October 17, 2009

My Night With The Association

In general every college has a student activities group. These are the kids that do the grunt work for the concerts that the administration sets up to entertain the student body, thereby keeping said body happy, motivated and more likely than not to keep pumping tuition money into the college's coffers.

During my senior year, I think I became a member of the student activities group. My girlfriend was a real member, and I would help her do stuff, so I think I became a part of the organization by osmosis. Anyway, my picture was in the groups photo for the yearbook, so yeah, I guess I was a member. Our organization was called CUB, which was an acronym for Campus Union Board. The school's sports teams were named the Bears, so CUB fit right into that palette.

The college liked to put on one big "Name" concert in the Fall, and in 1974 they managed to book "The Association" (I'll give you a minute to run and look at Wikipedia). In retrospect, I imagine that The Association came looking for us, as whatever luster their star had possessed had badly tarnished since their near brushes with Top 40 fame in the late 60's. So they were probably actively hunting gigs at hick colleges that they wouldn't have given the time of day to 6 or 7 years previously. Of course, with our area of the country lagging so far behind national trends, their booking was seen as a real coup, and everybody was excited about their upcoming show.

On the evening of the concert at the Fieldhouse, I did my part. I was given the task of mic check and, following that, "security" for the group. My friend John had conned someone into thinking he could run the lights, so as I did the check, he and I kept messing around with the equipment until someone from the administration told us to stop dicking around or they'd throw us out of the building.

Duly chastened, I slunk off to my guard post in front the locker room where the band members were readying themselves for the big show. I was supposed to keep the throngs of teenage girls from bursting in and showing the performers their boobies, but after taking one look at these guys, I didn't think that would be a problem. They were all kind of "weathered" looking.

After about 5 minutes of keeping all of the non-existent crashers at bay, I heard a commotion from inside the locker room. When I stepped inside, I saw all of the band members in various stages of panic. Some were screaming, and others were throwing things, and all of them were pissed off. As it turned out, the band members had made it to the gig, but their roadies were lost somewhere in the surrounding Ozark Mountains. The roadies with all of the sound equipment and musical instruments.

About 15 minutes after the scheduled starting time, it became clear that the roadies were not going make it and I overheard the administrative head of the Union Board tell the band leader that they had better get their asses on stage, or no money. There was a general scramble as everyone of us tried to jury rig the schools sound system and a plea went out to the audience for musical instruments and sound equipment, like everyone carried that stuff around with them in their back pockets and purses.

Miraculously, a couple of tinny speakers were made operational, a few guitars were dredged up and someone threw a wind-up toy ukulele on stage, but I don't think they used it. As one would expect, the show was awful and most of the audience left well before the scattered, merciful ending.

There was a reception for the band held at my girlfriend's apartment after the concert. And by reception, I mean drunken bash. This was quite a spectacle, but I only remember a few things about it, because some things are best forgotten. But I'll mention a few of them.

1) A guy wandering around with a six pack of beer looped through his belt, declaring himself to be "The Pop Top Kid". 2) The roadies showed up and there was a scuffle. One of them came over and asked me if I had any weed. I said no, but if he found some, to be sure and come back over and share. 3) My friend Karen had a fight with her boyfriend and was sitting in the corner crying. One of the band members was trying to put a move on her, so I told him to leave her alone or I'd set him on his ass. And ... 4) My girlfriend disappeared. I think with one of the band members.

After a couple of hours of this, John wandered over and asked me if I wanted to go see if any bars were still open. I did, and we left.

The following Spring, the college hosted a big concert featuring Earl Scruggs (Again, I'll give you a few minutes to consult Wikipedia). My girlfriend and I had long since parted ways, so I felt no obligation to help CUB with the show.

It went off without a hitch ... and a good time was had by all.

1 comment:

  1. The Association? Yes, Earl Scruggs? No. I'm too lazy to look him up. I just asked Jeff and he says he remembers him. I guess I should check him out, maybe I'll find some new music to download.