Walker T Ryan sings and plays the blues at Block 15, a brew pub in Corvallis, Oregon, energizes the crowd, fills their eyes and ears and minds with delight.
He axed the ol' Kapn to join him for a number. Blindfolded, he blindsided the crowd with words unnable to be seen. Fullup on Trubbled Monk brew they blew the scene. AUGUST 17, 2008
Here's something from an old article the day Pigpen was laid to rest. It was in a '73 Rolling Stone, April 12th.
The article reads,
A long time friend of the group, in going through the apartment on Saturday, discovered a tape cassette McKernan had recorded in the last week of his life. On the tape he plays slow, gospel/blues piano and sings in an eerie, frail voice. One of the songs is extraordinary for the way the lyrics and phrasing shift in and out of stanza form, and the melody likewise seems to be making its own way independent of any repeating pattern.
"It's hard to say," suggests the discoverer of the tape, "who the song is addressed to. Some places I'm sure are directed to individuals in the Dead family. Some of it clearly, maybe all of it on some level, is to everybody." The imagery of the lyrics is separation and departure:
My poor heart can't stand no more
Just can't keep from talkin'
If you gonna walk out that door,
I'll get back somehow
Maybe not tommorrow,
I know someday I'll find someone
Who can ease my pain like you once
The Pigpen song is sometimes called, "No Tomorrow." Luke Myer sent me a link to an mp-3 recording of the song. Click on:
Skypilot Kirk O'Green sent me a pic of a handwritten piece by Ken Kesey about Pigpen. It's copyrighted, so don't spread it around.
Don Groble sent this: Quality Pigpen video from Herouxville, France, 1971:
THURSDAY, JULY 24, 2008
My wife and I are going on a trip to NYC and taking a laptop and having to use a different web page creation application, namely, Netscape Composer, so I don't know what I'm doing. It's late at night and I'm fried so stand by for futuristics. Try clicking on the link below to look at the stuff already on the website.
Harrowing in the airowing, once aloft notsobad cept for the seat cramps. But, caramba, the dee-lays, three hours in Denver listening to the rich bitch bitch and oncet airborne, free drinks, whoopee, to assuage the irritations at the realitie, and finally Newarkat three in the AM, bed at four, up at ten, coffee me awake to get ready for five hour drive to the Adirondacks and reunion with some of the basketball teamates from Miami U in Ohio, the original Miami U, then the Redskins, named after Miami tribe, long since shipped to Oklahoma, people ask me sometimes if I have Indian blood and I say, yes, Miami tribe. But now they are the redhawks and my old Miami baseball cap is not in good taste, although the salt in the sweat around the inside of the cap helps when you are chewing close to the brim. Don't go over the edge.
We've been totally out of touch, no cell phone service, no computer hookups, nada. Up in the New York woods, cavorting in the lakes, wandering the trails, doing the visiting thing, adventures galore, then blam down the jersey turnpike and park the car in Jersey City, take the train into Madhattan, walk the streets, the crowded streets, the packed streets, ride the subway, ride the staten island ferry, get drunk in the village, drink coffee and eat muffins in Bryant Park behind the library, decamp the city, back to Jersey, and today the Jersey shore.
Today the Jersey shore, swim the Atlantic, head for home tomorrow.
Eek, my wife got bit by a spider while were were at the camp in Harriman State Park an hour north of New York City. Now, 17 days later, the bite is an inch long sore with big red splotches on her skin. Not a brown recluse or black widow. No staph infection. Taking Clariton, an anti-histamine. Stay attuned.
Hmmmm, in a not so simple twist of fate, test for lyme disease came back positive. Not a spider bite at all, but a tic, a not so simple tic of fate. Getting retested today (Tuesday the 19th) to make sure.
Yes, Lymes disease, heavy antibiotics for two weeks to knock Lymes.
Kapn, Capn, or whoever you are these days,
Those days are today's subject.
Was ping pongn with Maggie Maguire, got on the subject of the old days of Skypilotclub and the origin of the name Airy Ace. Don't know if you remember, but we began this cyber conversation about a year or so before Kesey passed. Afterward, around late winter I think, you had come up with the Skypilot idea. I was at my community college in the computer lab when I got word that I had to make up a name. So was born Airy Ace, right there in the laboratory, much like Frankenstein was.
Although I have a chronic case of poverty and didn't register the name right away, I was one of your main suppliers of jpegs and word arrangements in those sparse days.
I told Maggie about sending you the pic of Tim Leary and Gordon Liddy shaking hands at one of their shows and you added a nude picture of Hunter Thompson shooting down the Skypilot logo man. That was on top of the Leary page. On the bottom was one of my favorite ditties that I've written.
Don't think any of your links take you there, but it is a dern good page. If you wanna hook it up, it's
As for the oft mentioned Vietnam novel I've had in the works or at least taking a nap between working, for 44 years, the novel is now in the hands of my agent in New York City, he is hopefully reading it this very instant, and when he is done he will let me know if he thinks it is worth shopping to a publisher or not. The publishing business is slow moving, but compared to my writing speed it moves at warp speed.
Whooooosh, there went the full moon, there went the glass blowing gig in Portland, there went the Bob Weir Mule and Dog show in Eugene, there went the Vietnam novel to my agent in New York, there went the air out of the balloon I've had hoisted these many months and there went the old Kapn to his couch for a long awaited nap, soon to emerge to peer through sandblasted eyes at the forthcoming fourth.
Bobby, Eugene, June 20, 2008
photo, Kern Wilson
LAST GO ROUND, the novel Kesey and I wrote about the Pendleton Roundup of 1911 is getting a push to be reprinted. Here's an article in the Portland Oregonian about it:
LAST GO ROUND
For a great in-depth writeup of the 1911 Roundup, incorporating info from the book, Last Go Round, and from interviews with Pendelton locals and research into other books, click on:
This is Lance Kramer, the writer from Willamette Week up in Portland.
Basically, we're working on a story that recounts the many efforts to make
a film out of The Last Go Round tale. Here are some questions I'll pose to
- would you care to comment on your experience working with Kesey on the
It was a continuation of the way we worked together over forty years, bouncing words and ideas back and forth until we came up with something we both liked, then we moved on to the next episode. Always a great experience, a tip of the hat to Kesey, he's the best.
- what did the Last Go Round story mean to Ken?
It was a story he he heard while in junior high or high school from his dad, then heard again later when he went to Pendleton, a great story, full of lore and legend and mythical characters. He really poured his heart into making the book a good one, true to the spirit of the times, enriched with a fleshing out of the characters and events. We were very happy with the result.
- what does Last Go Round mean to Faye, Shannon and the rest of the Kesey
Plenty. They would love to see a movie made of the book. The first rendition of the story by Kesey was in screenplay form but when that didn't fly he and I decided to render it into a novel so the tale would not languish and lie unread with all the other rejects in the old manuscript bin.
- any other thoughts on Last Go Round...?
The book is a victim of the publishing industry's practice of almost immediately dumping a book unless it is a huge seller. The main attraction of Last Go Round, aside from being a good read, is its rendition of a significant Oregon event, the Roundup of 1911, the first year in the new arena which is the same arena used today. Also the story of the final event, the bucking bronc contest, which ended in a tie and had to be settled by a last go round. The book deserves to be reprinted and available in Oregon bookstores, especially in Pendleton.
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