Monday, May 25, 2020

Accustations of Motion & Hip Hop Rodeo

May 25, 2020
  Finished another sketchbook this morning. By my count this makes 80 sketchbooks at six drawings a day. Time—and sketches—fly when you're on a deadline. How many sketchbooks would I have finished if I hadn't set out on my 10,000 bad drawings quest way back in 2003?

   Three, maybe four.

   Here's a sample page from January 7, 2006 with the cryptic note "Accusations of Motion."

Daily Whip Out Sketches:
"Hip Hop & Rodeo"

   I love motion and there is, in fact, a prediction in these sketches. Here's the back story. When I did these sketches I had just been in Vegas for Cowboy Christmas (True West magazine had a booth) and while Kathy and I were there we attended the National Finals Rodeo in the Thomas & Mack Arena with my best friend Charlie Waters and his wife Linda. Charlie, at that time, worked for the Las Vegas Review Journal and the newspaper had a fancy suite in the arena, so we all got to see the rodeo in the plush confines of an air-conditioned, mock living room with free food and booze. We had a ton of fun, but the big takeaway for me—in fact it was shocking—to a Kingman country boy, is how all the music played during the rodeo events was heavy metal. "Cat Scratch Fever," "Highway to Hell," "Takin' Care of Business," "Born to Be Wild," in fact, the lightest song they played, "Get Back," by the Beatles, and it was merely a nod to a rodeo rider with the name Jo Jo as the song starts with the line "Jo Jo left his home in Tucson, Arizona. . ." Now granted, all those tunes are not technically "Heavy Metal" but it's certainly a long ways away from Ferlin Husky, if you get my drift.

   Anyway, I thought it was a fluke, or an exception (oh, that's SO Vegas!) until I attended another rodeo in Prescott and it was the same deal, all rock 'n' roll and not one single Country song. What the hell? How could this be?

Late to The Dance
   I began to see a trend. I knew there was a time, not so long ago, when the Grand Ole Opry would not allow a drum set on the stage. In fact, a 1950s Opry audience booed Elvis off the stage and he allegedly cried all the way back to Memphis. 

   The point is that Country has always has been conservative by nature, but eventually, the people who love it and play it, show up late to the dance, but they still show up. Massive drum sets are a mainstream Country staple now (Buck Owens started it?) and Elvis music seems "light" even by Nashville standards (Eric Church does a Led Zeppelin homage in the middle of "How 'Bout You").

   A promoter for the Prescott Rodeo was in my office about this time (2006) and I mentioned my shock at heavy metal music being the go to music at all the rodeos now. The old rodeo cowboy (he was my age, in his mid-sixties) ruefully acknowledged that it makes it more exciting for the audience, and, he called it "a necessary evil."

   I said, "What's next, Hip Hop?"

   He scoffed and said, "Over my dead body."

   First came "Old Town Road," and now we get this:

Don't Touch My Truck

   Get ready for Hip Hop Rodeo. It's coming like a freight train.

"Hey, Mama, look at me, I'm on my way to the Promise Land. . ."
—AC/DC "Highway to Hell"


  1. How come there only a "Stairway to Heaven"....but there is a "Highway to Hell"?

  2. This is a HUGE thorn in my side and represents SO much more than just hard rock at rodeo. Times are changing... A lot is changing.

    And Country music started dying at least 35 years ago.

    It is disheartening.


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