The Naked Lady Rides Again!

The Naked Lady Rides Again!

August 3, 2012


It’s been a while. The last time I wrote to you, nearly 2 months ago, I was apprehensive about chaperoning a 7th and 8th grade “Semi-Formal” dance – and I’ve left you hanging in suspense. I hope it hasn’t ruined your summer!

It actually wasn’t as difficult, or as dangerous, as I’d feared. The worst part, really, was the “dancing,” so called, which consisted of them all jumping straight up and down more or less in unison, more or less in time with the music. When they were all “dancing” at once I did worry a bit about the structural integrity of the building, but it seems to have sustained only minimal damage.

I didn’t get to use the cattle prod – though I was eagerly looking for opportunities – or the air horn. The referee’s whistle was deployed on a couple of occasions, during the slow dances mainly, but I found the most effective device for keeping our daughter in line was to threaten to get my guitar and sing some songs for her friends.

Speaking of guitars: back in the late ’60s in Cambridge I bought an Epiphone Texan for $179, brand new, with case. I figured it was cheap enough to take to beach parties, and if someone stepped on it, it wouldn’t be the end of the world … but then I kind of fell in love with the thing.

I started fancying her up – mother of pearl trim and whatnot. I asked a young lady named Chris Hayward to inlay a reclining nude entwined with a snake (Hey … it’s a Biblical theme!) on the neck. Well! She caused quite a sensation from the very first day, and was tagged “the Naked Lady.” I can tell you that when the roadie yelled to the stagehand, “Tom needs the Naked Lady in the dressing room right away,” heads would turn! Sadly, she burned up in a house fire in 1990 and I have missed her terribly for the past 22 years.

1982 Symphony Hall promo shot
The original Epiphone “Naked Lady” – 1982 Photo

2012 Naked Lady
McKenzie & Marr “Naked Lady” Photo: Medora Hebert

But wipe away those tears, children – there’s a happy ending! John Marr of McKenzie & Marr guitars contacted me asking if they could produce a “signature” guitar with my name on it. He brought me some samples of their work and I was very impressed. The discussions wound along and at some point I worked up the nerve to inquire if the top-of-the-line model could have a naked lady with a snake on the fingerboard. Yes! I’ve been playing the prototype on stage now for some months, and she’s a honey. Feels great, sounds great and looks … well, stunning! The production models have just arrived and they’re every bit as good. (There were also a few made without the inlay, for those shy persons out there.) In my mind this is a $5,000 instrument, but M&M are selling them for less than half of that. Check her out!

Shows coming up:

Thursday, August 10th at Infinity in Norfolk, CT. A wonderful hall with some real history. (Mark Twain stood on that stage!)

Friday, the 11th at the Rubin Museum in New York City. This should be fun! No amplification at all – no plugging anything in, no sound system. And I’m supposed to do at least one song that ties in – in my mind at least – to one of the artworks they have on display. We’ll see how that pans out.

Saturday, the 12th at the Stephen Talkhouse way out on Long Island in Amagansett, a great little club. I haven’t been there for some years and I’m looking forward to this!

Sunday the 13th at 4:00 PM at the Turning Point in Piermont, NY, just over the Tappan Zee Bridge. A Matinee! And in what is probably the most intimate venue I ever get to play.

And on Friday and Saturday, the 24th and 25th, the glorious Shalin Liu Performance Center in Rockport, MA. These are close to sold out, so don’t dawdle.

Come on by. If you can’t attend, send a friend!

All the best,

Tom Rush

Tom Rush

Quote of the Month: Regarding the dilemma of having to ride herd on a 13 year-old girl, the best advice I got came from a Texan, via Steve McCarty: “When the boys start swarming around, just shoot the first one … the word gets around.”

PS. I’m still rounding up guests for the Symphony Hall show on 12/28. The tickets will go on sale soon after I’m done with that, hopefully in September. Those of you who were part of the Kickstarter campaign already have your seats secured – they’ll be mailed out as soon as the show goes public. TR