Elevator Music

It was April 8th 2009 in Arlington, VA and we were in a short run through the great Northeast with Superdrag.  The show at Champion Billiards was not with Superdrag, it was a show we got on the way up to New York to make a buck and eat up some ride time.  We get to the place and it has a parking garage style lot below the club, conveniently enough equipped with an elevator to get folks and material upstairs quicker.  After finding a primo parking spot about two spaces down from said elevator and confirming that it works from a bartender we proceed to load our gear aboard.

After the man said the elevator works good after the cold weather is over, due to the oil in the hydraulic system congealing, we put three guitar amps and an entire drum-set on the side upstairs. On top of all that gear we got all the guitars as well as myself, Robbie Trosper, and Jason Knight for the short seemingly simple ride.  Two floors…don’t seem like much can go wrong does it, well it can before the hat hits the floor.  We load on and start up; we probably don’t get halfway before we hear two loud pops and the elevator stops (so much for the working order of this musicians dumb-waiter). Here we are, Robbie, Jason, and I stuck on the elevator and the boys don’t care for it one bit, I can’t say as I do either, but what can we do at this point.  We deal with it best we can.

After a brief standstill in a steel box I decide to break the ice.  Robbie doesn’t like claustrophobic situations, and we were definitely in one at this point.  Jason (a man of great stature) and Robbie were sweating profusely.  Taking up the precious oxygen left in the “box” (haha) me being me, I offered some comfort to the guys.  I says “If we fall, we can only fall about 8 or 9 feet, and that ain’t enough to kill us (maybe our gear, but not us)” to absolute silence inside the assumed coffin we were stuck in.  My next attempt was much more realistic and cinematic, I grabbed a guitar case and told them worse come to worse; we’d leave like they do in the movies.  To my surprise a panel opened up when I pressed the guitar case against the ceiling and said, “See, we can get out this way.”

All this time Mic and Vance are corresponding from the bottom to top floor concerning our whereabouts.  After two trades on “Where are they?” and “They’re not here.” The alarm sounds on the elevator (compliments of Trosper) and they know where we are.  Mic was upstairs, so I guess he went and got the man with the key to unlock the engine room to this horrid beast.  When we heard two more loud pops we knew we were either going to drop the feared 8 or 9 feet or be saved from this give out situation.  We landed safely.

Upon touchdown Robbie and Jason got the hell off that elevator and would not set foot back on it.  I told them I would try to ride back up with the gear (since I knew the way out) and it got stuck again.  We already had the combination of the man with the key and the stairs as a backup, so we couldn’t lose.  Third try that crazy elevator decided to take the gear to its’ respected destination.  And I’ll have to admit I jumped off like one of the Mercury astronauts what had the right stuff.  Sometime later during that same road trip Robbie told me “I love you man…but I’m not sure I’ll ever get in an elevator with you again,” after that said ordeal in Arlington VA.  Even after I proved to the both of them that we could leave through the roof, just like in the movies.  Hell, in my book you just can’t beat experiences like that.

I can’t anyway.

–Brad Henderson

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Time Warp

11-3-10

We left out for a show in Nashville in a common fashion for us, late, but it gave us a great look at how the van would act on a road trip after yet another overheating surgery.  Robbie had to have his guitar re-fretted so we got to take Kingston Pike in all of her 6p.m. Friday evening glory to Rik’s Music, which is the perfect test for an engine prone to run hot.  The can did run hot and we became silent with worry, but pressed on because we refuse to miss booked shows.  Once we broke the clutches of Kingston Pike and boarded the interstate yon Ford Lounge was back on track.  As we get to the 5-Spot (only 30 minutes late, thanks to the central time zone) we encounter the situation I have joke about many times of the years, sharing a drum kit with the fabled left handed drummer.  After joking about said situation for years, it has never happened to me before this year, and in a span of about 3 months it has happened twice this year…strange.
We had a great time and a great show with Last Train Home.  There was a rowdy crowd that consisted of may good-timers milling about the 5-Spot that night.  We had a chance encounter with Tom Pappas, which was on time as always.  We also caught Sam Powers, Pennebaker from the Commonwealth, and Mark from Les Honkies, which made the evening of story swapping a Class-A blast.  I wrapped up the night at the bar with a couple of whiskey drinks and what seemed to be a never ending billiard match with 2 gals and the door man.  Stephanie and I lost. We left for Ned and Emily’s place where we would practice our ritualistic nonsense deep into morning hours to ensure smooth operations throughout the next day.

As we each awoke the next morning we found ourselves somewhere in the throws of 600 hurts, and Maryville was the place to be that night (The Shed in particular).  The ride to The Shed seemed like a drug from yesteryear that Leary and Kerouac would have been proud to endorse.  Upon arrival and the realization that we were going to survive the previous nights escapades we set out for great BBQ and a great set by Bud Carroll and the Southern Soul sandwiched right in the middle for a very enjoyable evening for all.  Everything went great at The Shed, the folks there are solid gold as well as the facilities. The crowd was a little thin, but there were many other activities going on that night.  After it was all over we cut up and laughed into the night just as we always do, sometimes with other bands, sometimes alone, but this time we were in good company.

Hell week would begin the following Monday, as Robbie drafted me into service for the Pilot Light Halloween show.  The previous week Robs had contacted me about covering The Clash at the Pilot Light, which he had mentioned several times in the past.  Zach Land from Cold Hands had called him (Robbie) about forming a band to cover some Clash tunes, so Robbie calls me and I say yes.  I never listened to The Clash any in my younger days, but the commercial hits I heard growing up didn’t sound too difficult drum wise.  After listening to the CD Robs burned for I learned that there was much more to them that I had bargained for.  I knuckled down and put my driving shoes on, and waited to hear who would be my partner in crime as the rhythm section goes.  I get the call from Trosper and he tells me he doesn’t know how he did it, but he did it, the bass would be played by none other than one Paxton Sellers. I felt a great degree of comfort knowing Paxton would have my back in the event of a mix-up mid-song.  I also felt a great degree of “Oh Shit I better have his back in the event of a mixup mid-song”, but practice would get us there as far as pages are concerned.  We practiced in one form or fashion on Monday, Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday of that week, and I co-hosted a Halloween on Saturday night.  Sunday afternoon came and I was in rubbery funk, good news was I had time to gather myself before the show at the Light of Pilot.  I shaved the Amish beard from my face and prepared myself for a night of loud music I had only known about for about 9 days, I say let’s go. Loretta, the Plasmatics, and T-Rex did a great job, it was a really good time that I will most likely check out again.  The Pilot Light cast of characters were near exactly what I had imagined them to be, my hat is off to all of you. Everyone played their part to a tee that night, and we all (you guessed it) laughed and carried on late into the night.   I got to bed at 3:10 a.m on a school night and got up at a smooth 9:21, only slightly late for work, there none the less I did my best while involved.  It was a tough go I’ll have to admit, after out of town shows and basically practice every night that week my brain was nothing more than cream of wheat with too much water and no butter.  I am amazed my involuntary muscle actions were able to keep me alive through Monday night, but they did, rock on heartbeat and breathing and such.  That is all I can really write about these dealings.  Stay tuned for the next entry, a combo of Cincinnati, Spindale and Raleigh, it is sure to be a fine read (it would be a fine write as long as the authorities don’t become involved).

‘Til then, mix’em light late at night so the sun don’t hurt when she shines down bright.

-Brad Henderson

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Rendezvous at the Whitewater

8-19-10

We left town on Friday Oct. 8th heading towards Bradford, TN., home place of one Mic Harrison to chop the drive to Little Rock a little better than in half.  We didn’t get in any kind of hurry since there was no show on Friday night.  A leisure drive carrying us almost the entire span of our great state landed us at the home of Mic’s folks for much needed battery charging to be spend in Little Rock.  After arrival in Bradford we had a few beers and cut up a spell before heading out to look at Freddie’s gun stocks, which numbered great and were very impressive in wood grain and weight distribution.  We moved back indoors only to eventually bust Mic via photo evidence heavily involved in 1st degree fashion infractions from the ear 1984(Of course in 1984 we were all guilt of these crimes, though none of us could recognize them at that time).  After such carrying on, not too late into the evening/morning, we sought the rest that would take us to Arkansas.

The next day we got up and hustled Mic and Robbie to town for the final supplies to an authentic West TN. breakfast explosion.  High Score country cooking is one of the best ways a body can start their day, not only for nutritional value, but also the conversation and antics that always seems to be readily on hand.  After the feed session and watching the first half of the UT, GA game (what do ya do hey) we took off for Memphis where we would win in the form of dry rubbed ribs.  The ride to Memphis led us on a slight side trip to the Skullbone general store, a must if you are ever in that neck of the woods.  We took a short time in Skullbone to enjoy the weather and the sheer atmosphere of the legendary town meeting place, but the smoky scent of the alley across from the Peabody was calling our guts louder and louder.  As we arrived in Memphis emotional unrest was at an all trip high due to the ever familiar overheating of the Ford Lounge. After adding several bottles of water to the reserve tank we loosened up and decided to enjoy givin’em hell at Charles Vergos’ Rendezvous.
The Rendezvous is the ultimate example of sacred ground in the BBQ world where you are a Texas style, Kansas City style, North Carolina, Lexington, or any other variation of smoked pig.  I myself prefer a dry rub cook with an option of sauces to be added upon delivery.  As usual the food provided a near out of body experience.  We stumbled
into the streets full of smoked goodness and baked beans, the next 3 hours were sure to be somewhat interesting.

I have a strange habit of taking on driving duty (not every time, but a lot of times) after an extremely large meal.  The first instinct or notion after a deal of food is to bed down, and I can’t argue with that one bit, I’ve done it many times myself with a smile. The drive out was like old school psychedelia, the sun was the biggest I had ever seen it once we got into Ark.. Traveling into the mondo sun for nearly 2 hours, never able to catch him all the way, it looked like we were traveling across Luke Skywalkers’ home planet. (Tatwain? Hell, I can’t remember)  It was a very cool ride as far as scenic content was concerned, usually you don’t get much after Nashville, and in the state of full belly and failing daylight I felt drug addled and weak behind the eyes…but we were to going to Little Rock.

**(not to worry about the previous sentence, I never put the band or myself in danger behind the wheel, I would consider that a breach of professional etiquette.)**
We make it to the hotel eventually, called the Legacy in downtown Little Rock.  It is a very nice place, built in probably the 1940’s, very reminiscent of The Shining as far as the interior design went, you know, carpet, skinny halls, old wood doors, lots of twists and turns.  Seemingly custom built for a horror or at least a classic who done it mystery/suspense movie.  The hotel also had several rooms entitled “Governors Room”, which may or may not have hosted a dew cigar parties at the hands of old Slick Willy Clinton,(late night speculation only).  After checking in and getting to know the place a little we decided to head off to the Whitewater Tavern for a rock show.

The Troubadours opened the show with a good set, it had to be good to break a kick drum heat.  The guys were good players and the crowed was into it, to it helped us ease into a loud raucous set that turned many RPM’s before our night was over.   We all love the club and everyone there, and can’t wait to get back  I feel like I cheated myself by not going upstairs for even one game of pool this time, but next time I will come correct.   I would tell more, but it was overall short trip, leave Friday, get home Sunday, quickie.

It was a great time and I do love the Whitewater Tavern.  I just hope to get them sandwiched in a run involving Memphis and or Dallas in the future.  Give them the business in Little Rock and they’ll invite you back, we’re proof positive.

The ride home was long, make no bones about it, but we found a way (as usual) to make it a very good time.  Give us the Ford Lounge, some gear, some fine tunes to hear, and the open road, and we will seem to make fans and run into old buddies no matter what town we travel to and I’m still thoroughly convinced that it is what it’s all about. That is about all I can pull off this tree folks, so keeps your ears on for the next installment, Nashville and The Shed are next weekend. I’ll return with more skunk ape sightings and home remedies in a week or two.  Until then, if you see the Exotic Hillbilly out on the town, buy yourself a drink and call him a cab.

Brad Henderson

 

 

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Oyster Madness

10-7-10

In our time off from the road I have no new tales to tell, so I have brought back a closet classic from years ago. I must warn what readers are out there that this story is overall 100% gross as a whole. Having produced to you my personal disclaimer, here it is…enjoy.

It was the summer of 2005 and we had booked a show at a placed called the Milestone in Charlotte, N.C. We got into town and started looking for the club. Further and further we went into the wrong part of the city, until we began to question whether or not we were going in the right direction. As we toyed with the notion of turning around we passed a place where a band was loading in their gear. A large sized man was toting in drum hardware and wearing a Misfits t-shirt, former bassist Dave Walker was driving and we joked aloud about how that was where we were playing tonight. We drove past this place as Dave looked in the mirror and said, “What’s the name of the place we’re playing?” Mic replied “The Milestone” and Dave said “That was it.”…so we were there.

We turned around and went back reluctantly to the camp shack looking metal club to which we had just passed. Upon arrival and entrance into the club we learned that it was a really cool little rock club. The Milestone was our kind of place, rough sawn lumber, extremely hot, and very loud. A metal band opened the triple bill, another band followed and I can’t recall the names, but we headlined the show.

The other two bands played and there was an all right little crowd in house as we began our set. I don’t remember what number it was in the set, but I do remember it was “Over the Mountain” and Mic started it. The song started great but was the vocals began Mic went into some sort of fit. I’ve since likened his guitar playing at this point to that of Marty Mcfly in Back to the Future when his hand starts disappearing at the fish under the sea dance. Mic coughed and staggered about, pounding his chest occasionally while we continued to play the song throughout utter confusion. Robbie and I looked at each other in horror as Mic approached Dave in an attempt to speak. He eventually regained himself and we finished the song, to much amazement considering the madness.

Mic told us immediately after the song what had happened, but it wasn’t until after the show that we realized the magnitude of his situation (the point of impact). At the beginning of this story I mentioned a metal band opening the show, now all singers spit on and into the microphone inadvertently as they sing whether they know it or not, metal singers especially (Hell, I’d like to think I don’t, but I know I do.) There is a metal mesh screw off cover on the Shure SM-58 mic, and a foam cover over the actual phone receiver element. Keeping it clean is essential, but could be very beneficial for all bands at any given moment.

As Mic approached the microphone to begin singing the song, he took a deep breath to afford himself enough O2 to complete the first verse. When he did so he sucked a slimy spit globber directly from the before mentioned foam cover inside the microphone right down his throat, in turn sending him into “The fit”.

After the show Mic turned the soundman onto the fact that the mics may need cleaning. The soundman unscrewed the head off the 58 in question while I was breaking down my drums and I heard him say “Man, that is bad.” He was right and it was very disgusting, but Mic survived it and we continue to love the Milestone.

About two weeks later we were playing in Myrtle Beach and we found ourselves eating at an oyster bar. Somehow (still unknown to me how) we all took the high road and no one said anything about the awful microphone oyster in Charlotte.

Little Rock is up next and it always brings home a story or five. Until next time, keep it clean, come out swinging, and if the Dutch have anything to say about it- tell them Roast sent you,

–Brad Henderson

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Behavioral Science 101

9-22-10

We lit out of town on Thursday the 9th under seemingly normal circumstances, but it all bean to change before we hit the Kentucky State line. The trip hadn’t taken us far before we realized that it was Col. Sander’s birthday, so we decided to pay homage as well as fill some stomachs at the next KFC. We kept on thinking we were getting closer when in face we had already passed it when the plan came about. After settling for some stuck stop eats we pressed on toward Athens Ohio. Taking the Cincy bypass and passing a KFC (because everyone was asleep, and true gentlemen never wakes his party from a peaceful slumber for fried chicken) we found ourselves on OH Hwy 52 down by the river for an extended view of some great looking country.
We passed through a great many small towns, some consisting of only a couple of buildings and maybe 4 or 5 houses. We couldn’t figure out where all these people worked, but they had a gorgeous chunk of America to stay at while they weren’t at work. The riverside hills we wound through took us on an almost historical trip down a road more people should rice for sheer pleasure, but our pleasure was purpose.
After catching another glimpse of Huntington WV and copping a hard left on the map, we soon broke the proper city limit of Athens in search of food and hotel. First we found Ohio University, and then we found the club. Hotel was next on our list and we found it with relative ease, with someone’s famous dogs next door. I ate a foot long and I can’t really explain the exact minutes from the meeting, but it was a tough side of town. We headed back to the club and proceeded to get down for a spell, and had one hell of a time doing so. It seems like I always speak of going late into the night, or retiring, or seeking shelter from whom or whatever, but that is what we do (especially going late into the night). Somehow when we left the club we wound up across the street at a hot dog joint, and I ate another one, (this on was right on though) sending me promptly to the fart-sack upon hotel arrival. Columbus came tomorrow (live radio) so rest was easy.
** I will have to add that in Athens we met a class A pedal steel player named John Borchard. He had some years on us and plenty of old tales to keep us going strong. It was a pleasure to meet him and to hear his most tasteful playing**

We hit the road semi-early the next day for a radio spot in Columbus. The sate was Sept 10th and at 12:39 in the p.m. I was forced to take a shot of Jack and have an ice cold Miller’s Lite for proper observance of my day of birth. After another early day of Ohio back roading, we emerged on the outskirts of Columbus. The radio went cool, all we did was surf the music library and stumble around the building while Mic did all the do, after that we were off to Louisville for a show that night. We busted great time to Louisville, until we got to downtown. We should have know better the to praise instant phone MapQuest no less than 17 hours before, because she would strike down with great vengeance during a big fun sightseeing tour of the wrong side of Louisville. After finding the club (only ½ hour late) we were ready to spring into action. The Vernon Club was an awesome place, built onto the back of the oldest gentleman’s club in town and below one of the America’s oldest functioning bowling alleys. All the folks there were great. Dale, Eric, Paul, Jason, and Rebecca, thank you guys for having a great place and for taking such great care of us. We hope to get back up very soon. (I’d like to thank Rebecca for taking us to Burger Boy after the show; both for the corned beef hash and the jukebox were out of sight.)
Blackberry Smoke put on a great show and everyone within the walls of the Vernon had a big time. I told the guys in the weeks leading up to these shows to be prepared for me to show my ass in Louisville on my birthday, but somehow (meeting several people I needed to carry on a coherent conversation with and remember names) I kept check all night. The only collective regret we came up with band wide was not taking advantage of bowling upstairs. We definitely will next time. Also, thanks to Kris Daniels from 103.1 for the invite, we are working on that right now. After Burger Boy and a short jubilation session at the hotel over the night’s happenings, we decided to concentrate (through sleep) on the trip back to Columbus for the Sat. night show.

We woke up and loaded the van for Columbus and discovered a bone-dry radiator. After much water and a finger crossed ride, we made it back to Columbus. We parked the van and started snooping around under the hood and found the water/coolant leak somewhere behind the heater core, to much rejoicing and the realization that there would be no A/C on the way home. When we got the van back together and finally moved toward the house on Mohawk we were absolutely floored. The place was the real deal, pool, hot tub, guest house, full house sound system, (we opted to leave along for your neighbor Julie) and one dern fine place for authentic German cuisine, college football, cold beer, and a good soak in the hot tub before heading off to play one more show. We found it hard to leave such a place, but duty was calling in the form of a hot set. We got to the club and found a very cool place. Tal had told me in Athens to hope for an Ohio State win for crowd support, and if you saw any of it, you know we had a great crowd support. Luckily enough, we had seen the first half of the UT game (against Oregon), which was enough to see to provide that crowd with one pissed off, aggressive set. It was both of the before mentioned, but still very much under control with great crowd response. The crowd was great, and clad strong in Buckeye red. They raised hell so much after every song I thought at one point (due to stage lights) they were all in big orange. The show overall was great. We all had a great time. We would not have asked for a better gang of folks to hangout with on such a fine Ohio Saturday night. After the show, I’m more than sure we overstayed our welcome at the bar, and I apologize to the crew at Woodland’s Tavern. If we get back there again, I promise I will get my drums off the stage before 3 a.m., and let you get out of there. We finally got out of their hair and called it a weekend. We got up the next morning, filled the rad with water, and took out for Knoxville. Since you’re reading this, you’ll know we made it back in one piece, and I’ll always call this a victory.

I’d like to thank the Boondogglers and The Cur Dogs for some killer shows, hopefully many more to follow. I thank Julie, Jessica and Tal for setting us up in the greatest place I believe we have ever stayed. We did our best to tidy up before departure. Hopefully we can all meet up again soon and carry on with the nonsense and laughter. All this being said, (and I’m positive I have left out many details, but I will try to do better) I’m afraid I must retire for the evening.
So until next time I gather memories from which to let onto the internet via paper, take care and be interesting everyday, you’ll find them both beneficial in the long run.

**Stay tuned over the next 7 to 10 working days for a classic road tale in lieu of our next shows out of town**
Brad Henderson

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We were promised a beer garden

9-7-10

If you ever find yourself in Morgantown West Virginia with some extra time on hand, and if you like to drink beer you owe it to yourself and every other fan of the old neighborhood bar to visit Gene’s Beer Garden. The ride up is roughly 7 hours from Knoxville on a couple of interstates and beautiful (although mentally and physically taxing) West Virginia state highway 19. As we arrive at the club the thirst has visibly overtaken the Exotic Hillbilly, so inside he goes. After a mild leg stretchy’ session I figure my thirst was powerful as well, so inside I go. I settle at the bar next to Vance for a cool refreshing Miller’s Lite, where Lucy (the authentic Irish bartender) asked if we were in the band, and proceeded to near scold Vance for spending folding money on his first beer as our tab for the evening was complimentary.

As the total Northern corner bar experience continued, one Robbie Trosper made an astonishing discovery. Black Label Beer is alive and well, or at least in Morgantown (home of Don Knotts by the way) and it is just as I remember it from ’95. It still tastes like the tin of the can it is in. We did have to take phone pictures to send out with what the kids all call “text messages” in this modern era, and forward to select members of nostalgia driven beer enthusiasts. Bottom line is the place kicks ass, and then we found the volume knob.

The set went great and we carried on a long into the evening. The Guinness flowed and the raps were layed on thick, and at some point we were all trucked over to the historic Morgan hotel in downtown for some much needed rest (Thanks again Gator for your ever-present support and hospitality).

Ross Mountain Country Club was next in line.

It was one a little better than 2 hours from Morgantown to New Florence PA, where the Country Club came sneaking out of the hills. We passed the road a couple of times before stopping at a gas station where I scored some directions from two old timers lounging over coffee and stories, some of which I’m sure were older than me. After getting our bearing down and locating the club of country, we almost drove the van to the number 1 tee box (Due in part to their extra wide cart paths). We met two pleasant golfers who told us that the club house was back up the hill and to the left, only after giving us the right of way. The club house was indeed where we had been told it was, and it was grand. The house was over 100 years old and we payed outside on the upper deck.

This thing was huge, probably 15 by 80 feet and we set up right at the end of it. The sound man was very cool, when we got there to set up he was jamming the Guess Who on the P.A. At a very suitable volume. I hate to be repetitive, but we played a great set, the reason I know is while were were playing a woman had to sit out about 2 songs due to some sort of lower leg injury resulting from cutting rugs. (she made it back before the night was through, and even if we played a shit set I might just forget to mention it in this particular format) Besides, these are road stories, but if anything happens during a set I’ll sure let you know. After the set we retired to the lower deck for some strong drink and loud laughter. After some time we loaded out and took off toward MC’s house. I had to do the absolute unthinkable as we arrived back at the house, I went straight to bed. A mondo headache began to chew me up as we loaded out, and I was unable to shake it. All the guys told me the to-go dinner was excellent (beef wellington some thought), to in true Brad fashion I forgot it in the fridge when we left. I did however get a class-A MC breakfast of scrambled eggs and pastrami (If you read this Mike, it saved my life). We were then in search of I-81.

We decided on an alternate route to keep from driving back down the infamous W.V 19. There was a route we found on the map that would take us to 81 relatively unobstructed, the only problem was, when we got to 81 we were in Maryland. When you start in Maryland, Virginia is an extremely long state to drive through to get back to Bristol side. It took around 10 hours to get home on Sunday, and there were some spent turkey’s in that van seeking not only to be back home in bed, but also go back to work so we could get some rest.

It was an overall great time as usual with these cats. If you make it back in once piece, the van makes it back in one piece, and you’ve got all your gear, it is considered a victory.

So, until the next time we gather by the fire pit for a round of yarns, take care of yourselves out there.

And for cryin’ out loud have fun.

*note*

Sorry for the delay. In preparation and wake of the holiday weekend off, I took on some power-slackin’ I’ll bring the next trip (this weekend) to you in a timely fashion.

Brad Henderson

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WKRP ain’t in Huntington

8-25-10

Well, we’ve done it again. Much good times were had and two great sets make that all the easier. The weekend started with a powerfully late start due to non-negotiable job issues. The original plan consisted of a six pm arrival in Cincinnati, with seven-thirty the absolute latest as explained by the power of the Southgate house. We left South Knoxville slightly after four and pulled into the alley behind the club at ten til eight. I think they tighten up I-75 a little bit every time we drive it.

We probably averaged about 85 miles per hour all the way up there, and the Ford Lounge told us all about it via the temperature gauge. Of course if I had ran, walked or even crawled 405,000 miles I’d most likely run hot as well if asked to run anything over the norm. All else aside,we pulled it off.  Loaded in, set up, and sound-checked in about 20 minutes.

The show went great at the Southgate, we opened for Webb Wilder who was really cool (along with the rest of the band, and thanks again for the use of your drums Jimmy) and they put on one great show.  They were very vocal and rowdy during the set, which has never hurt the flow of a good time in my book.  We sold a pretty good deal of merchandise and hung out with some interesting folks for a while before a retreat to the hotel was tapped.  After a late night safety meeting consisting of myself, Mic, and Vance at the pool patio, all the empties on the table sold us on the idea of evening retirement.  Huntington would call in the morning.

The next morning with West Virginia in our sights would call for a food and Bloody Mary stat. We found such not long after we got on Ohio state highway 32, and lives were saved.  The drive over was cool especially when we got on highway 73 in Ohio.  That road was reminiscent of Asheville Hwy. Between Newport and Asheville or simply traveling through any part of Pittman Center.  We passed though about 3 or 4 small towns that looked like the perfect place for the opening sequence for any number of horror movies from the mid to late 70’s.  As the van drew us more urban than rural we soon entered Portsmouth, Ohio.  The city of Portsmouth reminded me of Troy, Alabama, not really wide but very long.  I used to think Troy was the longest city in America (300 yards wide and 50 miles long) but there just may be a new sheriff in town.

We locate the club and set out for a hotel with convince at the top of our picking order.  We found it in the form of a Super 8 on the top of a mountain overlooking I-64, and a bustling Straw Plains like area immediately surrounding.  Then the rain moved in. It rained so hard we could barely see 20 feet outside the hotel window, and would do so for about 25 to 30 minutes, and the the sun would show for about 5 minutes, then repeat process.  We did catch a miraculous break long enough to get to the club and unload.  As I set up the drums, I soon learned of a torrential down-pour that Mic Harrison evidently described in the Forrest Gump monsoon terms as “coming straight up from the ground”.

After a great deal of extreme lounge time inside the V Club, and after proper beneficial meetings of the bartender and one of the owners we were off.

Everyone played great during that set solidifying my studies that repetition can in fact make one individual or a group better at would they do.  Huh…practice, who would have ever thought.  The crowd was small but very lively, which always counts, but all had a very good time.  We caught a good deal of Bud Carroll’s set with Southern Soul after we got finished, and they are a dern good bunch of players. Afterward I was on the patio laying my rap on some folks while taking in theirs as well when I was accosted by one Mic Harrison, who demanded my presence indoors.  Billiards had broken out in the form of cut-throat, and I had the last numbers.  This game had to take an hour and a half (at least), constantly interrupted by “wild” (partly parentally defiant, partly exhibitionist college girls) who were completely bent on wrecking our game. But they couldn’t do it.

As the never ending pool game finished with the Exotic Hillbilly the victor, we saw fit to head on back to the hotel.

The next morning the rain was gone and it was one gorgeous day for taking a mountain drive. So many great songs from the likes of Paycheck, Commodore, William Joel, Roky Erickson, Don Williams and The Swamis, just to name a few, riddled our drive home producing much fun. Until the next time, keep your gown down and your powder dry, never know when you’ll need ’em.

-Brad Henderson.

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