Wednesday, May 13, 2009

The Band Goes to Panama City

In maybe late February or early March of 1995, we got called to play what was to be one of a few travel gigs: Spinnaker's in Panama City, Florida.

We piled our stuff and crammed ourselves into GC's extra-cab Ford for the 100-mile drive. Kind of cramped. I probably had a book. I always have a book.

Once we got to this place--a club with a bar--no one there had any idea where we were supposed to park, where to set up, when to set up, or any of the other important details. It was late afternoon, and we picked a spot, dropped the tailgate, and sat while GC went hunting intelligent life in Spinnaker Land.

About 60 yards from us was the back door to a little Creole restaurant. White-clothed cooking types maneuvered around each other, pots steamed and clanged...and a tiny critter with claws raised in defiance came running out of the building, high-tailing it for the rain puddle near our truck: a crawfish.

We rooted for the escapee, but its freedom was temporary. One of the white-suits came out and caught it.

GC got things sorted out. We started unloading and moving our gear.

The stage was tiny: a triangle roughly 8 x 8 x 12 feet. Navy Jim and his drums took up the corner. Wodger was scrunched in right in front of him. GC and I bracketed him on left and right, respectively, and MC the "singer" was as out-front as the stage allowed. GC's rig was as big as a filing cabinet, Wodger's amp was the size of a dorm fridge. Next to their rigs, my (borrowed) amp and speaker were pathetically small. I don't know how we played without tripping each other up or hitting Navy Jim in the head with our guitars.

At some point, some Navy guy yelled out a request: "Play some Rush! Play some Rush!" GC frowned, rolled his eyes and shook his head. Navy Jim and I played the opening riff from "Time Stand Still"--and left it at that.

I remember the gig being a lot of fun. By this point we did sound a lot better--but MC's singing and my playing never did improve enough where I'd say either of us was any good.

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