Mostly through the seventies and 80’s, I played in a rock and roll band. Many interesting stories have been told over the years, I’ll try to keep it clean and tell you a few of them.
The time we had an attempted robbery on our speakers WHILE WE WERE PLAYING! We were in the middle of our 3rd set at Mc’Bride’s in Orwigsburg when Scott stopped playing and got off the stage in the middle of a song! We kept playing for a few more seconds and then stopped as he ran out of the back door, yelling as he sprinted. Turns out he saw heard the speaker stop working, and looking over that way, saw a young man handing the speaker out of the window! He got up and gave chase and the would be thieves dropped the speaker in the parking lot and ran away.
Scott came back with our speaker and we checked out the scene to find out that while we were playing, they broke the glass in the window, removed all the pieces of broken glass from outside, climbed in, removed the speaker cable and tried to steal the speaker. Now, this takes some balls, aye? To steal the band’s equipment in the middle of a set. You’d think they would know that the lack of music would be noticed.
And that reminds me of another story relating to thievery while we were playing.
One time we were playing at a bar in Middlecreek, Pa. And the club was just adjacent to the creek there (amazingly named Middle Creek!) The bridge crossing the small creek next to the club was considered too dangerous for heavy traffic and was thus closed and barricaded on both sides. It had been sitting like this for a few years and we used it to our advantage as the back state door was right near the bridge. So, we (as well as all the bands who played this particular club) would park the band truck at the end of the road. It would get parked in later as the club used the old road as part of it’s overflow parking lot, but we didn’t care as we were usually the last to leave.
One Sat. night after finishing our gig to a great crowd, and sticking around, slowly packing up and drinking some more before we headed home, we finally got around to loading the band truck about 4 AM. We even carried some of the equipment out to the dock there before noticing that our truck was gone! The barricades on both side of the bridge had been moved and the truck stolen in this way. (Again, this was while we were playing!) Well, we were amazed to say the least. After calling the police, we found out that the truck had been found demolished about 6 miles away after hitting a huge tree head on. They had the homeless man in the hospital on drunken driving charges but he had not yet told them that the vehicle was stolen. Needless to say, we didn’t get any money from the guy and had to go out and find another band truck before we could play again.
I usually always drove the band truck, which was an old bread truck (square) that we built a wall in with a bench so everyone could go together. We didn’t always go together but the option was there.
So, one time, Henry was working on some equipment and kept the truck at his house for the week. When it was time to leave on Friday, he had to drive it over to our drummer’s house who lived on a hill and go inside and get him.
He shut off the engine as we didn’t trust the handbrake all that much. So, when he started it, he decided to catch it in gear rather than use the starter. (I’m not sure why) Well, the truck was fully loaded with all of our gear and a big pa system and he left it drift away down the hill and popped the clutch. A huge lurch and a bang later and he realized something was drastically wrong. When he got out, he saw that the whole rear end had dropped out of the truck and was lying on the ground.
Now, we had to start playing in about 2 hours so we had a real problem. He called up the club and we were just getting there. The club owner was a bit upset and finally someone came up with the idea of getting the truck towed to the club. The tow truck had to drive at night, and we ended up being about 1 ½ hours late to start the gig.
The next week was spent by most of the band members tramping junk yards and crawling in snow, ice and mud removing and installing a rear end to our truck. Many curses to Henry and no, we never let him drive the band truck again.
Another time there was a high speed police chase in our town with some robber (a true cops and robber story) and it ended with the reckless driving of the criminal slamming into our band truck. A few pieces of our equipment got damaged in that one. I think we got some insurance money out of it but it was quite nerve racking to look in back of my house one night and see about 10 police cars with lights blazing away.
Lots more band stories and the like to come…………….