Story 1996-04-27 London, England

27.04.96 London, England, intro to ´Atlantic City´
´´Thanks, good evening….alright, how are you tonight ? (cheers) oh, this is where I make my little disclaimer, cajole, threaten the audience (chuckles) uh, tonight´s got a lot of quiet music so I need as much quiet as I can get, if somebody around you´s making a little too much noise, feel free to band together (someone yells) aah, thank you, my friend (chuckles) and ask them very politely ´Please shut the fuck up´ (chuckles) that way I don´t have to come out and start slapping people around like I did the other night and ruin my nice guy image, you see (chuckles)….´´

27.04.96 London, England, intro to ´Straight Time´
´´Thank you, this is a, uh….song about, uh…..a fellow trying to figure out how to be new, I think everybody reaches a point in their lives where a lot of your old answers….fall in on you and then you sort of either….figure something else out or you start kind of dying in that spot ….this is about a fellow who gets out of prison and is trying find his way into his family life and into the world at large….trying to learn how to live some (?) of a normal life but, uh, it can be hard when the things that make you feel most alive are the same things that bring you down….this is called ´Straight Time´….´´

27.04.96 London, England, intro to ´Highway 29´
´´Thank you, this is a, uh, song about self-knowledge because, I´m telling the folks, when I was 23 or 4 I was really filled with self-knowledge (chuckles) and that´s sort of….well, that´s sort of, the sign that you actually know very little about yourself is thinking you know a whole lot about yourself (chuckles) and, uh, so that´s sort of, I guess, the blessings of lack of self-knowledge…this is a song about, uh, self-knowledge coming a little too late, as it usually does, after you´ve made a big mistake….´´

27.04.96 London, England, intro to ´Highway Patrolman´
´´Woh ! it´s hot in here tonight….hey, am I the only one sweatting up here ? (chuckles)….(a loud guy: ´We love you, Brucie !´)….that gentleman´s not, not seated as fortunately tonight but, uh (chuckles) I love you too (chuckles)….´´

27.04.96 London, England, intro to ´The Wish´
´´Oh, thank you, this is, uh…..this is a song I wrote about two years ago, I wrote it for my, my mother and I didn´t play it for ten years….uh, because in the business that I´m in, unfortunately singing about your mother….doesn´t go down that well….(?)….you can sing about fucking your mother, that´s alright….a lot of people done that, done very well with that ….but, uh…..what can I say ? it´s a professional (?)….but, uh…..and, and the irony of it is Elvis, one of the greatest mother-lovers of all-time…..but he never sang about her….´cept on that first record, on that first record that he made in that little booth….somebody told him not to put that out, you see (chuckles) but you travel around and even though….there´s not a lot of mother-singing going on outside of gospel and country music (chuckles) I came out of Italy….them people know how to love their mothers over there, they ain´t afraid of showing it either….was over in Scotland….I think I was there the day of that big tournament, I forget what the event was, some sort of big sporting event, I think they lost, unfortunately…I don´t wanna say to who, alright (chuckles)….and there was a lot of serious drinking going on in the streets on that day….a lot of people going home to their mothers that night (chuckles) U.S.A, gangsters and country singers, they love their mothers (chuckles) gospel music, there´s even a group called The Mother Lovers (?) that´s true, you didn´t know that, did you ? (chuckles) and here in England….the Queen Mother, let´s face it (chuckles) you know, as Saddam Hussein would say, ´The mother of all mothers´ (chuckles) and uh (chuckles) and, uh, I was on my way to the gig we did in Brixton the other night and I passed the Queen Mother´s Sports Studio….that´s where she pumps iron, I guess (chuckles) but uh (chuckles) yep….that about covers the whole mother thing (chuckles) and so, as I say, let´s hope this isn´t a, uh, horriblis songes (chuckles) what kind of language is that ? (chuckles) yeah…..´´

27.04.96 London, England, intro to ´Adam Raised a Cain´
´´(?)(someone: ´Do one for your dad´) what ? (chuckles)(some yells) oh, one for my Dad, oh shit (chuckles) that could get pretty dark (chuckles)….but….maybe you asked for it (chuckles)….(tunes his guitar)….this one´s for my Dad….´´

27.04.96 London, England, intro to ´Brothers Under the Bridge´
´´Uh, here´s a song that´s set in the….San Gabriel Mountains, mountains in-between….the San Fernando Valley and, uh, Mojave Desert, outside of Los Angeles….and uh….it´s funny ´cause you get about 25 minutes outside of Los Angeles and….and you hit the foothills of these, of the San Gabriels´ and then you can go a 100 miles and there´s just, there´s one little town….and one little store and it takes you way over to the other side, out into the desert…. and there was a group of homeless Vietnam Veterans who set a camp up, left the city and set a camp up out in the San Gabriels´, this is the story of one of them that has a grown daughter that he´d never seen and, uh…..she comes, she grows up and comes looking for her dad….. and what he has to say to her….this is called ´Brothers Under the Bridges´…..´´

27.04.96 London, England, intro to ‘Dry Lightning´
´´This is a, uh… about men, women and uh….remember that old poem (?) ´What we have here is a (?) community´ ? (chuckles)….I guess this is about that….I usually preface this song by saying….I was in one relationship for 30 years….but it was with a lot of different women…..and it was the wrong one (chuckles) ooh, but I had it down (chuckles)….yeah, first it was fun, then you run (chuckles)….but I got lucky….and I´ve got my luck with me tonight ….but uh….this is one, I guess, about not being so lucky….it´s called ´Dry Lightning´….´´

27.04.96 London, England, intro to ´Spare Parts´
´´I remember when I was a kid, music seemed so powerful to me that….I thought that, you know, if you wrote the right song or took the right stand….that you could save the world or change the world in some fashion….and uh….then you get a little older and, uh….the world kicks that Messianic complex right out of you (chuckles) but, uh, you can forget too about what is possible…this is a song about somebody that saves the part of the world that they touch, just the part that they touch…..that´s not so bad…..´´

27.04.96 London, England, intro to ´Sinaloa Cowboys´
´´Thank you, this is Kevin Buell, my good friend….financial advisor, yogi, guru….soon-to-be presidential candidate in the United States….just as good as the other guys (chuckles)…and without whom which….I´d be crying like a (?) up here (chuckles)….mystery keyboardist….(?) (chuckles)…this next series of songs are set on the California-Mexico border and, uh….I was in this little town in Arizona in 1989 and….when I get the chance, I take a trip out there with these, there´s these three brothers that I, that I go with, my, my wife calls it ´man dancing´… which is, I guess, what it is, you know (chuckles) but, uh….it was about 80 miles east of the California border, we were sitting outside this little motel around 11.30, 12 o´clock at night and uh, the fall in the low desert, real warmy and (?) nights, it´s 80 degrees or 85 degrees and the heat that soaked into the ground during the day is coming back up at you….and, uh, so we´d sit out there, play some cards or….listen to some music….and these two Mexican men came in from the west, one was a young kid, he was kind of high, the other one was a fellow about my age, you know, and, uh, he started to look at the motorcycles and he started talking about a younger brother that he….that he had who´d died a couple of months earlier in a motorcycle accident in Southern California….he sat for about an hour and talked about his kidbrother….and, uh…..I think it´s ´cause that first line of family always feels like it´s to protect the ones that come after you…..I know when my kids were, my first son was about to be born, I….I remember realising that, like, along with all this sort of happiness and anticipation, there´s this whole new fear that you gotta live with…..and that it´s for ever and that you´ll always be….you know, worried, I guess…..and you can´t in the end protect them, you really can´t in the end protect them….so….I was writing this song….about these two brothers that get caught up in the Central California drug trade and, uh, the Mexican gangs come up and hire migrant workers to work in the metamphetamine labs and they´re the ones that get blown up or busted by the DEA….and I was thinking about that, that sense of loss and hurt in my friend´s voice… I dedicate this every night to him…..and, uh, it´s called ´Sinaloa Cowboys´….´´

27.04.96 London, England, intro to ´The Line´
´´Thank you….this next song is set at San Diego border station and what you get in Southern California is a lot of young guys who come out of the army….they don´t know what to do and they end up working for the California border patrol which is a real confusing job, an impossible job, I guess….and, uh, (?) Mexican writer Carlos Fuentes said California was Mexico till about 1848 so the border, the Southern border feels more like a scar than a borderline….this is a story of a young border patrolman trying to figure out where that, where that line really is….´´

27.04.96 London, England, intro to ´Balboa Park´
´´Thank you….thanks, this, uh, next song´s about kids and uh, you know, I remember before I had my own kids, they just seemed like aggravating little bastards, you know what I mean ….and, uh, then you have your own and you realise that they are aggravating little bastards (chuckles) but uh (chuckles) man, I used to hate it when my buddies used to come over and, you know, I didn´t have the kids, they had the kids and they´d sit on the couch and talk to you for an hour about, you know, the kid pissed and it went in the toilet or something, you know (chuckles) oh, yeah, that´s the meaning of friendship, listening for an hour to that (chuckles) but, uh, now I get to sit here and I bore thousands with stories of my own kids (chuckles) and uh….then everybody´s always asking you, you know, what, what´s changed and how it changed your life and all that stuff….and uh….outside of my son banging in the balls about 20 times (chuckles) he found that spot, he knows it doesn´t hurt here, it doesn´t hurt there (chuckles) ´Daddy !´ (chuckles) what am I talking about ? (chuckles)(?)(chuckles) see, it poisons your brain (?)(chuckles)(?)(chuckles) everybody said, you know, ´Hey, what´s, what´s the big difference ?´, you know, I guess the real, the real difference is I think the kids, they got this window that´s open onto the grace that´s in the world and they haven´t, they haven´t closed it yet, you know, and so that grace comes through, through that window and they bring it into your life just by being there and uh….you know, it´s, uh….I think that that´s something that closes down as you get older, you gotta fight to keep that open….and, uh, that´s why I always say people go out and go see films or listen to music or go see art or engage in bizarre and unusual sexual practises, you know (chuckles) just to bring that, to get that grace back into your life somehow (chuckles) you know, but kids, they bring it with ´em when they come….but I think that another funny thing about it is that once you have yours, you know, they all look different all of a sudden, they all….you know (?) I don´t know….you feel some connection, you know, if you pick up a paper….you always feel some connection to all, all of them….and uh….this is a song about kids that come….come across the border into San Diego, they can be as young as 11 years old, 10 years old, 14, 15 and they run dope out of Mexico into San Diego and sell ´emselves in this place called Balboa Park….and uh…. they´re unprotected, this is what happens when that grace gets violated, I guess…..´´

27.04.96 London, England, intro to ´Across the Border´
´´When I was, I grew up in a house where there wasn´t a lot of….culture or talk about films or art, everybody was kind of busy keeping their head above water and uh… music was really the first thing that sort of, you know, woke me up, I guess, you know, and, uh, that sustained me for a long time….and when I was 26, pretty old, but better late than never, I guess, a friend of mine showed me John Ford´s Grapes of Wrath and, you know, I´d, I´d read some Steinbeck in high school but you know how it is reading in high school, you´re going over to (?)(chuckles) so then I went back to the, to the novel and read the novel and realised that it was so great and uh….I sort of return, particularly to that film, I guess, ´cause I saw that first, over and over again, many, many, many times since then, you know….and, uh, I remember sitting after it was over thinking ´Yeah, that´s, that´s what I wanna do, you know, I wanna some kind of work that hopefully is gonna mean something to somebody´ and uh….I think that the book and the film ask a real fundamental question that´s sort of answered by the choices we make every day and, uh…..which is, you know, if you believe that, is there such a thing as independent salvation or an independent soul or is everybody, you know, some small part of something, something more and then what does that mean in regards to the way that you live, you know, how you live a good life….and uh…..sort of decide what, what world you wanna live in….uh, there´s a scene at the end of the picture that sort of nails this on the head, Tom Joad´s gotta….he´s killed a security guard that´s killed a friend of his and he´s gonna have to leave his family….and he knows he´s gonna have to tell his mother that after she´s already lost her home and they´ve come thousands of miles and they have nothing….that she´s gonna lose her son now….but before this scene there´s this, this, he shoots this dance scene in this work camp and it´s very lovely the way it´s shot, the faces and the way people are holding one another and the music and the sense of, of happiness and I always felt that that´s Ford holding out the possibility of beauty and, uh, the usefulness of beauty….(?) so where there´s beauty, there´s hope, where there´s hope, there´s some sort of divine love, or whatever you like to call it, you know….but, uh, at the end of that scene Tom slips into his mother´s tent where she´s sleeping and he touches her real gently and says ´Mama, I gotta go now´….and they step out underneath these trees and the mother says ´Well, Tommy, I knew this day would come but how will I know how you are, you know, how will I know if you´re well, if you´re alive, will I ever see you again ?´….and he says ´Well, all I know is I gotta go out, I gotta kick around and see what´s wrong and see if there´s anything I can do about it to make it right….and you´ll see me because at night I´ll be in that darkness that surrounds you when you´re sleeping, Ma….and I´ll be in men´s voices when they´re yelling ´cause they´re angry or when they´re happy….´cause they got work….and I´ll be in the way that kids sound when they come in and they know that there´s food on the table and that they´re safe, that they´re protected, that they got a home´….he says ´You´ll see me´….and he disappears off into the night, the next scene is the Joads heading north looking for work in the morning and the father says ´What are we gonna do without Tommy ?´, the mother says ´Well, we´re gonna keep on going´….so that´s what this song is about, this is a song about how even after the world reveals itself….people keep on going and return to faith and hope and, uh…..belief in love because that´s all there is…..´´

27.04.96 London, England, intro to ´Blinded by the Light´
´´Ah, stage rushers (chuckles) at the Albert Hall, it was done very discreetly there, it was like ….(chuckles) alright….and then I will play this man´s requests….I played this the other night and disaster struck, let´s hope that doesn´t happen tonight…. ´´

27.04.96 London, England, intro to ´This Hard Land´
´´Ah, this is a song about faith, hope, love, brotherhood, sisterhood, a strange sense of community (chuckles)….how it ain´t over till it´s over out there….(?)….little tequila on the side, every Western I ever saw….´´

27.04.96 London, England, intro to ´Galveston Bay´
´´I´d like to, uh, just take a second and thank everybody for coming down to the shows that I´ve done here in London, thank you all very much…´s a real trip to get to play here, it´s a beautiful building, (?)…was, uh….and, uh, hey (?) I guess, uh, since I´ve come here in 1975 I´ve gotten a lot of support from my British fans and I just wanna say thank you, Brixton…. this is, uh….this is a song that, uh, it was the last song I wrote for the Tom Joad record and it´s based on, uh….a series of incidents that happened in the, uh (people yelling) could you guys do me a favor and shut up ? don´t do that ! (chuckles) thank you (chuckles) but uh, uh, it´s based on a series of incidents that happened in the Gulf Coast of Texas in the mid-80´s where you had a, at the end of the Vietnam War you had a lot of Vietnamese refugees that came and settled in the Gulf Coast of Texas because it reminded ´em of home, they went into the fishing industry and there was a lot of tension between the Vietnamese fishermen and Texas fishermen, many of whom had served in Vietnam…..this is called ´Galveston Bay´….´´

Compiled by : Johanna Pirttijärvi

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