Bass Ronin – Gary Young MySpace Blog

Lord a’ mercy. My brain is shot. Shot!

But I do feel like writing. Now let’s see if I can remember anything in particular.


The House and the Senate now have a Democrat majority. This should be interesting. I cling tenuously to the hope that they won’t justify my apathy. I was surprised to see Rumsfeld resign. That caught me off guard. It’s too bad that the Rachel Maddow show started charging money for the podcast. I’d like to hear her show from the day after.

It’s also interesting to hear the conservative pundits rationalize and retro-analyze. I think the whole of society is supposed to fall apart now, if I understand correctly. People marrying their livestock and what not. Look forward to diatribe like … I actually heard someone call (embryonic) stem cell research supporters “The Forces of Cloning”. I laughed out loud. Sounds like another installment in the Star Wars saga.


This is for you, Mishy Long.

Thanks to Todd Marcus, last Friday night I played a gig at Milton’s Grill in Baltimore. On Charles St. Nice place, good food, hard cider. It’s the first time I’ve played an upright bass gig in … oh, man, it’s been years. Todd on bass clarinet, Darius Scott on keys and me on upright. I’m not gonna lie to you. It was rough at first. During the first half hour I wanted to go home. My hands were killing me, my back was hurting, my sound sucked, intonation was off, I have to read every tune and I was making mistakes that amateur jazz musicians make. Small ones, but still. I didn’t think I was going to make it through the night, meaning that I thought my left hand was going to cramp up at some point or that I was going to get the shooting pains. Got no calluses on my plucking fingers. That s— hurts, let me tell you.

But it’s the small things. Here’s the thing that made all the difference between the first set and the second two. Sweat and oil. When you play a string instrument — or at least when I do — your hands sweat. The sweat provides lubrication and prevent blisters and gives you a certain feel on the strings. It’s a balance between friction and lubrication. My plucking fingers (and the inside of my thumb, which rests and counterbalances on the side of the neck) were completely dry for the first one and a half sets. Burning. I got desperate and my mind wandered to some outdoor gigs I’ve played. On outdoor gigs in certain conditions your hands stay very dry and all that. Solution: I swiped my fingers on my head and the bridge of my nose. Yeh, I know it’s a little dodgy but it worked. You won’t hear me expressing gratitude for an oily T-zone very often, but this is that one time. I’ll have to bring something more hygienic for next time.

We played “Invitation”, which transformed into freeness, solidified into a bass-driven groove that became “Summer Time”. Ah, I miss playing with a drummer, though.

And of course, there was a drunk or otherwise mentally addled individual to provide some unwanted color. There was a man there that was practically a cartoon caricature of a grizzled old prospector shouting semi-incoherently throughout the night.

“Teamwork! Nothing like teamwork!”

And other very random things. He just couldn’t contain himself. A semi-harmless menace. I felt bad for him because everyone was ignoring him and finally the bartender threw him out. As much as I wanted him gone and as disruptive as he was, it just … everyone wants the same thing out of life (in my estimation). Attention, affection, affirmation, intimacy, security/stability, etc. You know, that whole upper echelon of Maslow’s hierarchy of needs. And if I can get lonely, surrounded by people who I like and love and vice versa, what is this grizzled old prospector Yosemite Sam guy’s life like? “Oooooooooo, I hates alienations!”

This is typical of me, by the way. C’est la vie. Good luck to you and Godspeed, creepy drunken ’49er.

Bicycle Helmets; Lithium Batteries; Car Brakes; Aluminum
Toothpicks; Acrylic Bathtubs; Helicopters; Beer
Hearing Aids; 3-D Puzzles; Rubber Mats; Toilets


There’s a commercial on the TV airwaves — I can’t remember what it’s for. They play Sister Sledge’s “We Are Family”. Have you seen this one? Just the chorus of “We Are Family” and they edit out all the other lyrics. It’s extremely annoying. I think the song is also somewhat common in the lands of Gaydom, ringed with rainbow flags and what not. I remember when the song came out. We had the album at home. Vinyl, baby. Big ol’ album artwork with their fuzzily lit photo. I have a distinct memory of that song. (Flashback commencing…)

I was about ten maybe. I could figure it out if I just looked up when that song came out. Me and my big sister, she’s four years older than me, were visiting our father and stepmother. We used to go every other weekend to stay with our father, stepmother and my three stepsisters. Holy crap. That song came out in 1979! So I was at least seven.

We all went to visit some family friends. BBQ of some kind, I think. One of the families was white and they had two boys, who were cool but whose names I can’t remember. We were all out playing in the grass — tag, freeze tag, jump rope, whatever — and the radio was playing. An argument broke out and the two white kids got upset and called us a bunch of niggers. Oh man. My sister and stepsisters were pissed and we were shouting names back. My father heard the commotion and walked over.

“Hey hey hey. What’s going on?”

So we told him that the brothers called us niggers. And he told us not to worry about it. He had my sisters and me hold hands and we all ran around in a circle singing, “We are family. I’ve got all my sisters and me.” until we all got tired and fell down in the grass laughing.

Currently listening :
Free to Worship
By Fred Hammond
Release date: By 03 October, 2006

Janna Mordan

You’re cool, Gary.  I miss ya.

Posted by Janna Mordan on Nov 13, 2006 11:56 PM
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Gary Young

You’re not too bad yourself, J.  You know comments make me happy.

There’s a Janna here at work.  And there’s a Mordan here at work.  Stop haunting me.

Posted by Gary Young on Nov 14, 2006 6:30 PM
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Hey G!

We must be travellin’ on the same wave because I was just about to write you to find out how the gig went.  Get outta my head, bass boy!

Wow, it sounds like a rough go, but all hail the t-zone!  Funny, the things/places/people who end up being the saving grace.  I’m glad that you played.  I hope this leads to more… (teehee, sorry, had to throw that in).  You NEED to be playing… Just my humble (ha!) opinion.

Here’s a rather simplistic, naive question.  Why is it that every family (well, black families in particular) seem to use the Sister Sledge song to either; 1) bring folks together at picnics/reunions/BBQs? 2) soothe the frayed edges of drunken uncles after a particular bout of motor-potty mouth? or 3) wax nostalgic about the “good ‘ol days” when people knew how to make music?

Can I get a witness?

And about the elections?  Well, it remains to be seen what will become of our great nation as a result of a Democrat-led Congress.  What I am looking forward to is the constant sour-faced disappointment of our president as he gets shot down (isn’t that appropriate for a fella that feels at one with his TX ranch?).  I just hope that I won’t be disappointed by the Democrats.  They’ve already driven me out of their party (‘it’s keen to be Green!), so I hope they don’t drive me out of this country!

But I digress… sorta.  See what your blog has done?  Thanks alot, G! 

Hope you’re well and recovered from your adventures at Milt’s!  Till next time…


Posted by Shell on Nov 14, 2006 8:42 AM
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Gary Young

Yes, beat you to the punch.  I do that a lot, although most of the time I procrastinate just long enough for the other person to get there first.  A little proactivity comes in handy every now and then.

Well, I suddenly have two gigs this weekend.  Both at the same spot.  Bass on Friday night and guitar on Satuday (taking the gig over for Todd for the night).  More to come on that later.

Sister Sledge.  I don’t know.  What is so universally appealing about that song?  It’s very typical disco era and yet it stands out somehow.

I think you need to write a blog entry about the elections.  You know you want to.  Don’t deny it.  Join me in digressing, Mishy Long.

Posted by Gary Young on Nov 15, 2006 10:24 PM
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