HELLO FROM EAU CLAIRE, WISCONSIN - merchants slogan: "We don't have it but we can get it for you."

Thursday, March 18, 2010


What's in a name? I have been a band leader for over thirty years off and on. There was "The New Freedom Singers" while I was in college at Eau Claire State, "The Rock Bottom River Band" which held court at the Labor Temple with guys lke John Buccholz on sax and flute, Jerry Way on bass and lead guitar, Robert (soon to be 'one man') Johnson on guitar, harmonicas and vocals, myself, drummer Ron Keezer, and barrel house piano player, Chuck Solberg, who described my leadership as: "hard but fair."

Show band "Full Circle" held sway at the Black Steer back in the day of Fuzzy Thurston as club owner of "The Left Guard". Fuzz used to come in and give us a listen on occasion. Now famous song writer Wil Jennings even wrote us as theme song entitled: "Full Circle".

Now I am working at getting Fuzzy's autograph - only about 40 years too late.

"Yesterday's Wine" played new country on Water Street with Paul Fisher, Bob Storti, Steve Zenz, and Gary Spaeth.

More recently was a three year run with The Larry Heagle Band with Mike Richson, Ed Treinen, Dave Barneson, Tim Keilholtz. and keyboard whiz Tommy Wieseler.

Last night, St Patrick's Day, the band was Larry Heagle with "Boys Nite Inn" at the Red Parrot (formerly Jimmy Woo's), consisting of randy Sinz on bass, Denny Marion on just about everything, Dave "Barney" Barneson on drums, and yours truly the little Irish gnome full of Guinesss Stout. By request, monster sax player Sue Orfield blew us all away on "Get Off My Highway" and the old Robt Johnson blues great "Ramblin'". A special thanks to Ms Orfielf and a special announcement to anyone reading this to get your butt out to the club tonight and hear the Sue Orfield Band. Kim and I will be there!
I had so much fun I was momentarily transported entirely beyond the pain of two bad legs for three hours of music. I have not let loose and had so much musical fun in a long time.
Probably not since the last and sadly final "Lamb and Lienie's" down at TJ's Tavern in Downsville have I had such a good time surrounded by great musicians and a very enthusiastic crowd.
And so many people that I love showed up to support us on this gig and I am eternally grateful to: Mike and Beth, Chris and Ray, the great Tom "Blinky" Johnson who trekked all theway up from teaching a class in Watertown, Wisconsin, just to be there for me and act as my equipment guy and body guard.

Luckily, there was no need of the body guarding service as everyone there was out for a good time. Don Finch and Connie, Sharon Tubbs (maiden name) Southard - (Geez, I hope I got that right!), Donna Wagner, Jim Backus, a college graduate pal, Diane Sullivan, Dale Drevlow (whom I owe a debt of gratitude for suggesting to Mr. Voss that I work the St. Paddy's Day gig), a "tam-o-shantered" Sparky who requested the game warden story, my old realtor friend Doug Lundholm and wife, and lots of folks who cme to dance as witnessed in the photo.

After all was said and done, I went to the back bar to get the bread and a lone drinker piped up and said to me: "Boys night Inn"? It sounds gay to me."

To which I replied: "Do you think so? Well, I suppose you would know."


This morning I went back to the club to retrieve the "Boys NIte Inn" neon at the club in the company of Mr. Tom Johnson. Terry let us in the side door and we had a nice talk. He said he wants to have the band back for a "special occasion".

Nuclear winter?

Over breakfast at Perkins we got to laughing about how Mike Quick had dubbed the Red Parrot "The Dead Parrot" - that struck us as humorous but not really as the last thing I want to see happen is for a club dedicated to live music in Eau Claire
go under for lack of support.

I decided, however, that the name "The Dead Parrot" would be the perfect name for my pipe dream comedy club which I would open somewhere on Water Street (maybe not) - with the wonderful alluding to a Monty Python sketch of the same title.


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