I've been called a lot of things in my day. And some of them have ended with "bag." Now is my chance to fight back...
I've got three whole bags of interweb mail and I'm taking those suckers head-on. It's an epic collision of me, other people, and the English language. Let's get right to it...
The Milam Mailbag, Summer Edition!
Hey Chris, I heard you have a show coming up. Tell me more about that, please, with all the pertinent information and be sure to include exclamation points. Also, I love you. --Jessica, Hollywood CA
Well hello there, Jessica! Great to hear from you again!! Here is all the information for the next show:
Tuesday, September 4th at 12th and Porter!!!
Doors at 8 ($5 for 21+)!!!
***This is a Black Flag Militia Show, which means they've filled the bill with a bunch of great artists here in Nashville! Bobby Hamrick will be opening, I'll play the middle set, and Scott Simontacchi (formerly of alt-country greats The Biscuit Boys) will close. Pretty effing awesome, huh?!? I'll have some special guest appearances during my set, and a whole slew of new songs, so you don't want to miss it!!!
Hey there cuddlebug--long time no see. I heard you hate baseball. What gives? Also, why don't you call me anymore? --Portman, Israel (on a mission)
Michael Scott once said, "Beets are the worst. Why don't you grow something everyone likes? Like candy. I could really use some candy right now." Substitute "baseball" for "beets" and "football" for "candy" and I think you know where I'm going here.
As for you, Miss Portman, our lives were too dissimilar. I like eating porkchops and berating people at my poker table; you like naming guerillas and visiting war-ravaged countries. I like sitting on porches and being self-involved and you like helping humanity. It just couldn't work. I couldn't call you even if I wanted to--what's the area code in Somalia? Does my plan cover developing countries? And what if Angelina picks up?
Maybe one day, long after your hair has grown back, you'll show up at my door with a station wagon full of chicken wings and things can be different. For now, I bid you farewell and best wishes in the battle. Nader in 2008!
Chris, who are you supporting in the 2008 elections? What issues matter the most to you? --Chim Rockwell, Lake Park Illinois
Chim, I'm glad you asked this. I just wrote, not 12 seconds ago, that I support Ralph Nader in 2008. That was a sarcastic statement and a joke. I don't actually support Ralph Nader, and have no intention of voting for him in 2008. I think people joke way too much about politics and don't take them seriously enough, though, so I'd like to give you a real answer to this question.
Truth is, there are a lot of great candidates out there with serious solutions to some very real problems. And that's why I'm supporting George W. Bush in 2008. I'll be honest, I don't have a great reason why. After 9/11, when his approval rating was sky-high, I just didn't like the looks of him. Now, with his approval at -9 or whatever, I'm kind of pulling for the guy. What can I say? I like an underdog. But I will say this: who has a more intimate, personal relationship with the problems created by the Bush administration than the people of the Bush administration? Accordingly, the issues that matter the most to me are oil consumption (need more), troop committal to overseas wars (way more of that), the slow death of the American middle class (not nearly rapid enough), and the condition of public education (we could be doing so much more to make schools so much worse).
If America is the New Rome, let's skip the Octavian period and get right to the gluttonous travesty of Caligulan rule. Everything from the war-mongering to the lead poisoning. Cut the bull, America, and die like a man.
Hello Chris, I'm a big fan of the new songs (I do not care for your old material). I was wondering, how is your new house treating you? --Your Mother
Hi Mom. The house is fine. For those of you who don't know, I moved to a new house in East Nashville last month, which means I'll be settled in by January if Comcast cooperates. The place itself is a handsome tudor style mansion, 6500 square feet, with a heated pool and nine car garage. I'm currently writing this from the greenhouse, which has wireless, because I like to take blog-dictation while I'm pruning my hydrangeas. Of course, it won't feel like home until the stables are relocated; the neighbors are all "you can't tear my house down, I live here" and I'm all, "Randy, my horses are overheating, stop being foolish." Some people!
Milam, how do you pronounce your name? My friends say "Mill-um" and I say "Mee-lahm." Which one is it? --Ricky Rush, Honolulu HI
Ricky, how would you pronounce the word "pilot?" Good. My name is pronounced much like that. "MY-lum." Like "PY-lut." But with a few different letters. But really, same phonetic principles apply. Thanks for writing. Spread the word. Put it in the newsletter. MY-lum. Spanks ya.
Hey Chris, what's in your home stereo/car CD player/ITunes playlist right now as I type this? P.S. That broad was asking about you again and I didn't know what to tell her. --George Lucas, Wyoming
Hello there, George! First, I don't know when you wrote that to me. So this is a really difficult question to answer. Recently I had to drive from East Nashville to Franklin, making two stops along the way, in about 40 minutes, put on Pearl Jam's Vs and got there in six minutes. True story. If it weren't for all those "red lights" and "cars blocking my way in the intersection," I probably could've done it before the second verse of "Animal." I digress...
This summer I've been loving me some Teenage Fanclub. "Dumb Dumb Dumb" is a summertime delight. The new White Stripes is almost as good as their other stuff, which means it's better than pretty much everything else. My Morning Jacket's cover of The Band's "It Makes No Difference" is phenominally good. So is making up the word "phenominally." I'll be posting more of these recommendations and playlists in the coming weeks, so keep checking.
Listen, George, tell her whatever the hell you want. I've had it with that crazy broad. Tell her to come in the ripped white jumpsuit or don't come at all. Tell her to stop it with the razorblade haircuts. Tell her the world went and changed on us. Tell her it hasn't rained in months. Tell her I don't miss her at all. Tell her I need her.
In the meantime, I'm still waiting on the Jango Fett body pillow. Idiot.
Hey there Chris--I love reading the blog. I saw a t-shirt the other day that read "NASHVILLE IS THE NEW LA." What do you make of that? --Donny Jeffcoat, Brentwood TN
Just walking down the street, I'm estimating the FBQ (Fake Breast Quotient) at about 9%, so Nashville's got quite a ways to go. The pollution isn't anywhere near LA levels yet, but we're working on it. People who don't live in either city seem to resent both, so that's movement in the right direction. I'll tell you this much: the day I pay $4.50 for coffee in Nashville is the day I move to Bucksnort, marry a girl named Connie, and open a bait-and-tackle.
Hi Chris Milam, love the music. Just wondering, what did that last response mean? --Jacob McFarley, Portland OR
I'll be honest, Jacob: I have no idea. Better question: how are you responding to the mailbag in real-time?
I'm an extra on 24. And I'm in...your...mind! --Jacob McFarley, Portland OR
Oh yeah? What am I thinking of right this second?
Baywatch. --Jacob McFarley, Portland OR
Okay. But what about it?
How awesome it is. --Jacob McFarley, Portland OR
Wow, spot on. You're creeping me out, Jacob McFarley. Let's keep moving.
Milam, fall is my favorite season. What's yours? --Gena Treadway, Camden NJ
Well Gena, that makes two things you and I have in common (the first being familiarity with Camden, NJ; I actually worked as DaJuan Wagner's personal trainer for six years), because fall is my favorite season, too. Skeptics would claim that this is only a residual effect of my boundless love for football, but they're only mostly right. It seems like all good things happen in the fall--school starts, Nashville's music scene pops again, the weather rocks, I can buy apple cider at Portland Brew, football is being played, great movie/music releases tend to happen in the fall, and November and December are Snugglesville, USA. If anyone out there thinks any other season is better than fall I will personally come to their house and beat them with a scarecrow.
Hola Chris, when are you touring Mexico? --Umberto, Mexico City
Hello there Umberto! I'm actually staying in Nashville for the foreseeable future--I'm really looking forward to playing with a new band in town, and playing a bunch of new material. The network brass wants my next tour to be in the Pacific Islands (I'm big in Fiji), but I'd love to come to Mexico City as soon as possible. I think my desired touring regions look something like this:
1) Mexico and Central America
2) The West Coast of America
3) The Northeast of America
4) The French Riviera
5) Monte Carlo, Las Vegas, and Tunica, Mississippi
6) Every frathouse at every SEC school, but only playing a Dave Matthews cover set.
7) The Southwest of America
8) Communist China
9) The entire Middle Eastern region, in an attempt to fix a 2000-year old conflict with 80 condensed minutes of Rock (***with Bono opening).
10) Cuban bathhouses.
11) The Midwest.
Hello Chris, I'm of an older generation. Me and a bunch of other elderly women were wondering: what is it about your music that speaks to us? --Blanche Yancey, Frankfurt KY
Blanche, I'm actually a sixty-one year old woman. Hope that helps.
What's your favorite quote, Chris? Mine is "Schwing!" --Ronnie Ballgame, Dothan AL
Love the 15 year-old SNL reference, Ronnie Ballgame. Well-crafted. Honestly, I don't read much and I don't watch much and I don't really listen much to anyone or anything else. But I stumbled on this quote from Woody Guthrie back in 1944 and it's on my wall whenever I need it:
"I hate a song that makes you think you're not any good. I hate a song that makes you think you are just born to lose. Bound to lose. No good to nobody. No good for nothing. Because you are either too old or too young or too fat or too slim or too ugly or too this or too that...Songs that run you down or songs that poke fun of you on account of your bad luck or your hard traveling. I am out to fight these kinds of songs to my very last breath of air and my last drop of blood. I am out to sing songs that will prove to you that this is your world and that if it has hit you pretty hard and knocked you for a dozen loops, no matter how hard it's run you down nor rolled over you, no matter what color, what size you are, how you are built, I am out to sing the songs that make you take pride in yourself and your work. And the songs I sing are made up for the most part by all sorts of folks just about like you. I could hire out to the other side, the big money side, and get several dollars every week just to quit singing my own kind of songs and to sing the kind that knock you down still farther and the ones that poke fun at you even more and the ones that make you think you've not any sense at all. But I decided a long time ago that I'd starve to death before I'd sing any such songs as that. The radio waves and your movies and your jukeboxes and your songbooks are already loaded down and running over with such no good songs as that anyhow."
Keep writing y'all, and I will too...