Who Am I?

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A nobody; a nitwit; a pilot; a motorcyclist; a raconteur; a lover...of life - who loves to laugh, who tries to not take myself (or anything) too seriously...just a normal guy who knows his place in the universe by being in touch with my spiritual side. What more is there?

30 September 2008

Drinking, Music and Flying: Not necessarily in that order

HarborWalk Village from the water

Matt and I went out drinking in Destin this past weekend. There’s a new condo palace…well, “atrocity” would be a better word for it…right at the very point where the bridge comes across. It’s called HarborWalk Village. The place is huge. And gaudy. Perfect for Destin, in other words.

HarborWalk offers all of the amenities designed to keep the condo dweller from straying off the property: Fishing boat charters; sailboat rides, pontoon boat rentals, blah blah blah. And, as upscale as it tries to be, all the usual pricey restaurants are there.

We started off at Harry T’s, which reportedly used to be located at some condo until the place got so rowdy that it was kicked out. That was hard for me to believe this past Friday night, because it was pretty dead despite or because of having a pretty bad live band playing. I knew we weren’t in for a rockin’ good time when the first song coming back from a break was “Just The Two Of Us” or some such crap. After paying $12 for two little Rum-and-Cokes in plastic cups…twelve dollars! we decided to wander. The bartendress, sensing our impending departure, bought us a round. We said, “Thank you!” then took the drinks and left anyway.

Just to the east of HarborWalk is a place called AJ’s, which has been there forever. Perched up high above the harbor, and mostly open-air, it was packed, which always makes it fun. The drinks there were only slightly less hideously expensive. (They do take advantage of the tourists in Destin.) There was a band playing – more up-tempo stuff but to be honest they were really bad. The lead singer couldn’t hit a high note to save his life. I heard him produce some that would have shattered my drink glass, had it not been cheap plastic.
Matt and I love live music - we've gone to great lengths to see/hear it. We've heard an awful lot of bands. But - to a point - even bad live music trumps a d.j. and a sound system. To a point.

During one of the band’s breaks a d.j. spun some tunes, and I brought myself up to speed on current music. A catchy song played. The sound system wasn’t that great, but this tune was vaguely familiar. I told Matt that I liked it, and he made an “ugh” face.

“That’s Kid Rock,” he said with some disdain. Not a fan, evidently.
“Yeah, so? It’s a good song,” I countered. I don't hate Kid Rock.
“Yeah, because he ripped-off this one to make his.”

What? I cocked an ear. By then, Lynard Skynard’s “Sweet Home Alabama” was playing. Clever d.j.

So I got home and internetted the new Kid Rock song, which is called “All Summer Long.” And yes, it is more than a mere homage to the Lynard Skynard classic. It’s a cross between a "sort-of-remake" and "complete-ripoff." Let’s just say that Kid didn’t have to expend much of his song-writing “talent” in coming up with this one.

But it is also reminiscent of another song…a Warren Zevon song…a song which has already been mentioned in this blog, in the post just below this one in fact. Non-music fans will be puzzled; music fans will know exactly. WZ would undoubtedly sue, were he still alive. Which begs the question: Which song came first, "Werewolves Of London" or "Sweet Home Alabama?"* It is interesting to hear them back to back, as you can here!

Coincidentally, the Beach Boys also had a song called “All Summer Long.” It was used over the closing credits in the movie “American Graffiti.” Great, bittersweet tune, gotta love it!

I know I’m risking turning this into a music blog (and I haven't even gotten to the Conor Oberst/Bright Eyes song yet). But the alternative is to write about politics and economics, which a lot of bloggers seem to be doing. Me, I’d rather stay away from such topics, mainly because I don’t really know enough to have anything other than my ill-formed opinions. And you probably have your own, so why should I subject you to mine? You’ve all read the news – you know what’s going on.

My helicopterish life has been rather mundane lately. We haven’t really been flying much, and we go to the same old places. Oh, I had one guy puke out the back window the other night. I didn’t think he was sick, and he surely didn’t tell me. Had he just said something, I would have handed him one of those “Sic-Sacs” that I keep for just such an emergency. (I’m just glad he puked outside and not inside the aircraft.) Hey, it happens. It’s why I don’t go out on boats.

Other than that, we’ve got some exciting things in the works…things that could mean big changes Your Humble Reporter. The Boss has expanded his business to the point where we really do need a fixed-wing aircraft to supplement the helicopter. At this very moment I am scouring the market for such a plane. And unlike the helicopter field, I have airplane salesmen falling all over themselves to sell me something. So if all continues to go well, ol’ Bob will be flying airplanes again as well as helicopters! And although a lot of helicopter pilots don’t like to cross-pollinate, I really enjoy flying fixed-wing. You might say I go both ways.

*"Sweet Home Alabama" was written in the late summer of 1973 and released as a single in 1974. The earliest recording of "Werewolves of London" is noted as being in late 1974, and Mr. Zevon did not release it as a single until 1977.


Redlefty said...

Wow, I'd never made the connection between Sweet Home Alabama and Werewolves of London before. Uncanny.

Cool that you might get to swing both ways as a pilot!

Anonymous said...

In fairness to Kid Rock, he did get permission before using both "Werewolves of London" and "Sweet Home Alabama," and split the songwriting credit -- and payment -- evenly between all parties. More details can be found on www.warrenzevon.com in comments from Warren's son Jordan.

Anonymous said...

Someone influenced someone, here.
And the music thing is a nice addition to your blog, Helicopterman.

After reading this I feel like going out and trashing a few bars.

I don't know if you ever made it out to the Hamptons during your early years, Bob. If so, do you remember seeing Twisted Sister doing cover songs? Fun days.


Bob Barbanes said...

Hey, "anonymous" thanks for the info! I kinda like Kid Rock. I too wanna be a cowwwwboyyyy, bay-beee. I'll have to tell Matt that "All Summer Long" isn't *just* a ripoff of one song, but two! Now that takes real talent.

But seriously, I like people that blur the lines of music, the way Kid Rock does with Rock and Country. Plus, he's butt-ugly and still gets all the hot chicks. How does THAT happen in real life?? What, is he hung like Chuck Norris?

And kman, no I never did get to party in the Hamptons. No, the lower class partied in Babylon and Hempstead, Ronkonkoma and Oyster Bay. Or the Oak Beach Inn! Now you're dredging up memories...

Thus, I never got to see Twisted Sister on the Island. And just how old do you think I am anyway?? Closest I got was seeing...oh, what was the Led Zep cover band...Zebra! Yeah, that's it. We thought they were Long Island-local, but in truth they were from...(drumroll) New Orleans! And you know what that means - I'll probably go dragging into some dive bar some night and hear some aged, cracking-voiced guy trying to do "Stairway To Heaven" and I'll go, "That guy sounds familiar..."

Anonymous said...

I'm losing it here reading you last comment. :-)

Zebra was from New Orleans?!

Just to clarify, I didn't live in the Hamptons... just worked there, hit the beaches and clubs in the late 70's. I definitely hung out at the OBI at times. Who knows, may have bumped into you at some point.

Great post in any event.


Bob Barbanes said...

kman, it wasn't until I moved down here to the south that I learned from the New Orleans' radio stations that Zebra was not a New York band. Who knew! WBAB, a radio station in Babylon, Long Island even put one of Zebra's songs on a "Homegrown" album, so Zebra even had that staff there fooled.

Me, I hung out at a place called Rum Runners near Farmingdale (Rte 109?). Oh man, great place. Great bands! My friend Bobby Maiorca and I would ride our motorcycles down there and get so shitfaced we could hardly ride home. But we did anyway, crazy fools that we were.

It's been a long time - the memory fails. In the eighties I became a regular disco boy, and hung out in Nassau County at dance clubs like Spize and Spit and a place called "Club 42" or something like that. Maybe it was Club 700. Or both, I don't know.

Good times, good times. The very beginnings of my life of binge drinking and loud music and doing stupid shit that should've by all rights landed me in a hospital. Or a casket.

And yeah, you may have bumped into me at the OBI. I used to get hit on by guys a lot back then.


Anonymous said...

Whatcha talkin bout Willis??


Bob said...

We started going to Destin some 25 years ago when we lived in Arkansas. A great, sleepy place for a young couple, then a young couple with children, and a great place to go with others at the same station in life. Always loved Captain Dave's and Harry T's. Then it went the way of so many great places that the masses find out about. I spent a week one day at Big Kahuna Water Park with my family and that was the day I vowed I was done. Still love the beach, but have to find more secluded places at less busy times of year. It's a quicker drive now that I live in Nashville.

Bob Barbanes said...

Bob, if you liked Destin back in the day, you'd probably like Pensacola now. No water parks, fewer condos and bars (although we have 'em), only a couple of big hotels and lots more space if you want it. The local authorities keep trying to turn P'cola into a "world class destination resort" but it just ain't happening, thank God.

The masses of vacationers and large conventions don't come to Pensacola because, well, there's nothing here for them to do. And that's exactly why I like it.