Glenn Frey sure likes singing the words “sexy girl” a lot, doesn’t he?

My saw finally arrived. It also just about crippled my hand.

In order to get sound out of the thing you have to hold the handle between your legs and bend the saw with one hand into an S curve. It seems like a lot of people can do that without any trouble. It also seems like my hands weren’t made to contort in such a way. After messing around with trying to play it for about twenty minutes, I put the saw away, turned my left hand a bit to the side, and felt searing pain shoot through it — the kind that makes you say dirty words because no other response seems adequate. I imagine it’s what a repetitive strain injury feels like. Not quite at the level of carpal tunnel, but still pretty unpleasant. Thankfully the pain that came with flexion and extension gradually faded, and by the next day my hand seemed to be back to normal.

Needless to say, it doesn’t look like there will be the sound of a musical saw on my next album after all, unless someone other than myself is playing it. I kind of need my hands to do what I do. So I won’t be messing around with that again. Our love — mine and the saw’s — will have to remain unrequited.

You’re getting teary-eyed reading this, I know. Fret not, because if I can get the theremin I was given whipped back into working shape that might do a good job of providing the high, ethereal sounds I was expecting to get out of the saw.

Hanging out with Adam Peltier on his show last week at CJAM was a lot of fun. In addition to engaging in silly banter and giving not-entirely-coherent answers to questions I was asked, I brought along a CD case full of…well…can you guess what I put inside? Can you? CDs! How daring of me.

We played quite a bit of music from my stash: some Duke Ellington, Mingus, Tim Buckley, Oumou Sangare, Talk Talk, Thelonious Monk, Stina Nordenstam, The Band, and some really weird Paul McCartney stuff that was probably recorded while he was high out of his mind on some really good pot, among other things. Thanks again to Adam for the invite, and for playing my noise on the radio.

Speaking of noise, it’s looking like I might not be able to get another new album out there before the end of the year after all. I might get it close to the finish line, but I’d rather not rush it. So it probably won’t appear until the New Year. You can probably expect it to show up sometime in January. Hopefully it’ll be worth the wait.

Now, remember when I was sending CDs to every record label there ever was? Sure you do. We were like brothers then, eating apple slices from each other’s palms and sharing our erotic dreams during drunken reveries. Back then I apparently sent a few CDs to this little indie label called Boompa. As with every other label I ever sent anything to, I never heard anything back.

The other day I thought I would type one of my CD titles into Google just for fun. I couldn’t believe what I found. Someone actually did listen to what I sent them, and they even liked it. Imagine that. It almost makes all the bullshit and frustration endured during that time seem like it was worthwhile. Almost. I tried emailing the guy to tell him how much I appreciated knowing that he listened (even if I only found out a few years after the fact through sheer chance) and to offer to send some newer music his way, but the email address provided on his blog no longer seems to exist.

So if you ever somehow stumble across this here thing where I write stuff, thanks Dale. You made a profane, cynical guy slightly less cynical but no less profane. And that’s for the best, wouldn’t you say?

If I ever put a press pack together for any reason (not that I ever will), the quote that ends his review of the music I sent him will be in there, along with some of the other memorable things people have said about me over the years.


  1. That blog was one of the most eye-searing things I’ve read in a long time – in that the text was so bright it is still in my eyes even after I’ve closed the page.

    But what he said was true, man. You’re a total nutter, in the good way, and your music rocks.

  2. Music ALERT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Today I got a sneak preview of one of the new songs that will be on the new CD. I won’t tell you the name of the song, but in my view, it is one of the best songs EVER heard anywhere. It has everything a great song should have. A beat that just draws you in; an energy that makes you feel good about whatever it is you are doing at that moment; vocals that are just superb; and guitar playing that is so unique I could not stop smiling.
    I swear that when people hear this song they will just love it and go crazy. If this song gets the airplay that it deserves there is no way that Mr. Johnny West will not finally be a household name and be recognized for the incredible music talentman that he is.

    I am so PROUD I could just scream!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  3. Bummer about the saw – I was looking forward to hearing what you would do with it. I’m sure you’ll keep making interesting music without it though. As Damien Rice would say, “So come on courage, teach me to be shy!”

    I hope that when we all go crazy after hearing the new song that it’s nice crazy like Richard Gere in “Mr Jones” not nasty like Jack Nicholson in “The Shining”. Just kidding, but I wouldn’t be surprised if something like that (getting airplay that you deserve, not hacking up your family on the whim of the departed) happened soonish. Let us just say that I have a good feeling about this.

  4. I’m not sure if people will go so crazy over the song Ismal mentioned…it’s a two-chord wonder that was literally written in about five minutes. I guess it does have a certain bouncy something about it. But thanks for the kind words, all.

    I was a little disappointed about the saw not working out myself. I guess my hands just weren’t made for sawing. What can you do? Even without it, I think the next CD might be one of the more sonically interesting things I’ve done. The ukulele is certainly getting a good workout, showing up in some surprising crevices. I had no idea it could be so versatile.

    I’m intrigued by your good feeling, Lucas…could a double-headlining tour with master Ricecakes himself be in my future? We could do a duet version of “The Blower’s Daughter” that would move the audience to tears, even if it was for all the wrong reasons (i.e. inserting completely inappropriate lyrics and shattering the tender moment).

  5. Damn, it’s just too easy to make fun of Damien Rice.

    I walked past a ukulele hanging from a display outside a music shop the other day and for a moment wondered if I could make it sound cool. Then I thought, well if I need it then I can send what I want to Johnny, who can be my session ukuleleist! The only problem then will be to somehow degrade the sound quality of your recordings so they fit in with mine … maybe I can take an ambient recording of the sound played through my laptop speakers …

    I am more imagining you standing at the side of a stage full of hand-picked musicians, directing them Frank Zappa style. Or you could join the ranks of modern elusive genii like Stina Nordenstam, who never play live but develop leagues of raving fans all the same.

  6. Ismal – that’s exactly what I had in mind for the support band! That, plus my sister’s band X’s & O’s. I figured a three band line-up with a touring overseas musician headlining should do the trick.

    We should all learn a set of JW songs so the band can back Johnny. The trouble is – how to narrow it down to a set of songs!

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