Stools, Straps & Jeans

Performing two one-hour assemblies at Adolfo Camarillo High School in early 1972.

I’ve always used a four-legged stool onstage. Well, there was that time I was one of the opening acts for the early Doobie Brothers. I swore I’d never perform standing up ever again if I could help it. My knees shook so much, I wasn’t sure I was going to remain upright, which distracted me from really getting into the music like I wanted and needed to do. Lucky for me, in the 1960s and ’70s most folk singers sat down to perform. Hell, Donovan even sat on Persian carpets and floor cushions and looked so damned cool.

As I get myself ready to join the house concert circuit later this year, I’m using one of these stools just as I did before. Being able to have my left foot planted on the floor helps me to support my upper body, including my lungs and diaphragm. It also makes me feel more solid, more grounded, and will keep me from keeling over if the dreaded Stagefrightzilla shows up unannounced and uninvited.

The problem is, where once upon a time I could sit for hours on a wooden stool, these days my bum and lower back start hurting after only an hour. No big deal. I’ll just pad the seat. The fun of this will be shopping for just the right fabric. Since it will be part of my performance gear, I want it to look cool, but not too contrived. Cats? No. Dogs? No. Flowers? Definitely not. Guitars? Too obvious. Paisleys would be cool, or maybe some other Indian fabric.

JP Deni in 1969

I won’t be using a guitar strap because I no longer see the need for one. The one in the picture was handmade and embroidered for me by my old sidekick, the late, great JP Deni. I wish I still had it. Now that she’s gone, I really regret it being lost in The Big Dump of 2001. Actually, I’d go back to using a strap if my talented son, Micah, made one for me. He makes beautiful custom straps professionally.

Man, I wish I still had those flared two-tone jeans.

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