Story 1997-02-12 Sydney, Australia

12.02.97 Sydney, Australia, intro to ´Straight Time´
´´Thanks, this is a song about a fellow who gets out of prison and he´s trying to find his way back into the world, back into his family life and….uh….that can be pretty tough to do, I think it´s really about somebody trying to learn how to be new, how to learn a different way of, uh, of living, I guess, everybody has that place where your old answers run out on you and all your old tricks sort of fall flat after a while….but those are the, sometimes those are the things that´s how we know who we are and, uh, it´s hard to put those things away….hard to learn to live with that straight time….´´

12.02.97 Sydney, Australia, intro to ´Highway 29´
´´Thanks….this is a, uh, song about, I guess, self-knowledge, I know when I was around 22, I felt like I really knew myself….but I suppose that was just evidence of how little I knew myself, you know (chuckles) and, uh, that insight, that gets more expensive the older you get, it seems, you know (chuckles) uh, so this is a song about the cost of sudden insight, which, of course, is the most expensive because it only comes after you´ve fucked up very badly, unfortunately (chuckles) yeah, it sort of the booby prize to fucking up really badly (chuckles) anyway, this is about a shoesalesman and sudden insight…..´´

12.02.97 Sydney, Australia, intro to ´Murder Incorporated´
´´In the States we got, uh….part of our citizenry whose lives and dreams are considered expendable….we got Murder Incorporated….´´

12.02.97 Sydney, Australia, intro to ´Freehold´
´´I, uh, played this next song last night and uh….it went over pretty good so….uh….but it needs a little explanation, it´s uh….I go back to play at my Catholic school, Catholic grammar school…..which I guess proves that the older you get, you get nostalgic about just anything….that´s uh….it's kind of pathetic but what can I say? But, anyway, I go back, and, uh, I mean there was a good reason and all that (?) but, uh, going back to my hometown, it´s big fuss, you know, the newspapers are all outside and news crews, ´Hail the conquering hero´ and all that stuff and, uh, uh, and, you know, I go into my, the little gym and all the, the nuns, they brought all the nuns back that taught me when I was in grammar school (chuckles) and, and, you know, then all the priests are there and the bishop comes from Trenton, right, which is the capital of the state, the bishop comes down for this auspicious occasion and uh ….I'm having these flashbacks and uh (chuckles) doing as best as I can with the whole thing, uh, but, uh….anyway, I guess, I write this song, which is sort of about growing up in my hometown, usually most of the songs I write aren't sort of directly autobiographical, you try to avoid that and uh (chuckles) well, this is like a page, you know, ripped, like, you know, right out of my diary, if I kept a diary, which I don't because as I was telling the folks last night, you can ask the Unabomber why that's a bad idea (crowd applauds) (chuckles) but if I did keep a diary, this would be it, so (chuckles) so I'm a little hesitant to even play the thing, I only played it at the hall that night and I screwed it all up and then, uh, I played it last night and I´ll play it again, I guess, so you gotta sort of picture this….so back in my hometown now, alright (chuckles) and I´m on the stage and all the nuns and the priests and the bishop is sitting out there in front of me and uh….here I go, this is a song called ´Freehold´….Bless me, Father, for I´ve sinned! (chuckles) woh, let´s not get into that….(starts the song, sings the first verse) so you can imagine I´m having second thoughts about now….but, uh….I sort of said ´Fuck it, I´m committed, I gotta´….´´

12.02.97 Sydney, Australia, intro to ´Red Headed Woman´ (following ´Freehold´)
´´Yeah….so there are all the nuns and the priests and the bishop (laughs)(claps his hands) (laughs) oh, hell they were good sports about it! (chuckles) woo! I got a little misty there for a minute (chuckles) woo! let´s move on to less complicated things….cunnilingus, I´d like to sing a song about right now! (crowd cheers) thank you….thank you, I´ve kind of become the ambassador of cunnilingus as I´ve traveled around the world (laughs)(crowd cheers) oh, thank you, ladies, thank you (laughs) oh, damn, I don´t know what to say about the whole thing, I´ve been here for almost a couple of weeks, I´ve been conducting a survey, I can announce that they´re practising cunnilingus up in Queensland, around the Brisbane area, it´s going down pretty well there, no pun intended (laughs) and as far as I know it has spread to Sydney and, uh, the Harbor area quite extensively (laughs) before I leave, I´m going to try to speak to the Premier, Bob Carr, I know that the New South Wales is called the First State, I´m gonna suggest changing that to the Cunnilingus State (crowd cheers)(chuckles) I think it´s going to boost tourism, gonna be good for everybody´s morale (laughs) woo! when I say practising, I do mean practising because, man, that ain´t quite as easy as it looks, I don´t care what anybody (laughs) takes a while to figure that out, you know, it´s, uh (chuckles) like I´ve been telling the folks, it´s kind of like, uh, balancing a plate on the end of your nose, uh (laughs) or riding a bike - once you learn, you never forget it after that (chuckles) even if you change bicycles (laughs) oh!….so, ladies, I do this in your honor….wooo! (laughs)….´´

12.02.97 Sydney, Australia, intro to ´Two Hearts´
´´Thank you….woo!….oh…..(chuckles)….yes, this is for my red headed woman….´´

12.02.97 Sydney, Australia, intro to ´Brothers Under the Bridges´
´´Thank you, this is a, uh….song about, uh (clears his throat) group of….homeless Vietnam Vets set up a camp in San Gabriel Mountains, that´s the mountain range just outside of Los Angeles on the, uh….western edge of the Mojave Desert, uh….they got tired of living on the streets of Los Angeles and they, L.A´s a funny city because you get about 30 minutes outside the middle of it and there´s mountains and desert that goes on forever, there´s very little out there….and uh….this is a story about, uh….a fellow that moved up into those mountains and 20 years later he has a, he had a grown daughter that he´d never seen and 20 years later she comes looking for her dad….and what, what he has to say to her, this is called ´Brothers Under The Bridges´….´´

12.02.97 Sydney, Australia, intro to ´Dry Lightning´
´´Thanks, thank you, this is a, uh….uh, this is a song about men and women and….something I didn´t really write about for a long time….um, not sure why, I suppose I just….didn´t know what the fuck I was talking about if I tried (chuckles) and uh (chuckles) and, uh….I spent a lot of money, at one point I said ´I gotta figure this out´ and uh….uh, it came down to a pretty basic equation, you know (?) you have to understand….first….I wrote about the men in the cars….did pretty good with that for a while….then I wrote about men….dreaming about women in the cars….uh….made a nice living off that for quite a while….uh, then I got the men and women, I got ´em both into the cars….but they didn´t talk very much when they got there so that was….uh….but that went pretty good….and uh….then I took them out of the car ….financially, that´s where I fucked up….but hell, I can´t let that stop me, can I? (chuckles) so….so….got ´em out of the car….this is a song about a relationship that almost made it, almost makes it….one of those relationships that, man, it felt close but at the last minute: phhheww….gone (chuckles) busy fucking it up all the time….the only thing I did find out was that, with men and women, ´almost´ never counts….´´

12.02.97 Sydney, Australia, intro to ´Long Time Coming´
´´Thank you, this is kind of….the follow-up, you know….been taking this, developing this kind of songwriting a little bit at a time (chuckles) I don´t wanna rush the whole thing, but this is a happy song….I´ve been telling the folks, uh, I don´t write too many of those ´cause they come back and they bite you in the ass later, you see (chuckles) and uh, but, also I found that the people, in general, they don´t like them, they just don´t like them, you know (chuckles) and uh (chuckles) but, man, you got to, uh, as I say, you got to dare to be happy on this song and that´s what I´m gonna do (chuckles) dare along with me, this is called ´Long Time Comin´´ (chuckles)….´´

12.02.97 Sydney, Australia, intro to ´Sinaloa Cowboys´
´´Thank you, this is Kevin Buell, my friend….yeah, yeah….he´s also, uh, he´s carer of the guitars, he´s a financial advisor out here in case I have any questions, uh, he´s, uh, uh, yoga teacher, he´s very good at that, yoga teacher, he´s, uh, also, uh, he´s my sexual counsellor in case I get stuck on any sexual questions while I´m on the road, which, hopefully, they won´t even come up, if you know what I mean but uh (laughs) he´s gonna be running for the premier of New South Wales (chuckles) very, very soon (chuckles) I´ll do this tonight for, uh, Kathy, she sent me a nice letter so I´ll do this for you, this song, this song, uh, I was in a little Western Arizona town, I was staying in this little motel, it was in the fall….a lot of deserts are really beautiful in the fall out there if you don´t mind the heat, uh, but it´s dry heat, you know what I mean (chuckles) and uh, I was in one of these little, little towns where there is a grocery store and a gas-station and a bar and, uh, a motel, I was in one of those little motels where you can lay down at the end of your bed and, if the door´s open, you can reach out and touch your car in the parking lot (chuckles) it´s sort of (chuckles) they´re my favorites and, uh, it was late at night and these two Mexican men in from the west, they were driving, driving a truck, took the room next to us, one was a young kid and he was kind of high and other one was a fellow about my age….and they come over and looked at our motorcycles and started talking that he´d had a younger brother that died in a Southern California motorcycle accident and I talked to him for about an hour about his brother and I was about to become a dad at the time and, uh, you´re always, you become hypersensitive to the world and its dangers, you know, and, uh, that´s something, that´s with you forever after, after those kids are arrive and, uh, I don´t know how people put themselves back together after those kinds of, that kind of loss or to get the world to feel right again, if it ever does really feel right again….but, uh, I was writing this song about two brothers that get caught up in the Central California drug trade, Mexican gangs come up and hire migrant workers to work in the drug labs and they´re the ones that get busted or killed, this is a song about two brothers and, uh, I do this for….him every night, my mysterious friend wherever he is and I´ll do this, Kathy, for you tonight, it´s called ´Sinaloa Cowboys´….´´

12.02.97 Sydney, Australia, intro to ´The Line´
´´Thank you, this, uh, next song is set on, uh, down in San Diego, down on the border, you get a lot of young guys that come out of the army and end up going to work for the California border patrol, it´s a powerful part of the country in the States right now, there´s a lot of issues, sort of….manifest themselves, I guess, the immigration issue was used and abused very badly in the last American election but uh….uh, Mexican writer Carlos Fuentes said that, uh, California was Mexico till 1848 so the border sits there more like a scar than a borderline, there´s always been people coming across risking their lives to do jobs that nobody else will take for a pay that nobody else will accept at the behest of American businesses so, uh, and in return they get, you know, maybe their kids will have a chance at a better education or if they got sick, they´d get some health care….anyway, this is a story about a young border patrolman that sort of takes a job and finds himself in the middle of all of that and, and he´s trying to figure out where that line is, where that line really, really is…. this is called ´The Line´….´´

12.02.97 Sydney, Australia, intro to ´Across the Border´
´´Thanks….I grew up in a house where there wasn´t a lot of books or talk about culture or what it could do for you or, or what its purpose was, you know, which is really to give you a sense of, of the world, uh, beyond your own life and, uh, uh, so what I sort of depended on, I guess the first thing that had that sort of impact on me was the radio and when I was in grammar school, my mother was, uh….still a young girl and she liked that rock´n´roll music and, and she´d have it on in the car and we´d be driving around and, and, uh, uh, she´d have it on, uh, in the kitchen in the morning and the radio was always on, there was always all those great records coming across, you know, I can remember in the summer night we´d ride along and I´d be sitting in the frontseat and the car was dark and that can be scary when you´re a kid, my kids like, you know, they´re, they got really freaked out one night because night fell as we were driving (chuckles) my little girl started going ´The moon, the moon´ (chuckles) like it wasn´t gonna come down or something but, uh, uh, I remember riding along in the dark and outside of town was a radio tower with three red lights on it and my mother would say ´That´s a giant and those are his buttons´ (chuckles) and the radio, and the radio´d be playing but those records, uh, those records, I remember in the morning sitting there and hearing, you know, all those beautiful records coming across, coming across the air and at first, you know, you didn´t notice it, then slowly, all of a sudden, maybe as I got a little older, they started to really affect me and it was all that sense of freedom, I did not feel free (chuckles) and happiness and, uh, uh, sex and danger and, and the idea that there was this world out there that, that was sort of, that was waiting to be had, you know, it was a world that, it presented you with a world bigger than the world of your family and of the little town you grew up in and they presented you with possibility, which was pretty good for 99 cents at the drugstore, you know (chuckles) but, uh, uh, those things, those records sustained me for so long and gave me such an idea of the world outside of, of the life that I was living, my friends were living and gave, I think they presented me with the strength to pursue that, you know, in that sense they were my culture, you know, and they did the job that culture does, uh….it´s, as I got a little older, a friend of mine showed me John Ford´s ´Grapes of Wrath,´ that, that song I started tonight with was ´Tom Joad´ by Woody Guthrie, that´s, uh, he wrote the song after seeing the movie back when it first come out and, uh, there was something in that film and in, in the book, the Steinbeck novel, that sort of provided me with the other piece to the puzzle, you know, uh, if there´s this world out there that´s willing to, that´s worth having and, you know, what are you gonna make of it when you get out there, you know, what are you gonna, how are you gonna direct your energies, and, uh, it was just, you know, that, that book sort of had old-fashioned sense of heroism in it, the character risked, risked what he had for an idea that was bigger than he was and, uh, that´s the idea that people are connected, you know, uh, whether you always wanna cough up to that idea or not and, uh, and with, and if that´s true, there´s some inate, some basic responsobility everybody has, you know, to one another and, uh, that really, that film and novel really stayed with me and has resonated throughout the rest of my life, it gave me an idea, I remember as the credits rolled, I sat there and said ´That´s what I want, that´s what I wanna do, that´s the kind of work I wanna do´ but, anyway, I´m gonna do this song tonight, this is a song about, uh, the way people continue on an, and carry the, you know, the, the hope inside them even if after the world deals its harshest blows and shows, shows itself and after all the things you learn when you grow up (chuckles) uh….it´s a song about how people fall back on faith and, and love and ultimately on one another because that´s all that there is….so….(playing the melody)….the moon….´´

12.02.97 Sydney, Australia, intro to ´Working on the Highway´
´´Thanks….I wanna thank you, I wanna say I´ve been, uh, had a great time here in Sydney, it´s been terrific, had great audiences (crowd cheers) yeah….´´

12.02.97 Sydney, Australia, intro to ´No Surrender´
´´(?) alright, this is a song, I´m gonna do this for the Sydney City Mission, they´ll be out in the lobby tonight, they´re some folks who got in touch with us as we were coming into the city, they´re an organization that work here in town and they provide a wide variety of services for, uh, citizens in distress….they help families in crisis, they provide material aid and legal assistance and some job training and counselling, uh, the Mission´s calling is to feed the hungry, help alleviate poverty, combat injustice and restore hope so I´m gonna do this for them, they´re out there in the lobby tonight, check them out, they can use and deserve your support, the Sydney City Mission….´´

12.02.97 Sydney, Australia, intro to ´There Will Never Be Any Other For Me But You´
´´This, uh, this next song, weee! (chuckles)(someone yells ´Rosie, come out tonight!´) oh….oh, hell no! (chuckles)(people are yelling requests) shut up before I come down there (chuckles)…. alright, this is a, uh, song that sort of sums up the entire evening, I think, and, uh, the message of this song is love, love and all its complexities, I can feel the love out there tonight, ladies and gentlemen (chuckles)(crowd cheers) and I´m the loving bastard, that´s right, I´m trying, I´m trying to take that title away from Barry White, if I can….´cause I can´t get enough of your love, baby, love that stuff (chuckles) oh….man, I once seen Barry White at Radio City Music Hall and it was right at the peak when like ´Love Theme´ was like the thing and he was the thing and, uh, he had a girl group that came out and sang in front of him and they had a hit that they called somebody on the telephone and it was funny like that in the middle of a song you heard the phone ring and one of the girls said, you know, ´Baby, baby´ and he´d go [lowers his voice:] ´Hello, baby´ (chuckles) and the crowd went ´Yeaah!!´ (laughs) the guy wasn´t even onstage and he had ´em going crazy (chuckles) woo! Barry, this is for you…..
(….) [lowers his voice:] Hello, baby….will I what?….could I what?….where? (laughs) ah, honey, you know what I like….´´

Compiled by : Johanna Pirttijärvi

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