Story 1996-10-16 Denver, CO

16.10.96 Denver, CO, intro to ´Atlantic City´
´´Thank you, good evening…..nice to be here in Denver….before I start I guess I, there´s a few groundrules that kind of go with the show, uh, most of the music tonight´s real quiet so I really need your assistance in, uh, giving me a little quiet in the middle of the songs, I don´t need to be cheered on too much, I´ve built up quite a bit of confidence over the years and…. and, uh, it´s a….it´s a community event so if somebody around you´s making a little too much noise don´t feel shy about banding together and politely telling ´em to shut the fuck up, alright….yeah, that´ll save me from, uh, having to do what I did the other night, I had to step into the audience and slap a young child, it really blew my man-of-the-people image, I can´t have that….thank you !…..´´

16.10.96 Denver, CO, intro to ´Straight Time´
´´Alright, thank you (people yell) aw, shut up (chuckles)….alright, this is a song about, uh….. I think everybody reaches a point in their life when your old answers run out on you….and uh ….it´s a song about a fellow that gets out of prison and is trying to find his way back into his family and back into the world, he´s trying to, he´s trying to learn how to be new, how to be new, that´s hard to do, I think particularly when sometimes the things that feel like hope to you are the same things that bring you down…..this is called ´Straight Time´, everybody´s had that…..´´

16.10.96 Denver, CO, intro to ´Highway 29´
´´Thank you, this is a…..this is a song about sudden insight…, sudden insight usually comes after you´ve fucked up real bad…..that´s a shame, isn´t it ? (chuckles) why is that ? ….this is called ´Highway 29´….´´

16.10.96 Denver, CO, intro to ´Sell It And They Will Come´
´´Thank you…..thanks… a song here, I don´t know if, you probably haven´t heard before, I´ve played it a little bit on this tour but….it´s a new song, it´s one of my greatest songs, let me start out by saying that, this is uh….one of my great greatest songs, as a matter of fact…. it´s a song that, uh, what can I say, I think after I play it, you´ll agree that….it´s gonna make ´em forget all about that Born in the U.S.A bullshit, alright….that´s right….let me give you a little history on this song first, alright….see, I´m out on the road and I´m in my hotelroom at night….by myself….and switching around on the TV-channels all night long….and I fall asleep, wake up, fall asleep, wake up and switch around a little bit….uh, I believe that while you´re sleeping….that the television is sending subliminal messages into your cerebral cortex ….that explains a couple of things….one, explains why so many peope think that they´ve been abducted by aliens, you know….and the other thing, it explains why, like, you wake up ….in the middle of the night wanting things you never wanted before….like exercise equipment….at night I´ll be nodding off and I´ll wake up, ´Feel like a little fishing right about now, it´s 4 a.m, wonder if I can get one of those Magic Reels´….then I´ll nod off again and I´ll come back and I´ll go ´Think I´ll just get down (?) do about a hundred sit-ups right now´ …. I´ll nod off and I´ll come back and I´ll think ´Hmm, maybe I´ll get a hairweave in the morning….yeah, it just struck me, just felt like it, you know….a transplant in the morning maybe, you know….no, no, no, instead I´ll get that little spray can that just spraypaints hair right onto your head….just ´pssshh´´…you know, you start out, those things appall you when you first see them, you know, you go ´Oh my God, who would use that?´, then you go ´Hmm, wonder what I might look like with a little spray paint ?´ (chuckles)… (?)(chuckles) ….oh, so…..uh….I guess that´s about it, let me play the damn thing, get it over with, alright (chuckles)….´´

16.10.96 Denver, CO, intro to ´Red Headed Woman´
´´Thank you, thank you very much, yeah….(?)(some woman: ´Thank you´) oh, oh, thank you (chuckles)(the woman: ´Thank you´) thank you (chuckles) alright, alright, thank me, thank me, alright (chuckles)….now I wanna move on to a great song about a great subject, cunnilingus, and uh…..yeah, that´s right, I hope, I hope I´m pronouncing that correctly, you know….fact of the matter is if you can pronounce it, you can probably do it…..alright (chuckles) and uh, what can I say about this ? uh….you know, it´s sort of like songwriting or like riding a bike, it´s not as easy as it looks…..and uh, it takes craft, attention to detail…. good timing and good cheer and uh, that´s right, and it´s very, uh, the upside is, you know, it scores a lot of points with the missus….that´s right, that´s right, so the next time you do something stupid, like all men do, you can say, uh…..´Darling, remember that night we practised cunnilingus ?´…..and she´ll say ´If you think that makes a difference, yeah, that was pretty nice´….so let me go on by saying I´m sure there are people practising cunnilingus in Denver right now….(the rest of the intro is missing from the source tape)….´´

16.10.96 Denver, CO, intro to ´Brothers Under the Bridge´
´´(?)….this is a song I wrote for the Tom Joad-record and it almost got on, didn´t quite get on but….but it was, uh, set in the San Gabriel Mountains in California, the mountains around outside the San Fernando Valley, in the, uh, in the mid-80´s there was a group of homeless Vietnam Vets that set up a camp out in the San Gabriels… get out of the city and, uh, this is a story about a fella that has a, has a daughter that he´s never seen….and she comes looking for her dad…..and this is what he tells her, this is called ´Brothers Under the Bridge´ ….´´

16.10.96 Denver, CO, intro to ´Dry Lightning´
´´Oh, alright, this is a…..this is a song about men and women….didn't write about that for about 20 years….wonder why (chuckles) uh….spend a lot of money trying to find out why actually (chuckles) 140 bucks an hour….and uh….in the end 'Hmmm, no, I want you to tell me´ (chuckles) but uh…..but uh, they should have put it all in a nutshell, it came down something like this, you know, uh ….man, car….man, car, woman….see, there's always a car in the way (chuckles) you can´t get close when there´s a car in the way (chuckles) so uh, took quite a while to push that car out of the way (chuckles) had four flat tires, wasn´t going nowhere anyway (chuckles) but, uh….so this is about… of those relationships where you sort of, you almost made it, you know, didn't quite get there but it was close, one of those where, you know, 10 years later, 15 years later, you´re going ´Hmmm….wonder what she's doing tonight?´ (chuckles)….and uh….it´s about almost making it….but almost making it still ain´t making it (chuckles)….this is called 'Dry Lightning' ….´´

16.10.96 Denver, CO, intro to ´Long Time Coming´
´´I´ll play a song I never played before….and I hope I get it right, I need some light because I don´t know if I know the words and I have a cheat sheet, you know (chuckles) hey, alright, this is a song I wrote….actually haven´t wrote that many, this is a song about making it, yeah (chuckles) let´s see if I can get it right…..(?) (chuckles) I´m still sort of writing it right now, it´s still being, it´s still being written (chuckles) but it´ll be alright, it´ll be alright (chuckles) this is called ´Long Time Coming´….´´

16.10.96 Denver, CO, intro to ´Youngstown´
´´I was, uh, the first part of this tour I played in Youngstown, Ohio and uh…..yeah, it was fun, I played this little townhall and uh, the first thing I see is a whole troop of boy scouts come marching in in uniforms and everything, you know, so I go ´Gee, no ´Red Headed Woman´ tonight´….aw, hell, they probably knew all about it anyway, I should´ve played it, but, uh….but uh….the audience was filled with people that probably, there wasn´t one of them that hadn´t had a brother or a father or a family member who had, who wasn´t affected when those big mills closed down…..and uh…..I wrote this song about people that built the bridges and built the buildings that we live in and gave their kids to the wars that we fought ….and were deemed expendable…..´´

16.10.96 Denver, CO, intro to ´Sinaloa Cowboys´
´´(?) the one I drink from…..thanks, this is, uh….my compadre, Kevin Buell, guitar man, sexual counsellor, financial advisor….all around nice guy….a man who taught me how to spell ´friend´…he brought a guitar over….said ´Man, you gotta sign this guitar for somebody, I don´t know….and you gotta say ´To my friend´´….you gotta do that sometimes, alright, even though you´ve never met the person… I said ´Ok, ´To my friend´, f-r-e-i-n-d´, blaa, blaa, he says ´No, no, man, that´s not how you spell ´friend´´, I said ´Buddy, I wrote the songs that make the whole world sing, pal, that´s how you spell ´friend´´….he goes ´I don´t think that´s how you spell ´friend´´….´I got a hundred bucks right now that says that´s how you spell ´friend´ and I wouldn´t take that bet if I were you !´….I was very confident (chuckles) so I get …..on my machine, I go home and I put on my machine, he says ´I just checked Webster´s dictionary´ (chuckles) so thank you, my friend (chuckles)….these are the things that pass for drama and tension on the Tom Joad-tour (chuckles) wo ! it´s wild out here, baby (chuckles) alright, this is a song, the next four songs are set, uh, set, uh, uh, at the border between California and Mexico, back in, uh, before I had kids, I used to take these trips with my buddies and uh….my wife calls it ´man dancing´, you know, I guess that´s kind of where it is, you know, it´s better than sort of beating your drum out in the woods or something, you know, so (chuckles) so we take these trips and we go a couple of thousand miles through all these little….all through the Southwest and, uh, you know, we hit all these little desert towns and stay off the interstate and they´re all the same, there´s one, you know, like every 80 or 90 miles and it´s got a gas-station, a grocery store, a motel and a bar….all the things necessary for human life to flourish….and uh….when they go to Mars, that´s what they´re gonna find (chuckles) on a little rock, little rock (chuckles) but uh, we were in this town in Western Arizona, I guess it was, and it was, uh…..uh, late at night and we were sitting outside this little motel, the kind of motel like you can lay in bed and look out the door and see you car parked, you know (chuckles) I like that, it comforts me, comforts me (chuckles) so (chuckles) so we were sitting outside flourishing, having, having a couple of drinks and playing some cards about 11.30 at night and these two Mexican men come in from the west in a big truck, they took the room next to us and one of ´em was a young, a pretty young kid, he was kind of high and the other was a fellow about my age, I guess, and, uh, they come over to our motorcycles and started looking at ´em and he started talking about that he had a brother that died in a Southern California motorcycle accident a couple of months earlier and uh….he talked about it for about an hour and there was something….(?) there was something in his voice that always stayed with me, always stayed with me….and uh, I guess it´s, you know, once you have your kids, you´re, you´re always worried about protecting ´em, you know, it´s, I always think I´m gonna follow ´em around till they´re about 35 or something (chuckles) and uh, and in the end, you know, you really can´t, you know, you really can´t and uh….there was this, but I think there´s a feeling like that first line of family is about taking care and protecting the ones that come after you and when that breaks down, whether it´s your fault or not, I don´t know how people put themselves back together again…..I was, I was writing a song on the Central California drug trade, a song about two brothers, and, uh, where there´s the Mexican gangs come up into the Valley and hire the migrant workers to work in the drug labs where you can make as much in a night or two as you would in a year of hard labor and uh…..when I was writing this song, I had my friend´s….my friend´s voice in my head so I always dedicate this to him wherever, wherever he may be, this is called ´Sinaloa Cowboys´….´´

16.10.96 Denver, CO, intro to ´The Line´
´´Thank you…..thank you, this, uh, this next song is a, there´s a lot of, there´s guys that get out of the, out of the army in and around San Diego end up going to work for the California Border Patrol….it´s a…..confusing job, I think, Carlos Fuentes, the Mexican writer, said, uh ….that California was Mexico till about 1848 so the border is more like a scar than a borderline….and you hear so much about it these days, you know, I still don´t understand how people feel that people coming across the border and do jobs that nobody else wants to do for a low wages at the behest of American businesses is a problem, you know, but uh…. anyway, this is about a young border patrolman trying to figure out where that line really is ….´´

16.10.96 Denver, CO, intro to ´Balboa Park´
´´Thank you….thanks, this, uh, this next song is about kids….and I liked kids before I had the kids, no, even before I had kids, I liked kids (chuckles) and uh, uh, I had, I had mine pretty late and so a lot of my friends had ´em before me, you know, it´s something you can´t really understand, I think, till it happens to you because the people come over and, you know, with pictures and then goes on and on and on for an hour about the kids, you know, ´Oh, man, today he took a piss in the pot for the first time´, you know, and you gotta sit there and go ´Wow !….tell me more, tell me more´ (chuckles) and uh….you know, I guess, you know, they have pictures, what´s worse is after they bring ´em over, you know, and I lived by myself for about 30 years and I don´t like anybody touching my shit most of the time, you know, uh….. you know, so I mean that´s all, when the kids come over, that´s all they wanna do, you know, touch everything so, you know, your guitar´s, you know (makes a sound like something crashes) ´Oh, oh, was that expensive ?´ (chuckles) but then you have your own and you sort of get to seek some revenge, you know, bring over and ´Come on, go, go´…. and, you know, I get to bore thousands with stories about my kids (chuckles) that´s how I like to (?) my fanbase (?) I´m telling you (chuckles) but people always ask you what, what´s, uh, how´s your, how´s your life changed and all that… I say ´Well, I get up at 6.30….I go back to bed at 9.30….and I make pancakes that only kids could love´, you know (chuckles) but uh, besides that, I guess, it´s, I think kids are, they´re like windows….onto the grace that´s in the world, you know, because they´re not all closed up, they´re open and they have some access to that grace on a daily basis and it, it blows through them onto you and, uh, I always remember after my first son was born, how everything felt different, the sun on your face felt a little different, the wind, everything was a little different and it was, it was that window that kind of (?) open, you know, and I hadn´t really felt it before, I think that, that as you get older, as you´re an adult, you know, that´s harder, that´s harder to get to on your own, that´s why people read books or, you know, go to see art, music, engage in bizarre and unusual sexual practises, you know, that´s (chuckles) to bring that grace into their lives somehow (chuckles) you know, but, uh…..but the kids, they bring it with ´em, they just bring it with ´em when they come, you know, so this is a song about kids, 10, 13 years old, still kids, that come, come across the border into San Diego and end up on this strip called Twelfth Street and, uh….it´s about….it could be anybody´s kids, you know, yours or mine, it´s about what happens when that grace goes unprotected…..this is called ´Balboa Park´….´´

16.10.96 Denver, CO, intro to ´Across the Border´
´´Thank you, I….I kind of grew up in a house where…..there wasn´t a whole lot of talk about culture or what books you read or films you saw or, everybody was pretty much busy keeping their heads above water, you know, so the first, the first thing that I really remember that got to me was, you know, music and, and the radio and my mother, when, probably when I was in my early teens, she was still, she was still a young gal and she liked that rock and roll music and she used to have it on in the morning in the kitchen and, uh, I remember coming down and… know, sucking up them cornflakes and hearing the, the singers come across that radio and I heard a message and it said ´There´s a party going on….you´re missing it´, you know (chuckles) and, uh, and there was just something in all those voices that sounded like, you know, there was more to life than what I knew….and there was so much, a world of sadness and enjoyousness, you know, in, uh, in a music that people thought was junk, uh…..and I guess I was 26 when a friend of mine showed me John Ford´s Grapes of Wrath….and I went out and I got the Steinbeck novel and read it and there was….ideas in the book and in the film that resonated for me for the rest of my life, I remember sitting there at the end of that movie, thinking ´That´s, that´s what I wanna do….I wanna do some work that gets into people´s lives and, and means something´, you know, and there was an idea, I think, in the movie and in the novel that, that was at the heart of the question that people ask themselves every day and that´s, you know, ´is, is there such a thing as individual salvation or are people bound together no matter what and ultimately do we rise and fall, in some fashion, you know, as one ?´….and, uh, there was a scene at the end of the movie that got this….hit this right on the head…..uh…..Tom Joad had killed a security guard that killed a friend of his and he knew he was gonna have to leave his family and tell his mother that, after she´s come thousands of miles and lost family members and lost her home and they have nothing, that she´s gonna have to lose her son now and that nothing can change that….. but before that scene there´s this dance that Ford shoots and it´s really very lovely, the faces and the way people….are holding one another out on the dancefloor….and the music, I always thought that was Ford holding out the possibility of beauty in a hard world ´cause where there was beauty there was hope and where there was hope there´s gotta be some sort of faith and divine love or whatever you like to call it, you know…..and uh…..after this scene Tom Joad slips into his mother´s cabin and he touches her on her shoulder and wakes her up and says ´Mama, I gotta go now´….and they step out underneath these dark trees…..and she says ´I knew this would come but how am I gonna… am I gonna know if you´re alright ? how am I gonna know if you´re well, if you´re alive ? how, Tommy, am I ever gonna see you again ?´….and he says ´Well, all I know is I gotta go out and kick around to find out what´s wrong and see if there´s anything I can do about it…..and you´ll see me, Mama….. because at night I´ll be in that darkness that surrounds you when you´re sleeping and, uh, you´ll hear me in men´s voices when they´re yelling ´cause they´re angry….and you´ll hear me in the way that kids are laughing when they come in and they know that there´s food and they got a home and that they´re protected´….he says ´You´ll, you´ll see me, you´ll see me´…. then he disappears off into the night, the next morning the Joads are heading north for work and the father says ´What are we gonna do without Tommy ?´….and the mother says ´Well, we´re gonna keep going´….and so that´s what this song is about, this is a song about how people keep going, how, after the world reveals its worst, people fall back on…..on love and hope and faith and ultimately on each other because that´s all there is…..´´

16.10.96 Denver, CO, intro to ´This Hard Land´
´´Thank you….thank you, tonight there´s, uh, gonna be some folks out in the lobby from the Community Food Share of Boulder County….that´s right, the Community Food Share of Boulder County, they´re out there trying to make your community a better place, if you go out there and see what they do and help ´em out a little bit, I know they´d appreciate it… this is for them, folks from the Community Food Share…..´´

16.10.96 Denver, CO, intro to ´There Will Never Be Any Other For Me But You´
´´Thanks….this is a, uh, song about love, love, love, love, love, love, love makes the world go ´round, blah, blah, blah, you know, and the thing where, uh (?) I try to capture the ambiguities of love in this tune….that´s uh…..not usually done quite the way I´m about to do it but I don´t want it to throw you at first, it´s sort of, I dedicate this to anybody sort of thinking about getting married out there or, it doesn´t matter if you are married, you know, it´s sort of a….testament, testament to love, that´s what it is….alright, let me see….oh yeah, smoking bad…..burning now, pal….´´

16.10.96 Denver, CO, intro to ´Galveston Bay´
´´Thank you…..I´d like to thank everybody for coming out tonight, thank you very much….. I´d like to say you´ve been a terrific audience, it´s a, I appreciate having the room to come up here and work like this, it´s a gift that you give me and I wanna say thank you for it….as I was, uh, getting to the end of the Tom Joad-record, I was looking for something that was gonna bring a little light into the record and I´d written ´Across the Border´ but that sort of was, uh, you know, it was like a dream, you know, and I felt like I needed something that felt more tangible, more, more real, in some fashion (?)….this is, uh, I guess this is a song about, it´s about what you do, not what you say….it´s, uh, it´s based on an incident that happened in Texas in the mid-80´s, at the end of the Vietnam War, there were a lot of Vietnamese refugees that ended up in the Gulf Coast ´cause it reminded ´em of home and they went into the fishing industry and there was a lot of tension between….the Vietnamese fishermen and the Texas fishermen…..this is called ´Galveston Bay´….´´

Compiled by : Johanna Pirttijärvi

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