Story 1995-12-17 New York City, NY

17.12.95 New York City, NY, intro to ´Adam Raised a Cain´
´´Thank you, good evening….thank you very much, uh…..this is where I give my little speech, it won´t take long, uh….these songs were written with the, using a lot of silence so during the course of the night for me to be able to give my best to you, I need as much quiet as I can get during the course of the tunes….uh….so, you know, singing or clapping will be met by arrest of a special contingent of the New Jersey state police, uh….if you have any of those little cameras, please keep ´em in your pocket or crush ´em under your left foot or something and it is a community event so if somebody´s making too much noise around you feel free in the most constructive way to ask them to please shut the fuck up, alright….uh…. now I got that off my chest (chuckles)….thank you for your co-operation….´´

17.12.95 New York City, NY, intro to ´Straight Time´
´´This is, uh, thank you very much…..this is a song, uh, about a fellow….who gets out of prison and comes home and is trying to find out how he can find a way to integrate himself back into the world, back into his family….and uh….you know, old habits, they, they die really hard….because those are the things that….those are the things that somehow give us a feeling of who we are no matter how destructive or harmful they may be…..everybody´s laid awake at night and uh….had the worst of them feel like their only hope sometimes, like their only chance, only breath of fresh air….so this is….this is called ´Straight, Straight Time´….´´

17.12.95 New York City, NY, intro to ´Highway 29´
´´Thank you, thank you…..this is a song, I guess, you know, when you´re young you always feel like….you really know yourself, you know, like you´ll know what you´ll do, you know what you won´t do….it´s amazing how….how stupid you get older, you know (chuckles) but uh….you know, I always thought that I did and then as I, as I, as I grew a little older, I realised I was gonna have to learn to accept myself as a total stranger and find happiness, you know (chuckles) so this is a song, I guess, about, uh…..uh, not really knowing what you´re capable of, good or bad, and, uh, about a little knowledge coming too late….´´

17.12.95 New York City, NY, intro to ´Murder Incorporated´
´´I guess this is a song that, uh, about how there´s a….there´s a bodycount incorporated into our way of life….we´ve come to, come to accept the….expendabilty of….some of our citizens´ lives and dreams as just a part of the price of doing business…..´´

17.12.95 New York City, NY, intro to ´The Wish´
´´This, uh….this next song is gonna be a little risky, I´ve, uh….I've only played this once before in public….that's, that's to get your sympathy in case I fuck it up….but it's, it's risky for a couple of reasons, you know, it's….it's, uh….it´s, I guess I'm gonna play it tonight 'cause this is my last show before Christmas and it's kind of a Christmas song….don't get your hopes up (chuckles) but uh (chuckles) but what's really kind of dangerous is like….uh, this is a song about my mother so….I've written about my dad a lot and that´s kind of, you know….a manly thing to do (chuckles) but it takes a real man or an Italian to sing about his mother (chuckles)….you see, now, generally mother-singing is confined to country music….gospel music….or Elvis Presley (chuckles)….so I will span the genres (chuckles) as I stand here tonight….though James Gagney had some great mother-lines in his motion pictures so top of the world, Ma, here I go (chuckles)….oh, it´d better be good now (chuckles) this is called The Wish (cheers) who's buying those bootlegs out there ? (chuckles) here we go…."

17.12.95 New York City, NY, intro to ´Brothers Under the Bridges´
´´This is a song I wrote for the, for the last record and it didn´t, didn´t get it on but this is kind of the one that got away, I guess, uh…..but it´s a song, that is, uh…´s about a group of ….of homeless Vietnam Vets that live up in the San Gabriel mountains in California and it´s about a fellow whose daughter….comes looking for her dad…..´´

17.12.95 New York City, NY, intro to ´Dry Lightning´
´´Thank you….this is, uh, this is a song about men and women….uh…..I´ve been telling the folks (?) I was in this one relationship for 30 years….but it was with all different women….. and uh….I think that´s pretty common, that´s what people do, you know, they get into a relationship and they keep doing the same thing over again and then they get to the end and they go ´Hey, what happened ?´….I used to be able to, like, sort of mark my calendar, you know, ´This is the beginning, this is the good part, oh-oh´….so, uh… know, and then you get married, you know, to prove to yourself that you´re, you´re doing it wrong or something, I don´t know why, you know, and, uh, ouch….uh, but then, you know, if you´re lucky, you get married again (?)….so….somebody has mercy on you (chuckles) anyway, this is a song, I guess, uh, about the first 30 years (chuckles) this is about, uh, just missing it, just missing it ….this is called ´Dry Lightning´…. ´´

17.12.95 New York City, NY, intro to ´Spare Parts´
´´Thanks, this is, uh….this is a song, I guess, it´s about sort of….what I think of as real life, real life miracles….which are, uh….you know, there´s things, there´s certain moments when you have opportunities in your life to, to, uh, I don´t know what you wanna call it, to do the right thing, to not add to….the sorrow that´s out there, I guess, and….it´s something that´s in ….in everybody´s reach and it´s an act of faith, I suppose, an act of hope and in doing so, you change yourself and in some small but important fashion, you change the world… this is about somebody….taking that, trying to make that act, that act of hope…..´´

17.12.95 New York City, NY, intro to ´Youngstown´
´´Thank you, this was, uh…..I was, uh, I guess I´d wrote most of the Tom Joad-record and I was….I had some insomnia, I was up, staying up late at night and I was down in my livingroom and I, I pulled this book off the shelf called, uh….it was Journey to Nowhere…. and it was a book by a fella named Dale Maharidge and Michael Williamson, they were two reporters who, they hopped, hopped a train in St.Louis and they rode out to California and up into Oregon, uh, in the middle of the 80´s and reported what they were seeing along, along the way….and uh….at the time I was traveling around, talking to a lot of people from different foodbanks and while we were hearing all this ´Morning in America´, you know, that people were coming up saying that there were more people coming in that that they had ever had before, that there were people coming in who’d, who´d, who´d made good livings previously and been able to support their, their wives and their kids and who´d played by all the rules and done all the right things and uh….were coming up empty-handed….so I read the book and I, I put it down and I laid awake and I thought ´I´m a guy, I only know how to do one thing, what if somebody came and, and told me that that one thing that I could do, well, that wasn´t necessary anymore…..after I was 30 years or 40 years down the road….that wasn´t, that wasn´t needed, that wasn´t useful now….and how would I come home at night and, and face my family and see my children if they needed something to eat or something to wear, how directly it would affect the core sense of, of who I am and what my place is, what my place is….uh….these were people that built, built the bridges that we cross, the buildings we live in….who gave up their sons to the wars that we fought…..´´

17.12.95 New York City, NY, intro to ´Sinaloa Cowboys´
´´Thank you….this is, uh, these next few songs are all set on the California-Mexico border and uh…..when I get a chance, I like to, I travel, there´s these three brothers that I travel with and uh, we took a trip out….out, uh, along the southern California low desert out into Arizona, I guess, a couple of years ago….and uh….uh, we´d take all the state and county roads and stay in all these little motels….and we were in a town about 80 miles east of the California, California line, a little Arizona town….and uh, we were sitting outside this motel in a little four-corner town, it´s got a grocery store and a bar….and this small motel and we´d sit outside at night and park our bikes in the parking lot and we´d drink a little bit and play some cards and listen to some music…..and uh,these two Mexican men came, came in from the west, driving a truck (?) there was a young, young kid and he was kind of high, having a good time, they took the room next to us and the other fellow was a fellow about my age, I guess, and he started looking over our bikes, we got talking and he sat down, for about an hour he told me about his younger brother who died in a, in a southern California motorcycle accident, he rode with a group called (?)…..and uh, there was something in his voice that stayed in the back of my head for like a year and a half….and I was writing this song about…. there was something about the way that he talked about his brother and I guess about, about the idea that the first line of family is always to take care of, you know, to protect, whether it´s your children or your, your wife or your sisters or your brothers, that first line always feels like it is to protect and take care of….and I was writing this song on the Central
California drug trade, these Mexican drug gangs come up from Sinaloa and hire migrant workers to cook up metamphetamine and they´re the ones that get blown up or busted by the DEA and uh…..all the time I was writing it, I heard this fella´s voice in the back of my head so this is for my mysterious friend wherever he may be….this is called ´Sinaloa Cowboys´ ….´´

17.12.95 New York City, NY, intro to ´The Line´
´´Thank you….thanks….when I was a kid, I was always….you know you watch all the old Westerns….and everybody was always sort of fascinated by the outlaw, you know, but I was, I was interested in the sheriff….I always thought ´Man, that´s a tough job´ (?) like, like Henry Fonda in My Darling Clementine or Gary Cooper in High Noon, they were the people that interested me, the idea of having to, having to decide where that line is….so, this, this is a song set at the San Diego border station where there´s a lot of guys, young guys that get out of the, they get out of the army and they, they end up working for the, the INS and the border patrol and it´s a very, it´s a very confusing, I think, a confusing job, it´s very difficult to know where, where the line really is…..´´

17.12.95 New York City, NY, intro to ´Balboa Park´
´´Thank you….uh, this next song, this is, uh, set in San Diego and, uh…..there´s these young kids that come, they have to come skipping across the river and they´re either running, they´re 12, 13, 14 years old, running drugs over to San Diego strip or….selling themselves out on….out in this area called Balboa Park….and they sniff this stuff called toncho, it´s really, it´s really octane boost and it fights off cold and fights off your hunger and it rots your brain….´´

17.12.95 New York City, NY, intro to ´Across the Border´
´´Thank you….I was, when I was a kid, you know, I grew up in a house where there wasn´t a lot of culture, I don´t think we knew exactly what the word meant and uh, you know, there wasn´t a lot of books or, or, there wasn´t any discussions about art or, or….uh, matter of fact we were, I think we were all highly suspicious of black-and-white movies at the time (chuckles)(?) a real challenge, you know, and….you know, uh….when I was 26, a close friend of mine showed me John Ford´s Grapes of Wrath and….it was a picture that, that resonated throughout the whole rest of my life and I keep going back to it….and I remember when I saw it, I remember thinking that night, said ´Yeah, that´s, that´s what I wanna do, that´s what I wanna do´….and it´s a lovely, it´s a lovely film, it´s….there´s this…..scene towards the end, it was always my favorite part, where Tom Joad has, has killed a security guard who killed his friend and he´s gonna have to leave his family and they´ve, they´ve traveled so far and they´ve suffered so much and he knows his mother has lost so much and that now she´s gonna have to lose her son….and….it´s set up first by this, this dance scene, in which, which Ford does in a lot of his pictures but this scene is particularly lovely because it´s in the midst of a lof of suffering, there´s, there´s this scene of community that, that holds out the possibility of beauty in the world, which is something, I think, we all….we all chase after ´cause in that beauty, in beauty there´s hope and in hope there´s some sense of, some type of divine love….and this scene is, is very beautiful (?) and at the end of it, Tom, the dance is over and Tom goes into the tent where his mother is sleeping in this camp and he touches her very gently and he says, says ´Ma, I have to go, I have to go now´….and she gets up and they step outside under these dark trees….and they sit and now she says ´Tommy, you know, I knew this day was gonna come….but how am I gonna know, how am I gonna know where you are ? how am I gonna know, how am I gonna know how you are, if you´re alive ?´ ….and he says ´Well, Ma, all I know is I gotta go out and I gotta scratch around and I gotta see what´s wrong and then I gotta see if there´s some way that I can make it right´…..and he says ´You´ll know, you´ll know how I am because I´ll be in the, I´ll be in the dark all around you at night when you lay sleeping….I´ll be in guys´ voices when they´re yelling ´cause they´re mad….and I´ll be in children´s voices when they´re coming in at night for their supper and they know that there´s food on the table and that they´re gonna be safe, that they´ll be safe….because maybe they got it wrong and maybe we´re not all individual souls, maybe we´re just some small, small piece….of, of some, some big soul´….and he disappears….he disappears into the, into the darkness and the next scene is….is the Joads heading north to look for more work and the father says….´You know, Ma, Tommy´s gone, what are we gonna do ?´ and she says ´Well….we´re just gonna keep on going´….´´

17.12.95 New York City, NY, intro to ´This Hard Land´
´´This is a, this is a song about, uh, let me see….about hope, faith, love, community, every Western I ever saw, about how, how it ain´t over till it´s, till it´s over, how there´s a job to do out there, uh….about, uh, uh…..this is for, you gotta stay alive, this is for my good friend, Stevie, this is for you, brother….´´

17.12.95 New York City, NY, intro to ´Galveston Bay´
´´Thank you….oh, I´d just like to, I´d just like to thank you, you were a great crowd tonight, thank you very much….(?) this is music that means a lot to me and, and, and giving me the space and the freedom to do this show is a great gift and I thank you very much…..this, uh, this is a song based, uh, I guess this is, I was getting towards the end of the, end of the Tom Joad-record and this is the last song I wrote and I knew that, that I had, I had a lot of what I needed and I, and I had just written this ´Across the Border´ and I knew, well, that´s, that´s the dream, that´s, that´s the thing that stays and lives inside of people´s hearts, that they carry with, you know (?) of beauty, you know, that, and….but I knew that I needed, I needed something else, I needed what felt like a manifestation of that faith in, in the real world and some….and some real life miracle in some, in someone´s behavior, something that somebody does, something they did that changes them and changes their world and uh, this was a, this is about somebody who does that, this is a, this is a song that was based on, uh….an incident
in the Gulf Coast of Texas in the mid-80´s where at the end of the Vietnam War, the
Vietnamese refugees moved into that area….´cause it reminded them of home and they went into the fishing industry and there was a lot of tension between the Texas fishermen and the Vietnamese fishermen, this is called ´Galveston Bay´….´´

17.12.95 New York City, NY, intro to ´The Promised Land´
´´Alright….here´s something I´ve only done once….goddammit, this is what I´m talking about ….´´

17.12.95 New York City, NY, intro to ´My Best Was Never Good Enough´
´´Thank you….uh….there I sat in the kitchen….with my wife and kids cheering me on….and I called on 30 years of expertise….to explain the state of the universe as I know it !….´´

Compiled by : Johanna Pirttijärvi

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