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  Chicken Wire around the Bandstand?

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Author Topic:   Chicken Wire around the Bandstand?
Wayne Cox

From: Chatham, Louisiana, USA

posted 28 October 2002 12:06 AM     profile     
We have all heard those horror stories about showing up for a "one-nighter" out in the middle of nowhere,only to find yourself playing in an old barn or chicken house,with old rusty chicken wire on the bandstand. Has this ever happened to you? It happened to me,once. Maybe it was the booking agents' idea of a joke,but we drove down a long dirt road,then took a right turn through a sugar-cane field which led up to an old barn. we literally had to set up in the chicken coop!
The "dance floor" had holes in it large enough to fall through. It was in December,so the owner had installed a small,gas,bathroom heater,in the center of the dance floor. No electricity,so someone brought in an RV with a generator. We ran all the equipment off of one extension cord,until the amps and PA blew! Let me hear about yours??!! ~~W.C.~~
Gene Jones

From: Oklahoma City, OK USA

posted 28 October 2002 03:15 AM     profile     
...yes, once, the early days of my music career in a tough area of southeast Oklahoma known as "Little Dixie"...but not in a a barn, it was a regular dance hall/beer joint and the chicken wire covering the front of the bandstand was to protect the musicians from the customers throwing things during a fight.

....and just in case we didn't fully understand the necessity for the wire, the owner had left a beer-bottle protruding about halfway through the wire just above the vocalist's head!

.......This was the same place that the electricity failed during a thunderstorm and our blind piano player had to play most of the dance in the dark.

Mark van Allen

From: loganville, Ga. USA

posted 28 October 2002 02:34 PM     profile     
Sometime in the late 70's I was on a road run with the "Twang Brothers" band from Kalamazoo, one of the stops was a long, narrow bar in Decatur Illinois, and sure enough, there was Chicken wire all down the front of the bandstand, which was on a kind of shelf along the back wall behind the bar. One person wide, so the drummer had to climb up and slide down to his kit, then each member followed in turn. We found out why the Chicken wire when folks starting slinging bottles and anything handy in what appeared to be a localized form of band appreciation. On our breaks we'd wander to the bar next door that had gals in go-go cages up in the corners. Decatur had just passed a law outlawing nudity where alcohol was served- so the girls were gyrating in tank tops and cutoffs which I found oddly hilarious. Such is the road life...

Busy in the Studio, busy on the road- but still lookin' for that Killer gig! C'mon by and visit-

Eric West

From: Portland, Oregon, USA

posted 28 October 2002 03:00 PM     profile     
A couple interesting ones.

Up in Calgary, there was the Dodge City Saloon gig. Syringes in the parking lot, and ammonia smelling hallways.

The bandstand had about 5 rows of hay bales in front of it. There was a bouncer with Nikes named Pierre, that would stop amy wayward fun lovers, or fight participants before they got much past the second row. "Sabot", I think they call it.

Played with a blind gentleman named Ed Ripliinger here in the 80s in a little secluded "speak easy" type place where all the local legal/mafia types in the sector hung out. You had to knock and say the right thing to get in.. Ed, Myself, and the drummer. Kind of place where you really didn't want to get off the bandstand at break. I usually didn't.

The bandstand was nearly totally dark save a black light. I painted my fretboard with black light paint as a last attempt to get thru the night. I really needed the 100$/week.

I finally told him after a couple weeks that it was really hard to play in the dark, and that I was having a hard time of it. He looked at me, or rather clear through me, laughed and told me that I could turn a light on if I wished, and reminded me that he was blind ......

Jim Florence

From: wilburton, Ok. US

posted 28 October 2002 05:41 PM     profile     
Played at the "Shed Thirteen" in Phoenix, Bandleader was a female vocalist named Mary Bryant. One night a whiskey bottle hit her in the chest. Not seriously injured, but her
feelings were sure hurt. No one knew who did it. The great Bud Isaacs later bought the place, and according to him, when he got rid of all the "Toughs", there was no one left.
Bob Carlson

From: Surprise AZ.

posted 28 October 2002 07:03 PM     profile     
Back in the late 50's or early 60's there was a joint in Des Moines called the Chicken Coop...and it had the wire around the band stand. That was the first time and place I met any pickers on drugs and had any offered to me. Thank God I didn't accept their offer.


[This message was edited by Bob Carlson on 28 October 2002 at 07:05 PM.]

Chick Donner

From: North Ridgeville, OH USA

posted 29 October 2002 12:35 PM     profile     
O yeah . . . . Chicago in '68 or '69 - the place was "Johnnie's Lounge," at 1509 West Madison Street. Had a couple killed in there one Saturday night before midnite! Also, a couple of joints on the waterfront in Charleston, S.C. Don't remember any names. I remember (and so should Jim Florence, though I think he was only in there as a CUSTOMER) the Anchor Bar on Hotel Street in Honolulu. Also, the old "Hank Avon's Bar" in Cleveland, Ohio. There was a joint right on the Ky. TN. line in the old days. . . don'[t rememher the name, but a super punch palace, with wire around the bandstand.
Boo Bernstein

From: Los Angeles, CA

posted 29 October 2002 01:04 PM     profile     
Mark --

I think I played the same place in Decateur, Illinois -- I think it was called Dee's Cocktail Lounge. There wasn't chickenwire when I played there in 1976, but there should have been. The agreement included rooms -- which turned out to be above the club with no heat or blankets. There was also a blinking neon sign outside the window which went all night long (shades of Twilight Zone). I even had some crazy pull out a pistol and aim it at the bandstand. I ended up taking my week's pay and getting myself a decent hotel room to stay in! Wow,this brings back many memories! Boo

Stephen O'Brien

From: Cortlandt Manor, NY, USA

posted 29 October 2002 01:45 PM     profile     
1973, at the Elbow Inn, Owego, NY. The chicken wire was the classiest part of the joint.

From: Houston, TX USA

posted 29 October 2002 02:10 PM     profile     
Hey Mark and Boo, I worked Dee’s in 83’ I remember it well. Things at that time were a little tamer to say the least. The chicken wire was gone…..But the patrons were the same! Frightening no doubt. We ended up staying at some cheap motel…..couldn’t take the ‘room above the street’. Small world for sure. Russ
Tiny Olson

From: Tribes Hill, NY, USA along the Erie Canal in the beautiful Mohawk River Valley

posted 29 October 2002 04:39 PM     profile     
Boo... do you remember how loud you had to play at Dee's ?? I think I wiped out a JBL or two out of my early Session 400s in that place. I followed you in there with the Gillis Show a few months after your departure. FUN !!!

In about '75, I played a place in Madawaska, Maine (I don't remember the name)that had chicken wire. After they found out if the band would be accepted by the "audience" the first couple nights they removed the wire. I guess we were OK 'cause they took it down. But in reality, the fact that they even needed it at all made me almost wish they'd left it up.

Chris "Tiny" Olson

Boo Bernstein

From: Los Angeles, CA

posted 29 October 2002 04:52 PM     profile     
Hey, Tiny -- Yeah, I had a Session 400 that I used to crank up -- and still felt like I was playing behind a baffle. FYI, it turns out the guy who pulled the gun had been kicked off the local police force for being a little "unsteady." When I said something to the club manager, he said "don't pay him no mind, he's just a little loco." Made me feel a lot better!

Always great to hear from you, Tiny. Hope all is well. Boo

Jeff Coffell

From: Killeen Texas

posted 31 October 2002 07:26 PM     profile     
You bet. BEEN THERE, DONE THAT. Back in the 70's we played a place on the AR Missouri line back out in the hills. It was kind of a logging community. Those guys and gals came out on the weekend for 3 things. DRINK, FIGHT AND well I'll leave the other to your imaginations. The chicken wire was there and needed every night.

I remember one night, a guy pulled his gun out to shoot the guy at another table and accidentally shot his wife in the foot. She nearly beat his damn head off with her purse, then pulled her gun out of her purse and I thought the guy was gonna die, right there on the spot. The bouncer knew both of them well and talked her out of the gun. They all settled down and kept drinkin and having a big old time the rest of the night. They finally had to remove that couple from the bar that night. It was not for fighting though. They were litterally having sex in the dark corner of the damce floor. I mean a good old fashion dirt road getting after it no holds barred pants down to the knees dress up past the waist and getting after it right in front of GOD and everybody. I don't think they knew or cared that the bar was packed and everyone was being entertained, and not by the band at that time.


Yeah sure, lucky we lived through some of those GOOD OLE DAYS

Though ya'll might emjoy that war story.

Have fun

Jeff "PLUMB COUNTRY" Coffell

[This message was edited by Jeff Coffell on 31 October 2002 at 07:29 PM.]

Len Ryder

From: Princeton British Columbia Canada

posted 31 October 2002 08:05 PM     profile     
I think all of us from the "Yonder Years" have played some weird, strange places. In 1953 we booked a hall (by mail) in Grassy Plains B.C. We had to get there by crossing Francois Lake by ferry, then driving miles down this gravel road looking for the hall, passing what looked like a log barn. Finaly we pulled into a ranch and asked where the Hell is the Grassy Plains hall ? Well ---- it was the barn, with the fence down and a horse inside.
So we try and get the &^%$#@!&^$ horse out of the barn, build a small stage and wait for the guy with the power plant. We think "we've really screwed up this time". The guy shows up with a power plant that you wrap a rope around a pulley and pull to start it. It gives off enough power to run one amp, the "small" P.A. and a few lights in the hall.
The show started at 7:00 P.M. and about 4:00 P.M. people started to come out of the woodwork in cars, trucks (and I kid you not) covered wagons. Tents were set up, campfires started and we had one Hell of a crowd for the show and the dance.
No hotels or motels out there but the fellow gave us a little cabin, blankets and pillows for four guys and the two wives and says, "don't be concerned with any noise, ----- it's probably just a moose".
And Chic Donner, I remember the Hotel St. scene in Honolulu very well. What a Zoo.

Len Ryder

Tony Davis

From: Brisbane, QLD, Australia

posted 01 November 2002 04:22 AM     profile     
My First job on steel was four nights a week in the Ship Inn in the docks area of chicken wire but I wished there had been...all the customers were the ones who coundnt get served anywhere else!
All the Abbos used to go there too to spend their welfare checks and then get a taxi home while I was struggling out with my gear.
Fights every night..I never saw a murder but a couple occured outside....I never saw full on sex..but I saw strange things going on under had to get there early to get a table as they were soon smashed or covered in blood!
One night this Abbo woman threw an empty jug and it hit the pedestal fan alongside the stage....just like shrappnel going off!
Another time I got a head through my pedal rods....I had on cowboy boots so just kicked it clear!
I lasted 12 months there then moved on!

From: Dodson, Louisiana, USA

posted 01 November 2002 05:54 AM     profile     
And we thought VIETNAM was BAD...Sheeeesh..
I'm not even going to post any of the many COWBOW-INDIAN Fights I witnessed in the 80's on the reservations out west. I will say this tho, WATCH OUT FOR THEM DAMNED INDIAN "SQUAWS"....God, They are much Meaner than ANY MEN I saw fighting...These were places where the "Men Were MEN, and the SHEEP were SCARED" .......Barbedwire City.

Gene Jones

From: Oklahoma City, OK USA

posted 01 November 2002 07:42 AM     profile     

Oh, I'm not so sure about that.....Mine is more "even tempered" than I am!

Johan Jansen

From: Europe

posted 01 November 2002 09:33 AM     profile     
Never, ever will play again behind chickenwire!
In the early 90's I played in a party-cowboy band, and we did a lot of cowboy-parties.
Once we had to play on a party from a motor-club, a department from Hells Angels. They threw a party in style of Blues Brothers, so one side of the Hall had a soul-band, and the other side, behind Chickenwire, we played, like "The Good Ol'Boys( Where can we put those Steelguitars, John-Bob? )
The more boose was on the table, the more was thrown to the band, and later the furniture


my bands CODand TSC

Jim Florence

From: wilburton, Ok. US

posted 01 November 2002 09:38 AM     profile     
Len Ryder' you probably don't know me, but I know you. I took up where you left off in Hawaii. The New Fronteer was calm, but then I moved out to the Dunes [Seven nights a week] one night two different tribes of Samoans converged on the place. I had never seen a 250 lb woman duke it out with a 250 lb man before. She was a tough old gal. I also played on Hotel st. While I was at the New Fronteer, all I heard was how great Len Ryder was.
Len Ryder

From: Princeton British Columbia Canada

posted 01 November 2002 10:38 AM     profile     
Some of you mention that you've had people "making out" while you've been playing.
We were playing on a Reserve in central B.C. in the early '50's when a most "lovable couple" "got it on" in the corner of the hall. As there was a member of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police in the hall at the time, he goes over and pulls the guy off. According to the Mountie, she looked up and says,quote --- "put him back where he belongs". unquote. Ahhhhhh ---- "True Love".
For you young "Pickers". Keep a diary for when you get as old as some of us are. Time has a habit of being an eraser of things in your life.
And Jim Florence ---- You're very kind with your compliment. ---- It is so nice to be remembered after all those years.

Len Ryder

john buffington

From: Owasso Ok USA

posted 02 November 2002 11:04 AM     profile     
There used to be a skull orchard or joint in Tulsa called the "Hob Nob" lounge. It was so "lively", you practically had to train for the Olympics just to walk in the place. They loved band members, but that's where all concern stopped.
Thank God those days are over!!!!!!!
John Buffington

All times are Pacific (US)

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