JPF Home Page

Most Memorable Gig...

Posted By: John Lawrence Schick

Most Memorable Gig... - 02/25/18 11:33 PM

Was at a Lehigh University frat party. I played a Hammond B-3. It didn't fit through the door, so we borrowed some frat boys to help us lift it through a window. My brother played guitar/ maybe bass as well (not simultaneously). Drums by John McAllister. G.E. Smith (Pre Hall & Oats and Saturday Night Live) and Erik Cartwright (Pre Foghat) on blurring guitars. I had the B-3 floored trying to be heard. Don't know which one was louder, Erik or George, but I'm sure some of my nerve deafness came from that night. Funny how priorities change through the years. But I never, never ever want to repeat that wild night ever again.

John smile
Posted By: RonnieDean

Re: Most Memorable Gig... - 02/26/18 12:42 AM

It was a manufactured gig.

When I was a junior in high school there was a popular band that played the backyard parties. I had just discovered a real singer who was 21 and we hit it off, found and bass player and drummer did VH and Journey stuff when all that was new. I wanted a two band battle and had just the venue. My parents had permitted me to live at 16 down at their paneling shop in a sprawling So Cal business complex. I had my amp and a desk with my soldering stuff (effects building) hobby there so they figured I guess that that would be fine. I thought so. We all partied pretty hard there at night.
Anyhow, I drew up a flyer that said "All the word's invited" to a free concert over in front of Air Lite Paneling on Friday night. We photocopied a bunch and friends with cars took them to surround schools.

We set up two bands one in front of my suite and one in front of the suite next door and waited. As dusk approached, so did nothing short of hordes of already wasted teenagers by seemingly the 1000s

We played, then the other band played. We were going to do another set when the cops showed up (No kidding Ron, what did you think?) - Then I found out about our drummer's warrant and he bailed. The cops could not get though for all the kids. When one did make it to my office, we were in there smoking and drinking. They paid no apparent mind to the goings on but told us to have everyone disperse and go home. (right) - you do it. you're the cops. They did manage in pretty short order to have everyone disperse. So by 11:00 pm everyone was gone except my close friends one of which is sitting on the couch next to me as I type this. We started to pick up the hundreds of beer bottles but it was too dark so we agreed to all meet at 7:00am to clean up. They showed up and we had some on one side of the street and others down the way on the other throwing beer bottles to shatter in one pile in front of my office, yelling out the brand it flight. "Bud! Heineken!". Soon we had it all gathered up and responsibly thrown away.

I thought I got away with it. Until Monday when the managers of the business complex called my dad at work.

He gave me a choice.

1. Cut your hair and enlist in the military. - right, dad
2. Buckle down in school and fly right. - ummm.......
3. Well set you up in your own apartment and you can get a job to pay the rent. - yeah that one!

My girlfriend and now wife shacked up immediately. I had an older roommate and so it was us and we made it happen. Sorta. :-)

All the club gigs were unremarkable after this one.
Posted By: Barry David Butler

Re: Most Memorable Gig... - 02/26/18 01:00 AM

When I had to play three sets to NOBODY. They made me play.
The worst was when I got fired half way through my first set because I did a lot of Neil Diamond and the wanted Willy......Didn't pay me either and when I said I had an Agent and a Contract.....HE took the contract and ripped it up and told me to Get.
Posted By: RonnieDean

Re: Most Memorable Gig... - 02/26/18 01:28 AM

Barry, that's like a bad dream, man.
Posted By: Marc Barnette

Re: Most Memorable Gig... - 02/26/18 01:35 AM

"Don't know which one was louder, Erik or George, but I'm sure some of my nerve deafness came from that night. Funny how priorities change through the years. But I never, never ever want to repeat that wild night ever again."


John, most of the musicians that came up through that era now have back problems from lugging those B-3's, Fender Rhodes, Leslie speakers, and huge amps. The equipment was FAR HEAVIER in those days.

Posted By: Marc Barnette

Re: Most Memorable Gig... - 02/26/18 02:04 AM

This is a cool thread. Over a 40 year career in multiple genres, it is really hard to narrow one down, because there are HUNDREDS of memorable gigs. But here is one of my favorites.

I've had a pretty fruitful career in Nashville, in that while I haven't had the "marquee" career with tons of big radio hits and record sales, I've sort of created my own niche as someone who has songs many come to know, like, talk about, and my performances have always been fairly consistent. I have been approached by all the hit writers I've worked with and much of what I know come from people who have been at the top of the charts. That's what led me to my favorite gigs.

For 25 years, I've made an annual pilgrimage to the Gulf Coast of Florida and Alabama for the FRANK BROWN INTERNATIONAL SONGWRITER'S FESTIVAL. About 200 plus writers and artists descend on the area the first of November for what amounts to a "family reunion." For ten days we are all treated like songwriters should be and rub elbows, swap music and stories and really connect with all sides of our industry. It is the coolest thing anyone could ever do who has an interest in songwriting, and I always invite you all to join us.

During that, I would connect with dozens of hit writers, producers, publishers and label people, and many were drawn to my shows. One of those turned out to be producing legend Larry Butler. Larry was a legend, being a child prodigy, up to one of the top Nashville "A" Team studio musicians, to Grammy Award winning producer. As a writer, he wrote songs like "HEY, WON'T YOU PLAY ANOTHER SOMEBODY DONE SOMEBODY WRONG SONG" for BJ Thomas, and as a producer, he produced seemingly EVERYBODY through the 70's and into the 80's. His Grammy came from producing THE GAMBLER for Kenny Rogers and Revitalizing the latter half of Kenny's career.

As I also played down there in different parts of the year besides the festival, I ended up becoming a really good friend with Larry and his wife Peggy and daughter Shannon, (who is married to Nigel Olsen, drummer for Elton John) Great folks.

Larry put on this annual concert during a celebrity golf tournament hosted by football legend Kenny Stabler. Having seen "The Snake" play growing up was a thrill. Larry would always put this show on the Saturday night of the three day weekend, and it was a huge honor to be invited on it. One year he asked me. I was blown away.

I got to this huge Antibellum hotel in Mobile, Alabama sitting right on Mobile Bay. It was incredible and very wealthy, and felt like the old south. The first part was the cocktail party, where I got to meet and intreact with actors, football player legends. Players like Stabler, Jerry Kramer, sports writers, celebrities like James Hampton and "Bubba "Gillim. You probably all know Bubba if you watched "Blazing Saddles", he was the main henchman under Slim Pickens, trying to get Clevon Little to "sing some black spirituals" and sitting around the campfire after beans with a huge gas scene. he was also "President of the flying Elvis's Utah Chapter" in Honeymoon in Vegas. One of those character actors you have seen a million times.
I was somewhat star struck and didn't say a lot. But it was MEGA COOL.

After a huge dinner, we all settled in for the show and I saw what I was in for. On this HUGE stage in a ballroom, were my three fellow performers. I knew each one but have never played with them. And as the night kicked in, each one started with one of their biggest hits. Stuart Harris kicked it off with "No One Else on Earth" from Wynonna Judd.
Jim McBride did "Way Down Yonder on the Chattahoochie." from Alan Jackson. Then, of course, Larry has to do "Hey, won't you play...."

Your turn. What do you play?

That's what I had to follow. I didn't have the big hits but did have some cuts. So I kicked off with my first cut, "THAT'S WHERE IT HURTS", by SHELBY LYNNE. Thank Goodness it worked and everyone in the crowd as well as my fellow performers all were great to me. Even thought I didn't have the radio hits, they acted like it was in the league as their songs. After I finished it suddenly hit me. I HAD to go to the bathroom!!!! Note to self, don't drink ten glasses of water and two beers before a huge show!
So I made a big joke about it and ran off backstage and went.When a guy's gotta go, a guy's gotta go.

The show went great and we all got a couple of standing ovations. Was a great night.

Then came the AFTER PARTY.
I have two sets of pictures from that night. One, of many of the actors and sports figures before and after the show. Before are the "polite shots" us standing next to each other. The "AFTER SHOTS" are them hugging all over me, and taking pictures from their own cameras. Bubba gave me his business card and invited me to his ranch in Texas, Stabler bought 50 of my CD's for his friends.

And the coolest one was a man who came over at the bar. He said "Are you a Tennessee Titans fan?" I said "Yeah. They're our team in Nashville. He said "Do you think you could keep your loyalties down if I got you into a game on the sidelines?" Turned out he was the wide receivers coach for the St. Louis Rams, the team that had just beaten us by one yard in the 2000 Super Bowl. I said "of course" and gave him my contact info. I never expected to hear from him again, but about two months later, I get a call from his assistant, and found myself on the St. Louis sidelines for a pre-season game between the Titans and Rams on MONDAY NIGHT FOOTBALL.

So all of that made for one of my most memorable gigs.

Posted By: RonnieDean

Re: Most Memorable Gig... - 02/26/18 02:32 AM

Man Marc, you we're that close. <facepalm>

I don't know what's worse being nobody with skills or somebody with skills who was close enough to really smell it.
Posted By: Barry David Butler

Re: Most Memorable Gig... - 02/26/18 02:49 AM

I opened for the Beach Boys and Lovin Spoonful in Miami Beach in 1965 in a local band called The DEDD...
Posted By: RonnieDean

Re: Most Memorable Gig... - 02/26/18 02:56 AM

There was your problem. They were the Beach Boys and Lovin Spoonful and you all were the DEDD?

Really or is that another hip internet acronym I have to google?

There has to be more to this story too.
Posted By: Johnny Daubert

Re: Most Memorable Gig... - 02/26/18 04:46 AM

So Many! (order not set in stone).

1. The Spectrum in Philly: Playing a nine-foot Steinway Grand Piano with our band, (Breakwater Bay), with The Philadelphia Orchestra for the opening song of "Lucile", for a Heart and Lung Hospital Benefit. Met Sammy Davis jr, The Fonz, and many other celebs during rehearsal. I couldn't feel the keys from the adrenalin. But, I could hear the grand piano with everything else, so it was a great three minutes! I played a blues-rock riff before the song started, because I rushed up there and didn't want to just sit there. I heard 17,000 applaud after the riff! Wow!

2. Backed up Chuck Berry on a Fender Rhodes with the same band as above, at Memories of Margate, a South Jersey shore club. Also backed up many oldies acts as we were the house rock band for that summer of '73. (Chubby Checker, The Drifters, Mary Wells, etc).

3. The Kimmel Center in Philly: Played 3 songs on organ with two past band members, along with The Tramps on the 3rd song, to open up an oldies review show. (The Manhattans, Peaches and Herb, etc).

4. Gave a 2 hour sit down concert in 2008 with my band, "Too Little Time", for mostly my original songs, Iggy Taylor songs and a couple Beatles.

5 and 6. Solo Showcase closing with my song, Too Little Time, for Just Plain Folks at The Grind in Hatboro Pa, and a few weeks later, at The Regent Theater near Boston.

7 And On: The first time I played Light My Fire, long version on accordion for our 8th grade dance. I was the drummer of that band, but came out front playing the accordion, with a standby friend going to the drums for that great song. Hearing the applause, (not laughter from the accordion), set the confidence mood for decades that I would always take on stage. And, ALL other gigs, for my memory is so good, I would sit for hours recalling each one, from second grade talent show on. (Accordion at the 2nd grade talent show).

Drums and accordion for the early bands. Drums and Vox Jaguar organ for the freshman-senior bands, which had me mostly on the Vox Jaguar, with a Leslie speaker. To Fender Rhodes and a Real Upright Piano for the band from 18 to 26. To a current style keyboard from 2006 on till 2011, when I was forced to leave the Too Little Time due to Tinnitus and Hyperacousis.

Now retired, WITH casually looking for college films to score in Philly, or to do session work on my gear for anyone.

Posted By: John Lawrence Schick

Re: Most Memorable Gig... - 02/26/18 04:50 PM

Wow! We musicians really live exciting lives. Great feedback!

John smile
Posted By: RonnieDean

Re: Most Memorable Gig... - 03/01/18 03:38 AM

Used to. smile
Posted By: Johnny Daubert

Re: Most Memorable Gig... - 03/01/18 04:11 AM

Originally Posted by Marc Barnette

Most of the musicians that came up through that era now have back problems from lugging those B-3's, Fender Rhodes, Leslie speakers, and huge amps. The equipment was FAR HEAVIER in those days.

I had all of those AND at one point, a REAL Upright Piano, (around 700 pounds)! The band members wanted it, then cursed me out when moving it, then wanted it again when we were playing, then cursed me again when packing up! I was the most loved/hated member! (I used gold plated Barcus Berry picups attached to the upper plate). Songs such as All The Way To Memphis and China Grove, and many similar rockin songs with real piano on the records, had my real piano really pay off in all ways. Our band became the most booked, most paid band except for "The Exceptions". (Tri-State area, centered around Philly).
Posted By: John Lawrence Schick

Re: Most Memorable Gig... - 03/01/18 12:23 PM

Yikes Johnny! That's even worse than my Hammond B-3. Of course, I also had a large tone cabinet with that. I had a set of dollies with handles for four men. There was a company back in the 60's that would extract a couple hundred unnecessary lbs. from the B-3 (for $500).

John smile
Posted By: Johnny Daubert

Re: Most Memorable Gig... - 03/02/18 02:47 AM

Yep, you also had some heavy gear. Good idea with that dollie.

When we returned to Memories of Margate at that South Jersey shore town, that is where we first brought that upright piano! Jerry Blavet, a famous Philly DJ and that club's owner, met us the front door, where he said, OH NO, that can't go up on that little stage. I said, it's GOING! All the guys were saying similar things and one even pleading with him. I heard, "wait till you hear him on this thing"! When Blavet's door man, house drummer for the oldies acts, and driver for Blavet, Mike McCourt, (who also later became our drummer), told Blavet, "Oh Yeah Jerry, that has to come up"!, Blavet finally and reluctantly agreed. The stage did give a bit on that one side, but I think someone put supports of some kind under the stage. Cool "memory"!
Posted By: Sue Rarick

Re: Most Memorable Gig... - 03/03/18 11:32 PM

Not really a memorable gig as a memorable moment. I used to go out on the AC boardwalk down from my condo and basically rehearse my sets before heading out on the road. One day I was out there and this semi derelict guy walks up and stands right in front of me as I start into 'Like A Rolling Stone". Yep it was Dylan. Funny thing was he tossed a fiver into the bucket I kept my harmonicas in and said - ya done gooood
Posted By: RonnieDean

Re: Most Memorable Gig... - 03/04/18 05:00 AM

That's cool Sue.
Posted By: Harriet Ames

Re: Most Memorable Gig... - 03/06/18 07:21 AM

and my most memorable gig was the opposite of Sue's. When my husband's parents were celebrating their 50th, the whole family decided to gather at our house. (their 6 children, a couple of their brothers, and many grandchildren) My husband thought it would be great fun to spend the Saturday afternoon at the local tiny brewery.. and as a neat bonus, how about booking me as the performer of the day. Sounded great on paper.... But my "soundstage" was the patio on the BACK of the building facing the lawn where there were a few picnic tables. However...all of the family spent most of the time sitting at the picnic tables in the shade on the SIDE of the building...and weren't really paying any attention to me except when I finished a song and then one would clap, and hearing the clap, another would start, and then another... so it was like a "stuttering clapping". And since I was "busy" entertaining the 5-6 other people who were out on the lawn, I didn't get to join in on the conversations...(all the stories, connnections...) (and of course the family didn't tip one of their own much LOL)
Posted By: RonnieDean

Re: Most Memorable Gig... - 03/06/18 01:50 PM

Oh my, That sounds like a bad dream.

I can imagine you might have heard from around the corner, "What's aunt Harriet doing mama?"
And the scowls of, "I told you she was never going to be a good wife, always with the rock star stuff".

Posted By: Rick Heenan

Re: Most Memorable Gig... - 03/08/18 04:48 AM

They just keep getting better. Last summer we got to play on a float in a parade between two cities. The float was to promote a local "Porchfest" in the city of Tonawanda, NY. It was a trailer decorated like some ones front porch. pulled along by a pick-up. Our PA was powered by a generator in the back of the PU.

The parade went north from Tonawanda to its sister city on the north side of the Erie Canal, North Tonawanda, NY. We won best float from the mayor of Tonawanda. Great for us, we play "folky, bluesy kind of Americana respectfully referred to as Canal Blues." One of the guys set up his phone and shot video of the whole parade on the right side of the float. Not of us, the folks we passed along the way. Great people watching.
© 2018 Just Plain Folks Music Organization Message Boards