Five Reasons Why I’m OK (and we all should be OK) with students walking out on Vice President Pence

Five Reasons Why I’m OK (and we all should be) with students walking out on Vice President Pence

It has just been reported that students at Notre Dame worked out on Mike Pence as he was speaking at their commencement ceremony.

I can already picture the “snowflake” and “how dare they disrespect those with different points of view” comments coming from us oldsters

But if you take a step back, there really is nothing wrong with this. They didn’t dis-invite him from speaking. They never told him to be one of the most virulent anti-gay, anti women’s rights and anti-Muslim leaders around.

Here are five reasons why I am fine with students walking out on him.
1) We live in a free country, meaning no one has to bow before despots, bigots or Kings. Pence falls into the first category- just check his record. If people want to protest by walking out when a bigot speaks I have no problem with that.

2) Trump intentionally picked a despicable, mean-spirited example of the radical right to be Vice President. Because he wanted to “shake things up”, or “blow things up” as I keep hearing. By shoving such a radical right wing agenda down America’s throat, k-Boom!.

3) In this country we have this thing called the First Amendment, so even it is disrespectful for people to protest by walking out on a leader when he speaks, its a guaranteed right under our constitution.

4) Pence isn’t just a conservative, he’s a right wing radical who does not have the best interests of millions of Americans of color, of different sexual orientation, or of different moral beliefs as he has. That should mean something to those millions of people whom his agenda is malignant towards.

5) To make a difference, and to be a good citizen in this world and in this country you need to show strength of character. So when you see injustice you need to address it.

IF Pence had his way we would probably go back to the days of poll taxes and literacy tests and other Jim Crow era anti-Black laws. We would likely see those laws expanded to the LBGT community, who would be even more at the mercy of a hostile political environment than the currently are.

People like Pence and ideas like the ideas ALL RADICAL RIGHT WING BIGOTS have should be resisted at all costs.

Walk out on them if you feel that will get your point across. In this day and age no one should have to listen, much less deal with the agenda of, bigots.

Mike Pence is one of those.


Five Myths About Music and the Biz of Music

Five Myths about music that musicians need to get over.

We musicians tend to be a very philosophical and optimistic bunch. “Music can change the world!” “Music is love!” “Music is the breath of life!”

Its been a long time since the 1960s. Trust me, I’ve been around, and been in the biz pretty much the entire time since then.

Mindless pablum was very much in vogue during those crazy, dark, happy faced times. But harmless pablum is not harmless, in fact, it can be detrimental, even fatal (to a fatalist at least).

Here then are five myths about music and the music biz in general that you just have to stop believing.

1) Looks don’t matter. Sure, a great song will trump looks, but face it, many stars would never have made it out of the local scene if they hadn’t had the extra special something, even some physical quirk that made their look memorable. Even though that has nothing to do with music.

2) Musicians whom you support should support you back. Get real. The music biz is a capitalist enterprise. You want people to come to see you make great music. If you like others music that’s great but never ever expect them to return the favor, because it was never a favor to begin with.

3) Music is a universal language. That is the biggest nonsense you and I will ever hear. True nearly everyone likes some kind of music but no one likes all music, not even someone as learned and eclectic as I. Country Music fans might hate rap. Metal Fans might hate Folk. Everyone hates easy listening (maybe because that’s what they use when they are drilling your teeth?). So no its not a universal language.

4) Music artists should be judged on certain standards. More nonsense. The only standard is will people like your music enough to listen to it. Forget about technique (as long as you have enough for your particular genre) forget about stage presence (some of the biggest selling artists are actually quite statuesque when performing), forget about poise and all that. Just make irresistibly great music (and keep developing that part) and you’ll do fine.

5) The music biz will chew you up and spit you out. No it won’t. The music biz is just a biz, like any other biz. A game like any other game. Learn the game and you’ll do fine.

And the number one rule of the game? Stay out of your own way. You know what I mean. Drugs, drinking, irresponsibility, be a jerk to others.

Just be nice, don’t develop bad habits that will get in your way and immerse yourself in your craft.

And remember, even if no one ever shows up at your gigs you will always have at least one fan, so make sure you enjoy yourself and be grateful you have talent to share.

Along with the brains to know reality from mythology.

That Small Strip Of Land

Written after the 32 year reunion of my Neptune Sr High School Class in 2008.

A tribute and remembrance of a great little town to grow up in, through good times and bad.

-Al-Vis October 2016

That Small Strip Of Land

We were born into the age of Sputnik, Kruschev, Leave It To Beaver, “I Like Ike” and the demon of rock and roll who was going to ruin us all, Elvis.
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The 5 stages of Diva


The 5 stages of Diva, evident from booking my “Al-Vis and Friends” show:

1) “Al-Vis I would love to play at your showcase, pls check out my stuff. Thanks!”
2) “Al-Vis thanks so much for having me at your showcase and for all you do!”
3) from Al-Vis: “Hi _____ would you like to perform at my showcase, featured act? We pay! The old gang would love to see you!”
response: “Sorry Al-Vis I’m a little busy, but let me get back to you…”
4)from Al-Vis: “Hi _____ would you like to perform at my showcase, featured act? We pay! The old gang would love to see you!”
response: “(tumbleweeds…)”
5) “Hey Al-Vis, long time! Would love to play at your showcase some time!”


Jeff Beck in a couple of short years with the Yardbirds and his first few solo albums- Jimmy Page on the first Led Zep album, Hendrix on Are You Experienced? Clapton on everything up to Derek and the Dominos, Duane Allman before his 27th birthday, Wes Montgomery, Charlie Christian, Chet Atkins.

Here is my question. To you guitarists.

What contributions have ANY of you made to the art form that is innovative and new? That people have latched onto and said “Hey I never heard anything like this before!”

And that is my problem with today’s guitarists, especially on a local level. True, I am not of their caliber but I have always tried to be creative, musical and put my heart and soul into it.

Too many of you don’t even do that. You sit there and fluff scales, or just repeat licks we’ve hear a million times. And do it almost robotic-ally, not a hint of passion.

Listen to my solo on “Don’t Stop The Dreamin'” by Big Danny.

Listen to my lead work on my CD Road Construction:

My work with Andrew James Hughes:

You can also hear me on my YouTube channel Alvis1515.

I’m deliberately trying to be creative- and deliberately trying to pull your string, to move you. But again this is not about me. I’m asking YOU.

I’m not trying to build myself by posting this- I am seriously posing this question as someone who loves GREAT guitar playing.

And don’t point me to some fusion player who confuses musical diarrhea with great skill. Steve Cropper uses pretty much the same half dozen notes on his solo on Otis Redding’s “Rock Me” over and over and its a fine solo:

I’ve heard blues harp players, sax players, keyboard players, drummers even who blew me away with their creativity and passion.

Almost never do I hear any of this from guitar players. Very few and far between.

So with such inspiration as I’ve outlined above- what gives?

On Robin Williams

He was OUR Charlie Chaplin, OUR WC Fields, OUR Laurel and Hardy.

He was the comic for OUR age. Coming into the post-Watergate scene from the planet Ork, he transformed our expections of what comedy and even drama had been before. He showed us in movies such as Mrs Doubtfire and Good Morning Viet Nam that they were often one and the same.

Yes we laughed when Mrs Doubtfire’s mask started to melt, but we also cried. In one scene in Patch Adams he put on that rubber nose and joked with terminally ill children. No other comic since Chaplin had done that so brilliantly.

He even danced- in The Birdcage and through his characterization made the world see that gays had the same fears, heartaches and ultimately capability to love as straight people. Yes we should have known that, but his performance SHOWED US that. The world has come a long way since that movie, proof of the effect of efforts such as this.

And so we saw the world as events of the next 30+ years unfolded thru HIS eyes and heart. The trauma of Viet Nam we all remembered all too well in Good Morning Viet Nam. The heart break of divorce in Mrs Doubtfire. The cruelty of terminal illness, especially when happening to children, in Patch Adams. He helped us make sense of it all, and through the insanity of his humor we were able to make just a little more sense of the larger and more horrific insanity of the world around us.

He will be lionized, cannonized, mourned, paid tribute to in the months and years to follow. No celebrity in OUR time, I think, was more beloved.

But we should never ever lose sight of the fact that, though he is gone, he was with us for a time. Few people have left the world a better place (and certainly very few celebrities).

Robin Williams left the world a better place. Mork came down from Ork and gave us some 35 years of relief and badly needed perspective from a world we needed relief and perspective from. 35 some years later we are forever transformed and our expectations will never be the same. We have seen and enjoyed the power of humor and the dramatic arts thanks to this man, and though there will be many more I am sure, we won’t want to settle for anything less than the brilliance, inspiration and brilliant perspective on our lives that was Robin Williams humor.

Here is Dick Van Dyke’s eulogy for Stan Laurel, a comic of HIS age (and for many ages to come), to sum things up.

RIP Mrs Doubtfire, Patch Adams, Armand Goldman. May God give you the comfort you failed to find with us, and may you make the heavens resound with laughter as you did on earth for us all these years.

“God bless all clowns.
Give them a long, good life.
Make bright their way.
They’re a race apart.
All comest most
Who turn their heart’s pain
Into a dazzling jest
To lift the hearts.
God bless all clowns.” ‘ A Clowns Prayer, as recited at the funeral of Stan Laurel by Dick Van Dyke

Time Is Limited, Life Is Brief – Get Out And Do Something

Jill Cagney’s blog about her 7 day open mic challenge, which was way up there as a highlight of my summer since I got to see her twice in one week! You can catch her back at Molly Maguire’s in a few weeks as featured act at Carol and Bobby D’s Open Mic- and you should if at all possible.


1613950_726124950742676_152982606_nOne thing I never want to find myself saying is “I used to play music”.  Sometimes when I am tired, overwhelmed with work or family or just feeling funky I think about how much easier things would be if I did not write songs or have to book gigs and go out a lot. Then I think about the alternative.  Would life be better if I sat on my couch more, met fewer people and heard and saw less art?  It seems like an easy answer but for those other artists reading this blog – you know of what I speak: the temptation to just be can appear deceivingly comforting. But there is no real comfort in giving up – and honestly after the experiences of this past week I think comfort is overrated.


8 open mics in 7 days, 9 performances in 8 days. Murphy’s Open Mic at Scotty’s

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2fer Tuesday – The Jersey Shore Scene Holds My Heart

One of the great songstresses of our time tells of her adventures on the North Jersey Coast leg of her annual open mic tour. And picking up some well-deserved laudits along the way.


mollys me 2

Some might say it was ambitious to do two open mics in one day but I chose my venues carefully.  You see, a year ago I was doing my best to break in to the group of amazing musicians that perform and support each other down the shore and a year later I am in!  So even though it was a long day – it was like coming home – playing for many people who already know and love my music.

The day started at Espresso Joe’s

ed and gorillabob

On the left is The Gorillabob – who generously gives of his time and talent to run the open mic.  It is a very laid back and supportive environment where people listen intently and support fiercely.  On the right is Ed who is the proprietor of Espresso Joe’s.  The thing you need to know about Ed is that he is one of…

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Favorite Quotes (9/8/2013)

Some of my favorite quotes as of today

From the movies:


‎”Honorable gentlemen the world must have its love. Honorable gentlemen the world must have its tragedy. But always, honorable gentlemen, the clown comes out to make people laugh.” – He Who Gets Slapped

“This place has a sign hangin’ over the urinal that says, “Don’t eat the big white mint”. – Road House

“Calling me sir is like putting an elevator in an outhouse. It don’t belong.” – Road House

“Pain don’t hurt.” – Road House

“I want you to be nice until it’s time to not be nice.” Road House

“Steve: Being called a c*cksucker isn’t personal?

Dalton: No. It’s two nouns combined to elicit a prescribed response.

Steve: What if somebody calls my mama a whore?

Dalton: Is she? ” – Road House

“You’re too stupid to have a good time.” Road House

“You can’t stop what’s coming, that’s vanity” – No Country For Old Men

“If the rule you followed led you to this, of what use was the rule?”- No Country For Old Men

“It is better to be wrong about the right things than to be right about the wrong things.” – The Phantom Tollbooth

“It’s bad enough wasting time without killing it.” – The Phantom Tollbooth

“The problem with being accused of something you didn’t do is that you don’t really know what really happened.” – They Live By Night

“You will find your fortune, but it will not be the fortune you seek.” – O Brother Where Art Thou

“The reason why bad people get away with so much is that they are willing to do things good people would never do.”

“She was still waving to the parade that passed by her more than 20 years ago.” – Sunset Blvd

“I’m really not bad, , I’m just drawn that way.” Who Framed Roger Rabbit

“How are you?

I’m dying, how are you?” – Tombstone

“A man like Ringo has got a great big hole, right in the middle of him. He can never kill enough, or steal enough, or inflict enough pain to ever fill it.” – Tombstone

“Feed the birds, tuppence a bag.” – Mary Poppins (Note: Tuppence = two cents. Means: The kindest acts can also be the least expensive.)

“Scout: Why there he is, Mr. Tate. He can tell you his name…

[Looks at the man]

Scout: Hey, Boo.

Atticus Finch: [making introductions] Miss Jean Louise, Mr. Arthur Radley. I believe he already knows you. ” – To Kill a Mockingbird (note: this scene still makes me cry 45+ years later!)

“Atticus Finch: If you just learn a single trick, Scout, you’ll get along a lot better with all kinds of folks. You never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view… Until you climb inside of his skin and walk around in it. ” – To Kill a Mockingbird

“Atticus Finch: I remember when my daddy gave me that gun. He told me that I should never point it at anything in the house; and that he’d rather I’d shoot at tin cans in the backyard. But he said that sooner or later he supposed the temptation to go after birds would be too much, and that I could shoot all the blue jays I wanted – if I could hit ’em; but to remember it was a sin to kill a mockingbird.

Jem: Why?

Atticus Finch: Well, I reckon because mockingbirds don’t do anything but make music for us to enjoy. They don’t eat people’s gardens, don’t nest in the corncrib, they don’t do one thing but just sing their hearts out for us.” – To Kill a Mockingbird

“When you see a woman crying, about the only thing you can do for her is kiss her.” – Bannerline

“Ah critics. They don’t see the blood on the keys after the performance is over.” – Theater Of Blood (Vincent Price)

“Now and then, for no good reason, life will haul off and knock a man flat.” – Old Yeller

“Vivian: Why did you have to go on?

Marlowe: Too many people told me to stop.” – The Big Sleep

“Every day above ground is a good day.” – Scarface

“Captain Renault: I’m shocked, shocked to find that gambling is going on in here!

[a croupier hands Renault a pile of money]

Croupier: Your winnings, sir.” – Casablanca

“Of all the gin joints, in all the towns, in all the world, she walks into mine.” – Casablanca

“I’m no good at being noble, but it doesn’t take much to see that the problems of three little people don’t amount to a hill of beans in this crazy world.” – Casablanca

“What are you doing Saturday night?

Committing suicide.

What about Friday night?” – Play It Again, Sam

“You are the greatest lover I’ve ever had.

Well, I practice a lot when I’m alone.” – Love and Death

“Father Flynn: A woman was gossiping with her friend about a man whom they hardly knew – I know none of you have ever done this. That night, she had a dream: a great hand appeared over her and pointed down on her. She was immediately seized with an overwhelming sense of guilt. The next day she went to confession. She got the old parish priest, Father O’ Rourke, and she told him the whole thing. ‘Is gossiping a sin?’ she asked the old man. ‘Was that God All Mighty’s hand pointing down at me? Should I ask for your absolution? Father, have I done something wrong?’ ‘Yes,’ Father O’ Rourke answered her. ‘Yes, you ignorant, badly-brought-up female. You have blamed false witness on your neighbor. You played fast and loose with his reputation, and you should be heartily ashamed.’ So, the woman said she was sorry, and asked for forgiveness. ‘Not so fast,’ says O’ Rourke. ‘I want you to go home, take a pillow upon your roof, cut it open with a knife, and return here to me.’ So, the woman went home: took a pillow off her bed, a knife from the drawer, went up the fire escape to her roof, and stabbed the pillow. Then she went back to the old parish priest as instructed. ‘Did you cut the pillow with a knife?’ he says. ‘Yes, Father.’ ‘And what were the results?’ ‘Feathers,’ she said. ‘Feathers?’ he repeated. ‘Feathers; everywhere, Father.’ ‘Now I want you to go back and gather up every last feather that flew out onto the wind,’ ‘Well,’ she said, ‘it can’t be done. I don’t know where they went. The wind took them all over.’ ‘And that,’ said Father O’ Rourke, ‘is gossip!’ ” – Doubt

“Father Flynn: Where is your compassion?

Sister Aloysius: Nowhere you can get at it.” – Doubt

“All this while I’ve been packing ice around my heart. How do I make it melt?” – Cold Mountain

“They call this war a cloud over the land. But they made the weather and then they stand in the rain and say ‘Shit, it’s raining!’ ” – Cold Mountain

“Your life is defined by its opportunities… even the ones you miss.” – The Curious Case Of Benjamin Button

“Sometimes we’re on a collision course, and we just don’t know it.” – The Curious Case Of Benjamin Button

“Benjamin, we’re meant to lose the people we love. How else would we know how important they are to us?” – The Curious Case Of Benjamin Button

“For what it’s worth: it’s never too late or, in my case, too early to be whoever you want to be. There’s no time limit, stop whenever you want. You can change or stay the same, there are no rules to this thing. We can make the best or the worst of it. I hope you make the best of it. And I hope you see things that startle you. I hope you feel things you never felt before. I hope you meet people with a different point of view. I hope you live a life you’re proud of. If you find that you’re not, I hope you have the strength to start all over again. ” – The Curious Case Of Benjamin Button

“You can be as mad as a mad dog at the way things went. You could swear, curse the fates, but when it comes to the end, you have to let go.” – The Curious Case Of Benjamin Button

From the philosophers/poets:


“Once, There was this boy. Who was in love with a girl. The girl knew from the beginning that he loved her. One day when he proposed, but she rejected him. His friends thought he would take to alcohol, drugs etc, and ruin his life. To their surprise, he was not depressed. When they asked him: ‘How was it that you ares not sad?’ He replied, ‘Why should I feel sad! I lost someone who never loved me, she lost someone who loved her.'” -Unknown

“If you start by sacrificing yourself for someone you will end by hating that person you have sacrificed yourself for.” – GB Shaw

“The reasonable man adapts himself to his surroundings. The unereasonable man attempts to adapt his sorroundings to himself. Therefore the unreasonable man is the hope of the world.” – GB Shaw

“Beware the man who fails to return your blow. He neither forgives you nor allows you to forgive yourself.” GB Shaw

“Patience with yourself is hope, patience with others is love and patience with God is faith.” – Adel Bestavros

“Rage, rage against the dying of the light.” Dylan Thomas

“Leave her to heaven. And to the barbs that within her bosom lodge, to prick and sting her.” Hamlet

“Everybody wants to go to heaven but nobody wants to die to get there.”

“If I should ever die, God forbid, let this be my epitaph: THE ONLY PROOF HE NEEDED FOR THE EXISTENCE OF GOD WAS MUSIC.” – Kurt Vonnegut, A Man Without A Country

“Dance Like No One is Watching…

Love Like You Have Never Been Hurt Before…

Go to Work Like You Don’t Need The Money.”

— Kurt Vonnegut

“I say in speeches that a plausible mission of artists is to make people appreciate being alive at least a little bit. I am then asked if I know of any artists who pulled that off. I reply, ‘The Beatles did.” — Kurt Vonnegut

“Enjoy the little things in life, for one day you’ll look back and realize they were big things.”

— Kurt Vonnegut

“Those who believe in telekinetics, raise my hand.”

— Kurt Vonnegut

From the songwriters:


“Tomorrow see the things that never come today

When you see me fly away without you” – Neil Young

“I’ve got dreams to remember” – Otis Redding

“Maybe you think that love will make a fool and so that makes you right to break the rules.” – Smokey Robinson

‘When the rain is in your face and the whole world is on your case I’d offer you a warm embrace to make you feel my love.” – Bob Dylan

“When we meet again introduced as friends please don’t let on that you knew me when I was hungry and it was your world.” – Bob Dylan

“There’s a rock and roll island in the sun…” – Big Danny Gallagher

“Down at the bar Billy’s flat on his face

I guess he done found himself a resting place

There ain’t much left for the drinking man to say…

Someday, someway all of the children of the heavenly gate

Are gonna ride away and make our getaway.” – Big Danny Gallagher

“The story’s in the past with nothing to recall

I’ve got my life to live and I don’t need you at all.

The rollercoaster ride we took is nearly at an end,

I bought my ticket with my tears thats all I’m gonna spend.

And I think its gonna be alright yeah the sorst is over now

The morning sun is shining like a red rubber ball.” – Paul Simon (my cousin Marty was the drummer for the Cyrkle who had the hit with it).

“I belong in the service of the Queen.” – Counting Crows

“Everything dies thats a fact maybe everything that dies some day comes back” – Bruce Springsteen

“Angel came down from Heaven yesterday, stayed with me just long enough to rescue me” – Jimi Hendrix

“Its the soul afraid of dying that never learns to live.” – Bette Midler

From the restroom walls:


“Life sure goes on, don’t it?” – Court Tavern New Brunswick (after David Shearn’s death in 1989)

“Those who post upon these walls roll their sh*t in little balls those who read these words of wit eat those little balls of sh*t”

From Al-Vis:


“It was just one word but it was one too many.” – I Don’t Know You 2007

“I’m living on dreams ’cause its better than living with you.” – Living On Dreams (1982 JP Gotrock single)

“She wouldn’t let me say it was all my fault. She wouldn’t let me say anything at all.” – Wouldn’t Let Me Say 2007

“When things are bad life is easier to live. When things are good you have to worry and think of how to keep things good. When things are bad all you have to worry about is making it to the next day.”

“Noithing makes me wince more than calling me a good person. When someone says this the next thing I expect is either that they’ll be watching me closely for any evidence to the contrary or trying to get me to do something that provides this evidence.”

“No one ever is ever made uncomfortable by how you feel about them. They are made uncomfortable by the way they feel about you. And that’s a choice that they make.”



“You’ve got to be taught to hate… and to fear.” – From a ’60’s commercial

“People, can’t we all just get along?” – ’90s police beating victim Rodney King

“Never wrestle with a pig in sh*t. The pig just enjoys itself and you get sh*t all over yourself.” – My mother

“Its bad chemicals, Al, just bad chemicals! You can’t reason with bad chemicals!” – David Shearn, about a certain band member famous for his ill-temper.

“When you arrive at a fork in the road, take it.” – Yogi Berra

“You can observe a lot by just watching.” – Yogi Berra

“You should always go to other people’s funerals, otherwise, they won’t come to yours.” – Yogi Berra

“If people don’t want to come out to the ball park, nobody’s gonna stop ’em.” – Yogi Berra

“Nobody goes there anymore. It’s too crowded.” – Yogi Berra

“If ever there is a tomorrow when we are not together… there is something you must always remember. You are braver than you believe, stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think. But the most important thing is, even when we are apart… I’ll always be with you” – Winnie The Pooh

“If you live to be 100, I hope I live to be 100 minus 1 day, so I never have to live without you.”- Winnie The Pooh

“Pooh,” said Rabbit kindly, “you haven’t any brain.”

“I know,” said Pooh humbly.- Winnie The Pooh

“Sometimes, if you stand on the bottom rail of a bridge and lean over to watch the river slipping slowly away beneath you, you will suddenly know everything there is to be known.”.- Winnie The Pooh

“Piglet sidled up to Pooh from behind. “Pooh,” he whispered.

“Yes, Piglet?”

“Nothing,” said Piglet, taking Pooh’s paw, “I just wanted to be sure of you.”” – Winnie The Pooh

“Rabbit’s clever,” said Pooh thoughtfully.

“Yes,” said Piglet, “Rabbit’s clever.”

“And he has Brain.”

“Yes,” said Piglet, “Rabbit has Brain.”

There was a long silence.

“I suppose,” said Pooh, “that that’s why he never understands anything.” – Winnie The Pooh

“Hallo, Rabbit,” he said, “is that you?”

“Let’s pretend it isn’t,” said Rabbit, “and see what happens.”- Winnie The Pooh

“”Well,” said Pooh, “what I like best — ” and then he had to stop and think. Because although Eating Honey was a very good thing to do, there was a moment just before you began to eat it which was better than when you were, but he didn’t know what it was called”- Winnie The Pooh

“Promise me you’ll never forget me because if I thought you would I’d never leave.”- Winnie The Pooh

“Rivers know this: there is no hurry. We shall get there some day.”- Winnie The Pooh