Timestamp, November 1995
My world was steady spinning out of control. I had just spent the last few years up in Nashville working on an Artist development deal with Asylum Records. Four years of Playing guitar and entertaining at Tootsies while trying to work full time at Gibson Guitar, my days and nights were little more than a blur. I spent every waking moment working my craft. I was a performer and I was good at it. What I was learning was the business of the music industry. What I wanted was the creative side. A huge difference between the two. Long story short, Asylum would be making a decision about my future in the very near future. Either I would have a development deal or the other guy would. His name was Brian White. He got the deal. I got a handshake. He got an opportunity and I got a bottle of jack daniels. I had been weighed and measured and found wanting.. I could deal with the rejection side of the thing. I knew my chances were slim but that singular moment put me at a crossroad. "Where do I go from here".?.
So with a fifth of jack and an early 70s buick skylark, I headed south to figure out my future. No. I was loathing my own existence. feeling sorry for myself . The dealer of my cards had given me a shitty hand and I was about to fold. From Nashville to south Georgia. I was headed back to my roots and another beginning. I'm not sure when the bottle went dry but sunrise found me at my Aunt Mutt's river cabin south of Claxton. (yes, I have an Aunt named Mutt. Don't you.?) The Dead River gave me some peace. Solitude was my comfort and whiskey made it a bearable drink..
The Golden BirthdayI had never heard of such a thing. I had been writing songs with a guy from ASCAP and he told me the story of The golden birthday.. It happens but one time in a persons life. When your day of birth matches your years, Yer Golden. My 28th birthday would happen on the 28th of December. My friend asked me, "Where will you spend your Golden Birthday"? I had no clue.. The whole time I had known Tim we would drink and he would reminisce about his times "on the right coast of florida". From Daytona to Oak Hill was his stomping grounds. He was a true Wordsmith. When he spoke of this place he painted pictures of a place that looked wonderful to me. As I sat on the bank of the dead river holding a guitar that I no longer wanted to play, I decided that my Golden Birthday would be spent in Florida.
A new town was on my horizon. I had never been to New Smyrna Beach. I had no plans. I had no contacts. The only reason I was there was a friends drunken ramblings about a small town and that the town had NEW in its name.. Mornings alone on the beach beat me down. The horizon of the Atlantic kept reminding me how small and insignificant I truly was. Christmas, my Golden birthday and new years I celebrated with perfect strangers.. The Veil of anonymous was comforting. I could go and do as I wished. I was not constrained by expectations. It had been 6yrs sense I had been in a meaningful relationship. I had nothing that needed to be done. Until the money in my pocket started getting dangerously small. Work has seldom been hard for me to find. It has usually found me. Jimmy Buffett is not hard to play on a six string and it seemed that every bar had a tiki hut out back. Pub 44 was the first. an open guitar case for tips turned into 3 nights a week at $200 a night plus tips and an open bar tab had my financial needs covered. My nights off found me playing guitar and singing in clubs up and down the coast. life was good. Until I moved in with Her.
She was the Devils sister. it only lasted two weeks. the only reason she even gets mentioned is because of her demented and controlling ways, I found The Ledo Beach Hotel. A quaint little 1940s bungalow hotel with a swimming pool looking out over Daytona Beach and the Atlantic. For the small price of $200 a week, I had the perfect pad for me. Sleeping days and playing nights. I had all that I needed. food, clothing and shelter. Wine women and songs. Cocaine and weed was easier to get then a speeding ticket. The only thing I didn't have was,,,, a long term lease.. after two and a half months of paying my weekly rent on Mondays, I return to pay the man. That's when I am told that my $200 a week room is now $680 a week. "Welcome Race Fans". It was speedweek . Overnight my landlord had become a pirate. A man devoid of any moral fiber and a cold stone where his heart once was. Its Monday around noon and I just found out that I'm homeless, again.
"Freedom's just another word for nothing left to loose"
Me and Bobbi Magee.
Its taken 20yrs of life to end up right back where I was. When my motor blew up a month ago something drastically changed in my life. My ability to travel freely had come to a grinding halt, literally. My human right to pursue happiness had been taken from me by fate.. This wasn't my plan. After biketoberfest I had planned on the Galveston rally and then work the winter around the gulf coast.. I Had A Plan. and once again, I'm taught the frailty of a mans plan. Life can change in a moment. It always does. Ive spent the last month learning.. learning my options. evaluating my situation. exploring possibilities. And beating myself up because I allowed this to happen to me.. Then I beat myself up about beating myself up. "Who am I to complain about my situation?" I can't complain. I've been provided all that I need and most of what I want. I no longer have the belief that I "Deserve" anything. I have been taught the difference between Grace and Mercy and I feel that I am truly blessed. I am Thankful.
until we meet again...