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This happened in 1997 or thereabouts. We played what was then called “college rock” or alternative. All originals, no covers. We were small taters in the OKC area, but we had a CD and played quite a bit. Our name, judyjudyjudy, came from Goober’s Cary Grant impression on “The Andy Griffith Show.” We liked blaring his voice through the PA during the intro to one of our songs.
Key to this story is the lineup: One drummer. One guitarist. One bassist (me). One keyboardist (playing vintage Farfisa organ and singing.) One other lead vocalist.
We weren’t hard rock, but we weren’t England Dan and John Ford Coley either. We graduated from the do-it-yourself REM school. You know the type. Nerds.
We had a “manager” because the dude (J-Bird Productions!) liked our shambolic racket, or maybe the two girls up front, and could get us booked. Anyway, let’s just say nobody was getting cheated because nobody was making any money.
We got a gig in an old movie theater in south OKC, opening for a heavy metal cover band (we didn’t know at the time). We were as unmetal as could be. The theater was one of those “chicken wire around the stage” deals, because people there liked to throw things. Probably Bud Light back then. Times change.
The first thing that went wrong for us was a staffer/gaffer/stagehand tripped on our hardwired Farfisa’s chord, ripping it out of the organ, and rendering it useless for the show.
And where was our guitarist? We had an extra guitar, which I could play a bit, but we needed HIM. Couldn’t reach him though. Out of time.
We huddled, scrapped the setlist and started thinking of covers we could simplify and play unrehearsed with me on guitar and our keyboardist picking up a bass. I showed her the old Navajo trick of “watch where my fingers go, and try to match the places.” I stomped on every stomp box we had, and away we went.
We opened with Camper van Beethoven’s “Take the Skinheads Bowling” and we closed with Zep’s “Rock and Roll.” It wasn’t the biggest gig we had (the one in the photo was), and it wasn’t the best, but it was the most…levitating. The metallions LOVED us that night. I remember spontaneously tossing that Telecaster up to the ceiling at the end, and it coming down on the drum kit, knocking the ride cymbal over. We stayed up, keyed up, all night in a Denny’s-alike called The Kettle, drinking coffee, eating pancakes, and reliving that blast of a disaster.
Later, we found out our guitarist had been in a car accident, so we asked to be forgiven all the colorful curses we’d hurled in his direction, even though he was okay.
I’ve been in a few other bands since, but the night everything went wrong is still the most fun I ever had.
By the way, Honest Ron fixed my Telecaster, and I still use it today. If you ever need guitar repair in OKC, I’m pretty sure he’s still there on May Ave., and he’s a trip.Published in