HISTORY / COMMENTARY: This is the best compilation of myself playing solo. I was at Norm's for 17 months, I think, although it all seems run together in my mind. I was drug-free and alcohol (which is a drug) free during this time, so, it was very strange, twilight zone kind of stuff that happened there. This was the place to which all the other musicians and exotic dancers would come after their respective unrespective bars would close. I didn't begin playing until 11 P.M. during the week and midnight on weekends and I didn't stop until 5, 6, or 7 A.M. The sun was always up by the time I left in the mornings. I probably have more stories from this place than others because I was clean and sober, which seems to have enabled my memory some, and it was so strange. Everybody was drunk, tripping, coked up, half naked, stoned, pilled up, or all of the above - except me and the bartender, Robo. After every song on this tape Robo can be heard leading the applause or just clapping solo. I think he was supporting me spiritually as much as clapping for the music because he was listening to the same songs, for the most part, for almost a year and a half and he had to have been sick of me standing over there playing 10 feet from the bar night after night. I wonder where he is.

I had some great digital equipment (as listed above) at the time but I had the tendency to over-compensate with the digital band to make up for not having a 'real' band or a guitar player. I'm having to take extra time remastering these tapes because the live mix was instrument heavy, although I really enjoy arranging bass guitar, drums, organ, strings, keyboard sounds, horns and all the rest. T. Shaw had given me a rack of 8 DX7 modules that I programmed in stereo (hard left, left-middle, middle-left, --- and so on to hard right) that I used with the Korg Stereo Grand sound and the fat Prophet keyboard sounds and the total effect on me was that I felt like a keyboard sound monster even if I wasn't a monster player. I used this situation to exploit my career-long desire to play everything from Elton John, Beatles, Steely Dan, Billy Joel, classic rock, and ballads with complete freedom to play anything and anyway I wanted. Not only did the crowd enjoy the music but there were no limitations by people saying 'turn it down'. These folks were the modern versions of outlaws and saloon girls and, although this might sound derogatory, I really, really enjoy playing for people who don't have the pretense of respectability, religion, or wealth. Of course there were games played, but at least no one there pretended to be holy or better-than-you. The air was bad but at least the people were honest degenerates and they were respectful of each other and me. After a while they knew I didn't drink or do other drugs and, after the first offer, they wouldn't try to get me to get high with them. In fact, I'm sure that many of them saw my abstinence as a hopeful goal for themselves and some of them told me so.

You probably know who 'Zig and the Zigtones' are because Ziggy has been playing in and around this area for as long or longer than I have. Well, I played 6 or 7 nights a week but Zig and them were one of the bands who played at Norm's on the 'big side' regularly and we would alternate sets on the 2 or 3 nights a week that Norm's would have a full band. On those nights Ziggy would come to the 'bar' side and sit in with me on guitar and we had a great time doing 'Pretzel Logic' by STEELY DAN or any blues tune. He would play on some of my original songs too and I loved it. Zig is one of my favorite people, I think, because of his attitude. He loves people well. Most people generally seem to have a hard time being kind and affectionate, but not Zig. There was a young guitar player named Roger who used to play at Norm's with a group named REVOLVER and he would sit in with me a lot. Even when he wasn't playing there, and they were playing somewhere else in B'ham, he would come and play for hours with me. I wish I knew where he was, we had a lot of fun. Cornelius Bennett, of the Buffalo Bills, would come in Norm's sometimes, as would Kenny 'the Snake' Stabler.

PERSONAL: One night, during my time at Norm's, the sun was about to come up and just about everybody had given up trying to find whatever they came there for or either they had found it and didn't have the ability to leave, when the front door opened and two young women walked shakily in. I was the first one to see whoever walked in, because of the position of my 'stage', and I was wide eyed when one of the girls walked straight up to me and began dancing, facing only me with her eyes closed, directly across from the keyboard setup, within arms reach. My arms were busy playing a song with a particularly sultry beat and everybody in Norm's stopped what they were doing and the place became absolutely still while we all watched this girl dance in a dream-like way. I guess there have been a thousand movies and Hollywood directors who have tried to depict what we were seeing in person and I think I saw Kim Basinger come close in some movie once, but this was the real thing. Although the girl didn't remove one piece of clothing, she was as seductive as any one of the 'professional' dancers who were there could have ever tried to be. Sometime after that night, we were married - for five months. Anyone reading this web page probably knows I have been married six times, and divorced five, but this tale is little known and one of the strangest of the true or exaggerated tales that I have heard about my life.



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