People who are listening to my new album, “The Disappearing Architect”, all seem to be asking me one thing:
“Who the hell is Captain Taso??!?”
Well in a way, I’d say he’s a little bit of all of us. The earthy parts in us that we’ve all but forgotten about and have tried to suppress, but that often lurk just beneath the surface of our manicured, educated, sanitized, 21st century, first-world personas. If only we’d let them see the light of day once in a while.
Years ago, at the start of a long forgotten summer that seems to have blended into all the other summers of my youth, I landed at the old Athens airport and hailed a taxi, and when the driver opened the door I saw he had a passenger. I was told his passenger, “The Captain”, always rode with him whenever he went. So, I got in the back of the taxi, and as we made our way to Athens the Captain started to regale us with his stories of being on land and on the sea, and proceeded to paint a world view that left both the cab driver and I in awe and in convulsions of laughter. I couldn’t help noticing his belly, which was so big “it was as if he had swallowed a globe, and a world was deep inside him” as I say in the song.
I could see why the driver always wanted him as company. And the song is loosely based on him. But I’ve met a number of “Captain Tasos” in my day (including in the guise of my very own grandfather). And the “Captain Taso” in this song is a fusion of them all. I imagine him looking quite a bit like the guy in the photo. The Captain in the taxi certainly did.
Looking back I realize now that despite their vulgarity, cruelty, and bluntness, the “Captain Tasos” I met were also fiercely loyal, pious, honest to a fault, and filled with a profound love for the world, if that world chose to love them back.
They saw the miraculous in the smallest of things, and laughed at such ridiculous and arrogant human constructs as “authority”. These men are all but extinct today.
But I can say, they were the wisest men I’ve ever encountered. That’s what this song is about.
Listen to “Captain Taso’s Belly” here: