Notes on Three Dog Night Singer Cory Wells

This is an ongoing series of my raw, unpolished thoughts about the biography book project I’m working on about Cory Wells, founding member of the hugely popular classic rock band, Three Dog Night.

As one of the most prominent and visible members of Three Dog Night, Cory Wells was also the most private. Almost to the point of secretive. He was the voice of arguably the band’s best and biggest hit, Mama Told Me, and that voice was about as soulful as soul got in those days (for a white boy from Buffalo, anyway). But who was he? What was…


A drunk poem

Of the author by the author

On the South Side of Pittsburgh

Mad, masked Carson Street

Drinking at The Smiling Moose

Lonesome traveler

Bought a leather bomber jacket

Lighter than my others

Good for L.A. winters

Bought some charcoal to burn

Dragon’s blood in my cauldron

I can’t be a witch because of my dick

And “warlock” sounds fucking stupid

So call it what you wish

Time to clear the air

The Runaways and Iggy Pop on the jukebox

Cuz that’s what the fuck I’m playing

Purifies like sage

Ooh wow. Ooh wow

They even have Ty Segall live

Deforming Lobes

Love Fuzz” forever

Our music…


A poem

Image by Mike Protzik

I awake from dreams of alien sexuality

“This weird enough for you, big boy?”

I wake in fright

KNOCK, KNOCK

A man in a motel room alone

Reduced to my animal core

Neon sign glows in the night mist outside

KNOCK, KNOCK

Electronic fog creeps in through the cracks of the door

This is the third motel room in three nights they have come

I have yet to answer the door

KNOCK, KNOCK

Been following a strange rock band across this strange country, The Skelterettes

America is different at night

Its plains and forests become like negative film and…


A Trip Through American Rascality: Gambling, Booze, & Crime from Vicksburg to Vegas

Kim Vintage Stock/Getty Images

“They delight in their present low, lazy, sluttish, heathenish, hellish life, and seem not desirous of changing it.”
— Rev. Charles Woodmason, 1766

“Violence is as American as cherry pie.”
— H. Rap Brown

America has got to start being honest with itself.

I’ll be honest.

I really didn’t see what all the hand-wringing was about over the recent police brutality protests-turned-riots. Self-important pundits right and left clutching pearls over the notion that anyone would burn their own city to the ground in the face of invincible corruption. I was just surprised that’s as far as it went.

But then…


Flash Fiction

Image by Mike Protzik

The law is hell law. And we’re its keepers. Hells are what the squares and holy rollers call gambling halls. Gambling hells. I guess they thought that was clever. It suits us nonetheless.

Us is me and my associate Viktor Clementine. He’s a Russian and I don’t know what he’s doing in these parts but I never got ‘round to asking. All I know is he’s a long way from home and he likes it fine. We don’t talk much other than arguing over when it is. I mean, the year. I tell him it’s 1939 and we’re on the…


A short story about two young gamblers

Image by Mike Protzik

So we’re there driving through the paved streets of the Old West and Damien’s yelling to girls from the passenger window and he’s drinking from a flask and I’ve been taking swigs here and there while “Love Fuzz” by Ty Segall plays on the radio. The only thing standing out in that little town is a building of glass towering over all of us on the hilltop to the east. New hotel — gaudy and modern and ominous. It sits there a mirror-wrapped castle reflecting the sun’s glare. Damien breaks my spell by saying, “Let’s do Fitzgerald’s Casino.”

“You…


Jenna Putnam

Short Story — Some people are crazy enough to follow their dreams…

Idy wanted to call it OPERATION: STAR CRAWL. Valissa thought it sounded too menacing. Cal said nothing, his hand gripped firmly on the wheel, smirking under his dark shades.

“Our Vision is not one of menace…” Val preached as they roared down the California desert highway in the stolen mustard yellow ’69 Chevelle with the soft top down. “Not entirely anyway…” she continued, “Our goal, sister, is one of metacognition… mnemonic witchcraft… dissolving the māyā of dichotomy… we shall remind the People of what they already know.”

Val was always talking like that, but now it was more than…


Poem — Phone Call to the Land of the Dead

Photo by Tess Parks

I invoke all failed unknown dead writers into me. I’ve got what all ghosts want — a body. Make use of this flesh. Be a good little writer. You hear that, unheard dead? I can leave where you left off. You dead loser. I am living loser. And I take your words, your language, your dead symbols, your archive, your thought-forms. I can wield them. I can make the dead walk. I let cadavers speak. I cannot speak. Through you my words flow. Through me your words flow. Let’s make a pact in flesh & blood.

Private eye in…

Brent L. Smith

Writer 💀 Fiction/Nonfiction

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