Frank Gutch Jr: My Love Affair With the 45, Susan James (A Lady You Really Need To Hear), and Notes (The Door To the Music and Music News You May Be Missing)…..

FrankJr2I look back on my life and understand why music has taken up most of my life, though few others do.  I am an anomaly to them– an outcast in a world of careers and families and politics and so many other things so more important and I can see that like Red Green and all of the excellent male role models on The Red Green Show, they accept me like I am, even if it’s not what they usually accept, and only if they have to.  They have had to, I suppose, for I am who I am and that is not said as pure statement but with the realization that over the years I have tried to change.

My striving for perfection has been a life-long struggle.  I have always thought that if I could take the best parts of the people I admire, I would be a better person.  And I have tried.  But subtracting music from the person just doesn’t work.  Not for me.  Music is part and parcel of Frank Gutch Jr. and that is all there is to it.

bergenmccarthyNot surprising, considering I was raised in a musical environment and suckled at the teat of radio.  By the time I came along, radio was in turmoil.  It was still the number one source of entertainment (along with movies) but there was change in the wind.  The DJ was becoming more than the occasional filler for the slots previously reserved for news and network offerings.  Edgar Bergen and Charlie McCarthy be damned, the DJ was becoming entertainment himself, somewhat preferable to the lame offerings from outside sources.  They had, after all, records at their disposal and those records contained what was to become virtual lifeblood to so many— music.  The DJ was the future.

That future was just life to a young kid whose ears somehow magnetically attached themselves to any and every radio speaker, but it wouldn’t be long before it dominated life.  While my first memory of music was dancing with my mother to the joyfully bouncy Shrimp Boats by Jo Stafford, it would not be long before every memory would attach itself to a song or musical style.  Us kids (more than likely with Momma’s help) named our dog Putsy because of the Slim Gaillard song Cement Mixer, Putty Putty.  We turned up the radio (much to the chagrin of our parents) every time Hugo Winterhalter‘s Canadian Sunset came on, thanks to the excellent piano of Eddie Heywood.  While certain radio programs were staples, like Suspense and Jack Benny and Our Miss Brooks, the real family programs more and more leaned toward the likes of The Grand Ole Opry and Your Hit Parade.  We listened to religious music on Sunday mornings not because we were religious but because my parents loved the old hymns.

78changerWe had records, but they were pretty much off limits.  Grandpa had made a “drawer” for Mom and Dad’s records with a nice cushion built right into the top so you could sit on it comfortably.  He bought wire racks made specifically for holding 78s to place in it.  It is a magnificent piece.  I still have it.  I guess we had 45s, but again, they were off limits.  I can’t even remember where they were kept.  Until Momma decided us kids were old enough to handle them.  Needless to say, my world changed.

The “drawer” was no longer off limits.  The 45s came out of hiding.  We were no longer restricted to our children’s records.  Imagine the freedom of not being limited to Ten Little Indians.  Emancipation!  Imagine my delight at being able to look through the vast record collection available at our house!  Why, there must have been thirty or forty 78s and close to fifty or so 45s!  It was a gold mine!  T. Texas TylerRed Foley!  Phil Harris!  And that was just the 78s!  The 45s were another world!  Polkas, Country & Western and even classical (well, if you consider Mario Lanza classical).  I fell in absolute love with The Blue Sky Boys‘ translucent blue-green 45 of Tears On Her Bridal Bouquet.  I played Hank WilliamsNever Again (Will I Knock On Your Door) incessantly— to this day, my favorite of all the great songs Hank did.  I polka’d with The Six Fat Dutchmen (who these days even remembers the schottische?).  Those wonderful translucent red Lanza 45s.  Vaughn Monroe‘s classic version of Ghost Riders In the Sky.  Man, I was in seventh heaven!

fatsdominoUnfortunately (or fortunately, depending how you look at it), the parents also gave us our first record player that Christmas, a small suitcase job, easy to pack from living room to bedroom, the place the parents preferred it to be.  They also gave me my very first 45:  Fats Domino‘s Blueberry Hill.  You would not even begin to understand how much I loved that song and how utterly cool it was to own the record.  Until I left it on a chair where I had thrown a coat and the neighbor girl sat on it and it broke.  My first lesson in record care.  I have not lost a patient since.

Lucky for me, our good friend Dixie, rest her soul, had also given me Elvis Presley‘s Rip It Up EP so I was not without my own music.  I played it until I actually started to like Elvis.  See, even then I was for the underdog.  While everyone was going for Elvis, I was digging the likes of Jimmy Bowen (By the Light of the Silvery Moon) and Jody Reynolds (Endless Sleep) and The RoyaltonesPoor Boy.  I found vocal groups and even had my first experience of cover versions (I preferred The Diamonds‘ version of Silhouettes to The Rays‘).  Now that I think about it, my first experience involved Fats Domino‘s and Pat Boone‘s versions of Ain’t That a Shame.  Domino won.

45recordplayerI was settling in.  I was becoming my own man, the kid’s version, when it came to rock ‘n’ roll if not other genres.  I didn’t like sharing a record player with my sister but I do not now know why.  She seldom played it.  And I hogged it.  Still, what I really wanted was my own player and not just any player but probably the the cheapest and worst sounding player available— the RCA stand-alone you-can-only-play-45s-on-this-sucker model.  All the cool kids had them.  I guess I was destined to fall short of cool.  But that was okay.  My world was just about to blow open even wider.

Thanks to the success of rock ‘n’ roll, real radio finally made its way to Oregon.  Well, our little section of Oregon.  Portland had always had their radio and were the first to get TV, but the valley was a bit behind.  When the early sixties hit, the whole valley blew up.  Radio stations, some of which had been there all along, started catering to the market and the market at that time was teens.  Certain stations switched to an all-rock format.  Hell, certain stations were newly built for rock radio!  Good thing, too, because TV was on the verge of making zombies of us all and if you think TV is bad today!  Sheesh!  You know what I remember of TV when I was a kid?  I mean besides American Bandstand and their Eugene equivalent, Teen Scene?  And, yes, The Mickey Mouse Club?  Farm reports.  A whole fifteen minutes of national news and, wait for it, another fifteen minutes of regional news.  Cartoons.  Arthur Godfrey.  Soap operas.  Why, do you realize that we had to wait until Saturday to get any semblance of sports outside of the two minutes on the news out of Portland’s  and Eugene’s stations?  It was a freaking black hole!  Still, we watched.  Even when the “snow” was so bad you could barely see movement.  Even when the sound was so bad you couldn’t make out the words.  More than one scene of what could have been a decent movie (but was more than likely not) disappeared into the ether.  It soon became commonplace in our house for the TV to be turned off, the radio ignored and books to be read.  Not me.  I headed into the bedroom to listen to records.  And later, when transistor radios took over the teen world, listen to the radio.  For a kid who loved music as much as I was beginning to, life was good.

moby-grape-omaha-psIt got better along with radio.  Rock took over the Willamette Valley.  There was KGAL in Lebanon and KRKT in Albany and KFLY in Corvallis.  Along with the stations came records.  There was a store for a short time in Lebanon, but they had a rough go.  Albany had one.  Eugene had the best: Thompson’s Record Mart.  I mean, Thompson’s had listening booths!  I never used them.  Whenever I walked in (which was way too seldom, to my liking), I already knew what I wanted.  I scanned lists— radio charts, newspaper charts, Billboard charts— and I knew.  Bad thing was, every time I hit a store, I forgot.  For instance, I walked into Thompson’s one day with two bucks in my hand to get two of the five Moby Grape singles from their new album.  I walked out with the Grape’s Omaha and The Youngblood‘s Grizzly Bear on the recommendation of a customer.  I distinctly remember my disappointment the first time I heard Grizzly Bear— a bit esoteric for my tastes, I thought, but I immediately fell in love with the B-side, Tears Are Falling.  A week later, I was wearing out both sides.  I heard Sean & The BrandywinesShe Ain’t No Good while cruising and listening to KRKT.  The next time I made it to Eugene, I ordered it.  Took them six weeks to get it.  I bought The ViceroysThat Sound and The SonicsLouie Louie after hearing them over the air.

Some 45s were just plain hard to find.  The Roadrunners came through Albany and played the guard armory.  They visited KGAL, got immediate airplay and a plug for their armory show, dropped off a mere 25 copies of their single, I’ll Make It Up To You, at the local shop and by the time I got there, they were gone.  It took me fifteen to twenty years to find a copy.  KASH in Eugene played The Gants(You Can’t Blow) Smoke Rings as a make-it-or-break it and they broke it.  Took me a good twenty years to track that one down because the disc jockey told me it was The Gnats, so for twenty years I was asking for the wrong band.  Sigh.  The Great Scots were on American Bandstand once and lip-synched to Ball and Chain.  They tried ordering it but no one was distributing the label on the West Coast.  I did find some Great Scots 45s, though— (That’s My Girl) Rotten To the Core and Give Some Lovin’ (Want to see something very cool?  Watch this!)  I mean, it was an adventure!

An Aside— A lot of the 45s I searched for were mostly local and, if lucky, regional hits.  I used to record tapes for my friends and, of course, mainly of music they might never have a chance to hear otherwise.  Here is a link to a tape I made for good friend Joe Lee, one which his daughter Marisa put on a site for listening and downloading.  You can access it here.  Side A is Pacific Northwest.  Side B is whatever oddities I loved.  Recorded directly from my 45s.

Wrapping_Paper_Cream_1967_Polydor_45We’re ba-ack.  In the late seventies, albums began taking over.  I would occasionally special order 45s from the UK from a business I found in a Billboard ad.  I remember the first one I got was Cream‘s Wrapping Paper.  Hell, it was #1 in England!  I couldn’t go wrong, right?  I didn’t take into account England’s love for crapola.  Pure rot!  Luckily, the flipside was Cat’s Squirrel, a monster of an instrumental that almost made me cry, it was so good.  I bought The Who‘s Substitute and a few other rockers but then ran out of money and lost my connection.  45s, while not tossed under the bus, were put on the back burner.

From that point on, it was album time and, boy was that a whirlwind of a time.  It began innocuously enough— a Thirteenth Floor Elevators album here, a Grass Roots album there (and not the later sappy Roots but the Roots with roots, if you know what I mean).  Ron Prindle started Chrystalship out of a small room on 11th (or was it 13th) in Eugene.  Chrystalship would become the largest freestanding onestore I have ever seen, not long after moving to Portland.  They  never expanded beyond the one.  Ron brought in real oddities— the Country Joe & The Fish 7-inch EP with the original version of Not So Sweet, Martha Lorraine on it; the Frumious Bandersnatch 7-inch on purple vinyl.  Visiting him was like handing him my bank account number.  Here, you might like this new Illinois Speed Press album he would say and would dig into my stash to find an album I had picked but he didn’t think worthy and would substitute.  It was a habit I would repeat while I was in the Army.   I would walk in the door at Long Hair Music Faucet in Portland or The Sun Shoppe in Lake Oswego with money in my hand, throw it on the counter and say, what do I need, and they would point to a wall containing the first Brinsley Schwarz or the first James Gang or any number of albums which I would grab until the money was gone.  I loved those days.  They didn’t have quite the adventure of the earlier days of the 45 treasure hunts, but I found some amazing music on those walls.

After the Army, I headed back to Eugene and discovered The House of Records (it’s still there, folks) and began a life of hoarding.  I couldn’t even begin to tell you how important that store was to my musical development.  I had all the vinyl I could handle.  I found and fell in love with what seemed to me like a few million outstanding bands— a world of music— which would follow me through the years and make the worst of those years palatable.  whiteelephantGlass Harp and Cargoe and Cowboy and Van der Graaf Generator— bands of all shapes and sizes.  Jim Dawson made it onto my turntable, and Megan McDonough and Pacheco & Alexander and Dalton & DuBarri and, most precious of all, White Elephant and Nick Holmes, that ol’ Soulful Crooner.  God, but that was an education!  (For my friends who are wondering, yes, I found Big Star then, too, but they are such a big name now that no one would believe that they had trouble getting known at the beginning).

I read backs of album jackets like other people read newspapers and magazines.  I gained such an incredible knowledge of the music world on vinyl that people who knew way more than I did began asking me questions when they couldn’t answer one.  I used to joke that I could never remember a name unless it was printed on the back of an album jacket and that wasn’t far from the truth.  I also used to apologize to people I recognized but could not recall their names by saying that I could never remember a name unless it was printed on an album jacket but I never forgot a face.  It would practically become a calling card because, truthfully, I was lousy with names.  Unless one was attached to music.

fiveamericansyellowvinylIt got to the point that I had gathered so much information, I thought that the record business needed me because their salesmen just didn’t seem to give a rusty shit about anything but the hits.  I headed for L.A. where I was sure to shake the very foundations of record companies by showing them where they had gone wrong.  By showing them that music was not just a commodity.  I got laughed out of more than one record company office.  I survived by running projector in a porn palace until a lady at Licorice Pizza took pity on me and hired me as a record clone.  God, but I loved working there because at that time Licorice Pizza encouraged my thirst for music.  Not only that, Rhino Records (as sung by Wildman Fischer“on Westwood Boulevard”) was on my way to and from work.  I befriended the guys who worked there (Richard Foos and Harold Bronson, who would later turn Rhino into a brand-name label, and Jeff Gold and Leigh Kaplan) and was eventually invited into the backroom by Foos himself to dig through the piles of 45s he kept piled in small mountains, probably because I begged.  When they exited the building, I helped them load boxes into a big truck and pointed out that he still had some 45s in the backroom, though only a few.  Richard told me I could have them if I wanted them and among those were a number of old Abnak 45s of The Five Americans on translucent yellow vinyl.  In later years, I would run across a guy who almost came to tears over them and would hand them to him (though he protested).  My rule has always been that if anyone ever truly wanted records I had more than myself, it was time to pass them on.  I loved those 45s, but this guy loved them.

Rhino Records was not the only store I frequented in L.A.  I asked around because I was sending Gary at The House of Records albums I found— ones I thought they could easily sell.  I shopped at Music Odyssey and Zed’s and Zaad’s and a number of small stores which had records but not as a main item.  People kept telling me about Aron’s.  My first time there, I was astounded.  A handful of people lined up there every day before they opened and got in line!  When the door opened, there was a mad dash!  I had never seen anything like it, but that’s what it was.  I was later to realize that the store put out a new stash of records in the used bins every morning, first come first served.  Guys were grabbing stacks of albums and then taking them aside to look at their condition.  Many would be returned to the bin after not living up to standards or just not making the cut.  I scored big there over the year plus a few months I was in L.A.  Albums for a dime, 33-cents, 50-cents.  White label promos sometimes.  What I would call mint-minus condition on most of them, too.  To me that meant probably never played but not in shrink wrap.  I had and have high standards.

When I left L.A. for San Diego, I had little idea what would happen.  It was like moving to a different country.  I helped open the Pacific Beach store for Licorice Pizza, made friends right off the bat and kept on my merry little way.  At the time, the big games in town as far as used product were the handful of Swap-a-Tape stores and The Arcade, downtown.  Swap-a-Tape carried albums but only as trade items.  They promoted themselves as a tape store more than anything.  The Arcade, though, was a different matter.  They had racks of 45s, original copies, most of them.  They had albums— again, titles I revered but which did not appeal to the general public.  I would sometimes go down on a day off and dig through the racks, selling people on the really excellent items they had for sale, from Big Star to Ugly Ducklings.  I liked it there.  They were nice guys.  They had this Buffalo Springfield album jacket stapled to the wall and out of reach that they claimed was supposed to be the jacket for that band’s third album before they split up.  I don’t know if it was true, but many a person asked if they could buy it and offered goodly amounts.  The answer was always no.

Licorice-PizzaEventually, my luck ran out with Licorice Pizza and a friend talked me into opening a store in San Diego with him.  I wasn’t too hip on the idea, knowing that if something goes wrong with friends you do business with, it usually goes way wrong, but I caved.  The result was Scratchin’ the Surface, a small and somewhat unknown store on, of all hiddenest of hidden streets, Goldfinch Avenue.  We carried both new and used and made the mistake of believing that the music, if good, would sell itself.  We stocked all of our favorite titles, dealt in used and stocked the latest of what we thought sellable from the brand new punk and new wave bands.  What that meant, pretty much, was 45s and EPs.

Our source was mainly BOMP DistributorsGreg Shaw was as good as anyone out there in finding the records to carry and he made sure those records were covered in BOMP Magazine.  Of course, we carried The Zeros‘ 45, Wimp, conveniently released on BOMP.  We carried The Dils‘ 45 on What? And The Hitmakers‘ three-song EP on their own label.  All three were San Diego bands and all three were in demand.  Beyond that, we carried what BOMP said, not because they said it but because we asked them to make up the list.  The Suicide CommandosFlamin’ GrooviesCount Bishops.  There was seemingly no end to the odd and good under-the-radar bands out there and the few who stopped by loved us, but we had neither the money nor the location, so we folded.  I rolled over one morning and looked out the window and knew that getting out was the only way to save my sanity.  I listed three places I would go if I had a chance:  Denver, Minneapolis or Seattle.  I chose Seattle.  When I got there, I realized that I could have not made a better choice.  The city was loaded with books and records galore.

You know, I loved Seattle so much and have made and still have so many good friends there that I will save that for another time.  It was there that my love affair with the little-record-with-the-big-hole took a whole ‘nother direction.

This is therapy for me, you know.  Not because it’s me but because of the music.  That tape I linked to earlier in this column?  The one Marisa Lee so graciously posted?  I listened to it before writing this.  There are occasional moments when I question the paths I have taken.  Hearing that music pushed all of those aside.  I am one lucky sonofabitch.  The music proves it to me.  Especially that released on 45.

Susan James— So Good I Don’t Care If She Is Distributed By a Major Label…..

SusanJames_banner1122I’m sure I’m going to hear about that.  Major labels are always dancing around the fact that if they distribute an album as an Indie, it is supposed to be an Indie.  Hey, even if it’s only major label-distributed, I don’t touch it.  I spent too many years watching them control and manipulate the music world to want to have anything to do with them.  So let us forget that Susan James‘ soon-to-be-released Driving Toward the Sun has major label connections.  Let us pretend that this brand spanking new (and, in fact, beauty of an) album is nothing but Susan and her handful of friends who have backed her from her early days until now.  Let us pretend that she, say, is selling these albums door to door, not because it matters but because it matters to me.

For me to even write about this is against what I have been writing for the past number of years— that major labels (and their artists) don’t need the help nor do I want to help them.  But you know what?  In this instance, I don’t care.  Susan James is evidently a flaw in my character,  if I have any character, that is.

Kim Grant, PR maven to many musicians I hold close to my heart, posted a video of Susan doing a track from the new album this past week.  Titled Wandering, the song is a throwback to folk roots but with a country-ish twist.  The video, an animated trek through an animated world, fit the music to a ‘T’ and I was sold.  A day or so later, the CD showed up in the mailbox.  I waited a few days to play it.  When I did, I felt like I had wasted those days.  Wandering is a nice track, no doubt about it, but the rest of the album is stunning, from the title track (that would be track #1) on.  I mean, I hear the best from so many bands.  Agua Dulce Tears mirrors a couple of tracks by Austin’s The Georgian Company, a group which should have been greeted with open ears but wasn’t (listen to this track and tell me it isn’t beautiful).  House of Love bookends Devon Sproule‘s astoundingly beautiful Julie on Sproule’s epic Don’t Hurry For Heaven album and let me tell you, that ain’t even close to easy (listen to them one after the other and be prepared to hear something special).  Tule Fog has so much Caroline Herring in it that had I heard it not knowing who it was, I would have had to listen hard to remove Herring’s name from the suspect list.  And Mission Bells I cannot hear enough.  The combination of James’ pure voice and the sadness it carries makes it the perfect sit-on-your-lawn-chair-on-the-front-porch-at-sunset tune, dragging you through the best of your past, whether you want it or not.

There is nothing new on this album, true, but my absolute favorite albums have not been groundbreaking.  They have, however, brought different facets and sounds of music together in such a way as to make it seem groundbreaking.  Maybe the word I am looking for is not groundbreaking but heartbreaking because this album is so well put together that even the “up” tracks tug at the heartstrings.  Release date is February 19th.  Worth it to hear two of the better pedal steel players playing today— Eric Heywood and Chris Lawrence.  Credit goes to Ryan Ulyate as well for knob-twisting beyond the pale.

I have probably used up enough of your time and, unfortunately for you, it’s not over yet.  I’ve been digging and have got a whole bunch of things and ;links you need to go over.  Yep, you guessed it.  It’s time for them damnable…..

Music Notes smallNotes…..  I may not know anything about Rick Mercer, who is evidently some kind of entertainer-slash-reporter out of The Great White North, but I am a drummer and I know cymbals (and a music fan and I know The Trews) and how cool is it to not only see cymbals being made but seeing them being made by The Trews‘s drummer, Sean Dalton, and that Mercer guy.  Laugh track aside, it is a very entertaining segment and fascinating as hell— even Mercer’s drumming episode with the band to end the piece.  You think you know cymbals?  Well, watch this!  And when you’re done there, click here to check out The Trews and their plethora of music vids.  I dig these guys…..  Under the heading how in the hell do these videos get past me, here is one brought to my attention by Dave Pyles, the commanding officer at FAME, a music review site I write for on occasion:  Say Chance:  Three young ladies who lay out the tunes very nicely.  Watch and enjoy and when you get the chance, check out all of the other vids they have online at their website, http://saychancemusic.com/video/…..  Ever have a feeling of deja vu when it comes to music?  I’m listening a lot lately to a band out of Boise called Innocent Man and there’s this song they do titled Whistler and I’m thinking, man, I’ve heard this before and tonight I check out their videos on YouTube and they have this whole different version of the song which was loaded as a video in 2010 and I;m thinking, wow, I must have heard this here but I’m sure I didn’t.  I mean, I love this song and here is a slower and more controlled take, but I don’t care.  I love that version, too!  You’ll be reading about these guys, sports fans.  And I’m sure it will not be just what I write.  Watch here…..  Dan Phelps is one of the few musicians I follow incessantly.  Here he is laying down some guitar for… who?  Hell, I don’t know.  They just say he’s laying down tracks for some album.  Pretty cool behind the scenes thelonelywildclip.  Short, too, so you can get back to your Led Zeppelin quickly.  Click here…..  I know it was only last week I was plugging The Lonely Wild, but I’ve been listening since then and have a fantastic deal for you.  Go to their “free download” page (click here) and download yourself some good rockin’ AND downright beautiful music, both studio and live.  I tell you, these guys have something beyond the norm, musically.  Excellent stuff!  If you don’t believe me, download it and listen.  It’s FREE, fer chrissakes…..  Susan James‘s new album has finally arrived.  If you haven’t heard her, she is one of the better alt.country/alt.folk musicians around.  Here is a video of a track from Driving Toward the SunWandering.  I dig it.  Click here…..  Just found out that Joey Molland (Badfinger, Natural Gas) is still recording, this time with a couple of guys named Mitch Weissman and Les Fradkin.  I haven’t checked out the tunes yet, but I will very soon.  Natural Gas was one of my guilty pleasures back in the day.  You can listen here…..  Sonofagun if Rita Hosking‘s impending release and Paige Anderson & The Fearless Kin‘s album Wild Rabbit have not kicked my bluegrass-loving butt into high gear.  Just this morning, I ran across a new trio out of Charlottesville headed by none other than mandolin-player-superb Andy Thacker who has teamed up with two names I do not recognize (but who have moved to the top of my list of names to watch), Landon Fishburne and Ben Hernandez. They call themselves Gallatin Canyon and play a potpourri of bluegrass/hillbilly styles (I say hillbilly to separate it from the crap country music being spewed from the mouths of Nashville).  Their first three tracks are streaming on Bandcamp (click here).  Only three of them, but it’s enough to tell me I want to hear more…..  This from the irascible Mark S. Tucker, one of only a few reviewers I read to find the best of the best in music— regarding his picks for 2012:

Crack the Sky—Ostrich (#1 and aces Tom House’s CD only ’cause I loved these bastards during their first 4 LPs and never dared imagine, after decades of bad follow-ons, they’d ever be able to again muster a masterpiece)

Tom House—Winding Down the Road (#2, breathtakingly authentic Americana—’n thanx to fellow FAME crit Frank Gutch turning me onto it—if this CD doesn’t find its way to real durable fame, it’ll be a damned shame).

Number one:  I did not even know Crack the Sky even had a new album, let alone one this good (If Tucker says it’s good, it is, judging by his track record).  Number two:  His picking the Tom House album so high gives me confirmation that it is as good as I thought it was.  My thanks go to Keith Morris of The Crooked Numbers fame for turning me onto it.  And the word spreads.  Morris, by the way, released his own excellent Love Wounds & Mars LP (click here to sample) last year, which he held up to coincide with the Mars landing.  Must have been an aligning of the stars…..

 =FGJ=

Frank’s column appears every Wednesday

Contact us at dbawis@rogers.com

DBAWIS_ButtonFrank Gutch Jr. looks like Cary Grant, writes like Hemingway and smells like Pepe Le Pew. He has been thrown out of more hotels than Keith Moon, is only slightly less pompous than Garth Brooks and at one time got laid at least once a year (one year in a row). He has written for various publications, all of which have threatened to sue if mentioned in any of his columns, and takes pride in the fact that he has never been quoted. Read at your own peril.”

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