Frank Gutch Jr: Generation Found; It Was a Long Walk Home (Thoughts Spurred By Separation From Viet Nam-Era Army); plus N-n-n-n-notes…

 

For years I have been telling you that music isn’t just music.  Some of you understand, mostly musicians who spend a lot of energy and time helping out those in need.  Others shrug it off because they know either that there is no good music anymore so what good would it do, or that musicians are either children avoiding growing up or are millionaires waiting for the train.  Don’t tell that to the people at Sweet Relief or Musicares or any of the other charity organizations out there.  There is a lot of hard work being laid down by scores of musicians and music people, aware that good fortune can turn sour at the drop of a hat.

I know from personal experience.  I sent a chunk of time working with recording engineer/producer Sheldon Gomberg helping to get the word out about Sweet Relief III: Pennies From Heaven.  Like many of you, I thought it would mainly be a matter of scheduling musicians and getting their song recorded.  Not even close.  Scheduling, it turned out, was a nightmare and, as a result, spread out over a period of over a year and longer.  Even though it was a matter of one song per musician/musicians, dealing with the song involved dealing with numerous musicians with varying schedules.  And, hell, even before the recording there were the legalities— the meetings with individuals who controlled the use of individual songs.  Listening to Gomberg over the period of the year we worked together gave me chills.  Even with all of the help he was afforded, I could see the toll it took.  As exciting and cool as it had to have been working with the likes of Ron Sexsmith, Ben Harper, Genevieve Toupin, Eleni Mandell, Victoria Williams,  Rickie Lee Jones, Tina Schlieske, Rickie Lee Jones, She & Him, Joseph Arthur, k.d. Lang, Sam Phillips, Shelby Lynne, and Jackson Browne, it had to be daunting if nothing else.  As the album was recorded, I could not help but think of the pressure, because these are class musicians and the one thing you don’t want to do is let them down.  I’m sure when it was in the can, Gomberg breathed a deep sigh of relief.  I am sure it was a good feeling, but my God, the exhaustion!  Click here to see what Sheldon Gomberg had to say about the experience.

The thing is, it is happening out there all the time.  Perhaps it is because it is happening all the time or perhaps because we would rather read Trump memes than follow reality, but we seem to have stopped looking.  Good causes are, on the whole, supported by the same people over and over when they should be gaining more support.  Or is that true?  I found a cause recently which caught me by surprise and to spur you to read further, let me say that the inbred idiots in the White House would pop blood vessels over it.

They call it Generation Found and it was brought to my attention by a musician I have been following, Matt Butler.  Butler became involved by mere circumstance.  His music was used in a documentary about the organization and it happened by fluke.

Generation Found is a documentary film about a community in Houston, Texas that has taken unprecedented steps to support its teen/adolescent population struggling with addiction. The primary focus of the film is Archway Academy, a ‘Recovery High School’ where all the kids who attend are in recovery from substance abuse and mental health issues,  It’s a powerful film and advocacy tool as well, as it highlights a model of how other communities can support their own struggling adolescent populations.

“I became involved with the film when a family member sent my album (before its release) to a friend of hers who is on the board of a non-profit called Facing Addiction, which was co-founded by Greg Williams (the director of Generation Found, the film).  Greg passed the album over to Brendan Berry, the composer of the film’s original score.  Brendan liked the music and from what I understand suggested to Greg that I was the man for the job.  I had coffee with Greg earlier this summer and he asked me then to write what ended up being Just One and the rest was history.  All a very synchronistic – happy coincidence kind of thing.

“As a result of composing ‘Just One’, I’ve traveled the country performing the song, along with my other originals, at screenings of the film, fundraisers, rallies, and community events (including events with the Surgeon General and Senator Rob Portman).  Very grass roots stuff.”

In addition, Butler’s song Good Friday was recently debuted by the Facebook group  AddictionXAmerica.

Butler is right now crisscrossing the country playing the standard gigs as well as playing fundraisers and charity balls and prisons.  For some reason, he has felt it necessary to concentrate in prisons.  I plan to corner him soon and get a lowdown on what exactly is going down.

In the meantime, you should check out Matt Butler’s music as well as his philosophies.  He is working hard to make a difference.  He deserves to be noticed.

Admission Free, But It Costs You Two Bucks To Get Out…

The rat bastards!  The Army was more than happy to see me when I was drafted (September of ’69).  They paid my way via bus from Albany, Oregon to Fort Lewis, Washington sure enough but they wouldn’t pay one damn dime to send me home.  Of course, for all the trouble I gave them I don’t blame them.  I was a pain in the ass (some days I went out of my way to be) but it wasn’t like they weren’t warned.  Hell, they kept me over an extra day in Portland so they could run a security check to see if they even wanted my sorry ass at all and from what I could tell, red flags and bells and whistles popped up everywhere.  Still, the next day, there I was on a bus heading north, a small sack of clothes and toiletries my only possessions.  I think I may have had twenty bucks in my pocket, but that didn’t last long.  Two bucks of it went for a haircut, which was illegal, but the damn drill sergeants said pay them, so we paid them.  Raw deal, but what are you going you do?

Going into the Army was like stepping onto another planet.  For one thing, in basic you are restricted to the base (indeed, we were restricted to our company area).  For another, it was nothing like Rat Patrol and that was pretty much my exposure to the military.  I would find the adjustment a bit rough.  My first six weeks consisted of crappy food, pushups and the overhead bars which we had to traverse before every meal.  We were allowed to go to the PX only once in the first four weeks and that as a company.  We lined up and walked through the aisles, purchasing the necessary items for display, which we had to stand once a day, whether we wanted to or not.  We stood inspection once a day except when we failed, which was pretty standard for the first two weeks whether we actually would have passed or not.  The standard procedure was to dump all bedding and display material on the floor without even looking.  We were a crack platoon, though.  After the first week, our drill sergeant stopped the games.  He told us if we had his back, he would have ours and he was as good as his word.

Our drill, by the way, could have been Denzel Washington.  Maybe not as good looking but definitely with Washington’s aura.  Tall and lanky, he was not exactly enthralled with the Army himself, facing a second tour in Viet Nam as soon as our cycle was over.  He called me “Clutch” and I called him “Drill.”  We had an understanding.  We wouldn’t let the Army get in the way of reality any more than we had to.

Basic was across the parade grounds from Advanced Infantry Training.  Sometimes I would stand on the road and stare across at AIT after the day was done, the one-story wooden buildings bathed in yellow from the street lights.  It was pure sci-fi, the lights shining down in an upside-down funnel from each light.  The War of the Worlds all over again.  My favorite yellow light covered the parking lot at the Donut Shop.  There were times I would have killed for a donut.

When basic was over, we all got our orders and mine were to report in two weeks to Headquarters/Headquarters Company over at the main fort.  Two weeks off, I thought, but it was two weeks of duty in the morning and afternoons off.  First thing I did was head down to the PX to see what records they had.   I was shocked to see copies of Spooky Tooth‘s Spooky Two and Rockin’ Foo‘s brand new self-titled record.  I bought them both and stashed them in my footlocker, taking them out only to visit the Enlisted Men’s Club which had stereos with headphones and a small collection of records you could check out.  I never checked any out.  I would sign up for an hour and listen to an hour of Foo or Spooky, then sign up again for another hour.  It was first come/first served but the traffic was so little that I mostly was able to listen for two hours in a row before calling it a night.  Both albums, btw, would have made my Top Ten if I had had a top Ten then.

Moving over to the main fort was a hassle but one made easier by all of the people who had pull, it seemed.  I was supposed to sign in at the holding company (a company which held soldiers transitioning from duty station to duty station) and I did, but when the first sergeant at Headquarters Company found out, he had special orders cut assigning me to the company a week and a half early.  No duty.  He just didn’t want me to get stuck on duty patrols.  The holding company, it turns out, was the company everyone used for their shit jobs.

I was assigned to Post Headquarters as a Broadcasting Specialist and they were to assign me to work on the Post newspaper but I never did.  The word came down the pike that I might be a security risk, something having to do with being held over in Portland as mentioned above.  They sent me back to Headquarters Company.  The first sergeant, I was to find out, was one of the coolest guys I would ever meet, in or out of the Army.  He put his arm over my shoulders and told me why I wasn’t going to work at Post Headquarters and then said, fuck them!  Headquarters Company is the best duty on the fort.  And he was right.  I started out in admin as a clerk/typist but was soon moved over to the Training Room where they kept files on all of the training taking place in and around the company.  God, but I lucked into a beauteous job!

The training clerk was responsible for keeping records on things like arms qualification and CBR (Chemical, Biological, and whatever the R stood for— maybe radiological, whatever that might mean) qualifications as well as updating individual personnel files on a regular basis.  I hadn’t been there two months when a staff sergeant came in and asked if I would do him a favor.  Would I take a projectionists course?  He needed someone to run training films for him each week or so.  I liked the guy and said yes.  For the next year, I would run projector for the Ohio State Safety films they would show for safety class once a month.  If you have seen them, you will understand what I am about to say.  They were the most upfront and shocking films I have ever seen, which I am sure is why the Army showed them.  They would take film crews out on the highway and film accidents in all of their brutality, no holds barred.  I remember one to this day in which the crew sidled up to a car which was more a crushed beer can than anything, the driver trapped in his seat and begging for help, but it didn’t take a glance to see that the steering wheel was embedded in his chest and there was no hope.  I am getting queasy just typing this.  The thing is, though, I have turned out to be one of the most defensive drivers you will ever find.  Needless to say, part of my job on Safety Training Day was to check off peoples names as they headed to the bathroom.  The Army didn’t care if they finished the films, only that they started them.

My first pay was $89.  Hard to save for a car on those wages, but I made do.  I spent some time at the swimming pool and at the EM Club listening to records.  I also spent hours at the library.  They had a pretty good one, as I remember, and read a string of books I might not have ever read but for the fact that they inhabited the shelves.  William Borden‘s SuperstoeItalo Calvino‘s CosmicomicsMichael Frayn‘s A Very Private Life.  Books which led to other books which led to even more books until I had books on the brain.

What little money I had was spent on, you guessed it— records.  Well, not always records.  I did spring for a quarter or thirty-five cents for the occasional movie and there was always beer, and it was cheap.  It was also buffalo piss, but who cares when you’re living the life, eh?  But I did make one huge purchase which made me one of the most popular guys in the company.  I bought a stereo.  It wasn’t much— a little Magnavox with speakers you could detach and spread a few feet to give a semblance of stereo sound.  When I brought that into the barracks, the guys started hanging around my bunk to see what records I had.

For most of the year and nine months (and two days, four hours and thirty-five minutes) that I spent in the Army, I would head down to Lake Oswego twice a month or so.  I had good friends there and we spent time enjoying ourselves in a variety of ways.  One was visiting two record shops— The Sun Shoppe in Lake Oswego and The Long Hair Music Faucet in downtown Portland.  A large part of my record collection picked up during the duration of my service came from those.  It wouldn’t be until the summer of ’71 that I would discover and adopt The Music Millennium.

My first time in The Sun Shoppe was to purchase The James Gang‘s first album.  We had been driving around listening to the car radio and heard Fred and I couldn’t get to a record shop fast enough.  What a track!  When we got home, we all sat around and lit a few bowls (though I was not smoking at the time) and fell in love with the entire album.

The Music Faucet, though, was quite another kettle of fish.  I was pulling down a whole $200 a month by then and that’s what I had in my pocket when we walked in.  I slapped the whole $200 on the counter and told them to keep a tab so I would know how much I was spending.  I told the guy behind the counter to point to the albums I needed to hear and the dude knew his stuff.  The first one he pointed to was the first Brinsley Schwarz album.  After that, FacesFirst Step,  Jethro Tull‘s Stand Up and Benefit, Neil Young & Crazy Horse‘s Everybody Knows This Is Nowhere, It’s a Beautiful Day‘s first album, and a few others.  Brinsley Schwarz was my favorite of the bunch, though I gave them all a lot of airplay.

Finance got robbed while I was at Fort Lewis.  The building was maybe three blocks off the freeway and from what I could find out, some guys just walked in and grabbed some cash.  They locked the whole fort down for a few hours until one of the more brilliant MPs decided that maybe they were on the freeway heading north or south before the alarm even went off.

Paranoia runs deep, so the song goes, and the closer I got to getting out the more paranoid I became.  I somehow convinced myself that they were cooking up a conspiracy to keep me in which, to me, meant the stockade.  I had heard enough about CID (the Criminal Investigation Department) that I was not taking things for granted.  I let everyone I knew, including my mother, that if I somehow disappeared, the Army would be responsible.  I envisioned myself in my own little corner of the stockade, cut off from the prison population, rotting away, the rats nibbling at my bedding whilst I tried to sleep.  My friends kept trying to cool my jets but I was convinced and when I asked them if it could happen, they could not deny that it could.

I was ETS’d out on the first Friday of June of 1971.  The next day I hopped a bus to Portland just in time for the Rose Parade (and me no fan of parades).  After a couple of hours delay, the bus headed south to Albany where I met my parents next to the freeway.  I remember it as if it were yesterday.  I had my duffle bag with me and Dad drove his big Ford station wagon (I can’t remember the model but it was yellow with fake wood siding on the doors and fenders and had two searchlights on each of the front doors).  Dad got out and opened the back and I tossed my duffle bag in and turned to him and said, well, I made it.  He shook my hand and said, I can’t say that I’m a bit surprised.  You see, when I had gone in, I had shook his hand and told him I would be back.  He told me he was not so sure.

Did I mention that Dad and I had a difference of opinion about the War?  At least, I thought we did.  But that’s a story for another time.  Right now, it’s time for those irrepressible…

Notes…

Ol’ Buck Curran finally got to my name regarding an article he has written for Guitar Player Magazine regarding the live recordings of Peter Green.  Some of you may have picked up on Fort Below Records and their excellent issues, alongside John Mayall, of Green’s work on Mayall’s recently released Live In ’67 albums.  Curran points to those and to some of Green’s work with Fleetwood Mac as examples of guitar artistry seldom obtained.  I agree.  He makes his point with five videos, every one a winner.  You can read the article here.  Thanks, Buck!  You have once again confirmed my thoughts about Peter Green and his place in my record collection.

Taj Mahal was huge when I was young.  Here he is today, and I’m not young anymore.  He still sounds great and so does Keb’ Mo’.  A freaking killer track!

Malcom Holcombe has released a new album.  It’s pretty damn good.  Here’s a taste.

Pi Jacobs put out an album a year or two ago which really had me dancing.  She’s back and hasn’t lost a beat.

And now for something completely R. Stevie Moore.  They say it’s a documentary but I’m still not sure.  Definitely outside the box and well worth watching.  Of course, I’ve always had a soft spot for R. Stevie.  Quite the character.

I was doing a search for Mt. Wolf the other day and came up with this.  Semi-meditative and beautiful.

New video from Lake Street Dive‘s Bridget Kearney.  I may have posted this before but that’s okay.  Won’t hurt you to watch it twice.  Or more.

Steel Wheels has been entertaining crowds for some time now and their trajectory is upward bound.  I can only imagine how good these guys are live.

I don’t know how Susan Werner does it, but she does.  Why stop at Trump?  This country has pulled some real boners over the years whilst pretending it is perfect.  Here is a tongue-in-cheek look at Truth, Werner-style.

Some of you know of my appreciation for the music of Ted Pitney, ex- of Charlottesville’s King Wilkie and Teddy & The Roosevelts.  The dude has a background in a variety of genres and could have been a contender had he not tied his hopes to a career which is actually a career and not a romp through endless kindergarten, or so the music business seems sometimes.  Here is a video look at what he has done over the years with the hope that he will pick up the guitar (or instrument of choice) in the future.

At this point, Ted walked away from music, or so he thought.  Upon coming back to C-ville, he struck up a musical conversation with Sarah White, working with her on her Sweetheart EP, an excellent collection of five songs.  (You can listen by clicking here)

Then, perhaps back in the groove as a result of the collaboration, Ted wrote five songs and put together Teddy & The Roosevelts to promote them.

After a short time, Pitney got married and pulled up roots for Colorado where he lives (and hopefully plays) today.  Myself, I have never gotten over his work, especially The Genesee EP, from which October Fire was taken.

Here is another track from that EP.

=FGJ=

Frank’s column appears every Tuesday

Contact us at dbawis@rogers.com

dbawis-button7Frank 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 Frank bottle capone 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.”

One Response to “Frank Gutch Jr: Generation Found; It Was a Long Walk Home (Thoughts Spurred By Separation From Viet Nam-Era Army); plus N-n-n-n-notes…”

  1. […] Dissecting Pop Culture Since 2011. Great Music. Great Stories. Great Googa Mooga. « Frank Gutch Jr: Generation Found; It Was a Long Walk Home (Thoughts Spurred By Separation From Viet … […]

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: