Rock Accountant

Month: March, 2014

Pete Townshend gets the Axe


There were feathers in the hair of some of the road crew.
I was on the main floor of some Miami arena in the seventies leaning on the front of the stage and watching the rigging come down while talking to one of The Who’s managers, Jackie Curbishley.
I don’t remember which of us first noticed this, but it was curious enough to send us around the stage to where the crew had already backed the trucks in to load up the gear.
No matter the band, the battle that raged between the crews and the VIPs after the show was forever the same. It was class combat at its finest. The Who’s crew, many of whom were with them from the very beginnings, busied themselves importantly with tormenting the backstage guests. The general hospitality areas for shows were ordinarily adjacent to where the road crews were always agitatedly breaking down the equipment and piling shit into the trucks.
Half of the crew was actively hallucinating by the end of each show from no sleep while nearly all the visiting guests were wringing their own white knuckled hands unconsciously due to the onset of too many haphazardly swallowed drugs that were mixing gravely with their cocaine.
The roadies would speed half-ton speaker bins down ramps aiming them deliberately into pockets of assorted record company executives, movie stars and a massive array of self-important locals, who had been dressing themselves for weeks for this very moment, forcing them to dive out of the way. The road manager would be screaming at these poor posing buggers to move somewhere that did not exist, as he tried to separate women from their dates like some slavering, erect feral sheepdog.
In the fifties there was a horrific boat accident in India (the land of Hindus and veteran non-swimmers). A severely overloaded vessel dumped hundreds into the Ganges where the lucky ones quickly drowned while others were bitten by snakes or eaten by crocodiles. This describes accurately this normal backstage warfare. What Jackie and I saw that particular night was an entirely new species of bedlam.
There was a oversized crowd of people intermingled with most of our crew shoving each other to get a look inside one small door that led into the giant hospitality area. Most had a certain amount of feathers on them. The ones at the front were desperately pushing backwards like they were terrified of being pressed by the crowd’s momentum into the room itself.
Jack and I pushed our way in. Things became more strenuous to describe when inside.
When all these, now old, arenas were built, there was no such thing as sprinkler systems. Water piping systems latticed every hallway in the entire building. These were all were tunneled into glass covered wall closets where huge hoses were spun and hung on hooks; some could be 200 ft. in length. Beside these hoses was a great huge nob to turn them on and always a long fireman’s ax. This imposing little number had a handle that measured at least 4feet in length and a steel head that suggested that forests somewhere down the hall might need some straightening up. The instrument had a sharp blade on one side of its flat head and a great evil hook on the other. It was meant to break through locked doors to escape from fires. The head was always painted a blood red.
Keith Moon leaned on such an ax in the middle of the room, panting heavily.
Pete was standing next to John Entwhistle in a corner having a cup of tea. John was smoking and being characteristically John, just ever so slightly unimpressed. Roger was sitting next to Bill, Jackie’s husband, protecting the only remaining sofa. Jack and I quietly move in and sat down with them. Anne Weldon was probably there along with Jim Callaghan, the band’s head security guy, but I can’t remember clearly if there were any others.
Moon had to have been at this for a while and it would have taken a forensics expert to puzzle together a timetable for the wreckage. A gigantic coffee urn laid spent on the floor appearing to have just stopped writhing and spewing hot liquid after the delivery of a catastrophic blow to its midsection that had burst its contents across the wall and the backs of a half dozen fleeing guests. Bill noted that the coffee wall stain reminded him a little of Led Zeppelin’s drummer if you cocked your head just a touch.
The feathers had come from the promoter’s hapless judgment to try to astonish everybody with posh pillows. Their fluffs had all settled to the floor providing a lowland daybreak view of a massive swan slaughter.
The long buffet table had been capably cut in half, but the splintering showed that Keith must have consumed much energy to get finally through its steel bracings.
It was apparent that we had arrived at the end of only a particular round of this drummer’s match with his bordering physical universe. Nothing yet had been decided, at least not in his mind, (it was certain that the room would have capitulated and called it a day had it been allowed to).

He leaned on the ax all soaked in sweat and splattered with vegetables and dip. He was clearly having difficulty getting a deep breath from fatigue or perhaps he had simply swallowed too many feathers while whacking the pillows.
His wetness was no longer stage sweat as that had long since dried and been toweled off. He still had on his stage outfit, a baseball player’s jersey, (he bought outfits from players as he went from city to city), Santa suspenders and a kelp green ascot. His hair hung in disappointed dark ringlets having lost their contest to do anything but hang from the weight of cocktail sauce and the occasional shrimp shard.
From my standpoint this was going to be expensive but not so very complicated. I, without much fanfare, recorded the damage they did and charged them individually. This included nearly everything from stuffing “catch and release” sized fish for John to Moon’s revolving battalions of hookers. I believe the band trusted me in this, as they never once challenged me. If there were a real grey area I would sit down with Bill for help. Most times he would just pay the difference himself. I would expect a phone call later in the tour from this promoter asking to be reimbursed for all this carnage.
When it came to his fabled and theatrical devastation Moon was more Judy Garland than anybody else in my mind. His demons loved their drama and regardless the personality he recruited to expose at any given moment he was an extraordinarily spontaneous genius. No one ever wanted him to stop.
Having finally gathered his breathing to a plateau where he appeared content that unconsciousness was being held at bay, he was off again having spotted something taunting him in the long rows of unbroken glassware.
By this time some of the onlookers at the door had begun warily inching back in. This proved ill-fated as Moon was just then set to tee off in a cricket match using the axe as his bat and a half dozen pitchers of orange and tomato juices as his balls. He was perched on two poorly balanced ice chests and a chair cushion. He had chosen the door as his target so most of these plucky invaders were now being pelted with glass and suffering unresolvable stains that intensified a new backwards stampede out the door
Into this lawyer’s fantasy of billion dollar lawsuits and ruined low cut blouses stepped Townshend.
Pete commanded that Keith turn over the ax as he had “sensed offense” from a large glowering and yet untouched black clock on the wall. This clock, according to Pete, was attempting an uninvited walk-on into Moon’s coffee urn wall mural. He called it that “uppity fucking clock”.
This profoundly appealed to Keith as he was clearly now fraying from exhaustion and the lack of an immediate and large audience, having driven them screaming from the room now twice, at least.
With a conspiratorial glint in his eye, he turned away from the eavesdropping clock and secreted the axe to Pete.
Townshend took hold of the axe and brought it hard into the unsuspecting clock, cutting it exactly in half at 12:46 AM.
He turned, walked over to me, handed me the ax and said, “Put me down for one clock”.

Listen closely, I might be swearing at you

I judge people quickly. For instance, if someone can’t swear, he is half way out the door with me. I figure this is good for both of us. He or she can protect their ears and I can protect my time. It is a fine coincidence that my intuitive powers are peaking exactly in lockstep with the prosecution of words in America. I use very wide brush strokes now to make invisible people who figure their job has suddenly become censorship. This is because they are idiots. Stupid people are now virtually guaranteed that I am swearing and calling them the names in my mind they thought they had stopped me from using. This is more fucking fun than you can imagine. images


Political correctness is simply another form of Christianity, kind of like the Jesuits without the capacity for critical thinking and imagination. It’s members find it impossible to reconcile profitless wishful thinking and an All-Knowing and All caring God. Sometimes these people are better Christians than those who attend churches.

The Face of Lonely

Facebook allows we who are very lonely to transmit globally exactly why we became so.

I want my Holes Back

imagesOur nation is obsessed with its holes. You can’t use this hole for that, whatever is growing inside you must come out of this one , don’t let those words come out of that one, and stop putting so much in this one.

Taylor Swift and Pete Townshend

Taylor Swift is very well known for her talent for savaging boyfriends who cross her. She must be a very dangerous date. By comparison if you crossed Pete Townshend it was time to renew your passport and run.
Few people knew why Pete wrote any particular song unless he spoke about it. He was a great deal more than simply quiet on this subject. He knew how important this speculation about his music was and understood that it came with the territory of loving his music. At least one of his personal triumphs was his modesty.
Like everyone around The Who I prized listening when people, particularly Bill and Jackie Curbishley, their long time managers, talked about situations that gave emergence to particular songs.
I listened to his music long before I knew him. For certain back then in college, I wouldn’t have been able to name them individually. It just wasn’t something I was concerned with and I don’t think this was at all uncommon. They were simply The Who.6edz49gt2d3fv6rt6a9i8ug4v.1000x750x1
The only song I felt connected with, (however tangentially) was called “ Did you steal my money.” Ever so often cash would be distributed directly to the band. This was done for two reasons. It was a clever combination of Bill Curbishley’s managerial flair and my occasional need to unload hard cash because I was having trouble carrying it around.
These distributions were not small. I would simply hand it to them in their rooms all rubber banded in a manila envelope. I made them count it and sign for it and that was that.
The band completely adored this. In my experience nobody dislikes cash except the guy who has too much of somebody else’s to carry.
The morning after one such distribution Pete came to me asking if I had given him a load of money. He was disappointed when I told him I had. Someone had robbed him in the night. I am sure this song found the guy.

What men Think about Women When they are not Hiding from Them

download There is very little fact in the notion that women are less angry than men. To men the savagery that a woman can exhibit is astonishing. Women run in cruel packs, armed with self righteously saturated code words calculated to keep their individual distress loud and sacrosanct.
Women forgive each other because they view forgiveness as a tactic not a resolution. There are no substantial consequences when they fight with each other. They fight over feelings and men. Women can always find loads of both.
Men spend most of their waking hours trying to avoid direct combat with other men because any conflict surely leads to some kind of humiliation, hurt or death.
Unlike women we never really forgive each other, because we are honest. The most we ever offer is clemency.
When a woman reads this, her mind will liquefy, and then coagulate into the forty thousand words she has for injustice. Men have come to fear this sluggish river of antagonism because we never know exactly where the headwaters can be found so in our minds there is no way to stop what is to come at us . In a woman’s defense she never knows why she feels a certain way either. Her annoyance, as any man can attest to, will only increase if we ask them for specifics. Women see specifics as a trick men set for them.
We love our women for what they really are , but we approach our wives with an ever growing bafflement as the years go on, because of a vague anxiety that she might be entering the “unverified road” portion of her navigation system.

The Great Good Fortune of Age

The great good fortune of age is the opportunity to leave behind and alive everyone that you love.

The Dogs of Crumbs

With the disappearance of the American Presidency the “dogs of crumbs” are beginning the fight for dropped food under the dinner table.

Doing Drugs With Rock Stars

Here’s the curious thing about doing drugs with rock stars. They behave more or less the same as you do. This is why nobody who has spent any real amount of time with any real rock stars doing any real amount of drugs ever writes about it.

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