Hello, everybody—nice seeing you again.
One reason Sluggo and I are still together, after ALL THESE YEARS, is that he is never boring. He’s always finding some new thing, like Punjabi Radio or the Tejano Conjunto Festival in San Antonio. And he likes all the weird, interesting things I dig up, too.
Sometimes people I don’t know very well, like someone I work with at my dayjob, will express doubt about our eclectic tastes; one guy I thought was a good friend of mine said he was surprised that I really like this stuff, and that I wasn’t just pretending to like it to seem “cool.” I still don’t understand that. Why would you pretend to like something? When I lived in the Midwest, I never assumed that people pretended to like Paul McCartney and Wings just to seem pathetic.
Anyway, the latest thing that Sluggo’s really into is washtub bass. Here’s THE web site. And here’s a link you can start with if you want to hear what a washtub bass sounds like. But before Sluggo could start playing washtub bass, he had to build one. First he built one out of an beat-up little galvanized garbage can we had lying around, along with an old broom handle and some sash cord, but already he’s improving on that. He went out on a local hiking trail and found a big tree branch that blew down in the last storm, brought it home, debarked it, whittled on it, and made a staff that’s the pole for his new washtub bass. Of course he’s carving a block of wood into a figurehead kind of thing for it, and now we have to buy some taxidermy eyes of various sizes. He’s already invented a double bridge, and is making me drive him around to garden supply stores to look for just the right kind of weedwhacker cord to make the perfect string. I’m sure it won’t be long until he’s the Stradivarius of the Washtub Bass. He’s also very excited about getting his photo up on this one web site that has a picture gallery of people with their washtub instruments.
When I was growing up in Iowa, the washtub bass was still around. It wasn’t exactly common, but it was common enough that I got the message that it was kind of outré and not a proper thing to like, even though I DID like it. I liked the sound of it, and the fact that it was made out of, you know, a washtub. I liked the cigar box banjo, too. (Now here is a digression—how is it that the people of Southwest Iowa are taking over WFMU? There’s me, sometime DJ Bronwyn C., from Pottawattamie County, and there’s DJ Clay Pigeon, from Audubon, and there’s DJ Bethany from just across the Missouri River in Omaha. What’s that about?) Anyway, I don’t care what’s supposed to be cool, and what isn’t, I like what I like, and I’ve always been that way. I guess that’s why I like WFMU.
Thanks for reading my blog entry this week, and may God Bless.