Sometimes you imagine the attention you never wanted.  You wanted it, but what you imagine is not what you get.  No peace there.  No feeling of being loved.  The great distraction of it.  That first drug of self-love injected into a situation you feel the center of.  But you’re really not the center.  This what gets misconstrued about situations.  And the truth there.  Because if you go in with a point of view that’s one truth.  Each person involved with a point of view.  Each with their own truth.  But if you go in without a point of view, instead sensing others with yours in the background, another truth appears.  Something more universal.  In consensual perceptions.  In something not alone…  By the time David Threnody became a prison guard, and with the audiences that began to gather at the roadhouse outside the base, he began to feel a certain anxiety around people.  Maybe it was being inMississippiagain.  His strange recruitment into the Army, and his new buddy Johnny Tribout.  Whatever it was, his eyes formed strange habits—passing someone on the street a pain to him.  He didn’t like to be touched, rubbing elbows with someone, and though he could carry on a normal conversation, there was somewhat of a social retardation there, something not all there—real and sensing that universal truth in situations.  He’d been burned.  And by the time he was 19 he was already drinking every day.  This to numb the retardation he knew existed.  That universal truth—that common sense in a unified point of view—the love there, in all its phases through life, came out only in his music.  His hands.  Moving and picking strings.  And in a way that was the only way to get a true sense of him.  By watching his hands.  In how they moved even when they weren’t holding a guitar.    

Yeah, you got this strange vibe off him sometimes.  Like he could connect with you, but he didn’t wanna…  After Nina was murdered is when we became friends I guess.  If she hadn’t been killed we probably would have just spent a night in jail together and that was it.  Just somebody you played a few songs with.  But after Popovitch handed us our new duty assignment we sorta got stuck together.  That’s how I knew he could sympathize.  Because he listened—you know.  To what I had to say about Nina.  Like he felt it too.  Because all you have to do is imagine.  Imagine what it’d be like if someone you loved died.  If they was murdered…  It’s kinda worse than dying.  Because you gotta keep living, but it’s like you’re blind or somethin’.  Like you can’t see the pictures no more.  You can’t see who you loved no more.  But you can hear their voice…  I think he needed that.  He needed somebody to sympathize with.  It’s a good feeling—you know.  When it ain’t just you—alone—and somebody just tryin’ to help.  When it’s all of us—together—able to feel the same thing, even if it’s bad feelin’s…  You don’t want lose that.  Give up your time losin’ that.  Ain’t nothin’ like spending time with someone you love.  You feel everything.  And you don’t need to write a book about it.  You don’t need to sing a song.  The shame of it is an artist gives that up from time to time, so we can feel that.  So we all can feel that.  And remember it…

            –Johnny Tribout, from a PBS interview, September 1971

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