Before coming to America I played as many gigs as possible in order to save as much money as I could for my impending trip. For a short period, I played Fri and Sat nights at the Balalaika with Howard Belling and Nippy. We were in the elegant dining room and were the featured entertainment for the “more fortunate than us “ crowd. Howard’s vocal rendition of “Everything must change” was always a crowd pleaser and as I recall, brought many a tear to my eye. Perched behind my blue Ludwig Vistalite kit I could not help but notice Howard’s “Osama like” beard and the renegade carrots and peas trapped therein like insects on a spider web.
The band had it good my friends, as we were all entitled to dine from the Carvery at random during the night’s performance. One Saturday night, having set up the kit, I proceeded to fill my plate with the delectable offerings so generously afforded us by management.
During the second set, I began feeling the onset of some sort of stomach ailment and realized I might need to break ranks and go awol for a brief period. Before I could react, however, there was a sudden “blast from the boilers” and my “articles of consumation” began their northward trek.
In a panic, I grabbed my cowbell and used it as a receptacle for the lava flow that was now spewing from my great maw. Hot, slimy fluids, combined with half digested bits of chicken and chops were now overflowing and landing on my shiny black gig pants during their final approach, hitting the carpet surrounding my kit.
Diners paused in disbelief at the sound of my strained and vulgar retching, amplified so intensely by our new “Dynacord PA system” and were further bemused by the sounds being replayed, time and again, by the “tape echo” machine.
Howard was right, everything had to change and it did. I was fired!