Harry Bryan - vocals
Gundy Owens – guitar & leader
Wayne Taylor – bass
< Also >
Glen Cammack & Bill Kirkpatrick - guitars
The Summer Shopping Center, at the corner of Summer Av. and Waring Rd., had a clothing store call Stames. They would have bands set
up in the parking lot on Saturday. I was over there one Saturday afternoon standing out side of the store. Wayne was coming out of the
store, I had seen him around our neighborhood a few times before. I was talking to someone we both new, so he came up and started
talking to him too. He was looking for a drummer, maybe to start a new band. He played a little guitar but mostly bass. He had a guitar
player he had only talked to on the phone. I was ready for a change any way, so I told him I might be interested in trying something new.
We talked the rest of the day, we pretty much liked the same type music. Most of it was from England, there was a new group coming out
I had lost my job in the record store after Christmas and my car insurance ran out, so I didn't have a car anymore. Wayne didn't have one
either, the guitar player (Gundy) had one, we called him that night and he came over to meet us. We drove around talking, Gundy was a
Turtles fan, Wayne like The Animals, and I was really more into The Beatles then any body else. One thing we all agreed on was The Byrds.
We got along great, so we started talking about singers. We went over to some friends of Gundy's, Mike Seanert. That was my first
encounter with Bob Dylan, I like it alot. Mike had him playing (loud) the hole time we were there. My hair was long, almost to my shoulder,
so was Gundy's and Wayne's, but Mike's was way past his shoulders. He was ahead of his time, one of the first hippie. This dude was
really cool, but he couldn't sing. Gundy said he had another friend that had just got out of prison. He wasn't with us very long, his name
was Garner. Gundy had a uncle (Frank) that was a black jack dealer in a little place on the Hatchie River in Tipton Co. about 60 miles
outside Memphis called The Sugar Shack.
We worked up a couple of hours worth of songs and went after the job at The Shack. We played a set and I went outside to get some air. I
was standing on the front porch minding my own business looking up at the sky, it was clear as a bell and the stars looked as big as cars. I
heard a couple of guys talking to my left and I knew most people didn't like long haired people, so I was kind of keeping an eye on them.
Just about the time I was going to go back in I heard some one step up on the porch. I turned just in time to see a fist coming at me, I
ducked but he got me on the side of the head. I jumped off the side of the porch so he couldn't hit me again. When I looked up to see what
he was going to do, he was running away. I went in the back were Gundy, Wayne, Frank and Red were talking. I told them I wasn't playing
any more and what had just happened. Red said to give him a minute and he would find out who it was. He came back in a few minutes
later and told us who it was, he guaranteed us it would never happen again. He offered us $80 a night and all we could drink, for three
nights a week. That was $20 a piece,Wednesday-Friday-Saturday,60 bucks a week. I was only making $80 a week for 45 hours carrying
boards around in the mud. For that kind of money we would take our chances.
It didn't take long to see Garner's drinking problem, he was an o.k. singer sober. After a few last sets with out a singer we started looking
around. Garner really never did fit in with us, he had short hair and was more like Frankie Avalon type. Gundy called one night with good
news of finding another singer. We all went down to meet him (Harry) about 10 o'clock one night, he came out to the car wearing
sunglasses, that's the main reason I like him, he was into acting cool. We hit it off from the start, he was a pretty good singer and real nice
guy, now it felt like a band. Harry was into Paul Butterfield's Blues Band so we worked up the whole L.P., we could go wide open on some
of it. I didn't drink at all, didn't like the taste. So to look cool when everyone got a beer so would I. The only thing was, at the end of the night
I would still have mine.
One night the place was packed and I was going for some air. Red got me by my arm and opened up his hand, he had some pill in it. He
said," all your buddies took one, do you want one"? Harry and Wayne were talking about them the night before, I did want to fit in so I got
one. The drums got a lot easier to play that night, we jammed on out. I only got away with carrying a hot beer around for a month or so. The
club had a dancer, she was a looker and a hooker. One night before we got started we were all setting around in a booth. She (Nancy) was
setting in between Gundy and Harry across the table from Wayne and me. She started talking about how much we drink, looking me
straight in the eyes she ask if I liked hard liquor. I said it was o.k., everybody at the table laughed, except her. Taking me by the hand she
said "show um", then she called out to Big Daddy (Pete) behind the bar," bring us a bottle".
They kept a case of broken seal half pints under the bar, she took off the top, got a whiff and handed it to me. The spot light was on me big
time, I didn't know the feeling of being drunk or the taste of whiskey, so I slammed it down with ease. Everybody was making so much
noise about it at the table, all the people in the club knew what was going on. I felt great, the king of the hill. Nancy jump up and ran over to
the bar and got another bottle. By this time the first one was kicking in, everybody laughing and having fun, it was great I felt like I was part
of something. I couldn't wait to get the second one to show um just how cool I really was. I took two big drinks, almost all of it. Thanks to
Nancy, I was no longer a virgin to drink. She got me by the arm and said lets get some air. When I got up the floor was moving up and down
and side to side. I put my hand down on the floor to keep from falling, she pulled me back up. I got on the hood of a car setting out front,
she was holding me up on it, or I would have hit the ground. I missed the first set, Harry had to play drums. She made me feel like a man
that night, like she cared about me. I do remember people coming in the club right pass us, I pulled up her blouse and bra with one stroke
and there was some beautiful tits. She just laugh and let me play with folks walking by.
One of our favorite things to do was watch. It all started back before we met Gundy. His dad owned a store in Atoka Tennessee, Gundy was
coming home one night and he said he seen a flying saucer or a UFO. It happened in-between Hy.51 and Austin Peay on Rosemark Rd.
about 30 miles outside Memphis. So on Thursday nights our night off, we would all go out to Rosemark Rd. and set in a bean field and
watch the stars. Sometimes if we could we would go a couple of times a week. I learned a lot about the stars and seen some pretty weird
things going on up there. Russia and the U.S. both had satellites up there, sometime they would cross each other over us, that was fun to
watch. Something happen one night I'm not sure about, it was like a falling star that slowed down, and then in a few minutes we seen
something shoot up from that same location. It got all of our attention, it was a UFO to us, but who knows. Some local girls stop one night
and drink some beer with us, for some dumb reason we told them what we had been doing. From then on there was no privacy, all the
local kids were coming out to watch and party. We stop going up there, but the band was doomed too.
The first thing that happened was to Wayne, we had already got through playing and were getting ready to leave. Wayne was standing at
the bar waiting on a beer, for some reason we never found out, he hit the dude standing next to him. Gundy and me were standing there
watching it go down, the dude was huge, he looked like a bear. Wayne had to jump up to hit him, it's no lie the dude was 6'5 and weighed
300 lbs.,he grabbed Wayne by the top of his head and put him in a head lock. He was kicking him in the stomach with his knee, every time
he did both of Wayne's feet would come off the floor. Big Daddy came out from behind the bar, Red, Frank, Gundy and me got hold of the
dude. I couldn't get both of my hands around the dude's arm, it was like a piece of concrete and he had a death hold on Wayne. Red was
calling him by name begging him to let Wayne go, saying "you're gona kill him". After what seem like forever of begging, the dude said for
us to back up and he would let him go. We did and so did he, all he said was" you shouldn't have hit me". Wayne didn't say anything, he
was lucky the dude let him go. He pulled bloody hair out of his head all the way to Memphis, he never did say why he hit the guy.
The next thing was with Nancy, she lived here in Memphis and we would sometime go over and have sex with her. She really wanted to be
a part of our band, she spent a lot of money on us. She was making a lot of money, knowing were her money maker was. She would pick
us up in a cab, ride all over town buying clothes, boots and lots of booze. One of our part time guitar player went over to her place one
night, when she left the room he got in her purse and stole 20 bucks, she would have given it to him if he had ask for it. She new he did it
and it made her mad. The next night we play, Big Daddy came over after we got through playing and told us what was fixing to happen. He
said the dude had stole some money from Nancy and she was going to teach him a lesson, and when it went down for us to stay where we
were at. Gundy, Harry and myself were setting in a booth talking about what to do, I wasn't into a thief but I didn't want to see him get hurt
either. Just about that time he came walking across the dance floor carrying his guitar case, I didn't even see Nancy coming. She acted like
she was going to walk by him, instead when she got even with him she cold cocked him right on the nose.
She hit him so hard that both of his feet came up over top of his head, he landed on his back. One of his shoes came off and was laying
right beside her, she pick it up and wore it out on his face. He never had a chance, she didn't stop hitting him till he stop trying to get up. I
felt a little sorry for him but he really did have it coming. She was a lot of fun, she was beautiful and she loved us. She had a two sided job
at The Shack, she would dance very seductive, and she was very good at that, the dudes would drink a lot watching her. Then they would
get them in the back room on the dice or blackjack table, take their money and when they got mad, she would take um outside and calm
um down, if you know what I mean. She got to where she was missing Sunday nights, because she was with us, that made Red mad. We
came in one night and Pete said Red wanted to talk to us in the game room, only Harry and me went back there. Red was drunk, he pull out
his pistol and laid in on the dice table, and started crewing us out about keeping her away from work. He looked me right in the face and
ask "do you think I would shoot you?", man! this dude was mad. He said for us to go back out there and not say a word to her," don't even
look at her". Who do you think was the first person to come see what was up, you guess it, Nancy. We told her to cool it, but it wasn't going
to work it self out, I really liked her. That was pretty much it for the Sugar Shack, and The Triffids. I read in Play Boy Magazine that all the
long haired people from Greenwich Village in New York, were going west to San Francisco's Haight Ashbury..
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Next story- First Try For California
A Story by Harry Bryan