1985 was an interesting year for me. I had just come off the road with The Scott Phillips Band and went to work driving a forklift at the end of ’84. Now here it is in March of ’85 and I’m back working at The Alibi not knowing what the future holds. The Alibi was a lot of fun, as I said in an earlier post. But it was a small club in Greer, and as a young singer with stars in my eyes, I was hoping for something bigger…
O’Dell told me that he was leaving Slewfoot and taking the job in the house band at The Beachwagon in Myrtle Beach, SC. My first question was, “Can I go too?” I guess my enthusiasm wore him down and he agreed to let me come down and stay with him and Diane.
Let’s reflect, no real job, no money, no where to live at the beach but, I’m going. I broke the news to my Mom and Dad. Mom wasn’t happy, but she agreed to let me give it a try. I borrowed $150 from a friend and me, O’Dell and Diane headed to the coast. O’Dell had rented a small, one bedroom apartment from Mrs. Page just off 7th Avenue. It was within walking distance to The Bowery and the members of Slewfoot had stayed there over the years. O’Dell told me how he used to love walking from his apartment to The Bowery on the nights that he would play there with Slewfoot. “It gives me an incredible energy walking through the amusement park and hearing the thumping music, screams of tourists on rides and all of the lights!” he said. We made the walk quite a few times together, he was absolutely right!
On Sundays, The Bowery would have guest bands come in and do matinee performances, Silver would often come in, other bands would perform. I met a lot of musicians in Myrtle Beach, during the summer there were a lot of jobs for bands at maybe two dozen clubs from Murrells Inlet to Little River. The Magic Attic, Castaways, 2001, Wooden Nickel, Cowboys, Studebaker’s, Fat Harold’s, various hotel bars and pool parties.
I first went to The Beachwagon with O’Dell on a Tuesday to his first practice with “Silver Nickel”, the house band. They later changed the name to just “Silver”. I got a job working behind the bar and running the kitchen. Now, running the kitchen simply meant I was the only one working! I ran glasses to the bar, poured draft beer, cooked food, cleaned, etc. But, I was 19, on my own, and living in Myrtle Beach! OK, not REALLY on my own as I was living with O’Dell and Diane and sleeping on their couch.
And needless to say, as newlyweds, the “guest” on the couch thing got old real quick. I moved in with Neal McJunkin who had an apartment at Mrs. Page’s as well. O’Dell’s apartment was above the garage on the back of the property and the lower half had been turned into an apartment as well. Neal lived in the main house which held at least four apartments I think, I really can’t remember. I stayed with Neal for a couple of weeks until I moved in with one of the bouncers at The Beachwagon. He and his wife had just split up and he needed a roommate. So, now I was set, I had a job, place to live and the ’79 Baby Blue Pinto!
I realized quickly that I didn’t want to work behind the bar. Every night I would see and listen to the band play while I worked and grew more frustrated that I wasn’t on stage!
Then, my sound tech experience paid off!
Part 6 – Click Here