Beat up in Birmingham… Winter 1989

Ever have one of those nights when everything you do, turns to shit?
If I never go back to Birmingham, AL as long as I live, it will be too soon!! It was my Bermuda Triangle!
First of all, the gig was weird. Foghat was normally the headliner, played last and loaded out thru an empty club. Well this club was open all night long, so we went on at a usual time, but had to load in with other bands setting up to play before and after us.
The stage was f@cked from the start and had a giant tripod on each side, holding up the lighting rig.
This was normally where I set up guitar world, which consisted of a lot of shit, including a big work box road case and 7 guitars.
Well on this night, I had to cram everything in between the angled legs of this stupid lighting truss. It was a mess and I had to step over the legs to get anywhere, but mostly smashed into them 20x till my shins were bleeding thru my now ripped jeans. Wah. I know. It gets better.
So we play the show, which was uneventful, until it came time to load out through a packed house. This is where it gets interesting. First order of business was to get the set of highly coveted Marshall heads off the stage and onto the bus. I was the only person allowed to do this, as they were old school and hard to replace. So, off I go with one in each hand, when some guy is speaking Italian with both arms flailing, as I am trying to sneak around behind him, he nails me in the mouth with a lit cigarette! OMG! Burned both of my lips and put it out on my teeth! If you haven’t seen me smile. I don’t need any help in the lip department! The guy was of course, drunk off his ass and tried to profusely apologize and insisted on buying me a shot, which I slammed and got back to work.
Ok, next order of business, 7 guitars, back to the bus. Again, one in each hand. Mind you, there was a huge long line outside the club of people waiting to get in. The bus was parked right in front of the line. I had to come thru that mess with everything I was trying to get out of the club and every drunken fool wanted to help!
So as I weave my way thru the crowd I am clear of them, but not clear of the long narrow cement thing you pull up to when parking your car, I stumble, trip, drop both guitars….gently!, do a summersault and smack my head on the open underbin door of the bus, cutting my head open. Yay. Now a crowd of drunken idiots stumble over to get my autograph. Crap. I pick up the guitars, take a bow, get a round of applause and move on with loading out.
Finally I am done. Eric sees me with my two fat burnt lips, bloody forehead, ripped jeans and talks me into going back into the belly of the beast, for a drink.
Eric, the rock star, leads the way and I follow a few steps behind, into the packed crowd when all of the sudden a fight breaks out between Eric and I. As a punch comes flying at me, I duck, toss the rest of the guy over me, run and high tailed it back to the bus. Eric catches a glimpse of the debacle and showed up a few minutes later with a bottle and some shot glasses. Someone, somewhere has photos. It would have made a great mug shot, but I succeeded in avoiding any further injury or altercation that night.

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