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Bummer's Monthly Musings

Bummer, who's an ABATE institution, writes one of the most widely read articles in the Outspokin' each month. Now he's also right here on the web! Welcome to the Computer Age, Bummer! ~ Enjoy!

 

 

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Shootin’ the Breeze 

 November 2002 

by Bummer

Email: bummer@abate.com

I was comin’ home from work in my car just a few hours ago and was listenin’ to a great old song on the radio by Blue Oyster Cult called “Don’t Fear the Reaper”, and remembered something that happened a few years ago.

     For years I’ve wanted to interview John Kay from the band Steppenwolf.  Being a contributor to this magazine, I figured I’d at least be able to talk to him on the phone and ask him questions concerning the movie “Easy Rider” [for which he contributed to the soundtrack], and about the music and biking scene in the 60’s, and the effect that he and his band’s music has had on the history of our lifestyle in general.  Like it or not, “Born To Be Wild” is the anthem of bikers the world over.

     I envisioned pursuing this into a regular feature for this magazine in which I’d interview many different celebrities.  In coming issues I might talk to international rock stars and maybe party backstage with ‘em at concerts while I’m accompanied by special friends [all beautiful ladies of course], and bring the words of people like Clapton, David Allen Coe and the boys from ZZ Top to y’all for your enlightenment and entertainment.  As you can see, I have a very fertile mind due to all the manure I’ve fed it over the years.

     Well, as luck would have it, the band Steppenwolf with John Kay was playin’ a gig just down the road from me a few years ago at some place called the Buffalo Ranch, along with several other bands including Blue Oyster Cult.  And furthermore, some of our local ABATE people were recruited to help with security!

     As the weekend approached my boss told me I had to work that Saturday.  Usually I would have just blown the day off, but he was more than a little insistent, threatening me with every shop rule in the book.  General Motors would surely fold and collapse up if Bummer didn’t make it to work that day, and my work record was such that if I knew what was good for me I’d be there.

I got hold of one of the guys doin’ security that day and told him that if time permitted it, and since I worked nights, he should call me on his cell phone from the concert in the event he could connect me with John Kay.  A phone interview could still happen and everything would work out just peachy.......Yeah, right!

     The previous night I worked late and was sleeping like a log when my bedside phone rang.

     “Uh, hello?”

     “Hey Bummer!  Wake up!”

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Bummer's Shootin' the Breeze Page!  

 

 

     By coincidence a few weeks later I was listening to a radio interview with members of a current big time band and the guitar player started going on and on about how he recently seen the band Blue Oyster Cult and was amazed how a band that used to fill stadiums was still on the road playin’ small halls just ‘cause they loved makin’ music for an audience and wouldn’t give up the faith!

     Now every time I hear the band I remember what happened and once again I feel like sh*t.

     The music of the 60’s, 70’s and the 80’s isn’t just memories for old farts like me to reminisce over.  It’s quality stuff that in my opinion has never been and never will be outdated.  People never say they refuse to listen to Mozart, Howlin’ Wolf or Hank Williams because it was recorded long ago.  Good music is timeless.  Yet I remember being in a music shop one day and a woman standing next to me said that she only listens to new stuff ‘cause she’s already lived through the oldies and is tired of them.

     Granted, anything gets boring if it’s repeated over and over [and I do mean anything].  For years I hated the songs “Stairway to Heaven” and “Smoke on the Water” simply because I played them in bands I was with way too often, but now I can appreciate even these songs again.

     I understand how a person’s taste might change.  Hell, I listen to a lot of jazz now and I never would have believed that would happen in the old days.  But I don’t get how someone could get tired of great music.  Maybe those who think that way never really appreciated the music in the first place.

     I just hope that the guys from Blue Oyster Cult weren’t too offended and that if I ever have the opportunity to talk to them again, they don’t remember me.  By the way, I do wonder where they  got that name........                

 

      That's me, dammit!~Watch here for next month's installment!

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 “Who is this?”

     “Ed!  Guess what?”

     “Yer drunk....I’m sleepin’    .....goodbye!”

     “No wait!!  Guess where I am!”

     “Uh, yer at the Buffalo Ranch.”

     “Yup!  Guess who’s with me... ....standin’ right here?”

     ‘Oh man!’ I thought. ‘ John Kay!!  I’ve  been waitin’ for this for a long time...I have so many questions ready to ask him!  This is so cool!!  I’ve been a fan of Steppenwolf since the old days and I know all about ‘em!!’ ......”John Kay?”

     “No.”

     “No???.....Who?”

     “Some of the guys from Blue Oyster Cult!  They’re gettin’ ready to play!  Wanna talk to ‘em?”

     “Man, I don’t know that much about ‘em...I’m half asleep and don’t have any questions for ‘em.”  I really appreciated what he did, I just didn’t know what to ask.

     I could hear him turn and say, “He said he just wants to talk to John Kay!”...Then I heard collective groans from this great old band as they turned and strapped on their instruments.

“No!  Wait!  Just give me a second to get my act together....”

     “Too late.  They’re goin’ onstage.  Gotta go.  Bye”

     Click.

     I lay there holding the phone thinking, ‘AHHHH!  WHAT THE HELL JUST HAPPENED?’  I felt like an idiot!!  I should have just bluffed my way thru it, but knew that if I did I’d end up askin’ ‘em dumb stuff like what their favorite color was or how they got their name.  I didn’t even know if they were American or English.  Although I dug ‘em, they could have been from Sweden for all I knew!

     The more I thought of it, the more I expected to hear on the news, “Members of the classic rock band ‘Blue Oyster Cult’ committed mass suicide earlier this afternoon after being turned down for an interview by a reporter for the motorcyclist’s rights organization ABATE while they were performing at a buffalo ranch in NE Ohio.  At a press conference given for the legitimate press just moments before drinking poisonous Kool Aid, band members sang in harmony ‘DON’T FEAR THE REAPER BROTHERS AND SISTERS!!! ”

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