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July Is Nigh...

by Rick Shearer a.k.a.Proto-Rustie
posted to Rust in June & July, 1998

HyperRust Editor's Note: Rick seems to have taken seriously Neil's several references to "...in July" for when some of his stuff would be released. A bit toooo seriously, maybe? As a result, he embarked upon a quest, and these are the dispatches from the scene. (I'm not really sure which universe this all happened in, but it COULD be true, I guess...)

Tue, 30 Jun 98 16:03:00 PDT: July Is Nigh

Hi Rusties, welcome back from the Rock'n'Roll Hall of Fame RustFest.


I'm heading down to Tower records after work, after I pick up a ham sandwich at the deli, and a Young's RAMROD Ale. I'm getting in line to buy (flourish here)...

Excuse me all to hell for yelling, I'm just so excited. I just refinanced my home so I can afford all of this at once.

See y'all there

Rick 'proto-rustie'

Tue, 30 Jun 98 19:13:00 PDT: Later This Evening

Hi Rusties, well I'm first in line at Tower Records to pick up the July release of the M6 and Archives. I figure they're going to reopen at midnight tonight for an event as big as this -- and I'm gonna be here.

Actually I'm the only one in line right now. I know some of you SoCal Rusties will be here soon. I've got plenty of ham sandwiches and Young's RAMROD Ale in case you want to join. Getting lots of looks from envious Tower customers wishing they could be here too. Too bad, you conservative white collar bozos! Boy this ale is good. Kind of warm tonight. Think I'll have another. Ahhh. See y'all when y'all get here.

Rick 'proto-rustie'

Tue, 30 Jun 98 22:15:00 PDT: Closing Time

Hi Rusties -- they just closed Tower Records. It's 10:10pm. I see a few people inside. I guess they're going to break out the boxes and boxes of CDs, Tapes and videos (yes the video archives too). And probably some posters, window displays, and life size cardboard Neils to put around the store. I can see it now. What a glorious midnight it will be. Oops there goes the lights. Wow, they're really going to surprise us.

I'm still first in line, and um the only person in line. Boy, wish a few Rusties would join me. whistle whistle. Sure is dark here. Good thing I brought this Young's RAMROD ale for everyone. Think I'll have another. Ahhhh....

Jeeze. They call these things laptops? It's sure putting a lot of pressure on my lap. Must be all the RAMROD. Wish I hadasked to use their bafroom earlier. Thish is not so muxh fun. Can't leave my place in line. Wish some other Rusties would show up soon. Then I could leave the line a minute and find a private shpot. Can't pee right on 17th Street, ...can I?

Don't worry Cutlass Supreme, I'll get a set for you too. I know you're good for it. After all I have all the refi money on me.

Rick 'proto-rustie'

Wed, 01 Jul 98 06:03:00 PDT: After The Drunk Tank

Hi Rusties. What a headache. I am so depressed. After having so many Young's RAMROD Ales in the Tower Records parking lot while waiting for them to reopen at midnight to sell the M6 and the Archives, I finally had to give up my place as first in line and go relieve myself. It was about 11:30 and I figured you other Rusties were reading my posts and knew there wasn't much of a hurry so you were waiting for midnight to come down. Don't know how you could turn down a free Young's RAMROD Ale and a ham sandwich - oh well. Hardly anyone ever answers my posts either.

Anyway it was dark at the back of the TR parking lot, and I thought I heard critters in the drainage ditch beyond. So I tried to hide behind a telephone pole on 17th st. and drain the... you know, when suddenly here comes the law. At least they waited until I was finished before they threw me kicking and screaming HELL NO,I WON'T GO -- I'M WAITING FOR THE MISSING SIX! into their squad car.

At the courthouse the midnight judge fined me $1000 for resisting arrest, urinating in public and public drunkeness -- and he ordered me to spend the night in the tank. But that still left me with $500 from my home refinance to buy one set of the archives and M6 (sorry Andy, you'll have to get your own), or so I thought.

Jail wasn't so bad at first. I raised pigeons and read the walls. Seems as though other Rusties had been there before, as things like FREE THE M6 and PRISONERS OF ROCK AND ROLL were etched in the cement walls.

Then they brought in Butch.

Butch was pretty ok, at first. He just laughed when he found out what I was in for. He said he'd spent half his life in jail. This was just his latest -- he'd just been hauled in for mayhem and date rape.

He sat on my cot with me and we talked about Neil. I thought he was a fan too. He said his favorite song was Stupid Girl. But then as he started edging closer he told me about who he inflicted himself on this night and I realized... well, you get the picture. So I gave him the $500 I had remaining to not be his "special friend". This made him happy, the lousy whore.

So they let me go at 6am, penniless, archiveless, M6less, and carless, because it's still in the TR parking lot. Well not really penniless, because I stashed $1000 remaining refinance funds (its not a big house) in the glove compartment. Now that I've finished telling you the latest installment of my tale, I plan on walking back to the Tower and being first in line when they reopen at 9am. Its disapointing that I missed the midnight madness. Maybe some of you can write and tell Rust what it was like.

Rick 'proto-rustie'

Wed, 01 Jul 98 09:03:00 PDT: 9:00am

Hi Rusties. It's 9 am and I just got back to Tower Records on foot. Why did that jail have to be across town? I don't see any Neil-abilia in the windows. And....I don't see my car. Shit. What's next?

Goin' inside...........................

Damn, they had my car towed! Said someone had broken into it. Hope they didn't get the $1000 in the glove compartment.

Then the TR person said "M6? Archives? That's not on our list."

Well, gotta walk to the impound lot. I'm a good Rustie though. I'll bet you they'll be released next Tuesday. That's when new releases normally happen. Yeah, Tuesday. That must have been the problem -- Tuesday was June 30. Not July! Next Tuesday. I will prevail. I will return. I have faith.

See you all at the record store next Tuesday. Maybe I'll skip the midnight part this time. :-)

Rick 'proto-rustie'

Thu, 02 Jul 98 16:19:00 PDT: A Day Later

Hi Rusties, thought I'd let you guys know how this sad story has worked itself out. A lot of you have written and offered me bail money and more Young's RAMROD Ale. I 'preciate it. Butch has a website where we've just added a place where you can donate electronically to the Proto-Rustie Recovery Fund. Its at www.pumpiniron.com.gr. More about that in a moment.

I had walked 5 miles across town from the drunk tank to The Tower Records to find out that my car was towed and there were no M6, and no Archives. Then, since The City of Costa Mesa and Butch had all of my money, I had to walk 5 miles back to the impound lot, which is next door to the drunk tank. The guys at the tank thought it would be a good joke on me to not let me know about my car.

Of course you need money to get your car out of impound, and I only had what was left of my refi money stashed in the glove compartment. But my car had been broken into and that money was gone too, along with some Rust items I happened to have with me that day:

  • Dragon Mom's tapes, all wrapped up in a box with stamps already attached (maybe the crook will mail it to you DMom).
  • Jim Beller's super secret Brownie recipe
  • The complete Shakey Jack vs RE*AC*TOR transcripts
  • The email address of each and every stealth taper on the Rust List. (Sorry you guys. Hope nothing comes of it.)
They also got my hand held GPS unit with Neil's Santa Rosa ranch precise coordinates bookmarked in it. Damn, hope Elliot doesn't find out.

So I called my wife and when she found out I lost all the refinance money, she kicked me out. Guys -- make one lousy mistake and the girls remember it forever.

Now I was really stuck.

As I was walking away from the impound lot who should drive by but Butch. Seems he had been released by the judge on the condition that he wear at all times an electronic sex offender's collar. So he came and picked up his car and that's when he saw me.

I'll be rooming with Butch until I can get on my feet again. Seems pretty safe, he does have that collar and all. There's a button the offended can push, if they can reach it during the heat of battle, that will call the police. Well, sounds better than sleeping on the street.

So here we are. He cooks pretty good too. And he loaned me that spot on his website, www.pumpiniron.com.gr. If you have room for a few extra $$$ on your credit card and you want to help out a Rustie who's only crime is that he wanted the M6 and the Archives, please go ahead. Remember: but for the grace of God, there you could be instead of me.

Rick 'proto-rustie'

Tue, 7 Jul 98 10:03:00 PDT: Next Tuesday Arrives

Hi Rusties. Well it's the first Tuesday of July now, and the Missing 6 and the Archives have gotta be at Tower Records, right? I didn't camp out here last night because of the stake-out (more about that in a minute). But I'm going in now.

It's a long trek from the Mexican border, but I'm here. I just picked up the termination check from the large aerospace company where I used to work and can still afford the whole Neil shooting match, if I skip my alimony payment. Boy am I excited.

But first, let me tell you what's happened in the last few days. Butch and I went to the beach on July 4. We had gone to watch the new Huntington Beach Roller Hockey games you see on ESPN2 when Butch got a little excited watching all those slacker dudes skating around. First he suggested I grow a goatee. Well, no, no hair on my chinny chin chin, so he got a little ticked off and jumped over the wall and starting goosing some of those skaters, the bitch. Well, one of them hit him on the neck with his hockey stick and set off the sex offender alarm in his collar and the law came running.

When they got there they recognized him from their Wanted posters. Turns out he runs a hidden shower video cam in the men's locker room at the police station and boy were they pissed. Well, I didn't know! They associated me with him and wanted to lock me up too. Well, no way was I going to jail with Butch again, so I did a little side step and hopped on Butch's Vespa, and high tailed it out of there. You might've seen the televised 100 mile chase to the border.

With my cunning I managed to get over to Tijuana without being caught. But now I was in a real pickle. I had to get back to pick up the archives on Tuesday. That's when I met up with the Mariachi's.

You know, Mariachi's are a lot like clowns. Everyone is scared of them. You see them walk into a Mexican restaurant and everyone turns their heads and hopes they go away. Well, they recognized me as a fellow traveler, down in his luck, so we waded the river together. They just wanted to come over for a little while and make a few bucks for their kids, and they knew of a Coyote waiting on the other side who would truck them to a garage in Costa Mesa where they'd hang out while making music at night.

Well, that didn't go too badly. While hiding under the cantelopes in the back of the truck we came up with a plan. People weren't really scared of Mariachi's we decided, it was that damn old music they played. How many times do you want to hear Perfidia or Besame Mucho anyway? So when we got to the garage we reheased some new material and last night we tried it out.

We walked into Chester Drawers and hit 'em with our best stuff Down By The Rio, and I Got Mierda, and Ceenamon Chica. The horn player did the Neil guitar breaks on Mierda and Chica, while the acoustic guitar guy took the Rio solos. By golly, it worked. They loved us there.

So the Mariachi's gave me 10% as their new manager, and I've got a new career. Just in time too, since I had been AWOL from my aerospace job and was out of work. I took my earnings and went to Tower Records last night to get in line, but that's when I noticed the stake-out, and I realized they must be watching for me.

So here I am today, 10 am. I borrowed a Mariachi outfit from one of the boys in the band and no one recognizes me. The black shoe polish in my hair is kind of running down my face, I'm perspiring from excitement. Well, here goes...


I can't stand it. Good grief, I feel like Charlie Brown after Lucy picked up the football for the 100th time, or the kite eating tree got his kite again, or after his weird uncle asked him to play find the... well, never mind that one. Am I the only one who believes in this musical Great Pumpkin?

It's tough being a Rustie.

I gotta get out of here before I'm recognized... I have to rehearse the Mariachi's. We've got a killer version of Gente Ordinario to practice. Adios Rusties. Somebody let me know when Neil releases this stuff.

I gotta get me a life.

Rick 'proto-rustie'

Mon, 13 Jul 98 17:03:00 PDT: Goin' To Lookout

Hi Rusties. Welp, tomorrow is another Tuesday, but I'm not going to Tower Records again. Nope, you can't get me there again. I've got a life now.

Sharing a garage with 7 Mariachi's is several steps above living with Butch. They're great guys. They just want a better life for their families, and they're happy to work for it.

Yeah, I'm still on the run. Haven't been able to clear my name yet. Butch went to trial saying I was the brains behind the hidden video cam in the police station shower and those guys are still looking for me. Well, really fellas, if you wouldn't eat so many donuts you wouldn't have so much to be embarrassed about. (Beavis voice: huh huh, he said bare assed). And that drop the soap game is really pathetic. But forget them...

Yep, I got me a new mariachi outfit and I've painted the Vespa and ripped off some plates from a Harley parked outside a Santa Monica biker bar, got a load of Young's RAMROD Ale in the saddlebags, and I'm riding NORTH TO LOOKOUT MANAGEMENT.

That Harley sure was painted up nice, dream-catchers and arrows and stuff.

Yep, typin' away on this laptop with one hand, while steerin', gearin', and beerin' with the other. Gonna demand those Archives and the Missing 6 on behalf of all Rusties everywhere. I know they'll listen.

I've heard lots of good things about Lookout. Who knows, they'll probably take me right to Elliot. I hear he's a great guy. Don't worry Sheila. I'll represent us well. Not to worry.

Besides, I have my own agenda too. As the agent for the Mariachi's I'm taking a tape of our greatest hits: Down By The Rio, I Got Mierda, Ceenamon Chica, Gente Ordinaria, and our latest, Cortez the Keeler. The Mariachi's really feel that one. In fact, when I first suggested doing a song about Cortez, one of them took off his wool mariachi jacket that he'd been wearing since south of the border, got it wet, and tried to smother me with it. Whew!

Well, just before the lights went out I managed to yell out "Cortez no bueno, Cortez no bueno." So he let me up for a second. "Habla, maricon" he said. I'm not sure why he wanted macaroni, but I went to cook for him, and while I did I explained that it was an anti-Cortez song and they felt a lot better. In fact they decided they liked the calypso version the best.

So with high hopes here I am in the Lookout Mangement driveway. Mariachi suit's a little dusty. Bugs on my glasses and in my teeth. Too much RAMROD on the road. Better look for a place to pee. Too many people out here. Better go in.

I'm a little nervous. Goin all the way. Lookout. Ho ho. I'll let you guys know how it works out.

Rick 'proto-rustie'
At the Lookout Suite

Mon, 13 Jul 1998 22:36:00 PDT: Lookout

Hi again Rusties. Boy am I glad that's over with. I've got such a rash. More about that in a minute.

Yeah, I marched into Lookout kind of ill-prepared to say the least. When I got to the receptionist's desk, who should I see but........

You guessed it -- Butch! They had let the sorry little twit out again with the provision that he never return to Orange County and that he never be permitted to own a video camera again. He can own guns, but no video cameras. Go figure.

I don't know how, but he landed a job at Lookout. Anyway I saw him and screamed, and wet myself. I've got to give up on the RAMROD. Then he screamed because they had new carpeting and we got into a bitch slap fight, kind of like Keith and Elton. What with all the commotion and hubbub, Elliot came out of his office to see what was going on.

So I screamed again.... I was a mess. But I perservered...

Me: Elliot, Elliot, I want you to listen to this tape. You're gonna love it.

Elliot: Who the *&^% are you? And what's with the getup??? A mariachi suit with wet pants, dirty, stinky. What's that running down your face?

Me: Shoe polish. I'm actually a blond.

Elliot: You're actually a *&^% weirdo. Get outta my office and take your bitchy friend with you. I don't know who hired him anyway.

Me: Oh, he doesn't matter Mr. Lookout. Please listen to my tape. Please. Its a tape of the Mariachi's doing Neil. You've heard of us by now I'm sure.

Elliot: Another *&^% tribute tape???? What do I need that for. They've been done. We need something new around here. I've got a star who hasn't put out anything new in two years. God you stink. Get outta here!

Me: Wait Elliot. (I was dying...) You need something? The Rusties want to know when they can buy the Missing 6 and the Archives. That'll give you some product.

Elliot: Rusties??!! Are you one of them? Man does that figure! Archives? Didn't you buy YOTH? Unplugged? WELD? They're all archives. Wadda Rusties need archives for? They have every damn concert ever done on tape? They have more archives than Neil has. I'm not even sure he has any *&^% archives. July, July. Thats all he ever tells me. Says they're in his barn. I read all your *&^% notes every day. You never say nice things about me. You can take your archives and stick them down your smelly wool pants. Poncho, Frank, Billy, kick these *&^% out!

Me (stammering): Poncho, Frank, Billy, what are you guys doin here?

Them: We need the gig, man. Nothin happenin for us right now.

Me: Tell Neil what you saw. Tell him what you saw!

Pancho: What? A weirdo in a Mariachi suit trying to get the archives in a single visit? What do you think the archives will capture anyway? Damn, you smell like a film director. (Billy just grinned.)

So they kicked me and Butch out, and Butch started laughing at me. I guess I looked pretty silly. So as we were giving each other a big hug he kneed me in the wet spot and took off on the Vespa.

So here I am on foot, with nothin but this lap-top and a Mariachi tape and suit. With wet wool pants. Rubbing my inner thighs. With each step. Rubbing. Burning. Sniff. I just wanted to make a good impression. What will the Mariachi's think? What about you Rusties? I feel like I let everyone down. I need a shoulder to cry on. Where do I go from here? Where indeed?

Rick 'proto-rustie'

Wed, 22 Jul 1998 14:36:00 PDT: To The Ranch

Hi again Rusties, I'm sitting outside of Neil's gate now. For the first time this month I'm not used, abused, bruised, boozed, ruzed, confused, or losed. If only I can get in to talk to Neil. While I'm waiting let me tell you how I came to be here.

I told you about how they ran me out of Lookout in my urine soaked mariachi pants, and how Butch took the Vespa and left me on foot. Well, I hiked all night, the rash on my thighs turning uglier and uglier. I had to find a private place to hide and get the pants off and rest. Well into the night I finally got out of populated areas and found a tree to lean against, near a stream where I washed my pants. I left them off, naturally, so I could heal a little. Well I passed out from exhaustion. I don't know how long I was there. They say it was a couple of days.

They? you say. Well, I was having this hallucinogenic type dream. You guys probably all know about that kind of exotic point, where erotic pain and pleasure mingle into an overall delicious sensation ...umm, never mind. I woke up and there was this weirdly dressed guy, who seemed to be wearing a giant codpiece, rubbing something into my raw thighs and groin.

I had been laying exposed for so long that whatever parts that weren't covered with rash, were sunburned. He was just trying to help by rubbing in some lanolin. Turns out he was the leader of the old Orange County Mime Troupe and he called himself El Bichon.

The OCMT used to go around trying to counteract the San Francisco Mime Troupe by doing conservative skits, like they mimed the US Victory Over Granada. Well, they didn't go over too big, so they turned to sheep herding in the Northern California hills, hoping to somehow make a comeback. That's where they found me.

They recognized me as a fellow traveler, just trying to make his way, so they came to my aid. They nursed me back to health, feeding me goat's milk, goat cheese, mutton chops and goat's head soup. Baaahhhh. And they made me a pair of ram's wool pants, to replace those mariachi things that were just too gross.

And we talked and talked. I told them about the mariachi's. And that's when I had my next great idea.

Me (barely containing my excitement): You guys want to make it back to the stage, right?

Them: [   ]

Me: Well, I've got an idea. We're going to pick a Neil Young song and do a mime act to it. How about Powderfinger?

Them: [   ]

Me: Ok, El Bichon, you be Big John, Joe, you be Emmy Lou. (You've never seen a girl mime, have you?) You other guys be the white boat crew. Now lets go make some stage props. We'll need a white boat, flags, and big red beacons. (I was so excited.)

El Bichon (excitedly): [     ]! (Well, they're mimes after all.)

So we rehearsed all day and headed to San Francisco that night. We changed our names to the Guerilla Mime Troupe and stormed the Trocadero club. They were featuring a Slits reunion show. El Bichon led the way. Everyone was scared of him, being a big guy. They mimed Powderfinger and the crowd loved it. The mimes were estatic!

"[   ]! [     ]!! [     ]!??"

"Yes," I answered, "I do think Neil will like it. We could go see him if only we knew where his ranch was. I think its in Santa Rosa, north of here. I used to have the coordinates bookmarked in my hand held GPS unit, but it was stolen."

El Bichon interjected, "[     ]!"

"What, you know where his ranch is?" I asked. "It's not in Santa Rosa? It's in San Joven? How do you know that?"

"[     ]"

"Well, I'll be. OK then, let's go," I said.

We were quite the group, walking across the Golden Gate Bridge at dawn, I in my ram's wool pants and mariachi jacket and hat, the mimes with El Bichon and his codpiece miming their way, you know, the pretend walls and all that crap.

When we got to the other side they mimed that they were hitchiking and got us a ride to San Joven. From there it was easy to find the Broken Arrow Ranch. You just take Harvest Road out of San Joven, go left on Young Road, and right on Broken Arrow Lane. There it is at the end of the lane, big gates with a big Old Black on the left gate and Old Gold on the right. I wonder why everyone thinks its such a big secret??

You can see a big, white anitbellum mansion with 4 columns behind the gate, with a swan pond in front, and the hills dotted with llamas. As we walked up to the gate I noticed a familiar looking guy selling velvet portraits of Neil. He was also the security guard.

"Aren't you Ralph Molina?" I said. "Why aren't you with Poncho and Billy?"

"The *&^% took some guy named Frank in my place," he replied. "I tried getting work with other bands, but they all said I was playing Dangerbird way too slow and wouldn't hire me."

You would have thought that Ralph could have saved some of his band earnings so he wouldn't have to do this... Wait, I see Neil, I see Neil! Gotta go Rusties. I'll let you know how this works out.

Rick 'proto-rustie'

Wed, 22 Jul 1998 16:50:00 PDT: I Talk To Neil

Hi Rusties. I got to talk to him! I got to talk to Neil. And what's more, I found out about the Missing 6, the Archives, the new album and the meaning of Powderfinger. Let me tell you how it went....

Me(yelling through the gate): Neil, Neil. I've gotta talk to you. I've got some ideas and some messages. We gotta talk.

(He had Ralph open the gate. He looked at us skeptically, and kind of amused.)

Neil, I'm a Rustie. I can help you. We Rusties have all the answers for you.

(He laughed out loud.)

Neil: A Rustie. That figures. Yeah, I read your digests. You do think you know me, don't you? Are they all as weird as you two? (I still had my rams wool parts and mariachi uppers, El Bichon was still dressed with his codpiece.)

Me: Weirder. Listen, we've got some great ideas for you.

Neil: You have ideas for me? You look like a Mexican satyr. And that other guy! What does he do with that thing? Don't let Pegi see him!

Me: Never mind that. Neil, when are you going to release the Archives and the Missing 6?

Neil: Sooner than you think. The technology is finally right.

Me: Oh, Neil... The Rusties will be so glad to hear that. What technology would that be?

Neil: Quadrophonic. Think about it. I recorded most of that old shit back in the 70's when Quad was out. It's ALL in quadrophonic. But the delivery systems weren't good enough. People couldn't hear 4 channels. But I've had my best guys at Lionel working on it for years now and we've perfected it. Do you want to hear it?

Me: Well, sure.

So we got in a rowboat and rowed out to the middle of the swan pond. He raised his hand, and suddenly I heard Ambulance Blues at full volume, coming from the house and the barn on one side of the pond, and the guard shack and the outhouse on the other side. But Neil was frowning.

"More shithouse!" he yelled.

And sure enough, 4 channels, gloriously clear. I was impressed, to say the least.

We headed back to shore. That's when Neil became impressed. The mimes had infiltrated the ranch and had rounded up all the llamas and had them doing close order drill with plastic Old Blacks in their mouths.

Neil (unbelievingly): How the hell did they do that? I can't even keep them out of the veggie garden.

Me: The mimes have been shepherds for years now. They love their sheep. By the way, what are those things in their mouths.

Neil: That's Elliot's idea. He must be living beyond his means. He's so worried I haven't put out a new record yet that he wants me to sell Old Black plastic knockoffs with 5 prerecorded songs for $29.99. And he wants to have a contest. The kid who composes the best song on the plastic Old Black, as judged by me, well, I have to record his song!

Look at what else he came up with... (Neil rips open a box on the loading dock and out fall a bunch of limp Neil-like things.) Neil Beenie-Babies! He wants me to tie a Neil Beenie-Baby to each CD! I'm not doing this stuff!

Me: Um, how is the next CD coming?

Neil: Haven't really got anything good.

Me: What about Dunn and Keltner?

Neil: We were just working on their box set with Booker T. We're putting Dock of the Bay on it. I just don't feel inspired anymore. All those old songs you guys want. They were all written when I was lonely, or breaking up. Look now. I've got a wonderful familly and a beautiful ranch with swans and lllamas. And I've already written about llamas.

Me (smiling): Neil, have I got a deal for you. Hey mimes! Time for Powderfinger.

Mimes: [         ]!

Neil (after the performance): Damn! You've captured the true essence of Powderfinger. How did you guys figure it out?

Mimes: [   ]!

Neil: Really clever. I'm signing you to Vapor Records. We'll sign anybody. That's our motto. We'll put out a CD. Hee Hee. I'll call it THE SOUND OF VAPOR.

(I could see his sense of humor coming back...)

Me: Now listen to this tape. (I played the Mariachi's doing Down By The Rio, Ceenamon Chica, I Got Mierda, Cortez the Keeler, and Gente Ordinaria. He listened intently. I made my pitch...)

Neil, you need a new direction. Look where you've been. Solo, CSN&Y, Harvesters, Willie Nelson, Trans Band, Pinks, Crazy Horse, Pearl Jam, Booker T, Stills, Rick James, Michael Jackson...

Neil (practically yelling): Don't tell anyone about that last one!

Me: OK, but the point is, where else is there to go? You write long songs. Mariachis love long songs. Everyone feels like mariachi songs will never end. It's a natural Neil! It's a natural! Sign the Mariachi's to Vapor. Then do a record with them. You can say you stole the guys from a larger Troupe down in Monterrey. The songs will all be 20 minutes long.

You can do our version of Gente Ordinaria. The Rusties have wanted some version of that song forever! Put the same killer song in solo at the beginning and in mariachi at the end and release it late in 1999. People will go nuts. You can't lose.

But he was way ahead of me now. He excused himself for not showing us to the gate. I left with the mimes, and with contracts in hand. But I could hear him singing to himself as the gate closed:
    gente ordinaria
    luchando para un poco de tierra
    gente ordinaria
    tomando cerveza antes del trabajo
    gente alcoholico
      [* footnote]
Thanks for your time and your patience
Rick 'proto-rustie'
    "ordinary people
    fighting for a piece of ground
    ordinary people
    grabbing a beer on the way to work
    alcoholic people"

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