Greenpoint, October, 2015

Monday, October 24, 2011

Roadhogs on My Mind

Less is less
We don't drive cars anymore, certainly not automobiles. Bigger or smaller, more or less powerful, comfortable, fuel efficient... they all look the same. Even Tom Waits drives a Suburban. Well, he's a family man now. And who am I to talk? I rock the Yaris. Date it from the disappearance of discernible bumpers, or when the Saab 900 turned into a Ford Taurus, our cars have been snatched and replaced by pods.

Well, that ain't no Suburban Tom is backing a young Rickie Lee Jones over on the back cover of Blue Valentine.  Closer to the "Ol' 55" he sings about on Closing Time. But then there are plenty of Waits car songs.

The title of this post, though, comes from the great Joe Ely song, "Got a Road Hog on My Mind" from Musta Notta Gotta Lotta (1981). He's not talking about a Suburban either but a "Cadillac V8 motovatin' down the line."

Courtesy Joe Ely Collection
Cousin Joe has mellowed since his early rocking shows, which inspired the Clash to invite him on tour in 1979 & 80 (below). A onetime hobo himself, he has made a habit of buying (at well above market price) cardboard signs from panhandlers he encounters in his travels. They're collected, along with a nice foreword by Joe and portraits of homeless folks from Austin by Michael O'Brien, in Signs, a book put out in the Pentagram Papers series. You can see it all online here.

Just don't tell me what he drives.
Joes Strummer and Ely horsing around (1979)

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