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Tuesday, July 31, 2007


Well, Folk-N-Rollers...

I've just found out today that my musical mentor, recording partner, and fine, fine friend Don Richmond (and author, and teacher, and genius, and Goddess-knows what else!) is in the hospital in Alamosa, Colorado. As of this post, about 3:45 p.m., the news is that our friend has been diagnosed with malignant colon cancer, and that the doctors are working on Don's kidneys, which aren't working properly.

Please send Don and his wife Teri and Don's daughters and grandchildren your best wishes and prayers and hopes, and we'll all think good thoughts on his behalf - which is about all we can do at the moment.

Don is in ICU, and visiting is out of the question at this point except for Don's family... and I'm told that as Don is pretty out of it and uncomfortable, visitors, while appreciated, are rather in the way right now. Also, if Don's kidneys don't start functioning properly soon there's a chance he'll be moved to Denver, perhaps as early as tomorrow.

That's all I've got right now except hope, folks. Watch this post for updates as I have them, and I'll repeat, send those hopes and prayers and well-wishes to our friend Don Richmond.

Thanks folks, and Goddess bless,


Well, we've just learned that Don's kidneys have been jumpstarted again, so that's good news. Overnight last night, his heart was misbehaving in some arhythmic way, and lots of effort was expended taking care of that problem, again successfully, it seems. More good news. Finally, its been definitively stated that the cancer has not spread to Don's liver, so still more good news.

But clearly, Don's body is reacting badly to the cancer and the surgery both... he still has lots and lots of fluid buildup in his lower body and is, needless to say, very uncomfortable. He is, in fact, delirious and out of it enough that he only recognizes even Teri occasionally. Not such good news. At present, the doctors are working mostly on stabilizing Don's body so they (and he) can concentrate on the cancer. There's talk of taking him to M.D. Anderson in Houston, TX for intensive (but unspecified, so far) treatment there.

There's one odd thing: Don had a colonoscopy just about eight months ago and nothing was found! The doctors speculate that the tumor may have been attached to the outside of Don's colon, and was thus missed. That certainly doesn't sound good to me....

So, our friend certainly isn't out of the woods yet. Even though Don is still in the hospital in Alamosa, CO and hasn't yet been moved, his condition is still delicate enough that visiting is out of the question. I long to run up to see my friend and offer support, but right now folks, it ain't an option. So continue sending Don and Teri and family all your good thoughts and prayers, and I'll keep y'all updated as I can.

Thanks, Chipper

Saturday, July 28, 2007


Hey there 'Snakers...

It's often so tempting, and dangerously easy, to run to my blog and spew all the poison and venom possible whenever I'm outraged or pissed or depressed or whatever, so I just wanted to fight that dark urge by sending a shout-out to somebody in the comic-book store who gave me a little shot in the arm yesterday...

My future brother-in-law Ron and I were bummin' around Santa Fe before I gigged last night with Bone Orchard, and I sold some old comics to the store and had to sign a receipt... when I wrote my name down, the guy glanced at it and said, "The Chipper Thompson, the musician?" Jeez! And this in a town where I knew I had some name recognition, but had no idea just how much or how little... then he added that it was "an honor" to have me in the store. My head swelled and I'm sure I didn't stay near as cool as I wanted to. But it gave me a helluva big boost, I'll tell ya. I teased Ron when we left the store that he'd have to walk since his body, my body, and my big head wouldn't all fit in the car!

The main reason I play music is, I guess, to contribute to the good stuff floatin' around the universe and make folks happy with it (myself included!) and to have fun when I'm doin' it, but I have to confess that in times like I'm havin' lately, it was really really nice to have some unexpected praise and recognition. My cash flow is still for shit, (I'm selling old comic books to pay the bills, for Goddesses' sake!) there's no tellin' when I'll even start again on the next CD, muchless get it out, I'm in debt, the book project on my late wife Lanford Monroe's art is delayed and delayed and delayed, and my schedule is so full I can hardly breathe... but I am playing lots of music (see the gig schedule, y'all!) and even when I get depressed and grouchy about it all, I still give thanks that I'm doing something I love, and maybe reaching others with some positive energy, too. I can only hope that the comic-book clerk's sensibilities have been uplifted rather than depressed by whatever of my music he's heard!

So thanks to Chris at True Believers in Santa Fe, New Mexico for lifting me up yesterday, and thanks to all of you who appreciate and support what I and many other independent musicians and artists are doing all over the world! Thank you all so much, and I'll keep hackin' at this big ol' chunk of life and mining some music out of it... for all of us!

'Til next time, Chipper

Tuesday, July 17, 2007


Well, BanjoSnakers...

It seems that yet again, I get to be ashamed of my country's collective behavior... I've just come home from seeing Michael Moore's film "Sicko" and I can't hold back. Even as I type, I'm debating the wisdom of writing about something this emotional and this outrageous without taking time for reflection, but maybe it's time to do something rash. As the samurai used to say (and I paraphrase) sometimes, in the absence of a better plan, one should just rush in madly. And boy, am I ever mad.

I have asthma. It's an allergy to household dust, among other things. I've also been moving out of my house and moving in with me fiancee, Ms. Kim Treiber of Kim and the Caballeros. No doubt you can imagine the amount of dust I've kicked up moving furniture and books and guitars and dishes and old clothes and all the zillions of pieces of crap I've collected over the fifteen years I've been in my great old adobe (another source of dust!) house here in New Mexico. Let's just say: I'm hurting.

I also haven't had medical insurance in a few years, and my last Albuterol inhaler ran out weeks and weeks ago. But I felt like I was dying. I couldn't breathe normally at all, could hardly sing, and I won't even mention how hard it was to sleep... which thus deprived above-mentioned fiancee of sleep, too.

So I sucked it up, took a chance, and just walked into my doctor's office. No call, no appointment, nothing. Nada. And it was lunch hour. To make a long story short, as I was talking to the receptionist about my issue, one of the doctor-partners in the practice (who'd never before seen me professionally) noticed me there. He happens to be a neighbor of mine, though not one I would necessarily consider emotionally close in any way.

"What's the problem?" he asked gently, noting that it looked like I was wheezing. I told him, and he said, "I have asthma too. Come with me."

He did a cursory exam, gave me two weeks of free trial preventative drugs, and not only prescribed a new improved inhaler for me, but gave me a coupon so I'd get the first one free (they are normally around FIFTY bucks!). Then, HE DIDN'T CHARGE ME FOR THE OFFICE VISIT AND EXAM! I was astonished, and delighted, and humbled. I know a little about how those 911 workers Michael Moore takes to Cuba for free treatment felt!

I also got a little taste of what life in America might be like if we had free, universal health care. Not only was I receiving the treatment and medication I needed, which obviously made me feel better, but I was so relieved that I was seen quickly, competently, and cheaply (free!) that the peace of mind alone lowered my anxiety, thus my blood pressure, thus improved my breathing. I literally took hits off that inhaler for one twenty-four hour day, and have only needed it once since then. (To be totally open and fair, I've also pretty much finished moving, so the dust factor in my life is much lower, too...)

Most folks, including me most of the time, are not this lucky. In fact, Kim reminded me that when her son hurt his hand recently and was bleeding profusely from his wound, the local ER wouldn't treat him and/or operate on his crushed hand until at least half the cost was deposited first. Kim had to call her angelic, generous mom in Chicago to wire the money before her son could get any treatment. It makes my guitar player's hands cramp just thinking about it. Unbelieveable. Outrageous. Criminal.

We should be in the streets with torches and pitchforks, people. The feds should fear the people, for a change. And, to paraphrase Hunter S. Thompson, the CEO's of the America's insurance companies should be... well, let's just say that a dark room full of horny bull elk should be readied.

I don't know what to do, folks. If I stroll down The Mall past the Washington Monument all alone with my torch and pitchfork, it ain't gonna accomplish much except landing me a non-padded cell, and other than talking and blogging and speaking out from my on-stage position of power, there isn't much I can... oh, yeah... I CAN VOTE! AND SO CAN MOST OF YOU!

I've been horribly lazy and self-centered for several years now, and improvment will only come incrementally I'm sure, but I'm gonna start by writing to both my elected representatives, and those seeking office in the future, and tell them that unless they support universal free health care for all Americans, I WILL NOT vote for them, Democrat, Republican, or Independent. And NOBODY gets my vote if all I've got is a bunch of pharmo-company, campaign-contribution stooges.

Okay, that's my rushing in madly. I'm a little calmer now. I'm gonna go climb in bed and read something happy... but in the mean time fellow folk-n-rollers, take care of yourselves, (Goddess forbid you get sick!) kick the asses of some politicians, and tip your hats and say a prayer for Doctor Robert B. White of Taos Medical Group, P.A. This man is the reason I'm still singing, and I salute him, I salute him, I salute him. Thank you, Sir.

Adios, Chipper

Friday, July 13, 2007


Hello, BanjoSnakers all!

Just wanted to let y'all know that the new documentary short film "Pollen Nation" features yours truly on the soundtrack! Local Taos musician and songwriter Michael Schorr was hired to compose the music for this remarkable little movie, and he drafted me and my longtime cohort, Don Richmond, to play on it as well. Big fun!

The film addresses the developing problem (soon to be a full-blown crisis, if we don't figure it out) of honeybee decline through the eyes of a third-generation beekeeper and his business of transporting hives all over the country in order to pollenate crops. Very interesting stuff, if you ask me. You can check out all you'll need to know to catch a screening of this important documentary at

In other news, Bone Orchard's new CD is out and available! You can pick up a copy of "A Romance Of Ghosts" at the CD release shows this weekend at El Monte Sagrado and The Adobe Bar here in Taos, New Mexico, or order the CD from their cool website here. Check it out!

And keep on watchin' my website for lots of improvments and updates soon... my life has been so busy and crazy and emotionally overloaded over the last month-and-a-half or so that I can hardly find my own head, muchless get anything else done, but hopefully things are beginning to smooth out a bit, and we'll have song samples, downloads, video clips, and all sorts of other cool stuff in the next couple of months. In the meantime, listen to Bone Orchard, love the honeybees, and keep on folk-n-rollin'!

Yours, Chipper

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