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George Stanford / Blog

Democrats, Freedom, and Chris Matthews' incredible hair

I am currently enjoying the last breeze of autumn coming through my window, and eagerly awaiting Obama's acceptance speech at the Democratic National Convention. This is a huge and historic moment for his candidacy and our nation, and we just might be telling our kids' kids about this someday.

I've been watching the convention kind of like I watch espn, checking in on the highlights. There have been a few genuinely inspiring speeches. Ted Kennedy defied the grasp of a brain tumor to come tell it on The Mountain in Colorado, preaching his dream of health care for all Americans, and stump for his candidate. Michelle Obama, eloquent and direct, personified my idea of what an active and influential first lady could be. Hillary, looking assertive and somewhat botoxed, gave it up for the man, Barack.

But there is something more powerful and memorable going on than any of the speeches this week, or even the groovy wedding band that some event planner employed by the democratic party hired for the shindig in Denver.

Chris Mathews' hair is off the richter. It is patriotic and ever-changing.

I've been flipping between Cspan, CNN and MSNBC, half listening to what all the hot-air-bags have to say. I must say, I often prefer MSNBC, because Keith Olberman blows my kind of hot air. I'm glad they gave that guy a mic. Meanwhile, and more importantly, his co-anchor, Chris Mathews has before our eyes traversed an incredibly colorful and uninhibited spectrum of hair formations throughout this convention, I assume due to the gusty and carbonated nature of Pepsi stadium.

It spikes and peaks at dramatic times and from unexpected directions. It's up, it's down, it's sideways and all kinds of ways at once. It feels like I'm watching a 'stupid pet tricks' bit on Letterman. I sometimes think he has the same follicle consultant as 'The Donald'. It flips and flops, indifferent to the political trends. A life of its own. It is wild and free, and gives a sense of danger and abandon that any other hot-air-bag anchor, or politician for that matter, could only aspire to.

Mathews, you are a hot-air-bag with great American hair. I salute you.

The Hamptons, insane asylums, assholes and the end of summer

I love this time of year. It simultaneously makes me feel happy and full of life and very sad, because summer is coming to an end. Fall is a time for new beginnings, and I'm looking forward to it this year. I'll be going to L.A. to work on lots of music! I played with the boys up in Amagansett, NY on Mon. night, opening for Marc Broussard at a place called Stephen Talkhouse. I met him briefly, but Marc was very nice and complimentary watching some of my set from the side of the stage. The club was tiny, with a great vibe for making music. It fits about 100 people, and keeping in line with the bourgeois air of the Hamptons, tickets cost $100. That's right, $100. I've never been on a bill that expensive, but I guess up there, it ain't no thang.

On the way up, I pulled of the highway for a piss stop and we ended up on the grounds of an abandoned psych ward. It was the creepiest experience. It would've made the perfect movie set, with it's huge crumbling brick walls, barred windows and head high weeds. It's just how I imagined the sanitarium to look when I read 'One flew over the cuckoo's nest ' as a kid. I grabbed for my camera, only to realize I had forgotten the battery in its charger at home.

I had a great time playing, that night, and other than sitting for hours in traffic on 278 on the way up, everything went very smooth. I just have to call out the tall skinny dude with his shirt open working in the club though. Dude: you might be the biggest asshole I've ever encountered. And I've encountered all kinds of assholes in my day. Why would you treat a band so poorly? You don't know me, and even if you did, what's with your attitude? Remember when you literally pushed me out of the way and said "C'mon guys, I'm working!" as you were laying the paper 'reserved' signs on the tables? Didn't you see that I had about 100 lbs of gear in my hand and realize that I was working too? Were your eye rolls and snide remarks necessary every time you had to unlock the front door to let a band member in or out? If I preferred violence to writing, I would've loved to kick your scrawny ass all over that exclusive Hampton street. Have a great day, folks!

Dallas, August 16th

Just got to my the hotel here in Dallas, and I'm resting up for a second before heading over to the venue. I have a beautiful view of a Bennigans from my window. Didn't they go out of business? I'm right next to the airport, so hopefully making my plane at the crack of dawn won't be a problem. The gig was weird in Houston last night, but I felt good and thought I played really well too. I traded a cd for a new pair of Crocs. These things are dorky as hell, but man, are they comfy! The sheer scale of Dave Mathews'operation is mind boggling, and seeing it from behind the scenes paints an even clearer picture of the enormity of it all. I counted at least 10 posh tour buses, and 5 or 6 tractor trailers for their stage setup. I'm sure that gas to fill all of those rigs ain't cheap! Watching the Olympics in little bits and pieces has kept me occupied in my hotel room the last few days.... To me the athletes are incredible to watch. How bout that Phelps kid? freak of nature. He's a merman like zoolander! Kind of makes me wish i was a freak of nature too. It's crappy to know I'll probably never win Olympic gold. who knows, maybe I'll take up curling or bowling or something like that. seeya at the Folk Festival tomorrow!

NYC, August 12th

Thanks to everyone who came to my show last night in the Big Apple. It was great to see you all. I always feel a bit guilty after a show when there's so many folks I'd like to really catch up with, but duty calls, and I have to continue making my rounds. Big thanks to Lauren, who I met last night and drove all the way to NY from Boston to check out the show last night. Hope it was worth the trip down the turnpike.

Any experience in NYC can vary so greatly from the the previous, or the next one to come. I guess that's what makes New Yorkers the way they are. Ready for anything, all the time. I get the strong sense whenever I emerge from the Holland Tunnel into Manhattan that there are intangible and uncontrollable forces of nature at work, and I just need to somehow find a nice rhythm within the madness to carry me safely through the day. I had to be in the city early, so I spent all day after my early engagement driving through the city, walking around, and generally just killing time before I headed over the Rockwood Music Hall. I don't think there's an easier place on earth to kill time than in the City.

Some highlights from yesterday's trip, other than having a room of people to play my songs for were:

1. There was an incredible sun shower around 6pm. I don't know if I've ever seen it rain that hard while the sun shone so bright. The environment just seemed to amplify it all. 2. A pretty woman let a complete stranger share her umbrella to navigate the sidewalk during the rain. The guy asked if she had extra room, and she unexpectedly said yes, much to his delight and his friends' dismay. 3. I saw a tiny chinese woman hawk and amazingly big loogey. (sp?) The sheer physics of it blew my mind. I didn't think she had it in her. 4. An Indian dude dancing on the sidewalk to the music coming from within his store. He had some ridiculous and entertaining moves.

thanks again, and i'll see you soon, new york. -george

Happy 4th of July!

I hope everyone is having a great holiday... This is one of the best if you ask me. Celebrating summertime and independence with explosives, booze, family and food, not necessarily in that order..... what's not to like?

Recently in Denver, I met a young army helicopter pilot on his way to Iraq at a hotel bar happy hour. Over a few beers, he told me of his training in Colorado Springs to fly small attack helicopters. Two man aircrafts, with M-16's and flight controls at each pilot's respective cockpit, so the co-pilots could alternate flying and shooting at 'the enemy.' He expressed a love for flight, and an excitement to finally put his training to use. As it turned out, he grew up in a town very close to mine outside of Philadelphia.

He also told me that he owned an acoustic guitar, and always imagined that being a 'rockstar' would be a much more enjoyable profession. I told him that flying choppers sounds like a whole heap of fun, but the whole, 'going to Iraq thing' I could live without.

He's over there now, and today, I think of him. I hope that he's safe, that his spirit is high, and that he will be returning soon to that pretty girl that was with him at the bar. Life must be so different over there, far from the conveniences and insulation of an existence on American soil.

(cue patriotic music) The founding fathers of this country all signed that Declaration of Independence knowing that it would bring on a shit storm of huge proportions. And whether or not their intentions were pure, they knew it was what they had to do to give them and their children the possibility to live free of British rule. The helicopter pilot seemed to share that basic mentality....That to ensure the freedom of future generations of Americans, he needed to go over there and generally kick some ass, while acknowledging the danger and uncertainty of his and our nation's path.

I salute his personal courage and selfless desire to let people like me enjoy the free life that we do, regardless of what narcissistic half-wit is calling the shots.

Happy 4th of July!!!