Remembering Michael Hedges by Patrick Brayer 2020
There is no present moment in time. Case closed. The present is much quicker and stealthier than that. The actual present is just a sword swish. Try to be too present in that and you might well lose an arm. Venus de Milo is a classic example. The past, which is usually the sole barking subject of memoir, is just a string quartet of smoke, knee-deep in the ghosts of iron and ice. Things die from day one, and then we find, using rationale, that we haven’t a sturdy enough shelf for the resulting mystery. That in a nutshell is the human condition. I conclude that all great works are based more on mystery than on fact, despite contrary belief. Upon reflection I guess you could see this piece as a 23-year late sequel to my Starseed Eulogy (1997).
(Martin prototype Bass / Speech and Hearing Clinic, Mendocino CA 1997 Photo: Patrick Brayer)
Our mystery here starts on August 10, 1996, the day I got a call from my pal Michael Hedges on my ruby red rotary-dial telephone. He was inviting me to meet up with him at The Roosevelt Hotel in Hollywood, and asking if I might escort him later that day to the Greek Amphitheatre. He was scheduled to open up for Crosby, Stills, and Nash, and suggested that I might pick up some jalapeno chilis at the store on the way, for us to juice with some carrots that he had brought. I gassed up my crumpled eggshell pale Ford Courier, pushed back some of the springs ‘jack-in-the-boxing’ through the red vinyl upholstery, and climbed us, the jalopy and I, onto the west bound I-10. It was as a vehicle, Tom Joad worthy, but it had plenty of room for a couple of siamese-twin shaped harp-guitars. My bumper sticker read loud and clear, “Give Me Ralph Stanley or Give Me Death”. My friend, photographer Robert Morrow (City of Quartz) once said that he would like to get one of those stickers himself, but that he was afraid, it being Fontana, that someone might take him up on the deal. Both were wise men.Continue reading