THE MUSIC BUSINESS USED TO BE MORE FUN.
Misty and I often did shows with Jerry Reed, Roy Clark,
Grandpa Jones, and Archie Campbell.
One of those shows was a week long booking
at Atlanta’s Chastain Park Amphitheater, an outdoor venue.
It was Boots Randolph’s show,
and he always treated the artists, musicians, and staff as honored guests,
with long tables of food and drink backstage,
and a party feeling that carried over to the audiences.
Before the first show, Roy stepped out of his bus
carrying a glass of unknown iced beverage.
Misty said “How’re ya doin’, Roy?”
Roy smiled and said “Gettin’ well, honey.”
The drinks never caused any real problems,
although a couple of times the emcee mistakenly tried to take acts off stage
before they were done.
They were innocent mistakes, and kinda funny.
We were all friends.
Like most amphitheaters, it was bowl shaped,
and the bands were pretty much protected from the weather,
but the act out at the front of the stage could get a little wet if it rained.
This can be a thrill if you are hooked up to electrical equipment.
We had just finished our show and were walking off,
when Archie Campbell was heading out to do his act.
I said “It’s pretty windy out there, Arch.”
Archie ran his hand suavely over his hair and said this:
“I don’t have to worry. I bought the casual style.”
He was always funny… on or off stage.
The crowds were huge and Saturday night was our closing show.
We all met back at the hotel
where Boots and his manager X. Cosse had us staying.
They had the hotel dining room set up like a king’s banquet…
tons of food and anything you want to drink.
It was a party for everybody in the show,
including roadies and friends of friends.
For the first hour everybody was there having a good time,
except Jerry Reed, who was conspicuous in his absence.
He bounced into the room at about 11:30, said quick hellos to the gang,
grabbed a take out box, went through the food table like a lawnmower,
and was gone with the wind and his doggy box of food.
Jerry was on Fast Forward,
and his whole appearance lasted about seven minutes.
He had more energy than a crazed squirrel.
Misty went into his bus and got his autograph when we worked together
at the Citrus Bowl.
We loved Jerry Reed, and he was also my favorite guitar player.
Then, later in the party,
there was some excitement going on at the ballroom door
when some medics rushed in with a stretcher.
We wondered what was up.
Roy Clark grinned, raised his glass, and said goodbye to everybody.
Then he made himself comfortable on the stretcher,
and was carried out to the ambulance and rushed to the airport.
He was late and had a plane to catch.
I’ve tried to reproduce the week’s events exactly as they happened,
down to the finest detail, but remember,
I may have had a beer or two myself.
The music business used to be more fun than it is now,
and we miss all our old friends a lot,
but we’re so lucky to have been part of that wonderful era.
© 2011, 2014 .