Raggin' Piano Boogie

 

 
HIS SPIRIT LIVES ON! ... BONER, THE PIANO DOG ... November 27, 1994 ... February 20, 2010

Use the links to the left to read a past Month or Year... and then there is always your Backspace to return to a past page.

May 31, 2006

Pennsylvania

.... My appointment in center city was over by 7:30 pm so I thought I would take the truck down and scope out the Rittenhouse Square Fine Arts festival that is to begin tomorrow. I'm afraid of rejection but I can take it. What I found was a very quiet, relaxing, controlled environment. If I had been invited to play there it would have been beautifully surreal for everyone. If I had tried to insert myself into it, I would have been rejected as an intrusive distraction from the desired focus. So.... I drove over to the art museum and then to the top back parking lot. At the very top I took my place up against the wall in the corner where I could watch the sunset. We all watched it together Bo, myself and the many noseums attacking any skin that they could find on my body. The even roar of water over the dam from the historic waterworks below sounded synthetic. I was to "chicken" to drive and find a better spot. A group of pre-adolescent kids from the neighborhood stopped by and we chatted. One boy asked if I make people cry. I assume he was talking about the music. A tour group of IGlides came buy. It was a bit much for Bo. He started to bark his non-threatening, "yo guys, this looks a little too weird" bark. They are probably fun to ride around on. A photographer found me. I really enjoy when people respond to me as a "find". I really wanted to bang the keys hard tonight.

May 30, 2006

Pennsylvania

.... Talk about hot days! I waited till dusk to drive to the local high school parking lot where I could find a wide-open area and enjoy the warm evening breeze. It was musically nothing special but I did enjoy pacing the joggers that ran by with rhythm. I get allot of cell phone pictures taken of me these days. I wonder if I will ever find myself on the front page of Time magazine performing while wearing my dirty shorts and a dirty from working in the yard sweaty white tea shirt. I have been saying, "it is what it is" so now I will add, "I am what I am". What can I say? I'm doing the best that I can.

May 29, 2006

Pennsylvania

.... I performed for the Bucks County PA Warminster Memorial Day Parade this morning for the sixteenth year! It feels good to have a performance relationship that has lasted this long. I have a couple relationshps like this. I have grown up with everyone in the town through my performing. I have respect for what Veterans have gone through so I feel grateful that I am asked to participate.

May 28, 2006

Pennsylvania

.... I found a perfect spot. I couldn't believe it, two minutes from my house. It is hard to explain but its in a small unused parking lot set back in a small and I mean small patch of woods in a brand new developed area. I am practically hidden from everything backed in and angled out on the corner of the lot. The highway is behind the trees and I'm sure people filling their gas tanks across the street at the station can hear the sound a teeny weenie bit, just enough to drive them crazy trying to figure out if its live music and where it is coming from. They would never figure it out in a million years. Anyone in the new housing development in front of me would need binoculars to really see that it is a dog on top of a truck.

Poor Bo, he is a tortured guy. This is a little oasis area for wildlife. A squirrel walked up to the truck, walked and stopped, walked and stopped just looking, no fear with both Bo and me right there looking back. He got about two feet away from me and I got scared. I thought he was going to jump in the truck and bite me while I was playing. I shooed him away. I think that is fairly strange. On the other side, two rabbits played with each other the entire time. Bo was convulsing so I was going to let him down to chase them but then I thought how wonderful it was that these animals do not know about fear when it comes to humans because they do not interact with them. I'm sorry I shooed the squirrel away. The songbirds raised their levels with mine. I noticed the sounds of crickets for the first time. Boner's ears look especially perked, because I shaved him yesterday. He sits at full attention watching, looking, and sniffing. I brought a can of "Off" with me for the mosquitoes.

I am breaking new ground with my improvising. Yesterday I mustered the courage to try and improvise with the walking base of a Boogie C chord, real slow. I know there will be people who will not believe this or cannot understand it, but it is true. I just used to feel real stupid trying it. Now I am moving forward and "going out on the limb" ever so slowly. Today, wow! I'm really glad my attention span is not great and I get bored easily and that I want change... more, more, more all the time and that "more" presently is to expand myself musically. I found a way to want to learn the music of my soul and to express it. Its outdoors on the back of a pickup truck. Writing this makes me laugh.

I figured out the chords and structure of the first section of the Maple Leaf Rag and improvised on it and remembered it all the way through the first section. Short-term memory here. It was interesting but I got bored with it quick. Then my back started killing me, no matter how I sat, I was in pain but I did not want to stop playing. I wanted to be out for at least 45 minutes and its a beautiful dusk with a light cool breeze. I just kept playing until something happened and all of a sudden I was walking octave quarter notes with my left hand and even eight notes with my right hand for about 15 minutes and I did not want to stop. It was REALLY good. I'm glad I was able to leave with a good feeling.

May 27, 2006

Pennsylvania

.... went to the Delaware River boat dock park tonight after performing in a parade this morning and giving Bo his summer shave which takes hours for me to do. All I could muster up concerning energy was some light, "tinkling of the ivories". It fit along with the vans pulling in and out of the parking lot creating the sound of light rubbing of slow moving tires along the stones and gravel.

May 26, 2006

Pennsylvania

.... first thing this morning I went to head out before the rain. As soon as I opened the garage door, too late... I performed inside for Bo today. You can find out what he thinks of my music on todays The Book? page.

May 25, 2006

Pennsylvania

.... looks like rain so I did a quick sprint to Neshaminy Sate Park PA for today's music. Not my favorite place because I have never experienced a park Ranger in this park who was not roaming around looking for trouble. I like to feel welcomed not watched over. I ended up not wanting to come home I was enjoying the music so much. They had cut off 90% of the parking areas so all the vehicles were herded into one small spot but I found an opening to the park some distance away and drove in. I was wearing my yellow "live strong" wrist band and had to take it off because it was attracting bugs. Am I smart or what to figure that out right away? Nineteen years of experience playing the piano outdoors helps. A guy in his forties named Jim came up to say hi. He was excited. He said, "I was walking through the path and I heard this music while watching the trees and sky, I began to feel like I was in a Felini move. It brought a tear to my eye. Then I saw you playing against the tall green trees, it was surreal, really amazing to see and hear."

May 24, 2006

Pennsylvania

.... this afternoon I was on East River Driver next to the Schuylkill River in Philadelphia. It's a beautiful day with the trains rolling along in the distance, a few rowers heading back and forth from boathouse row, the birds taking head dives into the water for food, joggers applauded as they passed. It was my most visible spot to date. A cool looking bassist with dreadlocks stopped by and I got my first compliment from a musician. He tried out the piano while I wondered around listening to his playing. Zack... don't forget to send me the pic I took of you!

May 23, 2006

Pennsylvania

.... oh my God what fun. I was fearful to go out and play today but I did it anyway. I ended up in a place to be fearful. It was a dark place and it was nighttime, on the street, with the Raggin' Piano Boogie truck backed up to a barricade fence so nobody could jump me from behind. I was in an abandoned area off of Route 95 and Delaware avenue in Philadelphia. I watched the traffic go from the highway above. Bo was uneasy, keeping his eyes peered with a look of, "why the hell did he choose this place?" I was amazed with the amount of activity. There's always those "few vehicles" in places like this doing "hanging out kinda things" and then there were those that come and go every few minutes checking things out. A couple saw me from the road and turned around to stop and chat. And then, from around the corner, mind you there is nothing in this area except warehouses, fences and weeds... about seventeen kids come walking past holding hands. I'm not kidding. They never stopped but they did ask me to sing with the piano as they walked by. With this musical, improvisational experimenting outside, my experiences of people are often as strange as their experience of me.

May 22, 2006

New Jersey

.... today I traveled to Hamilton NJ, Veterans Park. It had a nice wood elevated walking path through the woods so I was able to get our daily walk done while we were there. Bo's entire body vibrated with restraint on top of the piano as he watched a groundhog munching away in the grass about two hundred feet away. After about forty minutes of emptying my mind of various psychotic thoughts through musical performance, two carloads of kids who were playing volleyball nearby drove off with all thumbs up in the air through their car windows.

May 21, 2006

Pennsylvania

.... visited the small boat slip dock park area off of Station Avenue and State Road in Bensalem PA and played for a guy who lives in his van. He had a cell phone and was calling everyone he knew. He asked me to say hi to them so they did not think he was crazy. He called his old neighbor, his mom, his sister in Michigan, and then he phoned two tv stations and told me about it later. as I practiced some guy played with his roaring remote control toy truck back and forth in the parking lot.

May 20, 2006

Pennsylvania

.... had not "crashed yet from a parade performance today so with the manic energy that I still had going I stopped at a neighbors yard sale to give them some improvisational music hoping to calm myself down in a positive way.

May 19, 2006

Pennsylvania

.... I visited a new friend in the Kensington part of Philadelphia on Martha Street today. He is a clown. He is a famous clown, one who told me he has had many lives. Found a vacant street corner lot to park on. Within five minutes, several lawn chairs appeared along with a small hibachi to cook Sabbretts, juice and beer. One neighbor tipped me $3 bucks and then another $5. Home bound "Mom" asked me to come and visit her row house as she could not get outside with her walker. She wanted to tell me that she was enjoying the music from her back door. There were photo opts for about five picture cell phones walking by. The local ice cream truck driver's family came home. Bo was a must for this Muslim family brood of about eight screaming, excited, happy, exuberant kids. I gave them all a business card with Bo's picture on it.

May 18, 2006

Pennsylvania

.... played in my house today, I was too tired from office work to go out. I put the screens in the doors so I could feel the air outside.

May 17, 2006

Pennsylvania

.... was in the Bensalem High School parking lot tonight at twilight. A guy was walking with his daughter and stopped to compliment me. He started off with, "do you come here often"? After a short discussion, we traded names to find that we knew each other having gone to grade school together. I had not seen him since.

May 16, 2006

Pennsylvania

.... visited the small boat slip dock park area off of Station Avenue and State Road in Bensalem today and played until it started to rain. I raced home with the truck like a maniac.

May 15, 2006

Pennsylvania

.... drove to my friend Patty's house to play some music in her driveway. The neighbor was lawn mowing with his tractor mower ten feet from me while I played. He never looked.

May 14, 2006

Pennsylvania

.... went to a big beautiful lake in Fairless Hills PA today. My niece's husband stopped by with the kids and everyone took their turn at the piano as the Canadian geese circled the sky with the seagulls. Jim said he had never experienced music like mine before and was surprised that he would enjoy something other than what he was used to listening to.

May 13, 2006

Pennsylvania

.... today I was on top of a hill, at sunset, with fields of tall grass blowing in the wind, overlooking the hillside in Tyler State Park PA. People would drive by and often stopped to listen in their cars for about ten minutes each. One father sat with his son for about half an hour until conversation started which ended with his son, a piano student, giving a recital of his piano songs. I had a twenty-dollar drive by tipping.

May 12, 2006

Pennsylvania

.... visited the small boat slip dock park area off of Station Avenue and State Road in Bensalem PA. The fisherman came over to tell me they enjoyed what I was doing; they said the music was relaxing.

May 11, 2006

Pennsylvania



.... I brought my friend Cindy out today to play some music for her at the park. She brought with her material that she needed to study for a play that she was starring in. As we were leaving she said that she had planned to read but found more enjoyment in just sitting and listening to the sounds.

May 10, 2006

Pennsylvania

.... to Maria's house today as is depressed, older and does not get very much company. She is the sister of an old neighbor that moved away. We set a chair in the shade under a tree for her to sit in. Her nephew happened to stop by and joined us. He said the music was inspirational and Marie said it was healing.

May 09, 2006

Pennsylvania

.... went to play for a few friends in their backyard while they ate dinner. Nobody ate. The entire family was there. They all sat in a semi circle and talked and watched and listened. Six lawn and one wheelchair, three screaming running kids and one little something or other dog running around on the ground touring Bo as they each take turns marking every six inches of turf. The descriptive word of the night was that the music was invigorating. $20 tip. it is a gesture... a nice gesture... a thank you token. I'll take it.

May 08, 2006

Pennsylvania

.... up on Kelly drive in Fairmount Park Philadelphia on this sunny Sunday afternoon I setup in the middle of the field on Lemon Hill. It took about a half an hour for a group of gutter punks partying under a big tree to approach us. We talked for about ten minutes, they gave approval, went back to their site, turned off their ghetto blaster until I was done. I thought that was great! Dave took a few pictures and sent them to me. Thanks, Dave.

May 07, 2006

New Jersey

.... in the middle of a Kentucky Derby backyard Boogie Woogie, Ragtime piano music party I started to improvise my own stuff. This was on the job and for the first time ever. I got lost in the music for the first time ever. When I came out of it, I did not know how long I had been playing. Everyone applauded.

May 06, 2006

Pennsylvania

.... my first official performance experiment day I go to the park along the Delaware river in PA. After I finish playing and a humongous black guy gets out of his dark grey cruiser and slowly walks over to me. He says, "man you just saved my marriage, my wide and I drove in here fighting and ready to call it quits and we were jarred by what we saw... we stopped yelling at each other, turned off the truck and just sat in silence listening to you. When you were done everything was ok, thanks alot". He was also a piano player. His wife came over, he jumped on the Raggin' Piano Boogie truck and began to play.