We originally came together by way of introduction from a Sous Chef of mine.
There were five of us.
Billy, the drummer, was homeless half the time, it seemed, but he always found a safe haven for his pearl Ludwig Hollywood drum kit.
And boy could pound the skins; I mean beat the living hell out of them.
Steve, our bassist, was a refugee from a shred metal band and looked the part; hair, latex, chains, and those leather Madonna gloves, standard for any decent hair band in the eighties and early nineties.
Oh yeah, and he was a badass bassist. The only one that I have ever seen hit all the requisite rock metal poses for guitarists.
To Hank Williams.
I loved that kid.
He and I would end up playing out as a duet after the band disassembled.
Paul was our lead guitarist, and when I mean he was elite, I mean he could make his guitar “cry” like only a few blessed fingers could, belonging to names like Hendrix, Clapton, and Van Halen.
You know, like that.
The only thing is boy loved prescription medicines.
His unrelenting consumption robbed him of a long life and deprived the planet of a rare talent. In a room full of players, he was the one all the others would stop and listen to.
Our rhythm guitar player, Ronnie, was the coolest guy in the band, I thought.
He was responsible; something I seemed to have avoided most of my existence. He was in his thirties cheating Father Time with a pumped up body and a hot little dish of a girlfriend named Pearl.
She was smoking hot.
Me, the fifth member, was lead singer and frontman.
So, we get together at my place and start talking about playing music and the next thing you know, we are at Ronnies small house on the south side of town. The front practice room was tiny, but everything fit.
We agreed on an opening attempt at a song and we came up with The Allman Brothers’ One Way Out in the key of “A.”
We finished the song, looked around the room at each other, and we knew.
We were good.
A bottle of Seagram’s VO and a half ounce of Marin County sinsemilla later, we were listening to a Jethro Tull album and we found our name.
We thought we were hell on wheels, we were that good.
We would go on to play several festivals, bars, and other events, until one day, we got an invite that would put us on the map (locally).
We were invited to play one of the absolute hottest college bars in Northwest Ohio. We practiced like crazy for a month while pointing to this. My buddy John had arranged for us to receive half the take from the door with a ten-dollar cover charge.
We were rich.
We got to the club way early to set up and arranged for a 5pm sound check (we started at 8pm).
Everything was perfect; all boards up and running, all channels clear.
Ready to rock.
We arrived at 7:30 and had a couple beers before starting.
A couple more beers, I should say. We were drinking all day.
What was wrong with this picture?
Outside of us, and our people, the only other person in the entire club was the bartender.
Meanwhile, Billy was freaking out because his high-hat lost a nut. The little asshole was threatening not to play.
Then Paul shows up and I honestly didn’t see him do them, but he ate something that was impairing everything. There were drool spots on the front of his shirt.
Ronnie was freaking out because our lighting console was fried, so we would be playing with minimal lighting and not our usual cool light show.
My friend John came up to the stage.
“What the fuck?” It’s like the whole band shouted in unison.
“Where is everybody? What’s going on?”
John explained the owners of the tavern were arrested and ordered to shut down. The bartender was only there to close at the end of her shift, she said.
We weren’t accountants, but we could easily compute our half of the collection box.
We got enough of our stuff operable to start and everyone looked at my right hand drop, and hit the “E” power chord.
We looked at each other and smiled.
We still thought we were hell on wheels.