” he says to me. “The friggin’ guy asks, were you in the body bag when dey threw ya overboard, recounted Pastore.

“So, I can’t believe dis numbnuts Canadian, so friggin’ stupid. So I sez ta him, whaddya get hit by hockey pucks in your friggin’ head? C’mon! Get the “f” outta here wit dat.”


So Clinch comes up to me, grabs me and says, “They want me to do “Murder Incorporated” with them, I’m not sure I know it,” he says. Armed with his I-Phone, we listen to the tune in the Grand Arcade with our ears to the device.

Clinch is as comfortable as he’s gonna get with the tune as we settle in to watch Springsteen join Grushecky’s House Rockers for raucous set that went as follows:

Atlantic City
Code of Silence
Johnny 99
Never Be Enough Time
Darkness on the Edge of Town
Talking to the King

Then all things went hazy when Springsteen stepped up to the mike and said, “I’d like to bring up photographer extraordinaire Danny Clinch for this number.” I soon see Gruschecky and Springsteen huddle. An audible is called. They will now do “Pink Cadillac,” instead of “Murder Inc.” Uh-oh, I thought to myself.

With a nod to Clinch, Springsteen has him blowing his harp to open the tune. In essence, for this moment, Clinch is the “Big Man”, at least in theory.
“You may think I’m foolish, for the foolish things that I do,” sung Springsteen with one eye on Clinch. “You may wonder how come I love you, when you get on my nerves like you do,” he sings.

Like a basketball player at the foul line during a tie game with no time left on the clock, Clinch steps up for his solo, with Springsteen standing two feet from him, pushing him to blow, blow, blow like the four winds.

Smiling, rocking and vamping was Springsteen, eyes wide, legs spread, guitar slinging with his mouth agape at his photographer turned tunesmith. Comfortable with Clinch’s prowess, Springsteen steps to the mike for the next verse:

They say Eve tempted Adam with an apple
But man I ain't going for that
I know it was her pink Cadillac
Crushed velvet seats
Riding in the back
Oozing down the street
Waving to the girls
Feeling out of sight
Spending all my money
On a Saturday night
Honey I just wonder what it feels like in the back
Of your pink Cadillac

And with that, the biggest blast I have ever heard comes from my man Dan’s harmonica. He was bluesy, ballsy, direct, and on point, and the crowd knew it too, bringing the show to a higher level.

It was a game changer, a game winner.

I’m standing behind a rocking Big Pussy who turns to me and says, ”Now dat was friggin’ great, he’s from Toms River? How famous is he? Well he can’t be dat famous if he ain’t never took a picture of me,” he said in jest.

Fast forward to two hours later in the back of the Wonder Bar where The Boss was handing out tequila shots and the Big Pussy says to Clinch, “ey when ya gonna take my pictucah, huh,?”

“I just did,” Clinch said to the unsuspecting hulk of man.”Damn your pretty good, ya know dat,” Big Pussy said before we left, nearly breaking our hands while shaking them good-bye, as The Boss played bartender.

With that Clinch and I walked down Ocean Avenue in the still of the night, laughing our asses off all the way down the beach road home.

Saturday, July 4, 2009

The Real Heroes of July 4th

As the nation turns a young 233 years old today, I think of the advancements made by Americans socially, artistically, scientifically, technologically and politically, in what is considered a short amount of time compared to the span of recorded history. It’s pretty remarkable or pretty frightening any way you look at it.

As Americans, it’s easy to feel good about ourselves and our accomplishments.. Actually it’s our right to wave that flag, light the grill, over eat or imbibe too much, then blow up some shit in celebration of it. It’s called the “pursuit of happiness.”

But the ironic reality is that despite all of the progress we have made, the truth is this: if we had to devise and implement a “Declaration of Independence,” the document that gave us that inalienable right to party, today I say, no friggin’ way.
If it did, it probably wouldn’t have happened within the necessary timeframe that it had to be done in the distracted times we have created for ourselves.

Today, no one is as pure in their intentions as the writer of the Declaration of Independence and the patriots he spoke for. Jefferson and his collaborators didn’t have the dilution of debate or paralyzing divisions because of the urgency of the situation. They were free of the thoughts that make man question or alter his motives, despite what his gut, heart and personal experience tell him to do or how to handle the thoughts that arose from within.

They did what was right, not what was easy. It’s not like the brave and brilliant men who signed it had a choice. It was their lack of choice that gave us too many choices today.
Freedom and liberty is still the most motivational tool there is

Would John Adams approve of those who choose not to meet their responsibilities that they begat to begin with? What would Ben Franklin say with the actualization of his political visions. What would the ol’ high sock wearin,’ monocle sportin’ cad would think the monopolization of his scientific genius the invention of electricity (the very that powers what you are reading on) has become.

Today I think of those men who literally laid it all on the line…Remember the revolution. The one that wasn’t televised.

The Unanimous Declaration
of the Thirteen United States of America

When, in the course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bonds which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the laws of nature and of nature's God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. That to secure these rights, governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed. That whenever any form of government becomes destructive to these ends, it is the right of the people to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their safety and happiness.

Prudence, indeed, will dictate that governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shown that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such government, and to provide new guards for their future security. --Such has been the patient sufferance of these colonies; and such is now the necessity which constrains them to alter their former systems of government.

The history of the present King of Great Britain is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute tyranny over these states. To prove this, let facts be submitted to a candid world.
He has refused his assent to laws, the most wholesome and necessary for the public good.

He has forbidden his governors to pass laws of immediate and pressing importance, unless suspended in their operation till his assent should be obtained; and when so suspended, he has utterly neglected to attend to them.

He has refused to pass other laws for the accommodation of large districts of people, unless those people would relinquish the right of representation in the legislature, a right inestimable to them and formidable to tyrants only.

He has called together legislative bodies at places unusual, uncomfortable, and distant from the depository of their public records, for the sole purpose of fatiguing them into compliance with his measures.

He has dissolved representative houses repeatedly, for opposing with manly firmness his invasions on the rights of the people.

He has refused for a long time, after such dissolutions, to cause others to be elected; whereby the legislative powers, incapable of annihilation, have returned to the people at large for their exercise; the state remaining in the meantime exposed to all the dangers of invasion from without, and convulsions within.

He has endeavored to prevent the population of these states; for that purpose obstructing the laws for naturalization of foreigners; refusing to pass others to encourage their migration hither, and raising the conditions of new appropriations of lands.

He has obstructed the administration of justice, by refusing his assent to laws for establishing judiciary powers.

He has made judges dependent on his will alone, for the tenure of their offices, and the amount and payment of their salaries.

He has erected a multitude of new offices, and sent hither swarms of officers to harass our people, and eat out their substance.

He has kept among us, in times of peace, standing armies without the consent of our legislature.

He has affected to render the military independent of and superior to civil power.

He has combined with others to subject us to a jurisdiction foreign to our constitution, and unacknowledged by our laws; giving his assent to their acts of pretended legislation:

For quartering large bodies of armed troops among us:

For protecting them, by mock trial, from punishment for any murders which they should commit on the inhabitants of these states:

For cutting off our trade with all parts of the world:

For imposing taxes on us without our consent:

For depriving us in many cases, of the benefits of trial by jury:

For transporting us beyond seas to be tried for pretended offenses:

For abolishing the free system of English laws in a neighboring province, establishing therein an arbitrary government, and enlarging its boundaries so as to render it at once an example and fit instrument for introducing the same absolute rule in these colonies:

For taking away our charters, abolishing our most valuable laws, and altering fundamentally the forms of our governments:

For suspending our own legislatures, and declaring themselves invested with power to legislate for us in all cases whatsoever.

He has abdicated government here, by declaring us out of his protection and waging war against us.

He has plundered our seas, ravaged our coasts, burned our towns, and destroyed the lives of our people.

He is at this time transporting large armies of foreign mercenaries to complete the works of death, desolation and tyranny, already begun with circumstances of cruelty and perfidy scarcely paralleled in the most barbarous ages, and totally unworthy the head of a civilized nation.

He has constrained our fellow citizens taken captive on the high seas to bear arms against their country, to become the executioners of their friends and brethren, or to fall themselves by their hands.

He has excited domestic insurrections amongst us, and has endeavored to bring on the inhabitants of our frontiers, the merciless Indian savages, whose known rule of warfare, is undistinguished destruction of all ages, sexes and conditions.

In every stage of these oppressions we have petitioned for redress in the most humble terms: our repeated petitions have been answered only by repeated injury. A prince, whose character is thus marked by every act which may define a tyrant, is unfit to be the ruler of a free people.

Nor have we been wanting in attention to our British brethren. We have warned them from time to time of attempts by their legislature to extend an unwarrantable jurisdiction over us. We have reminded them of the circumstances of our emigration and settlement here. We have appealed to their native justice and magnanimity, and we have conjured them by the ties of our common kindred to disavow these usurpations, which, would inevitably interrupt our connections and correspondence.

They too have been deaf to the voice of justice and of consanguinity. We must, therefore, acquiesce in the necessity, which denounces our separation, and hold them, as we hold the rest of mankind, enemies in war, in peace friends.

We, therefore, the representatives of the United States of America, in General Congress, assembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions, do, in the name, and by the authority of the good people of these colonies, solemnly publish and declare, that these united colonies are, and of right ought to be free and independent states; that they are absolved from all allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political connection between them and the state of Great Britain, is and ought to be totally dissolved; and that as free and independent states, they have full power to levy war, conclude peace, contract alliances, establish commerce, and to do all other acts and things which independent states may of right do.

And for the support of this declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of Divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our lives, our fortunes and our sacred honor.

New Hampshire: Josiah Bartlett, William Whipple, Matthew Thornton

Massachusetts: John Hancock, Samual Adams, John Adams, Robert Treat Paine, Elbridge Gerry

Rhode Island: Stephen Hopkins, William Ellery

Connecticut: Roger Sherman, Samuel Huntington, William Williams, Oliver Wolcott

New York: William Floyd, Philip Livingston, Francis Lewis, Lewis Morris

New Jersey: Richard Stockton, John Witherspoon, Francis Hopkinson, John Hart, Abraham Clark

Pennsylvania: Robert Morris, Benjamin Rush, Benjamin Franklin, John Morton, George Clymer, James Smith, George Taylor, James Wilson, George Ross

Delaware: Caesar Rodney, George Read, Thomas McKean

Maryland: Samuel Chase, William Paca, Thomas Stone, Charles Carroll of Carrollton

Virginia: George Wythe, Richard Henry Lee, Thomas Jefferson, Benjamin Harrison, Thomas Nelson, Jr., Francis Lightfoot Lee, Carter Braxton

North Carolina: William Hooper, Joseph Hewes, John Penn

South Carolina: Edward Rutledge, Thomas Heyward, Jr., Thomas Lynch, Jr., Arthur Middleton

Georgia: Button Gwinnett, Lyman Hall, George Walton

Friday, June 26, 2009

The Lost Kings

Something tells me that the “King of Pop” may have gone out in similar fashion to his one time dead father in law, “The King,” Elvis Aaron Presley. They were “Kings of Pill Poppin’” as well as tragic “Kings of Pain.”

They shared throne of the pain of fame, lost iconic kings, forever consumed by the pain of their own misanthropy, haunted by the pain of their choices and gnawed by the pain of their very existence.

That pain is no more for Michael Jackson. It is the pain that Elvis fans ignore. Modern historians will refuse to acknowledge the pain they both were in. Their souls hurt. Their bodies hurt. Their minds were manipulated to keep them in pain.
After all they gave to the world?

What a way to live. What a fucking tragic way to die.

What’s tipped to me, (I haven't turned on the TV today) the “pill theory”, (pills: the things that are supposed to kill pain, but the very thing that cause more collateral damage than any curable disease can ever afflict) is this: I’ve heard bold faced lying of publicists who cover for their clients in diabolical denial for the sake of a buck, instead of what’s really best for their client. I have been a first hand witness to the megalomaniacal music business machines and what happens to those who get in their way.

So when I heard delusional truth bender and Jackson family mouthpiece, Brian Oxman say within minutes of Jackson’s death, “This family has been trying for months and months and months to take care of Michael Jackson. The people who have surrounded him have been enabling him. If you think that the case of Anna Nicole Smith wasn’t abuse, it is nothing in comparison to what we have seen taking place in Michael Jackson's life.”

I was shocked. Fucking shocked. I don’t shock easy anymore. His body wasn't even cold.
Papa Joe Jackson and his clan want the world to know they tried to help him. I guess death finally brought them to reality, a calculated deduction that came too little too late.

Remember the pain next time you hear the voices of “The Kings,” because it’s what they couldn’t bear to hear themselves.