Are You Ready To Bunk?

PART SIX: Continued From —

Tonight The Bunkhouse Boys play their first gig. ┬áIf you aren’t ready for such awesomeness, you probably haven’t read the previous blog posts.

No fear — you can click on the links below and start at the very beginning.


Hoisington, KS — 1975

Maybe this is a euphoric memory, but it seemed that with the addition of Ron Bailey, The Bunkhouse Boys were finally complete. He was the same age as Craig and had a knowledge of the same music, and best of all, he had a lot of experience in bands.

We took off right away. First of all, we settled into a three nights per week practice schedule and we worked up the songs we all had in common, so the songlist came together quickly.

We each had our own tastes and backgrounds, so the list was diverse. Craig had been listening to a lot of the classic country songs starting back about the time of Bob Wills and the Texas Playboys and Hank Williams. He embraced the newer retro acts like Asleep At The Wheel and Commander Cody.

Bart was schooling himself on the blues, from Eric Clapton and BB King through the Allman Brothers. He also was getting into the 70s New Wave acts, especially Elvis Costello.

I was more of the classic rock and singer-songwriter fan, and we had Rolling Stones songs as well as Jackson Brown, Hoyt Axton and Willie Nelson numbers worked up.

And yet, when Ron announced we could play our first gig after only two weeks, I was a little bit scared.

Ron was divorced and currently batching with a buddy named Reed who had a tavern in nearby Susank. Susank was not more than a wide spot in the road just outside Hoisington, and would be a fairly informal and relaxed way for us to make our debut.

Of course, we agreed.

I know Bart was a minor at the time, but Susank was the kind of place that wouldn’t raise a fuss about having an under-aged lead guitarist on the premises.

We spread the word to all of our friends and expected a big turnout. We set up the equipment and did a sound check, and right before we decided everything was ready, there was a scuffle at the door

Reed was at the door collecting a cover charge — something we didn’t know he would do. I don’t think we were paid anything for the gig. But there were several of our friends protesting that they were with the band, that they were our friends and should be let in free.

I learned that this is the lot of the musician — nobody wants to actually pay to see you.

I don’t think we lost any friends that night, but at the moment, some of them weren’t very happy with us. As if it was all our fault.

Other than that, the night went well. But I made a rookie error that I would never repeat. I wore new shoes.

I thought I’d dress up for the show, since I believe that people want to see somebody special and not somebody who is as much as a slob as they are. I bought a pair of black leather shoes — the kind you actually had to shine — and they hurt my feet.

Since I was looking at four hours on my feet, this was going to be a tough night.

However, when I counted down the first song and the band launched in to “It’s Gonna Be One Of Those Nights” by Commander Cody, I forgot all about it.

We did an hour set and then called for a break and I went over to our table to get a drink (I did the majority of singing). Suddenly, my feet started hurting again. Man, I didn’t know if I would be able to get back up to play, much less continue to stand for another three sets.

But then, as if by magic, we went back and started the second set and my feet didn’t hurt any more. Either that, or I just didn’t think about them.

So it went all night — pain during the break and relief when I played. It’s all in the mind.

This was a successful premier and a great night for all of us. We had enough songs, I believe, but we may have played some of them over again. No matter, nobody complained.

The Bunkhouse Boys were launched, Craig’s dream of having a band had come true and there would be many more adventures. So this is not the end of the tale.

Believe me — there is more to come.