Story 1996-10-23 Fresno, CA

23.10.96 Fresno, CA, intro to ´Adam Raised A Cain´
´´Thank you, good evening….nice to be in Fresno….all right….yeah….this is a, uh, gonna lay down just a few groundrules, a lot of the music´s really quiet tonight so I sort of need as much quiet as I can get, I'd appreciate that, uh (some woman screams) especially you, darling, alright (chuckles) somebody stop doing that, all right? (chuckles) and uh, that way I can give you my best, it is a community event so if somebody's making a little too much noise around you (woman screams) uh, if somebody's making too much noise around you like that woman over there, feel free to band together and very politely ask them to shut the fuck up, all right? (chuckles)….that keeps me from having to come out into the crowd and, uh, the other night I had to slap a young child….really ruined my whole man-of-the-people thing, you know, I can't have that, all right (chuckles)….”

23.10.96 Fresno, CA, intro to ´Straight Time´
´´Thanks….(some woman yells ´I love you, Bruce´) yeah (chuckles) alright, this is a song about, uh….a fella gets out of prison and he´s trying to find his way back into his….into, uh, into his family life and back into the world, I think that….everybody hits a place in their life where your old answers run out on you and you gotta figure out, find some way to be new ….I think that´s hard, that´s hard to do, it´s not easy to be new….particularly if all your old habits were the things that made you feel….alive in some fashion even if, even if they were killing you….so this is called ´Straight Time´, everybody´s done a little bit of that….”

23.10.96 Fresno, CA, intro to ´Highway 29´
´´Thank you….this is a, uh….this is a song about insight…insight hurts, you know (chuckles) it´s expensive (chuckles) this is a song about sudden insight….that usually only comes after you´ve fucked up very badly….very, very badly….and you go ´Oh, now I know myself….I´ll never do that again´ (chuckles) so, uh, anyway, this is called ´Highway 29´….”

23.10.96 Fresno, CA, intro to ´The Wish´
´´Thank you….(someone yells) I´m what ? (chuckles) it´s real strange, that (chuckles)….met a gal out back who brought her mother with her (some guy yells) a fella brought his mother with him too…..good….uh, I´m gonna sing a song about my mother….thank you, mother-lovers (chuckles) uh, it´s tricky in my business singing a song about your mother so I usually sing about my dad….and, uh, I´ve done that many times, I´ve done that, I´ve been there, that´s over now (?)(chuckles) and uh….I´ve reached this kind of closure on that so….I hate to use that word ´closure´, slap me if I use it again (chuckles) gonna sing a song about my mom, see when you´re in my business, sing about your mother, the cool police come out and they get on your case….that´s right, unfortunately in the rock and roll business you can sing a song about screwing your mother, that´s alright….that whole Jim Morrison-thing, you know….but uh, that goes down (?)….but just singing a regular song about your mother, well, they don´t like it (chuckles) that´s reserved for country singers and gangsta rappers (chuckles)…. goddammit, I´m doing it ! (chuckles) that´s right, so I´m gonna flaw a convention right here in Fresno tonight (chuckles) I´m gonna break some rules, step aside, get out of the way (chuckles) wo ! alright, Ma….(?) of course, you forget one of the greatest mother-lovers of all time was Elvis Presley….that´s right….but he never sang a song about his mother so…. ´course they were probably all about his mother (chuckles)….you can do that (chuckles) but you gotta hide it, you see, you gotta hide it (chuckles) alright, well, I wanna sing this one for my mom, she´s only hundreds of miles away….and uh…..don´t know what else to say about it ´cept here I go….anytime now (chuckles) I´m not nervous (chuckles)….thankyouverymuch (chuckles)….
(….) Top of the world, Ma !….”

23.10.96 Fresno, CA, intro to ´Red Headed Woman´ (following ´The Wish´)
´´Alright….yeah, it helps if you're Italian (chuckles) Mamma, Mamma (someone yells) oh, I´ll tell her you said so (chuckles) woh ! ….we´re gonna move right along, right along now to one of the greatest songs I´ve ever written about a great subject - cunnilingus….that´s right….this is the one, that´s right, this is the big one….uh….what can I say about cunnilingus ? I hope I´m pronouncing that correctly ….and, uh….if you can pronounce it, you can probably do it (chuckles) I don´t think there´s any doubt about that and uh, not much to say about it except, uh….it´s not as easy as it looks, you know (chuckles) kind of like riding a bike (chuckles) takes a lot of, uh, takes craft, takes attention to detail, that´s right….uh, dedication, patience, oh yeah (chuckles) oh yeah (chuckles) most important of all, good cheer (chuckles) and uh, upside is you score a lot of big points with the Mrs., that´s right….so, uh, I´m gonna do this hoping that as we speak there´s some cunnilingus being practised here in Fresno, all around the city (chuckles) (?) I just feel it (chuckles) wo !….where I was ?….remember, fellas, it´s good to know ´cause the next time you do something stupid, you can always come back and say ´Darling, remember that night we practised cunnilingus ?….wasn´t that a lovely evening ?´…. and she´ll say ´If you think that I´m gonna be swayed, oh, that was pretty nice (chuckles) let´s try that again´ (chuckles)….”

23.10.96 Fresno, CA, intro to ´Brothers Under the Bridges´ (following ´Red Headed Woman´)
´´How sweet it is !….dammit !….that´s right….I´m the Dr.Ruth of rock and roll (chuckles)
wo !….little tips just to keep the whole thing running smoothly (chuckles) alright….(some woman: ´I love you, Bruce´) thank you but I cannot accept any volunteers (chuckles) this is uh….this is a song I wrote, uh, it´s set in the San Gabriel mountains and uh….in the, uh…. mid-80´s there was a….group of homeless Vietnam Veterans who set up a camp in the San Gabriels´ and uh….to get out of the city, get off the streets, this is a story about one of ´em who had a grown, has a grown daughter that he´s never seen….and she comes into the mountains looking for her dad….and what he has to tell her….this is for the Vets out there, this is called ´Brothers Under the Bridges´…”

23.10.96 Fresno, CA, intro to ´Dry Lightning´
´´(?) got, got a love song for you now, love….the thing that makes the world go round….and upside down….and ass backwards (chuckles) and head over heels (chuckles) yeah, it´s men and women….tricky business….and uh….a matter I once thought ´Gee, that´s, that´s impossible, I can´t figure that out….figured out a lot of things but I can´t figure that out´….so thousands of dollars later (chuckles) because I had to know (chuckles) I had to know and uh ….sort of came down to something pretty simple actually….he says ´Your music, tell me how, how do you write that ?´, I say ´There´s a man, car….hmmm, man, car, woman…. there´s a car in the way´ (chuckles) so….had to push that car out of the way (chuckles) and uh (?) had four flat tires (chuckles) not going anyplace anyway, it´s just there (chuckles) so this is a song about, uh….not being able to push that car out of the way (chuckles) and uh, it´s about one of those relationships where there´s a lot of good things going but you can´t quite get to them when you need ´em….and uh, you know, one of those relationships that go by the wayside and 10 or 15 years later you´re going ´Hmmm….wonder where they are tonight, you know ?….wonder what they´re doing ?´….”

23.10.96 Fresno, CA, intro to ´Long Time Coming´
´´Thanks….this is a song about, uh…..making it….you know…. got my bang for my buck out of all that stuff (chuckles)….and uh, I guess one of the best things, one of the nicest gifts you can give somebody is sort of just letting them have their own life, you know, not, not loading them down with all your baggage so….that´s part of what this song is about, trying to let somebody be as free as, as the world allows….(some woman yells)….I picked you up hitchhiking ? (chuckles) I do not. (chuckles)….this is called ´Long Time Coming´….”

23.10.96 Fresno, CA, intro to ´Sinaloa Cowboys´
´´Thank you, this is uh, this is Kevin Buell, my partner in crime….it's just us out here, folks ….the lonely guys (chuckles)….(?)….(a woman yells out 'Kevin !') hmm, got a fan out there, man …she sounds excited (chuckles)….matter of fact she sounds already excited (chuckles) ….ok (chuckles)…uh, he´s taken (chuckles)….and uh….we go on those long late-night search for Denny's together (chuckles)…seen one of the nices Denny's I ever saw today…..kind of makes the whole afternoon (chuckles)….lets you know things ain't as bad as they seem…. there's stuff still improving out there (chuckles)….I was in, uh…..Western Arizona, little desert town, a grocery store, motel, gas-station, bar….all the necessities for human existence (chuckles) it was in the fall…I was with some friends of mine….and, uh, it was late at night 'round 11.30, we were sitting out in front of this little motel….and uh… my favorite kind of motel, the kind where you can lay in bed and see your car through the frontdoor (chuckles) I like that, I sleep like a baby (chuckles) 'Somebody check on the car, you check on the car ?', 'Yeah', 'You checked the car in last half-hour?', 'I checked the car' (chuckles)…and in a bit, 'Anybody check on that car ?' (chuckles)….but uh, we were sitting outside, it was 'round 11.30 at night, it was one of those real warm…..low desert fall evenings, you know… 'bout, uh, 85 degrees…..the kind that, uh, when I tell the people this up in Norway, they don't believe it (chuckles) but….we were sitting outside just playing some cards…..having a drink and two Mexican men came in from the west in a truck and took the room next to us and one was a young kid….he was kinda high and having some fun….other one's a fella 'bout my age and uh….come over and looked at their motorcycles….and he started talking….a little bit about bikes and about, he had a younger brother that died in….in a Southern California motorcycle accident….and uh…..we talked for about an hour and uh….it was something in his voice that always….always stayed with me, the way that he….that he talked about his brother and maybe I was at a….funny place in my life, I think, I was still carrying around….you know, all that fear and stuff (chuckles)….and uh, I think that….there's something about….you know, not, I think that first line of family always feels like you wanna protect the ones that come after you, I know….'specially since I had my kids, you know, you're always, that's what you're worried about, you know, you're always worried about protecting them and in the end you know that you really….you really can't… know, I'd like to follow 'em around till they're about 35 or so (chuckles) 'Yeah, that's my dad, don't pay any attention to him….he's out of his mind´ (chuckles) 'Are you ok ? I'm, I'm going now, you alright ?' (chuckles)…I think….the past few years I've, I've lost…..some pretty close friends….then you know that you really can't… can't cover people with that kind of protection….but I was, uh….I don't know how people put themselves back together….after close….losses like that, you know, but uh…..I was writing a song on the….Central Valley drug trade, Mexican gangs come up and hire migrant workers to work in the drug labs….you make as much in a night or two as you would in a year of, of really hard labor….was a song about two brothers….and uh….I always hear my friend's voice in my head, I guess when I was writing it, you know….so I don't know where he is but I dedicate this to him every night….this is called Sinaloa Cowboys …."

23.10.96 Fresno, CA, intro to ´The Line´
´´Thank you….thank you, this is a, uh, song set….set down in San Diego, it´s uh….a lot of young guys get out of the army, end up going to work for the California border patrol….I figure that´s a confusing job and Mexican writer Carlos Fuentes, you know, said California was Mexico till 1848 so the border sits there more like a scar than a borderline and uh, this is about….this is about a young border patrolman trying to figure out where that line….where that line really is….”

23.10.96 Fresno, CA, intro to ´The New Timer´
´´Could you gimme a little light up here ?….this is uh, tonight when you step out into the lobby, you´re gonna see some folks from the California Rural Legal Assistance and uh…. they´re a legal service program for California´s rural poor….and uh, for 30 years they´ve been a prominent voice for farm workers´ rights….uh, I think it´s ironic that so many of the people that work so hard to put food on our tables can´t afford to have food themselves or who have kids that go to bed hungry….uh….California Rural Legal Assistance, they got a history of being a fighting voice for California´s rural poor….uh….they could use your help now because in ´95 their funding was cut a third and I think Congress is proposing more cuts in ´97….uh, 50 years after Steinbeck wrote Grapes of Wrath, there´s still people working under conditions….in Central Valley that as Americans, we really shouldn´t tolerate….only language and the skin color is different….so the California Rural Legal Assistance, they fight to improve the conditions and the lives of farm workers and California´s rural poor, they need your help and they deserve your support, they´ve got a long history of doing some good work right here so you´ll see ´em out there, they´ve got black and red t-shirts, uh, along with some other books so check out, see what they´re doing and uh, don´t be stingy (chuckles)….”

23.10.96 Fresno, CA, intro to ´Across the Border´
´´Thank you, I, uh….I grew up in a house where there wasn´t a whole lot of….culture and people talking about what books you read or what….you know, what films you saw…I remember the first thing that really had….a really profound influence on me was music and I first remember it playing in the kitchen in the morning…..when I was, you know, sucking up my cornflakes (chuckles) (?) go to grammar school, my mother was, she was still young, she was a young girl and uh, she liked, she liked that rock and roll music, you know….and me and my sister´d come down in the morning and she´d have that AM-radio playing a Top 40- station….I remember sitting there….and hearing the singers´ voices….and it seemed like there was a coded message being sent….and uh, it said ´There´s a party going on….you´re missing it´….and uh…..I said ´Damn´….there was something in the sound of the singers´ voices, the excitement, happiness, a world of pain….uh, but a world that was worth risking that pain (?) ….and uh, that really, that took me a long way, the sound in those voices….then when I was 26, a friend of mine showed me John Ford´s Grapes of Wrath….and I went out and bought the Steinbeck book and I remember coming back and uh….I remember the, the credits going on the film and I remember sitting there saying ´That´s what I wanna do, I want my work to ….mean something, find its way into people´s lives in some fashion´, you know….and uh…. there was something in that, in the novel and in that film that resonated throughout the whole rest of my life and I always go back to it, still do….and uh, I think there was two things, one, there was a real sense of heroism….that, uh, was about risking something for an idea that was bigger than you and bigger than your daily concerns….and that that was a worthwhile…. and even a noble thing to do if you could find your way to it….uh….there´s a scene at the end of the film that just sort of…hits that on the head….there was a….Tom Joad´s killed a security guard that´s killed a friend of his and he´s gotta leave his family and his mother´s already lost family members and her home….and now she´s gonna have to lose her son and there´s nothing that they can do about it….uh….but before that scene, Ford shoots this little dance…. and, uh, it´s funny it´s, it´s not a big scene in the picture but it´s one that always comes back to me, I think, I always felt that it was Ford holding out….the possibility of beauty, the way that he shot people´s faces and the way that people held one another on the dancefloor and the music….so where there´s….that where there´s some beauty, there´s always some hope and some faith and divine love or whatever you like to call it, you know….(?)…uh….after that Tom Joad steps into, he wakes the mother from her sleep and says ´Mama, I gotta go now´ and they step out underneath these trees….and she says ´I knew this day was gonna come but….how am I gonna know how you are, how am I gonna know if you´re well, how am I gonna know if my son is, is alive ?´ and he says ´All I know is I gotta go out and I gotta knock around and…I gotta see what´s wrong and I gotta see if there´s something that I can do about it to make it right´….he says ´You´ll see me because at night, Ma, I´ll be in that darkness that surrounds you when you´re sleeping….you´ll see me there….and wherever there´s a cop beating a guy, you´ll see me, where the people are fighting for a decent job, just a way to raise themselves up….where, you´ll hear me in men´s voices when they´re yelling ´cause they´re angry, you´ll hear me in the way kids are laughing when they come in and they know that they´re safe and that there´s food on the table, that they´re protected and they got a home´….he says ´You´ll see me, Ma, that´s where I´ll be´ and he disappears into the night and next morning the Joads are heading north looking for work and the father says ´What are we gonna do without Tommy ?´, the mother says ´Well, we´re gonna keep going´….so this is a song, I guess, about….that heroism, I suppose, and….that´s what it is….and how people fall back on….love even after the world has dealt its harshest blows and revealed itself…they fall back on love and on faith and on hope and ultimately on each other because that´s all there is ….”

23.10.96 Fresno, CA, intro to ´This Hard Land´
´´I´m gonna do something I don´t usually do, I wanna….I got a speech, a short speech (?) (chuckles) but I think it´s important, right now in California there´s a, there´s a very cynical attack being waged on the affirmative action in the (?) and uh, it´s important for all Californians to stop this Proposition 209….and uh, what it´ll do is Proposition 209, they have word it very….trickily, but it would effectively repeal affirmative action and affirmative action´s provided a chance at equal opportunity for women and people of color throughout the country and uh….I think it was, uh, it was a good, good public policy founded in the search for the kind of society that I know I want my kids to grow up in so it´s really important, I think, that you vote ´No´ against that Proposition 209….I think if you want to, uh ….send a message to Bob Dole or the Republican Governor Wilson that´ve been cynically abusing this issue to split Californians along lines of race and gender and should let ´em know that you won´t be fooled….”

23.10.96 Fresno, CA, intro to ´Galveston Bay´
´´Thank you, I wanna thank everybody for coming down to the show tonight, thank you very much….thank you, and uh….I wanna say you´ve been a terrific audience, I wanna say it´s a, it´s a real treat for me to come up here and be able to play this music like this and it´s a gift that you give me and I wanna say thanks….I was, uh, towards the end of the Tom Joad-record and I was looking for something that would….I guess help me make sense of what I´d written, you know….something that would bring some light into the record and uh….I´d written ´Across the Border´ but that, that felt sort of like that´s a dream that people carry in ´em all the time, you know, and it seems to always be there but sometimes it takes, it takes more to get by in the real world, you know…and uh, so I was looking for something….I think when I started out playing the guitar, I was always, I remember when I first picked it up, I´d been hit so hard by music that I thought that it could do anything, you know, I always joke about it, I said I picked it up and ´Oh, if I write the right song, peace in the Middle East, I´m sure´ (chuckles) you know, you´re 15 or 16 and that gets kicked out of you along the way, you know, which is….ok but I think that….as you get older, you can forget about what you can do, you know, what´s possible and this is a song about a fella that makes just one decision but, uh, in doing so he saves….himself and he saves the part of the world that, that needs him….and that he touches….that´s pretty good, that´s pretty good….so, uh…..this is a song based on….mid-80´s, after the Vietnam War, there were a lot of Vietnamese refugees who settled in the Gulf Coast of Texas and went into the fishing industry and there was a lot of tension between the Vietnamese fishermen and the Texas fishermen….many of whom had fought in Vietnam…. this is about ´cause it´s in the end it´s about what you do….and uh, sometimes the most political acts are made in the dead of night…..this is called ´Galveston Bay´….”

Compiled by : Johanna Pirttijärvi

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