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Hit the bong
Hit the bottle
Shaquille O’Neal
Is Aristotle
Stoney Summer

Thus begins a never- but someday-to-be-finished Hawks song on the particularities of the L.A. summer. It’s always summer in the Southland, with brief interruptions of autumn-like weeks in December, a bit of rain in February, a chilly day in April. Time is marked by your friends’ daughter suddenly turning four, or finding an old newspaper with a sour old story. The blue skies with mysterious white traces tell you nothing about the passing of your life.

Memory disintegrates. When did what happen? Milestones are obscured in the heat waves. Is it May? What have we been doing?What have we been doing? We played an Earth Day fest at the Armory Arts Center in Pasadena, got shocked bigtime on the bad wired outdoor stage, then our amps got fried, and we retreated indoors, to the small stage amongst hundreds of toddler Angelenos furiously creating art at long tables, where the electricity again toyed with us and we wound up singing acapella to a good vibes Earth Day crowd. Yes, we can do with out coal fired Fenders and microphones. It’s going to be just fine.

What else? We’re working on a children’s record, spearheaded by our drummer Shawn, with all the Hawks, wives Sherri and Victoria, Mike Stinson, David Jackson, the Chapin Sisters. It’s a family affair. We’re playing on Susan James’s new psychedelic folk CD. We were supposed to return to Ireland and UK, but the global economy says nay.

We’re goofing around. Rob and Paul L have a bunch of new songs, kinda gentle and melancholy, and an epic 6/8 tune written with Paul M, “I Fell In Love With The Grateful Dead.” Rob and Paul L took the Dead tune and the other infant songs out for a spin at a duo show at the Redwood Bar. Mark Follman, bassist from the late great The Magic Of Television came down and jammed with Rob, Paul L, and Victoria slamming on drums, and it sounded like something, so we’re calling it “That And Wood.” Paul L is practicing his dobro and getting his guitars refretted. Someday he’s going to sell a bunch of junk on ebay. Shawn is obsessing over recording gear. He just bought a summing box and a Masterlink that only Tape Op readers can understand. Paul L can’t get ProTools to work on his new computer. Rob and Paul are using GarageBand to make demos in his garage.

We’ve been tweaking our website, got our videos up at iseehawks.com/videos, launched a No Depression web page with lots of songs.We played Ronnie Mack’s Barndance. Six years ago at our first Barndance out in the Valley we were timid oddballs amongst true country band veterans, but we did get the attention of L.A. country kingpin Paul Marshall, who’s been a Hawk ever since. In ’09 our oddballness is part of the scene, and the Barndance feels like home. Bless you, Ronnie Mack. We had a fine little set and King Cotton followed and was mighty mighty, in peak form with a kickass band. On, King, you mighty huskie!

After afternoon rehearsal Paul L was enticed Tom Sawyer style into digging up a raised bed in the Waller yard. We made “X” furrows in the newly turned soil, dumped in seeds randomly, and covered them up. Two weeks later, the miracle of life appeared in the shape of green “X’s” in the soil. That’s a lot of spinach and lettuce.A night of summer magic came early in May at the South Pasadena Eclectic Music Festival. Don Preston and Joe Berardi, Double Naught Spy Car, eclecticism personified, and as the sun sank, the Hawks played a love fest to a big crowd spilling in from Mission Street east of the train stop. Sweet summer. Stan Ridgway and his magical band followed, breaking into “Don’t Box Me In” as a full moon breached the South Pas irregular horizon. So good, so good.

Two earthquakes in three days. Enter stoney summer. We hit the road at the end of May, what some would call early summer, for the Sierras, Winters, and the Bay Area. Come with us.