Robert Andrew Wagner of The Little Wretches: “Somebody who knows somebody who knows something is going to give you a chance”

…Somebody who knows somebody who knows something is going to give you a chance. They’ll listen to your stuff. They’ll add you to a gig. Over the course of time, you will go from being an outsider to being one of those people everybody knows. One day, you’ll be the kid on the sidewalk, gazing […]

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…Somebody who knows somebody who knows something is going to give you a chance. They’ll listen to your stuff. They’ll add you to a gig. Over the course of time, you will go from being an outsider to being one of those people everybody knows. One day, you’ll be the kid on the sidewalk, gazing through the window, and somebody inside will see you and say, “What are you doing out there? Come in!” In my experience, that’s how it works.

Rock & Roll has been extremely popular from the 50’s until the 2000’s. But with the rise of Hip Hop, Pop, and electronic dance music, it has seen mainstream decline. But some observers have cited that Rock & Roll may be on the verge of a comeback. The frustration and turmoil of the past few years align well with the message of angst, protest, and rebellion that rock & roll conveys. In this interview series called “Music Stars Helping Rock & Roll Make A Comeback” we are talking to music artists, music groups, and music producers who are helping Rock & Roll make a comeback.

As a part of this series I had the distinct pleasure of interviewing Robert Andrew Wagner.

Robert Andrew Wagner of The Little Wretches is a writer, teacher and performer, teaching through stories, telling stories through songs. As front man and chief songwriter/lyricist for The Little Wretches, Wagner rode a wave of notoriety that led the band to the forefront of the underground music scene in Western Pennsylvania. In 2020, The Little Wretches released two new albums in 2020: Undesirables and Anarchists and Burning Lantern Dropped In Straw, the former spawning an iTunes chart-topping single and receiving airplay on more than 115 North American AM/FM radio stations. His new album is an acoustic concert-recording, LIVE AT THE MATTRESS FACTORY, Songs from the Land of Pit Bulls & Poker Machines. The Little Wretches were named Multi-Genre Group of the Year at the prestigious Josie Music Awards.

Thank you so much for joining us in this series! Our readers would love to get to know you a bit better. Can you tell us a bit of the ‘backstory’ of how you grew up?

The world in which I grew up no longer exists. My grandparents came from halfway around the world, what is now the Slovak Republic, to seek opportunity in the USA. I’m a “hunky.” Do you know what a “hunky” is? To some, it’s an ethnic slur used to demean working people of Eastern European descent. We’re strong and stupid, good at following but unable to lead, tireless workers who willingly chase the promise of a carrot and obediently bow to the power of the stick. Get it? We’re groomed to do the thankless work that makes your life so comfortable.

But aha! We’re not stupid. We endure the indignities and humiliations and climb the proverbial ladder, reaching down as we climb to pull others up with us. Whatever doesn’t kill us makes us stronger.

I’m very much a product of OLD Pittsburgh, The Smoky City, The Steel City. We value independence, self-reliance, toughness. We rise early, work hard, play hard, honor our commitments, and sleep well.

Through a bizarre set of circumstances, I was abandoned by my parents when I was a teenager. I ended up living unsupervised for several months in the house where I’d grown up. I learned how to shoplift food to eat. Everybody at school assumed I was getting skinny because I was cutting weight for the wrestling team. I was frequently tardy or absent from school, but I learned how to study independently. I knew that if I didn’t keep my grades up, the authorities would have a reason to investigate and probably place me in an institution or a foster home.

When the authorities inevitably intervened, I went to live with my grandmother.

What’s weird is that before I was abandoned, I was clearly my mother’s favorite, my grandparents’ favorite. One of my cousins told me, “The day you were born, all of us moved one step down on the hierarchy, and you went straight to the top.” Even when I was sleeping on the floor in front of the television and living off of stolen cheese and lunchmeat, I knew that I was loved and that my life had purpose.

My life has been full of impossibilities and serendipities that point to the miraculous.

Can you share a story with us about what brought you to this specific career path?

The boy-most-likely-to-succeed abandoned by his own parents, as you might imagine, I hated everyone and everything. The only thing I didn’t hate was music. I had a guitar. I used to sit in the room above my grandmother’s garage doodling on my guitar and imagining the day I’d be a rock star. I filled a lot of notebooks with lyrics, hateful ugly stuff, but full of passion. I had a great ear for language, the music of language. I thought maybe I’d have to be a poet instead of a rock star.

But punk rock happened and gave people like me the license and opportunity to get up on stage. The punk scene in Pittsburgh was my apprenticeship. You know the process — apprentice, journeyman, master. I started The Little Wretches when I was sure I was going to be “a lifer,” a master, that this was going to be my path as long as I breathe.

Are you able to share a story with us about what first attracted you to Rock & Roll in particular?

I used to loiter at newsstands and music shops, reading the magazines. I read stuff about Patti Smith, underground New York rock’n’roll. Television. The New York Dolls. Iggy Pop. Richard Hell and the Voidoids. Patti was known to make statements like, “Rock’n’roll is the highest form of communication known to man.”

Now, given my background, I was fodder for a cult. Who knows what kind of nonsense I could have gotten sucked into, but I got sucked into the mythology of rock’n’roll, that we musicians were part of some eternal and supernatural battle between good and evil, that we were outside of society, allied with an invisible army of angels.

I saw a picture of Lou Reed with a caption that said he was an underground legend. Underground? What’s that? My imagination ran wild. I took that stupid picture of Lou Reed as confirmation of what I’d suspected all along. Everything I’d ever been taught was a lie. To know the truth, you have to step outside. You have to wash your hands of the whole mess. You have be be willing to be an outsider, and you have to be tough enough to pay the price for it.

I totally bought into the belief that rock’n’roll music has the power to change the world.

Can you tell us the most interesting or most funny story that happened to you since you began your Rock & Roll career?

Well, I mentioned having bought into the mythology of rock’n’roll. I’d read everything I could find about the artists I loved, how The Rolling Stones used to spit on the walls of their apartment and give names to the dried and hanging loogies, how John Lennon rolled drunks on the docks of Hamburg, stuff like that. I mean, if I had to starve, steal or go without heat, then so be it.

We had an apartment in the ‘hood, me and the rest of the band, each member with an incredible backstory worthy of its own novel.

We’d rented the cheapest place we could find. We lived on the third floor. We’d sometimes have to step over the sleeping bodies of winos and homeless dudes as we climbed the stairs. The place had no refrigerator, no stove, no amenities. We refrigerated our perishables by sitting them outside on the window ledge in the winter air, and we kept a rubber snake on the ledge to scare the pigeons away.

This building was old, and the electricity still ran through a fuse-box. We had a little toaster oven and a hot plate. If we ran the stereo and the toaster oven at the same time, we’d blow a fuse. The fuse-box was in the cellar where we discovered that all of the beams supporting the building were seriously charred. At some point in the past, there’d been a fire. It was a miracle the building was still standing.

In what would have been the living room of the apartment, the ceiling and one of the walls was covered with an enormous spatter-pattern of dried blood, like something you’d see on one of those Crime Scene Investigation shows. The whole place smelled like dog urine, and there was dog hair clinging to the greasy, sticky walls.

The lady who lived on the first floor revealed that the third floor was previously occupied by her daughter, her daughter’s lesbian girlfriend, and their two german shepherds. Apparently, the women used to get into violent spats, and the girlfriend hit the daughter in the face with a shovel. The police were called, and the landlord insisted that the couple move out. The blood on the wall was the residue of the shovel-incident.

The entire building was infested with mice. When we finally moved out, we left big bags of sunflower seeds in every room to feed the mice.

Now, forgive me because you asked for a story that is interesting or funny, and what I’ve described is destitution and depravity. What is funny about it to me is that we existed in this environment without question or complaint. This was our world, and we accepted it as it was. Violence. Filth. Squalor. All I cared about was rock’n’roll.

When it comes to having endured squalor, The Rolling Stones have nothing on The Little Wretches.

What would you advise a young person who wants to emulate your success?

I got into this believing myself to be part of some cosmic, supernatural battle between warring factions of angels. My delusions became habits, my habits evolved into a lifestyle, and my lifestyle became a worldview. Okay? When it comes to rock’n’roll and art and literature and poetry, I’m a religious fanatic. In the epic movie inside my head, the future of the world hinges on the next song I play.

You asked about emulating MY success, but I walk a different path. You might come down this road and regret it. This is a no-turning-back road. You hear about Robert Johnson making a deal with the devil? Sucker. You don’t have to make a deal with the devil. What you need, in the words of the Wright Brothers, is “dauntless resolution and unconquerable faith.” Put your shoulder to the plow and don’t look back. This is a faith-road. If you don’t feel the calling and have the faith to answer the call, you don’t belong here.

I’m not trying to dissuade or discourage you. But as Bob Dylan sings, “God said to Abraham kill me a son.” You willing to do that? Okay, then. Come on down Highway 61.

On a lighter note, get the best instrument you can afford. Always be learning. Always be thankful. Semper Fi.

None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story about that?

I’ve lived a parasitic existence for years at a time. People have given me food, places to live, cars to drive. Minus any one of those people, I’d not be doing this interview. Some people — Mark Pinto, Chuck Parish, Gregg Bielski — have done more for me than I’ve done for myself. Bandmates like Ellen Hildebrand, Dave Losi, my brother, Chuckie…

But the one person you should know about is John Creighton, the most talented, humble and Christ-like person I’ve known, though he might have professed to be an atheist at the time of his death. I’ve written a screenplay about episodes from his life. My songs BORN WITH A GIFT and THE BALLAD OF JOHNNY BLOWTORCH are inspired by his memory. The screenplay, by the way, is called THE BALLAD OF JOHNNY BLOWTORCH. I thought the song would be part of the soundtrack.

John and I met through radical political activism while we were students at the University of Pittsburgh. We were part of an organization called the Anti-Imperialist Student Union. We decided to share an apartment, and when I was diagnosed with cancer, John visited me in the hospital every single day.

One night, I heard him arrive at our apartment very late, and I heard this blast of saxophone music. He had a great collection of avant-garde jazz albums, I thought he’d put on an album and hadn’t realized how high the volume was on the stereo. I had a girlfriend who was staying over, and she was sure it was a real saxophone, not a recording. Very romantic, whispering in bed while your roommate solos in the next room.

The next morning, we saw John’s soprano sax sitting on the living room floor. He played soprano sax like John Coltrane. A month or so later, John was asked to sing with his band from high school at a fraternity gig in one of the old industrial towns outside of Pittsburgh.

Sing? He sings, too?

Curious, our little cadre of campus radicals trekked out to hear him. We were shocked. John was singing like a cross between David Bowie, Peter Gabriel and Roger Daltrey.

On the eve of the Super Bowl that year, John and I were in the Squirrel Hill Cafe, drinking beer, fake ID’s in our pockets because we weren’t old enough to drink, and we looked at each other and decided to start a band.

John died suddenly, and we had a gig the night of his funeral. A number of our friends claimed they could hear him singing at the gig. But my friend Dan Wasson says that when you die, it’s like the last day of school. You throw your books in the air, and you’re out of there. John crossed over into Glory. He didn’t need to linger around our sorry little band in a smelly punk rock club.

What are some of the most interesting or exciting projects you are working on now?

In January of 2021, The Little Wretches began working on a collection of songs called RED BEETS & HORSERADISH. Some of the songs are real show-stoppers, character-driven, moving seamlessly between first-person and third-person narration. The songs take you right inside the head of the narrators — old people, sick people, crazy people, very tough and resilient people.

The title comes from a dish served on the religious holidays of many Eastern European folks. For some, the red represents the blood of our people, and the horseradish represents the bitterness of our suffering. For others, it’s the blood of our savior and the bitterness of His suffering.

It’s the best writing of my career, and some of the pieces were previously published as poems.

We’re waiting on Rosa Colucci, the inimitable Rosa Rocks, to add her vocals and percussion. She’s had a tough year, but there is no Plan B. When Rosa is done, Hollis will mix the album. Hollis is a Grammy-winner, so this could be a powerhouse of an album.

Are you able to summarize the message of Rock & Roll in a sentence? Why do you think that message is more relevant now than it’s been in a while?

I’m thinking out loud. First thought — Freedom. What is freedom? Freedom FROM and freedom TO.

Freedom from what? Freedom from boredom. Freedom from the pressure to adhere to social norms. Freedom from segregation. Freedom from false promises.

Freedom to what? Freedom to express joy. Freedom to speak the truth. Freedom to disregard convention, take chances, and explore. Anyone can do it. Three chords, a beat, and the truth. Don’t have to be rich. Don’t have to possess expensive equipment.

Things turn into their opposites. Rock’n’roll was the music of the Civil Rights Movement. Rock’n’roll was the music of the anti-war movement. Rock’n’roll was the music of the sexual revolution. 1955. 1965. 1975. That was fifty, sixty, seventy years ago. The culture has changed. The technology has changed. A peoples’ music became corporate. Rebellion became a merchandizing and advertising demographic. The music you listen to predicts the beer you’ll buy, the clothes you’ll wear, and the smoke you inhale.

As Allen Ginsberg so succinctly said, “It’s sinister.”

So… Freedom of expression has given way to censorship, shaming, cyber-bullying and cancel-culture, echo-chambers and feedback-loops of uniformity. The individual has once again become a faceless figure in an anonymous mob.

Aha, but I’ve got rock’n’roll. Your measly little world has no hold on me. You can’t touch me with your ignorance, your peer-pressure, your closed-mindedness, and your fear of the unknown. Rock’n’roll is the holy cross I hold up to ward off your vampiric culture. Away, you bloodsuckers!

What is rock’n’roll? I read somewhere that John Lennon — and he ought to know — said that Jerry Lee Lewis’ WHOLE LOTTA SHAKIN’ GOIN’ ON is the quintessential rock’n’roll song. You can’t get more direct and primal than WHOLE LOTTA SHAKIN’ GOIN’ ON.

Want rock’n’roll in a single sentence? “Come on over, baby, there’s a whole lotta shakin’ goin’ on, so shake, baby, shake” till the walls crumble, and the whole thing comes tumbling down. Shake till the only things standing are honest and true. Shake off fake corporate uniformity. Shake off fake social conformity. Shake off artificially induced deformity.

Rock’n’roll says I will be free, I will be joyous, I will not be contained, restrained, or misnamed. Rock’n’roll says we hold these truths to be self-evident that the kids got the boogie-woogie in ’em, and it just has to come out. (Thank you very much, John Lee Hooker.) Rock’n’roll says that eternity exists in the now. If we can’t be free now, then when?

“Come on over, baby, we got chicken in the barn, whose barn, what barn, my barn!” Where? Right here. Come on over.

“We ain’t fakin’.” Thank you, Jerry Lee Lewis, first, last and forever among the wild boys. Whatchoo mean “fakin’?” I mean, we’re done pretending to be what you think we ought to be. We’re done saying one thing and doing another. We’re done talking about freedom while fitting ourselves into these social media straightjackets.

Can I be done now? Sun Records. Jerry Lee Lewis. True today as it was the day he laid it down. I know it. John Lennon knew it. And now you know it, too.

And now that you know it, you’ve got a job to do. A job? Who said anything about a job. Dig this. Mott the Hoople sang, “All the young dudes carry the news.”

Yes, dudes. You must do your part. You must carry the news. In the begining was the Word. And the Word was Good. All the way from Memphis.

Okay, I quit.

What are your “5 things I wish someone told me when I first started” and why? Please share a story or example for each.

Going right off the top of my head, the first thing that comes to mind is that people are part of communities, networks of pre-existing relationships, hierarchies and pecking orders. You’re the dirty-faced waif. You’re the urchin on the sidewalk. The world is black and white, newspapers blowing down the street, snow is swirling and stinging and your cheeks. You haven’t eaten a substantial meal for three days, and your nose is pressed against the window of a swanky establishment. Inside, there’s a feast, a party in progress. And you’re studying those people inside. You’d give anything to be in there with them. But you don’t know them, they don’t seem to see you standing there, and there are nine-hundred pound gorillas posted at the entrances whose job it is to keep you out. Sorry, this is invitation only.

How do you get an invitation? Even at the lowest levels, the music business is like an exclusive club. Somebody in there has to be willing to vouch for you, to sponsor you, to bring you in as a guest.

Ask yourself this: What can you bring to the party? What do you have that they want? And how do you get on their radar?

When I played pee-wee football, my uncle used to say, “If you want to get in the game, go stand next to the coach.” There is no substitute for just being on the scene, always ready to play. Go to the clubs. Go to the shows. Make acquaintances. Start building relationships. Remember names. Say thank you.

Eventually, somebody who knows somebody who knows something is going to give you a chance. They’ll listen to your stuff. They’ll add you to a gig. Over the course of time, you will go from being an outsider to being one of those people everybody knows. One day, you’ll be the kid on the sidewalk, gazing through the window, and somebody inside will see you and say, “What are you doing out there? Come in!”

In my experience, that’s how it works.

A second thing to understand is that some people in the business are under tremendous financial pressure. When The Little Wretches were starting out, the guy who owned and booked the best rock’n’roll club in our city used to be sitting at the bar from late morning to early afternoon, taking calls, doing business. I’d call. I’d stop in to speak in-person. He never totally dismissed me. He always said, “Call me on Thursday,” or, “Call me next week.” He never gave me an outright “no,” but he turned me down at least a hundred times.

Finally, after we’d made a name for ourselves playing OTHER venues, he gave us a few gigs, but he explained to me, “You care about whether you should be playing an A or an A minor. The only music I care about is how much that cash register rings.”

People are trying to run a business, trying to turn a profit. As far as that guy is concerned, your musical performance is supposed to attract people with money in their pockets, and their money is supposed to end up in his pocket. And then he gives you a cut. From his point of view, that’s how it works. He’s kind of like a pimp. You’re one of the earners in his stable. Get it?

If that’s what he is, and I am working for him, what does that make me? Well, that’s not what I want to be. Is that what you want to be?

A third thing to consider is that you’re like a restaurant. Are you serving Italian, Chinese, Middle Eastern or Mexican? Appetizers or entrees? You have to have an identity. The Little Wretches made a great album called BEYOND THE STORMY BLAST. It got enough attention that a music business attorney invited us to his office in New York City. He was interested in shopping us to major labels, certain that he could get us a deal. But he explained to us that the first three songs on our album sounded like three different bands. He could get any one of those bands signed, but we had to decide which band we were going to be.

We mumbled something about The Beatles’ White Album, how each song was different, everything from Helter Skelter to Dear Prudence. He said, “The Beatles came up playing one kind of music. After they were already famous, they were able to branch out.” What were we? A Celtic band? An Americana band? A Beatlesque band? For much of our careers, The Little Wretches were the great mystery sandwich. You’ve got to take a bite before you know what it is. Try it, you’ll like it. But most people want to know what they’re consuming before they put it in their mouths.

Number four, you have to get good at waiting. Everything takes longer than you expect it to. I’m a trauma-survivor. I’m afflicted with something they call “a foreshortened sense of future.” My brain is hard-wired to survive minute to minute, hour to hour, day to day. Yesterday is once-upon-a-time, and tomorrow is some-sweet-day. All that feels real is right here and right now.

But I just read an email from a venue I contacted in 2020 that wants to know if I’m interested in being considered for a gig in 2023. That’s two years from now. That’s how real businesses run, though. They have a long-term plan and a short-term plan. They have goals. They have landmarks and thresholds and target-numbers and deadlines and protocols. What you want may be waiting for you three years, five years, ten years down the road. Waiting. Being prepared, putting in the work, and waiting. Are you sure you are in it for the long haul?

You asked for five things, and I’m going to try to tie it all together with one unifying point, maybe the most important thing. My four previous points were very worldly, pointing to practical realities of the music business. The truth is, though, I’ve spent my entire career listening to advice that I am not equipped to follow. There’s a song by The Byrds from the EASY RIDER Soundtrack, WASN’T BORN TO FOLLOW. That’s me. I started as an outsider, am still an outsider, and I’ll finish as an outsider.

I’m indie-all-the-way. Punk rock. D-I-Y.

I’m in the world but not of the world. I serve the Spirit, the muse. I’m driven by an intuitive sense, the breath of inspiration. I go where the Spirit calls me and trust that there is a reason, even when the reason makes no sense to me.

If you’re in this for money and fame and adoration, don’t listen to me. I’m a fanatic. I have been known to utter phrases like, “All things work together for good.” All I’m saying is, if you’re not called by the Spirit, by Inspiration, then you should take advice from somebody else. I mean, if you’re not called by the Spirit, you’re just wasting your time.

You are a person of enormous influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂

By movement, I suppose you mean something that a lot of people can do that will have a powerful and cumulative effect. A movement results in change. What would I want to change?

Did you ever read Henry Miller’s TROPIC OF CAPRICORN? He says it is futile to want to change the world because nothing can truly be changed till you first change the hearts of men, and who or what could possibly change the hearts of men?

Bah! Miller says to forget these do-gooder movements. Who am I to presume to tell another person how to live or what to do? We’re in a post-modern world, are we not? We’ve dispensed with truth. You have yours; I have mine. Nothing matters, and what if it did? Right? Isn’t that what people believe?

Not me. And not Henry Miller. I believe in truth, beauty, freedom and love. Absolutely.

So my movement involves going back to basics, the REAL basics, that make truth, beauty, freedom and love a possibility. I’m going to go back to what my mom and dad taught me, back to stuff I did as child and haven’t done nearly enough as an adult.

When you were a kid, did anybody ever teach you to pray before mealtimes and bedtimes? Next time you’re out for dinner, take a look around and see if a single table or even a single person takes a moment to bow their heads.

My mom and dad taught me to never put food in my mouth without first saying a prayer of gratitude and to never lay my head down on the pillow without first getting on my knees and asking for protection for all or my loved ones and myself. If I die in my sleep, please take my soul, dear Lord.

What, you’ve outgrown it? Too smart, too educated, too urbane? I bet you’d be embarrassed to be seen praying in public.

But let’s say you are a materialist, a naturalist, you don’t believe in spirits or gods, and everything is a big machine of cause and effect, dopamine and serotonin. What would happen if you paused before you put food in your mouth to consider all the effort, all the sweat, all the fortuitous convergence of circumstances that allowed that food to make its way to you.

You didn’t grow it. You didn’t pick it. You didn’t carry it. You didn’t ship it. But here it is. Just imagine the inexplicable sense of gratitude you might feel while reflecting on a how a cold and mechanistic universe put all this in motion that you might have a little something sweet, or salty, or crunchy. You might want to thank the person who pulled the root out of the ground. You might want to thank the person who operated the tractor and the forklift. We who produce almost nothing are afforded the opportunity to eat. Isn’t that amazing?

And let’s imagine that we’re all Shakespeare’s Benvolio, worms’ meat when we die. Our lives come from nothing and lead to nothing and all for no reason. But before you retire for the night, you pause to reflect on the faces and voices that have populated your days and daydreams. Are they well? Where are they now? Are they having fun? Do they need my help? Are they thinking of me? What if when I close my eyes, those eyes remain closed. Is there anything I should do or say before I close my eyes for what might be the last time?

Let’s not call my movement prayer. That word scares too many people. Let’s find a more innocuous word. Let’s call it a moment of thought and reflection. You can tell yourself it’s mindfulness or some other contemporary buzzword. But try it. Mealtimes and bedtimes.

My hypothesis is that every person who pauses to do so will experience a feeling of gratitude. And going through life — moment to moment, meal to meal, day to day — with a feeling of gratitude will result in your treating people differently, treating yourself differently. You are likely to be less selfish, more generous. Less hurried, more measured.

Try to be a little more childlike, confidently and fearlessly resting in the embrace of those everlasting arms.

This is where Harry Dean Stanton picks up the guitar and busts into a hymn on the bunkhouse porch. Close up on Paul Newman as he ponders his next great escape. Right after he eats fifty eggs, strikes a Jesus-pose, and a concerned Strother Martin purses his lips.

Sorry, I’m getting carried away. Prayer changes things, namely, your own heart. Change the hearts of men. Start with your own. Mealtimes and bedtimes. Say a little prayer. Amen.

Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?

I’m told that even as a toddler I was fiercely independent. It is very hard for me to ask for help. I have this strange compulsion to want to be able to do everything without assistance. I’m like the narrator in Paul Simon’s I AM A ROCK.

There’s a song by Michelle Shocked, IF NOT HERE on an album called DEEP NATURAL, in which she sings, “A burden shared is only half a trouble, but a joy that’s shared is a joy made double.” When I hear those lines — so simple, so obvious, so perfect — maybe it’s her voice, I don’t know, but I’m able to take a breath and understand that it is okay to be in need, that there are people who want to help me, that helping me does them good, as well.

It’s okay to be in need. It’s okay to ask for help. It’s okay to lay your burden down. Bill Withers’ LEAN ON ME. The Hollies’ HE AIN’T HEAVY, HE’S MY BROTHER. Billy Swan’s I CAN HELP. Glen Campbell’s LESS OF ME.

You know those songs? If you don’t, look them up. If you don’t know Michelle Shocked’s DEEP NATURAL album, you need to find it immediately.

We are very blessed that some very prominent names in Business, VC funding, Sports, and Entertainment read this column. Is there a person in the world, or in the US with whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why? He or she might just see this if we tag them.

There is no yogi holding the keys to enlightenment. Unless it’s a publisher who wants to purchase my catalogue or a producer who wants to bring THE BALLAD OF JOHNNY BLOWTORCH to the big screen, I’d be better off having brunch with Rosa Colucci or maybe standing around a campfire with the rest of the The Little Wretches. Or friends like Ron Esser, Tony Norman, Jack Erdie, Nate Gates, Jay Hitt.

How can our readers further follow your work online?

Find our website. littlewretches dot com, or our Facebook page, Facebook dot com slash The Little Wretches. I don’t do much on Instagram, but I have an account. Look us up on YouTube. Main thing is, I am very accessible. If you comment on our posts, I’ll probably respond personally. And the website, I might add, is loaded with stuff from our glorious past. Like Bob Dylan sings in SILVIO, “I’ll stake my future on a hell of a past.” We’ve had a hell of a past, and I’m glad to stake my future on it. We’ve made some very good music, and we’ve got a few more in us. If you dig what we do, let us know, and we’ll try to stay in touch.

This was very meaningful, thank you so much! We wish you continued success!

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