Friday, November 14, 2003

We don't need no stinking drummer!

I needed a job.  Other than being a perennial college student, I lacked job skills.  I answered an ad in the paper for a cocktail waitress at the Holiday Inn North in Lexington. The name of the bar was The Post Lounge and it was the Port of Call for Bluegrass Music.  The year is 1978.  New life had been breathed into Bluegrass Music.  Bands like New Grass Revival and Goose Creek Symphony  were attracting  a non-traditional  audience. The stereotype of  bluegrass as hillbilly music was beginning to fade.

J.D. Crowe had been  the house band for many years. He then moved on to bigger and better things. Not forgetting his beginnings, he returned each Christmas and played on the weekends.  Several stars had begun their careers with J.D.  It was expected that they would drop by and sit in on a few sets. This packed the house every Friday and Saturday night.  Who would be show up? Ricky Skaggs?  Tony Rice? Added bonus, Keith Whitley was the lead that winter.

People came from every where to hear J.D. College kids home for the semester break, blue grass loyalists from everywhere.  And then there were the BlueGrass Purists. J.D., always on the cutting edge of Bluegrass had added drums. Drums? In a bluegrass band? A kid named Steve DeMartino? That sounds like a foreigner! What?! From New Jersey! I'm not sure how long or how many nights they tolerated the desecration.  But it happened.  Too many drinks, and  the rumblings of "blasphemy' sound louder and louder.

I was in the waitress station when the ruckus erupted! Beer bottles began flying, people were screaming, bodies were crushing towards the stage, tables were thrown over, chairs were broken. The mob that had been surging towards the stage and Steve DeMartino, had changed course and was moving as if one single body towards the waitress station!  We became crushed against the wall.  As quickly as it began, it ended. J.D. found the microphone and said, "Stop". Everyone returned to their seats. Steve left the building with a gash in his head.  We began to pour the drinks.  The band resumed playing sans drums......"Damn drums, they don't have no place here."  

Order was restored. All was once again right with the world and Bluegrass.

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