Twice Born A Vagabond
A Novel [Copr. 2008]
By D. DeWitt Thomas
Chapter Twenty-one

ON STAGE

By this time the halucinoginic effects of the mushrooms have set in and we are definitely tripping. We make our way toward the stage. Bill Ham and the Wizzard set up the light show. I climb the platform and sit behind my kit to pick up my sticks and look around at the audience. After an instant, I begin clicking my sticks to the rhythm. The musicians are saddled with their instruments and I give a nod of acknowledgement. With the downbeat, "She Lives in a Time of Her Own" begins. Another rock and roll experience is etched into history and into the memory of the audience and musicians. Maybe it is the first night that someone falls in love or the first time someone gets high, I don't know, but it will be a night to be remembered. The band finds the groove and rides the seam in the time warp transcending the world as we know it. It brings us closer to God. It brings us into the no-thing. We are born and no one knows why.


Your form you can move
Your shape is composed of edges
Your form you can loose
Your edges are ridges
Of your own energy
Your own energy
Your own energy
It's just emotion you feel
Copr. Roky Erickson and Tommy Hall, 1967


I spot some friends in the audience, Billy, Frank, and Dusty. They just put together a new band called Z Z Top. They got the name from the brands of the cigarette papers that we buy to roll our own joints, Zig Zag and Top. Billy used to be in a band from Dallas called The Moving Sidewalks and Dusty was in a band with his brother here in Houston called the American Blues Band. They dyed their hair blue. Along with them is the President of the local branch of the Banditos. He is a nice guy as long as he doesn't have a reason to kick your ass. Dusty plays bass and Frank plays drums. It is a trio like the Johnny Winter Band. They play mostly variations on 12 bar blues. Billy made his way through the crowd past Diana, the quacamole queen, one of the hostesses employed by the club, to sit with the motorcycle gang members at a table near the stage. The Wizzard cranked up the light show from his place in the rafters and the walls started dripping colors. The crowd disappeared like melted wax right before my eyes. The bass guitar's throbbing rythmic heart beats sycopate with my drumming. Roky blows frantically on his harmonica and Stacy wails along with Tommy's chu-ca chu-ca chu-ca jug. We explore the harmonic overtones and the music of the spheres chiming out high volume feedback quitar choruses. The synthesis emerges as a single entity with inspired Roky bursting in free verse screaming in his inimitable way. His singing springs from the more primative stage of human evolution. Yelping, crooning, and shouting the melody and the message, the words speak of a better way. The philosophy of the group as a whole is summed up in the linar notes of our first album so meticulously crafted by Tommy. The crowd hangs on every word in a hushed and transfixed almost hypnotic state. Now, I dive into my drumming with all I've got and lock into the steady rhythm. "I've Got Levitation" is the song which aptly describes what I am feeling. Should I dare to look up into the eyes of the audience? I can see the backs of the musicians in front on the edge of the stage as they challange the fans on the front row to reach foward. Each player shines in the illumination of the spot lights. Their images glow like pillars of fire anchored to their marks on the stage. The power of my good musician friends seems almost supernaturally incarnate and in the groove. Our performance becomes effortless, like floating in slow motion. My subconscious takes over the task as I look through my third eye. Paradiddles and ratamaques all fall into place. Innovation, variation, and improvozation cross over into the audiences' ears as they melt into one big flowing mass of passionate rhythmic dance as intense as the music itself. A flow field of bobbing, gyrating, and throwing hairheads moving with fluid motion, unfettered, rocking and rolling into a massive oneness. A dance here, a tarantella there, and whirling dirvishes reverberate through the sweet smoke. I play on through the fog. It's what I do best. And anyway, it's too late to change.

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