It was Friday night in Memphis and I was doing what I normally did on a Friday night: Hauling a heavyasfuck LAB amplifier (L-6, made by Gibson,tube model with built in echo) up on a stage. Then I'd hook up all the pedals; the more the merrier, but the phase shifter had become my favorite, especially on slower tunes. After all of that was done and a couple of the free-all-night beers were disposed of,I'd help the Sicilian lead singer/ rhythm guitarist set up the sound board. He'd paid a lot of his own money for this item plus a couple of big-ass Peavy speakers on high stands, so I was always careful not to drop any of that. Meanwhile, the bass player and drummer would be busy getting their stuff ready.
Lastly, we'd haul in the cheap Yamaha keyboard and try to get it ready to go. I'd just bought this thing and we were still trying to figure out what it would and could do. I was shocked that something so inexpensive could make so many different sounds. Most of the time, the other lead guitarist and primary alcoholic in the group played the keyboard and used either the "organ" or the "piano" settings. He was the best musician of us all and he'd taught me to play "Reelin' in the Years" with the piano setting. He could rip off a pretty good interpretation of that complex lead guitar solo, so I was quite proud to present that song. I don't think any other band in town was trying anything that ambitious at the time. It really helped that our slutty female vocalist was taking the chorus, along with the Sicilian, up into a very high range.
Then I'd switch back to my Strat and we'd play an obscure Rodney Crowell tune called, "I Couldn't Leave You if I Tried." I loved playing this song because it also allowed our girl to really howl and because it was in the key of C. Guitarists love songs in C, G or E, but C was always my favorite. You can use a lot of open strings and hammer the fuck out of them. You can bend the B string on the 12th fret and then do all sorts of run-downs from there. You can do the Wes Montgomery 2-string harmonies or the "Rainy Night in Georgia" two string slide downs. Or there are other tricks that most guitar players have learned in order to either descend or a ascend the neck of the guitar in order to achieve the desired effect and that effect was almost always to make you look like a Guitar God. Why do the girls in the crowd always seem to gravitate towards the lead guitar player in the band? Here is my summary answer to that question. The singer, should he be a male, is almost always too full of himself. I have never worked with a singer who wasn't full-on ego tripping himself into a frenzy of dik play. The drummer beats the snare and the tom-toms just a little too violently at times. And, even though most drummers I've worked with are as gentle as a lamb and are usually the best-looking one in the group, this violence gives the ladies in the audience foreshadowings of potentially dangerous consequences. The bass player has fat fingers that don't look like they would be appropriate to those delicate touches girls crave. Frankly, the keyboard player would probably be a good choice but he's usually tucked away in the back of the band somewhere so that he's hardly noticed. Guitar players usually have long willowy fingers which look as if they were built for pleasing either a Fender or a female. Especially when they do what I was fixing to do in the solo of that Rodney Crowell song. If things were going right and it was a good night my left hand would start flying across that fret board like a spider on cocaine. It was all a bunch of small tricks put together in what looked like a seamless package. In case you ever wondered where the band Cheap Trick got its name. But, my, oh, my, it sure looked like I knew what I was doing and I had to admit I was pretty impressed by the sounds coming out of that tube amp.Then,as a kicker, at what would seem like a random point, the other lead player and I would pull off one of those Atlanta Rhythm Section, or "The Boys are Back in Town" harmonies that are sure to cause a Pussy Riot. I could always sleep well after a night when that worked out as it should.
After it was over, we'd tear it all down, put it all back in the cars, take it back home, and get ready for next Friday night. I never get tired of hearing that Jackson Browne song which describes this process oh so well. Having roadies would have been nice.