Malcolm…

Jeez, I am really getting tired of this…Tom, now Malcolm… Jack Bruce…Mitchell and Redding… Johnny Winter…etc…

I remember very distinctly studying a practice cassette tape  for a band I was in around 1980-81. One of the songs on the tape was AC/DC doing ” It’s A Long Way To The Top”.

The song was ( is ) incredibly straightforward and starkly simple, as are all AC/DC songs.

Being a token hot guitar player in the 80s, I was not terribly impressed by this song, and was not very familiar with this band at the time. I listened along, presuming the all- pervasive format of two verses, obligatory guitar solo, one more verse and out.

Man, what a surprise. Two verses and then… bagpipes. Lots of them. And then, bagpipes doing trade-offs with Angus’ guitar. Then another verse, and out. And bagpipes along the way.

It was lucky for me that I was home alone, because I actually stood up and cheered. Very out of character.

And then listened to it again about 6000 times.

This was the first time that the notion of ” no guitar solo” ever presented itself to me, and it was a revelation. And this from a two- guitar hard rock band. It changed me.

They were sometimes very raunchy and politically incorrect, sometimes joyously anthemic, always fun to watch. Malcolm’s chord riffs played on an old Gretsch through a mountain of Marshall amps. Angus running around like a possessed schoolboy… well, he actually is a possessed schoolboy. But those great gigantic chord riffs from Malcolm…

Should you ever find yourself doubting Malcolm’s power, just try taking a walk through a graveyard while playing ” You Shook Me” on your portable whatever. Hear that scratching sound? That’s the sound of deceased girls clawing their way to the surface, because they absolutely must dance whenever they hear it. So be ready for that. They will not be denied…

Thanks for everything, Malcolm. Have a safe journey over.Malcolm-gear-650x304 (1).jpg

 

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Into The Great Wide Open…

A world without Tom Petty.
How can there be no Tom Petty?? There has to be a Tom Petty. There can not be a no Tom Petty. There must always be a Tom Petty.
Almost five decades of filling a very particular musical need in the American music landscape, and all the better for having created the need to begin with.
Like the Beatles, Stones, Springsteen… you invent a musical world that only you can occupy. Timeless, classic, and eternal.
Tom was not a great singer…didn’t need to be. Not a great guitarist, either. Didn’t need that at all. Tom was a phenomenal songwriter. And like Lennon and McCartney, Dylan, Bruce, etc, had a very memorable voice. Once you heard it, you knew it. And once you ever heard a superbly crafted Heartbreakers song, it was stuck in your head for all time.
And I feel really badly for the Heartbreakers. They’ve been gigging forever, and now they can’t. Any more. Maybe not ever.
Just maybe, way down the road, they might do something with another guy fronting the band, like Paul Rodgers fronting Queen. It would have to be done respectfully, reverently, almost religiously. And just like Rodgers and Queen, no matter how good it actually was, it could never be the same, and never be right. But it sure would be nice to see those old Vox amps in line again and hear those jangly Rickenbacker guitars. Maybe, someday.

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Tom Petty is gone. My God.

Chapter 38

Traffic on 95 North was not in my favor, but with a little luck and healthy disregard for the rules of the road, I figure I can just make roll call. Normally I kinda hate being late, especially to a meeting where I can’t get in un-noticed.  Even though Lt Giancarlo’s text said to report directly to him, (…at least I think that’s what it meant!),  I’m still an everyday patrol cop and that means be in the Squad Room  7:00 am sharp and listen to Sgt Flerherty tell all of us how to do our jobs safely and how it’s our duty to the citizens of the city of Providence and blah, blah.

I glanced at my phone and the text still showed: ‘Come in… G’    I started to grin,  goddamn! this just might be my shot at trading in my same olds for some real police work! Just gots to get to the station, and make that transition.

The Providence Police Department is located directly over the Providence Fire Station. Combining essential city services into one location seemed like a great idea in the late 1950s, when the biggest public safety issues were:  a) the next hurricane and b) keeping up with the dead gangster calls from Federal Hill. Square grey granite, the front of the building had an unlikely  splash of red  from the four overhead doors for the various  trucks and fire engines.  The police department was on the 2nd and 3rd floors. The Squad Room was on the 2nd floor, a 12 x 14 (probably big enough for the entire Department when the place was built) room furnished in ‘Elementary Modern’ school desks, (the kind with the solid plastic desk top that looked kinda like an apostrophe? )… now that I think about it, the room looks like most 1950s classrooms, right down to the greenish floor tile. Every day, before each shift, special assignments, notes, new APBs and general schedule bullshit was announced, gripes were solicited and we were all sent out on the street.  I’ve only been on the force 3 years, but my least favorite part of the job was these daily meetings, mostly because the old veteran cops, who for the most part thrived on the shift meeting, it gave ’em a chance to be ‘wise old timers’…  always plenty of advice for rookies, which to them was anyone who joined the force after Carter was President. Sgt Flerherty seemed to encourage this, sort of a ‘bad cop, worse cop‘ approach to management. He’d stand at the front of the room and listen to some of the most arrant nonsense come from these guys and would only interrupt if it looked like someone was getting pissed off enough to start something, then he’d say, ‘gentlemen!! save that shit for the street!’  At least until the ladies started to show up in uniform. Then even he had to change. And, while most cops hate change, a career Shift Supervisor like Flerherty abhorred change. He knew that women are totally suited to police work… in administration or, if especially gifted, maybe back-up Dispatcher. Beat cop? With a gun? On patrol? no, no and ‘faith ‘n begorra’ no!!  Story has it that it was a young cop on the rise back in the late 80s who managed to help Flerherty to accept modern police work.  That kind of help is as likely to breed resentment as it is gratitude.

“Campbell! it says here that  you’re off today’s roster, you’ve been re-assigned to Lt Giancarlo up in the Detective Division.” Sgt. Flerherty seemed more put out by the change to his patrol  schedule than anything else.  He ran the pre-shift meetings like a male nun, eyes glinting behind wire-rimmed glasses, looking for any deviation from ‘the right way to start a shift’.

Your uniform looks like you slept in it!  I’ll not be having any of my men disgracing the uniform, so get yourself a little more presentable before you go up to see them plainclothes,” the scorn in his voice when saying ‘plainclothes‘, spoke volumes about the career that Flerherty had worked to achieve. ‘The real cops,‘ as he always concluded the pre-shift meetings, ‘…are them out there not hiding behind fancy clothes and un-marked cars. Get out there and do your duty.

Flerherty made a check mark on his clipboard and without another word, started passing out the day’s shift assignments. The laughing started at the back of the squad room, where the old timers always sat.  I figured I had just enough time to change back to my civies and be only moderately late, so I ignored them.  As I walked up to the front of the room, Henries leaned over and whispered to his partner, Jacobson, “What do they call a 3 year patrol cop in plainclothes?” I stopped, the muscles tightening in my shoulders, which for me is never a good sign unless I’m about to subdue a prisoner or bust up a bar fight. As I started to turn, I felt a hand grab my right wrist.  Jackie Carleone, a 7 year veteran, and my training supervisor when I started,  looked up and shook her head. I smiled at her and continued up to the front of the room, past Flerherty, who was so engrossed in something on his podium that he didn’t look up.  As I got to the door, I  looked back, flipped off the back of the room, in the general direction of Henries and Jacobson.  Jackie was studying something on the desk in front of her, the movement of her shoulders the only give-away to her laughter.

A quick change into my comfortable dress clothes and I was heading up the staircase to the 3rd floor.

 

Where the fuck have you been?!” the voice came out of an open office door at the far end of the room. From where I stood, I could see the open work space with the standard green metal desks, made even older looking by the computer monitors on each of the six desks, four of which were occupied. The Chief of Detective’s office was clearly marked by the wall of frosted glass windows that divided his office from the rest of the room. It’s occupant, Lt Robert Giancarlo didn’t bother getting up from his desk, “My note to your Sargent said to send you up here as soon as you got in!

Sorry, I stopped to change out of my uniform” I projected my voice so he’d hear me in the his office,  but was more interested in the 4 Detectives at their desks in the main office area. Not sleeping for 24 hours tended to simulate my throw-shit-at-people reflex and so, I figured a little of the humble-new-guy apology might not be such a bad thing.  But no one seemed interested and so I kept walking past them and into the private office of Lt Robert Giancarlo, Head of the Providence Police Department Detective Division.

 

 

Behind the veil?…

$5.28.

That’s what it always comes to.

I work for a very large security company. I occasionally have to work extra shifts to fill in for some of my fellow officers who are…let’s just say…somewhat less than responsible.

And when I ‘m driving in to cover someone’s grandmother being abducted by aliens..again…third time this week…

I generally stop at a local donut shop called Honeydew Donuts. ( This is Rhode Island, and every other storefront on any given street is now, or soon will be, a donut shop.)

I’m awfully predictable. I always glance through the donut case with every intention of trying something new, but, alas…

A large dark roast ( cream, one sugar), corn muffin, newspaper. Every time.

Life is short, goddammit. Take a walk on the wild side for once, maybe try a jelly donut, or a Boston Cream.

Anyway. It comes to $5.28.

Except this last time…

My employer supplies uniforms for all employees. For most of us it’s a requirement. And those who work outdoor patrols are issued a very serviceable winter coat, the same issue that police officers use. Ours has only a company logo on the right sleeve, but are otherwise unmarked. I don’t do any outdoor patrols, being just far enough up the food chain to be exempt; but am also the apple of the account manager’s eye, and get all the cool uniform stuff anyway, including the state police coat.

So. The other day, I’m going to cover another Saturday afternoon abduction call-out, and glancing at the donut case again. And wearing the spiffy new coat.

As usual, the total is $5.28, and I offer my ATM card to the ridiculously helpful counter girl.

She doesn’t take it. She wishes me a good day and goes back to work.

I stand politely waiting for someone to take my ATM. I catch her eye… she smiles, and steps up to take the next order. I’m now in the way. My transaction is apparently complete.

I take my stuff, and somewhat sheepishly move towards the door, and out. Wondering if this is an example of early- onset Alzheimers’? Can you actually forget stuff as it is still happening?

No. In the car and leaving, and I realize that it had to be the coat. Because I looked like a cop at a glance?

I feel as if I’ve seen a glimpse of something that mere citizens can only suspect. Free stuff in donut shops. This probably dates back to pre- Revolutionary days. There were donuts back then, right? ( Note to self- Google ” donut history” for possible new post )

And how far does this go? Does this only apply to donuts? We can only guess at the repercussions. Hamburgers? Pizza? With any toppings you want? Except anchovies… small salted fish floating in tomato sauce…revolting. I should use my new coat for the forces of good, and arrest people who get anchovies on pizza. Or have them removed and held as evidence in an ongoing investigation. ( Note to self- Google ” anchovy history” as part of ongoing investigation ) And… if they’re not on pizza, what the hell else can you do with anchovies?

And purely as part of the ongoing investigation, I’ll next wear my new coat to go pick up some Chinese…after all, they’re only two doors down from Honeydew.

Call it Investigative Journalism. I suppose that’s what Cranston PD calls it.

 

 

 

Chapter 12…

” So when did you see Jenn last?”

I felt a hesitancy, as if she had to take a deep breath to begin.

” Saw her on Tuesday afternoon. She asked if I could run Kendra over to her dad’s early because the chef guy was coming over to make her dinner.”

” Chef guy?”

” Vinnacio, Vincento, Vinnie-something. One of the guys she’s seen a lot of lately.”

” And now it’s Thursday. Why the wait?”

‘Tuesday’s a normal night out for her, then home with Kendra on Wednesdays. You don’t want to intrude, you know? But Kendra called me when she didn’t pick her up on time last night.”

That made sense. Jenn and Kendra’s dad still doing the every-other night thing with custody.

” So that’s three, then. People who know something’s not right. And no one’s called the cavalry in yet…have they?”

” Not yet, as far as I know. Still kind of hoping she just shows up. Maybe she’s already back.”

” Her phone?”

Not on, and that’s the weirdest thing right there. That’s how I know something’s wrong. Her phone is never off.”

” Have you spoken to anyone else at all about this? ”

” Just Kendra, and her dad. I just expect Jenn to be in control of it, whatever it is. I asked them to wait through the morning to see if she’d show up, and we’d go from there.”

” Do you think she might have gone straight to work?”

” No. She would check in with Kendra, at the least. And me. And I stopped there just before I found your office this morning. She works just a few blocks away, on Kennedy Plaza.”

” They must have found that odd. That you’d be there, looking for her.”

” The two owners weren’t even there, just the receptionist.”

” You must have found that odd.”

‘”Very. Jenn always said that those guys practically live there. ”

I found that to be somewhat odd.

Home health care. Jenn did payroll and scheduling for them, and left the security field thinking that managing nutjob visiting nurses would be an improvement over nutjob security guys. I had always hoped so, for her sake. But I doubted it.

We consultants tend to lean towards the cynical view. And are sometimes known to drown our disappointments in crullers, even the coconut-covered ones if need be.

Dark days indeed.

The Rt.44 exit off 295 was coming up fast. Next stop, North Smithfield.

P.S….

OK, just one more intermission, and then back to The Book. BTW, The Book is still open to collaboration, if anyone chooses. As long as your addition seems to advance the storyline downfield, and doesn’t just go sideways. No extraneous guitar solos, if you will.

Anyway. I am out of work these last two days, having recently had big burly men hold me down and extract an old wisdom tooth. And, I asked for it, and paid for it to boot. This proves that for as dumb as I was pre- extraction, I am now dumber still. And, I now have a total aversion to tools of all sorts. Especially vice grips.

So. Have been noodling all day, while the 24/7 Perpetual Television plays in the background. The View has been on, and I have just observed…that a scott is a scott is a scott. And that is a joy to behold.

I speak of Denis Leary. He’s out promoting something, and is doing all the talk shows. He is a scott of the first order.

And in stark comparison to the edgy, dangerous vibe you generally get from younger scotts, Denis is older, much more in control, relaxed, and an absolute master of All Things Scott.

All the tools are still there, and being used so skillfully that you anticipate his arrival, thoroughly enjoy his effortless dominance of the environment, hope that you might be the object of his skillful deployment of such, and find yourself wanting his visit to last even longer. He told a great story about meeting President Obama, and managed to sit beside Barbara Walters with his hand on her knee.

Flawless. Owned it completely, and gracefully relinquished control back to the View girls as he left.
Late last night, I watched him do the same on the Seth Meyers show. Seth is a roger of the first order, and had the good sense to play the support role, ceding the workspace to the clearly more experienced professional. Fabulous.

A good scott is a beautiful thing.