Names are a touchy subject for me. I had a performing name when I was a second-rate folksinger in the sixties. Through the mid-seventies, some people only knew me only by that name. I did not so much as surrender that name as I grew out of it. I ceased road-tripping, performing, and behaving like a dissipated young rake and ne’er do well.
Frankly, it wasn’t a slump in coffeehouse bookings that did Wes in. Wes and his shenanigans faded out the day after a jealous boyfriend tried to shoot me in a Boston Back Bay basement apartment. Funny how things like that can change perspectives.
However, after many years, I hit the point where I found it flattering to be remembered by old associates who still used the name—enough time had passed that I could accept the younger me more tolerantly. He had never rated as a behemoth of the stage, but he’d done some reasonably amusing and outrageous things. My younger aliased alter-ego was interesting, non-conventional, and non-conformist.
Some older friends maintain that I didn’t so much walk away from my younger self as I reinvented him more maturely. I am still unconventional, non-conformist, and a bit nuts.
Still crazy after all these years?