Tuesday, February 02, 2010


Great Parrotheads In History!

I don't care to belong to a club that accepts people like me as members
- Groucho Marx.

Like so many great historical Parrotheads, Groucho Marx never knew he was a Parrothead. According to the legend, Parrotheads weren't even invented until circa 1985, some eight years after Groucho sailed on into the mystic.

But he HAD to be a Parrothead in spirit, didn't he? After all, he invented the look that gave us those fake glasses with the nose and cheesy mustache attached, right? It's hard to do anything but smile wearing those stupid things. Did you know that it wasn't until he got into TV that he actually grew a mustache. Prior to that, he just globbed one on with greasepaint, then greased up his hair and eyebrows to match. Does that sound like a normal person?

And what other Parrothead-like mischief was Groucho famous for?

Once upon a time, while passing through customs, Groucho listed his real name on the customs form (Julius Henry Marx), and his occupation as "smuggler." Chaos ensued.

Groucho once ended a letter to Dick Cavett with "P.S. Did you ever notice that Peter O'Toole has a double-phallic name?"

When Groucho met Elton John in 1972, he mirthfully pointed "six-shooter" fingers at Elton, who threw up his hands and shouted.....wait for it..."Don't shoot me, I'm only the piano payer." And history was made.

And if that's not sufficient to convince you of Groucho's Parrotheadism, I give you the following quotations from the man himself:

Getting older is no problem. You just have to live long enough.

I have a mind to join a club and beat you over the head with it.

I intend to live forever, or die trying.

I never forget a face, but in your case I'll be glad to make an exception.

I remember the first time I had sex - I kept the receipt.

And finally, and maybe the best:

I, not events, have the power to make me happy or unhappy today. I can choose which it shall be. Yesterday is dead, tomorrow hasn't arrived yet. I have just one day, today, and I'm going to be happy in it.

So, add Groucho to the Parrothead Hall of Fame! Phins up, everyody!


Monday, November 16, 2009


The Best Albums You Never Heard

I've often heard that smells more quickly retrieve memories than any other sense. I know whenever I have the now rare opportunity on a cold day to be someplace where they use propane space heaters, I am immediately swept back to my grandparents' home on on remote ranch in eastern New Mexico. A cold, windswept, high plains day, in a cozy home full of love and the smells of Grandma's home cooking. It brings a tear to my eye every time.

Some songs have that effect, too, often more strongly. Such was the case the first time I heard Riverside on Dave Zobls' 2008 release, And So It Goes. Suddenly, there I was with my best high school buddies, my rattle trap car parked above us on the bank, sitting in the shade of the salt cedars, sipping a cold beer and watching the muddy waters of the Pecos River flow past while we cracked on one another and reveled in our worlds of no real jobs, no mortgage, no responsibilities, and no worries.

Dave's voice is so uniquely comforting, he could sing the phone book and make it entertaining. Add to that his insightful, homey lyricism, and Dave's art is something you simply do not want to miss. I particularly also enjoyed Lightning Bugs and Clotheslines, a couple of things I never see anymore but which once again bring back a flood of warm memories. Feeling a little down? Put on Six String Therapy and see if it doesn't bring your smile back, if only for a little while. Every little bit helps, right?

Are You Up There is a wonderfully touching piece of songwriting I heard for the first time when Dave performed it live at Fiddler's Dream a few months ago. It's lovely on this album, and I have to say it's even more effective with the pensive loneliness inherent in the one guitar/one voice of the live show.

The Crime Dog highly recommends And So It Goes. Along with Dave's other albums, it's available in all the usual places, like ITunes, CD Baby, and Rhapsody, or you can go right to the source and get it from Dave himself.

I first reviewed a Dave Zobl album several years ago with Roots and Wings. Then as now, he does not really place himself firmly within the Trop Rock genre, but his music has the heart and soul that we all so enjoy from guys like Mark Mulligan and Rob Mehl. So do yourself a favor, and pick up And So It Goes. While you're at it, try Best Day Yet and Roots and Wings. The Crime Dog would never steer you wrong.

As always, support your favorite artists by purchasing their music. Bootlegs are for losers.


Wednesday, November 11, 2009


The Best Albums You Never Heard

A few weeks back, I was chatting with our good friends and wonderful musicians Mark Mulligan, Brent Burns, and Dave Zobl over at Fiddler's Dream. We talked about how I once profiled trop-rock music on this blog, highlighting an artist and album on pretty much a weekly basis. They were all encouraging me to start it up again, and I told them it sounded like a good idea and I'd get off my lazy ass and do it again.

But I didn't. Until now. Why now, Crime Dog?

Because I just had the pleasure of hearing my buddy Sam Rainwater's first CD release, Vacation Location.

You may have heard every one of these songs a bazillion times from Sam and his ever-present ukulele, and enjoyed them every time, but let me tell you, you have never ever heard them like this. Where did that steel guitar come from? And that piano? A horn section? Percussion? Steelpans? Really? Holy trop-rock, folks, this album is GOOD.

I had the privilege of being among the first to purchase Vacation Location at the rooftop singer/songwriter event last week at the Rum Barrel in Key West. It was actually the only one I purchased all week at Meeting of the Minds, not wanting to haul them around in my pockets all night and pack them up for the long trip home. I couldn't have made a better choice.

This is escapism at its Parrothead finest, my friends. Great lyrics, excellent backing music, and a professional sound to rival the work of any label.

I never would have guessed the title track might be the best song on the entire album, but it just may be. Or maybe it's Tiki Bar In My Backyard. And Bourbon Street South? The horns give it a New Orleans street jazz feel that will make you want to head down to Duval Street or even the Big Easy itself.

At this year's Phins To The West event, Sam grabbed me on the first day and asked me to listen to a song he had just begun to write and was excited about. That song was It Ain't Cool To Be A Pirate Anymore. I was immediately captivated by it, and could not get it out of my head for days. Hearing it on this CD, I now know why. Are you listening out there, Sandbar Radio? Island Time? Permanent Vacation? This song needs to be played.

Do yourselves a favor, folks. Come by Sam's release party Friday, November 13, at Club Max's Sports Grill, Thomas & Scottsdale Road in Scottsdale between 6:00 - 9:00PM. There, you'll be able to pick up a copy of Vacation Location and sail away with Sam Rainwater. Out of towners can order a copy from Sam himself at his website, or even download a copy at Digstation.

And remember: It ain't cool to be a pirate anymore, and it's even less cool to bootleg music. All of Sam's CD sales proceeds go to support troop mailings and Castaway Kids, so buy your own and don't make me go all Crime Dog on you by burning a bootleg.


Monday, June 01, 2009


The Affair of the Clown

Parrotheads putting their best efforts to work for the needy at UMOM!

A great number of Arizona Parrotheads converged Saturday on the United Methodist Outreach Ministry in central Phoenix, spaghetti-laden crock pots, garlic bread, and desserts in tow to help that worthwhile organization feed about 230 folks, people who might be a little less fortunate than perhaps most of us are. And feed them we did, until everyone got their fill (including the Parrotheads), and we still had a few metric tons of delicious pasta left over. A great time, rewarding and enjoyable, was had by all. Well, almost all.....and that's where this story begins. It may not be a 100% accurate depiction of the event, but The Crime Dog never lets the truth get in the way of a good story.

One of our more delightful participants was the always fetching Lexy the Clown, colorfully arrayed in makeup, clown suit and hat, Mardi Gras beads in hand, making the day just a little brighter for a bunch of lovely children. She was, as usual, fantastic. A powder room break brought Lexy the Clown in touch with a little girl who required some assistance. One part of that was assisting the munchkin in getting some hand soap out of the dispenser, mounted too high on the wall for her to reach. As the child expectantly extended her cupped little hands to catch the glob of soap, Lexy the Clown kindly gave the dispenser button a push, and......

somehow blasted the poor kid in the face with it.

The munchkin erupted in a hair curling screech, as you might expect after getting zapped in the eyes with a tablespoon of hand soap. It gets a little foggy what happened then. I prefer to visualize it as several frantic Parrotheads filling the sink with water, holding the child by the ankles and dunking her head up and down in the water several times to get the soap out of her eyes, but my guess it was not quite so dramatic.

Now, let's play role reversal. Let's say it's.....hmmmm...how about Woody in the clown suit instead? Visualize this:

A middle-aged man in a clown suit, pockets full of suckers and pretty beads, takes a little boy into the bathroom. Seconds later, the kid shrieks, other adults enter to help, only to find Woody the Clown grappling with a hysterically screaming four year old boy. In the mens room.

Stop mister! Please! You're HURTING me! Why did you squirt that on me? AIIIEEEE!!!

I'm guessing we'd be seeing Woody on the evening news, verge of tears, makeup running, holding up a little sign with his name and booking number on it. Both frontal and profile. No reward and no bail.

Wish I was somewhere than here, down in some honky tonk sippin' on a beer....


Sunday, May 17, 2009


I Dig This Place

Margaritaville promotion, Buffett show, grandkid's birthdays....my feet haven't stopped moving for DAYS. But who's to complain? These are some of the things that make life enjoyable.

TFMCD and I turned the whole Margaritaville promotion/Buffett concert thing into a getaway. Took Thursday and Friday off, snagged a room at the Marriott Renaissance, and just stayed over. Let me tell, you, that place has some service.

We left our car with the valet Wednesday night, and Thursday morning around 6:30AM, I realized my phone was still in it. I called downstairs, told the valet my problem, and within five minute he was at the door, my phone in hand.

It gets better.

After the Margaritaville promotion, we headed back to the hotel for a little power nap. As I passed the front desk, I asked the attendant there if they could send a fan up to our room. No problem with the A/C, I explained, we just like more air circulation than most folks. The attendant said she was not sure if they had any, but would do what she could.

After a quick nap, we headed back over towards Margaritaville. A valet, whom I have no recollection of ever having met, saw me at the door and told me he had a fan for me, but would have to put it together. I thanked him, and was wondering how he even knew the heck I was.

When we returned to our room that afternoon, a large floor fan was awaiting us, ready for action. Impressive.

But it still gets better.

As we were leaving for the concert, the valet asked me how the fan worked out. I thanked him and told him it was great. He then told me they didn't have any in the hotel, so he had gone to the store, purchased one, assembled it, and took it up to our room.

Any question where we'll be staying every time we decide to hang out overnight on the west side?


Tuesday, May 12, 2009


Crime Dog, Cream Dog, Now This.....

A big AZPHC Phinz Up! to the wonderful people at Packages From Home. Heroes helping Heroes.

So I'm with a bunch of my Parrothead Phriends Saturday at Packages From Home, packing up goodies to ship off to America's True Heroes - the men and women of our U.S. Armed Forces in Iraq and Afghanistan - when I suddenly hear raucous, convulsive laughter from the far end of the packing table. I glance that way, and I see Crash and a few of the fine folks from Packages From Home yukking it up. Cool.

But then I see it....that sideways glance from Crash that lets me know beyond any doubt that it is I, the Crime Dog, who is at the butt of this mirth.

Turns out one of the fine folks from Packages misheard my nickname, and had apparently asked Crash something like "Which one is Crap Dog?" I may not have correctly stated the quote, but you get the sentiment. So, for the rest of that day, and much of that fine evening, I was "The Crap Dog." Remains to be seen how long THAT one will hang on.

In retrospect, I'm beginning the think the "Cream Dog" moniker hung on me by the LA club a few years ago at Parrot Grande is downright preferable.

Hey, call me anything! We packed up 50 boxes for our troops Saturday. Everything else pales in comparison.


Monday, May 11, 2009


I Heart Buffett Concert Week

We Parrotheads know how to start early and finish late.

When I was a kid growing up in New Mexico, there were a few days I really dug, and looked forward to all year. Christmas, of course, a no-brainer. The last day of school. First football game. My birthday, naturally. And then there was the first week of September - the week that the Eastern New Mexico State Fair opened. It was a mega-huge day for kids, because they actually gave us the day out of school to go to the parade and the first day of the fair. A kid could decorate up his bicycle and actually enter the parade - ride that sucker right down the middle of Main Street, baby! No helmet, gloves, or knee pads required!

Forty-plus years later, I can still clearly remember the anticipation, the excitement, and the energy of the days leading up to the big show, surpassed only by the sounds and smells of the fair itself. Carnies barking, music playing, bingo callers shouting out numbers, big diesel engines spinning up "The Bullet" and "The Round Up" into screaming, pants peeing fear and excitement, and the PA announcer at the rodeo calling out who just got thrown from a saddle bronc. I can still smell the stock barns (which you can turn your nose up to, but it just smells like home to me), the burning diesel fuel, delicious cotton candy and popcorn, and of course the savory, sizzling smell of the Kiwanians grilling those delicious burgers over by the Bingo tent, near the Commercial Exhibit building. Who knows, maybe this will be the year I snag a kiss on the haunted house ride, or under the bleachers at Coca Cola Field Man, what I wouldn't give to relive Fair Week one more time before taking that big dirt nap in the sky.

It's been said that "you can never go home again." True enough. I know if I went back there, it wouldn't be nearly the same. It would be too loud, dusty, annoying, and small, even though it seemed so gigantic when I was a 12-year-old. It's better that the fair just lives in my memory, where it still exhilarates me in my middle-ageness.

But guess what? I'm a Parrothead! I have Buffett Concert Week! That same excitement and anticipation, the same exhilaration all week long, looking ahead to the big show! I'll take the day off, just like when I was 10. I'll hang out at Margaritaville all morning, sipping a few adult beverages, palling around and palying grabass with Wayners, Steve-O, Rick and the rest of the kids. Wondering if maybe my special girlfriend will give me a secret kiss in that big dining room sailboat. Parade? You bet! All around the parking lot of Cricket Pavilion will be one big parade of suntan-oiled, Margarita-mixing, shot luge riding, grass skirt wearing, flag waving, fin waving, crustacean and cheeseburger eatin' Parrotheads. Hell, there'll probably be as many folks in the parking lot as in my whole home town!

Are you feeling it now? Maybe just a little? Yeah, I thought so.

Meet me at Margaritaville!


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