More tales from the road! This is another incident that occurred many years ago in South Africa while touring as a drummer with the well-known Australian entertainer, (and now convicted pedophile) Rolf Harris.
This one features my talented friend, Mike Campbell.
The audience of 5000 plus sat patiently in their appointed seats and quietly endured the same routine they had slept through for the past twenty years from comedian Alan Fields. They had all come to this place to be entertained by that ragged Aussie and his infernal “wobble board”!
One of the members of the back-up band who also fancied himself a bit of a comedian, sat hunched over his cheap imitation of a drum set and found himself dropping off too. “Would this swine bastard ever change his routine or even add a new joke…?”
Suddenly, as the drummer, (G man) was about to nod off, a movement to the right caught his eye! One of the other band members, Mike Campell, himself in an anesthetic state of self-induced numbness, was behaving like a caged animal and seemed to be finding a release by slowly rocking his chair backwards and forwards. The drummer couldn’t help but notice that his friend’s chair was perched on top of a raised platform and that if the rocking persisted, the possibility of the entertainment level in the room growing exponentially, was great indeed!
The drummer was now fully awake and using his every mental fiber, stared directly at the “rocking man” and “wished” him to rock harder! “Rock, Rock, Rock” he wished and it seemed as though the rest of the audience had now caught on as they all seemed to be staring at him and wishing for the same thing!
Slowly but surely, things started to go well for the crowd. That evening in Port Elizabeth, theatergoers would all agree, they got more than the usual “bang for their entertainment buck”! The rocking had increased in velocity and it was now only a matter of time before the inevitable.
Then it happened…! From the audience’s point of view, there appeared to be an uncontrolled flailing of the arms and legs with a simultaneous snapping of the head backwards and forwards while the eyeballs and tongue of the “rocker” seemed to be engaged in some sort of exotic synchronized dance ritual that caused them to be extended and withdrawn into the snapping skull at about 180 bpm. All this, combined with a chilling, high pitched howling sound from somewhere deep inside the convulsing skull, provided the audience all the relief they needed. With a great roar of pleasure the crowd erupted into uncontrolled shrieks of laughter, a sound I might add, totally unfamiliar to our comedian mentioned earlier in this chapter.
As he fell slowly backwards, he also managed to dislodge the delicate connection between his bass and its amp, further drawing attention to his plight by a loud rumble now being emitted by the oversized speaker. He vanished from sight and time seemed to stand still for the audience. Slowly he emerged, red faced and clutching his bass, climbed carefully back onto the platform accompanied by the cheers and screams from the spectators. For the first and only time in his short, miserable life Campbell would know what it was like to be the “Star of the Show”!