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…
On the South Side of Pittsburgh
Mad, masked Carson Street
Drinking at The Smiling Moose
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
“Love Fuzz” forever
I awake from dreams of alien sexuality
“This weird enough for you, big boy?”
I wake in fright
A man in a motel room alone
Reduced to my animal core
Neon sign glows in the night mist outside
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
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…
“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.
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…
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.”
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…
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…