Friday evening, May 31st, 2013; it's Colin's first night playing at Natalie's Coal Fired Pizza, and I'm not sure how anybody - Natalie herself, Charlie Jackson, who books the music, Phil the soundman, or any of the servers & staff - could be any nicer. It's a pleasure to play at a venue where people are this congenial, friendly and actually CARE about music and how it's presented. (Plus Natalie gave me a free pizza to take home and I'm only the roadie . What club owner DOES that?)
Anyway, since it's a new venue Colin and I showed up hours early for the gig, wound up sitting around on a gorgeous spring evening dealing out rock stories and here's mine for the night:
In 1974 my day job was working in the receiving area of a Service Merchandise store, unloading trucks. I had brought my Stratocaster with me that day 'cause I was going to band practice straight from work. The guy whose truck we were unloading was a long-haired over-the-road kid from Detroit and we got to talking when he asked whose guitar it was.
It turned out the guy was a roadie for Ted Nugent when he was still in The Amboy Dukes. Nugent used to do this stage routine where he would break a big-ass glass jar the roadies would place on a pedestal in front of his Marshall stack. Ted would hit a high note, hold it and shatter the glass with his all-out bad-ass rock sonic attack. I'd actually seen them do that bit at a outdoor festival a coupla years before somewhere outside Dayton.
Roadie-guy tells us, though, that at club shows where Ted couldn't make the amps loud enough to actually shatter the glass without deafening the bar audience, it was his job to stand offstage and shoot out the glass with an air rifle right when Nugent hit his big dramatic high note.
It went great for months, the guy told me, until one night he was higher than shit and when the big Glass Shootout Moment came the roadie missed the jar and hit Nugent in the forearm of his fretting hand. Ted yelped and stopped playing entirely (as well he should have, he HAD just gotten shot after all) and roadie-guy panicked, re-pumped the BB gun and shot out the jar in near total silence after the rest of the band stopped the song when they saw blood running down Ted's arm. There was a certain amount of jeering from the crowd at the duplicitous nature of the amp glass-break routine until the band could get cranked back up to finish the tune. The Amboy Dukes finished the set and then it was off to the nearest emergency room for Ted to get the BB dug out of his arm.
The truck driver finishes the story with an incredulous, "AND THEY FIRED ME! I GOT FIRED FROM THE ROAD CREW THAT SAME NIGHT!" "You're surprised at that?" I asked the guy, there in the warehouse of Service Merchandise. "You shot your boss and ruined the band's big stage finale and you're pissed-off that you got fired?"
"I only shot Nugent ONCE," the guy said, firing up a joint and walking back to the cab of his truck, "nobody ever talks about all the nights that things went okay."
I'd like to say for the record that neither Biggie nor I have ever shot anybody in Watershed even once when they were onstage. - Ricki C. June 1st, 2013
To learn more about Ricki C and his blog, "Growing Old With Rock n Roll", please click here to visit our contributors page.