googled06bb313055e587a.html Rock N Roll Rehab for the Control Of Rock and Roll Starring Greg Piper and The Tooners: Glen Campbell

Glen Campbell

    Recently Glen Campbell announced he’s been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s Disease. I am really very sorry to hear that. I did a little fund raising last year for the Alzheimer’s Association and it runs in the family, the disease, not the Association.  I’m not a fan of Country Music but Glen Campbell was part of the Wrecking Crew and the Beach Boys and played as a session guitarist on many rock records. I actually have Gentle On My MindWichita Lineman and Galveston on my iPod. I especially like the real twangy guitar sounding lead solos on those records. I learned that sound comes from a guitar called a Danelectro Baritone, a six string guitar that is tuned lower than a normal guitar. I believe it even uses a G string from a bass as the low E string.
    John Hartford wrote Glen’s first hit, Gentle On My Mind, and played banjo on his TV show. That was the first time I thought playing banjo might be cool. A couple years ago my wife actually bought me a 5 string banjo that my son recently appropriated for his instrument collection and my cousin was a recording engineer in the Seventies who worked with Glen Campbell and Jimmy Webb on a couple albums. So I feel like Glen Campbell has been a part of my life in as much as I know somebody who worked with him, I have some of his music on my iPod and my son now has a banjo because of him.
    I read a lot of esoteric literature and at the risk of offending or upsetting anyone I would like to relate something one of my books said about Alzheimer’s Disease. It was written in the early Seventies, before the term Alzheimer’s became popular and actually is referring to senility or dementia. It said that people tend to regard senility as a loss of personality or loss of ability to perceive the world but actually it is an expansion of consciousness, an expanding of perception that makes focusing on our “reality” difficult.
    When my late father-in-law was suffering with Alzheimer’s I watched him trying to carry on conversations. He seemed to be very intent of relaying his information and making his point, he searched for the right words and appeared to be putting a lot of thought into his conversation. Unfortunately, to everyone else in the room he seemed to be speaking nonsensical gibberish. However, I related. I thought, “My God, he’s tripping!”
    I have had these same kind of conversations with friends who, also were at the same  place, mentally, could talk for hours and with perfect comprehension, clarity and even the occasional epiphany. We would take notes of our conversations and enlightened discoveries knowing that these insights would change our lives, forever. Then, the next morning, we’d read what we wrote, so relieved that we had the presence of mind to write down our terribly important ideas since they vanished like a dream when our “party favors” wore off, and what we wrote was... wait for it... nonsensical gibberish!
    WTF?! All this stuff made perfect sense and was even quite profound when we discussed it at length, debated the finer points and then decided to write down our brilliant manifesto. But it’s like having a dream where you can read and write Ancient Egyptian Hieroglyphics and you awake and write stuff down on a pad of paper by your bed and then go back to sleep. But when you awake and look at what you wrote it’s just a man with a hawk’s head, a snake, a boat, an unk and some wavy lines that look like waves on the ocean. Nonsensical gibberish. Or, a language that doesn’t translate in our reality. Perhaps it wouldn’t hurt to think of Alzheimer’s patients not as people becoming less of who they are but people straddling dimensions who can’t focus only in one reality anymore. I may be wrong, but it seems like a more pleasant way to think of this terrible affliction.


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1 comment:

  1. I have a soft spot for Glen Campbell too. A great jazz guitarist. When I worked for the Arts Council of Kern and found myself driving through desolate parts of Kern (larger than Belgium) I would burst into song: "I am the arts administrator for the county / and I'm doing a great job." (or "shit job" depending on my mood.) Always loved that song. And Rhinestone Cowboy. A friend of mine, a former USC Professor, is now in the hands-ringing anxious phase of Alzheimer's. Earlier in the year he was just in the telling the same great story for the third time during dinner phase. I appreciate your take on the condition,

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