Originally published; Saturday, Feb 9 @ 12:02 PM
The first band that I actually went on the road with was The Bob Marriott Band, based out of Lawrence, Kansas. Somewhere, I still have a copy of the black and white glossy promo photo that we used for booking gigs and posting at the venues we played. I am more than a little glad that it’s in black and white, since otherwise you would see that we were wearing purple tweed jackets with hot-pink, ruffled tux shirts (and yes, we wore those at the gigs). Have you ever seen the original Blues Brothers movie? Remember Murph and the Magic Tones? Yeah, that was kinda us.
And speaking of that Blues Brothers movie, we had one gig (somewhere in the middle of Kansas; I can’t remember exactly where) where they liked “both kinds of music: country and western”; When we set up our equipment there, we found a big hole in the wall of the men’s restroom where a urinal had been. Somewhat ominous, that. The first evening of our gig, there were about four people in the room at the point we were to begin. Four people are still four paying customers, so we started the set. After about half a dozen tunes, Bob turned to the rest of us and said, “Funk. In A.” So we set up a funk groove in the key of A and jammed on that for about twenty minutes; at which point it was time for our break. It was at that point we met the reason for the hole in the men’s room. He was about 6-foot-seven (give or take) and almost as wide. He came up to Bob and me and said, “That last tune you did… Just what the hell sort of country and western was that supposed to be?” Bob looked him right in the eye and said, “Why, that’s back-beat country. ‘Comes out of Louisiana. Hank Junior plays it all the time.” You could see the handful of neurons firing in the guy’s brain. Then he said, “Did have kind of a kick to it.” He was our best friend for the rest of our time there. Some years later, I wrote “Funk In A” as sort of a homage to that experience.