Tom Performs "Lost My Driving Wheel"

Words you can’t say

February 16, 2014


I was recently at a radio station getting ready to do an interview to promote an upcoming show. While I was tuning up, waiting for the show’s host to appear, a young lady came in and handed me a piece of paper. “We’ll need your signature on this before air-time,” she said, and walked out again.

It was the FCC “Language Agreement,” enumerating in excruciating detail all the words you’re not supposed to say on the radio. My first thought was to jauntily tell them, “You missed a couple,” but after a careful reading I honestly could not think of a single vulgarity they’d left out, and I have a pretty good vocabulary. (I’m not bragging or anything, but fifty years on the road with musicians, technicians and teamsters can be very educational.)

A couple of questions were raised by this. What if the person going on the air was as prudish as the FCC apparently thinks the listeners are? Wouldn’t they be too shocked and offended to carry on? And what if the person was underage? Would not the FCC be contributing to the delinquency of a minor, teaching them words they’re not supposed to know (but undoubtedly do)? And what if …

I was pondering these weighty matters when the young lady returned to retrieve the form. I told her I’d left my glasses in the car and asked if she’d please read the page to me. After all, I can’t be expected to sign something if I don’t know what it is, now can I? She looked at the paper, opened her mouth to speak, closed it again, looked at me, looked at the paper. She seemed a bit flushed (perhaps overwhelmed at being so close to a star of my magnitude?), and left the room hurriedly. Apparently it was determined that my signature was not necessary after all because I heard no more about it.

In other news:

The hit kid’s video of the Fish Story Song is now available free-for-nothing on our YouTube channel. (It’s an odd thing – kids love it, grownups love it, but between about 5th and 12th grades there’s a period where they think it’s “too childish.”) If you like it, the actual DVD contains extra stuff: me reading the story of Paul Bunyan and the Grizzly, and the Midnight Ride of Paul Revere, along with some very cool drawings by Jocelyn Slack.

And upcoming shows:

Wednesday, February 19th, at the Ark in Ann Arbor – a great room.
Thursday I’ll be at the Folk Alliance gathering in Kansas City – the first time I’ve been able to attend this conference which is becoming a Big Deal in the music world.
Friday at the Old Town School of Folk Music in Chicago – a great organization with music lessons, an outreach program for school kids, on and on.
Saturday I’ll be in Stoughton, WI at the Opera House – never been there before, but I’m told it’s a glorious old theater that the town has lovingly (and expensively) refurbished.

And then at the end of the month/beginning of March:

Thursday, February 27th, Mechanics Hall in Worcester, MA – another great old room.
And, finally, on Saturday, March 1st, Town Hall in Woodstock, VT, a place I’ve played many times, and had a great time every time!

Thanks for reading. Stay warm!

All the best,

Tom Rush

Tom Rush

Quote of the month:

“Under certain circumstances, profanity provides a relief denied even to prayer.”

–– Mark Twain