June 22, 2011
The Big Man
As we raise a glass to the late great Clarence Clemons, whats left of my mind drift's back to a fun evening back in the early 80's.
The Big Man had a club in Red Bank, New Joisey (if memory serves called "Big Man's West"- I wonder if there was an "East" too).
One night my sorta girlfriend and her friends were heading from our Noo Yawk (ie Forest Hills- NY- home of the Ramones- you got a problem with that?) environs to the club in NJ, as one of her friends was engaged in events of a carnal nature with some mope who was playing in a band that night. As I was in contact range, she asked if i wanted to go along, as there was a rumor that The Big Man and The Boss were going to appear and play that nite.
Your humble narrator, being Mr. Asshole Punk Rocker, wanted no part of seeing Mr. Springsteen, but went along, as the lure of a road trip, alcohol, messing with peckerheads from NJ; and a big white van proved irresistible.
Looking back on it, some of the best times of my life were because I was lured into a big white van by teenage girls with alcohol. Kids... don't try this anymore.
So we load into the van, whose driver (who we'll call "Charlie the douchebag drummer" - mainly because he was named Charlie, a drummer and a total douchebag) absolutely hated me (later discovered because he had the hots for my girl). Charlie was not thrilled to have me as a passenger, but it was sorta tough crap on him, as I, being Mr. Asshole Punk Rocker, was needed for this trip into the "swamps of Jersey" (registered tm).
So, off we go, in a big white cargo van (ie- no seats, being jostled on a 2 hour ride). The air was thick (think Cheech And Chong's "Up In Smoke") and many beverages of an adult nature were consumed. Finally, nature called, and Charlie the douchebag drummer WOULD NOT PULL OVER. At some point, I threw open the loading doors and pissed out the back; only to discover that we were flying on the New Jersey Turnpike and I was baptizing the car in back of me.
Rock n roll.
We eventually make it to "Big Man's West" and hang out drinking by the bar, ignoring the stupid band (and all things New Jersey). People in NJ were big, and despite my drunkenness, I was still sane enough to want to avoid becoming a grease smudge in a back alley.
Eventually, it's announced that St. Bruce and Clarence would be taking the stage to play a few songs. I had just thrown a couple of bucks in the jukebox (and it was probably my last 2 bucks.)
So while everyone else rushed to the stage, we hung in the bar area and listened to the Jukebox. The song playing was The Turtles' "Happy Together". After the songs played, we went over to the stage and watched Springsteen and Clarence tear the roof off the joint.
I ended up marrying that girl. Still am, in fact.
Rest In Peace, Clarence