Manion's Musings

We pull back the kimono on the life of a chronic rock & roller--in his own words

Jimbo weighs in on Food and Love:

This Sunday we will be headlining the Mount Pleasant Day Festival in Washington DC. (Main stage 4pm Mount Pleasant St. and Park St. N.W.) This show is very sentimental to us because it is our third straight year playing this event and it is a blast. There is a plethora of different cultures that make up one big happy party. And I do mean party. Music from everywhere on the planet and it doesn't matter what language you speak, food is the topic. Let me put is this way. Last year I managed to secure a huge single plate of food that had the following: Curry rice, Peruvian steak on a stick, Hummus on Pita, and an egg roll. Only in America.

Which takes me back to a painful incident that happened two years ago at this particular festival. One I will never forget. I was between marriages at the time and just started dating my significant other. Remember the early days of romance when everything was new and exciting? Long before you had to work on everything. Long before she said those chilling words that shake a man to his core. "Honey?...........We have to talk" Now you remember don't you?

I'm reluctant to reveal her name so I will just refer to her as "The Sex Goddess of McLean" We were sampling the culinary deletes and entered into the a Latin super market to retrieve a few napkins. I tried hopelessly to make the guy behind the counter understand my request. After many futile attempts I kindly asked if there was anyone who spoke English. Wrong question. The "Sex Goddesses" elbow came crashing into my side. Pain shot into my ribs. Tears came. Lights dimmed. I couldn't speak. However the expression on my face said it all. "What the f__ was that for"?

That. "The sex Goddess" said, was "mean spirited". Visibly shaken. My first thought was this woman was truly insane. My second thought was, her little redneck mean streak combined with my general hostile attitude.......................we would make a great couple.

I explained to her that while I did in fact grow up in Northern Virginia, and have been here long enough to remember when people spoke English, I was happy and excited that we have so many different nationalities in the DC area. It makes for a better world. I further explained.

I go up to the Springhill Rec Center in the mornings. I avoid high school children at all costs. I have my network of friends consisting mostly of people from overseas. After a couple minutes of intense water aerobics we adjourn to the Jacuzzi. There is Maria; she is an artist from Japan. There is Mohammed; he is a retired orthopedic doctor from Lebanon. There is Rolf; he is a nanny from Russia. (I'm not kidding) And my favorite. Than. Than came to the US in the early 70s from Viet Nam and started a very successful Mexican restaurant. Yes you read that right. You definitely have to have a set of cohunes to pull that off.

Upon further pleading with the sex goddess I finally convinced her that I was not being a bigot, but was truly seeking information. I was forgiven. And the rest is romance history. Although I did say I wished they would create a law, that when you get to this country and your getting sworn in as a citizen, that you would agree to stay out of the left lane. This time I was ready, her blow just grazed me.

Jimbo pulls a good rant; he doesn't love all his fans.

I'm upset.  And disturbed about the local music scene.  Us, and bands like us, are running out of places to play.  I've done a great deal of research in the last year and found the primary source of this travesty. The drunk hose bag.

The drunk hose bag wealds great power.  She arrives at the local club around happy hour with plans to have a few and go home.  She rarely drives.  One of the boys are always ready to give her a ride.  She is pretty, and has job in some sort of professional area.  She typically has breast implants. Or, there are on order. Or, just flat out doesn't need them. 

Bar managers love her for two reasons.  One, she attracts the boys.  And two?  Her Visa pretty much pays the light bills.  People, are you feeling me?  She sits on her stool, chatting away, with one eye on the band, watching us set up.  Around 9:30, half way through the bands' first set, she teeters up to the stage.  Drink in one hand, Marlboro light 100 in the other.  She slurringly says "Will you play Sweet Home Alabama?"  I cringe.  My mind goes blank.  I say nothing.  I'm processing this information.

What is going on in my brain is this.  We have just heard "Sweet Home Alamama" three times on the bar stereo and about once an hour on the local classic rock radio station.  All day.  That, combined with the genius who bought me the box set for Christmas.............  I want to hurt her.

For reasons I can't explain, a divine force comes over me and I feel sorry for the drunk hose bag. I politely tell her "We don't do that song". The blood drains from her face as if she has been goosed by an offensive lineman. She is stunned. Rarely has anyone told her no. She reels back to the bar stool and is now glaring at me.

From personal experiance I know that approaching her and talking to her during the break will only start "Hell Night" for me and the guys in the band.  So, I avoid her like Michael Jackson would avoid a women over 21.  I stay far away.  But not far enough to hear her tell the bar manager.... "This band sucks".

This, in turn, leads to the venue calling the agent and saying those words that all bands love to hear.  "It's not the right band for the room".  This situation has appeared to have developed only in the last 5 years or so.  WHAT THE HELL HAPPENED TO THIS TOWN?

I'm waiting for a club owner to reach down between his legs and find his tesicles and use them.  In doing this I hope he discovers that the drunk hose bag can enjoy a band whether it plays "Sweet Home Alabama" or perhaps another song that came from that record that hasn't been beat to f__ing death.  (My Mom reads this email so I try to keep it to a PG rating.)

The vision of Group Therapy was to play original and cover songs that you didn't hear every hour on the hour on your local classic rock radio station.  See were I'm going with this?  Let's dig a little deeper.  Tes Ambres, for example, was a ZZ Top album that sold a bizillion copies.  The single on the album was "La Grange", another great song like "Sweet Home Alabama".  But there are other great songs on that album.  It would not have sold a bizillion copies if it didn't.  OK.  Now were getting somewhere.

I know some of the guys that used to play in Lynyrd Synyrd and McCormack is friends with the orignal members.  I'm thinking that by combining these resources I can get some sort of legal letter signed by the band that exonerates me from ever having to play that song again.  Can you see the beauty in that?  I could hand the drunk hose bag the document, right?...........  Ok, sorry about that.  I went into some sort of dream state. 

I'm back.

DC has been blessed with some of the greatest artists in the world.  Danny Gatton, Evan Johns, Mike Melchonie, AD Addams, The Excentrics and Mike Shoop come to mind. Hell, those are just the ones I can come up with right now. It pains me to see artists like Mike Shoop (who gets better press than the Beatles by the way) play to a half empy room.  Or, have friends tell me they went to see Todd Wright and there was hardly any one there.  Again, WHAT THE HELL HAPPENED TO THIS TOWN? 

Listen, I am not saying we should eliminate the drunk hose bag at all.  I am actually a recovering drunk hose bag myself.  (I think the male equivenent is called the Swinging Richard).  I would have been a virgin well into my 40s if it wasn't for the drunk hose bag.  I even married one.  Who, by the way, still calls me about once a month to cuss me out.  See?  She still cares.  I am merely saying, "Lets reduce her power."

If you don't like my band, fine.  But I urge you to support the bands that are different from the daily top 40 mass produced classic bull crap.  Or, they will be no more and we will have to listen to "Born to be Wild" a couple thousand more times before we die.  I love Led Zepplin.  I was and remain a Jimmy Page freak. But if I hear 'Stairway to Heaven" one more time I'm gonna jump off a bridge.

I do not want to take away from the few great cover bands who do the songs justice. Like Lost Highway, or our brothers (and sister Kathy), from Smylin Jack.  I can assure you that if your heard Group Therapy play Bachmen Turner Overdrive's "Takin' Car of Business" or our version of the Doors "Love me Two Times, Babe", you would run for the door.

I would like to conclude this bitchfest to mention two people who have championed our cause.  One is Rob Casey, who has taken endless grief from these clubs and worked tirelessly to keep shows coming.  The other is Jay Nedry, who has always believed in me and all my unique from the beginning. Jay was there when I played my first cover, and was kind enough to point out. "Jimbo, you may look like Meatloaf, but you don'e sound like him".

I sit at my desk and wonder how much hell I will get for sending this email out.  Maybe I should hit delete and just leave it as Jimbo going off on one of his tangents  I mean, this will not help the band return to the clubs who are looking for "the right band for the room". On the other hand, I don't think that when I die they're gonna write: "Here lies James Manion. He played great covers" on my tombstone.  I'm gonna hit send. Manion out


Jimbo reminisces:


I'm back from Bike Week again. This time Myrtle. The first was the big daddy. Daytona in February. That's two in one year. Myrtle was a quick one. Flew in. Flew out. I think I spent more time in the airport that at the show. I'm not in a good place with airports these days. It takes forever to get my bags. My guitars always end up somewhere they shouldn't. But that's a whole other email.

The back stage area at the myrtle beach show was like Highs Dairy store in Mclean in the 70s. First. The mayor of Mclean, John Powell was there along with assistant mayor Kenny Early. Then if that wasn't enough, the mayor of Pimmit Hills Donny Hunt was there with assistant mayor Danny Mcguire. The names go on. Turtle, Andy Zok, Joey Ballenger, Jerry Doescotch, Tom Berry, Calvin from Rusty's crew, Marc "Hot Tub" Cullinane, and Les. Yes the one and only Les Blankenship. Out of retirement and living the good life. It was a little weird though. No woman present. except for Ann McGuire. Very peculuar. I'm new to this bike week thing. So much leather, so much testosterone, so little of the opposite sex. What happened? These guys used to be chick magnets. Remember that book "How to pick up women"? Chapter 7 and 8 were dedicated to Mr Powell and Mr. Earley.

I clearly remember going into 7-11 on a hot summer day with my family. My Dad would go staight to the beer cooler and get a 6 pack. (they hadn't evented 12 packs yet). My brothers and sisters would gravitate to the the isle with the candy bars, slim jims, and peanut butter crackers that tasted realy dry. I would head straight to the magazine section and discreatley grab a copy of Easy Rider and carefully place it in the middle of a copy of Boys Life and pretend I was studying my square knots. When in actuallity it was Harleys, leather, and woman with little if any apparell. My life was changed forever. From then on I always associated the three. I was very disapointed with my posse. I didn't think we represented the area well.

In reviewing my last email. (or tirade about the local music scene) The responce was mostley positive. A couple of club owners disagreed. Which was interesting. They were typically the ones with 12 people place groovin to "Aint talkin bout love" on a friday night. I don't know if the "drunk hose bag" was a good analogy. I took a little heat on that one. One of my sisters thought I could find a better example. I've never been the scared nervious type. Except when it comes to them. They gang up. They can hurt me.

The prior two weeks have been spent in the studio getting songs ready for our full length cd to be released in the Fall. Rain, Back of my Mind, Hideaway, and Elvis in a UFO are ready to mix. With Destination Diane, and Waiting on you, to be added. Some songs that were originaly to go on this project do not fit, but Tears will make it. Producing is Paul Grupp. LA studiio wizard who has worked with everyone from Stephen Stills to Boston.

And finally I would like to give a plug to some very hard woking original people that we are fortunate to have in the area. ;; And the Lyme Twiggs. Also Karnis and Dug from Smylin Jack have some great stuff. I'll get it out as soon as I can.Thursday, Rolling Thunder kicks of with us and Trip lizard at Bull Run Regional Park.