Road Stories: Bar Fights

D'Priest post London, road stories, bar fightsOverall, I think D’Priest got into more fights than any other band I was with but the funniest happened one night in some little club in the mid west . . . .

We were in the middle of Money Honey and suddenly I hear the unmistakable sound of a mic hitting the floor–and suddenly there were no lead vocals.

I could see a fight at the front of the stage . . . then there was no guitar.

We went on playing–just bass, keys and drums for a few bars–then I see Brian take his bass off and stage-dive into the crowd, leaving just Krigger and I.

Finally I said, ‘F*** it’ and dove in. I have no idea how long Krigger kept playing, but the effect of each instrument dropping out one-by-one was hysterical.

Just one night of many, in the life of a touring musician LOL

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Memories: “So . . . who’s your big friend?”

So . . . this happened on the D’Priest tour. I’m going to change some of the facts, not that there are any innocents, but you never know who might end up reading this ;-). It was in the mid west, it was snowing.

Our security guy, who happens to be my best friend (no names here), and I were in the club we had played–in fact we were almost the last ones in the club–when an altercation broke out over a girl. Actually two girls . . . anyway, management threatened to call the cops, so we left.

We walked across the street to where the bus was parked . . . only it was gone. Just tire tracks in the snow where it had been.

So we start looking around, when I notice (speaking of tracks) that we had left a perfect trail from the club to where we were standing. I’m thinking, Well, they aren’t exactly going to need bloodhounds to find us . . . so we start walking.

We have no idea where we are, no idea where the hotel is and we are in some semi industrial looking neighborhood. We came to an alley and it was pitch black for as far as you could see, except for a little spot of white way down, so we decided to duck in and make for the light.

As we got closer, you could see that it was a little sign that stuck out from the wall of a building that said “Bar.” That was it, no name, just . . .”Bar.” So we duck inside. It had one of those little rooms where you are supposed to shake the snow off. We didn’t wait for our eyes to adjust; we just went in and ducked into the first booth. Whew! Safe! Been here all night officer!

As my eyes start to adjust, I start looking at the crowd dancing and finally it hits me–it seems like there is a really high ratio of men to women. As in . . . no women.

Just as it hits me…the waiter who is dressed like a Chip-n-Dale’s dancer walks up and says to me, “So . . . who’s your big friend?” (Pointing at my friend, “Head of Security.”)

It was also at this time I realized that my “big friend” was blind as a bat. For years, I had been driving with him all over Los Angeles . . . and now I know he is blind, because he doesn’t see any of this. Not the accountants dancing with the leather boys, not the Chip-n-Dale’s waiter . . . none of it.

So as I start saying, ‘Brother, we have to leave’, another waiter shows up with a tray full of drinks “from table three” . . . and when I look over at table three, they are all smiles. Seemed like a nice bunch of guys actually.
By now I’m kicking him under the table, saying, “We. Have. To. Leave.” But he isn’t going anywhere, because we are getting free drinks.

Anyway, we ended up getting out–no harm, no foul–we made a few new friends and did not get arrested.

It was just another night in the life of a touring musician. I know it sounds like a scene from a movie–in fact, it was a scene in a movie–but it happened! I need to remember not to tell stories in Hollywood without copyrighting them first . . . .

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Joe’s Little Box in the Sky . . . .

I’ve read some of the books about the eighties and the “Hollywood Scene”, and sometimes it seems that all that comes through are the stories of 12 naked girls in a hot tub. I’m not saying that it didn’t happen, but if that’s all you read, you can’t imagine what it was like. Because some of the stuff that happened—well, probably couldn’t be imagined. This is one of those stories . . . .

Before Joe Cristofanilli joined Sin he was in Ratt, and some of the guys lived in a tall building on Sunset, which they aptly named Ratt Mansion West and there are enough stories about that place to fill several books on its own . . . but this happened after. I think the photo posted is the right building, someone jump in if I got it wrong.

Anyway, at some point, everyone had moved out but Joey, and the building was bought by Rod Stewart (at least that was the rumor) and they were going to turn it into condos.

Anyone who was actually there will remember two things; Top Ramen and Renters Rights. To this day, if you sneak up behind an 80’s rocker and shake a bag of Top Ramen he’ll probably start having convulsions. . . . it was all anyone could afford. Renters Rights was a group you could go to, that would file legal paperwork for you if you were being evicted. And at some point everyone was evicted.

So, Joe goes to Renters Rights and they file the paperwork to stop him from being thrown out of the apartment building–where he is now the only tenant. And the builders . . .

Respond by tearing the entire building down to the steel girders, except the floor, four walls and roof of Joe’s apartment! So imagine a steel framework and way up near the top, a little box is hanging in mid-air, with one elevator–which they had to leave–and a little strip of floor from the elevator to the apartment.

Every afternoon, Joe would leave his little box in the sky, tiptoe along a hanging sidewalk to a disembodied elevator and go do whatever. And every night, ride it back up to the little box in the sky. I have no idea how long this lasted . . . probably months. You can’t make this stuff up!

Anyway, not long after that, I met Joe and he joined Sin, which later became Jag Wire and, for a short time, Mother Mary.

P.S. If Rod Stewart reads this, and he was one of the owners . . . no hard feelings, man. Everyone was broke at some point 😉

Joe and the Ratt Mansion West story

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Listening To: Art Tatum

A little mood music . . . .

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Listening To: Dio

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D’Priest Tour – Day One

Mason Jar, club in Arizona where all the bands

The Mason Jar. Pretty much the same, but with a different name.

So, if you wrote a script based on the D’Priest tour, Quentin Tarantino would reject it as unbelievable. This story is just day one!

The first show on the first leg was at the Mason Jar in Phoenix, Arizona, which was cool. I had played there many times, and a lot of big bands play it–sort of a tradition. We had left the previous evening late, and arrived in the morning . . . no one slept much.

The rest of the band and the crew were inside, and I was on the bus with my friend, who was also handling the merchandise. As I looked out the window, I saw a cab pull up; a guy about my height, maybe similar hair (hard to remember) gets out of the cab, and runs onto the bus carrying a gym bag.

Before I can give him the mandatory speech about the bus being someone’s home, which is why you don’t just run on, he points to the t-shirts and says, “Are those for sale?” We answer yes, thinking ‘wow, cool not even setup and were making money!’ The guy pulls a wad of cash out of his pocket, buys a shirt (just like the one I was wearing) and runs off the bus. As he is getting in the cab, I see him take his shirt off and put the D’Priest shirt on.

About fifteen minutes later, I decide to get off the bus and stretch. As I am walking around, I notice a guy in a suit next to the building across the parking lot, and it looks like he’s talking into his wrist. I turn towards the back of the building, and there’s another one.

So now I’m shaking my head thinking, ‘Ok Vince, you’re tired but you’re not that tired . . .‘ but when I’m finished shaking my head, they’re still there. In fact, they’re closer, still looking nonchalant. I look towards the street; there are more across the street, and every time I turn my back on one to look at the others, the one behind me gets closer. It’s like a cartoon.

Finally, when I decide to say something, a very calm voice says—-

“Don’t move.”

Which, of course, I had no intention of doing. Although I am a little worried about all the parking lot dust causing a truly unfortunate sneeze.

Turns out, the guy in the cab–the guy about my height, now wearing the same shirt . . . had just robbed a bank. In a cab. The gym bag was filled with cash.

So our manager comes out, and straightens everything out with the nice FBI agents, and the tour officially starts with me being mistaken for a bank robber

This is how I remember it, granted it was a long time ago. But it happened. And the tour got weirder from there . . . .

Interior of The Mason Jar, Phoenix Arizona

The lowest stage ceiling in the world!

Franco Gagliano -- owner of The Mason Jar in Phoenix AZ

Franco Gagliano — owner of The Mason Jar

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What I’m Listening To: Band Maid

Maybe just a little bit of Legs Diamond in this 😉 Man, these girls can play!

BAND-MAID Live in Mexico with a song I haven’t heard before. This song is BAD ASS, great funk groove . . . and they have a B3 player live. Now I am definitely head over heels in love . Nicely done.

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What I’m Listening To: Journey

Sometimes it just fits.

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My Facebook Musician Page is Live

Anyone interested is invited to follow my musician page I’m trying to transfer the music posts there.

Vincent Gilbert, pianist, keyboards, music clips

Here’s a music link:

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Pranks (one of many)

First off, you have to understand the band prank mentality: If the prank was probably survivable, it was “Inbounds”.

With that in mind, during the sound check for the San Antonio show I mentioned in the last post, the sound engineer, John starts checking the bass, which means at some point Joe is thumping ¼ notes on the E string.

Now the Hammond can get low . . . real low. So low, in fact that probably one of the most important aspects of playing it in a band, is learning how to keep your left hand from stepping all over the bass player. So–and I have to admit that to this day I still have no idea what sparked the idea–Joe is whumping out low E’s, and I start mirroring what he is playing. Except I hit E#.

John looks up from the board and says to Joe, “Hold it, you’re out of tune.” So Joe tunes the bass and starts again. E E E E . . . except it’s really E-E# E-E# E-E#, which sounds just G’d awful. John’s yelling, “Stop. Still out man, get it tuned!”

Joe tunes bass . . . E-E# E-E# E-E#. “STOP! For f***s sake get it in tune man!” Now John is getting frustrated, Joe is losing his mind because he can’t figure out what’s out of tune . . . and at that point, he looks over at me and sees me doubled over laughing.

There is an unmistakable sound that a bass guitar makes when it hits the floor in anger, sort of a Bwwwwa-ang and then the strings keep ringing. I heard that sound, followed by the also unmistakable sound of angry footsteps heading across the stage in my direction . . . I had to flee for my life!

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