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Biography

during his rough and tumble youth on the mean streets of liverpool, england, j cogburn played washboard in several "wiffle" bands. feeling that these efforts were like putting pearls before swine, cogburn decided as a young man to move to detroit, michigan, where he studied the jazz kazoo. this proved to be a propitious decision, especially after motor city chanteuse james osterburg destroyed cogburn's washboard in a blind rage. this "creative destruction" led to cogburn's two year stint as an understudy to legendary bass player michael davis. unfortunately, differences in artistic direction resulted in cogburn's kazoo tracks not being included in the mc5's kick out the jams album. // it was precisely at this point that cogburn's legendary six month disappearance took place. while rock historians have long claimed that cogburn was working at the camera and jewelry counter of beminji, minnesota's second wal-mart (the smaller one), many legends have arisen over this period of cogburn's life. the undisputed fact is that, after six months disappearance, cogburn returned to the mean streets of detroit with an almost complete mastery of the jew's harp. it is primarily due to such mastery that rumors concerning cogburn selling his soul to the devil continue to surface. astute interpreters of cogburn's oevre have argued (persuasively to some) that cogburn's predilection for wearing t-shirts that bear the imprint "i sold my soul to the devil and all i got was this lousy jew's harp," as well as cogburn's early release of the same title, are best understood metaphorically. However, this has done little to undermine the legend. // while cogburn experienced no little commercial and critical success during his time in detroit, financial crisis and spiraling drug use (mostly anti-histamines, but sometimes sudafed if he was really stuffed up) led him to abandon detroit for the greener pastures of the greater new york city area. though cogburn had released no long playing records at this point in his career, he had recorded several songs on cassette, not one of which received bad critical notice. during the "new york" years, cogburn continued to record cassettes and became a constant fixture in the free jazz scene, ultimately recording improvisational takes of all the of the jazz standards on his cassette player. the creative fervor that existed in the greater new york city area in general (and the mean streets of parsippany, new jersey in particular) motivated cogburn to attain mastery of jazz spoons, jazz saw, and jazz washtub (not washtub bass, but rather the plastic and formica bathtub in the efficiency cogburn shared with three korean exchange students). // during "the parsippany years," cogburn's irritating girlfriend was heard to remark, "i hate your music." this led cogburn to re-evaluate his place in the creative firmament, culminating in his 1968 move to San Francisco, and later (in the mid 1950's) a regular gig on the famed "louisiana boatride" (ham) radio show. fame and fortune (of a sort, the minimum wage was raised twice during this period) followed, but (alas) cogburn remained a troubled soul. after struggling with personal demons for the succeeding six decades, cogburn found a measure of peace in religion (mormonism, pre-vatican 2 catholicism, the southern baptist convention, and jehovah jireh). now convinced that he will be one of the only 144,000 to enter the kingdom of heaven, cogburn's musical career has entered something of a renaissance, culminating now with the release of devil in my pocket. when not drooling on himself in public and muttering dark thoughts about government mind control and the flouridification of water, cogburn can be found in front of harrah's casino in shreveport, louisiana imploring pedestrians to wear tinfoil on their heads.

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