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Oliver_White3 (2)
Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Club Playing (and bar fights)

Views: 336
Comments: 5



Did you ever try to play through a bar/club set (on stage) with a bust-up, knock-down drag-out fist fight/near riot going on all around you? If so, did you keep on playing...or did you have to throw in the towel and duck off-stage?

For my own self, I've been there 'more' than a few times... twice in Texas, once in Tennessee, and three times in Vietnam.

Most memorial in Vietnam was in early 1973, if I remember right, like the first week of March or thereabouts. I was on leave for a few days and got rooked into a loose-knit pickup band of G.I.'s that could play/sing a little bit. For some free beers and a few bottles of Jack Black, (and a small amount of cash) a friend talked us into playing a few numbers in a little 'alley-way' club. We'd all been there before and knew the South Viet owner and he was okay, far as we knew, so agreed to it. Everything went well at first, the place filled up about dark with all sorts of G.I.'s and a few Vietnamese (local merchants that were well to do, or so I assumed.) We played a few early-Beatles-covers, a few Bobby Vee covers and the like, then we got a request from a homesick Utah soldier to play a C&W song by Bobby Bare (I think, or maybe it was Pat Boone, don't remember now, called "500 Miles Away From Home.")

Anyway, only two of us knew the song but the rest were good enough to fake it...so we started in. About the second time we hit the chorus, 'Lord, I'm fff-ive hun--dred miles a--ww-ayy' suddenly ALL hell broke loose!

I never even knew what the fight was about, but suddenly every soldier in there was up and swinging, kicking, biting ears/noses, poking eyes...and throwing beer bottles and whiskey glasses at one another! Tables got busted up, chairs got heaved across the room, somebody even started tossing bar stools and heavy ashtrays around! G'ah!

We just kept playing...mainly because it was a tiny stage and the only way off of it was INTO and THRU the brawl (and we weren't drunk enough for that at the time.) So we kept right on singing and playing. And after about ten minutes, as quick as it had started, it was over. I mean over. Just gone. Everybody was laughing and talking and buying one another fresh drinks and the fight had just vanished into thin air. And just in time too...right before the ball-bustin' MP's came rushing in carrying iron-hard nightsticks and with itchy hands on their 1911-A1 pistol butts. It was crazy. None of us players even got a scratch, just got soaked from thrown beer and whiskey whizzing past us.

And once, as a civilian, in Texas... a similar deal. A sudden fist fight (over unknown reasons) with people throwing chairs and beers and busting heads. Me and the guys I was playing with kept right on playing then too, till some dude pulled a pistol and started busting caps; Blam! Blam! Blam! Whereas we took what we could carry of our instruments and ran like hell for the nearest exit and the dark alleyway beyond. D'oh!

Playing in Dew-Drop-Inn's, Honky Tonks and such ain't exactly always for the unwary, unaware, immature, or lily-livered folk. (nor for the brave and the bold either as being brave and bold in a bar fight can get you killed pretty quick) It can get down-right hairy in those places! G'ah!

5:53 am - 5 comments - 2 Kudos - Report!
Comments
Oliver_White3 wrote on Jun 25th, 2014 6:35am

This needs to be an article, this is some good stuff.

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Oliver_White3 wrote on Jun 25th, 2014 6:38am

There were just too many bands back then and all these albums jazz and all the genres and there's too much to ever hear it's why I avoid radio and I listen to different obscure things from rateyourmusic, I got so many albums from there I discovered Jefferson Airplane that way, just everything but that story though man that is just great it makes me wish I could be playing with a bar fight going on and singing some Lou Reed or something that would be wicked getting splashed with beer and whiskey. oh god I am serious I wish that was me playing there

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Oliver_White3 wrote on Jun 25th, 2014 6:38am

Just great man

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Beowolffa wrote on Jun 25th, 2014 9:17am

LOL...Oliver, it wasn't as fun as it 'might' seem to be. Damned scary actually. Getting your head busted by a chair or stool in a wild-ass bar fight is bad enough, but you just never know when some crazy-eff is gonna' pull a blade or a gun. G'ah! (and in the military the MP's can be some mean 'mothers' too and put the hurt on you if they catch you busting up the place...or even if you're just there but not actually fighting. Take it from me, those damned night-sticks/billy-clubs hurt like hell!) Of course the band is usually (but not 'always') exempt from the fight. But all it takes is just 'one' mean bastard to climb up there and throw a punch...and then here the others come swirling up too. LOL. But yeah, from 'hind-sight' is WAS pretty cool. Ha!

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Oliver_White3 wrote on Jun 25th, 2014 12:01pm

I'm sure actually most kids knew what a knight stick felt like back then the fucking police were too brutal, it was just fascist to see it. Brewer and shipley wrote a song about it. Well I mean now that you mention it it wouldn't be nice to have been there but I love adrenaline and shit like that would get it pumpin leading to a killer performance I mean it's risky but I still would want to play during a fight like a mild one if there even is such a thing.

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