The Road Is - Free Download

by Michael Welch

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    I started writing my observations onto paper in the 70s. There were a few of my stories from Notes and The Road Is. In 1984 I had the opportunity to participate in a 3-week study program with Elvin Jones, Allen Ginsberg and Robert Frank at The Atlantic Center for the Arts. Studying with Elvin was certainly a life changing experience. I would later begin to learn more about beat writers and experimental filmmakers. This launched me into my quest to incorporate my work into drumming, media and spoken word. Much of the material published in Mr. Welch was written between 1995 and 2015. At that time, I was under the influence of Charles Bukowski, William Burroughs, Hunter Thompson and Jack Kerouac. As a writer, musician or any genre of artist, I believe you are expressing who you are, your feelings and personality. I’m not the same person I was during that period. Much of my narrative monologues written during that period came from my anger and frustration with what I perceived in the world. Though much of it may be true, I’ve resigned myself from being that writer. The (4) books I’ve authored with my narrative monologues are complete, there won’t be any more. Playing drums and producing other projects are my priority. ... more
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The Road is: Leaving home/Geneva Florida @ 16 for a long adventurous journey on the road.

Cocoa Beach, Merritt Island, Melbourne, Charleston, Jacksonville-NC, Albany, Pensacola, Biloxi-Mississippi, Key West, Bossier City, Little Rock, Fayetteville, and Memphis.

The Road is: a 58 Chevy with a U-Haul hitched to the back.

The Road is: North, South, East and West.

The Road is: A matchbox of reefer, your first black beauty, drums without cases, leaving a small town, being in a place where something’s happening, memories of youth, all of your belongings under one arm, lost love and mistakes, an older women all of 23, after gig affairs that wouldn’t kill you, greasy spoon restaurants and 5 star dining, eating in the kitchen, occasional respect.

The Road is: Laughs and fears, hallucinogens, black and white, little or no money, a 59 Volkswagen bus with a monkey on Owsley’s, 2 bands showing up for one gig in Birmingham, having your gear stolen, the bandleader taking most of the money off the top, waking up in a new state, a union rep at the club to check your card.

The Road is: becoming a father on the road, getting divorced on the road, becoming a grandfather on the road, seeing friends for the last time, being evicted.

The Road is: hearing old-timers on a bandstand, then becoming one.

The Road is: Missing your daughters first birthday, missing your granddaughters first birthday.

The Road is: telling your best friend his daughter has died.

The Road is: hearing another band on your break, being in Jacksonville-NC when Martin Luther King is shot. Riviera Beach when the 69 Mets win the World Series.
The Road is: being on I-95 outside DC when the Trade Center Towers collapse.

The Road is: A VW convertible left for dead on the road, 63 VW bus, 450 Honda, Fiat 500, trusty red 67 Volvo 122 S, 71 VW camper, 78 Saab, 80 Rabbit, 88 Astro, 2007 HHR.

The Road is: being unable to pick up a radio station on the road.

The Road is: being fired from Moe’s Missile Lounge, fired from the Blue Parrot, a club manager pulling the plug on you when the band’s cookin.

The Road is: fixing a piece of gear that only Rake & me know how to fix.
The Road is: Larry D, Bob Love, Ken Lathe, Jimmy Head, Hobbs, Jim Anderson, Cashwell, James Garner, Gladys, Wayne Sharp, Jim Ramsey, Pete Schaeffer.

The Road is: Jimi Hendrix, The Doors, 4-part harmony in a motel room, a white boy in a black club in 1967.

The Road is: Driving from Albany-New York to Biloxi-Mississippi, Key West to Birmingham.

The Road is: a one-nighter in the Hattiesburg, Mississippi jail.

The Road is: a brush with death, grass, opium, LSD, angledust, black beauties, a band that cooks as one, a band you can’t wait to quit.

The Road is: 9 till 2, 10 till 4, 30 minutes on, 30 minutes off, 1 set, 2 sets, a Sunday Jam, a wet County across the river.

The Road is: Mary, Bonita, Cindy, Diane, Glenda, Shelly, and Stacy. A list of names I can’t remember or even knew.

The Road is: The Peachtree Hotel in Atlanta, the Bel-air in Biloxi, a trailer in Charleston.

The Road is: The Pink Pussycat in West Palm Beach, Franks Beach House, The Fiesta, Mar Lou’s in Sanford, The Club Diamond, The Boot Hill Saloon, The Tonic, The Moose, The Elks, an after hours joint in a strip mall, a boat on the Saint Johns River.

The Road is: I-10 East, I-20 West, I-95 North, Route 66 and Highway 49.

The Road is: a guitar amp too loud, a bass player that rushes, a bass player that drags, a very attractive black prostitute on my lap, mononucleosis, strep throat and the crabs.

The Road is: Light My Fire, Purple Haze, Mony Mony, My Way, Keep Me Hangin On, Born To Be Wild, Brown Eyed Girl, Cross-town Traffic, Hush, Yummy Yummy, Portrait of my Love, People Got to be Free, Everyday People, drunks at the bar, rooms filled with smoke.

The Road is: The sound of a jukebox, the smell of darkness, ego, lies, loneliness and lust.

The Road is: sleeping with a schoolmate’s wife, the obvious and the unexpected, freedom and incarceration, rejection and help.

The Road is: a club owner named Herb, Moe, Jake or Frank.

The Road is: being fired for playing to black.

The Road is: a hotel at the club, a discount on food, a Morrison’s next door, a dark room with a TV and air, a band prank in the night.

The Road is: A time-fused m-80 in the hotel lobby ashtray that explodes and sends cigarette butts and sand everywhere.

The Road is: launching quarter pound rockets from the 6th floor Peachtree hotel balcony to neighborhood balconies.

The Road is: feces filled cups booby-trapped on top of a swinging bathroom door for unsuspecting tourist.

The Road is: 1967. The Road is: 1968. The Road is: 1969.

The Road is: Not getting paid, a free audition, a lie, a promise, a gold record on a motel room wall, unreturned phone calls, a well rehearsed pickup line, a bad trip, Mississippi faces strange and ugly from to much Owsley’s, Toad with Ginger Baker, Take Five with Joe Morello, Mitch Mitchell, an agent with a reputation, sound waves in a room, the wrong place at the wrong time.

The Road is: arriving to find all of your equipment off the bandstand on the dance floor at 5 till 9.

The Road is: US19, A1A, a club downtown, a club across a river, a club in a shopping center, a club on the beach, the Atlantic, the Pacific, The Caribbean or the Gulf of Mexico.

The Road is: 30 nights straight in Texas between Dallas and Fort Worth.

The Road is: The Nite Beat, The Cock n Bull, The Go-Go room, Doug Farwig, the bearded lady, Jack Snipes, Jay Worth and Jake the Snake.

The Road is: driving to Birmingham in a 58 Chevy with a Kustom rolled n pleated 2-15” speaker cabinet lying on the front seat to the back like a coffin.

The Road is: demonstrations and riots in Atlanta, knowing it all and knowing nothing, a mean white Atlanta cop on a hotel stairway.

The Road is: Hearing live music on the road, The Yardbirds, The Blues Magoos, Joe Simon and Clarence Carter.

The Road is: turning 16 on the road, turning 17 on the road, 18, 19, 20 and 21.

The Road is: The Blues, Rock and Roll, top 40, country, 4/4 time, black lights, go-go girls, strobe lites, a Shure vocal master, a one-nighter, a 2 week gig, working for the door, a strat, a hollow body Epiphone Sheridan, a 335, a Les Paul, a Twin Reverb, a Farfisa, a Hammond B-3 with a 122 Leslie, a Jazz Bass, $250.00 a week, a band uniform, a neru jacket, a mohair suit, bellbottoms, moccasins, a hookah pipe, morning rehearsals before the club opens, a different break tune for each set.

The Road is: thousands of sets and thousands of breaks.

The Road is: the 9th grade, 10th grade, 11th grade, 12th grade, your High School Prom, your Prom date, your best friend and your worst enemy.

The Road is: Going home for the first time from the road with stories about the road.

The Road is: inspiration for the future, wrong turns and defeats from the past.

The Road is: fusion, polka and the avant-garde.

The Road is: Elvis, The Beatles, James Brown, The Stones, Cream, Fats Domino, Ray Charles, Hank Williams, The Righteous Brothers, Sam the Sham, Frank Sinatra, The Zombies, Sly, Vanilla Fudge, Deep Purple, Blood-Sweat and Tears, Chicago Transit Authority, Santana, Dreams, Miles and the Mahavishnu Orchestra.

The Road is: Comedians, topless dancers, egotistic front men, a concert auditorium.

The Road is: a stripper’s boa constrictor dumping itself on the dance floor.

The Road is: A bandstand behind chicken wire, someone with too much to drink, all of your clothes smelling like smoke, the sound of glass bottles tossed and broken into a trash can, a tip bell ringing, playing to one table, playing to only the bartender, going home early.

The Road is: Wondering how long the gig will last.

The Road is: Duval Street in Key West, Fowler Avenue in Tampa, Dixie Highway and 17-92.

The Road Is: Mar Lou’s, Club Diamond, Club Juana, The Link Inn, The C-Room, The Factory, OB’s, The Blue Room, The Back Door, The Other Door, The Red Door, The Beach Club, Soul City, The Nite Beat, Moe’s Missile Lounge, The Cork Room, Scarlet O’Hara’s, The 4 o’clock club, Club Mary, The Red Lion, The Boot Hill Saloon, a frat house in some college town, a Holiday Inn, a Sheridan hotel, places and towns I’ve since forgot.

The Road is: paying Sweet Connie’s cab fare home.

The Road is: Peanut butter pie at Gus Stevens, staying up till sunrise, Popeye and the Chocolate Papers at Chez Joey, David and the Giants at The Vapors, Ace Cannon in Charleston, The Classics 5 in Clearwater, Johnny Rivers & BJ Thomas in Biloxi, Jaco with Wayne Cochran, Spirit in Little Rock, The James Gang in Memphis, Rare Earth, Sha Na Na, Mothers Finest, Page with the Yardbirds, Mitch Ryder, The Blues Magoos in Melbourne, The Mob in Miami Beach, Buddy Rich at Montes, Frank Zappa in Daytona, Derek Bailey at the Tonic, The Entertainers in Saint Petersburg, Bobby Caldwell with Noah’s Ark in West Palm, Laddy and Dave Miller with The Guillotines in Cocoa Beach.

The Road is: Hearing Jabo Starks playing funk like I’d never heard on a raggy old drumset in a black club in Mississippi.
The Road is: tripping on Owsley’s from New Orleans to Bay Saint Louis.

The Road is: peaking on Owsley’s in Ocala at a red light next to the Police car.

The Road is: Drug induced paranoia in Texas, Florida, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina and Tennessee.

The Road is: driving by a deserted lot, where a club you played, used to be.

The Road is: Driving by a Walgreen’s where a club you played used to be.

The Road is: driving by a golf cart factory where a club you played used to be.
The Road is: a bandstand on a flatbed truck, a bandstand behind a bar, a bandstand in a dark corner, a bandstand that revolves, A bandstand behind chicken wire, a bandstand that raises from below, a bandstand of plywood and moldy shag carpet.

The Road is: A band photo on a train, a gold record of “Color Him Father” C E Stubblefield, Don Gregory, Vic Waters, Sonny Peckrol, a borrowed suit case, a match box of reefer.

The road is: For the young, prose for the old.

The Road is: a flat tire on the front, a flat tire on the back, driving in the rain with out wipers, stopped for one head light, stopped for one tail light.

The Road is: checking your rear view mirror for the cop you just passed, stashing your stash in fear, eating your rolled joints.

The Road is: Learning to play time, trying to block out all clichés, reinventing yourself, wanting a hit record, coming close to a hit record, not caring about that any more.

The road is: Getting bailed out of jail, the FBI knowing your name, narcotics agents in the room, ears ringing after the gig, losing your hearing in one ear, losing your hearing in two ears.

The Road is: back aches, pain, sounds from the other room through the wall, the worst room in the hotel, one rudiment at a time, one scale a day, a 45 rpm record for the latest top 40 hit, sometimes two hundred dollars a week, sometimes two hundred dollars a night, losing the alternator, losing the fuel pump.

The Road Is: The club owner saying the bands to loud, the drums are to loud, not enough country, too much country, sounds like jazz, playing something we can dance to.

The Road is: Kissing your wife goodbye, kissing your girl friend goodbye, skipping out on the motel bill, crashing on someone’s floor, a motel room phone call at four A M with tragic news, hooking up the last night of the gig before you leave town, never to return.
The Road is: watching Jerry Van Dyke toss them down at the Fiesta, an afternoon movie, Easy Rider, Clockwork Orange, 2001.

The Road is: playing rim shots for Mister Magoo.

The Road is: Dozens of cymbals, hundreds of sticks, many drum sets.

The road is: Andy the organ player from Otis Redding, Big Mama and Jerry Newman, eleven bar blues, Slim Harpo, single stroke rolls on a Remo drum pad, an eight track of Captain Beyond & Birds of Fire.

The Road is: Monday through Saturday, Tuesday through Sunday, two nights, three nights, a Saturday jam session, broken sticks, broken picks, Halls cough drops stuck to shag carpet, cables like spaghetti, glasses and bottles behind amplifiers.

The Road is: Bad news on television, wars, assassinations, plane crashes.

The Road is: Leaving a small town with a big dream.

The Road is: a marque sign with your name on it, a sign that says “live band” “Live Music” a sign with burned out neon letters, A sign that says twenty one beautiful go-go girls, live show, now appearing, one night only, happy hour, free buffet, big screen T V, ladies night.
The Road is: a souvenir cocktail glass with an umbrella straw, a Black waiter dancing in a gravel box for tips and change.

The Road is: Breaking down in Georgia, July heat, after gig breakfast in the local greasy spoon, load-ins on sidewalks and up narrow flights of stairs.

The Road is: broken elevators, parking tickets, speeding tickets, a thirty day suspension, a one year suspension.

The Road is: an echo-plex, a black tuxedo, a toll booth, falling in love, a deep groove on the bandstand, a band uniform in the cleaners, two weeks with an option, fired after the first night.

The Road is: blank stares from a perplexed audience, clearing a room, double takes, hands held over ears as they walk by the band stand, a listener wishing they were you.

The Road is: Playing great, playing bad, a mix that sucks, to black for whites, to white for blacks.

The Road is: The Blenders, The Scene, Jimmy Head & the Headlyters, Sons of Tyme, Moss County, Tommy Cashwell, Vero Beach, Merging Traffic, Rock Springs in the summer, The Riddler Band, A Gainesville Frat house, a high school cafeteria, a high school gymnasium, a navy base, a Theme Park Pavilion.

The Road is: Playing inside, playing outside, an apartment complex poolside party, a sorority house, the school prom.

The road is: Color My World, Long Train Running, Brown Sugar and Superstition.

The Road is: a cabin below the ships anchor somewhere in the Caribbean, a loud espresso machine, a loud blender and a loud audience.

The Road is: Daytona Speedway, an art festival with a stage under a canopy.

The Road is: a soundman without a clue, a small crowd that listens, a large crowd that could care less.
The Road is: A amphitheater on the beach, playing on a porch, a tent, isle four, the cigar bar on the Victory, a stage in a coffee shop, the floor in a corner, a side walk, a wedding, music for a stripper to remove her clothes, Nashville, Tony Moon, Vanderbilt University.

The Road is: a convention show, free food for the band, West Side Story, Stars and Stripes Forever, Free Jazz and Improvisation.

The Road is: Multiple affairs, a Bible in a drawer, mace, coffee, Taco Tico, Waffle House, Chastain’s, Ronnie’s, The Pit Grill.

The road is; New Years Eve, Christmas, honey moon night.

The Road is: The Open Letter, turning black, Majid Shabaz playing drums, time in the shed, Coltrane, Art Ensemble, Elvin Jones, Roy Haynes, Paul Bley, Tommy Thomas.

The Road is: chasing your sound, confusion, anticipation, frustration, scratching about and articulation.

The Road is: A gig with Lonnie Lawson, Stanley Cecil, Al Kramer, Thumper Sweeny, Jay, Greg, Dick, Steven, Brian, Gary, Doug, Mark, Dan, Joe, Rake, Glenn, Kenny, Noble, Clarence, Dennis, Don, Charlie, Mike, Michael, Ron, Billy, Eddie.

The Road is: the 60s, 70s, 80s, and 90s

The Road is: State Road 44, 46, a dirt road, a paved road, a bridge, and a tunnel.
The Road is: A set of Japanese Zim-Gar, Black Oyster Pearl Ludwig’s, Red Sparkle Rodgers, Carpathian Elm Gretsch, Sonor, Hayman, North and Fibes.

The Road is: yesterday & tomorrow.

The Road is: A bandstand that’s just big enough for a drumset like mine.


released November 9, 2018


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Quadragrip Mount Dora, Florida


In 1984 - at the age of 34 - Michael Welch was accepted into the Masters Resident study program at the Atlantic Center for the Arts. He would study for 3-weeks with Jazz Drummer Elvin Jones. Known for his creative drumming in the John Coltrane Quartet. Also participating in the trio of master teachers was Allen Ginsberg and Robert Frank. ... more

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