Thursday, October 16, 2014

From The Exits to The Odyssey

October 16, 2014
   When I was in Ruidoso for the Lincoln County Cowboy Symposium I ran int this cutie:

Belinda Gail and her new album Granite Mountain. Photo taken at Williamson Valley, north of Prescott. She is a real talented sweetie.

   This morning I finished a little study, which I gifted to a friend:

Daily Whipout: "Billy In Sunset"

A Celebration of Charlie Waters' Life, Part III
   It was Charlie Waters and I who put together one of the first rock bands in Kingman, The Exits. This was in early 1963, when we were in high school at Mohave County Union High School. We were walking out of Civics Class in the new building, arguing about a good band name when Bugs said, pointing at the Exit sign at the end of the hall, "Why don't we call ourselves the Exits because when people hear us, that's where they'll go."

   And so, the Exits we became. Our first band job is something of a controversy: by Charlie's telling, our first gig was at the old Elks Hall and we made $5 a piece. In my telling, our first gig was at the American Legion. We rented the hall ($15) and charged fifty cents a person and we made $22 a piece. I think Charlie liked the more humble version. Anyway, in the book "The 66 Kid" I went with his version, because a. he edited my book and I didn't want to piss him off, and b. he may have been right.

The original lineup: Wayne Rutschman on sax, Charlie Waters on rhythm guitar, BBB and Wendell Havatone on lead guitar and vocals. This photo was taken at the old Girl's Gym at the high school. My King drumset was purchased out of Montgomery Wards for $117, if memory serves me right. Also notice the lack of amps. I think we had just one, for two guitars. Here's Charlie singing lead in his no nonsense manner (Charlie was dead set against "showmanship" that involved steps, and especially smiling):

Charlie Waters rocks out.

The Exits with matching shirts, except for the "rebel" drummer.

   We played all over Mohave County for about five years. Here we are at a USO show out in the boonies beyond Yucca, Arizona: The end came when we got to college. A frat brother, Bill McClellan, got us a gig at The Body Shoppe, a strip club outside the main gate of Davis-Monthan Air Base in Tucson. After a week of playing three nights a week from 9 to midnite, the mid-term grades came out and Charlie was flunking out. His dad found out about the nefarious band gig (Charlie's sis, Sarah ratted him out) and had a cow, forcing Charlie to ship home his guitar and amp via Greyhound. Me, I stayed in the band and barely passed Humanities with a D (F being failing). I remember reading Homer's "The Odyssy" backstage when one of the more popular strippers, "Big D" (as in D-cup) walked by with her tassles dangling in my face. "What 'cha reading, Honey?" she said. I demurred, somewhat embarrassed to name drop such a classic, but I finally told her. She replied, "Oh, yeh, I read that in Classic Comics." I fell in love right there. Unfortunately, her husband came in a couple nights later and took a claw hammer to a customer who was flirtng with her and I gave up my infatuation with Big D.

"Some of my friends yeah they been in a little trouble, some say I'm no better than the rest, so tell your mama and your papa, sometimes good guys don't wear white."
—The Standells