The benefit that Dave and John were informed of turned out to be a biker rally. This rally was for a guy who had accidentally shot himself when he dropped a cash box that had a gun in it. He was affectionately referred to as “Cowboy.” There were “bikes-o-plenty” in the parking lot. Black leather was the choice of attire. Kevin showed up in his hat, boots, and brightly multicolored shirt. Dave arrived in his “formal” JCPenney’s full-length wool coat. We were slotted to play from 2:00-3:00. We were using the equipment of the “host band” Direct Connection. They played hard rock.
Kevin had been battling a cold all week. Dave was working on a stuffed up nose, as well as a case of diarrhea (thanks for sharing). As Jesse entered the bar, he was met with the greeting of “It’s a good day for a murder and a rape.” The stage was pretty small. The band had to set up in a new position having Dave in the middle, John on the right, and Kevin on the left. Jesse got to play a double bass tama set. It was nice. He was happy. Dave brought his new Fender amp.
The band’s first song was “Rock My World Little Country Girl.” They used this song as a sound check and launched into the predetermined set list. The band decided to skip the slower Travis Tritt tune “Anymore” due to the rock-n-roll nature of the crowd. At the end of every song, there was a good response from the people six shooter brought with them (Kim Miller, Lucinda Gibbens, Rhonda Williamson, Gina, Bob Ling, Matt and Lisa Kocher). From the actual bar patrons, there wasn’t much vocal response. There was plenty of foot tapping, and an occasional head bopping. The set came off with the usual first outing mistakes. A few missed chords, a few flat notes (Dave could not hear a note he sang), and a few “invented spots.” The band tried to improvise by changing the lyrics of Mercury Blues in the middle of the song to: “I’m gonna buy me a Harley and cruise it up and down the road.” However, Dave and Kevin were not in sync (so much for improvisation). Dave and the band did the “James Brown” routine during the song Bubba Hyde where the band pauses between lead breaks. This gives the impression the song is done, and then cuts back into more guitar solo. Dave decided to venture on to the dance floor and make it appear as if he was walking back to the stage. He would then twist around and launch into more solo (ala James Brown).
The band was talked into doin’ five more songs after the set was done. The songs for the set were. Mercury Blues, Where am I gonna live when I get Home, Margaritaville, Here’s a quarter, and Trashy Women. These songs lacked the polish of the well-practiced first set. Jesse, John, and Dave ponder the thought of doing a version of Ted Nugent’s Stranglehold. A sign from God appeared as the jukebox came on just as they were about to launch into the song.
The band stuck around to hear “Direct Connection.” They had O.K. vocal harmonies but lacked the over-all rock star look. The overweight bass player was wearing a tank top underneath a flannel shirt that had fallen off his shoulder to reveal bushels of arm-pit hair. He was very sexy. The band thanked the organizer of the benefit and made sure that the owner would get one of our biographies. Apparently, the owner had heard part of our first set. The band did not hang around for the “titty contest.” The band has a quick conversation with a band called “Southern Exposure” in the parking lot (and observed a girl extremely high on something).
Our first experience on stage was now behind us.