This weekend I started out with a hike in an area that was closed to non-permitted hunters before 10AM and after 3PM for a regulated deer hunt.  We got there at 10:30AM and were out on that trail until about 1:00PM .  We took our chances in the window of safe time and explored an area previously used by the Leni and Lenape Indians as a trade route as well as enduring several waves of small pox.  It was a beautiful east coast autumn day with leaves starting to change and just enough variable sun shine to expose the dynamic beauty of the natural transitions currently in progress.  Our company at first consisted of  my sister-in-law and her current love interest from India along with the dog they are temporarily taking care of.  Throughout the time we were there we happened upon a bunch of family members, cool dogs, new kids and a cast of characters, including a real bag-piper, that remain constant in our sub-urban Philly existence.

Between reminders of just how old I am, my son handed me his phone to make sure it didn’t come into contact with the creek water.  After we were home from the hike I gave it back to him and his mother and I confronted him on what he could be using it for without our knowledge.  The topic of “porn” came up and he denied such interest.  My first exposure to the internet re-enforced my natural understanding of things I did not need to see and I have always tried to instill caution for that in my kids.  In re-iterating that importance to my son I told him a story about the first time I had seen porn when I was exactly his same age.  A fellow Irish friend of mine with 4 older brothers had me over on a weekend and while I was there, a few of them locked the 2 of us into a fort they had constructed behind their house.  The floor of this structure was littered with magazines, some of which were Rolling Stone with articles about cocaine and drug use and then there were several Penthouse and others called Oui.  My kids will read this so I won’t go into the details of what I saw, but it contained instruments I have always found comfort in while facilitating Rock and Roll.  As the scars were being carved against my young brain during this experience, one of the older kids lit some news paper on fire, jammed it into a piece of down spout tubing and stuffed it into a small opening in this fort.  The structure filled with toxic smoke and I went 100% toward escaping that vision of hell.  I remember knowing I wasn’t going to die because I was going to exploit every place that evil structure could be compromised with both of my heels pounding until the light of something good shone through the smoke and paper filth until my soul was free.  With the risk of their porn sanctuary being destroyed by a maniac 12 year old, the older kids released us from our prison and it would be decades until their life altering behavior would be categorized as “bullying” and treated like manslaughter for a new entitled generation.

The description of this experience scared my son enough to hopefully re-enforce the caution I try to express in what you could be exposed to with an internet capable phone on your person while making it evident that despite such a change in times, trouble was a threshold you don’t want to cross until you are ready to handle it.  He’s a good kid and his friends are way more wholesome than some of the guys in my mix when I was his age.  He avoids the ones that come by and still try to get me out to skate with them, so I guess he has a lot of his mother in him which I believe I should be grateful for.

The next trip I took with just him was out to Guitar Center because I made a point this weekend to try out some loop pedals.  Bundy has 2 other bands right now and getting the R3 Band together these days means having a gig and throwing down the material we have been playing for the past several years.  It goes beyond that when someone from way back in the day requests an oldie and we take a trip down memory lane.  I drove 2 of the guys from one of Bundy’s other bands out to the Note last weekend with Vlams for a gig we all played and the dude commented that he was 11 years old when we were playing another gig we were reflecting on.  It was an eye opener and lit a fire to a small opening in my search for inspiration in writing music that I think at this point a loop pedal could help jump start.

They did not have the green Line 6 box that I was looking for but I played around with a BOSS Loop Station that I got the hang of after making noise with on a Les Paul Jr with a P-90 and a Vox tube amp with a 12″ Celestion Greenback in it.  My son was helpful while I set up the rig, hoping to teach him good taste in gear and why Dad doesn’t play humbuckers in the bridge position.  The Guitar Center staff was really nice despite the cultural limitations of working retail these days.  One guy came up to us while I was trying out the pedal and communicated that he appreciated what I was doing and asked if I had heard of  “Collections of Colonies of Bees” and “Volcano Choir”  and wrote down their names on a piece of paper for me to take with me so I could check them out later.  Now that I have checked them out I can see the similarities and wish I could have told him he should check out “Iceburn” and that he might have a chance to check them out with all of the Revelation Records 25 year reunion shows going on lately.  They were the only thing I knew about Utah before I moved there and Bundy and I both were bummed when we went to see them in Liberty Park to learn that they dissolved in 1994.

After messing around with the Loop Station, we packed up the gear and priced reeds for my son’s tenor sax which were way too expensive at GC, and left empty handed.  We walked out with a couple carrying some boxes that looked like light show gear, and I recognized them.  He was a small guy with dreads and she had pink hair and when I said thanks for holding the door for us when we left I had “Hunters” on the tip of my tongue.  I had never heard a lick of their music but their images had been indexed in my mind with stuff I have been paying attention to with music these days.  I told my son that I thought they were pretty famous rockers but wasn’t sure because I did not think they were from Philly.  So when we got home I pulled up “Hunters” on the internet and sure enough, it was them.  They are a very attractive band and pictures from their shows are more dominant on the internet than their tunes.  I was able to check out a few tracks and they are pretty rocking so I will certainly try to find more.

I called my son over to the computer to see these famous rockers who just held the door for us at GC and as he scrolled down and saw a shot of them both writhing around on the ground with guitars he paused.  He did a double take and said, “For a second I thought I was locked in a fort full of porn about to get smoked out.”  Way to keep your guard up kid!


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