I know I should use the word expedition, but expeditioni sounds more impressive. Here are the shacks that I had never seen that inspired one of my signature songs, Kerouac Shack. I visited the weekend after Labor Day 2022, when I embarked upon a demanding hike through the dunes of the Cape. I kept my distance because the shacks are still inhabited by artists even though they have no running water or power. It was a beautiful trip!
The song Kerouac Shack traces its roots to when my friend Ian Donnis told me about a story on the news wire about a preservation effort to protect historic beach shacks in Cape Cod. The shacks were originally for fisherman, life guards and Coast Guardsman on the Cape but were also inhabited by On the Road writer Jack Kerouac and other artists. I remember I had my guitar and my friend Ian was working at the Associated Press in Providence on the late night shift. I visited the newsroom at 11 p.m. and took out the guitar in a corner of the room and came up with the basic feel of the song by using a 6/8 time signature and open chords and letting the low E string ring out. The result was Kerouac Shack, a pretty simple song but one that has the drive and feel of a big fan of Beatnik poetry, which I was and still am. A lot of people I knew over the years remember the chant KEROUAC SHACK KEROUAC SHACK. The song inspired a video project in 1988 with Daniela Hinsch and a cast of some of my close pals at the time. I lost touch with Daniela but I just saw her on IMDB and she’s a professional film editor. Bob Plotkin also posted the Kerouac Shack video as an early example of internet video back in 2000 or so. Thanks Bob.