In a quick reprise of Further Adventures in Whiplash, I recently wound up spending another rather entertaining weekend driving hither and yon playing music.

Picking up where that episode left off, first up was another gig with Mr. Jim Stapley, this time (wait for it) at the Oklahoma State Fair. How the hell do I wind up in these situations, you might ask? I know a guy. Anyway, Jim (or “Pops,” as I like to refer to him) flew into KC from Atlanta just to experience the van ride down I-35 with “the band.” Actually, it was several hundred bucks cheaper to do it that way. But ride with us he did. Being from Tunbridge Wells, Kent UK, Jim had understandably never been to a state fair. We had a great time trying to prepare him for a variety of foods-on-a-stick and funnel cakes (to a Brit a mystery food which we took pleasure in never explaining).

In the van. Photo: Tyson Leslie

In the van. Photo: Tyson Leslie

We had a laugh pulling into the fair grounds in Oklahoma City, envisioning some “authority” peering into the vehicle containing an international and integrated collection of musicians and saying, “Well, just what in tarnation do we have here?” Luckily no grief was given. At this point.

Of course, this group isn’t really a “band” at all–we’re an assemblage of sidemen hastily assembled a few weeks earlier for what we figured was a one-off show. So, with a total of one rehearsal and one show under our collective belt, we were tasked with opening for Jackyl (we know a guy) on a large stage again. And again the set went swimmingly. It turned out to be one of those sets that felt a little “ehh” at the time, but perspective (and a few clips on YouTube) have revealed that it was pretty damn good.

We had a good time hanging around after the show for a while before heading back north. There were a couple of drinks and various items were autographed. Now, I didn’t witness it, but I’m told Jim signed a body part belonging to a woman old and/or frail enough to require a cane. Ah, youth.

Incidentally, I’m constantly amazed at the skill exhibited by all of the musicians I’m lucky enough to work with. I could never have guessed the caliber of players I’d fall in with when I was a 16 year old playing .38 Special and Greg Kihn covers in the band room in Iowa. Thanks, Fate, I dig this.

Being a hired hand is all well and good, but it left me with a strong urge to get back on stage with the boys and let it all go. In the former setting I had to pay more attention to working with a fairly unfamiliar set of players on a set of songs that had never been allowed to go through the process of new to rote to stylized. So, a Saturday night show with Federation of Horsepower in Ottawa, KS was sure to get me back inside my game.

It was a beautiful evening as I made the hour trip from home to the gig, listening to Crosby, Stills & Nash’s debut album. (Ok, I actually started out listening to In God We Trust by Stryper but it didn’t take me long to get through all the songs I actually wanted to hear.) Downtown Ottawa (don’t laugh) was absolutely packed with the remnants of a car show. Oh, this was going to be good.

FoHp at Wicked Sister's. Photo: Aaron Dement.

FoHp at Wicked Sister's. Photo: Aaron Dement. See the orb in front of my guitar? That's the spiritual manifestation of Dave Pritchard from Armored Saint.

We’re very well taken care of at Wicked Sister’s. There’s a sort of brown green room downstairs in which we were treated to beer and barbecue made by our host, Earache. And yeah, it turned out to be a pretty hellacious show too. With no time constraints we went for the kitchen sink set, including the songs Legba and Indiana. Mmmmm yeah. AND we were coaxed into a real live, not at all contrived encore for which we cranked out the one-two punch of Where Eagles Dare and London Dungeon by the Misfits.

Dating back to the August Austin trip I kind of felt like I’d been on the run for six weeks between real life and band life. It’s been a hell of a summer.


One Response to “OKC – OKS”

  1. WTF? How many sites do you have? Haven’t seen to many orbs in any of my photos, think this is the first for me capturing the soul of Dave Pritchard.

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