Thursday, October 20, 2011

Sunday, October 20th, 1996

Diana Bishop is coming to visit Mom for three days tomorrow night.  We were supposed to go over there for dinner on Tuesday but now I've got to work and go to Tai chi.  Mom said she'd bought something meatless with which to make a lasagna when I called to make our apologies.  I don't know, maybe we'll just go and I'll skip tai chi -- but it looks like I won't make any of the seminars this weekend and I hate to let two weeks lapse between lessons -- I don't know.
Work was a bore -- more political talk with Officer Lyles -- I'll be glad when the election is over.

So, 15 years ago I was a vegetarian tai chi practitioner.  Now I try to get 20 grams of protein at every meal which usually means meat.  But some thing never change; I'm always glad when elections are over, and the air is free from the aroma of bullshit for a few days before the next campaign starts.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Saturday, October 19th 1996

My tai chi teacher impressed me last night -- someone was commenting on how fast he changed from his karate outfit into his tai chi one.  (Of course this someone is not paying close attention cuz all he does is take off the karate coat and he's ready to go cuz he has his tai chi shirt on underneath.)  He said he was like the Flash -- he popped his suit out of the secret compartment in his ring and changed into it faster than the eye can see.  How many people know that the Flash did that?

I'm easing back into being a patrol officer again.  Roper is working with me today and we're switching off, so instead of sitting on the gate for eight, I've only got the chore for four.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Friday, October 18th, 1996

Yes, I am still disgruntled. I'm on the Ever-fucking-green gate again today. And as if that weren't bad enough my damn drawers are riding way the hell up my butt! I have some boxers with unbuttonable flies -- I hate flies, I never use them, just pull the drawers down when I need to pee. So my choice with these boxers is to walk around with my dick dangling around -- like a trained seal, my dick sees and opening and he's just gotta jump -- or wiggle -- through it -- or do what I did today and wear them backwards which means you have to dig yards and yards of cotton out of your crack every time you stand up. I guess there's a third option which is looking better all the time -- throw the damn things away and go drawerless.
Truck drivers are stupid -- it's lunch time, we've got two lanes going to the Evergreen scales. There's enough room for one more truck in the right lane. So I told the guy to pull up into the right lane. He looks down there and says, "The far right lane?"
I should have told him, "No, the far right-hand lane."

I don't get that right-hand lane joke either. Must be a callback to something I wrote earlier.

Thursday, October 17th, 1996

I had to work the gate again today while Mahaffey, who doesn't even know where the lights are, went on patrol. Tomorrow I'll be back on the Evergreen gate.
Mullings screwed up my money again -- no shift differential for the 3 midnights I worked. I called Lisa and she supposedly has it straightened out now -- we'll see. I guess Roper had it even worse than me today -- he had to work the Evergreen gate and he didn't get relieved until 5:00. That dumb-ass Mitch Butler who was late relieving me yesterday was late again today -- for the last time -- he's history -- a footnote to history.

Mahaffey is Mike Mahaffey and we will see more of him later. Roper is Cory Roper and working at the North Charleston Terminal just about killed him. Last I heard he was in line for a lung transplant. Mitch Butler I have no idea who he was.

Wednesday, October 16th, 1996

Hattie is sick today so I'm sitting on the Evergreen gate -- all freaking day! And I hear she won't be back til next week, so I guess I'll be here a while.
I must have been really relaxed with Deana Carter. I even guessed what her second single was going to be -- guessed wrong on the first try, but nailed it on the second.
I bought Dylan his first CD -- "Barney's Favorites, Volume 1" and it took him a couple of minutes to adjust to this new way of experiencing everybody's favorite dinosaur.

Hattie is Hattie Brown, AKA Hurricane Hattie and she will be back later. We fought like cats and dogs but when the chips were down and all my friends at work abandoned me, Hattie stood up. Not because she liked me but because it was the right thing to do. I've always respected her since.

Deana Carter interview from 1996

Deana Carter comes from a rich musical background. No, not that Carter Family. Her father was legendary Nashville session man Fred Carter, Jr. That name may not be familiar to you, but it's a sure bet the man's music is. He's played with everybody from Buck Owens and Marty Robbins to Simon and Garfunkle.
"There was a thing way back then called the Nashville Sound," explains Deana (pronounced DEAN-AH as in Dean Martin, after whom she is named). "And my dad was an integral part in creating that sound. Kind of post-Chet Atkins and the old school guys. The younger guys who came to town in the mid fifties had a new sound. He was one of the main architects of that sound, and it was something that Paul Simon wanted on his records. So did Roy Orbison, and Levon Helm (The Band) and a lot of other people.
"He was reeling off some the names he's played with and it's a wild list - Red Foley, Ray Charles, Tony Bennett, Bob Dylan, Joan Baez, John Anderson, Waylon and Willie. Alice Cooper. He's played with everybody. He was the first musician to go double scale. Studio musicians used to be paid a flat rate. He was the first one to say you're going to have to pay me double because I'm getting worked to death. There was a big upheaval in Nashville, people hated him for a while, but now (some) musicians are triple scale and he was a real pioneer in that movement. And he's a good dad, too."
Surrounded by music and musicians, Deana always knew she wanted to follow in her father's formidible footsteps. She made her first attempt at snagging a record deal when she was seventeen years old. Things didn't work out, and although she was disappointed at the time she's philosophical about it now.
"It didn't work because I wasn't ready. Plain and simple. Looking at it now from age 30 I can see I was nowhere near ready - especially for what I wanted to do in music, which was to be different and to have an artistic quality about myself, that would be distinctive. And I didn't have any of that stuff at 17. Lee Ann Rimes has it, her voice is great, but she's not writing - maybe she will - but at 17 you just haven't lived enough to have anything of value to say to anybody. At least I hadn't."
Plan B involved college and a career in rehabilitation therapy.
"I worked at rehabilitation therapy for about a year. It just broke my heart every day. I had a couple of patients that died. When you've been with someone every day for six weeks or three months, and you come in and their bed is pressed and starched and empty, it does something to you. Another thing that bothered me was the reality of government pull and insurance and things that have nothing to do with the side of medicine that cares if people get better. It's just numbers and money and I just couldn't handle it. I can't stand that stuff.
"I still kept at music while I was in college, just kind of messing around. Humoring myself, doing cover bands. My dad gave me a guitar when I was a senior in college and that was the first time I really started playing. I was 22. I was trying to write and I'd never had a lesson so it was kind of a long haul."
"When I decided to get serious about music, I quit therapy, did odd jobs - selling china door-to-door, temp services, cleaning urinals. Then I landed a job waiting tables at Zaney's which is a comedy club here (in Nashville). And that was really a blessing for me because I learned a lot about stage presence and about entertaining and relating to people as an entertainer, when I had no clue how that worked. It was great to see that from another genre of entertainment. I waited tables at Zaney's for a couple of years and I wrote songs, went to writer's night, took notes, bought albums, just did my homework."
Deana made a difficult task even harder by refusing to settle for writing anything less than the perfect, definitive song.
"My professor referred to Bob Dylan in class, so that became my goal. I wanted to write a song that was credible enough to have depth and meaning and be in a poetry book in the year 3000. I ended up sabotaging myself cuz I was trying to write deep, murky dark stuff, trying to be creative - which means I was just faking it. And it doesn't resonate if it's not real."
Eventually all that homework started to pay off.
"Willie Nelson gave me what I guess you would call my big break. He asked me to perform at Farm Aid in 1994. And I was the only female on the bill. I didn't realize till it was over when I was standing on stage and I looked around and saw that I was the only girl. I saw Willie Saturday at this past Farm Aid. And it was wonderful to be able to publicly credit him with helping me so much. Farm Aid was excellent. I got to introduce John Conlee, Steve Earle and John Mellencamp, which was great. We played and there was tons of great people playing from Son Volt, Jewel to Rusted Root and Hootie and the Blowfish. It was great to meet everybody. And to hear people that aren't even in country music say stuff like "I can't wait to hear you play," and "I love your song". That's a trip in itself. It's like you're all camping together, cuz you're all in your buses hanging out. You're bus hopping all the time"
The song the performers are referring to is of course "Strawberry Wine," a wistful erotic ballad about first love. It is one of the cuts (no pun intended) off "Did I Shave My Legs For This?" Deana's Capitol Nashville CD. Deana is more mature now. She's not trying to write perfect songs, she's trying to write them honestly. She co-wrote six of the eleven songs here, unusual for a new artist.
"I insisted on doing much of the writing because I wanted to make a statement that I was serious, so that people don't think I'm an ornament, or that I'm hovering above. It bothers me that they give Shania so much grief she did write those songs and she was probably involved as much as I was. And my name isn't even on production credits. Sometimes you only get one shot, and if this is to be my one shot then I want to go down kicking and screaming."
Deana's stamp is all over this album, from the 3-D multi-image cover ("I know they've had varieties of that in pop and alternative music, but they've never had a holographic cover in country. I am excited about because now we kind of have poetic justice to do wild things on the cover now. Right out of the chute we did a swan dive there.") to the inspirational aphorism from Theodore Roosevelt inside ("I am a history buff - mainly for the knowledge of people who achieved very high standards. I've always tried to find little sound bites like that, to put in my car or on my refrigerator. Or if I get a great fortune cookie I'll put it on my mirror for while. Little things like that have encouraged me and kept me going.")
The CD was delayed several times. Some of the executives had qualms about releasing a CD with such a potentially-controversial title. But "Did I Shave My Legs For This?" is such a sharp (again no pun intended) commentary on the ongoing war between the sexes that Deana insisted on titling the CD after it. There was also some confusion as to what should be the initial release.
"We had originally planned to release "I've Loved Enough to Know" as the first single. And we were playing these showcases around the country with the radio people and they kept coming back with "Man, we love the "Strawberry Wine" song; when are you coming out with that? We got such a response that we decided to go ahead and change our plans. And it was two weeks before the release, so we had a video in the can and all of the artwork and packaging done with the other song, so we had to do a complete turnaround.
Deana took advantage of the time before the CD was released to lay the groundwork for a long-term career. She's toured all over the country - and the world.
"When Jimmy Bowen was head of the label I sat down and asked him what were the possibilities of my having a worldwide career, and he said very good if you do well here because Garth was doing so well overseas. And I said I want to go now while I'm unknown because that way we can go for six months as opposed to being successful here and not being able to get there. We were making a name for ourselves so we can hopefully go back with a hit record. People in Europe and other countries are interested in "Strawberry Wine" and I think it's because we did lay that groundwork. I think if we were just coming out cold nobody would really care."
People care now. In an age of cookie-cutter artists, Deana stands out as a distinctively talented young woman. We need more of her kind. In fact, you might say that Deana and "Did I Shave My Legs For This?" has arrived just in the "nick" of time. (Okay, that time pun intended.)

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Tuesday, October 15th 1996

Deana Carter was very nice -- and I was very calm -- so it was a good interview. It didn't look like it was going to happen for a while though. Kim is on a field trip with Cricket to pick a pumpkin from the patch, so I had to entertain Dylan -- the most surefire way being of course that big purple reptile from our imagination. But I couldn't find the remote control and when I did the VCR was so fuzzy you could barely make the figures out -- but Dylan was happy to hear the songs -- and he kept out of the way -- although he'll probably need glasses. He only interrupted a couple of times and then only to say "I watch Barney!"
Little Caesar's had a customer appreciation sale -- pizzas for $2.99, so I went to Oakbrook and stood in a line that ran all the way back to Bi-Lo. I gave myself permission to actually eat and enjoy pizza rather than sneak bites until I've consumed several slices without ever actually admitting to myself that that's what I'm doing. I thought about having a beer with it -- I don't know how long it's been since I've had a beer but it's been a while -- however after standing in that line all that time I didn't feel like waiting for anything else. I had seltzer water with my pizza and a little bit of semi-flat Diet Coke -- Yes, it was hot again today. We also did our weekly grocery shopping today -- Dylan had another screaming meemee fit when his banana broke -- as they always do -- I really think it's not the breaking of the banana that really sends him around the bend, it's the fact that nobody will help him put it back together
Deana Carter was funny. I told her that the younger version of herself in the "Strawberry Wine" video looked a lot like her. I was just wondering if they were related, but Deana was very appreciative of the "compliment." "Well, thank you so much. She is just so attractive."
She also asked me if I was from Louisiana, said I had a Cajun accent.

I was interviewing Deana Carter for Country Standard Time, a now defunct magazine. The reason I emphasize how nice she was and how calm I was is because this was probably my second interview I did for Country Standard Time. The first was Shelby Lynne and I was nervous -- and Shelby was terse -- and it was not a great interview. If I can find the Deana Carter piece I will post it.
It's funny that she said I had a Cajun accent. Somebody told me that today in 2011. I have never been to Louisiana.
That annoying way of eating pizza not by the slice but by the sliver is something I still do.