Monday, March 14, 2011

Meeting the Merle.............
Or- "Oh My God. That's Merle Haggard!"

Kinda how it went.

Back in 1982-85 or thereabout, I was playing guitar in a local band. One of the better paying gigs we had was the Holiday Inn. Now this was one of those fancy, "Hollidome" setups that had an indoor pool in a big central atrium. Pretty snazzy at the time and we played out on a stage by the pool in the middle of that atrium.

Those of you who are old enough will remember that the economy was still recovering from, Jimmy Fucking Carter and times were tough for a lot of people back then. We got paid $60 bucks for 3 hours of what amounted to paid practice as there wasn't much of a crowd and generally, most of them were Moms and their kids in the pool, so this was a friggin' goldmine for us.

None of us were working steady though and those 2 nights every other week was an economic godsend. This particular hotel also had, the "Holiday Star Theater" attached to it along with an ass kick lounge, (where we really wanted to play).

Well, one Friday night we're out there in the atrium playing to practically no one, when, "Holy Shit!" Merle Haggard and his entire band sit down at the two tables right in front of us!

They'd just finished playing at the theater and wandered over for a drink.

No pressure here.
We weren't much of a country band anyway, but I was damn sure NOT gonna try to impress Merle-Fuckin-Haggard by playing a halfassed version of Hank Jr or some shit.

Since I recognized Hag immediately, I leaned over to MadCad, the front man and told him, "No Country Songs." We were almost finished for the night anyway so we did some Rock & Roll, finishing like we always did with Jethro Tull's, Aqualung.
Big finish and we were done.

Hag and the band were polite and gave us some applause and Hag bought a round of beers for us. Way cool and a nice gesture on his part.

I went up to him and shook his hand and thanked him for the beer and tried to make a bit of small talk, stuttering all the time from nervousness.
He was cool, and just said something about how we should just, "Play it like ya feel it" or some such.
You could tell he kinda wanted to be left alone and his band, a bunch of kids called us over and got us hammered drinking with them.

I believe Hag was drinking this-

Got to thinking of this today while listening to a bit of Hag's music.
Damn he's good. He and Johnny Cash are probably my 2 favorite country singers.

Normally, I'd post a couple of YouTube videos for ya, but most of them I can't embed here. So you'll have to go there yourself, but hey, -It's been a great afternoon

So like Hag says, "I think I'll just stay here and Drink"

Gratuitous Picture for a Monday Evening-
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