View Full Version : Some tales from the bars,or Where's The Chicken Wire?

Frantic Freddie
12-11-2010, 05:36 AM
Couple of folks have said they'd like to hear some band stories,well here's a couple from a 3 week long Gig From Hell in Odessa,Texas.

1981,the west Texas oilfields are booming,entire families are living in Motel 6 & those roughnecks are lookin' for for some entertainment after a long day on the rig & they're making lots of money.We knew none of this before arriving.

Studio 36 (I can name it because it don't exist anymore),a few miles outside the city limits of Odessa,big place,500-600 capacity,it had apparently been built as a disco as it had a huge lighted dance floor.But the country scene was gettin' hot,so a 6' (1.8 meters) stage was built.We later came to appreciate that distance from the audience.

We get set up & get rooms (another story) & the 1st nite goes rather uneventfully,until we go to leave thru the front door & come upon this guy just beatin' the hell outta another guy,blood flyin',there's bartenders & waitresses watchin' the show.So the bass player & me kinda sidle up to one of the waitresses & say "Uh....don't 'yall think you should call the manager?"

an aside on the "ladies" that worked there:They were uniformly fat,semi-toothless & had voices that were like a buzzsaw on your brain

"Oh,that is the manager!"

That's when we realized the 6' stage was a good thing.

I have a few more stories from this gig,but I'll leave with this one from the last week we were there,when the 7 foot tall Nazi biker threatened to rape our girl singer.The bass player & I decided that was it,so we took our handguns into the bar.

12-11-2010, 06:39 AM
OK, I can already tell you should write a book. :D

Andara Bledin
12-12-2010, 04:01 AM
Oh, yeah. This is memoir material if ever there was.

Please, keep 'em comin'!


Frantic Freddie
12-12-2010, 08:38 PM
Well,thanks for the nice comments! I don't think I could ever write a book,I just don't have the patience but I can tell stories all day long,like this one from the same gig,didn't happen in the bar though...

We'd all 5 of us gone to lunch in our girl singer's (K,a very attractive,talented & tough lady) little pickup.The two guitar players & me were riding in the bed (remember,1981,no laws against it),bass player up front with her.

So we're toodlin' down the street when the police light us up.Our 1st reaction was "Aw shit,what'd she do this time?",K bein' a notoriously "agressive" driver.We really didn't like riding with her,but since our other vehicle was our band bus,we didn't have much choice.

So she pulls into a convienience store parking lot & curiously,the cop doesn't pull in behind us,but on the other side of the lot.Then another cop shows up.....and another,and another,until there's 7 cars!

Then we see them gettin' out & pullin' out their shotguns & unlatchin' their pistols.Somebody,I think it was me,said "Don't even breathe hard...."

So the cop that pulled us over pulls out his pistol & walks up to us & asks for IDs.He really didn't need to add "Very slowly".

Now imagine you're a cop & you pull over 5 people you think are suspicious & they hand you 3 New Mexico IDs,one from Colorado & one from Arizona....and we're in Texas.

By this time he's been joined by 4-5 of his colleagues,a couple of them with their Remington 870 Police Magnums,the others are still standing behind their cars,obviously ready to rain down a hail of lead if we so much as twitched wrong.

For the next eternity (it could've have been 10 minutes) they questioned us & fortunately (this is what cops look for) our stories all matched,we were the band at Studio 36,we were just out for lunch,we were staying at X motel,etc...

So we see them relax & 2'3 of the cars leave,but they weren't done with us yet.One cop starts grilling our rythm guitarist,a very inoffensive fellow,didn't even drink much (the bass player & I were the hellraisers)...

"Riggs,I know you,I've busted you before"

"No sir,I've never been in Texas in my life!"

This goes back & forth a few more times,until the cop is finally satisfied that the poor guy had never been there before.

So finally they let us go & we all went back to the motel for a much-needed strong drink.

Oh yeah,why did we get pulled over in the 1st place? Because a notorious cop-killer had escaped from La Tuna,an infamous max-security west Texas prison with a large population of Bandidos & Hells Angels,not a nice place.Apparently this charming fellow bore quite a resemblence to your humble narrator!

12-13-2010, 06:28 AM
Wow. doesn't sound like much has changed in Odessa. Place is still not a place I'd let my wife be after dark. Been to shows out in that area, and it never failed to be eventful. Not 8 cops with shotties and mags in your face, but usually some drunk roughnecks looking to roughen up a metal head high school student.

I wouldn't go there for shows by myself. I'd go with the biggest group I can get, or I go fully armed...and since last I was there was high school, I couldn't legally have a concealed firearm, so 10-20 of my friends it was. :-P

Frantic Freddie
12-13-2010, 11:14 PM
I ain't been back to Odessa since then.

What was funny was that our bass player had played in Midland a coupla years before & kept sayin' how much fun it was,we found out later Midland is where the brains are,Odessa is where the brawn is.

Couple of little snapshots from my memory:

The aforementioned waitresses,as soon as we did the last song & the lights came up,would go around literally screaming "GET THE FUCK OUT!!! GET THE FUCK OUT OUTTA HERE!!!"
We had a group of 8-10 people at one table that we'd sat down to talk to one night & they told us that while they liked us,they were NEVER coming back there.

The guy in the Men's room who bitched to me that they wouldn't extend him any more credit,his hands were shaking so bad he could hardly aim "I make $1000 a week,they know that!".Well guy,if you're runnin' through much money & have overextended your credit that much,maybe it's time to look at your drinking habits.
serious alcoholics get the shakes when they don't get booze

One guy that was a fan of ours,decent young fellow,was beaten into a coma one night in the parking lot.

Ah yes,the nightly brawl,a mass of humanity moving back & forth near the door (opposite side of the place from the stage,thank the FSM) with blood splattering & bodies falling,the management either in the middle of it or affecting an attitude of supreme indifference to the mayhem.

Did I mention a guy was killed just outside the door one night while we were playing? The cops never came in the place.I think even they were scared of it.

Frantic Freddie
12-14-2010, 11:52 PM
Here's the story I mentioned in my other thread (http://www.customerssuck.com/board/showthread.php?p=841038#post841038):

Background: 1985,there'd been 3 arson fires,a little playhouse & 2 bars,one of the bars in town,the other 2 places were in the mountains.They caught the guy.

So we're the house band (a band that plays every week) at the 18th Amendment Lounge in a very nice hotel.Great gig,good money,don't have to move our 6 tons of equipment,on slow nights we can rehearse & we get free drinks!
One typically slow weekday night a drummer friend of mine comes in & I have him sit in for me,but before that we played "Cocaine" & we see the bartender hold up one of those erasable boards that says "BAD CHOICE!".

We're a little perplexed by that,but I call my friend up & I head to the bar.As I sit down next to this lady she says to me,somewhat testily:
"Do you guys play 'Smuggler's Blues' too?"

Always polite,I say "No,I'm sorry,we don't"

With an edge in her voice that could shave the whiskers off a warthog she says "Good".

After awhile her & the fellow she came in with left & the bartender comes over to me & asks "Do you know who that was?"
"That was K** G***** & his sister.This is their last night before they report to prison"

This guy had run one of the most successful nightclubs in the Duke City,but he'd been busted along with his sister for cocaine trafficking,not small amounts either.Remember the club that burned? It was his & when they searched his house they found all this stuff that he'd claimed on his insurance & at the same time the arsonist admitted he'd been hired to torch it.Double whammy.

Apparently they thought we'd recognized them when they walked in & that's why we'd played "Cocaine",the truth is that while we'd played there a coupla times,we'd never met him,booked the job through an agent.

He's been out now for a few years & managed to get another club going & when Romeo (see other thread) mentioned his friend that had a club but didn't want his name mentioned because his name isn't on the license (NM law prohibits convicted felons from owning liquor licenses) I knew exactly who he was talking about.

12-15-2010, 07:39 PM
Time to learn 'Smuggler's Blues' and rehearsing 'Cocaine' :devil:

12-15-2010, 09:55 PM
Wow, these stories have just given me about 60 more reasons to avoid Texas. Sounds scary.

And I've walked Manhattan alone at night! :eek:

12-15-2010, 11:10 PM
Damn....just damn.....

12-16-2010, 01:29 AM
I worked at a place where on of the accountants told stories of playing sax in Fats Domino's band in the 50's...
And they really did use chicken wire to keep the band and part of the audience in their place.

12-16-2010, 07:18 PM
Wow, these stories have just given me about 60 more reasons to avoid Texas. Sounds scary.

And I've walked Manhattan alone at night! :eek:

Not all of Texas is that way. Midland, which is attached to Odessa, is perfectly safe. I'll walk those streets at night unarmed. The town I grew up in, Lubbock, is also that way. Yes, there's drunken shenanigans, but that's because there's a big party school nearby. Biggest problem in that town is the traffic problems generated from a new restaurant opening.

Most places have a "bad side of town", but because Texas does everything bigger, there's whole towns you don't want to be in after dark. El Paso with all it's drug smuggling and gang related activity, and Odessa with all the drunken roughnecks top the list. :-P

Frantic Freddie
12-22-2010, 12:12 AM
Here's a non-sucky story:

I was playin' at the Inn at Loretto in Santa Fe many years ago & I twirl my sticks.Well,one night I lost control & my stick sailed out into the audience,beyond the lights so I couldn't see where it landed & I was silently screaming "DON'T LET IT HIT ANYBODY!!!

Then I hear 2 guys clapping & yelling,then out of the gloom they come holding a pitcher of beer with my stick in it!!!

Two out-of-town businessmen,having a beer after work,not even paying attention to the band & all of a sudden the stick lands in their pitcher! They thought it was the greatest thing they'd ever seen & bought me drinks all night long :D

12-22-2010, 06:31 AM
Freddie, you're quickly becoming one of my favorites. I'd love to buy you a few beers and listen to you tell band stories all night long. Hell, I do that for some of the "old timers" at the local rock bars here.

Frantic Freddie
12-22-2010, 04:52 PM
Thank you Super,got more comin'! :D

Frantic Freddie
12-23-2010, 09:31 PM
Quick holiday story....

I pretty much quit playin' New Years when I realized I hadn't had one off for about 15 years,the pay wasn't gettin' any better & I was tired of workin' while everybody else had fun,so I just priced myself out of the market.

So a few years ago I get a call 2 days before New Years,this guy's obviously young & very excited about havin' a New Years gig:

"Hi,the music store gave me your number & we really need a drummer for New Years in the South Valley,we're gettin' real good money!"

So I ask,intrigued "What's good money?"

"$75 a man!"

Folks,this is not good money for the biggest night of the year,'specially if I have to drive an hour to get there.

"That's not really enough money to get me off the mountain"

"Well how much do you need?" knowin' full well he's gonna offer to kick in another $25



"Well thanks for callin' guy,good luck on findin' a drummer & Happy New Year!"

12-26-2010, 05:50 AM
Then I hear 2 guys clapping & yelling,then out of the gloom they come holding a pitcher of beer with my stick in it!!!

I was stage band at my school musical.

The female lead had a 'stripping' scene. (It was 'Calamity Jane', for those interested. And no, she only stripped down to underwear made for the purpose. Very G rated.)

So. Opening night. Everyone there. Teachers, friends, family. Up comes the stripping scene. She kicks off her shoe.

It goes over her head.

It sails backwards.

Towards a borrowed crystal punch bowl.

And lands neatly inside the punch bowl. No sound of chipping, the punch bowl seems entire. The shoe even sits nicely and artistically arranged - upright - inside it.

Calamity takes a moment, then declaims "That was a perfectly good shoe!"
... and then returns to the scene as if nothing had happened.

12-26-2010, 10:40 AM
So. Opening night. Everyone there. Teachers, friends, family. Up comes the stripping scene. She kicks off her shoe.

It goes over her head.

It sails backwards.

Towards a borrowed crystal punch bowl.

And lands neatly inside the punch bowl. No sound of chipping, the punch bowl seems entire. The shoe even sits nicely and artistically arranged - upright - inside it.

Calamity takes a moment, then declaims "That was a perfectly good shoe!"
... and then returns to the scene as if nothing had happened.

I saw a drag show once where the performer did a high kick, and a shoe came off...

...And went straight up and snagged in a crystal chandelier.

Turns out to be extremely amusing to watch someone try to dance wearing only one high-heeled shoe, get frustrated and kick the other damn thing off too.

Frantic Freddie
01-15-2011, 11:41 PM
Another one from the past....

We got hired at a new bar in Gallup,Friday & Saturday with rooms & $xxx.Kinda sleazy lookin',but it's Gallup,we know how it goes.We get there,set up & turn on the amps & PA.


Horrible 60-cycle hum from everything & we can't figure out what the problem is,all our stuff's pretty new & top-notch,so we know that ain't it.

About 10:00,an hour after we were supposed to start,the bar manager (not the owner) shows up & says "You guys are supposed to plug in around the corner,not in those." Grumbling,we dig out extension cords & voila,no hum,so we were able to play that might & the next.

End of the gig Saturday night we head to the bar to get our pay.Owner's there & he says "I have to dock you guys 50% for not starting on time Friday Night" wtf.....

"It's your fault not not tellin' us beforehand about the power situation"

"Doesn't matter,I'm docking you"

At this point of course we're upset,so we argue the point for almost an hour,then decide we'll let the agent handle it,we've got 1/2 the money & more gigs at home.Drive home,call the agent & tell him why he ain't gettin' his full commission,he's on it right away (funny how that works with the bastard agents ;)).

A few months later we finally get our money,but not until after the agent had gone to court & listened to the club owner say that he'd felt "intimidated" by us when he refused to pay us & because of that thought he shouldn't pay.
The really good part was that we were one of 4-5 bands in court that day that the club owner had pulled the same thing on,the judge wasn't sympathetic.

Heard later he shortly went out of business.Couldn't have happened to a better guy.