Tag Archives: Wayne Coyne

I stand corrected

19 Jan

As much as I enjoy being right, I never thought being so wrong about anything could be so good, and so delicious.

Wow, I thought Franklin’s was the best barbecue I’d ever tasted. And it was, I couldn’t imagine bbq tasting better than the rib’s at Franklin’s. Thinking back on it now, it was kind of like when I thought the girlfriend I had when I was 22 was the best sex I’d ever had. I had no perspective.

Before I start let me say this: there are various myths about Austin. One is that its the
Live Music capital of the world. If this means that everywhere in Austin is a potential place for some singer songwriter to play shitty folk music, then yes that is true.

You throw a rock in the air and you’ll hit a singer-songwriter type. Does this mean that its the best music scene? I’ll go a head and save you the trouble of coming to see for yourself. The answer is NO. The hip hop scene is fairly small and unheralded. The jazz scene is bullshit, in fact you’d find a more eclectic patch of music in Denton, Texas, home of UNT.

From what little I know, I would go on record and say Portland’s music scene is more interesting than Austin’s.

Now every magazine and every television show in America wants to anoint Franklin’s as the king of barbecue. And they wanna Aaron Franklin, they can crown him. Hell I was ready to do that myself a few months ago

To quote Wayne Coyne, suddenly everything had changed.

Late one night I struck up a conversation with a bus driver. He was on his last route, and was heading home to Lockhart, Texas, a town with a reputation for having killer barbecue.

He discussed how different the sausage was in Lockhart and that there were 3 main places to go, Smitty’s, Black’s and Krewses.

His favorite was Smitty’s.

He said Smitty’s was hands down the best in town.

A month after that fateful conversation, My buddy threw a bachelor party down on the Frio river and his older brother thought it was a good idea to grab some Smitty’s on the way there by taking a tiny detour out to Lockhart.

The store is located downtown, a small cute downtown which immediately made me think of Denton’s town square. We walked into the restaurant and opened the screen door. Black soot covered the walls from years of burning wood.

Whooooaaa carcinogens.

My friend’s older brother bought enough for everyone who would be there. It was over a hundred dollar’s worth. We picked up the lbs of meat and got into the van.

“Well” he said. “We gotta at least try it before we go down there.”

The groom to be handed out a slice of bread for each of us, and a little slice of brisket.

The van got real quiet and we all looked at each other and silently agreed that this was some phenomenal barbecue. I couldn’t believe that we had found something not only as good as Franklin’s, but so much better. There was no doubt about it.

We then moved on to the ribs (for quality control purposes obviously) and could not believe how tasty and tender the meat was. How could this be?

Needless to say that anyone who came out to the cabin past 9:00 pm didnt get anything to eat. We thought it would last –tried to make it last, but it was impossible.

The food was too good. And not only was the meat good, but the sides were delicious too. I loved how the potato salad tasted, not too creamy, not too tangy, just the right amount of mayonnaise and mustard to go with the egg and potato, and pickle. Yum.

The beans were good too. I didn’t try the cole slaw unfortunately.

From what I hear, Smitty’s is the best in town. Black’s is the second best. So now I’m left wondering if what I know is to be true. Franklin’s was like Adam Morrison, and Smitty’s was like Lebron. They didn’t even use sauce either! It was nuts, this was a real game changer.

If there is a better bbq joint out there, I’d like to know where this place is (if it exists). But I honestly don’t know how this could be possible.

I haven’t been to Franklins since then. I still mean every word about all the great things I said about the Franklin Barbecue franchise (I have never had more positive experiences in one restaurant before–everyone who works there is extremely appreciative and hospitable–even more so than Smitty’s). But the people at Smitty’s could be a staff full of dickheads and it wouldn’t stop me from eating there.

And now it seems foolish to wait 2 hours in line when better bbq is only a 20 minute ride away (with no line)

I had some friends in town from Portland recently. One of them was in town a few months ago, and back then I was talking up how good Franklin’s was and how we needed to go there. He had just gotten back in town and brought up Franklin’s.

“ Fuck Franklins” I said.

“But you said–”

“ Man I know what I said, man, but I found something better.”

“ Oh for real? I thought maybe they had banned you from there, the way you said ‘Fuck them’ so quickly.”

“Nah man. Its good, but I found something that will knock your socks off.”

They looked at me, whispered things about hyping it up too much (I cant blame them I had talked Franklin’s up to be the end all be all).

“You should undersell it” He said.

“Maybe, but I have confidence that Smitty’s will deliver.”

And they did. They chewed their food, speechless and nodding their heads in agreement that the shit was legit.

I felt like “Sir Smoke a lot” from Half Baked when he pledges his allegiance to “Mr. Nice Guy”

When life gets shitty
I pick up a twenty
and head out to Lockhart
eat something that makes me fart……

Fuck Franklins’s!!!

This lady who looked 60 years old sat down near us with her elderly parents (there are only long community picnic tables in the restaurant)–locals. We chatted with them in between bites. I told her how my friends were from Portland and blah blah blah blah…..

She said “ Welcome to Lockhart, Texas, home of the best bbq in the world.

No one even blinked when she said it. We knew it was probably true.

I kind of feel like I did them a disservice by taking them straight there without taking them to someplace shittier first. They could easily go through life without any kind of perspective, not realizing that this may be the best they would ever get to taste. BBQ from this moment on would be disappointing. It was like having sex for the first time without a condom, or the first time I smoked really good bud and Mexican dirt weed became obsolete.

Life is never the same again. No going back. Which was why I had to quit going to Franklin’s. I could no longer stand in line and pretend it was worth the wait, thinking how just up the road was something much more grand. For a while I kept going by, stopping in if the lines were short, because it was down the street from my house. But it had become a matter of convenience now, and biting into their meat only reminded me where I was not. And that wasn’t fair to anybody, especially my suddenly picky palette.

From now on, and possibly the rest of my life, my new motto will be “if we ain’t eating Smitty’s then we ain’t eating barbecue.”

photo (2)


Gary Snyder

20 Jul

Its not like I wanted to come over, have tea, read poetry, take mushrooms, smoke dope, and discuss politics. I'd have settled for a handshake.

Its not like I wanted to come over, have tea, read poetry, take mushrooms, smoke dope, and discuss politics. I'd have settled for a handshake.

Dear Mr. McFail.

Gary Snyder says to tell you that he’s older than you think, and retired from teaching 9 years ago. He lives in the mountains a long way from Davis. He is not “Japhy Ryder” but one of several modesl for that character. The “Dharma Bums” is a novel, not journalism. And he says he is not reading any new material.

best wishes,
Jann Garitty, Assistant to Gary Snyder

Well, Looks like I won’t be visiting Gary Snyder after all. A bit of a shame considering his age and and the history he holds within his brain cells.

Dharma Bums is one of my favorite books, and its hard not to fall in love with the Japhy Ryder character. Ladies man, ecologist, and poet, he was one of those characters that embodied what it meant to be a renaissance man.

I have a few friends that fall into this character, a buddy of mine living in Oregon certainly comes to mind when i think of real life examples of Japhy Ryders.

As disappointed as I am that I won’t get to meet the man himself, I certainly understand. I’m sure he gets thousands of emails and letters from “writers” and fans just wanting to be near him.

I can imagine it gets annoying. I do feel quite lucky that he even responded. Years ago, there was a columnist from ESPN named Ralph Wiley who iw as a huge fan of.
I’d spent a summer reading all of his stuff, “Why Black People tend to Shout” and other books by him. He was a great voice for sports, honest and insightful, and one of my favorites.

I remember after one morning of reading his article (hew as one of the few who’d predicted the ’04 Pistons would beat the Lakers), I thought I should email him and tell him how much I loved his work.

Of course I didn’t, ended up playing grab ass with my then girlfriend, or something, and figured I could email him some other time.

Well he died of a heart attack later that week. It struck me as odd, because he was only 52, but also because I’d just finished one of his books.

He was a great writer, and funny, and his death left a big void in the sports writing world. And all I kept thinking was I should’ve emailed him.

I’ve sent letters and emails to various people over the last ten years from Radiohead to Wayne Coyne, of the Flaming Lips, to the Sports Guy Bill Simmons, and not one of them has ever responded.

Well of course, Snyder didn’t respond either. But he at least told his assistant to take the time to write me and tell me to “get lost, scram, to beat it kid.”

I’m honored really. One of the last links to the Beat Generation had his assistant write me and tell me to fuck off, but in a slightly polite way. Seriously I can dig it.

And the truth is, I didn’t email him to be another sychophant scmhuck, telling him something he needs to hear. He already knows he’s awesome, you don’t make it that far, not knowing that. He doesn’t need the ego stroke.

I did it for me. I did it because it needed to be said, just to tell him, “hey motherfucker, I know you could really give a shit, but your presence in this world, turned my life upside down. And I realized I couldn’t live my life the same way ever again.”

and what is a person to say to that? Thanks? Cheers?

No response will be anything short of awkward, and yet its almost necessary to send those sort of letters.

Why? I don’t know, because if you appreciate something or someone, it feels good to tell them. No matter what the response.

“I love you” is one of those weird phrases as well. If you’re saying it for the response back then it aint real. I say it to friends all the time and it gets a bit awkward, but at least they know, and it doesn’t bottle up, and when they go, I can at least know that they knew how I felt.

I say it, I give give gifts because it feels good to, not for what I’ll get in return. Its a totally selfish endeavor nonetheless, and I think there’s nothing wrong with that.