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Columns > Randy Ray - Peaches En Randalia

Published: 2007/09/03
by Randy Ray

History Mugs Artist!or How On the Road Changed the World

Peaches En Randalia #18 continues its interrogation of the columnist on the occasion of the publication of the original one-paragraph scroll of _On the Road_written by Jack Kerouac in 1951 on a single roll of 120-foot long paper. And? Yes, Lucius Beebe.

JB: And?

RR: Burlap Sack and Pumps>the first sign that this year at Bonnaroo was going to be different was when I passed about ten miles of cars along the highway entering the venue on Thursday. This sort of thing never happens on Thursday and the clue gave way to evidence that, indeed, this year was going to be four days of weighty sun and eclecto musical bliss with nary a lull in the, sober, surrealmysterious man-eating jungles full of knowledge waiting to devour the lowly tourist peasant looking for the grail with king next to himcan you answerbut what would be the question to the question man?where’s the magic herb?where’s Freddie? This place is stunning. Where’s the car? “Freddie?” “Yeah.” “Oh, just checking.” I feel like I’ve been here before. The first birthday party I ever remember was when I was four and my mom gathered all of the other derelict urchins from the neighborhood including my best buddy, the mischievous Freddie. We sat around a round table, I opened my gifts, ate cake, got a red moustache from drinking too much sweetened kiddie liquidfunny, how things never changeThat dayhmmmthat dayhard toI probably wished we were all in a millions upon millions old jungle looking for treasure, the grail of eternal tranquility to give our lives infinite happiness and hopefully rid our land of the evil fast-drivers who spin from behind, dart beside as you try to place the wicked demon within the portal of aerodynamically-perfect machine, touch flown gone, they’re up ahead traveling towards meaningless void while we park the car and forage through a jungle full of wistful streams of water and quiet Buddha trees, vines, branches, bushes, middle road to Kerouacian Nirvana seeking liquid from the cup where it will all come together as sharp as a diamond, clear as new manmade crafted glass from the hands of a genius nineteen year old artist of cathedral tapestrya rock by the stream, I wonder how old it is? Does this clever silver stone have memories of its first birthday? Was it ever four years old, surrounded by friends, wallowing in the landscape waters of Thoreau-type perfection? I bet this rock knows of Ecstatic Status Quo William Blake-heavens above*Coming To*>Ryan Shawrhythm and blues with a Steve Winwood twistThe Black Angels-driving, anthemic hard rock (chick on drums)overflowing tents (this is Thursday? Thursday??!!) at 8pm awaiting entrance in vain into Another Comedy Tent and Something Else, the new jazz tentOrnette Coleman-Something Else-the Grand Hook to tie it all together (are you paying attention to the foreshadowing? Againsweet music is turned upright, dig. He breathes in, outthe manuscript of our Livesthank the MakersBlack Angelsanother king-Jim Morrison vibe on vocals cradling mike with madness: cool fuzzy guitar sound effectsJescoe on Solar Stage with the spirit of the tight two-man brass link to a strong rhythm sectionspirit of the jam via a sweet jazz fusion routewhowouldathunkit?New Orleans Klezmer All-Starscreating dark, beautiful music in the Tennessee nighta mixture of so many great Eastern cultures layered on a Western stageregardlessthe rich sound was hypnotic and engaging with too many melodic interlude intrusionsD.A. Pennebaker in the Cinema Tent and his subtle yet in-your-face DYLAN is a giant on the screen and an invisible man offdeceptive and graysimple and cockeyedKlezmer, againtwo or three jams at once within the same passage before a theme is chosennow THIS is classic improvisationband unites and then fragments into Coltrane interstellar spaceDr. Dog on the lawnthe legendary jam scribe, Benjy Eisen kneels at attention while the always friendly and super aware Mike Greenhaushis stellar Cold Turkey partner and Relix and editorbops nearbyunannounced, Dr. Dog is outside the Blue Cafn the field of the main stage, a night before activity really starts to hitat around 9pm, the loose Doctor is very intimate and very loud and very rockingtwo-part harmonies and aluminum-foiled drums with a Brian Wilson twist makes me think of the absent Jesse Jarnowthen again, the real good Doctor, Dean Budnick is in the house so all is wellthe summer theme, indeedor is was or is is?Andre The Giant>Trey is playing a very “Wilson”-like lick during portions of “Sidewalks of San Francisco”anywayby Sunday, the festival STILL is packedain’t no one goin’ nowhere no howon this day, it was all about Bob Weir’s RatDog and Ornette Coleman for methe Dog of a Different Breed gave a classic Sunday afternoon performance on the Main Stage with a smokin’ “Other One”a wonderful synchronicity (thanks, Deanperfect title) as the Grateful Dead Clubhouse (GDC, dig) is currently reviewing versions of “The Other One” on Phantasy Phish (yes Phish, not Phantasy Dead, which is, indeed, quite dead over there) or otherwise known as the notorious yet still ragingly popular PT Green Boardsa place where you need to dip in-and-out with moderation lest one needs to seek out The Cure (addiction rehab, mangnot the band)as I wind my way over to see Ornette Coleman for the final main event on my schedule, I ponder Weir’s continuing rebellion which is all rooted in his days spent on the heady*Sid(e)walks of San Francisco*>“They? Who are They’? I used to think that way and it gets you nowhere. There isn’t any They’. Well, I can’t speak for you. Tim’s mother and I weren’t fakes. You can’t fake that sort of thing. We really believed in Kennedy and King and that whole message of everyone coming together to rattle the foundations of the military/industrial complex. We really believed in The Dream. Kennedy got shot and it pissed us off. Forget the word shot. He was murdered in cold blood. The government swept the whole thing under the rug so everyone could continue what they were doing. Can’t disturb the machine. Shhhquietthe machine is sleeping. Don’t wake up the machine. Anyway, we were disillusioned and didn’t know where to turn. Tim’s mother and I tried to help in the community as best we could. Minneapolis had made peace with us so we ventured to Berkeley in 1967 to see what was going on there. Man, everything. Everything was going on there. We, eventually, settled outside of Berkeley in the early seventies and our community involvement evolved into an occasional envelope stuffed with a check to a couple of charities of choice. Revolution didn’t fade, it just no longer looked like a revolution, but a lie. We weren’t fakes. You can’t fake that sort of thing. There wasn’t anything fraudulent about what Tim’s mother and I were fighting foropportunities and hope for every individual regardless of skin color and economic background. Everyone else was just asleep in bed next to the machine, man. It seemed so simple and pure but our goals got twisted. Man, our lives and minds were twisted by the biggest lie of all: that if you work really hard, you will be rewarded. Rewarded by who and when and with what? Man, it’s just a lie. Ahab chasing a whale. We weren’t chasing an evil beast. We were grappling with our souls and everyone lost except for a few people like us. Survivors, we are. Goddamn survivors is all we became. Yes, we alone survived to pass this knowledge onto you. So, by the eighties when Tim had gone off to college we decided that we’d get back to Minnesota. Get back to our roots. We bought this farm and with my money from my real estate business, we settled down. I have no regrets but I see more clearly now then I ever did in the past. Minnesota. Dylan grew up in these parts. Man, there isn’t anything fraudulent about this place. If I don’t like you, you’ll know it. If you earn my trust and I hand you a smile, you’ll know it. If I offer you a beer, take it and say thanks. If I feed and clothe and shelter you, accept it as normal behavior. Nothing fake. Dirt even smells real here.” Noodle Rave>And waves of lions cover the field like locusts entering Egyptdrunk, feeble, lost. And legions of lambs wait quietly. And packs of men sit in enclosed wooden sheds drinking wine, fishing for lost souls. And poets “type” according to Truman Capote. And poets “write” according to William Burroughsoblivious to the rain outside. And women languish, exiting wombs; fires dim over valleys that lead to Eastern spells. And spells lead to results. And results span legends. And legends blend into myth. And myth engenders history. And history echoes fact. And God begets Satan. And The Makers document. And the document believes what it writes. And the writer creates a new story. And the new story enchants the circle. And the elongated circle encounters the double-crossed stranger. And The Ankh meets The Way; East greets Westtwo thoughts divided by punctuation; distance complements. A black hole dividing one dimension from another becomes the union between two opposing forces. Every leap in evolution needs a celestial stepping stone. Thou becomes thee. And you become I. And I, you. Weir shakes my hand backstage and I thank him for a great show while we watch Ornette Coleman blow baby, blow it all outall 70-odd yearstwenty minutes later, the improvisatory masterpiece falls off his stool and collapses and Ken Weinstein appears out of fucking nowhere and helps the man and quickly gets him medical attention and a trip to the hospital where he recovers after a nasty bout of Bonnaroo tent heat exhaustion*_Lucius Beebe_* hidden track>And Coleman Lives. And Good Doctors Live. And Dr. Dogs and Yard Dogs and RatDogs Live. And Weir Lives. And Pennebaker Lives. And Anastasio Lives. And Languedoc Lives. And Kerouac Lives. And Wavy Gravy Lives. And THE HOLY JAM Lives. And I, Wharf Rat #72,953 Lives. And there ain’t a damn thing that history can do to erase those facts. Knowwhaddamean?

JB: Yes.

- Randy Ray stores his paragraphs at

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