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March 2006


Greetings, fans, friends, and radio listeners!

Our brand new CD “California Country” is officially out MAY 9, but “California Country” is available now on this website for friends and fans. Be the first one on your block to have you own legitimate copy of the Hawks’ brand new record.Order the CD
The Hawks


A few weeks ago, I See Hawks in L.A. filmed their first beer commercial. In a strange twist of fate, the band signed on to appear in a San Miguel Beer commercial for the Spanish market. Cast as a burnt-out cowboy band, the Hawks play for a roomfull of bored line dancers. Then the beer arrives, the Spanish disco music kicks in, everyone chants “Hey!” and goes crazy. Rob fires two pistols in the air and whispers ‘Paquito’ to Brantley for no known reason. Yes, these are strange times we’re living in.

See this commercial
The video uses Quicktime. If you experice any problems, make sure you have the Quicktime plug-in from Apple.com/quicktime.


March 17

We lavished hasty praise indeed on the Pontiac Montana mini-van–it’s time for a retraction.This little beast makes a good impression on those (us) easily awed by bells and whistles, but it’s really the typical junk made by a culture out of ideas and purpose. Like the modern action film that exists to dazzle, this vehicle is a rolling sensory overload–and too smart for its audience. Lights go on and off, many options for locking and unlocking the vehicle clamor for your attention, chimes sound for no apparent reason once you’re driving. The owner’s manual (do people buy this beast or are rent-a-car drivers the only victims?) must be thicker than a Microsoft for Dummies. And a major class action injury lawsuit is in the making for Pontiac, which might drive the company to its merciful end: it’s possible to sever a finger in the rear hatch handle, and a scientific test confirmed that the motorized side door will crush a 400 page Vanity Fair magazine, happily oblivious to any obstacle in its path. Good luck, Detroit.

But we digress. Our last day in Austin during the days of SXSW was a fine one, with kind rain from gray firmament. We drove into Austin in the morning, a beautiful drive through hill country from the Klines in Dripping Springs-adjacent. We found 6th Street right where we left it in downtown Austin, arrived at B.D. Rileys, parked illegally, hugfest reunion with our pal Jonny Fargo, host of the pub’s afternoon shows. More hugs for the Bellyachers, San Francisco’s finest, and sweethearts they are.B.D. Rileys is in the midst of 6th Street madness, and badge and non-badge wearing revelers pass under its open window all day. It’s happening. Rick Shea joined us on the packed and tiny stage, another well received Hawks show. Jonny and the waitresses most kindly plied us with food and drink as we watched a modest building to devastating show from Stinson/Gilkyson/Weeks, as the crowd went wild, and Hawks were dragged into two step dancing by very drunk Houstonian divorcees. We met Chris Morris, who was in ecstasy over his boys onstage.

We lingered into late afternoon, then borrowed Stinson’s drums yet again and drove off to Opal Divines on Congress, where we parked the ill-fated Pontiac and fell asleep in the parking lot. We awoke to brooding clouds over sunset on the distant hills, and set up on the Opal Divine outdoor stage. Soundman Stony knows what he’s doing (he and Paul L. reminisced about a Burning Spear tour they were both on in the early 90s, Paul in the Bonedaddys, Stony doing sound for Spear, both touched by Jah divinity from the great and dreadlocked prophet). The Hawks sounded great, crisp clear sound, once again Rick Shea giving us the stadium touch.We used up our $100 bar tab on single malt scotches, including a quaffing of a 1978 Ardbeg that was a bit religious, watched our country rock mates Stinson/Weeks/Gilkyson for the fourth time, liked it even more. We were spent. We vanished into the night and the hills of Hill Country.

Next day was interesting, interesting indeed. We bade farewell to the gracious Klines, left Dripping Springs for the Interstate back to Houston airport. We utilized the Pontiac’s one redeeming feature, the DVD player, and listened to or watched Richard Linklater’s Waking Life (front seats/back seats), which is an enlightening soundtrack for a drive across Texas. We became part of the film, and the world became Waking Life, as the cinema hero tried to escape his dream that we were now a part of. Waking Life is a powerful movie. We stopped at Waffle House just as we were despairing of encountering this taste sensation on this Texas odyssey; ordered everything covered, scrambled and smothered. Supercharged and complete, we floated out into the parking lot, fired up the Pontiac, back onto the highway to Houston.
Official Sponsor of Hawks Downfall

Paul L was driving, and uncharacteristically fast, and in vain. We were late for our plane out of Houston. We dumped the Pontiac at the remote rent-a-car lot and grabbed a shuttle into the airport, missed several mini-train connections, and stood in a massive line as our departure time loomed 20 minutes away on the airport clock. This is how optimistic Paul M is: “Call me an optimist, but I think we’re going to make our flight.” An hour later, we were struggling to make a second flight, but we made it, arriving in L.A. a mere two hours later than planned.

At this point Shawn has done about 12 shows in 4 days. He’s superhuman. He could drum a hole in a steel plate if he had to. shawn.jpg

Somewhere between Houston and L.A. a Continental Airlines baggage handler and defender of America removed the “Impeach Bush” bumper sticker from Paul L’s guitar case. Paul was mortified, as only Paul can be, asked a flight attendant about how to register a complaint. She began chanting “Bush! Bush! Bush!” Sleep-deprived Paul, surrounded by blank stares from the Continental flight crew, beat a hasty retreat up the ramp. We are not making this up. Meanwhile, a defender of America TSA baggage inspector stole a “Kinky Friedman for Governor” sticker out of Paul L’s pedalboard case, putting a tiny TSA sticker on pedalboard case as a trade of some sort. We didn’t realize Kinky was an enemy of the state. The next day Paul L pulled into a Catholic girl’s high school parking lot in Alhambra to do a noon assembly show with his acoustic band Goin’ South (with Rick Shea and Cody Bryant). The security guard spotted the “Impeach Bush” sticker on Paul L’s car and walked up Paul as he got out of his car. “You don’t like Bush?” the guard asked.

Paul, still sleep deprived, made a vow to remove all political content from his possessions. “No, I don’t,” he warily replied.”Good!” said the security guard. “He’s ruining the country!”
Relief at last. Paul was feeling proud of his Angeleno homeland. A good place to enjoy the decline of empire.


March 17, Dripping Springs to Austin

Meet Geoff Cline and his lovely and genius wife Sally. They are our hosts in the hill country, with an ultra modern eco house on a bluff over the Pedernales river an hour southwest of Austin in the rolling juniper and oak cattle ranch country. After our first night in town, Geoff leads us on dark highways through and past Dripping springs, down 2 lane semi-paved and dirt roads across flash flood channels, past the 1971 site of Willie Nelson’s first 28,000 strong hippie Picnic, as bunnies and herds of deer flee our headlights into the brush. A final left on Rabbit Run and Turkey, and we reach the compound.Geoff and Sally show us around the house, designed from scratch by Sally, who also made the iron beam front gate, all the fixtures, much of the textile work, and laid all the tile. She also has an advanced political science degree in Nuclear Strategy and was courted by the NSA. Geoff is a slacker underachiever by comparison, a singer/songwriter guitarist who was chief counsel for Patagonia for eight years (before launching Sovereign Records, who financed the Hawks new CD before entering financial limbo). Where do these people find the time?

The Cline house is three stories of intriguing irregularly angled rooms, has a rainwater system for collecting drinking water, will have solar panels, and has many cozy areas for viewing Lance Armstrong’s distant mansion carved ostentatiously into the trees, or contemplating the undisturbed river bluffs below. Sally may have gone too far when she placed a 25 foot high bookshelf shaft in the middle of the house, accessible only by a mechanical hoists that lifts the seeker of knowledge in a harness to the dizzying heights of the library shaft. Next morning we woke in our usual order (Paul M, Paul L, last two not named for privacy reasons), had a Cline breakfast, and checked out the nearby pointing tree, shaped by Indians so that it points out to the river below.

pointing tree dripping springs.jpg The Hawks wandered down the bluff with Geoff to the Pedernales, an ever changing flow now at low ebb from a long drought, with twigs in the trees 15 feet above showing the high water mark. It was easy to imagine cowboys chasing stray calves out of the river sand, and Indians hunting antelopes.

After much wandering through the brush, it was somehow time to head into Austin for our next show. We hit heavy traffic and badge wearing revelers on 6th Street arrived just in time, of course, under brooding late afternoon skies, at Opal Divine’s Treehouse, where an official SXSW Irish band played at one side, Kinky Friedman for Governor tables sat in the middle, and unofficial country rock entertained on the street side patio. This was full immersion in SXSW hoopla. We set up on the patio, greeting our publicist and bon vivant Susan Clary, and our record promotion man David Avery from Powderfinger. Now this is the way to do biz, with everyone lubricated on Shiner Beer and who knows what else. Our good pal Rick Shea played guitar with us and bumped up our sound to the stadium country rock we so crave for outdoor shows. (Paul L and Rick look like stereo images on stage, left and right handed battered telecasters or Martin D-18’s and long gray hair. We didn’t plan this.) The crowd gathered from the teeming masses on 6th street below, and we had a real good time.

Shawn and Rick Shea dashed off with Paul M and Rob and Paul L had burritos on the river with L.A. friends Doran and Cisco and friends, then drove off to the funkiest honky tonk we’d ever seen, Jenny’s Little Longhorn, on a street so ugly it could have been West L.A. Inside James Intveld had put together a honky tonk super group, with Rick Shea, Shawn, and a rock solid superfunky bass player and virtuoso steel player. This was a new level for James’s music, as good a country unit as ever played. No exaggeration. The crowd, which included some serious country swing dancers, was transfixed for 2 hours. James did his effortless crooning and introduced all waitresses by name. This is what music used to be all about, and occasionally still is: making people feel good.

How did we get home to Chez Cline, down highways and biways into the dark hills? That is a bit of a mystery, but we did. It was not long before Texas dawn, which we missed.

Southwest of SouthBySouthwest

March 16, Houston to Austin

The Hawks do not like to arrive hours before any event. We like to pull up to the club, heave the amps and drums out of the car, and rush on stage. This eliminates time for making set lists (although it might be possible to concoct one on a three hour interstate drive–naah) and boosts us into a floating free form state, and inner voices tell us which song to play next.Such was the case on this cloudy Thursday in the great state of Texas. Rousing ourselves around 10 a.m. from the comfort of the Comfort Inn on Katy Highway in outer Houston (it’s all outer), we piled in the Pontiac Montana (more about that later) and drove the fairly crowded I-10 west to Highway 71, northwest through eccentrically (eccentricly?) littered scrub and pasture land. Littered with strange buildings, unmotivated stone walls, mysterious abandoned ranches. The junk of Texas is filled with voodoo, unlike California’s junk, which is so clearly money driven.

There is almost no food on this stretch of highway. We were holding out for a Waffle House, feeling utterly confident in this quick and tasty stop. Nope. For hours we drove, past La Grange and less storied towns lurking somewhere behind the listless woods. Hunger set in, and despair, and dark thoughts. We settled for a uniquely Texan brand of mediocre diner all day breakfast, served by a waitress with piercing and accusatory pale blue eyes and a heart of gold.Adequately nourished, we arrived in Austin with not a moment to spare. A false move on the SXSW clogged streets and we’d miss our 1 p.m. Sin City Social Club slot. We pulled into the dirt lot mellow anarchy of Maria’s Taco Express, changed into our country rock duds, jumped on the outdoor wood stage, acquainted ourselves with strange gear (Traynor amp, not a bad Fender imitation!) and did a 20 minute set, which was very well received, much whooping and hollering, and we felt right at home.

Shilah and Bryson did a great funky job, great vibes were in the dusty air, and these are the best tacos the Hawks have collectively sampled. Maria’s Taco Xpress on South Lamar, you got to go.ElizaGilkysonTony.jpg
Paul L and 2/3 of the Gilkysons

L.A. country rock supergroup Mike Stinson/Tony Gilkyson/Randy Weeks took the stage and knocked the crowd flat, first of four shows we’d do with our SoCal brethren. We got to meet WM Smith, writer for the Houston Press and our patron saint for this trip, hung with our L.A. compatriots and new friends for too long, borrowed all of Mike Stinson’s band gear (he and Tony drove out, now that’s a man), then raced to the Hole In The Wall across town, where they must be used to our last minute appearance by now.After a bright eyed revival of roots country by a young band whose name will be recalled eventually, we did a short set for the SXSWers and our local friends Steve and Dana, who are off for San Antonio and Amsterdam respectively, then raced out into the night to return Mike Stinson’s gear for his late night show in a coffee house that looks to be carved out of deep hill country woods. Of course it was night.

We bade farewell to Tony, Randy, and Mike, and drove through the night, south west, to a little piece of paradise on the Pedernales River.


ISHILA is in Houston for the first time. The city is gray. A smooth and uneventful plane flight (Paul L prevents crashes by purchasing Vanity Fair at the airport, a ritual that’s worked for years), unsettling but ultimately useful directions from Mapquest through empty freeways and vast wild urban green space, and we’ve arrived at our Interstate-side Comfort Inn. The motel faces the I-10. Behind us is a major railway line. The noises cancel each other out. The airconditioner is broken, which might not be that bad. If it was was August we’d be dead.

Show details: We saw more of the Katy access road than we’d cared to as we looked for a 10 East entrance, passing a huge Bud Light factory and an odd assortment of tiny old woodframe houses, high grass filled empty lots with fugitive cats, and warehouses that have got a good jump on decay and collapse. Houston’s got soul. There’s no zoning here—you can build anything next to anything else. The results are not pretty, but it makes for fascinating wandering if you’re lost. But Paul Marshall’s solid navigator skills (as opposed to Paul L’s more flashy but erratic style) got us to Sig’s Lagoon, a very hip little record store right on Main Street somewhere in the shadows of the proud Houston skyline. Main Street boasts more laissez faire urban decay, but also a super modern rail car passing often on the center rails.

The Sig’s folks are kind to the point of confusion for the L.A. thrashed Hawks. Thomas offers us a Shiner beer as soon as we walk in the door, and we meet some fascinating Houstonians as we wait for the masses to arrive for our instore concert: a Houston attorney whose five years in Marin County, CA were a respite in paradise, who describes how pumping water into declining oil wells is a huge re-boom for Houston, but that the oily water that floats into the aquifer might not be such a good thing for future generations; a British geologist here for the re-boom; and Eva, a country rock aficionado and movie costumer we knew in L.A. now carving out the good life in Houston with her very hip husband and kids.The masses hit the critical mass of about 15, and we did a short acoustic set, very warm response from our new friends, and we headed next door to the Continental Club while the ultra kind (and lead singer, in about three cool sounding bands) Thomas got us some big league spring rolls from Mai’s Vietnamese restaurant around the corner.

The Continental Club is sprawling, old, dimly lit, and serious. You know good music is played here all the time. The Wednesday night house band fronted by Miss Leslie in chffon dress was a country classic, solid musicians and a quirky virtuoso pedal steel player.We used the house gear, which was a fine bass rig and a 1969 Fender Super Reverb, minus the Reverb but a punchy and ringing guitar sound. We played a regular type set, but to our pleasant surprise the crowd was really enthused—A Dog Can Break Your Heart Too was a big favorite–and we played about six more songs, hung out with the fans afterwards and continued rounds of Jim Beam with owner and life enthusiast Trey. We’re off to a damn good start in Texas. We rolled out of the Continental Club around 1:30 a.m., satisfied, and hungry.

Mai’s Vietnamese food saved our ass. Vermicelli with grilled pork and egg roll. Wonton soup. Jasmine tea. Tofu and Snow Pea Leaf. Chicken, chicken, chicken. Open until 4 am. Busty strippers in low cut shirts hugging Armenian boyfriends over hot noodle soups. .


You know, you can read newspapers and listen to NPR and you get a picture of the world, but it’s always busted by a venture out of your regular surroundings. Take Pontiac: the American car industry is in freefall, with products that are outdated and made much better by Japan. That comfy view is given the lie by our rental van, a Pontiac Montana, with smart doors that close at a nudge, and a DVD with rear seat TV screen. This beast is a beauty of modest design and function. We purchased a DVD of Richard Linklater’s “Waking Life” at Sig’s and watched some of it in the Continental Club parking lot, gentle late night moist air wafting through our open doors, as we signed a few CDs. This is modern life, made right here in America, or at least partially assembled here. We are modern, global, and on top of our game. Let’s enjoy these moments.

First Reviews of “California Country,” from Houston, Germany, England & L.A.

March 9, 2006

Try as you might to avoid the heinous hippie-cliché “cosmic” when describing the music of I See Hawks in LA, when the melodies, lyrics, harmonies and licks take over, you’ll find yourself lost in some greater-than-the-sum-of-its-parts moment. The Hawks’ new disc, California Country, would make an appropriate score for Thomas Pynchon’s Vineland: The pace is trance-inducing, the stories transfixing, the vibe completely Californian.

“Slash from Guns N’ Roses” doesn’t just mock L.A. life–it bitch-slaps the entire concept of West Coast pop, and “Barrier Reef” is the best anthem to Cannabis sativa since “Humboldt” (from the previous Hawks record, Grapevine). These guys even have the cojones to snipe at the Lone Star State in the form of “Houston Romance” (which they swear is mostly true). And, really, who could disagree with a lyric like “Texas City, Corpus Christi, it’s not the humidity, it’s the humanity / it’s not the insensitivity, it’s the insanity / Corpus Christi, Texas City?” This will also certainly be the only alt-country disc this year to contain a line like “Nixon was headin’ to that big white house / and the bombs would soon be droppin’ on the children of Laos.” Seldom has there been an album with such joyous music-making, such corrosive, acid-etched lyrics. Way cosmic.
— William Michael Smith

Extraordinary album.
— Michael Simmons, L.A. Weekly writer


Ja, so kann’s laufen, wenn man aus einer Bierlaune heraus und ohne große Ambitionen ein musikalisches Projekt aus Spaß an der Freude ins Leben ruft und im Laufe der Jahre zu mehr als einem bloßen Geheimtipp der südkalifornischen Alternative-Countryszene heranwächst.
Unglücklicherweise blieb mir die Combo mit dem außergewöhnlichen Namen I SEE HAWKS IN L.A. bislang ebenfalls unbekannt. Doch schließlich darf man sich auf die wohlgemeinten Tipps der europäischen Roots-Gemeinde verlassen, und sich kurz darauf ganz unvoreingenommen am pressfrischen Exemplar des dritten I SEE HAWKS IN L.A.-Albums erfreuen. Rob Ellen, der schottische Mentor und Agent der Kalifornier, durfte sich dann, befragt nach meinem ersten Eindruck, auch über ein relativ euphorisches ‘Love at first sight’-Statement meinerseits freuen.

Die HAWKS, die durchweg auf die Songwriter-Qualitäten ihrer beiden Köpfe, Rob Waller und Paul Lacques vertrauen, machen es einem aber auch sehr leicht, sie zu mögen. Sie spiegeln quasi sämtliche Vorzüge, die eine mitreissende Country-Band benötigt wider: Lust und Laune, tolle Songs, die gleichermaßen Tradition und Moderne vereinen, beeindruckende Vielfältigkeit und Geschicklichkeit im Umgang mit ihren Instrumenten, variabel gestalteter Gesang samt ansprechender Harmony-Vocals, völlig unerwartete musikalische Überraschungsmomente und ausgefuchste Lyrics, die fernab jeglicher Klischees die Finger z.B. in politische Wunden legen, amerikanische Historie verarbeiten oder auch mal mit einem zynischen Lächeln die L.A.-Celebrities auf’s Korn nehmen.
Allein die Texte der HAWKS sind derart unterhaltsam, dass sie schon zum Tipp des Monats ausreichten. Doch eine absolute Top-Band zeichnet sich letztlich dadurch aus, dass sie anspruchsvolle Lyrics mit der nötigen Portion Esprit und musikalischem Know-How transportiert. Und dies gelingt I SEE HAWKS IN L.A. auf ihrem neuen Album “California Country” vorbildlich und mit wohltuender Leichtigkeit.

Die Kalifornier decken die komplette Bandbreite der amerikanischen Country-Musik stilecht ab. Ihr Spektrum reicht von Country-Rock bis Honky Tonk, von Bluegrass bis Folk und pendelt ständig zwischen ernsthaften und amüsanten Themen. So schaffen es die HAWKS mitsamt ihrer erlesenen Gästeliste, die u.a. auf Namen wie Chris Hillman, Rick Shea und Tommy Funderburk zurückgreift, ein spannendes und mitreissendes Album zu komponieren und setzen die Meßlatte für die zahlreiche Konkurrenz wieder ein Stückchen höher.
Wenn man überhaupt noch vom Insiderstatus dieser Combo sprechen darf, dann sollte sich dieser demnächst in alle Winde zerstreuen. Jedenfalls würde ich mich nicht wundern, sie demnächst in den Euro-Americana-Charts auf den vorderen Plätzen zu sehen.

— Frank Ipach, (Impressum, Artikelliste), 13.03.2006

“Well, get a load of this: coming on like a more muscular version of the Flying Burritos, the Hawks have all the ingredients that’ll have you purring with happiness. The country roots come through strong but they like to rock a bit too; the lap steel of Paul Lacques plays a leading role and there’s frequent two and three part manly country harmonies. There’s banjo, mandolin, dobro and fiddle but also swirling organ and electric guitar solos for the rock side of the equation. So, we’ve got country rock here, re-configured for the new century and harder edged, musically at least, than the Eagles/Poco etc. school of country rock.

“The songs are written for the most part by Paul Lacques and Rob Waller, the latter being the lead vocalist. They have a knack of writing songs with a singalong hook that disguises a frequently dark lyrical heart; they’re not exactly bleak but they do take a sceptic’s view of the world. In ‘Midnight in Orlando,’ disillusioned with Disneyland and the self-improvement conference he’s attending, the protagonist heads for the swampland : ‘where at least I know what’s dead; the animals they don’t greet you, they just eat you instead.’
“As that indicates, they pick unusual material; perhaps most surprising is ‘Byrd From West Virginia,’ a song of praise and affection for the aged Senator Robert Byrd who has been trenchant and persistent in his opposition to Dubya’s Iraqi adventure. The most fun is ‘Slash From Guns’n’Roses,’ which takes the mickey out of L.A. society in a gloriously over-the-top folk ballad as rock and roll style.

“This is fun stuff, and a good sound to have around – especially if you’re a fan of the pedal steel.” ********* 9 STARS OUT OF 10

–John Davy, Whisperin & Hollerin, UK

Can you read Dutch? If so, click here:Kosmische country met aparte songteksten.

Golf Is Too Darn Slow For Buzzy Krongard, Princeton Class of ’58 — Bankers Trust’s former vice-chairman joins the CIA

Friends of Hawks, here’s a fascinating profile of a fascinating man in a fascinating historical period of a fascinating system of government and business:

A.B. “Buzzy” Krongard ’58 once punched a great white shark in the head on a bet. He practices lethal martial arts with an intensity that is frightening. And the only guns he collects are ones he can use. Buzzy_K.gif

So when the Bankers Trust New York vice-chairman announced earlier this year that he was retiring after 27 years as an investment banker, nobody expected him to pass his golden years strolling the fairways. Golf is “just too darn slow,” he growls. Instead, at 61, Krongard signed on with the company — the CIA. That’s right. The Central Intelligence Agency. Spooks. Classified briefings. Krongard has left behind high finance to jet around the world clandestinely as counselor to CIA Director George Tenet. The CIA created the job for him.

Colleagues and family say they’re not surprised Krongard chose a second career in the perilous world of international espionage. He’s a former Marine with an outspoken nogutsnoglory persona that made him stand out among the reserved, grayflanneled ranks of investment bankers. Some intelligence experts say Krongard might be just what the CIA needs now. He earned a reputation for being brutally honest while building Baltimore brokerage Alex. Brown into a respected Wall Street player before Bankers Trust bought it in 1997.

“It’s going to be a breath of fresh air out at Langley. Buzzy is certainly sympathetic to the mission of the agency, but isn’t at all hesitant to speak out about problems,” says R. James Woolsey, the CIA director from 1993 to 1995. Critics say the CIA has lost its analytical depth — it failed to foresee India’s nuclear tests last May, for instance — and is in need of a major overhaul. “It’s not a one-to-one translation from Wall Street to the intelligence community. But unlike an agency insider, Buzzy will be able to use his principles of management to help improve the agency,” Woolsey says.

What does Krongard say he can offer? “My main job is to be helpful. I’ll pick up towels in the men’s room if they want,” he says. “What I will be doing is assist in strategic matters. Many Wall Street analysts do things and collect information in ways not dissimilar to what we do here. The only difference is methodology.” Krongard is a larger-than-life character whose words often beg to be accompanied by the Marine anthem. Friends say he exudes a stormthebeach brand of patriotism.

“I’m not sure this second career has anything to do with patriotism. It’s self-interest,” Krongard says. “Who offers opportunity and freedom the way the United States does? It’s incumbent upon me to preserve the preeminence of the United States. For evil to prevail is for good men to do nothing.” Krongard’s second career was born over a lunch late last year with his old friend Tenet, who raised the possibility that Krongard come work for the CIA. “I can’t think of another job that would have tempted me,” says Krongard, who started his new job in February.

Krongard’s business experience began 36 years ago when he went to work for his father-inlaw’s label and patch company in Baltimore after a threeyear stint in the Marines. He got hooked on the art — and adrenaline — of dealmaking when negotiating the sale of the company. He knew finance was for him. In 1971, he joined what was then called Alex. Brown & Sons as a finance associate. Under Krongard’s leadership as CEO at Alex. Brown, the firm was transformed from a regional brokerage into a Wall Street force, all the while remaining headquartered in Krongard’s native Baltimore. Between 1992 and 1996, the firm’s revenue grew from $445 million to more than $1 billion. The firm also became a leader in underwriting initial public offerings, a lucrative business that made Alex. Brown an attractive target for Bankers Trust. The bank bought the firm for $1.7 billion last year, and the deal left Krongard with $71 million in Bankers Trust stock. In his last year at the firm, Krongard made $4 million in salary and bonus. But Krongard dismisses the whopping pay cut he’s taken to work at the CIA — he makes about $120,000 a year — as insignificant. “The psychic income is infinite,” Krongard says. “Besides, how much money is enough?”

Krongard likes honing his marksmanship with his favorite 9mm Glock or SIG-Saurer handguns at the firing range on his 93acre estate near Baltimore. But he also enjoys intellectual pursuits. He can carry on for hours about his favorite philosophers — Socrates, Spinoza, and Hume — or about his favorite paintings in the Louvre. And if Krongard is as driven in his new job as he is about his physical fitness, the spy world had better watch out. Consider this recent demonstration: Krongard, in the basement gym of his Baltimore home, asks me to punch him in the gut. After some trepidation, I land a right jab squarely on Krongard’s taut abs. “Come on now,” Krongard shouts. “Is that all you got?” I swing again. And again. “Geez, is that all you got? I mean really hit me.” I deliver one last punch, this time with a wind-up. A grimace doesn’t even cross Krongard’s face. “Boy, you don’t hit very hard, do you?” Disappointed, Krongard returns to practicing moves on a rubber dummy.

— Tom Lowry Copyright 1998, USA TODAY. Reprinted with permission.
More on Buzzy and friends


by Gary Snyder

By civilized times, hunting was a sport of kings. The early Chinese emporers had vast fenced hunting reserves: peasants were not allowed to shoot deer. Millenia of experience, the proud knowledge of hunting magic–animal habits–and the skills of wild plants and herb gathering were all but scrubbed away. Much has been said about the frontier in American history, but overlooking perhaps some key points: the American confrontation with a vast ecology, an earthly paradise of grass, water, and game–was mind shaking. Americans lived next to vigorous primitives whom they could not help but respect and even envy, for three hundred years. Finally, as ordinary men supporting their families, they often hunted. Although marginal peasants in Europe and Asia did remain part-time hunters at the bottom of the social scale, these Americans were the vanguard of an expanding culture. For Americans, “nature” means wilderness, the untamed realm of total freedom–not brutish and nasty, but beautiful and terrible. Something is always eating at the American heart like acid: it is the knowledge of what we have done to our continent, and to the American Indian.