Friday, June 8, 2007

my favorite aphorism...

the 1978-79 bowie band was like a small crowd.
not easy to direct us from airplane to hotel,
from hotel to bus, from bus to venue, etc.
that job fell to Eric Barrett, a sought-after tour manager.
eric was ace at babysitting big stars like george michael and madonna.
I loved to listen to him talk.
eric was scottish to the core and had the accent
(and the temper) to prove it.
(think "scotty" from star trek).

a decade before becoming our tour manager his claim to fame
was being the equipment manager for jimi hendrix.
as such, part of eric's job was to piece back together
the guitars jimi smashed on stage each night.
jimi gave eric the black Gibson Flying V he played on occasion.
(I wonder if eric ever cashed it in on a fat retirement plan).

nearly every day someone was late for the lobby call.
but it wasn't me. I prided myself on being punctual.
I was young, inexperienced, and stupid, yes,
but at least I was there on time.
weeks into the tour my perfect record stood
but never a word was said.
then one day for some reason I arrived
in the lobby a couple of minutes late.
perhaps the elevator was slow.
maybe I got a phone call just as I was leaving my room.
whatever the reason, as soon as I walked into the lobby eric was all over me.
in front of our entire entourge he growled,
"you realize, laddie, you've made all these people wait for you?
but I guess you're more important than they are!
I've worked with better guitar players than you
and I've seen them all come and go.
you better straighten up or you're gone too!"

"but eric", I pleaded, "I'm never the one who's late".

he shot me a glance and said something I'll always remember.
"you don't get points added,
you only get points taken away".


  1. tell us a Jimi story, please. looking forward to the Sellersville, PA show!

  2. Love that you're punctual. Keeps things in check that way.

    Something I'll always remember. I was standing in a mile-long line at a concert to use the ladies room and the lady behind felt she needed to tell me that "once I was pickled I could never go back to being a cucumber."

    As if.

  3. Only in deep friendship, and of course, love.

  4. No doubt!
    you're my favorite story teller!!


  5. Can you get points for telling good stories?

  6. I look forward to seeing you in the 21st at Jammin' Java in Virginia

  7. good story, I stumbled across your blog and it was a pleasant surprise.
    I'd like to share these aphorims

  8. Imagine what a lucky man because being the tour manager of that band should be the best thing we can get.m10m

  9. There are people that they know to say the right thing at the right time and blow things up. Those words will transcend time.