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Opinion >  Column

Doug Clark: Musician squeezes out a paean to pot

Many people are worried about what effect legalizing marijuana in Washington might have on kids.

It’s a valid point. Although after what I watched on YouTube Monday morning, I’m actually more concerned by what the wacky weed is already doing to our seniors.

Well, one senior, anyway: Joe Jenkins, the accordion-squeezing 70-year-old Spokane man who calls himself Accordion Joe.

He called the other day to plug “Weed Stoner Land,” the original pot polka he wrote and played live last Thursday on the popular Jay & Kevin Show on 99.9 FM radio.

“Most songs just blow a lot of smoke,” boasted Accordion Joe. “But ‘Weed Stoner Land’ gets down to the nitty-gritty.”

It definitely gets down to a grass-roots level.

Through the miracle of the Internet you can experience Accordion Joe’s 1 minute, 19 second triumph. As a free column bonus, here are the lyrics for singing along:

Come on along, we’ll be singing our song.

Tokin’ and munchin’ and puffin’ away.

Feelin’ no pain, when we’re tokin’ again.

Happy in Weed Stoner Land.

If you like fun, then go tell someone.

About the med that eases the pain.

Better than booze, and it helps you to snooze.

Happy in Weed Stoner Land.

(Repeat second verse. Accordion Joe was apparently too stoned to think up a third.)

OK. So “Bridge Over Troubled Water” it’s not.

It did make me laugh, however, which is apparently much of what Accordion Joe was aiming for.

“When you’re smoking pot it’s definitely not a downer,” said Accordion Joe, an unabashed bud man.

Not being a pothead, I’ll have to trust him on that.

I told Accordion Joe that his song makes him a “tokesman” for the geriatric ganja crowd, which is a long leap from where he was when we first met.

Flash back to the summer of 1988. Accordion Joe called me out of the blue one day to tell me about his big plan.

Which was to water ski on one leg while playing the accordion blindfolded, and would I be interested in writing a column about it?

When confronted with such freakish opportunities my response is nearly always the same.

“I’m in!”

To my jaw-dropping, eye-popping surprise, Accordion Joe pulled off this death-defying feat of musical amazement just the way he said he would.

The only glitch came during his slow dismount into the river.

Sinking like the Titanic, the accordion quickly turned into a water-slogged ruin.

AJ dumped it on the shore where a dog immediately ran over and started eating it like Alpo.

You can’t make this stuff up.

Ah, the accordion. American musical tastes haven’t been kind to this once-popular instrument that was doomed by the guitar.

Encouraged to play by his grandparents, Accordion Joe said he had four years of private lessons under his belt when rock and roll burst onto the scene in the mid-1950s.

Smitten like everyone in his generation, Accordion Joe wondered what rock would sound like on a “Stomach Steinway.”

One problem.

“I had to play by myself. Nobody’d allow an accordion in a rock band.”

Pity. Yet Accordion Joe kept squeezing. He developed professional chops playing on radio and public access TV shows, for parties and dinner cruises and nursing home audiences.

Not to mention Bloomsday.

He always caused a stir by playing oldies while wearing a white jumpsuit with an Elvis wig topping his head.

Accordion Joe said he stopped doing performances a couple of years ago, but keeps practicing and writing songs.

An advocate of the herb, both medicinal and recreational, Accordion Joe said he came up with “Weed Stoner Land” to show that “life is mo better” with weed.

“I treat pot just like I treat alcohol,” he said. “Don’t drink and drive. Don’t smoke and drive.”

Accordion Joe said he lives a comfortable life in the house once owned by his grandparents – on Stone Street.

You heard me right. Stone Street.

When mailing a letter, Accordion Joe said he likes to turn Stone into “Stoned” Street on his return address.

Accordion Joe might have been better off on water skis.

Doug Clark is a columnist for The Spokesman-Review. He can be reached at (509) 459-5432 or by email at dougc@spokesman.com.

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