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Gonzo Today

Other Voices & Outside Sources

Big Party at the Crumps: Book Excerpt

By: Barry Finnerty
So here it is. The moment I’ve been waiting all my life for. I step up to the microphone, brush my hair back, pull up my pants a little bit. Tap the mic. OK, it’s on. We finish up the medley with a rousing version of Jimmy Durante’s “One Of Those Songs” with four or five upward modulations at the end. Hardwell points at me. “Let’s go, let’s go!” he shouts. Even a ten second break between tunes is too long for him. And now – it’s Star Time at the Apollo, ladies and gentlemen! At least for a split second in some parallel fantasy universe. I break into my best James Brown impersonation. Which for at least this one first word is quite convincing. If I do say so myself.
 
HEY!
 
I play the first five notes of a C ninth chord, going up: C-E-G-Bb-D!
 
“I said, HEY!
 
The horn section joins in, playing those same notes again. C-E-G-Bb-D!
 
HEY!” 
 
C-E-G-Bb-D again, this time in harmony. You know what those notes are. They are instantly recognizable. World famous. They’re the intro to…
 
“I Feel Good.”  Dadaladaladala. Like I knew that I would. Dadaladaladala. Etc. etc. etc. Awright. We’re rolling now.
 
The crowd is up and dancing. So I do a few more numbers. Bob Seger’s “Old Time Rock N’ Roll”. Michael Bolton’s “Love Is A Wonderful Thing”. That is the tune the Isley Brothers recently sued him for. Copyright infringement, they claimed. Bolton fought it all the way. “Hey, I wrote that tune all by myself. I never heard of their version.” Sorry, Michael. Your song had the exact same melody, the same beat, and even the same title of the Isleys’ single that was released in 1964!  I am willing to concede that you might not have consciously known that you were stealing their tune. But a subconscious rip-off is still a rip-off. Pay up, white boy!
 
We do “My Girl”, and then Hardwell sits me down so they can serve the birthday cake that took them the last 20 minutes to slice up. But you know what was amazing? You know who was checking me out and giving me some serious eye contact while I was up there just now? You are not going to believe this!
 
It was Yuvana Crump! That’s right. You probably know who I am talking about. The statuesque blond Hungarian former fashion model and ex-wife of the notorious New York billionaire real estate tycoon, Ronald Crump. I am sure you know who he is. He is the guy whose haircut loudly and unmistakably proclaims: “I am the biggest prick on the face of the earth!” And if his hair doesn’t totally convince you, just look at his face and listen to him talk for about thirty seconds. That will close the deal.
 
One time a few years back we played a job for him down in Florida, at that huge glitzy mansion he bought in Palm Beach that used to belong to the Post Toasties heiress lady. A party for all the real “old money” people down there that he was trying to ingratiate himself with. The parking lot was filled with Rolls-Royces and Bentleys. And the food? Conspicuous consumption at its most ostentatious. The band was playing in a big tent just outside the main house. And, after a time, I had to take a crap. So I got up and walked up the stairs, past the marble columns, to the door, where I was stopped by a servant, a tall middle-aged black man, not coincidentally also in a tuxedo, but his was with white tie and tails. 
 
“Can I help you, suh?” 
 
“Yeah, I’m in the band,” I said. “I just wanted to use the bathroom for a minute.”
 
“Sorry, suh, only Mr. Crump’s guests are allowed inside,” he said. “There are some porta-potties down at the other side of the lawn.”
 
I was incredulous. “But that’s like 300 yards away!”
 
“Sorry, suh.”
 
I never forgot that.
 
It was like he was telling me, “You de yard niggas! You gots to stay in de yard! Only de house niggas gets to go in de house!”
 
Thanks, Ronald, I thought as I trudged the length of three football fields to relieve myself. And back. Thanks for reminding me that all servants need to know their place.
 
This guy is truly a symbol and a symptom of the dried heart and dead conscience of our age. Of the worship of money above all else. People don’t matter. Right and wrong don’t matter. They’re just abstract ideas.  Only dollars and cents matter. Only money, money, money, and continually battling to accumulate more of it. No amount is ever enough. You have to get it all. It doesn’t matter who you screw. Or what you have to do to do it. The only thing that matters is that you are the one who comes out on top. Of that big steaming pile of cash.
 
I read recently that after he bought that apartment building at 7th Avenue and Central Park South – you know, the big one that kind of curves around the corner – that there were a bunch of elderly people that had been living there for over 20 years. They had rent control. So what did Mr. Crump do? He hired some thugs to go around to these peoples’ apartments and intimidate them. To tell them that if they didn’t  accept his settlement offer and move out, that something bad might happen to them. I’m telling you, these bastards will stop at nothing to squeeze every last dollar out of a situation. Even muscling and bullying old people. Yet he is revered in the business community. A shining example of success in America, the land of opportunity. It´s truly amazing how much you can accomplish if your dad starts you off with about $50 million and you have absolutely no morals or scruples whatsoever.
 
But enough about him. The world is full of money-grubbing assholes. In fact, there’s a good number of them in the house tonight! In any case, she’s not married to him anymore. They divorced a few years back. She’s probably four or five years older than me. And still a very good looking woman. Tall and elegant, with that model’s figure. I can see her shoes sparkling from here. Those heels look like they are encrusted with diamonds. Had to cost at least a grand. Probably more. They are definitely some CMFM (IYAB) shoes. I believe you are already acquainted with the first acronym. The second one? It stands for “If You’re A Billionaire”.
 
I’m up at the mic again, grinding out some more rock chestnuts. “Brown Eyed Girl”. “Wooly Bully”.
“Just What I Needed”. “Satisfaction”. The floor is packed. And she’s out there, dancing with some stockbroker type. Oh-oh! She’s looking at me again. I give her a tiny wink out of the corner of my eye. And the quickest smile I can manage while also singing “cause I tried… and I tried… and I tried… and I tried but I just can’t get no!” And holy shit! Yuvana is smiling right back at me! Hmm. Maybe this really could be the start of something big! Yeah, right. In your dreams, buddy.
 
We are now into the only slow number I’ll be doing tonight, Rod Stewart’s “Have I Told You Lately”. Hardwell hates ballads. Except the solo piano ones he plays for dinner music. Which is crazy because people love to dance to them. But he likes to keep everything moving, moving, moving, up tempo all the time. No sense of pace. But he can’t deny that right now, that floor is full. So he is allowing it. This is actually a pretty enjoyable song to sing. I take a nice melodic rock guitar solo in the middle of it, then we modulate up a half step after the second bridge. I can get fairly soulful on it. About as good as it gets on a job like this.
 

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Drug Run

By: Dr. Rocket with Ms. Gonzo

The capacity crowd at Wild Bill’s Saloon were wildly yet amiably drunk that late August night, and some had also gotten high out in the parking lot. All were on their feet. The sweaty young Texas hipsters knew that this was the final performance of Suze’s band, and many in the crowd were her loyal fans that had packed the dive full every Friday for the last three months. They shouted, driven into a frenzy that was electrifyingly tribal.

Suze, inspired, threw every last trick she had at the revelers. Her vocal chops were up, and she felt locked in with the band as they pounded out tune after tune in sequence, barely stopping between the songs. Suze grinned in triumph. They had never sounded better.

“You’ve got to shake your money maker” she shouted, wagging her Continue reading

The Internet Just Raped My Brain

By: Coach Dan

The internet. What was once a marvel of modern civilization has quickly deteriorated into a hub for perverts, dope fiends, crooks, and cats. The Uneducated Elite, who in the past was resigned to sitting on their trailer steps and guzzling Bud Light by the quart while they deliver loathesome sermons to other half-mad, fully-drunk dingbats, now has as valid a voice in the world as a summa cum laude Harvard graduate. And it’s not going well for anyone.

As I sit here sipping on my Glenlivet and listening to Dylan, I wonder, where did we go wrong?  I am reading comments on internet articles on how the Obamas are “monkeys”; people are STILL waiting for them to publicly release their birth certificates to prove that they aren’t, in fact, ISIS agents sent here to destroy the country in some elaborate, 10-year gig that is finally coming to fruition.  Elsewhere, college-age kids don blackface for Halloween and laugh when Black Lives Matter tries to point out their ignorance.  Hate crimes have actually RISEN in the US lately, and we are left to pick up the pieces, trying to figure out what went wrong, and how this country took such a drastic leap backwards after such a positive step forward in 2004.

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Story Girls

By: Michael Chin

Jackson and Lily went to St. Peter’s because their father wanted to steer them from the bad influences of a public high school. He told them getting an education was not about smoking in bathrooms or fist fights or winding up pregnant before graduation.

Jackson knew the rationale, and remembered it one week into Catholic school, after his class watched a video to commemorate the tenth anniversary of terrorists crashing planes into the World Trade Center, and pimply-faced Johnny Reds spread his arms like an air craft and spiraled head first into Jinder, the only brown-skinned kid in school. Johnny made crashing sounds as he reenacted the terrorist attacks,like they were some big joke.

Jackson remembered what he had heard about bad influences, too, when he followed Johnny and friends out of the convenience store after school, ugly blue and gold school ties bunched up in their right pockets, stolen one-pound bags of M&Ms crammed in the left.

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Perverse Wailing at the Red Roof Inn

art by Joey Feldman

by Joseph Seiss

It’s only been a month since the election and I’ve already begun the grim slide into a whole new world of psychotic behavior. All of a sudden my worst fears are a sobering reality. No more jokes. Donald Trump has brutally murdered fun with a blunt object in the back of a stolen minivan, and then uploaded the whole gruesome thing to YouTube.

When they shut down the Daily Show and haul John Oliver off to Cuba, I’ll be standing next to the wild-eyed pervert in the crusty army coat by the freeway holding the sign that reads, “repent”. Yes. Sobriety is the new madness in an age where fascists run the show.

As I recall, the darkest moment of this election cycle went down on a blurry night in October at a Red Roof Inn South of the St. Louis International Airport. I had just fled back to my room with a bottle of Bacardi Gold and a bag of limes to decompress after sneaking onto the Washington University campus during the second presidential debate.

Trembling, I cocked my head around the door frame to give the empty parking lot a good scan before I bolted the door to my dimly lit hotel room. Muttering to myself, I yanked the curtains closed and flipped on the TV. I took a violent pull from the Bacardi, cracked a beer and did some breathing exercises as Wolf Blitzer and Kellyanne Conway bickered about the fate of humanity on CNN.

I would have stuck around on campus to get the feel for things, but the experience had given me such a sour jolt that all I could do was flee back to the Red Roof Inn. The mood had turned rotten after Trump’s sniveling vitriol spiraled into a kind of hateful, ritualistic display of brutish physical intimidation.

Watching that ape-lipped reprobate pace around behind Hillary like a prowling jackal was all it took. I was bound to do something rash. Anything, like maybe corner the InfoWars correspondent standing by the coffee booth, and jabber at him about how the Feds hauled my cousin away to the nuthouse after he called to report that his dentist was an extraterrestrial.

I figured this was my grand opportunity to leave my mark. Rattle the fuckers. Yes. Give them a run for their money. Show them there are other powers at play here. Yes. Then hightail it halfway across town to chuckle about it over a box of wine and some crab rangoon. Yes.

At one point, as I stood with a crowd of students straddling the CNN pavilion on the north lawn of Brookings Quadrangle, Cory Lewandowski brushed past me. I briefly succumbed to a fleeting desire to clock that prickly haired little weasel in the nuts. Obviously I resisted my animal desire, but the scenario played out it my mind’s eye.

BREAKING NEWS: Some kind of grinning, disillusioned, publicity seeking degenerate who somehow evaded campus security was apprehended Sunday at the site of the second presidential debate in St. Louis, MO, after allegedly assaulting Cory Lewandowski, GOP presidential nominee Donald Trump’s estranged ex-campaign manager.

The suspect, identified as a Kansas City man with a documented history of mental illness, was arrested by the St. Louis police department after striking Lewandowski in the groin. According to reports, the suspect refused to cooperate with police, and snarled incoherently at news cameras as authorities drug him off the Washington University campus amidst a wide-eyed frenzy of media and onlookers…

But that was then. This is now. Circumstances have changed. Donald Trump has thrust himself upon the helm. I’ve even considered converting to Islam, buying a hot piece and holing up in a motel room somewhere on the outskirts of Denver. Desperate times call for desperate measures, and with each headline the world seems to be crawling closer and closer towards the edge. But alas, only the paranoid will drag themselves from the smoldering heap. Or will they? Survival of the…fittest.

Even Steve Bannon can get behind that right? When the Trump people realize they were played for fools and their man gets caught embezzling public funds to settle his lawsuits, who will they blame then? They certainly won’t blame themselves, and now that Breitbart is technically the de facto state propaganda apparatus, white nationalism is now the hottest ticket in town.

The only silver lining I can grasp at this point is the fact that Trump and his transition team are so risibly inept that soon enough the whole thing will just keel over like a sick addict. I wouldn’t rule out the possibility of a swift and brutal impeachment months after the inauguration. Call it wishful thinking, but a man without a bright side in this day and age is a man bound for a depth of depravity that would cause even Charles Bukovski to shake his head in consternation.

We can only hope that in the end these strange days don’t count against us.

Selah

 

The Crack of Dawn

 

by Joseph Siess

…Mother Mary & the Morning of Terrible Judgment…Mad
Dash
to the Coast…Extreme Behavior on Av. Boa Viagem…

I came to around 6 am. The Pole sat on the far end of the couch, wide-eyed with a confused look on his thin face. A hazy morning light spilled onto the palm shrouded courtyard, and bizarre French music sounded from an unseen source.

“Good morning,” said the Pole through a wide, disheveled smile. “Just relax,” he added with a wave of the hand. “The coffee woman will be here soon.” He nodded in assurance, but his piercing stare confirmed my greatest fears. “Just take it easy, ok…”

“How long have we been here?” I croaked. I sat up, coughed and looked around the room, but my eyes remained heavy. I couldn’t recall anything from the past 12 hours.

Without answering, the Pole turned his back and walked into the kitchen.

I swung my feet onto the floor, ran my grimy hands through my tangled hair, took a deep breath and attempted to concentrate on the facts.

Splinters of memory seeped from my subconscious. I recalled four tabs, two of which were double-edged, a liter of Polish vodka and a jar of pickles. The faint odor of vomit jolted my memory and I remembered puking my guts out at some strange hour of the night.

Jimi Hendrix, Die Antwoord. The Argentines and the Australians. The Frenchman.

“Dear Lord,” I thought. “Here we go.”

MOTHER MARY & THE MORNING OF TERRIBLE JUDGMENT

The bizarre French music continued to waft on the salty, equatorial breeze that drafted into the room.

I caught a glimpse of myself in the reflection of the mounted T.V. set in front of the couch, and to my horror, I saw a filthy, beach-combing wretch. I had slumped into a kind of tropical degeneracy during my time in Brazil, and the sight of myself filled my heart with loathing and disgrace.

I groped the dried juniper seeds hanging around my neck with quivering hands and bobbed back and forth. My legs were streaked with soot, and my straggly cut-off jean shorts were moist with perspiration. My stretched, loosely fitting t-shirt slid off my shoulder exposing my bony chest.

I was nervous, confused, and worst of all, completely whacked out of my skull on some of the most powerful shit I’d ever experienced.

The stuff had been working on me since the night before, and had not subsided in the least. “How long could this last?” I thought to myself. Grim thoughts plagued my twitching brain. Continue reading