Prufrock had the Emperor of Ice Cream in a headlock when the roar of a ’37 Triumph Speed Twin made them both forget what they were fighting about. In walked an Anglo-Cherokee-Japanese skateboarder. “I’m Korey Dane, and you’re both acting like children.”
He had ridden from Joshua Tree where his father was rebuilding a 1953 Chevy Hardtop. “I’ve put my board away, gentlemen, and I’ve picked up a guitar. I figure the board will never really let me say what I want to say, and frankly, nothing makes me cry like the 3 minor chord.” The table was cleared for a round of Old Pulteneys as Korey Dane began his tale of woe and redemption.
“I’m twenty-five years old. My mother handed me East of Eden when I was twelve and I’ve never been the same since. Neither has she. Mom and Dad headed in opposite directions; academe called her name and Dad, well Dad drove into the desert until he ran out of gas. And there he hung his hat. I tumbled for a while...and grumbled. But four wheels brought me where I needed to go. I probably did a little too much of this and way too much of that, but that’s ok. I’m better for it. Lera says I’ve still got a long way to go. Hell, she’s from Ukraine, for Christ’s sake. She should know.
“Luckily, I heard and saw some things; Tom Waits, Bruce Davidson, Bob Dylan, Joni Mitchell, Aaron Embry, The Beatles and the Stones, Blake Mills, Mark Gonzales, Karen Dalton, and the ‘Mats. Hitching across the country is like a 72-day answer to the question, ‘What’s the worst thing that could happen?’ Well, I’ve gathered a lot of answers to that question. But the best thing that could happen was going around the country until I found myself back home. Listen to me. I’m Dorothy fucking Gale!
“Home is where I decided to take a position. Orville Gibson and Ernie Ball were my earliest accomplices. The three of us were sequestered for a couple of years until we all agreed I needed to step outside. I played for a few friends and nobody hit me. I felt this might work out.
“I rolled some Legend of 91 and got to work. A hundred songs...three of them decent. Then I slept for three days. Woke up and wrote a hundred more. This time, two of them were worthwhile. This wasn’t going well. After a while I met some folks. They were nice. They were encouraging. And they said, ‘Surely you can do better than this.’ They introduced me to a man—a cruel man—who made me do things no man should have to do. Scansion, modulation, chromaticism...he was mean and relentless.
“But here I sit. Open to whatever comes. You’re both older gentlemen, now. Go home to your wives, your families. I feel ready.”
The three of them went their respective ways. Prufrock and the Emperor are now long gone.
Korey Dane is standing right outside your door.