My buddy, Todd Fox helped me film this. Today would have been Walt Whitman’s 201st birthday, so I decided to talk about what he meant to me at a younger age. I also read from section 32 of Song Of Myself and ramble on a bit with some personal thoughts. Ol’ Walt’s ideas were a bit different than the ideas I grew up around and I’m sure they were a positive influence on my young, developing brain. I’d like to claim that I’m not “demented with the mania of owning things,” but I do like my guitars and amps and Walt Whitman books. And therein lies the rub.
Thanks for giving a damn,
-Otis

A true story about Johnny Cash trying to shake my hand in a dark alley behind The Vogue in Indianapolis. Please help me spread the word by sharing this on social media and telling your friends about it.

Thank ya kindly,

-Otis

Hey friends,
I have some not so great news that I need to share with ya. My UK Tour that was scheduled for July 2020 is not gonna happen. We’d hoped upon hope that things would get better and we kept putting it off, but it’s time to face the facts. We need to do the right thing and cancel this tour.

I’m fortunate to have met so many wonderful people on these tours. Whether it’s the promoters in big cities and small towns or the people I get to chat with after the shows, I definitely get to see the best of folks every night. I can’t imagine doing anything to harm these people who have been so good to me. The reality is, it would be irresponsible of me to do this tour, so I’m gonna stay home for now.

I’m not gonna lie, this will put us in a pretty rough financial bind, but we’ll find a way to work it out. Almost everyone I know is without an income right now, so I know we’re not alone.

I look at it this way. It’s raining like hell, my family and I are standing in the middle of a field, huddled under a rickety umbrella. We’re trying to hang on the best we can. If we can hold out long enough, maybe we’ll find shelter under a tree, maybe we can even help someone else find cover. Until then, we’re gonna hunker down as best we can until the storm finally passes. And the good news is, the storm will pass. And when it does, I’ll jump on a plane and come sing some songs for y’all.

Here’s to better days!

Thanks for giving a damn,
-Otis

My earliest childhood memory is my grandpa playing music with his friends on New Years Eve 1969-70. Exactly 50 years later, I sat around and played that same guitar with my friends on New Years Eve 2019-20. Here’s to good friends and good music in 2020.

Thanks for giving a damn,

-Otis

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I went to a high school basketball game with my buddies, Dale Lawrence and Mike Crowder. Dale and Mike have been attending high school basketball games for the past 25 years and they’ve been to every high school gym in Indiana multiple times. Dale is the singer in my all time favorite Indiana band, The Vulgar Boatmen (I’ve seen them over 100 times) and he wrote a book about Indiana high school basketball. I first met Mike when he worked at Karma Records in Greenwood, Indiana back in the early 80s. That’s where I bought my first Ramones, Dead Boys, Butch Hancock and Devo albums and a lot more. Back in the days before the internet, these mom and pop record stores and the weirdos behind the counter were a lifeline to kids like me. I can’t imagine how bland my life might have been without these mom and pop record stores filling in the gaps. Indiana has some beautiful old historic gyms and I want to see them all while they’re still around. We took in Scottsburg’s home opener against their bitter rival, Austin. Two tiny schools that hate each other, what’s not to love about that? Mellencamp’s Pink Houses video was filmed in Austin, Indiana (FYI). The Scottsburg gym is called the Pressure Cooker. The school system only has around 800 kids, but a few thousand people pack into the Pressure Cooker for games. They take it pretty seriously. A reporter from a Louisville newspaper once wrote a piece about how the town takes it’s basketball too seriously, so the town had him burned in effigy in the town square. Supposedly the reporter laughed it off. It’s hard to describe how great the atmosphere was and it felt like stepping into a time machine. The crowd was unbelievably loud. It sounded like The Beatles at Shea Stadium every time Scottsburg hit a layup. It costs five bucks to get in and it was worth every damn cent. We’re gonna take in another game tonight and my buddy, Todd is gonna come along. I think I’m settling back into this Indiana groove quite nicely. . . . . . #hoosier #Indiana #indianapolis #history #ihsaa #basketball #recordstore

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