Halloween at McGoons
Well Folks, here's Vignette # 2...I know it's been quite some time since the first one. It just seems so much easier to tell them in person. But here goes.............
Quitting my teaching job of 17 years in Wisconsin, and moving to California in 1979 was rather scary for this small town boy...Getting divorced and leaving my 3 children, mother, students and friends just to see if I could make it as a professional musician didn't seem to make much sense, but I had to do it. It would have bothered me the rest of my life...Let's see now...Turk said I would be making $275 a week, soon to go up to $300...This never happened...It was $250 a week. ($1000 a month) And I was paying $500 a month child support. This really didn't make much sense either, but thanks to my good friend Hal Smith and his wife June, they provided me with a free place to stay, and the use of one of their cars. It wasn't long afterwards that I moved in with Linda Jensen. Linda was a waitress at McGoons, and it was love at first sight:-) More on this later...
Members of the band at that time were: Turk, Pete Clute on piano, Bob Helm on reeds, John Gill on banjo, and Bill (Willie) Carroll on tuba. John, Bill and I got along great, which made settling in with the band much easier. Bill lived in Mill Valley, so we would car pool to McGoons Tuesday - Saturday. Bill had a real dry sense of humor...smoked like a chimney, and loved his cocktails. (didn't we all) He always liked to talk about funny stories involving the Murphy Band too. One in particular was how the band and crowd liked to dress up for various events. I thought this was going to be fun. I always had the impression that the band was pretty serious, and this sort of thing was taboo...Well, Halloween was approaching next Wednesday, and he had already reminded me the Saturday night before to make sure I came in costume, because he said "you'd look pretty foolish if you were the only one not dressed up"!
All weekend I was trying to come up with something. Finally, out of Linda's towel closet I put together an Arab costume, complete with white robe, towel head-piece, and the Grocho Marx glasses fitted with the big nose and mustache...Well, Wednesday came and I was feeling a little silly, but I didn't want to let "Willie" and the band down. I arrived at McGoons about 30 minutes before we were to start playing, and yes.............you probably guessed it by this time............I was the only one in costume. The band had their regular uniforms on...sport coat, slacks, shirt and tie, and I looked really stupid in my Arab outfit. Everyone knew I was coming in costume (including Linda, who always came early to set up the tables for the night)...Of course, they all got a big laugh out of it. I didn't bring a change of clothes, so I was forced to keep this on all night. Actually, I didn't mind it after awhile. It was much more comfortable than the uniform:-)
This was just one of many funny stories during my 8 years with the Murphy band. As for some of the others, I just may have to do some serious editing before relating them. My children may read these you know:-)
Until next time...
P.S....If anyone has the "Just for the Record" Turk Murphy book, you'll find a photo taken that night on page 262 (10/31/79). (see picture below)