Story 1996-11-13 Syracuse, NY

13.11.96 Syracuse, NY, intro to ´Adam Raised a Cain´
´´Thank you, good evening….it´s nice to be in Syracuse….where I´m freezing my ass off (chuckles) hey, what´s with that snow ? we don´t get snow like that in New Jersey till about January….we got our snow thing handled down there, it´s out of control up here, alright (chuckles) looking outside my hotel window this morning I seen a schoolbus pull up, a whole bunch of kids´d get off and about a half a dozen of them hit the street right away, you know (chuckles) I said ´Hmm, Syracuse, I think I´ll stay inside´ (chuckles) but uh, this is kind of where I lay a few of the groundrules down, uh, a lot of the music´s real quiet tonight so I can use as much quiet as I can get so I can give you my best during the songs, uh….a community event, if somebody around you´s making too much noise, uh, uh, feel free to band together and lean over and politely ask them to shut the fuck up, alright (chuckles) and uh….and no dancing, except where I segue from ´Nebraska´ into the ´Macarena´, that´ll be (chuckles) that´ll be the cue, you can get up out of your seats (chuckles) thank you, I appreciate your support so I don´t have to come down to the crowd, slap folks around and blow (chuckles) and blow my whole man-on-the-people image, I don´t wanna do that, alright (chuckles)….´´

13.11.96 Syracuse, NY, intro to ´Straight Time´
´´Thank you….thanks, this is a song about, uh, trying to change, it seems to be….that´s hard to do, I think everybody, but at the same time everybody runs to a place in their life where their old answers don´t work for you any more…..and where their old tricks and ways of doing things, this is a song about a fellow who gets out of prison and…..trying to find his way back into his family and trying to learn how, how to be in the world… to get out from underneath himself….trying to learn how to be new….that´s hard to do when, uh…..when the things that made you feel most alive sometimes are the same things that bring you down….. anyway, everybody´s done a little straight time….´´

13.11.96 Syracuse, NY, intro to ´Highway 29´
´´Thank you….thank you, this is a, uh, song about insight, I always say that insight is expensive, however you pay for it, you know (chuckles) and uh….what´s really expensive is sudden insight (chuckles) ooh, that hurts (chuckles) ´cause that only comes after you´ve fucked up very badly, unfortunately (chuckles) ´I seen the light now, I know better now (chuckles) I´m different´ (chuckles) ´I´ve changed´ (chuckles) this is called ´Highway 29´….´´

13.11.96 Syracuse, NY, intro to ´The Hitter´
´´Thank you….here´s a song that, uh….this is a song I´ve never played before and uh (people clap) hey, wait, it may be a stinker, you don´t know that (chuckles) I don´t know myself, alright(chuckles) but uh….see if I can get through it….uh, anybody see the fight the other night ? (cheers) that was something….Big Mike went down (chuckles) this is called ´The Hitter´, ´The Hitter´….´´

13.11.96 Syracuse, NY, intro to ´Pilgrim in the Temple of Love´
´´Thank you, this is a, uh….this is a song, uh, uh, what key do I do this thing ? the great key of B-flat ? (chuckles) I don´t know whether to play this one or not (chuckles) alright, alright, well, the snow got me in a kind of Christmasy mood, you know what I mean (huge cheer) it´s not what you think (chuckles) and uh….I was, uh, it´s a good time if there´s any little children out there to take them to the pee-pee room (chuckles) it´s gonna get a little controversial right now, alright (chuckles) and uh… know, with Christmas coming around, there´s a big debate whether there´s a Santa Claus, it comes up every year, and I had a real embarrassment, when I was a kid, my younger sister is the one that broke the news to me that there was no Santa Claus….that hurts (chuckles) I said ´There is too´….I went into the kitchen, my mother and father were sitting at the kitchen table….´Mom, Pop, there is a Santa Claus, ain´t there ?´….´No´ (chuckles)….´But, look I know there´s not a Santa Claus that brings toys to the house, alright, but there is a Santa Claus that´s in the North Pole ?´….´No´ (chuckles) I suspected there wasn´t a Santa Claus because a few years earlier I come down and….like around 3 am and I seen my Dad half in the door with my new bicycle….so I said ´Where´s Santa Claus ?´ ´He´s on the other end´ (chuckles) ´Get upstairs right now´ (chuckles)….so… you can see it´s a question that´s dogged me my whole life (chuckles) I´m still not sure and I tell you why I´m not sure because I believe that I have met Santa Claus, that´s right….it was in a go-go bar in New Jersey (chuckles) about 10 years ago (chuckles) I really think it was him, alright (chuckles) I´ll tell you how it all happened´….´´

13.11.96 Syracuse, NY, intro to ´Red Headed Woman´ (following ´Pilgrim in the Temple of Love´)
´´Thank you….thank you, I hesitate to play that one sometimes (chuckles) but uh, people go home and they say ´Man, you know, the other stuff was pretty good but that Santa song, that was, that was entertaining´ (chuckles) yeah….alright, I´m gonna move from Christmas on to, uh, a great song about a great subject, cunnilingus….that´s right, thank you, thank you, I hope I´m pronouncing that correctly (chuckles) and uh, like I like to say, if you can pronounce it, you can probably do it (chuckles) ´cunnilingus´, see, ´cunnilingus´ (chuckles) probably, uh, as we, uh, speak right now, there´s folks all across Syracuse practicing cunnilingus out there and uh….I hope so, it´ll make it a happy town, happy town (chuckles) that´s right and I do mean practicing because, man, that´s not easy to get down just right (chuckles) takes craft, attention to detail, discipline, patience, patience and more patience (chuckles) oh….what can we say ? except, uh, the upside is you score a lot of big points with the Mrs., that´s right…. and the next time you do something stupid, like all men eventually do, you can always say, uh, ´Darling, remember that, that night we practiced cunnilingus ? wasn´t that a lovely and romantic evening ?´ (chuckles) and she´ll say ´If you think that makes a difference ! hmmm, that was pretty nice´ (chuckles) oh, if there´s any children left in the auditorium (chuckles) ´cunnilingus´ is Latin for ´Keep your room very clean´ (chuckles)….´´

13.11.96 Syracuse, NY, intro to ´Two Hearts´
´´Alright, this is for my red headed woman, she´s not here tonight…..´´

13.11.96 Syracuse, NY, intro to ´Brothers Under the Bridges´
´´Thank you….oh, this is a, uh, just passed Veteran´s Day….you know, it ends up, like a lot of holidays in America, for some reason people forget what they´re really about….I remember when I was….there was certain, there´s certain things about, you know, the little town you grew up in that you always….certain, just images that you, that stay fixed in your head, you know (?) it was the courthouse or the diner or, I always remember at the edge of town where the town split off into two, two, two roads, there was always, uh… was like a small park with a lot of white crosses and when I was a kid I used to think it was really beautiful….you know, I always felt good when we….we´d be out of town and then we´d drive back past that spot, it always felt like I was coming home and uh….I went one day to my mother and I said ´Gee, what, what, you know, what are those crosses ?´….and she said ´Well, those, those are the men from, from our town that died in the wars´….and, uh, this is a song for….for any, if there´s any Vets out there, this is a song that was, it´s set in the San Gabriel Mountains in California and uh….in the mid-80´s there was a group of homeless Vietnam Vets that left Los Angeles to get off the streets and set up a camp out in the San Gabriels´….and uh…..I guess this is about, there´s as many Vietnam Vets who´ve died since they´ve come back as died in the war….uh, this is a story about a fellow who has a grown daughter that he´s never seen and she….she grows up and comes out into those mountains looking for her Dad and what he tells her, this is called ´Brothers Under the Bridges´…..´´

13.11.96 Syracuse, NY, intro to ´Dry Lightning´
´´Thank you, this is a, uh….song about men and women and uh…..didn´t really write about men and women for a long time, wrote about, uh… thinking about women….that´s a lot easier (chuckles) not as much fun (chuckles) and men dreaming about women….then thinking ´One of these days I´m gonna get me a woman (chuckles) when my ramblings through´ (chuckles) and I said ´Wow, why don´t I write about those women ?´, you know (chuckles) so I said ´Well, I gotta find out´….thousands of dollars later (chuckles) wooh ! a lot more complicated than I thought (chuckles) but, uh, basically it sort of went like ´man´, see I started out ´man, car´, ´man, car, women´, see there´s always a car in the way….can´t get (?) (chuckles) you gotta push that car out of the way (chuckles) and uh….this is a song about one of those relationships where, gee, you know, you almost made it, there was a lot of good things going on and a lot of misunderstanding but uh…..didn´t quite, you know, and, uh…. when it´s men and women, ´almost´ don´t count (chuckles) not at all (chuckles) this is one of those relationships where you go ´Gee, wonder where they are ?´ (someone: ´practicing cunnilingus!´) (chuckles) I hope so ! (chuckles) alright, I´m gonna bring you right along with me (chuckles) (a woman yells) this is called ´Dry Lightning´, no volunteers, please (chuckles) this is called ´Dry Lightning´….´´

13.11.96 Syracuse, NY, intro to ´Sinaloa Cowboys´
´´Thanks, this is, uh, Kevin Buell….phantom keyboardist, financial advisor, guru, yogi teacher, card-playing buddy, sexual counsellor….it´s lonely out here, you gotta wear a lot of hats (chuckles) to keep the whole thing going (chuckles) uh, I was in, uh, this little town in Western Arizona, it was about, it was right before my…yeah, before we had our kids and, uh, it was one of those little….uh, desert towns, once you get off the interstate, all through the Southwest there´s one every 80 miles or so, nothing in the middle, you know, and, uh, they´re all the same, there´s a grocery store, there´s a gas-station, there´s a motel and a bar, all the things for human life to flourish (chuckles) and, uh, I was in one of those little motels with this friend of mine, it was one of those motels where you can lay down at the end of your bed and see your car in the parking lot, you know (chuckles) right outside the door, you know, I like that….I sleep like a baby in those places (chuckles) that air-conditioner (mimics the sound of a broken air-conditioner)(chuckles) and, uh, (?) few friends of mine, it was in the fall….and, uh, we were in the low desert, it was about 85 degrees, I know that sounds hard to believe right now (chuckles) 11.30 at night too (chuckles) and, uh, these two Mexican men come in from the west and took the room next to us and one was a young kid, one was a fellow about my age, I guess, he come over and start looking at our motorcycles and told me the story of his younger brother who´d died in a Southern California motorcycle accident just a few, few months earlier and, uh, there was something in the, uh, in his voice and the way that he talked about his brother that always sort of stayed with me, I don´t know, maybe it was because, you know, we were soon to have the kids and the first thing you´re always concerned with is protecting ´em, you know, and you know that the world is such that you really can never really completely protect them….I always think I´m gonna be, they´re gonna be 35 and I´m gonna be following them down the street about two paces behind….´Hey, who´s that old man ?´ (chuckles) ´Oh, that´s just somebody, I don´t know (?)´ (chuckles) and, uh….I don´t know when people….suffer those kinds of losses, how they put themselves back together….you know, how they get the world to feel right again…..this is a song about two brothers who get caught up in the Central California drug trade….gangs, Mexican drug gangs from Sinaloa come up and….hire migrant workers to work in the metamphetamine labs where you can make us much in a couple of nights as you would in a year of really hard labor….uh, I remember I had my friend´s voice in my head when I was writing this song so I dedicate this to him every night, this is called ´Sinaloa Cowboys´….´´

13.11.96 Syracuse, NY, intro to ´The Line´
´´Thanks, this is another song set in the, uh, set in San Diego, down there on the border where you get a lot of young guys who come out of the army and looking for job, they ended up for working for the California border patrol and it´s a confusing job….I think, uh….Carlos Fuentes, Mexican writer, said that, uh…..California was Mexico till 1848 so that border sits there more like a scar than a borderline and uh… hear so much about it, you know, this was an issue that was abused so badly in the recent election, uh, you have people that come across and they´re….doing jobs nobody else wants to do for….for a low pay that nobody else wants to take….at the behest of American businesses and in return they would, sometimes their kids would get educated and if they were, fell ill or got sick, they´d be taken care of…. so….anyway, this is, uh, this is a song about a young border patrolman trying to figure out where that line really is….´´

13.11.96 Syracuse, NY, intro to ´Balboa Park´
´´Thank you….this, uh….this next song, this is a, uh….song about kids….I always, I sort of say before I had the kids I liked kids, you know, but I don´t mean it the way it sounds, you know, it´s, uh….I had mine, you know, we had our kids pretty late and so a lot of my friends had ´em first…..and so you gotta suffer through, you know, baby picture, baby picture, baby picture, baby picture, baby picture, it´s all just, you know, (?) baby talk, baby talk, baby talk, you know, ´He pissed in the pot today, he did this, he did that´ and you gotta sit there and go ´Really ? that´s wonderful´ (chuckles) ´It´s a miracle, a miracle´ (chuckles) ´You lucky man´, you know, and, uh, then they get a little older and they come over and, uh, tear the hell out of your house, you know….I don´t like that, I, I lived by myself for 30 years, I don´t like anybody touching my shit….and, uh, that´s what kids like to do, they like to come over and (?) touch, touch everything, you know and, uh… know, it´s, uh, and you can´t yell at somebody else´s kid either ´cause you feel funny doing that, you know (?) you can´t do it so you gotta just stand there (fakes a laugh)(?) ´He´s a mover, he´s a mover´ (chuckles) you know (chuckles) but you do get a little revenge, you know, when, when you have your own, you can bring ´em over their house and go ´Alright, tear the shit out of the place…..go ahead, that lamp, get that big lamp, yeah, knock that down, go knock that down´ (chuckles) people always ask me what, you know, what, what the big difference it made in your life and all that stuff….I guess the main thing was, that I didn´t expect, you know, before we had the children, basically before we had children, I expected….prison, prison (chuckles) you´re done now, alright ! (chuckles) and then, you know, all of a sudden, they come along and then really they got a window, kids have a window onto the grace that´s in the world and, and it´s open to them because they´re open and it blows right through them and blows right into your life every day, I remember leaving the hospital the first time and the sun felt different….the wind felt a little different on your face and you, you wanted to yell at everybody on the street to stop shopping for a while, you know (chuckles) ´Observe a moment of silence, please, a miracle´s occurred´ (chuckles) so, you know, you fall into the whole thing but, uh, but they do, they do have access to that grace, I think as you get older, that gets harder to do on your own, that´s why people see art, films, movies, uh, engage in bizarre and unusual sexual practises, you know, it´s like (chuckles) here´s that grace coming, you know, so, uh…..but anyway this is a song about kids, uh, down along the border in San Diego, come over from Mexico, end up on this strip called Twelfth Street and uh….you know, it´s, it´s, a lot of people´s images of, of, of street kids are that they´re all predators in some fashion, you know, and it´s, it´s, for the most part, it´s just not true, you know, they´re lost, you know, they´re lost, they´re kids without parents, they´re lost and, uh, this is a song about, uh, some of the kids down there and, uh, what happens when that grace that, that children have goes unprotected, goes unprotected…..´´

13.11.96 Syracuse, NY, intro to ´Across the Border´
´´When I was a kid I grew up in a house where there wasn´t a whole lot of….talk about culture, you know, your folks weren´t asking you what, what you read or what films you saw or, or, you know, it was, uh, but the thing that had a real impact on me was the radio….the radio and my mother.when I was in grammar school, she was, she was still a young gal and she liked that rock and roll music so she´d have the radio on in the morning in the kitchen when me and my sister come down….and, uh, I heard all those great records and all those great singers, it was like there was a secret message coming out over there and as I sat there sucking up my cornflakes I heard ´em say ´There´s a party going on….you´re missing it, little boy´ (chuckles) and, uh, I said ´Man, I wanna, I wanna find that party someday´, you know (chuckles) and I found it but a lot of other things too…..but there was something in the happiness and the joy and the pain that you heard in….in all those beautiful voices that said there was a life waiting to be lived and, though nothing was guaranteed, it was worth, worth the risk….and uh, the next thing that had a really big impact on me was I was 26 and a friend of mine showed me John Ford´s Grapes of Wrath….I remember sitting there after the credits rolled thinking that that´s what I wanna do, I wanna do some work that gets into people´s lives a little bit and lays a world out and, uh, hopefully I´ve made something and uh….I don´t know, I got the novel and read the book and there´s something in the film and, and the book that struck me, I think there was, there was a heroic element in the sense that it was about people, somebody risking what they had for an idea that was bigger than they were….uh, there´s a scene towards the end of the film that sort of lays the whole thing out, you know, Tom Joad´s killed a security guard that´s killed a friend of his….and uh…..he´s gonna have to leave his family….tell his mother that after she´s, after she´s lost her home and family members and come thousands and thousands of miles and they have nothing that she´s gonna lose…..her son now too and they can´t stop it….but before that scene there´s a dance…..and the dance is shot very lovely, the people´s faces and the way they´re holding one another out on the dancefloor and the music and I always thought that that was Ford holding out the possibility of beauty in a, in a harsh world and, and that beauty has a purpose and the usefulness of beauty and the power of beauty ´cause where there´s beauty, there´s hope and, and faith and divine love, or whatever you wanna call it….and there was a sense in that dance scene that people were connected and that salvation isn´t individual….that it´s something…. something about people´s fates being intertwined and even though we live in a world where evil men get rewarded and good men fail that….that those things are…..are measured inside us somewhere and that they matter, that they matter….but, uh, anyway (people applaud) it´s uh….at the end of that dance, Tom slips in and wakes his mom and says ´Mama, I gotta go now´ and they step out underneath these trees and she says ´Well, how am I ever gonna know if I´ll ever see you again, how will I know if you´re, if you´re alive, where you are, if you´re alright ?´….he says ´Well, I, I don´t know, all I know is I gotta go out and kick around and see what´s wrong and see if there´s something 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, Mama, I´ll be there…..and wherever there´s a cop beating a guy or wherever there´s guys yelling ´cause they´re angry, they need work, I´ll be there…..and whenever there´s kids coming in laughing knowing that there´s food on the table and, and that they have a home and, and that they´re safe….well, I´ll be there, you´ll see me there too….so it´ll be alright´…. and he slips off into the night, the next morning the Joads are heading north looking for work and the father says ´What are we gonna do without Tommy ?´….and the mother says ´Well, we´re gonna keep on going´….so this is a song about how people keep going, how, even after the world….reveals itself and deals its harshest blows, people fall back on… and they fall back on faith and they fall back, ultimately, on each other….because that´s all there is….´´

13.11.96 Syracuse, NY, intro to ´This Hard Land´
´´I wanna do this tonight for, uh, there´s some folks out in the lobby, you´ll see ´em when you, when you go on out, there´s, uh, some folks from the Central New York Labor Religion Coalition and uh (people clap) yeah, their, their, uh, mission is to mobilise their religious labor and, and, and the community here to work for justice and employment, they´re trying to make sure that people have a right to a job, a right to organise, a right to liveable wage, a right to negotiate the conditions of their employment, a right to work in a safe environment and have some sort of plan for a secure future, those are things that should be just your right as an American, I believe, you know….and uh….they´re out there, check them out and also there´s some folks from the Syracuse Rescue Mission tonight, I wanna welcome them….. these are, uh, two organizations in, in your town that, they deserve and they need support, if you go out there and, uh, see what they´re doing and check their information out and see what you can do and also if you buy any t-shirts or any of the stuff that they´re selling out there that money goes to them so…..(?)….this is for them…..´´

13.11.96 Syracuse, NY, intro to ´There'll Never Be Any Other For Me But You´
´´Thank you….thanks, I wanna send you off with a love song, this is for all the folks out there, I don’t know if there´s anybody out there thinking about getting married, uh (someone yells out) hey, alright, this is for you, my friend, ok, and uh (chuckles) if you’re thinking about getting divorced, this is for you too, alright (chuckles) hey man, I’ve been there, I’ve been around all sides of it, you know (chuckles) but uh, uh, here’s a song about love, love, love, love, sounds, it’s gonna sound a little funny at first, it may not sound like it’s about love but it’s about love, take my word for it and, uh, so I’m gonna leave you these three thoughts, uh…, uh….never use the word ‘closure´ or ‘lifestyle’, that’s not good, uh….. two, uh, never let your, uh, your socks match your shirt, that’s not good either and uh….. three, love makes the world go round, round, round, so alright….´´

13.11.96 Syracuse, NY, intro to ´Galveston Bay´
´´Thank you….I wanna thank everybody for coming down to the show tonight, thank you very much….nice to be back in Syracuse…..I wanna say you´ve been really a, a lovely, lovely audience and I´ve enjoyed myself tremendously up here tonight, I want to, uh….I wanna thank you for giving me the room to come out here and do this, it´s music that means a lot to me and it´s a gift you give me and I appreciate it….thank you…..this is a….song, I remember when I first, when I first picked up the guitar, I remember it felt so, so, uh, powerful to me that I said ´Boy´, I´d been so moved by music, I said ´Boy, if I, if I write that right thing, I´m telling you there´s gonna be peace in the Middle East if I can (?) write the right song´ (chuckles) I was so sure, you know, I was so sure and it doesn´t take long until ´Well, maybe, maybe not´ (chuckles) and, uh, uh, but I think that one of the things about getting old is you can forget about what you can do and you can forget about connecting yourself to that, that big world outside, you know, and, uh…..well, this is, is a story about a fellow that ….that, uh, saves himself, saves the best part of him and saves the part of the world that he touches….at the same time….uh…..that´s pretty good, that´s….so, uh, after the Vietnam War a lot of Vietnamese refugees moved into the Texas Gulf Coast, went into the fishing industry and there was a lot of tension between the Vietnamese fishermen and the Texas fishermen …..uh, many of whom had served in Vietnam…..this is called ´Galveston Bay´….´´

Compiled by : Johanna Pirttijärvi

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