I played guitar and sang in bands from about 1979 to 1989. I have no really outrageous stories, but here are a few I remember.

Just Say No

One time a friend and I were going to buy some LSD (ah, young and stupid). Black Pyramid, I believe.

We went to the guy’s house and he said, “you’re not gonna believe this, but I put the hits in the cellophane from a cigarette pack, put them in my wallet, and accidentally ran the wallet through the washer.”

He showed us the cellophane. There was a big black smear on it.

He said, “I don’t know if it’s any good. You can lick the cellophane and see what happens. If you feel something, just give me a few bucks.”

That night, in the van on the way to a gig, my friend, the other guitarist, and I ripped off pieces of the cellophane and licked the smear. After a half-hour or so, we all agreed we didn’t feel anything.

We got to the bar and began hauling in and setting up. Still not feeling much.

About halfway through the first set, though – holy shit.

The bass drum was breathing. The goddamned drum was breathing. My guitar was wildly out of tune (it wasn’t). In between songs I’d frantically try to tune it. It just got worst. The singer was yelling at me to hurry up.

I should note that this was in the redneckiest of redneck bars in southern Iowa. The dancing hillbillies were freaking me out.

I got through it, and learned a lesson. Water has little effect on LSD. Also, don’t take roughly the equivalent of four hits.

Drunk and Stupid Again

We had an outdoor gig once, a big barbeque or party or something. We were set to play in late afternoon. The drummer, other guitarist and I brought the equipment and got ready to set up.

But when we got there, the bassist – who had been there all day, with several kegs – was hammered. Like, ready-to-pass-out hammered. So hammered he couldn’t play, and thus we couldn’t play.

So the rest of us got drunk too and ending up leaving the equipment out in the (eventual) rain. Some of it got damaged.

What a bunch of idiots. Didn’t even get paid.

Sweet Home Shut Up

All the bands I played in played in the Midwest, so if you were a cover band, you were wise to know a Lynyrd Skynyrd song or two.

Nothing against the band, but they have (or at least had) some HARDCORE fans. I can’t remember how many bars had a resident Skynyrd expert. The night would be over, I’d be tearing down and looking forward to pancakes on the way home, and some drunk dude would be going on and on. He’d know all the details and stats about all the members. He’d seen them in concert several times. You get the picture.

NOTE: If you’re a superfan of ANY band, you can get annoying.

First Gig

The first band I was in was at 15. I, a bassist and a drummer called ourselves “Fission.” We played at the high school talent contest. Our set was Ides of March’s “Factory Band,” “Wipeout,” and Pat Benatar’s “Heartbreaker” (female drummer). I don’t think we won, but it was fun.

Our next gig was playing at the 8th grade graduation dance. So we really moved up to the big time.