Thursday, January 16, 2003

Yo and hey, y'all:

Um, I can't let the Skynyrd discussion go by without adding my opinion. It is a JOKE that those guys aren't in the rock and roll hall of fame. I mean, that is a JOKE! And I have to add that I actually like Skynyrd. I don't like them DESPITE their crowd or EVEN THOUGH they've become nothing more than a tribute to themselves lately. I love those guys for exactly what they are, and I always have. On the subject of "Sweet Home Alabama," I must add that, having lived in Alabama for almost a decade, that song was requested at every show I ever did down there. No one ever asked for "Freebird," not once, in Alabama, but damn they sure love "Sweet Home" down there. In the beginning, I just played it because, well, that's the kind of gigs there were to play in Auburn and Waverly and Loachapoaka, Alabama. Play what they wanna hear, you know? And why not?

But after playing it a bunch and noticing what absolute joy the people took in that song, I started thinking about it more seriously. And, when you think about it, that song is like saying "I can talk about my mother, but you can't talk about my mother." And I think we can all understand why people feel THAT way, can't we? That verse about the Governor? It really says, "In Birmingham, they love the Governor." Well, Birmingham is not the capital of Alabama, is it? It doesn't represent all of Alabama, either. It's just the biggest city in the state. That's all. Birmingham was governed by a succession of famously racist pig mayors. They put MLK in jail for a night just for parading without a permit. The next line in the song is, "Now, we all did what we could do." My interpretation? The white moderates and white liberals might have disagreed with Gov. Wallace, sure enough, but that doesn't mean they could prevent his dumb ass from standing in the door of the U of A to prevent the first black student from entering the University. Next line? "Watergate does not bother me." I love that one. Nixon? A bloody idiot from California. True enough. Still, unlike Neill Young, I don't get all moral on you and write a song called "Western Man" to accuse everybody from the Left Coast of government corruption. I just say, "Daggone, that dang ol' Nixon was a daggone idjut, daggone." Last line of that verse? "Does your conscience bother you? Tell the truth!" Plez says, Skynyrd got it right there. No matter who you are, you've got things in your past you ain't all that proud of. No matter where you live, you share a history which includes some awful stuff. We all do. If your conscience isn't bothering you, by gosh it's because you ain't thinking hard enough.

So, come off it, Neill Young. I gotta say, the more I sang that song in Alabama, the more I sang it with outright conviction and purpose. I'm not gonna mention any names, but I had a friend up here in J.C. who came right flat out and said he would NEVER visit me in Auburn because it was in Alabama, and he counted it as a point of pride that he had never set foot in that Godawful backward medieval state. When even Tennesseans can get this kinda crud into their head, imagine how a Canuck (ha!) like Neill Young could be convinced that there are still roving lynch mobs in Alabama.

I think that's what they were saying. Basically: "Judge not what ye have not seen." And God bless Skynyrd for saying it. God bless Skynyrd in general. Forgive me for taking up this much space in Johnson City Stories to blabber on about something so unrelated to JC. But in a way, it is. I mean, think about it, when the GEORGIA SATELLITES, who themselves traded on their image as being form backwater Georgia, referred to us a JOHNSON STATION and said on MTV that we were the worst town they ever gigged in, we were all most righteously pissed. I was. I mean, I was a little.

I used to say I wasn't going to the RNR Hall of Fame until they put AC/DC in there. Well, AC/DC goes in this year. But I revise my ultimatum now: I AIN'T GOING TILL SKYNYRD GETS AN INVITE AND THAT'S FINAL!

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