Coyote is back in action with his 1957 Green Rickenbacker 4000. They’ve been hanging out a lot together. On his birthday, Coyote wrote “My Birthday Song” while jamming alone with his Ricky bass.
“It’s very upsetting,” explains Coyote. “Now I’m writing a song or two everyday and I’ve got nothing to do with them.”
Too Many Songs?
The Hippy Coyote has been signed to Shaolin Music, an ASCAP music publisher since 1984. As an exclusive artist of Shaolin Records and Shaolin Music, Coyote has created, composed, or recorded over 2,000 songs.
2,000 songs should be a good thing. But Shaolin Music is owned and operated by Coyote’s alter-ego, Richard Del Connor. He’s either Richard Del Connor or The Coyote.
Actually, Coyote has another alter-ego: Buddha Zhen. Zhen Shen-Lang is his legal Chinese name which translates as Spirit Wolf of Truth. Wow, our psychedelic hippie is a Shaolin Kung Fu Master also? Yep. And when he’s Buddha Zhen, he bounces back and forth as Richard Del Connor to record, film, and edit the footage of Buddha Zhen teaching his Shaolin Chi Mantis Traditional Buddhist Kung Fu, Taoist Tai Chi Chuan & Confucian Strategy classes. Huh?
Too Many Brains?
As a kid, Richard Del Connor was nicknamed, “Brain,” by not only his fellow students in a condescending manner, but also from his father. At age 10 Richard was touring schools as a lecturer and debated against a panel of teachers on the Regis Philbin Show.
Richard tried to get along, and dumbed down his speaking skills to become a Union Carpenter. He even tried swear words for a couple years but gave them up.
“I rode a Triumph chopper for a couple years. I think I may have even flipped a couple people off,” Coyote explains trying to appear normal.
Coyote Brain in a Graveyard?
In 1983 Richard Del Connor (then known as Richard O’Connor) had a very romantic relationship with a girl who played blues guitar. She was in a Los Angeles rock band of girls from which a couple of them became very famous.
At that time, Richard was working as a Union Carpenter at LAX in preparation for the 1984 Olympics to be held in Los Angeles. He was making really good money and saving it up for the launch of his SHAOLIN RECORDS independent record label launch in September 1984.
Richard decided to take his blues guitar girlfriend on a vacation to the Redwoods of Northern California where he’d visited several years earlier. One of his cousins had an apple orchard in Eureka.
While staying at the Fisherman’s Wharf in a nice hotel they decided to take a helicopter ride over the Alcatraz Prison. It was a romantic week and it had only just begun. They strolled through the Chinatown restaurants and were well treated as tourists.
When they got to the San Francisco Bay, the helicopter pilot was excited to have some passengers. He and Richard hit if off and the pilot said, “I’ll give you a good ride. It’ll be fun.”
He kept his promise, but Richard didn’t know his girlfriend had an agoraphobia problem. She had never shown any evidence of it. She was the one who harassed him into the relationship, causing him to break up with another girl he’d been dating in an orange Fiat. She knew how to win Richard’s heart: she worked at a restaurant and every night she would stop by with restaurant leftovers… Ummmm.
As they cruised in the sky above the dark waters of San Francisco and the concrete buildings of Alcatraz the pilot decided to show Richard some extra fancy moves. It seemed like one of those moves was a complete flip–but whatever turned their stomachs for a giggle caused his girlfriend to have a ‘panic attack.’
They made it back without much of a scene and it still took a walk for a block for Richard to realize her dilemma. She couldn’t turn off her adrenaline or ‘panic attack.’ As they sit on the curb of Chinatown, they decided to go back to their hotel room. It still persisted and she wanted to see a doctor. So Richard took her to an emergency room where the doctor explained to Richard that their vacation might be over.
Richard brought her home — cutting off four days of their seven day vacation. It would be the end of the relationship. She was preferring solitude than a relationship.
This was the German family that kind of adopted him as their son. The parents wanted him to marry their daughter and that pressure also motivated her to push Richard, him, me… away. Sad time for me too.
Like a Coyote haunting their trash cans he stopped by several times a week… but…
Now The Coyote Story
That summer of 1984 was a magical fun time for Coyote, when he wasn’t working as a carpenter. He had a rock band. That’s their picture on the cover of the American Zen LEVEL 3 = I Want You To Love Me album on Shaolin Records. He was also performing as a session bass player in several bands including Alisa & The Nomads.
When Richard started dating the blues guitar girl, one of his roommates became very jealous and he had to move out. Since he was working full time and performing several times a week at night, he just lived out of his van for the next year.
Now, heartbroken, alone in his van, parked every night at Santa Monica Beach. Richard was completing his Shaolin Kung Fu training that year also. He could shower at the school…
“Half A Dollar Bill” was written at the beginning of this relationship.
Now? The Coyote Story?
Okay. One of the bands Richard O’Connor was playing in as a bass player was called, THE ROOSTERS. Richard played bass and sometimes played harmonica with one of those harmonica holders like Bob Dylan uses. THE ROOSTERS played classic rock cover songs. They were all session players and they decided they would only play songs they loved and enjoyed singing. 3-part harmonies playing The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, The Animals, The Yardbirds, and lots of cool hit songs from the 1960s that made people want to jump around… or dance.
Richard was finishing his LAX Union Carpentry and was looking for a residence. The guitarist of The Roosters was the manager of an apartment complex with white wood siding and green stucco that was across the street from the Veteran’s Cemetary in West L.A. next to the 405 freeway, north of Wilshire. That summer, there were a lot of vacancies so Richard lived in a couple of these vacant apartments, with the manager’s permission, using candlelight and cold water showers.
It was another magical time as Richard used his Panasonic walkman cassette recorder to record over 50 songs he’d written over the past couple years. He grouped them into 12-song albums and copyrighted them as unreleased albums.
Hey! Where’s The Coyote?
Actually, I remember the rabbit first.
I slept in my guitarist’s apartment sometimes. It was warmer, and we’d stay up late jamming… I can’t remember his name but I think he was from Australia. Where are you? Say, “Hi” if you see this.
Anyway, every morning I’d wake up to his huge pet rabbit sitting next to my head, where I slept on the floor. I just remembered that rabbit last week as I was chewing some spinach. That rabbit would just chew and chew and chew… This was curious to me. I was impressed. That rabbit is still my “Chew it to a liquid” inspiration.
Alright, the coyote story: I was recording my songs of the past and writing some songs of my current love demise… and there was a coyote across the street.
It’s important to note that I have had a fondness or relationship with wild coyotes since I was two years old. We didn’t have a fence for a couple years and the coyotes would come at night to sniff around under my bedroom window.
My mother taught me to befriend your demons under the bed… so I befriended the coyotes. I was a real nature boy who spent his afternoons hiking in the canyon instead of playing football or baseball like the other kids. When I hiked, the coyotes would mirror my movements on the other side of the stream or canyon. I felt a kind of “Jungle Book” relationship with my wild friends.
So as I sat in my candle lit kitchen recording songs and writing poetry, this coyote across the street in the Veteran’s Cemetery would zig-zag through the headstones eating mice. This coyote became a daily smile for me. I just smiled real wide in memory of him.
But now I feel the dread and sadness creep through my entire body like a cold chill and my eyes are tearing up. The coyote disappeared. The gardeners…
I’m kinda choked up. So I’m gonna go hang out with my cat for a while.