Top o’ the morning to ya kookie Java & Marijuana lovers! Oops, I meant coffee pot lovers! 😉 It was a lovely sunrise along the shoreline of Bull Shoals Lake, so I made as mad of a dash as one fat dude could make for my #2 Pencil and Big Chief Tablet. I WAS INSPIRED and I HAD TO GET IT DOWN ON PAPER BEFORE MY BRAIN FARTED & IT WAS RECYCLED INTO A GREEN SULFUR GAS & RELEASED INTO THE ATMOSPHERE!
It is 6am CST on August 14, 2016 and I’m on the top deck of my folks’ two story lakeside home in North Central Arkansas. It’s been a relaxing vacation after months of health issues, a near death experience, a stint in ICU, lost friends, new friends, sick leave from work, and several deaths of people close to me. As I watch the sunrise begins, I think that if my Mom, Dorothy or Dad, Omar were awake, they’d be starting a pot of coffee and soon join me on the deck.
Then my warped mind takes over and its inner-jukebox starts spinning “Coffee & Pot” by Spookie Daly Pride (aka SDP). I asked myself “WTF! Where did that come from?” I hadn’t listened to SDP for nine (9) years since somehow my copies of their three albums, 1999’s “Finna”, 2001’s “Marshmallow Pie” that was re-issued in 2004 with new packaging and CD artwork by Funzalo Records and the bands recording career/2005 Funzalo Records swan-song “Medicine Chest” DISAPPEARED.
Spookie Daly Pride circa 2005, left to right…..Tom Martin – bass; Spookie – vocals, keys; Tommy Diehl – drums and Pete Witham – guitars
SDP usually re-enters my brain when someone has a birthday (see “Birthday Song”) and it dawns on me that I, look a chicken, where was I going with this sentence, oh yeah, I need to reorder their catalog. See, I’m easily distracted and suffer from a major case of the brainfart’s but not great southern brainfart’s (Hello Don & Ruben)! I MISS SPOOKIE DALY PRIDE’S UNIQUE SOUNDS, SPIRIT & THEIR LIVE SHOW…..WAIT, how did we get to the end already? Let’s back this hooptie up and start at the beginning!
The year was 2002, in galaxy far, far away, I was slingin’ gas at the Phillip’s 66 on I-70 at Exit 127 in WaKeeney, KS. In rolls the classic example of a kidnapper van except it was brown and was missing “FREE CANDY” spray painted on the side of it. It caught my eye as suspicious. It got worse or so I ASS-U-ME-D, the occupants of said mistaken pedo-mobile stepped out of the brown van. It appeared by the amount of smoke billowing out of the van that Cheech and Chong had kidnapped some hippie college students. I quickly checked to make sure I had plenty of bags of Cheetos’s and cans of Red Bull stoked for my soon-to-be customers. Bite me, I saved that company tens of thousands dollars by profiling riff-raff as potential gas skippers, shoplifters and managerial embezzlers.
In trots this gang of unkempt hippies and out walks me to keep an eye on the guy fueling the van. Much to my dismay, the van was sooooo dirty you couldn’t see in the windows or even tell if they had a license plate on the back of the van. UGH! I make small talk with him as I round up the gas island trash and eye their license plate hoping my laser-like blue eyes will telepathically melt the dirt on the license plate away so if they did skip, I didn’t have to pay for their fuel and munchies.
As we’re taught to not judge a book by its cover because one day you could be proven wrong. This was the day. Yes, they were unkempt, yes they were hippies BUT they were also very friendly, well-mannered and humorous. Ironically, they stoked up on fuel, Cheetos’s, other assorted potato chips, coffee, red bulls and various iced cappuccinos so I was close to being right except for who I judged them by their appearance. For once, I’m glad that feeling in my gut was wrong!
As we talked outside, I asked where they were heading. I fully expected them to say they were following Phish or some Grateful Dead offshoot around the U.S. WRONG! They informed me that they were a band and on tour. I ascertained where their equipment trailer was. Shockingly, they flung the side door open on the van and it is packed from floor-to-ceiling and seats to back door with musical equipment.
Mics, stands and assorted cables…..check!
Drums and assorted percussion…..check!
One crazy looking HUGE keyboard rig that looked like a hybrid of a B3, keys, and some other various keyed instruments….check!
Alrighty then, how in the hell do all of you fit in this? A member of the band, later identified as drummer Tommy Diehl proclaims “Like this!” and dives in. I had to chuckle at their “devil may care” attitude and infectious spirit. I asked if they had any CD’s out. They said they just issued their debut album “Marshmallow Pie” but wouldn’t have any copies until they reached Denver, CO. for the next gig where a shipment awaits. One of the members offers to give up his copy for me. I said it was appreciated and asked how much I owed them. Someone said “your email address and name!” so we can put you on our mailing list to keep you updated on our travels and to also, they’d put my name on ‘THE LIST’ for future area gigs. I insisted on paying by stating “I’d gladly pay you whatever you charge for your CD because I LOVE discovering new music, am an avid music lover of many genres but most importantly, it helps keep you on the road and living your dreams!” They refused any payment and ya know what, from that day forward until the last time I saw them live on March 19, 2009 at Crosstown Station in Kansas City, MO., anytime I went to see them in Kansas, Missouri, Oklahoma, Nebraska or Colorado, I was on THE LIST, never failed.
Not too long after they drove off to the West courtesy of Interstate 70 it was closing time at the Phillip’s 66. I looked the doors, pulled the gate shut that separated my job from the McDonald’s we shared the building with and locked it to keep the kids who worked at the Mickey D’s off my side of the building & out of profits which they’d pillage by stealing cigarettes, beer, food and pop any chance they could. I popped in this crude looking CD that appeared to have cover art drawn by one of their little brother’s or sister’s. It also came with a CD that had no artwork or song titles on it. The top of the CD was blank but it was a factory pressed silver CD that made it through the plant without getting the CD art printed on it. Future collectors item? Musta been because someone later jacked it from me along with its re-issue and 2005’s “Medicine Chest”> Evil bastages those thieving jerks are!
I cranked the lil’ boombox to 11 and got to sweeping & mopping. After a minute of the first tune “Karma Thunderbolt”, I stopped and thought to myself “What the fuck am I hearing and WTF were they consuming when recording this?” Their music combines funked up jazzy guitars and drums, heavy bass lines, spaghetti western style piano, some gorgeous Hammond B-3 through a Leslie Cabinet key tones, goofy, unself-conscious swagger,attitude & spirit alongside a heavy dose of fun with the raspy, harmonic vocals of Spookie Daly, the lead singer/keyboardist of the band for an exotic blend of reggae, rock, hip-hop, Dixieland & Sly Stone-esque funk. I soon went on-line to research SDP. They openly cited acts such as Louie Prima, Run DMC, The Beatles, Elvis Presley, Digital Underground, NRBQ and the Muppets as influences. I heard the likes of Screamin’ Jay Hawkins, Tom Waits, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Squeeze, any of the Zappa family, Blues Traveler and G. Love & Special Sauce as well.
Over the next year, I saw SDP live a few times and exchanged emails. One day, I was at a live gig of Eric Sardinas when during a break in the action, I got to talking with his drummer and my dear friend, Mike Dupke. I told Mike the crazy story of my chance encounter with SDP. He just laughed and informed me that the drummer, Tommy Diehl, was one of his best friends and was his roommate at Indiana University under the guidance of Prof. Kenny Aronoff. YES, that Kenny Aronoff. The tune of “It’s a small world after all!” made it’s way through my brain!
In 2004, SDP was signed to Funzalo Records and “Marshmallow Pie” was re-issued later that year with all-new packaging and CD artwork. “Medicine Chest” was released by Funzalo in 2005. The band continued on until 2009 or 2010 when they just seemed to vanish. I’ve lost contact with Tommy over the years since but remain close with his pal, Mike Dupke. I should ask Dupke wat ol’ Diehl is up to because the last I knew he was drumming for Queen V or some band like that out of NYC but research for this piece revealed Tommy is drumming for InAshton. and carious other projects in CT. I saw that SDP frontman/keysman, Spookie Daly, directed the video for JJ Grey & MOFRO’s “Orange Blossoms”. Not much has been found on Spookie, Tom or Pete.
I hold out hope that one day they will re-unite so their squarest fan can go see them live once again. They have definitely made a lifelong impression on me and my earholes. I’ve enjoyed listening to SDP while I write this but I am off to digg up some copies of their four (4) releases, 1999’s “Finna”, 2001’s “Marshmallow Pie” and its 2004 re-issue with new packaging and CD artwork, and “Medicine Chest”.
SPOOKIE DALY PRIDE (left to right):
Medicine Chest (2005/Funzalo Records)
Funzalo Records “Spookie Daly Pride” profile w/ links to purchase cd’s, Spotify playlists, YouTube videos and Bio Info: