Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Apparently, Sly Is An Asshole

Just got off the phone with my very own oldest brother, who from 1969 to 1972 was the stage manager at Convention Hall in Wildwood, New Jersey.

This was the premiere hangout for all the hippies who never made it to Oregon or San Francisco.

I continually pump him (ok, just because we were born in West Virginia doesn't mean in THAT way) for information about this time of his life because it just seems fascinating. He was setting up for and hanging out with the most recognized musicians of the day and I'm forever pressing him to spill the details because I'm such a fame whore.

"Who were the coolest bands, in terms of just being people, you met?," I ask.

"Jethro Tull. Would hang out and talk to anyone, no matter who you were."

"Who else?"

"Alice Cooper. As a person. But in his stage show he set off these cannons that blew feathers all over the audience. We were picking feathers out of the carpet three years later."

"Who were the assholes? Prima Donnas?"

"Sly Stone. The biggest prick of them all."


"Well first of all he didn't show up until hours later after he was supposed to be there. We had a crowd of thousands of black people expecting what we promised and Sly was a no-show."

"What did you do?"

"I went out on-stage with my guitar."

(Hysterical laughter on my part) "Right. ***** ******* (real name omitted by request,) the most obvious replacement for Sly Stone. What did you play?"

"Neil Young's Heart of Gold"

Me: "If that's not funk I don't know what is."

Brother: "It didn't go over. But he finally showed up. At ten minutes to twelve. The town had an ordinance that no concert could go on after midnight."

"So you had a ten minute show on your hands?"

"Yeah, and he was drunk and took to the microphone and instead of playing music started cussing out his wife, his manager, all of New Jersey and anyone he could see at the moment."

"That's not good."

"Oh, it only got worse. The sheriff of Wildwood suddenly walked onstage and informed Sly Stone he only had one minute to play before midnight fell down and he was no longer legally allowed to appear before an audience. Meanwhile, other police were appearing backstage with the rest of us. They told us we'd best take off our shirts embroidered with the Convention Hall logo if we wanted to live. Cause people paying big-ticket prices for a one-minute concert would probably not be interested in our continued good health."

"So what did he do?

"He started playing and he was so drunk he sucked."

"How did the crowd react?"

"They reacted like he sucked. But my friend Glen, a part time cop who worked security, pulled the sheriff off-stage and let him know that if the concert wasn't allowed to go on past the legal time limit he'd have a full-scale race riot on his hands."

"What happened?"

"Wildwood, New Jersey got to see the most horrible, drunken, illegal concert they were ever treated to."

1 comment:

  1. I saw Sly on Letterman several years back. Perhaps after Sly had gotten out of jail (if he's been in jail). When Letterman asked "what are you going to do now," Sly responded, "Write some hit songs."

    Letterman replied, "Well, if you're going to write songs, they might as well be hits."