FORWARD

THE “ FORWARD “ TO A BOOK MORE OR LESS PREPARES YOUFOR WHAT YOUR ABOUT TO READ, BUT IN THIS CASE FOR THE SAKE OF ALWAYS WANTING TO BE DIFFERENT WHICH IS MY PECULIAR PREDILECTION, I CHOOSE TO REFER TO IT AS A “ONE-WARD” IN THE SENSE THAT DESTINY IS A LINEAR PROGRESSION THAT STARTS NOWHERE AND ENDS NOWHERE; A PERFECTED SOLITARY MARCH WE ALL MAKE STRETCHING INTO ETERNITY WITH THE INFINITE CHAINSAW HAND OF GOD CLEARING A STELLAR PATH FOR THE PILGRIMS OF MARVELS AND REVELATIONS.

HOW OR WHY A SKINNY KID FROM NEW YORK BORN IN THE 40’S, RAISED ON CLASSICAL MUSIC AND DOO-WOP SHOULD WIND UP ON THE NASHVILLE STREETS IN 1963, A BOY WHO WOULD LATER BE DUBBED AS THE GUY WHO PLANTED THE SEED FOR THE COUNTRY MUSIC “OUTLAW” REVOLUTION, IS SUCH A PREPOSTEROUS SPECULATION THAT EVEN IN MY OWN MIND SITTING HERE OVER A HALF CENTURY LATER IT SEEMS LIKE THE MOST BOGUS TALE ANYBODY COULD EVER COME UP WITH. YET, MY FATE WAS SEALED IN THAT MY DESTINY SAVED ME FROM A PERIL WORSE THEN ANYTHING ONE COULD IMAGINE. 

I WAS BORN IN 1942 TO A PROTECTIVE MOTHER WHO SHIELDED ME FROM A RAGE-A-HOLIC POLISH IMMIGRANT FATHER WHO WAS THE EMBODIMENT OF TENNESSEE WILLIAM'S FAMOUS CHARACTER, STANLEY KOWOLSKI. THIS GUY WAS LIKE LIVING WITH A T-REX ON CRACK; EVERY CELL IN HIS OVERBEARING INSANE BRUTE BODY WAS PROGRAMMED TO DESTROY.  YOU NEVER KNEW WHEN HE WAS GONNA GO OFF HIS CORK; YOU’S BE SITTING THERE AT THE DINNER TABLE EATING A PORK CHOP WHEN ALLOF A SUDDEN THE ROOM WOULD BE EXPLODING, AND EVERYTHING THAT A MOMENT AGO THAT HAD BEEN STATIONARY WAS NOW AIRBORNE. MY POOR MOTHER WOULD GO INTO FITS OF NERVOUS SEIZURES THAT LATER IN YEARS QUALIFIED HER FOR THE WIG TRIP BLUES STUMBLING AND MUMBLING IN AND OUT OF ROOMS TALKING TO PEOPLE WHO WEREN’T THERE. MY FATHER HAD ONE SAVING GRACE, HE WAS A FRUSTRATED CLASSICAL PIANIST. THE MAN WAS A SAVANT GENIUS;  SOMEHOW, THIS POLACK NEANDERTHAL ALLEY OOP PERSON HAD MASTERED READING AND PLAYING MUSIC ON SOME OLD CRAPPED OUT PIANO THAT WAS IN HIS LOWER EAST SIDE APARTMENT HE GREW UP IN WITH HIS EIGHT BROTHERS AND SISTERS. BY THE TIME HE WAS 12, HE COULD PLAY THE WORKS OF THE MASTERS AND WAS ACTUALLY TEACHING AND PERFORMING ALL OVER NEW YORK. QUITE AN ACCOMPLISHMENT FOR A PERSON WHOSE INHERENT NATURE WAS TO DEMOLISH AND SCARE PEOPLE TO DEATH. HE WAS A BRAWLER AND A STREET FIGHTER WHO PLAYED CHOPIN AND MOSART WITH THE SENSITIVITY OF A BUTTERFLY. TRY TO FIGURE THAT ONE OUT.

TERRIFIED OF MY FATHER, I DISTANCED MYSELF BY RUNNING WITH GANGS OF STREET BOYS WHO STOLE ANYTHING AND EVERYTHING THEY COULD GET THEIR HANDS ON, ME INCLUDED. IT WAS AS IF I WAS IMBUED WITH THE SPIRIT OF JESSE JAMES. I HAD NO SELF AWARENESS, NO FAITH IN ANYTHING, NO SELF ESTEEM, AMBITIONS,  DREAMS, DIRECTION, OR ANYTHING THAT RESEMBLED A THOUGHT PROCESS THAT COULD COULD LEAD ME TO A PRODUCTIVE JOYFUL LIFE. I WAS PRIMED TO REBEL AGAINST ANYTHING THAT MOVED; THAT IS UNTIL I WAS WALKING DOWN JAMAICA AVENUE IN QUEENS ONE DAY AND SAW A HARMONY GUITAR HANGING IN THE WINDOW OF A PAWN SHOP. I STOOD THERE TRANSFIXED AS IF I HAD SUDDENLY MET A LONG LOST BROTHER THAT MY PARENTS HAD NEVER TOLD ME ABOUT; I STARED DEEPLY INTO THE THING SPINNING INTO THE VORTEX OF IT’S WOOD, IT’S SUNBURST FINISH, STRINGS, TUNING PEGS, AND ALL THOSE DELICIOUS SECRETS THAT OVER ALL THESE YEARS I’VE COME TO KNOW AS GODS EXTRAORDINARY LITTLE CREATION, A CREATION THAT WOULD LIFT ME OUT OF THE MUCK OF TERROR THAT I EXISTED IN AND LIFT ME TO A LOFTY RAMPART OF STATURE, HARMONY AND GRACE. WHEN I WAS TWELVE I BOUGHT THE THING WITH 25 DOLLARS I’D SAVED WORKING IN MY FATHERS WAREHOUSE. THUS BEGAN A JOURNEY THAT WOULD LEAD ME TO THE HILLBILLY ALTERS OF THE GREAT COUNTRY HAM GOD AND ELEMENTAL GIANTS OF TWANG, THE SPANGLE SUIT MANIAC FARM BOYS WHO SONG BY SONG ERECTED A THOUSAND MILE HIGH PYRAMID THAT ENGULFED THE SOUTHLAND AND CALLED IT COUNTRY MUSIC. HOW I EVER ENDED UP PROSTRATED AT THE FEET OF THESE HARD LIVING TRUTH CRUSADERS IS BEYOND MY CRAZY IMAGINATION OR UNDERSTANDING, BUT I DID, LIVING THROUGH ONE OF THE MOST MARVELOUS EXPERIENCES I EVER COULD HAVE HOPED FOR. AT TWENTY YEARS OLD I WAS MIRACULOUSLY TRANSPORTED TO "OZ NASHVILLE." GUITAR IN HANDWIDTH A VOLCANIC DREAM IN MY EYES, I WAS PLOPPED DOWN SMACK IN THE MIDDLE OF RESURRECTION ALLEY, SIXTEENTH AVENUE SOUTH, MUSIC ROW NASHVILLE. IT WAS THERE I WOULD SPEND THE ZILLIONS OF FRENETIC IMPASSIONED HOURS IT TOOK, LEAPING FREELY INTO THE DRAGONS MOUTH SURROUNDED BY THE WILDEST AMALGAM OF MERCURIAL MISFITS WHO I JOINED ON THE PATH THAT LED TO THE LAND OF “THE HEARTFELT SONG," NIRVANA FOR SONGWRITERS. THIS IS WHERE THE STORY BEGINS!