Friday, December 15, 2006

Fan Mail from Some Flounder -- Part I


Well, as you can see, I am not in jail, and neither is Gary, though it would have been REALLY EASY to lose our tempers and be incarcerated as we speak.

I don't want to talk about the Nazi fascists in that courtroom or in that particular township of New Jersey because they've got a scam going on down there that is not to be believed (and so much for our great U.S. court systems where you are innocent until proven guilty, especially as we were not even given a proper opportunity to tell our side of the story or to even speak)...but since this is the "fan mail from some flounder" post where I want to share some really cool emails I've received lately, I will merely copy (in part) the email I sent my good friend Ellen Meister following my four hours (yep, four hours) in the courtroom (plus add the two hour round trip ride and that would be six hours of pure hell):

"Hey hey:
So I'm about to burst a blood vessel but what you said is true: We had to cut a deal and pay a $189.00 fine...thereby "admitting" Gary was 5 miles over the speed limit, not the 23 miles they alleged. He gets 2 points on his totally clean driving record, but since the ticket took place in NJ and we live in PA, the points will not make our insurance go up. However, the police did not even bother to show up -- the prosecutor, who, by the way, looked like Adolph Hitler, said he was going 88 mph! Our jeep doesn't even go above 70 and I am a hysterical front seat driver who keeps her foot on the invisible break on the passenger side the whole ride no matter where we go...but anyway, I may blog it, I may not...right now I'm too fucking upset by the travesty of justice. If we wanted the charges thrown out, it would have been $189.00 plus $33.00 (?) plus another $300.00 "surcharge". "A surcharge?" I blurted, furiously. "You mean a bribe, don't you?"

We took deal A.

I wrote Happy Holidays on the bottom left of the check and the clerk said "You don't really mean that, do you."


Gary: "The state of NJ will never see another fucking dime of our money. We have a house in Ocean City where we spend at least $5,000.00 every summer and I won't ever set foot in this fucking place again."

Me: "Shhh...we're going to end up in jail."

But inside I laughed my ass off and I actually did agree with him loud enough for the clerk to hear.

We walked outside.

Gary: "I mean it, Robin. We are never, ever entering the State of NJ again. We'll get a summer place somewhere in New England or maybe we'll just do Europe next summer; if we need to go to New York to see Julie and Eric in concert we'll find another way."

Flap our wings, maybe? Hey, if it means avoiding the New Jersey turnpike, I'll try anything...Gary rocks, that old hippie, he!

And err...Europe? Oh yeah!

Actually, that might be true because Project Object has been invited to play Zappanale next August and assuming Eric isn't on tour with Adrian Belew and Julie can stay home and watch the dog, Eric will be behind the drums with Project Object and yep, Gary and I will be going to Germany, not just for Zappanale but for a Zappa street naming festival in Berlin in 2007 where Project Object has also been invited to perform. So it will be like a ten day trip with stops in other cities on the way. More info to follow on that.

But um, Adrian said something about possibly touring Japan this summer, so that could be happening as well/'s all good.

Speaking of Zappanale, you can now purchase the CD/DVD of Zappanale 17, featuring Adrian Belew with Julie and Eric Slick among other lumaries right here.

And while I'm on the topic of Adrian, yep, the news I've been hinting at is now on his website.

A live 11:08 recording of Beat Box Guitar by the Adrian Belew Power Trio will be available for download in the next few days. This version was recorded at the Triple Door in Seattle Washington on November 4, 2006 and has been mixed at StudioBelew. There will be a small charge for the download but this version is worth it!

Adrian played the rough cut for Eric and Gary when they visited him at his home in Nashville last month and it brought Gary to tears. Julie, Eric, and Adrian are so freaking tight and fantastic on Beat Box Guitar it's mind blowing, and I cannot wait to be able to hear it for myself. Of course I heard them perform it live throughout the east coast tour but by the time they recorded this in Seattle, they had something like thirty performances under their belts and they really took it up several notches, as if that was possible!

Okay, and now for some fan mail from some flounders...(and if you don't know what that means, google Rocky and Bullwinkle, the most brilliant cartoon ever besides The Simpsons and Family Guy).

In some cases I'm going to keep these emails anonymous because I didn't have a chance to email the various people who sent them to me and ask permission. So if any of you guilty people are reading this and would like to be identified properly, you may do so in the comments section or write to me and I will edit this post...and likewise if your anonymous or non-anonymous as the case may be email removed, the same applies...just shoot me an email and I apologize in advance.

First up is a hilarious email I received from fellow writer I will identify, N.L. Belardes, who is actually reading my book, Three Days in New York City:

"Wow, I wish I could afford plane rides to the East coast for the weekend! Fugazi! I might be headed east in April. I will let you know... would love to meet in
person, blog about your punk kids, etc...

Finally started your book. The nipple clamps falling off the boob and white bread lovemaking is hilarious!

Though you might be interested also in a letter I wrote to N. Frank Daniels behind the scenes:

Hi Frank,

I was out of town for the weekend. When I came back I jumped on LitPark and read the great responses, I added a few more of my own just to see what folks would think if I suggested a little stronger, "Let's take action.."

I dig what you're doing and the bravado.

A few months ago I read a poem to 10,000 folks who had gathered at a park in Bakersfield for immigration marches. The poem was titled, "Immigration, Interrogation." Bakersfield is an epicenter, and is where the UFW marched. I marched right at the front with professor friends and folks like Dolores Huerta. The film Bobby that is out right now, she was near Kennedy when he was killed. and she was the second in command to Cesar Chavez.

Bobby had a screening in Bakersfield.

My point? I just think you're doing a great job. What's next? I guess we'll have to see. We might fail, but we might not. Writers are listening. They want to chant right alongside...

But will the readers? I hope so.

Immigration, Interrogation blog

All the best,


Note from Ms. Slick: Please, please, please click on the links I've provided for this. Read Frank Daniels' article in Lit Park and the subsequent comments, and for god sakes, click on Nick's links as well.


Okay, next up is a wonderful Christmas email I received from bassist extraordinaire, Bryan Beller:

"Well, my holiday e-mail idea (ever original) was so successful last year that I've chosen to do it again. In the best spirit of the holiday season, I hope this note finds you happy, healthy, and thankful for the past year on this small ball that we silly and amazing little humans call home.

Life in Nashville is great. I'm thrilled to be so close to my love and life partner, Kira Small, and we've grown together in ways that I couldn't have even imagined before I got here. I've also gotten to know her charming and irrepressible cat, Lucian, whose cuteness (see attached picture) is only outdone by his consistency in requesting more nuggets in his food bowl (he tends to start knocking things off of counters when this request goes unheeded for too long). He is a world-class snuggler, however, so he tends to get whatever he wants.

The folks in the Nashville music community have been extremely kind and welcoming. I've been given wise advice and counsel from some of the town's top players and writers, been referred to gigs and sessions here and there, and made a lot of new friends. I'm humbled and inspired by the process of moving somewhere new and seeing how much time and energy folks have invested in making this place their professional and personal homes, and look forward to hanging around town a bit more and planting deeper roots in 2007.

Plus, it's nice to see actual seasons again. Sure, Kira has to listen to me bitch every once in a while about the weather (a saint, that woman is), but seeing the colors turn over all year long has gotten me back in touch with nature in a cool new way (he says, turning up the heat on the thermostat). And, yes, I admit, it's really nice to see those colors change on the seat of a Harley-Davidson going 50 miles an hour (picture attached). Yes, Mom and Dad, I got a Harley. I can't possibly be the only Jewish guy in Nashville with a Harley...can I? Someone speak up, quick, so I can tell them I'm not alone in this... Then again, I did take my parents to the Grand Ole Opry when they came and visited in August, and it was the first time for all of us Yankees in that particular venue. It was, as they say, a hoot.

Hanging around with that Mike Keneally character continues to help me get around. This year we went to Europe and played with the Metropol Orchestra together in Holland. A fellow I met on a 2005 Keneally tour in Italy brought me back to Milan for a week this summer for a masterclass/concert event I'll never forget (and not just because my luggage didn't show up and I wore the same clothes for nearly four days!). And in the fall, Keneally and I did a tour for Taylor Guitars in the upper midwest, where we learned how to speak Minnesota nice, ate bratwurst, and learned a lot about North Dakota's Red River Valley along the way.

Our community continues to celebrate the life of our dearly departed friend Wes Wehmiller. The first annual WesFest benefit concert, held in February in Los Angeles, raised over $12,000. for the Wes Wehmiller Endowed Scholarship at Berklee College Of Music. A concert DVD of that event is now being sold to raise additional monies for the fund. If you're interested, or want to know more, just go to Wes Fest and check it out. And just in case you're wondering, future WesFest events are already in the planning stages.

Finally, I'm busy writing the material for my second solo album, which I hope to release in late 2007. It's been four years since I wrote the first one, and I'm very, very thankful to be back in that headspace again.

That's all - just good vibes and hopeful wishes for the possibility of a more peaceful 2007, both here and abroad. May you and yours have a wonderful holiday season and happy new year, however you choose to celebrate it...

Love to all,
Bryan Beller"

I never met him in person, but just by our mutual emails, his love of my son, Eric, and his music, I totally adore Mr. Beller.

Here's an anonymous email (though of course I know who sent it) from someone I inadvertently upset when I called him a smartass on my blog...I totally misunderstood his intentions and I apologized profusely:

"Hi Robin,

Umphrey's McGee lists a few dates with Adrian Belew in March on their website. I presume Eric and Julie will be involved, yes, no?

Also I'm the one who anonymously posted "the CIA??" on your blog. I'm sorry. I did not mean to be anonymous, but I rarely post comments on those things and didn't realize that's how it came out. I'll gladly sign my name to anything. Anyway, I don't believe in conspiracy theories in general so I was just wondering if you really thought the CIA was involved? I guess you do. Don't get me wrong, I don't trust our government, I hate the Bush administration, and I really hate big government, but I just happen to believe that Mark David Chapman was/is a kook who unfortunately stole the genious of John Lennon from the rest of us, and that he acted alone. Jimmy
Carter was President when it happened. Anyway, we can just disagree.

On a better note, I'm a huge Adrian Belew fan and now a fan of your kids. The show a few months ago at the World Cafe truly rocked and I can't wait for the return appearance for the live recording. I'll be there!!! I'm also psyched to see Project Object as I'm a pretty big Zappa fan.

Thank you for your dedication and devotion. Your blog is truly a joy to read, even if we disagree on one small thing.

Cheers and Happy Holidays."

Naturally I wrote back all contrite (ha ha, I'm always contrite about something, aren't I) and we've worked out our disagreement about Lennon though I'm thinking about getting his snail mail address and sending him a few good books on the subject.

An email from Uberlord Paul Green when I wrote to him and asked him his Slick Christmas cookies of choice this year and listed the various varieties"

"As much confidence as I have in all of them, which is a lot, I dream (literally) of the Reeses (peanut butter cup cookies) beginning Dec 9th or so. So PLEASE give me a small tin just of those in addition to the mixed tin."

It makes me happy that Paul dreams of our cookies. He's a busy, important man these days hanging with internationally famous rock luminaries while his empire of Paul Green School of Rock Music explodes nationwide and truth to tell, he could probably buy Hersheys Chocolates (they make Reeses cups) so the fact that he's still lusting after our cookies is a big deal.


Okay, I just realized this is a mega-long post and I need to get to the post office and mail out some cookies. So part II of Fan Mail from Some Flounder will continue later today.

In the meantime, oh thank God this is the last day I have to do this...please vote for me as best diarist, hold on 5th place is slipping! Remember, you can vote daily, so even if you voted yesterday or the day before, you may vote again today! Pretty please? I will send you cookies....

The 2006 Weblog Awards