It feels like we’re living in the first 30 minutes of a bad 1970s end-of-time disaster movie, right about the time everyone is figuring out that something very bad is happening. You know, a stupid, sideshow barking wanna-be dictator has a grip on a hostage nation, a deadly disease for which there is no medical cure is circling the globe, the stock market is tanking, and, of course, there’s global warming. Starring Burt Reynolds, Dom Deloise, Rip Tayor and Angie Dickinson. The part of the wanna-be dictator is being played by Tor Johnson. If you’re younger than 45 you might need to Google some of these names, especially Tor Johnson. When I was a kid, I bought many, many, many monster movie magazines. I still have most of them. One movie, featured occasionally, was THE BEAST OF YUCCA FLATS. It starred Tor Johnson as a Soviet (Russian) scientist who had some secrets, and he was defecting to the USA. Anyway, he was being followed by the KGB, and Tor, while avoiding his pursuers, stumbled right into an area where atomic bombs were being tested. Poor Tor. He got a big ol’ dose of radiation and became the beast. He couldn’t run very fast, though (large and out of shape), so he never seemed like much of a threat to me, but he somehow found a scantily-clad woman to carry around, monster-style. Many film buffs consider this to be one of the worst movies ever made. You should go to your neighborhood Blockbuster Video store and rent a VHS copy for your next family movie night. Anyway, back to the real-life disaster movie we are all seeing unfold daily. Seriously, it’s also not well-written and full of clichés. Is this the best we can do? Our 2020 disaster reality movie is not any better than THE BEAST OF YUCCA FLATS? Now THIS is depressing! As a species, we’re a pretty big mess right now. Everyone is all nervous and jittery and we don’t know who to trust. The unknown is scary. It always is. But it’s also potentially exciting and full of possibilities. Nothing will ever be settled, so you can choose fear or not fear. You can choose hate or love. You can choose empathy or self-centeredness. You can give or take. You can also shrink-wrap yourself, move to a remote part of the country and stockpile guns and delicious survival food. Geographically, most of the country is remote, so finding isolation should be pretty easy. Man, this has to be a great time for all the doomsday preppers around the world. “Finally,” they sigh, collectively!
THE BRIGHT SIDE. If civilization lasts, we are piling lots of gigs into this crazy year. Just get some nice-looking designer face masks and come on out. Our music will address the needs of the moment. Brave Combo has always tried to provide a unique perspective; an alternative viewpoint. And we’ll continue to do that. Check our itinerary often. Dates are being added weekly.
The new album is finished! This is great news for Eric, our recording engineer. I’m sure he’s enjoyed as much of it as he can stand. But that just lets you know how finely we have crafted this release. Of course, there is still much to do. The album needs a title. The jacket isn’t finished. The CDs have to be manufactured. The videos are only about 1/3 finished. But the music is mixed and mastered and ready to be presented. Overall, it’s a somewhat different sound for Brave Combo. One might call it Brave NEW Combo, as we have been mistakenly called, on occasion, for decades. You know, Aldous Huxley’s novel, BRAVE NEW WORLD? People have sworn to us that Brave New Combo was the name of the band in the beginning, because they were there. Whatever, it might be appropriate now. The band officially turns 41 in a couple of months, so we can call ourselves anything we want. Get out of our way, whippersnappers!
In the early days of Brave Combo, we played all up and down Dallas’ Lower Greenville Avenue. We regularly rocked Nick’s Uptown at one end and Tango at the other, eventually settling into a more rootsy vibe at Poor David’s Pub. But one night we started to notice the crowds dropping off, dramatically. It was happening up and down Lower Greenville. The scene was moving to Deep Ellum in downtown Dallas, so we had to move, too. Our home club soon became Club Dada, where we performed for years. We loved it and had some of our most amazing moments at that club. Everything was super exciting. Deep Ellum was just starting to get noticed by the general public, but the cool cats were already there making it happen. One of the coolest cats I ever knew was the doorman at Dada, John “Beard” Brewer. I spent lots of time talking music, musicians and musical instruments with the guy and always dug it. Beard was the ultimate supporter and very protective of his musician friends. I never thought of him as a bouncer, although I did see some crazy stuff go down at the club a few times. To me he was the club’s greeter; the calming maître d. He had a gentle raspy voice. I can easily hear him in my head telling me some obscure fact about my Telecaster (guitar). Beard died recently, at 67 years old.
He was cremated and had his ashes scattered over his cats’ graves at a pet cemetery. Now THAT’S my kind of guy. RIP peace, Beard!
Okay, I gotta go stock up on a bunch of canned goods I’ll never eat. Have an exciting, nail-biting month. I like it when one of my cats stops cleaning itself but doesn’t pull its tongue back in all the way, then looks around, with it partially out, acting like everything’s normal. If you’ve seen this, you’ll know what I mean. If not, go adopt a cat. Or a dog. Dogs do it, too. Whatever you do next, good luck! You will probably need it. POLKA ON!