Monday, February 27, 2006

There has always been a set of lyrics in the middle of ONE song that rips at me.

The lyrics were written by, Robert Hunter, Jerry Garcia composed the music. This was the combination that was the POWER behind the Grateful Dead. Garcia & Hunter....were the DUO that wrote many of the classic Dead standards...

One song in particuliar, and ONE VERSE always STINGS me.

It's from the song, "Cat's Under the Stars"

The first and second verse, are this.

"Cats on the blacktop
Birdy in the treetop
Someone plays guitar that
sounds like clavinette
I ain't ready yet
to go to bed
Think I'll take a walk
downtown instead

Cats on the bandstand
Give 'em each a big hand
Anyone who sweats that hard
must be all right
No one wants a fight
No black eye
Just another cat beneath
the stars tonight"

But, out of nowhere, Hunter comes up with this line that packs a wallop. It hurdles me from where I may be, into another stratosphere.

Now imagine, me with a Walkman 15 years ago, hitting rewind OVER AND OVER hear this 10 second dissertation of the verse.

In the car, I hit reverse, to relisten numerous still happens 20+ years after my introduction to the song.

This is the VERSE.

"A satin blouse unbuttoning
satin blouse unbuttoning,
Time is a stripper
Doing it just for you
Time is a STRIPPER, doing it just for you....
Just for YOU."

Why this "hits me" I'm not sure? The jam by Garcia after this verse, is a 6-10 minute masterpiece, that I believe is KICK STARTED, by the verse itself....

I almost feel as though, (selfishly) that the line was written FOR ME, by Mr. Hunter. (I know it was not, but we can dream, eh?)

Time is a STRIPPER. There is no greater stripper than time. It is the ultimate judge, arbiter, and dealer, when it comes to life.

And, the words could not be more true.

The reason the words hit me in the soul, is because, I guess at a young age, I developed a great respect for age, culture, and history.

This FORCED me to be more cognizant of TIME, developments, and evolution.

For instance, I knew at a early age, I liked the Beatles, Beach Boys, and Mama's and The Papa's. Many of my friends were listening to "Freak Out" - or popular bands of the late 70's, early 80's -- I was not attracted to it, nor did I spend much of my time listening to it. I had "Pet Sounds" and Seargant Peppers on my record player, when my contemporaries, had Disco.

I knew, when I got a call on Sept 19th, 1981, at 1:00pm -- from a friend at the time, named Bill Murray, to go see Simon and Garfunkel play in Central Park. I realized then, that there were NOT too many kids our age, even contemplating, or plotting to go to Central Park - to see a band reunite, that WE LOVED...but, the band was 15 years BEFORE our time. It was not suppose to be our demographic, but it was.

I was AWARE of time, and my limited place in it.

Now, I hear my kids. I am watching them grow up. I see TIME before my eyes.

Verses like this, TRANSCEND music for me.

Time is a STRIPPER, doing it just for you.

Just for you, and NO ONE else. Time, is the most valued, cherished, perishable resource we have.
Use it wisely.

You know why I can write this?

For the first time in my professional career, I feel as though I'm ADDRESSING, and ACKNOWLEDGING, time, and all it's features and attributes.

It's not about money. It's about feeling good with what you are doing with time.

After all, time will strip it all away.

Till we are left with only 2 things.

Results or Excuses.

"Time is a STRIPPER, doing it just for YOU....."


Anonymous Anonymous said...

truly enjoyed the piece about time. seems from your converstations with the hotel manager in england, even during your downtime, your using time wisely. really enjoyed the juxtapostion of those two pieces.

10:37 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

might i suggest a seedier interpretation in reference to the "stripper" ... an exotic dancer who appears to just be dancing for you and only you ... it is only with great introspection and by rising above the physical that you realize that time isn't just dancing for you but for everyone ... time is mesmerizing you into the now lulling you away from the fragile and fleeting relationship you have with her ... those lyrics have always hit me too so i did a google search and found your blog ... hope you don't mind my 2 cents

7:34 AM  
Blogger Andy said...

love your input -- thanks for the comment.

you are 110% dead on, and I had to read your point 3-4 times to REALIZE that your interpretation is spot on.

thanks, and welcome to the discussion.

10:04 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have always liked that phrase myself..Had a bumper sticker made of the phrase and it sits on the rear of my '74 bug. To me, it basically means, stop whining, get off your ass and enjoy life, becauswe life is short, eh?

12:16 AM  
Anonymous said...

This is all erroneous what you're writing.

3:54 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Time is a a stripper, doing it just for you. My take away is "time"'s stripping away one's pain,..but that is just me and speaks to me currently in this way. Hunter's words are amazing and he is one of the last heavys that is still around. I see him this coming Monday live in Boston. Peace. Rich. 10/3/2013

10:09 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks for your piece. I have been haunted by this verse since the day I heard it. Perhaps it is a calling.

7:28 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Time is a useful illusion when you use it consciously knowing that it is not real. No one has ever experienced anything other than now. Experiencing is only possible in the now. Time is a stripper in that you can examine bits of the eternal infinite and timeless now much more closely with it. Great line. I love that line.

10:11 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I discovered this verse in my car driving towards downtown Los Angeles on my way to cop some heroin from the street dealers who peddled it at the time. I was covered in sweat, skin crawling, muscles twitching. It was one of The first times I'd ever experienced what heroin withdrawal felt like and it was terrifying. I had somehow sold my body (NOT my soul) to the devil and he had come to pick up what was his. I'd ordered "cats under The stars" off of eBay for $3.99 (that was all I could afford given my now full blown opiate addiction) had gotten it in The mail and let it sit in my car a few days before popping it in The CD player in The car. I had ordered it because I had seen The dead (Jerry had already been dead 8 years) At Irvine Meadows (now Verizon Wireless) amphitheater and they played a beautiful rendition of his "Ruben & Cherise" The opening track on The album. I heard the song play on The CD (studio work never did any of The dead and their cohorts any justice) and let The CD keep playing until it got to cats under the stars. Immediately just The title of The song spoke to me. I was going to downtown Los Angeles which at The time had the largest Homeless population in The country...the largest group of "cats under The stars" in The US of A and then The bridge that you spoke of hit me...and it hit me Hard. "a satin blouse unbuttoning x2. Time is a stripper, doin it just for you. Time is a stripper, doin it just for you. Just for you!". Time certainly had done a number on me, just me. Because I, as The Star of my own life, The narrator to my own story, whose beginning was when I could store my first memory and whose end will be when my time is up, chose to start using dope, was now unable to stop and Time keeps on stripping away...just for me. I'm sorry I'm not the most eloquent or magical of writers but I thought I'd just point out my experience with a song that I too, felt Robert Hunter had written just for me. It's been 13 years since that night and I'm today almost 3 years clean off of junk...and time is still a stripper, doin it just for me. Thank you for starting this thread. Until now I thought I was The only one to take notice of such a beautiful, tragic and real lyric such as this. Of course I knew I couldn't be. It might feel like it but times been doing it long before I got here and will keep doing it long after I'm gone.

11:00 AM  
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