John ‘Jack’ Lucious Quinby is a journalist who specializes in current affairs and American music.
Jude Moonlight is a musician and songwriter, a blues singer and guitar playin’ vagabond.
The following is a transcript of one in several conversations between the two friends, though the date of the recording is unknown. We are quite sure it took place after the Big Trip, as it’s come to be known, the trip across America that forms the central story of ‘book #1’, when Jude and Cal Corso drove out west.
Quinby: So are you into composers?
Quinby: Yea you know, Mozart and Beethoven.
Moonlight: I’m getting into them lately. You like the jazz composers, don’t you?
Quinby: Thelonious Monk all the way baby.
Moonlight: Yea I like him too, mostly because you go me into him. I also just like the name.
Q: Who were the first artists you got into?
M: It’s hard to remember one guy specifically. I remember I was getting into a whole group of people right around the same time.
Q: Like who?
M: Well, I take that back, the one I remember listening to a lot right around the time I was telling myself “Hey I think I’d like to try this out myself…”
M: Johnny Cash
Q: Oh yea?
M: Yea, and I think a lot of that was because—-
Q: You’re actually wearing a Johnny cash shirt right now, I want that in for the record.
M: Oh yea, look at that.
Q: Are you sure that didn’t affect your decision just now?
M: No I don’t think so. Although he is playing on the radio right now too.
Q: Holy smokes! You’re right.
M: But that just started, didn’t it? Only after I answered?
Q: I think it actually did. I’m pretty sure. I didn’t even notice at first.
M: Me neither. Spooky. Anyway I would say that it was Johnny Cash.
Q: Why do you think?
M: Well his music was enjoying a bit of a resurgence at the time. He’d passed away a just few years prior, and they’d made that movie about him with Joaquin Phoenix. Anyway what I liked about him was that he was relatable. He didn’t seem like he was singing from the mountaintop or some esoteric point-of-view or anything.
Q: Esoteric like Dylan?
M: Johnny Cash just felt like one of us, and it didn’t make him any less interesting either.
Q: Musicians are always trying to be mysterious.
M: Are they?
Q: Like you.
M: Like me?
Q: Of course. You and Dylan, Jim Morrison, and I think all the blues singers who walk and talk like ghosts inhabiting two realities, one foot here with us and another someplace else. Stuck between two worlds.
Q: We’ll dive deeper into that later. I agree with you about Johnny Cash.
M: Yea, I love the rhythm. That sound he gets on his guitar. The way he strums it, ya know? It’s unmistakable, that boom-chicka-boom-chicka-boom-chick-boom.
Q: I hear that train a coming…
M: It’s rolling ‘round the bend…
Q: And I ain’t seen the sunshine since…
Together: I don’t know when…
Q: Yea man.
M: That guitar playing, it sounds like a train, doesn’t it? Rolling round the bend…