I had worked in my dad's machine shop a few times in the past in-between bands. I went to work for him full time after I quit Finley's band. After a year of being straight ( no drink or drug ) one afternoon on the way home from work I stop and got a six pack of beer. I started drinking a few beers every day after work and on weekends I would get a case. I wasn't around music anymore and I missed it. The shop I was working at was on Presidents Island, on my lunch break one day I went to look around on Beale Street. I knew a few cords on guitar so I thought about maybe getting one. After looking at a couple I found one I liked, it was an Enko six string acoustic. The cost was $175, so I put $25 down on it and got daddy to lone me the rest that afternoon. A couple of weeks later I bought a Sony stereo reel to reel recorder, with sound on sound.
I built a bar out of an old T.V. and started drinking some harder stuff. Slowly but surely I got back in to my old ways, the past was the past. I went to a club to watch some friends one night, I drink some beer, wine and whiskey and went out and smoked a joint with a dude. It was a good night for partying, Brenda and me had a lot of fun that night. I still didn’t like being around the smoke ( pot ) but not as much as before. I got my credit in pretty good shape and we bought a house up in Raleigh. I was starting to feel pretty good about life, sometimes the old feeling would come on, I just drink a few more beers.
Right after we got the house, I went to work for Firestone Tire & Rubber in the machine shop. I don’t remember what it was, but I more then double the money I was making. I ordered a brand new Harley Sportster from Taylor Harley Davidson, if was going to take two months to come in. I had great credit, we were looking for a new car. The credit union had already o.k. a lone. I was working the second shift 3-11, and I hated it. There was something about watching the sun go down at work, me and the foreman didn't get along at all. One night two dude grabbed me and acted like they were going to cut my hair, it came real close to a fight. Even with a new car, motorcycle, house and all, I hated what was happening in my life.
One night after work I stop in a bar to see Tony, he was playing in a country type band. He came by the house after he got off that night and we smoked a joint. It did me the same way it use to. I had to get up and go out side to get some air. I got sick and missed four days of work, my foreman was rude on the phone about it. So I decided the job wasn't for me, I quit and went back to work for my dad. A week after I quit, Taylor called and said my motorcycle was in, I wasn't making the money to get it. This is about the time I realized I could smoke pot if I drink lots of beer. It was no good, I hated working an 8 to 5 job.
I just couldn't get into getting up so early, working forty hours for so little pay. I made pretty good money at Firestone but it was like being in jail or something. I made about the same money on the road playing music and had a lot more fun. I had to try and get back into music full time. I traded my Rodgers drums in on a double set of Rodgers, and called a few people. I got Richard Beckham and Mike Lineberger right away, and we tried a few guitar players. I couldn't stand it any longer, I know it was wrong with a family and all, but I quit my day job. It’s the story of my life, walk all the way out on a limb and cut it off, no way home-so to speak.
I had bought a old 650cc Zundap motorcycle when we were living in the apartments, and tore it completely apart in the spare bedroom. After I quit my job, all I did was work on that bike and play music. The only problem was, I didn't pay the bills. We were playing a club in Frayser called Mother's Lounge, it was a little hole in the wall, but it was money. It was nowhere close to enough money to pay my bills, so we got a little further behind every week. Brenda's sister had moved to Mobile Alabama with her boyfriend, I had introduced them a year or so earlier.
Her boyfriend Frank had run around with Toad, just helping out with stuff. They came up to see us when they got ready to go back we went with them. I let Brenda's mom move in our house. We were only down there a few weeks, I laid around a week or so. Got a job in the machine shop at the Mobile Dry Dock shipyard. It took longer to do the paper work for the job then I worked. I worked a half of day, got my pay and I was away. The next week I got another job in a machine shop, machinist were hard to find in Mobile. I never even went to that one, we came back to Memphis. One thing I did do in Mobile was hocked some of my machinist tool. 0- 6” micrometers, for $75 worth about $400. I ended up loosing them.
This had to be the low in my life, I was worthless. Brenda's mom was paying most of our bills, all I did was drink and smoke dope and worked on my motorcycle. We stop paying the house note and the utilities, the phone was cut off. When the light gas & water come out and turned off the utilities, as soon as they left I turned them back on. I let a friend Randy, talk me in to doing some acid one afternoon. It was windowpane, luckily not to strong. It was enough to let me know my life was out of control, I had to get away from that house, it was a zoo. We moved into a duplex, the only change was, Brenda went to work. I wasn’t even keeping Nina, just playing the fool.
An old friend that played bass in Beckham's band, Jerry. He was renting a big old house in the country, his band had turned it into a rehearsal room. They were moving out and I wanted to get it. Norman Brown and me wet in together and got it, it would have been great if I had been single, or at less no kids. It wasn't fair, I was trying to live two lives. I loved my family, and I love getting high and playing music. The house didn't work out, after a month or so we move back into an apartment. I let a friend keep pot there from time to time, and I did sale some of it. One morning these two dude came to the door, I knew one of them, they wanted to buy some. I didn't want to mess with it right then, and I guess I was a little rude about it. The one I didn't know was a snitch, he got mad because I wouldn't sale to them and turn me in. That afternoon, just about dark the cops kicked the door down, they got me for possession of a controlled substance.
Thank God Nina was over at a neighbor's apartment and didn’t see me being taken away by the police. It was my first and only time for going to jail for somebody else's stuff, but not someone else’s trouble . I got off with a year's probation, I had to go twice a week for screening and to a class for first offenders. This was back when they couldn't check you for marijuana, they were looking for stronger stuff I guess. We were playing at a club called Club70 in Ellendale. I had to go almost up town to the screening and all the way back to Ellendale to play, it was a long ride. One of Brenda's brothers, Bobby came by one night and wanted me to go have a beer. We got a beer and went to see a friend, Debbie who was working at a doughnut shop, I drink mine and Bobby took his in. We hadn't been there five minutes and the police pulled up, it seems the brother-in-law had been across the street at the 7/11 starting trouble. They arrested both of us for public drunk, I had one beer.
Not long after those two deals went down, we were over at Mike’s, one of Brenda’s other brothers. It was on a Sunday, just cooking out and having too many beers as usual. Richard called and said that Club 70 where we were playing was on fire. All of our equipment was there, drunk as we were, Mike and me jumped in my car and was off. By the time we got there the fire was out, and had been for hours. There was a recording studio in the back of the club, it was totally burnt. There were only a few people there, Richard, Mike the bass player, Lillie the owner. It was just getting dark and all the lights were out, and a lot of smoke. We decided to get the equipment, so we did. After we got loaded up I made a big mistake. Brother-in-law and me went to see the damage of the fire. We walked around back, it was really dark and the place was a mess. It was totaled, couldn’t see very much. On the way out I kick something, I picked it up and walked on outside. It was a microphone, I pulled it apart and I could see it was junk. I pushed it back together and threw it in a field beside the club.
I was just about sober, tired, hungry and ready to go home. We couldn’t get all the stuff in our cars, I lived the closest so I was going to take my drums home and come back. Mike came back with me, when we got there, the studio owner and police were there. They ask if we had gone in the studio, Mike was still drunk and said something smart. That’s all it took, I’m not sure what they arrested us for, but they did. Mike got in a fight with the cop booking us, that was a no win deal. Cop didn’t really hurt him, but he did show us who was in charge. Seems the mic I picked up was a $10,000.00 Sennheiser, I didn’t know much about microphones back then. The next morning a detective came and got us and took us to a room with the studio owner. The cop did all the talking, all the owner wanted was the microphone back. Mike still had an attitude and was acting smart with um. I was a little scared and didn’t want to say anything. The owner spoke up and ask about the mic.
The detective said we were in some serious trouble if we didn’t come clean, and we could walk if we did. With that I decided to cop out, I looked at Mike and told them I had pick up the mic, looked at it and threw it down. I figured we were going back to jail. The owner ask if I would show him where I had thrown it. I said sure, with that they cut us loose. We had to hitchhike home to get a car. Mike went to bed and I went out to the club. When I got there the fire marshal and owner were standing outside the studio. I got out and walked over to the edge of the parking lot, picked up the mic and walked back over to them. The mic had a little mud on it, it was junk anyway. The fire marshal introduced himself and got all over me for going in the building. I said I was sorry, and I was. I was glad it was over, it was over with The Shaparrails too.
I had a giant slot car track custom built setting in our living room. That's all we did all day long, drink, smoke and race cars. A friend, the dude that owned the pot I went to jail for, came up one day doing glue. I wouldn't let him in, he try to push me out of the way. A fight broke out and the place got messed up a little. I guess I took the jail thing out on him, but he wasn’t coming in with the glue. I had enough problems with pot and beer, I drew a line and he was trying to cross it. That was the last race, we moved out of the apartment and into a small two bedroom house. I got away from most of those people. But I just wasn't acting right, all I wanted to do was party. I wasn't even playing in a band now, Brenda was the only one making money. It didn't take long for that to get old, we started having some serious problems, she ended up moving out.
With-in a matter of a few months I had gone to jail three time, got in a fight with a friend. And the big one, my wife moved out. If you’ve read all of this you know I’m not the brightest star, working with a full load, elevator doesn’t go all the way up, ect. I don’t know why, but I had to keep my head off a little. Booze, drugs and so on. If I knew then, what I know now, I would be a happier man. When Brenda move out with Nina, I didn’t have anything but a drug problem. I turned to the only thing I knew. Made a few phone calls, and started RiverBluff.