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After playing the Allen Collins Show on a Thursday evening, on that coming Saturday, the Southern Drawl Band (SDB) was booked to play in a smaller venue called Club Hub in the great college town of New Paltz, NY. Well, if you can imagine, we went from playing in front of 1,500 people to 150 people and, of course, how many patrons could you fit into this joint? Well, after our first set, in the dressing room, the SDB bass player Ed Nix voiced his displeasure, “Didn’t we just play with the surviving members of Lynyrd Skynyrd on Thursday, and now we’re playing here?” Some tough words were exchanged and Ed quit. It also didn’t help that his fiancĂ© passed out in the ladies room. Plus, the SDB still had two sets to finish; what a dilemma.

SDB booking agent Peter Grace was in attendance and, thankfully, it happened to be a beer pitcher special night! Grace – who bore a resemblance to Jesus with his hair, beard, and facial features – was a real nervous guy, and with this major impact of a band member quitting mid-show, it seemed to help him somewhat with our immediate problem.

Well, Peter was still a complete wreck until the SDB went on like nothing went wrong. Because one of our roadies Bill Hartshorn played the bass and knew every song without missing a beat, the SDB finished the show and Grace was stunned. He came backstage in a semi zombie-like stage and kept repeating, “You guys did it! It’s like you didn’t miss a beat!” Thus, we had our new bass player.

What a tribute to the guys we had like Bill, and Todd Rolland who said we need a big equipment truck went and bought one for the band. Mike Gariolo, our lighting man – we really had the best light show – was great; when we did an opening act slot, you had to deal with what the headliner would allow you to use. At one such show with The Outlaws, Mike broke into their off-limits light settings and used them for us. Being an opening act was always a challenge. At one of our Made In America shows with The Fixx, they only allowed us nine microphones for three singers, three guitars, bass and drums.

It just goes to show what happens when you have to improve, adapt, and overcome! What a great crew!