Incidents & Accidents
Being in a band could and did provide its share of interesting, unique, scary and humorous situations. There was a lot to more to see from the stage than just dancing kids and young adults. More to be encountered on the way to a gig and back besides the long ride and traffic. What is included here are the personal recollections of those involved. I was surprised that there were not more stories from the road than were remembered by those I interviewed. Perhaps I will be able to add more as those members who read these stories recall more of their own. Some of these appear elsewhere in Garage in case they sound familiar. I’ve put my own thoughts in too.
Steve Greenfield: (during Willow/Easy Co. period)
The first gig was in Winnipeg at a downtown hotel. I remember it came up all of a sudden. It was like, “Hey, in two days you’ve got to be in Winnipeg.” So Paul West and Jane and I drove in my old white Dodge station wagon to Chicago and get visas. We took Polaroids of everyone in my mom’s kitchen, got all the pertinent information, drove to the consulate in Chicago and got visas so we could go into Canada and work the following week. We played in the hotel for two nights before Gary fired us because we didn’t do disco. I called the agent and he didn’t want to do anything about it. So I called the American consulate and said, “We’re an American band, we’re up here and stuck. This guy promised us three weeks of work. We feel he misrepresented our band and what we did. They got us booked into an inn out by the international airport. The bar was called The Hanger. It had an airplane coming through the wall. We went over great. We played two weeks there and it was wonderful!
Mark Ohlson: (on his first paid gig)
I was in Rex Rinker’s class at Ogden. Mr. Rinker hired us to play for (Margo’s) birthday party. We went out to their farm to play and get exposure. There was really to be no dollar amount. When we got done, Bob Rinker walked up to all of us and gave each of us a brand new, shiny 5 dollar bill. I mean, it was crisp! It had no folds in it. He walked out and about broke my hand (from the handshake he gave me when giving the $5). We even did an encore! They dug us!
   We figured hauling all the equipment out there and back ate up 2 dollars worth of gas, so I made three dollars. I took that five dollars and put it in my piggy bank. Man, I was king. Now I’m, a pro! I’ve been paid to play. And everyone else in the band felt that way too. He even gave Carl five bucks. That was a high point. I remember everybody dancing and having fun. It was extremely cool! Very, very cool gig!
Russ Musilek: (on practice hijinks during Liberty)
I’ve got this great story. (smiling) Steve was chasing around this homely sister of Jim Barkwill named Joann. Nice kid, but oh boy! They were necking fools. They were parking maniacs. Steve has this little bitty white Nova. It was a square little box. Kind of looks like a Fiat sedan. What would happen is they would disappear and go some place and park and neck.
   One evening, in the dead of winter, we came out of band practice—we were busy shooting the breeze in the basement—and Steve’s parked in front of the house. Parked in front of her house! The windows are completely steamed on the inside. So we went over to the car and kind of rock it back and forth and you could hear locks going snap, snap, snap. So we put two light boxes on the hood and two boxes on the back. Remember in the movie “M*A*S*H” where they all line up and drop the shower curtain? Well that’s what we did.
   We ran about five or six extension cords from the house and plugged them in in the living room and all sat down on the front porch and said, “HIT IT!”. We turned the lights on and the car jumps! WHOA!! (laughter) So all of the sudden you’ve got this white diffusing ice on the inside, so you’ve got the whole car aglow with 400 watts of light. (laughter) We were not very nice to him.
Larry Kelley: (on Sweetooth’s first Pufferbilly Days show)
The first Pufferbilly Days show was in ‘81. That’s when we started doing. . . just for the fun of it we thought we would put together a special show cause it’s Pufferbilly Days, it’s Boone’s celebration and we want to do something to help boost it. It was, like, the second year of Pufferbilly Days. So we put together this Elvis show. I’ve got a video tape of it.
   The thought in my brain was, “We have the stage set up, we’d have the “2001” intro play, and I could go down to the fire station and change into a jumpsuit thing, have a coupla of guys in body guard type outfits, then have a police car with a siren (going) lead us in.” Well we never practiced it! On the video tape you can see Steve Whiting motioning when (the) “2001” (tape) starts, ya know, “C’mon, c’mon, c’mon” (motions with hands). I told one of the guys driving the car-Steve Stock who used to be in the Telstars, who was back and managing the Trestle (lounge) drove the car for me- “You tell the cop when you motion your hand to hit the siren and take us up there.” On the tape it’s perfect! It could not have been rehearsed and done better. We went up and did this little Elvis thing, you know. We had no idea what we were going to do. Just had a few songs planned. Threw some Elvis songs together. It went over so well we ended up doin’ it 4 years in a row. We’d have people that would come back next the year and (ask) when are you going to do the show.