21 January 2005

Willy Mason The Real Deal...

Bill and I went out on a TWEED assignment (well, since Bill "assigned" it...) to the Bowery Ballroom Wednesday in the scrotumtightening cold. It was like, 25 degrees, but felt like -2. Or something.

Anyway, we were going to see/ interview Willy Mason, a 19 year old troubadour type out of Martha's Vineyard (I know, I know- Martha's Vineyard. Reminds me of this kid we knew in college, James, who was "from" the Hamptons. And it was funny, cos I always remembered wrong and thought it was that he was "from" the Poconos, which strikes me as hilarious to this day. I humor myself...) that plays just miraculous folk/ blues/ country/ American roots music. He doesn't just play it, he knows it, and he lived it, too. Early in his life he picked up and simply started travelling and self-subsisting- interviewing Heartland types and inuring himself of his country. Soon, his friend's dad put him in the radio, and then Conor Oberst heard him, and flew him out on tour, and then signed him...

And so here he is in NYC, playing his perfectly observed folk music in front of an impressive crowd for an opener (opening for Ray Lamontagne. I was all, "Ray Lamont-WHOthefuck?"), but only after I'd gotten him his dropped-just-out-of-reach pick at stage's edge. I wasn't worshipping at the edge crying like a 12 year old Beatles fan- in fact, I'd never heard Willy before Wednesday. But that's how great his show was- open folk/ blues tunings, great songs... and my favorite part, the way this 19 year old guy has somehow absorbed years and years of folk vernacular and made it his own. It would be extremely easy, in 2005, to do what Willy does, only failing in the lyric department. A failing that was the result of either
a) Unfamiliarity with the source music, and lack of attention to that very necessary detail
b) Familiarity but no authenticity.

You saw Willy's glasses and you could tell by the way he approached our questions that he was what he knew- he was a mini-Hank Williams.

As for the show, it was brilliant. He didn't have much time to hang around, as he seemed to be gunning for 9:45 to have to get off stage. He managed five songs by my count, and a couple accompanied by his hometown friend Violet on viola- she really deepened the sound and added to performance. That being said, for 19 (I know, I keep harping on it), he had a really tremendous, lovable stage presence. He was at ease joking and playing with the NYC crowd, one that wasn't really there to see him (presumably, for the most part). He managed to command attention, command the stage- he was hard not to watch, and he was incredibly easy to root for.

Interviewing him, Willy was a funny, fairly gregarious guy- but he was very sure to make it clear how great an impact Williams and Johnny Cash and John Lee Hooker had had on him. He was hell-bent on authenticity, not because it was some means to an end, but because it was something he was passionate about being in life, and that it was the only way for him to experience life. Pretty inspirational kid, if not totally goofy.

In fact, after the interview, Willy and I were talking, and he smiled and said, "nice hat!" Bill shook his head, being a Yankees fan, and asked "you a big Sox fan?" He smiled and shook his head no. "Not really."

"I only been to one game. It was like, a field trip in high school, and I thought that guy- Nomar?- I thought his name was 'Gomar.' I was cheering Gomar for so long, and some guy with a beer was finally like, 'dude!'

Then Bill grabbed the camera to get me in a picture with Willy for the online edition (I'd been taking them all to that point), and he grabbed my hat, put it on his head, and laughed. "Here, let me wear your hat."

"Willy," Bill asked, "what's the one thing you want TWEED readers to know about you?"

"That I have scabies and I'm in need of socks!"

L to R: Willy backstage at the Bowery, Billy and Willy, Willy and Tim share Tim's hat...

Here's the interview, including a VERY strange coincidence with Bill's title... see just below, and the title of THIS post.


I just realized how hard the title of this post sucks. Unfortunately, now, if I change it, you'd have no idea what I'm talking about. Either that or I'd have to delete this, but if you're reading it, I didn't, so I had to keep the shit title.

It's too Entertainment Weekly...


It's really, really weird. He lost, but he won't shut up. He wants to play the "woe-is-me" card, because as one of the most PR-conscious players I have every witnessed in major league baseball, he can't take being defined by the aforementioned play. He can't stand to have that perception standing in the way of years of endorsements, Leno appearances, subbing for Regis on vacation, Radio Shack commercials.

So here are some things he was saying, out of the blue, in the dead of winter.

"I just hope he continues to talk about me and my teammates," the New York Yankees third baseman said Friday. "It's going to give us great motivation to beat him up in the future."

Ignore the stupidity of the second half of that statement for just a moment- I promise- but I just love this. He's used this logic a number of times when referencing Schilling and his post-ALCS (and Varitek post-brawl, really), and it literally could not be further from the truth. Schilling said NOTHING but glowing, respectful things about Jeter, Williams, Rivera, Posada... but singled out Rodriguez, and rightly so. Sheffield had been doing it all year, and for no good reason. Well, Schilling had a great one.

Rodriguez wants to paint Schilling as the asshole here, and wants people to pity him and his plight as the "underdog" third baseman making $25 mil on the $200 mil+ New York Yankees. I can't believe the non-lobotomized would believe this.

Also, I love that they need great motivation to "beat him up" in the future. Funny.

Schilling called it a "bush-league play" after Rodriguez was called out for interference in Game 6 of the AL Championship Series last October. A-Rod, trying to beat out an infield dribbler, slapped the ball away from pitcher Bronson Arroyo near first base.

"To me it was just odd, because I mean we beat him a couple of times during the year and he was crying on the bench," Rodriguez said of Schilling. "And then he lost Game 1 and he wouldn't talk or anything. And obviously, he wins Game 6 and then he's still talking 'till today. So it's just something we as players have been accustomed to. But it's something I'm not worried about."

First of all, it was a bush league play, regardless of whether you think Schilling should have passed that on to the media. That's not really an arguable point.

But what his quote following is really mystifying. Suffice it to say, they really don't have much to do with one another. I can picture him saying this too, all soft-spoken, gregarious, well-polished. Looking away for a bit, then locking eyes with the interviewer real earnest-like. He's got a solid routine, I'll give him that.

But anyway, as for his claims. In the regular season, Schilling was 2-0 against the Yankees, with one ND, the "crying game" in question. Schilling says later in the article that he wasn't crying, but that's hardly worth debating. In that game, he was pretty awful- July 23rd (before the fight), he went 5 1/3, giving up 7 runs. The Sox would lose eventually 8-7.

Now, Schilling's other loss to the Yankees was worse- Game One of the ALCS, wherein he lasted only 3 IP, and gave up 6 runs. Of course, that may have had SOMETHING to do with the torn tendon sheath in his ankle. I'm not a doctor, but I know it takes a realy vagina to brag about victories like that.

Other than that? Three games. Here are his lines, all wins.

Apr. 17th 6.1 IP, 6 H, 1 ER, 4 BB, 8 K
Sept. 26th 7.0 IP, 1 H, 2 ER, 4 BB, 6 K
Oct. 19th (Game Six, ALCS) 7.0 IP, 4 H, 1 ER, 0 BB, 4 K

And if I know Curt Schilling, he was talking the entire time. Not sure what Rodriguez was aiming at with that quote, but for him, it seems pretty petty, especially considering he...

Anyway. Moving on... of course Schilling responded.

Schilling, reached on a cell phone Friday, said Rodriguez had his facts wrong.

"It's not true. I talked after Game 1," Schilling said. "I don't care what Alex says. When someone says that, you consider the source."

I remember he talked after Game One. Maybe Rodriguez means "talks" as in shit, which he didn't. But you know, he shouldn't really have been surprised about that, considering Schilling never does that. So.

He wasn't upset by the remarks A-Rod made during a telephone conference call Friday.

"That Alex Rodriguez doesn't like me? Not at all," Schilling said.

Asked whether he thought the comments were made for self-motivation and to stir up the rivalry, Schilling responded: "If that's what he needs, cool."

So now who's the incessant squawker and media whore? Oh right, Schilling, who's not interested in furthering some sort of "woe is Alex" campaign.

"I played well at times, I played terrible at times," Rodriguez said. "And at the end of the day, I feel like my job was a failure because I was basically taken there to be the final part of a world championship team. So if you have to blame someone or point a finger at someone, you have to look in my direction, and I take 100 percent of the blame."

I love this. Yeah, the Yankees were a .500 team without A-Rod. He put 'em over the top. That $160 million dollar juggernaut was missing that ONE PIECE...

"Coming in for me was totally different than most players," he said. "I think you have to ask Rocket [Roger Clemens], myself, probably Randy [Johnson] and the upper-echelon-type of player, because there's a much grander responsibility that comes along with being who I am, and I understand that completely. ...

Lest you forget what echelon Rodriguez was on. Don't bother remember him making fun of Jeter hitting 2nd years ago, and then his sucking so hard with all that "responsibility" he had to be moved there to "calm him down" and get him going without the weight of the world- err, the Yankees- on his shoulders.


And on Randy Johnson?

"He's going to pitch well. He's going to enjoy the run support and the good defense behind him," Rodriguez said. "And I think he's going to enjoy winning again, like he did in Arizona. As far as the other stuff, that's his issue, and I don't really think it's that big of a deal."


The poor guy needs to learn when to stick a plug in it and play his way out of the bad rep, instead of trying to play the PR wars. Anyway, he's going to have that knot in his stomach until he's a "senior citizen," so I guess, maybe, he can't help it?

What a character.


Excuse me 'Bob- is that a homo rainbow? Because if it is, sir, you get the HELL away from my children. You get the HELL away!

Yo, Spongebob is SUCH a homosex. Eff him and his homosexual sexual intercourse. He probably bucks futts.

Focus on the Family is up in arms about a music video created by the We Are Family Foundation that shows the popular porous cartoon character and several other kids' favorites dancing to the Sister Sledge song, ``We Are Family.'' The group claims SpongeBob & Co. are promoting a ``pro-gay agenda.''

The video was to promote tolerance.

``We see the video as an insidious means by which the organization is manipulating and potentially brainwashing kids,'' Paul Batura, a spokesman for Focus on the Family, told the New York Times. ``It is a classic bait and switch.''

That quote gave me heartburn.

Dobson apparently believes that SpongeBob and his cartoon sidekick, Patrick - who are often seen holding hands - are secretly practicing the Love That Dares Not Speak Its Name.

And the Nickelodeon superstar's taste in television - he enjoys the imaginary ``Adventures of Mermaid Man and Barnacle Boy'' - was also called into question.

Which is better, I guess, than wanting to ban books with mention of homosexuality, I guess.

But not much better.

WAFF's attorney, Mark Barondeso, added that anyone who says the video promotes homosexuality ``needs to visit their doctor and get their medication increased.''

"You're the one that needs medication, hippie."

______________________________ |


A-Rod is a shithead....I'd try to pity him, but that's too much effort. Fucking drama queen. Oh yeah and when would you mark the next brawl date to be. I say it'll be the Fenway home opener. The Yankees will deem themselves "too classy" to brawl at their home. I say 7th inning of the Home Opener. I'd say Schilling would do the honors, but I'll put my money on Mike Timlin. He seems fearless and would most likely start some ish up if they messed with his "homies" or what not.

What about you?


By Anonymous Anonymous, at 1/22/2005 12:44 AM  

bucks futss. HAHAHAHAHAHAH I love it.

By Blogger Mike Rogan, at 1/22/2005 2:46 AM  

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