August 25, 2008

Hey Everybody

Just dropping in to share some things that have transpired in the mind over Matthew lately. One event that was unique in all my experiences, was getting chomped on the foot by a Copperhead, a venomous and vicious little snake, indigenous to North Texas. Uh, needless to say… uh, ouch. Yeah, I recommend a big ol healthy dose of NOT trying this at home…

It was July 22nd, about 10 pm, I was getting ready to leave the next day for my duo with Patrice in Houston. I was in my studio printing out some papers. Decided I needed to go outside for a minute. So I took one step, bare-footed, onto the Astroturf-type outdoor carpet right outside my studio. My second step was right on top of one of the little bastards. Of course, it promptly did what it was supposed to do – it bit me... One fang in the knuckle of my big toe, another about a half inch further up the top of my foot. I knew exactly what it was when it happened. Felt like a bee sting, but I knew it wasn’t. And it was a younger one, so it had just a little more adolescent boy libido to the venom than an older one would. Lovely.

Five minutes later, the sting had turned into a burning purple knot on the end of my foot that I have never felt the likes of before. I mean, I’ve had some injuries – broken leg, concussion, several dislocations, broken nose, bee stings to the face, blah, blah, blah… I could go on, but this was one of the louder pains I have experienced – just for a couple of hours, then it quieted down a little bit.

Went to the hospital, and of course the ER was full. So I filled out some paper work and did some breathing exercises to pass the time. Finally got in about twenty minutes later. Doctor took a look at it and said it looked pretty good for the time that had passed. So I said, “Great, I’m five minutes away. I’ll keep an eye on it and get back to you if there’s anything to report.” My brother Rusty got bitten last year the very same way, and didn’t stay over at the hospital, so I was ready to up and go. The doc said, “We can’t MAKE you stay, but we REALLY would like to keep you for observation. This is pretty serious.” Problem is, if the foot gets too swollen and cuts off circulation, it could cause tissue damage, etc, and that aint good. Can you say peg leg? So if it gets too swollen, then they give you the anti-venom, which has it own set of side-effects. This is why they do that only as a last resort. It didn’t help my case much while I was talking to the doc, when I suddenly felt the oncoming certainty that I was about to violently externalize the contents of my stomach… Then, after I threw up everything above my knees a second time, I mentioned I was probably just in a little shock. Doc said it was actually that the toxins in my bloodstream had made it to my stomach. Great... It was then I realized he wasn’t going to treat me any further unless I complied. I looked over at the nurse with the pain and nausea meds, took one last watery-eyed dry heave into my bag for good measure, and acquiesced.

By the way, here’s some insight for you all. I have never done heroin. There are two reasons for this. First, I have never heard of a heroin story with a happy ending, other than someone making it back from hell… Not interested. Not worth the risk. The second reason is I always thought that I would like the damned stuff. Therefore – Not interested. Not worth the risk.

After my night in the hospital, I’m not so sure I would enjoy a horsey ride after all. Because right after I consented to stay in their care for a few hours, they shot me up with dilaudid (a morphine-based drug they came up with as an alternative when they outlawed heroin for medical use). When I say they shot me up, I mean the nurse main-lined it into my IV. I thought, “Well, here’s my chance to taste something a little closer to the edge…”

I gotta tell ya, I did not enjoy it. First it hit my stomach – “and you may feel a little sick..sick. sick… hello… echo.. echo... ” Then the back of my neck got hot, stiff, and achy (I said my neck…). And, I was light-headed, but not in a good way. In fact, the only thing I expected but didn’t get was the itchiness. Ten minutes later, I had forgotten about the foot pain but still wasn’t digging the junk. Just a foot note. So, you kids out there, blah, blah, blah… but seriously, don’t. Seriously… Yet I digress…

The next morning, my foot had only swollen to right above my ankle, which is actually pretty good. AND, it had pretty good color and circulation. However, I couldn’t put it on the floor – not because it hurt so bad, but because it felt like it was gonna pop on top from the pressure. Had to cancel my appearance at the Mucky Duck in Houston that night (first time ever I’ve not made it to a show because I was not physically able), and I sat around with my foot up all day.

That was Wednesday. Friday it was still pretty puffy, but I opened my birthday cards and MySpace wishes (thank you all), got myself a pillow, propped up my foot in the window, found my cruise control, and set off on my drive to Austin. From there I rode to San Antonio in the RV with the guys. We had a hit that night at Casbeer’s, which had just moved it’s location to an old church across town from the original location. What a great experience. On my birthday, I sat on a stool, on a stage where a preacher had once preached every Sunday, and played the gig Skunk Baxter-style to the congregation. I’ll definitely never forget that one. Can I get an Amen!?

The next day, we had a private party back in Austin, and Patrice showed up with VEGAN CHOCOLATE BIRTHDAY CUPCAKES. And, I am pretty sure they were better than any heroin out there, and twice as addictive. Mmmm. Thanks, Babe… You rock.

Anyway, my first gig standing back up on the foot was ten days after the original incident, on Friday, August 1st. We played a souled-out show at Momo’s (yes, I meant it that way, as well as the other).

That night, I was at the club early for the Leo party – Patrice, Me, Joy (who played), Eliza, and several others. I mean, I have NEVER in my life been around so many other Leos at one time – especially the femme cats. Anyway, while I was watching the show and waiting to play, I got the opportunity to speak for the first time one on one, with Gary Fortin, creator and executive producer of Planet Make-over.

Just to back track a little - two days before I was so conveniently bitten by the snake bug, I was at the Four Seasons in Austin for a black tie event to launch this wonderful venture. I got to hang out back stage with Delbert McClinton, Stephen Bruton (musical director for Planet Make-over), Joe Ely, Carolyn Wonderland, and one of my personal influences, Eric Johnson. That was pretty cool. The show was even more incredible (Eric sat in with Patrice on Beautiful Thing), and the concept behind Planet Make-Over, is way beyond cool. If you are not familiar with it, please go check it out at www.planetmake-over.org. And check out the press release: “Rock Stars to Send DNA into Outer Space”!!

Fast forward a week after I got viper-punctured. I was in Houston Hobby to meet Patrice for our Mucky Duck show. I was on the phone with her as a man in shades passed by me and I thought, “Hey, that looks like Stephen Bruton… Nah. It couldn’t be”. Then I hear, “Matt?” I turned around, and sure enough, it was Stephen Bruton. Now THAT is synchronicity – met him ten days before in Austin, and now here we both are in an airport in Houston, sitting in a Chili’s, talking. Those of you who know about Stephen know that he has had a set of issues to deal with that make my little foot condition a walk in the proverbial puffy park. Needless to say, he has affected some miracles in his life. His mere being here is proof of that. Anyway, he had some tests run in Houston, and had gotten some really good news. What an inspiring and REAL individual. You could not go through what he’s been through and not come out of it real.

OK – back to Momo’s. As I sat and listened to Gary telling me all about Planet Make-over, and his total vision, and how excited he is about it, and how positive he is, I kept thinking about him and Stephen, and how I would want to be a part of anything to which those guys are connected. AND, the idea for Planet Make-over is amazing. I am looking forward to helping them in any way I can and getting the word out. So, CHECK IT OUT – www.planetmake-over.org. Remember – it’s easy to be a part of the problem and point a finger at it. It’s a whole different level of responsibility to be a part of the change.

Now, it’s the second week of August. The Cowboys have already had two pre-season games. And that couldn’t come at a better time, because the Rangers faint glimmer of hope is fading… but not enough for the other team’s ball to go foul...

Also, I made myself a new friend. She is a puppy of a Border Collie rescue taken in by a vet… Ladies and gentlemen, please welcome to the Matthew stage – Karma….

Oh, and by the way, what do ya think about the new site? Pretty chic, right? I am busy archiving old pictures and videos from just about every stage of my career. I might even let ya see a few when I’m done. Stay 2ned…

Matthew

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