The hardest thing about sharing these stories of my long, mediocre career is that I have to be careful in not naming names. Legal reasons, ya know? But, one unexpected blow back from that is sometimes people doubt these memories ever happened. To be truthful, I spent much of the early 90's in such a drunken stupor, sometimes I question them myself. Before I write each column, I usually contact someone I know who could vouch for me if need be, and after they say, "You're not gonna use my name, right?" I proceed with caution. I'm gonna be real careful with this one, but I'll drop enough hints so that you get the gist of what and whom I am talking about.
Summer '97. I had joined a cover band that instantly became one of the hottest acts on the bar circuit in the Sarasota/Tampa, Florida area. We would play every Thursday-Sunday, and I made more money in one month with this band than I had in 6 years of playing originals. It was hard work. Most venues were outdoors in the sweltering heat and humidity. Living in Florida is like living in someones crotch after they jog 10 miles while wearing scuba gear. We had to play 4 and sometimes 5 sets a night, with 15 minute breaks in between. But, the crowds were huge and receptive, so it was worth it.
This particular club that we played regularly was a favorite hangout of a very famous, legendary rocker. Here's the only hint you're gonna get: His last name rhymes with "Tallman" and the band was named after he and his brother. (Got it yet? I'll wait...) He usually sat in a secluded area of the rather large club with the occasional hangers on, but kept to himself. The general manager had a rule- if he was in the bar, the bands were NOT allowed to play any songs by this guy. No problem, the dudes obliged.
So, after the second set, the place is jammed, and the crowd is on fire. We went back to our make shift dressing room (OK, it was a storage closet with empty kegs, but it had a mirror, dammit!) for a breather and some beers when the manager knocked.
"So guys, Mr. Tallman would like to do a song with you." Our collective jaws dropped. This was huge. I mean, this guy is a LEGEND. Of course we say "Yes!", and the manager says, "Do you know any of his songs?" We huddle for a minute then decide we can definitely fake our way through one of his biggest hits, a little ditty about being tied to some kind of post. (Last hint, slackers!) We made our way to the stage, played a couple tunes, and then I made the announcement.
"Ladies an gentlemen, we have a very special guest for you tonight. Please welcome to the stage, the legendary (insert name here)!"
The crowd exploded! There was a huge rush to the stage, and we waited for him to make his way up. When he got there, I was nervous as hell. But, then I got scared.
He was drunk
No, check that...
He was OBLITERATED.
Now, it was common knowledge that he had addiction problems in the past. And I'm pretty sure they had replaced his liver at this point, but there he was. Sloshed. He made his way to the mic and said, and I'm paraphrasing here:
"Hey Fuck lkmnsoh knn shit mkjs godamn lcvvsswss fuck..."
It was barely English. Being the pros that we were, we immediately started playing his song, hoping that the opening riff would snap him back to reality.
For a the longest minute in the history of time, Mr. Legend spat unintelligible gibberish into the mic, peppered with some of the best uses of "Fuck" I had ever heard, and I'm from Brooklyn, mind you. I even tried to sing back ups, when he turned to me and spat out "Shut the fuck up!". So, I did.. But he didn't.
After a couple of interesting euphemisms for homosexuals and oral sex, he was finally escorted off the stage by security and led out of the club. We stood there speechless for good while trying to regroup. Finally, we resumed our set and the rest of the night went off without a hitch.
The manager actually apologized and gave us a bonus; a bottle of Jack Daniels. I told him " You do realize the irony of this, don't you?" He shrugged his shoulders and said, " I already pay you too much, take it our leave it."
Great business we are in, isn't it?
All Photos ©Dominick Muzio
Editors Note: Dominick has been in a few bands throughout the years and is the lead singer of Las Vegas band Wicked Garden- A Tribute to the 90’s and a co-host of the acclaimed show ZRock’R Magazine LIVE! on LVRocks.com – These are his personal experiences and opinions and may not reflect those of ZRock’R Magazine. Learn from them and make sure to catch him with his band or the radio show when you get the chance!