more than once in my life I've been accused of being "metro-sexual",
usually jokingly by martha who certainly knows.
but, if liking flower gardens, or feeding hummingbirds,
or dressing fastidiously means you're "metro"
then I'm guilty as charged.
but I've never had a male+male sexual encounter in my life
even though for one whole year my very existence
centered around a gay bar called the Downstairs Club.
at age 20 I formed my first "power trio" with two close friends
Ray Yancey on bass and Mike Hodges on drums.
we called the band "adrian"
(5 years before I began calling myself that).
we were a hot trio modeled after hendrix and cream
and noted for our extended jam versions of unusual fare like
long time comin' by crosby, stills, and nash or
walk on by from burt bacharach.
we had that unique mind-blend esp I now share with eric and julie.
adrian was my first-ever band as a serious guitar player.
I had an echoplex.
we spent a year sharing the house band slot with another power trio
(called "buck moon") at an infamous gay bar in northern kentucky,
the Downstairs Club.
when you pulled off highway 25 you would see the rooftop
of the club as you drove down to the parking lot.
hence the name.
The Downstairs Club was famous for its yearly drag-queen
contest which drew players from all over the U.S.
Little Richard would be there when he was in town
and before our time he would bring his guitarist Jimi Hendrix.
the club was owned by a man's man named Mr. Combs Sr.
Mr. Combs Sr. was a devout hunter and fisherman,
a poker player with a constant cigarette dangling.
it was his son Bobby who ran the club
and played for the other team, as they say.
Bobby Combs was the biggest social butterfly I ever saw.
his job was to flit from table to table ever engaged in hilarious
chit chat with his customers while filling their noses
with a brain-pumping drug called amil nitrate
which you sniffed from an inhaler he offered.
knowing the players in both trios were straight (and under-age)
bobby insisted his clientele leave us off their menu
and we were never accosted by anyone, not once.
boy, they had some characters who would frequent the bar.
I remember one very successful businessman named Peaches.
despite his chubby physique he dressed in impeccable suits
and beautiful italian shoes which must have cost a fortune.
he wore conspicuous diamond earrings and necklaces.
peaches liked to get up now and then to sing with the band.
when he opened his mouth the most incongruous voice
would come out,
the voice of a little girl!
we had so many funny moments there, full of the kind of
double-entendre humor and sassy remarks gay people are know for.
kind of like living the movie "the boys in the band".
one night I was talking to bobby while buck moon
was playing one of their sets.
suddenly a good-looking young man sat down next to bobby
and began to stroke bobby's leg.
long strokes of his hand up and down bobby's leg.
in a classic I've never forgotten bobby said,
"I'll give you five minutes to quit that!"