SO FAR AWAY - Steve's Memories

 

 

Supertramp Concert
From time to time I write in to relay some old story that has been rattling around inside. I do it for me. I had some great times back when the band was the absolute focus of my life, and nowadays, there's not many people that can say that. I've gotten some heat for the way I have retold these episodes, mainly from people who don't want me to exploit my past drug and alcohol use as rocketfuel for anyone's quest for the moon. I'm sorry if I chuckle remembering some of my escapades. They were in fact self-absorbed excercises in futility. Last night in Detroit there was a very ugly incident involving some very highly paid athletes and some very "loyal" fans. If you haven't seen it on ESPN or CNN, you must live right beside Bin Laden in some cave somewhere. The footage was extremely disturbing, and one of the last shots they show is of a young kid completely shaken up, and crying in the arms of an older kid. It made me think of the time the band Supertramp invited us to attend their concert at the Omni in Atlanta. I think it was about 1978, and we were famous. The whole band and our wives(of that period) attended, and as I escorted my first wife to our seats, I saw two guys sitting in them. They were a bit rough looking, but I asked them to move anyway. They were not inclined, and said something that touched a nerve in my ever bowing neck. Before I knew it, we were all engaged in a slap dance, and my wife who was sitting right beside me got cold cocked when I ducked a punch, and she didn't see it coming. That lit the whole thing up to another level. Mind you, this is while Supertramp is playing onstage, and the whole of KANSAS is seated quite prominently right beside the stage as their guests of honor. As the melee commenced, I tried to fend off one guy while the other was facing me. But up from behind the first one came, and grabbed the collar of my shirt and threw me backwards down the entire flight of stairs at the Omni. Then in close pursuit was about 4 security guards, who grabbed all three of us and escorted us into the outer hall. As I was being hauled up the stairs, I could see Supertramp straining to see what the hell was going on at their concert. Their music is pretty sedate anyway, so it must've shocked them to see this break out. The crowd was applauding too. I'm sure it was a relief for them to know that the spillage was under control. To say that the rest of Kansas was shocked is an understatement. Shocked and alarmed. Not only were they with their wives, but we were in the midst of a tour, and here I was being thrown around like a ragdoll right in front of them. A friend of mine with me, I'll call him Vick(cause that's his name), was an air traffic controller at the time. Vick was the kind of guy who was great at golf, and a real likeable guy. He was my shadow for a while, and we were pretty lit most of the time we were together. So he came up to see if I was OK while I was in custody at the top of the stairs. We were all up there and the air wasn't poisonous at all. There's a strange comeraderie that can ensue after a struggle between opposite sides. But underneath, I was seething, and Vick knew it. I talked the security guards into letting us all go back into the concert and take our seats, and then I told my wife to meet me outside in 10 minutes. I asked Vick if he would watch my back which he said he would do, and then I stood up and blindsided this guy who hit my wife. Well, round two was definately underway. The crowd was cheering again, I don't know what for, and we each got in some real money shots. But Vick took one of the worst I've ever seen. Right in the side of his face. Hell I thought it knocked his eye out it was so loud. I'm sure that by this time the guys in the band were wondering if I was insane. Turned out I broke my hand hitting that guy when he wasn't looking, and for the rest of the month I had to tour with a cast on my right arm. Anyway, I got Vick up to his feet, and Jerry Gilleland(our head crewguy) and me fought our way out of the whole mess, thru the crowd who were very involved now, and up the stairs. Vick and me stumbled outside, and there was my wife. We threw ourselves into the car, and she sped away literally with people in uniforms chasing our car. What's the moral of a story like this? I keep thinking about that kid at the end of last nights episode crying and scared. From time to time I think about my event and shake my head, but I'll bet someone who was there was shaken up by it somehow. I guess I want to apologize to anyone who was.
Steve (20-Nov-2004)

 

Duane
Seems lately there have been quite a few friends I was in bands with a long time ago, suddenly just up and die. Really makes me think. Today I found out that Duane Buckler, a bass player I was with some 35 years ago has passed on. He was my age. He started emailing me a couple of years ago after being out of touch for 33 years. I found out that all of a sudden he was a father, and he was tickled pink about it. Gave us old farts something to talk about. Instead of our grand kids, we were discussing our very own new children. Then a year ago, he had another little girl. He was on a roll. I told my wife all about the old days when Duane and about 4 of us took a trip all the way from St. Joe to New Haven Conn. in an old beat up 55 Chevy pullin a trailor with our equipment. We had advertised in Rolling Stone for a guitarist, and Joe from New Haven wanted us to come on up. Said he had gigs and a place to stay, and so we just took off. Well, in those days, we were just pups from the sticks. We didn't even have a concept of how bohemian the lifestyles of people in big hippie cities really worked. It was fascinating. All the clubs that had live music, and the whole New York scene was just right there. There was spose to be this gigantic rock concert, like Woodstock, happen while we were there, so we went. Some girl gave me a pill, and like a fool I took it. It was STP which was about 4 times as potent as blotter acid. In about half an hour I didn't know what end was up. The site was a ski resort, and the stage was at the bottom of a ski run. After a day or so, we figured there was trouble when no bands were settin up or playing. There must've been about 30,000 people there just millin around drinkin and takin whatever anybody had. There were all the facilities set up like first aid tents and bathrooms and stuff, but just no bands. Then we heard that the promoter didn't have the proper paperwork, and that the Highway Patrol were on their way, and they were meaning to evacuate the area with force if needed. Well, we skeedaddled. Then one time, we tried to buy some pot one night, from somebody Joe took us to see, and got ripped off. Joe got so upset, he walked right up to the black guy's car where he had parked it, and took a tire iron to his windows. Right in the middle of Church Street in New Haven. We just about got into a shit pot of trouble over that, and had to lay low for a couple of weeks. Then, one morning we happened to see Joe waking up with a companion. The companion was a guy. To say we were shocked would be an understatement. Duane especially. His eyes were as big as eggs. That car left in about 5 minutes, and we barely had time to close the doors, before we were heading back to Missouri. We got back and Duane bought us a school bus to haul our gear in. But it was the tiniest bus I ever did see. Seated about 8 people. But it was close to new, and there was just the four of us. We traveled all around the country in that thing. Mainly playing strip clubs up around Flint Michigan, and Grand Rapids, Muskeegon. We all had to get fake I.D.'s to play these places. Hell, we were barely 17 years old. i remember I graduated from High School, and the next day we were off to Michigan. Some of those strippers were a real trip. Back then, Duane had blond hair all the way to his butt. Those girls loved that shit plenty. Here he was just this young farm boy from Camden Point Mo. and doin what no other 17 year old back home was doin. I talked to his cousin Lonnie about his passing. Lonnie said Duane just dropped dead. Said he had just seen Duane out cuttin the grass not more that two weeks ago. If I had my choice, I guess that's the way I'd want to die too. Doin what the hell you do, and then you're gone. Still is sad thinkin about those two little girls of his though. They truly were the lights of his life. I'll bet he never would've thought to be a dad at 50. Life is strange. Steve (26-July-2004)

 

Big Fish
It's not often I see a movie and immediately feel compelled. Feeling anything after a movie anymore is something that one should savor, and pass on whether it be through actions or words. Trouble is sometimes a movie is a reminder of a certain time in life that one wishes would have been different-better even. Death is never something to look forward to, and dealing with it has always been difficult for me. It just seems so unreal to look down inside this box and see someone who you might have just talked to, or been with, and there they are now. Stiff as a board, but still looking remarkably alive. You even search for a sign that they're still breathing, and this is all just one big mistake. But then, that is really only in the movies. I just saw Big Fish, a movie by Tim Burton. It's about a guy who decides his dying father-who's known for some rather tall tales-is just an old man who's full of crap. Someone who just likes to be the center of attention, always bringing up something familiar about whatever it is that's being talked about by others. Those suspicious little things that you can't prove wrong, but you as a listener suspect that it took a little practice to conjur up privately-in front of a mirror. It made me start to think about the time my own father died, about 14 years ago. The way I was, and the way he was. It made me regret that even as I was there with him in the hospital, I really wasn't there at all. I was so wrapped up with myself. What scares me is that I am still. I mean really, what reason on earth is there that drives a person to write anything, or sing anything, compose, act-in front of total strangers; any of these takes a big ego. Mine I suppose is about the biggest I've ever known. And I'm getting closer to the age when he died every day. So I guess I'm wondering who's gonna be there with me. or not. The wierd thing is, that lately my 4 year old has been asking me to tell her stories about when I was a kid. Sometimes I tell her about the time a raccoon came in the dog door during the night, and scared the hell out of my dog-and most of all me. Or the time a tom cat came around trying to kill the litter of kittens our cat had just had, and my mom and me, startled awake by this awful cat fight, rushed down the hall of our house in opposite directions and in the total darkness ran smack into each other. We both woke up the next morning with some sore heads after that one. But most of my tall tales really have the opposite effect on her that I wish they'd have. She ends up laying there in her room when it's bed time, thinking about raccoons in the house, and cats fighting and comes scurrying into our bed about 15 minutes later. But the next night, she wants to hear those same stories all over again. My dad was a very truthful person. Not much of a story teller. He'd been to the great war, and like most of the men who went, didn't like to talk much about it. He came back, and started a life in the town where I grew up, raised two boys, took us out for ice cream on Friday night, decorated the Christmas tree-just a normal guy really. It was me who changed. Maybe all boys who get to be about 13 start trying to assert themselves and end up alienating their parents. Maybe that's normal. I took a pretty big leap though, and in hindsight, I guess I can't blame him for scratching his head every time he looked at me. One minute he's coaching my little league team, and the next, I'm out in the garage with a bunch of poisonous looking wierdos, beating on drums, and screaming into microphones. I guess this movie really startled me a little. It made me think of just how many dreams I've had about my dad and me since he passed. Dreams about the times he was teaching me how to catch a ball, or bait a hook. He really did give me a lot of attention, until I ended up thinking he too was full of crap. But he wasn't. And this movie made me regret the one time in our lives-near the end of his-when I could have done a little more comforting. Maybe shared a memory or two. Once I had made some money in the music business, I felt he respected me. True, he'd still scratch his head about how I got to be where I was, and in hindsight, I guess I scratch mine from time to time about that very thing. But he and my mom would come to our concerts and sit in the audience, and tell everyone around them that they were my proud parents. But as the years started rolling by, it was mainly my mom who I ended up talking to, and dad was just kinda fading into the background. The old warrior, truck driver that he was. He was still fairly young-65-when he died in 1990. Smoked his entire life, and it finally caught up with him. But this movie really brought it home to me. Whenever I dream about us, whatever we're doing, he's about 40. and I'm about 10. They're so real I have a hard time waking up from them sometimes. I guess my conscience won't let me forget that I had a chance to help him turn the pages gently-slowly....and I missed it. Tonight before she goes to sleep, maybe I'll tell my daughter a little story about her great granpa. Steve (02-May-2004)

 

Limo Travel
A couple of weeks ago, we played a place that was about an hour from the airport down south. The facility provided transportation in the form of a stretch limo. A black one. Very long. Very pompous. Back in the day when we were headlining all these major markets and playing to throngs of fans and selling lots of albums, it was kinda fun to get in one of these big long pimp cars. One time we arrived in this very same city in one of these things while on a major tour. We pulled up to our hotel, and out of the lobby ran about 90 screaming blue haired women who were suddenly all over our car. Clawing at the doors, and holding things to be signed. We were terrified. It was like a scene from "Night of the living Dead". Only the zombies were recast as a raving bunch of bloodthirsty 60 year old grandmas. All prune like and shrill. As the driver cautiously opened one of the limo doors, the gaggle of old women just about climbed over each other to be the first to greet who they thought it was. And like they had practiced this in unison time and time before, they peered in and then all seemed to give out one big sigh of heartbreak. They had been waiting to pounce on the King. Elvis. It was not Elvis. It was just us. And they had no idea who we were. Making our way thru them to check in, their eyes seemed to say "Piss off pudknockers!" I even rented a limo in the mid 90's to celebrate my son's birthday. He got quite a kick out of it, and I lived that moment vicariously thru him and his friend. They stuck their heads out of the retractable sunroof, and shouted out to the cars going by. People shouted back. It was a hoot. I got into some serious trouble in '98, and called ahead to arrange for a car to pick Phil and I up at the airport from a gig, to spirit us to the courthouse where I was to be charged with the crime of possession of narcotics. I told the travel agent, "whatever you do, DON'T send a big stupid limo to take us to this courthouse. If that thing pulls up and the district attorney or the judge sees it, they'll have to pipe daylight to me for years. And probably have to spend that long extracting Bubba's pipe out of my ass. Guess what kind of car showed up. Phil and I made sure the driver let us out a number of blocks before anyone saw us. And then we ran. After Ray Lewis the football player came to Atlanta for the Superbowl in 00, and he and his limo entourage participated in the deaths of two hispanic men in the Buckhead district, the limo represented something quite different to me than it once did. So as I got into this limo to travel a couple of weeks ago, I felt conspicuous and out of touch. I don't know if it was just me or what, but people who were passing this thing on the highway, seemed to be peering into the brown tinted windows with a strange mix of loathing and curiosity on their faces. If they were black, they might be wondering if Snoop was inside. That would be OK with them. If they were white, they might be thinking of Brittany. That would make sense to them. They craned their necks to absorb the wealth of the individuals who they wished they were at that moment. But it was us. Just us. In this smelly dilapidated thing that seemed more like a broken down mobile home that nobody had ever taken care of. I could have sworn that somehow the old torn leather seats were still housing many an old butt waif. So many butts in fact that the "stew" that permeated the air began to make me clastrophobic-wondering if I would ever be able to breathe fresh air again. My nose began to run. I couldn't get my mind off the fact that this air was damaging my sensabilities. I wondered if the driver ever washed his hair. Somehow the theme song from the "Beverly Hillbillys" started playing in my head. All the fancy booze bottles covered in dust, meant to house the liquor that might have been included if the price was right made me snicker a bit. As they rattled and shook in their recepticles, it made me think of the late 70's when all the jolly candy-like colors called out to me. And man, did I answer. Headaches were soon to follow. The unnatural length of the undercarriage made threatening noises as we sped up to a brisk 45 miles per hour. Sounded like those deep yaws of a building under attack from a hurricane, or tornado. I felt like any moment the thing was gonna split right down the middle and somebody from "Candid Camera" was gonna pop out and expect me to laugh. I was not amused. The air was brown. I heard that this year some of the contestants in the Academy Awards arrived to the event in "smart cars". Ones that run on gas and electric power. I had to respect that. That says a lot to me about adjustment to the way things are, and where they're heading. And it's also a statement. A call to the powers that be to fucking do something about this polution problem already. So as we rolled down the highway in our gas guzzling piece of shit big black Ray Lewismobile, I began to accept the fact that my life had been a study of contradictions. But that there might still be time for me to change the world. To make it better. To be a shiny beacon in a sucking swirling eddy of despair.
I was glad to get home to my big black SUV. Steve (27-Mar-2004)

 

Story 5/18
This is a story that I'm sure none of the women who read it will think it's funny-including my 2nd ex, who I'm also sure doesn't even know this site exists. We all went out for a sushi meal once about 20 years ago, and my ex had never had sushi before. So, Rich who is always pulling this kind of practical joke told her to order the oke chimbo...he said it was the best oke chimbo in the states, and the place was known for their fine selection of oke chimbo...But the Japanese words oke chimbo mean big dick. And just as she was about to order it we stopped her-obviously all of us knew what it meant and were in on it. She just about died when she found out what she had almost ordered, and we all-including her just about choked to death laughing. But what's funny about this is that sometime later Rich and I had the occasion to go out for sushi-just us two. And we're sitting there in Santa Monica in a sushi bar recounting this funny incident. Well, not far away there was a sushi chef who was preparing our order, and when he overheard us talking about oke chimbo, it was like someone had just invited him over to have butt sex. From that moment on, he never stopped staring at us and smiling-I think he even winked at us. We could barely choke down our order and get the hell out of there. I went back to my room and took a long hot shower.

 

Remembering 77
We were starting to crack as a headlining contender when we got offered some dates with the newly reformed Fleetwood Mac. Things got off to a good start, but began to deteriorate rapidly after the band saw how well we were going over. In fact, they called and wanted us to close the shows-even though they were headlining. One night we were playing in Omaha, Nebraska in the middle of a severe winter storm, and had chartered a leer jet to take us back to Kansas City, where we were locating for the surrounding dates. After our set, we walked backstage where Fleetwood was standing around, and I noticed that something was very pungent...almost burning my nose with the aroma of methane death. I got close enough to Stevie Nicks to figure out that it was her. It beat about anything I've ever been around that prevented me from feeling like I was getting enough oxygen. But anyway-on that night in Omaha, we were grounded indefinately because of the weather, and starting to plan to stay the night, then fly to KC the next day. And that plan was out of the question for one-Robby. He had to get to his house that very night, which was in Lawrence Kansas-close to KC. He had to, and he was hell bent on it. He wouldn't tell us why. But he was leaving. There was nothing we could say or do to prevent him from getting there any way he knew how. So off he went, from the Omaha "enormo dome", in a limo, headed for--the bus station. We were stunned and sat there for a moment trying to figure out what to do. If he was involved in some sort of bus accident, the gigs on the following days, would all have to be forfeited. And we didn't want that to happen on such an important time in our career-let alone to him personally. It was totally out of our control, and unacceptable. So we all clamored into the other limo that was there backstage, and headed for the bus station ourselves. I remember it was the kind of giddy adventure you see in a surrealistic movie. It didn't make a bit of sense, and we had no idea what we were going to do when we got to him. But physical confrontation was discussed, and then quickly decided against. Then, we came up with a plan. We stormed into the bus station and Robby was surprised and quickly became defensive. He still wouldn't reveal why he had to get back to his house-like he had planned if we took off in the leer jet we had waiting. So, while we confronted Robby, our road manager rushed up to the guy who announces bus arrivals and departures over a loudspeaker and secretly offered him money to fake a bus route cancellation-the one Robby was scheduled on. Sure enough the guy announced that Robby's bus was cancelled, and we all said to Robby, "see!! see, now you have to come with us to the airport, and if we take off, then you'll be able to get home, but you've got to stay with the rest of us!" Reluctantly, Robby gave in and we all piled back into the limo and bolted to the airport, where the jet was waiting, and the weather had cleared up to a point that we could fly. Robby sat there in the limo scowling, with his arms crossed, and was the only one not talking a mile a minute. So we piled out of the limo on to the runway-adreneline pumping through all of us- and boarded the leer jet, which almost immediately became cleared to take off. And as we were literally lifting off the runway, we all looked at each other and said almost in unison--"hey,,,,where's Dave???" Dave had gone to the bathroom in the bus station, and when he came out, we were gone. In those days, there was no cell phones, and since we left in such a rush, Dave had no chance to get in touch with us. In fact, I don't even think he was carrying any money. He told us the next day that when he came out of the bathroom, a cop told him to leave the bus station, because he thought Dave was a vagrant. Dave told us he said "but, there was a limo here waiting to take me to the airport to get on my leer jet!!!" He said the cop looked at him like he was crazy, and Dave had to walk back to the hall and hitch a ride with one of the truckdrivers who was hauling the show to the next gig. After that, one night our tour manager stood out on the balcony of the hotel where we were staying and shouted down to John Macvie of Fleetwood Mac that he was a "fucking teabag" etc. etc. We were pretty drunk. And we left the tour the next day without telling anybody. We were 50ft tall and bulletproof. Steve, 30-Jan-2003

 

 

11/02
Early on in White Clover, Jeff Glixman who also played a Hammond B3 and me began not to get along so good. It was an uncomfortable situation, and I could tell he felt as I did -that there was just one too many B3 players. I ended up having to leave, but before I did, we came across a road trip that he and I shared, that to this day seems like it just happened. We played in Cape Gerardeau Mo. and the next place we were going as I recall was West Orange N.J. to do a demo tape with a guy named Tony Piano. Jeff and I didn't relish having to spend 3 days and nights in a schoolbus going north about 2 thousand miles, so we decided we'd hitch it. We left earlier than the rest of the guys in the bus, so if we got in trouble, or couldn't catch a ride, they could pick us up. I have to get sidetracked for a moment to tell a related story. The bus driver/crew guy we had was named Harlan, and he had a dog named Pepper who traveled to all the gigs with us. On the way to each gig, when Pepper heard the bus door open, he would half-open his eyes and stumble out onto the pavement to relieve himself, and we'd get what we wanted and continue on. It was like clockwork. But once when it was real hot in the summer, we opened that door while we were going down the highway to get some air, and Pepper lazily walked right up to the front of the bus and right out that door and was airborn at 50 mph. It's a funny story cause he didn't even get a scratch. And I'm sure he was careful after that. But it was hilarious to see. It was just like a cartoon. Anyway, for Jeff and me it was slow hitching at first, but then this crazy car hauling guy picked us up in his rig which was full of brand new cars. He wouldn't stop talking, and was obviously high on something, and I recall leaning down to tie my shoe, and under the seat was one of the bloodiest handkerchiefs I had ever seen. I mean clotted and almost blue, and like it had just been harvested. We kept looking at each other thinking "this guys is borderline cartoon character/Manson Family member". At one point we pulled over to get a soda, and as we were walking away from this huge truck which was full of cars and weighed millions of tons, the brake gave way and it started rolling right for a mobile home which was about 75 feet away. Jeff and I raced toward this monstro thing to try to save the day, but we were so delerious from no sleep and the sheer horror of the pictures beginning to illustrate themselves in our minds, that we were literally laughing at the top of our lungs. This rail-thin speed freak guy came out of nowhere and passed both of us in a blind raging leap, and got to that rig right in the mobile home's front yard. And I'm not kidding, there were people in the living room watching TV....about to be killed. That was a lucky day for them and for us all. We said farewell to that situation as quick as we could, and found ourselves on the pennsylvania turnpike on a foggy night at about midnight. The next ride we got was in a VW bug, with no less than 10 people in it. There were arms and legs everywhere, and the driver had a doobie that he kept trying to pass around while we sped at what seemed like lightspeed from the back seat...It just seemed to us like one big acid trip, but one that we hadn't packed for. Anyway, after that, it seemed like we were standing on the shoulder of the highway thumbing for a ride for forever, when all of a sudden in the distance, we saw our last remaining savior....it was the bus. Our bus. And man, was it a welcome sight. We knew that the seats were cold and hard vinyl, but it sure seemed like heaven at that moment, and it was heading right for us. And here it came, and then,,,,,there it went! Right the hell past both of us waving like idiots!!! How can that be, what will we do now?? Man, we were devastated. Standing there, drowning and there went the life perserver. Turns out, the guys saw us all along, and just decided to blow past us to watch us shit our pants. And it worked in spades. They went up to the next exit and turned around and picked us up, and when we got in, they were howling with laughter. Steve, 25-Nov-2002

 

11/03/02
We played in Phoenix last night at a place where we played 30 years ago with the Kinks. It's a revolving stage which sits in the middle of the crowd, and we were remembering how when we got thru with our set and were walking off stage, Rich had become disoriented and ended up taking the wrong exit ramp with no where to go and everybody looking at him. So at the top of the ramp, seeing that we had not followed him and that he was being stared at, he just opened a door which turned out to be a closet, waved, and stepped in among the mops and cleaning supplies-closing the door behind him. When he heard everyone else returning to play the encore he threw open the door and marched with true conviction back down the aisle to the stage. We were choking with laughter. It was only our second gig on the national front, and when the Kinks went on,the two Davies brothers in the band began arguing until it escalated into actual physical confrontation. At one point one of them took a large container of ice water and threw it at the other, but it missed and instead hit the monitor man square in the head. It also completely soaked the monitor console which really started to spark. We were all standing backstage with our jaws on the ground watching this. I'm sure we all had felt like tearing each other apart on stage before, but this was the first time we had actually seen it happening. So as soon as the drenched monitor guy got his bearings, he bound up onto the stage and started to chase the Davies brother who had hit him with the water. Chased him all the way off stage. The crowd was stunned, as was everybody else in the band. I remember they all just kinda looked at each other for what to do, since the guy who was suppose to be singing was now nowhere to be found. So the song they were playing just kinda ended in the dull embarrassing way performers have nightmares about. We ended up doing 4 or 5 dates with the Kinks, traveling all the way from Topeka in a station wagon. We went all the way to the west coast. I don't even rem ember having any luggage. That's youth for you. I remember one thing though. The back seat was facing backwards, and that's where I wanted to sit, cause with the rear window on the tailgate down, I could smoke dope back there. What ended up happening however was that all the fart wind would make it's way directly to the back and up my nose. It was like a giant force feeding funnel with me at the receiving end. Man, with the kind of food we were all eating, that was the kind of smell you know is buried deep in old decrepid grave yards. Actually I had quite a reputation of being the bad gas king myself. My first wife even made me go to a specialist about it because she couldn't figure out how a healthy person could emit such a repelling array of green butt gush. So I guess it was karma that I was finally on the receiving end of a dead meat and cheese stew baked in the dead bowels of my musical brothers. We played this past Friday night in Cerritos, Calif and I wanted to go to Sushi on Sunset just because it's so close to the Hyatt House which in the 70s was known as the "Riot House" by rock musicians. Legend had it that Led Zepplin tore through the lobby all the way up a winding set of stairs to the second floor on motorcycles once. When we recorded our second album at Wally Heider's Record Plant studios in about 75, we stayed there, and the nights were late. We regularly sent bottle rockets off our balcony right over Sunset. One night after playing basketball on the back parking lot at about 3 in the morning we were all starving. No one had any money to get anything to eat, but Robby and I knew the hotel restaurant was right next to the lobby, and we knew it was closed. At one point earlier in our stay, I remember I pushed the wrong button in the elevator, and a set of doors on the elevator back opened up and I was accidentally just a few steps away from the kitchen. It was bustling with midday activity at the time, and I sheepishly apologized and pushed the right button which led to the lobby. So remembering this that night, I asked Robby if he was interested in doing a little "covert" activity which involved food. Robby was very interested. We got in the elevator and I pushed that same button, and VOILA, the doors opened and we were staring right into the kitchen. Like I said, it was closed, but I remember peering through the dark and seeing tons of luscious chiffon shadows-the tops of pies and cakes and,,and there were gigantic refrigerators and,,and big pantries which no doubt had wonderful treats only my mind could imagine. Our eyes grew to monstrous proportion. The whole ordeal sent piss shivers up my spine as we exited the elevator like a couple of spies off a cheap TV series bent on stealing some nuclear whatever. The kitchen actually looked right out onto the counter where customers ate their donuts and hamburgers and then beyond that there were these huge windows which looked directly out onto Sunset Blvd. which was only a few feet away. So we had to sneak around bent at the waist to keep anyone on the street from seeing us. I wish I had had a camcorder. We couldn't stop snickering as we rid the shelves of pies and made our way into the walk-in refrigerator where we spotted a bowl of fresh cocktail shrimp that would have fed an army. Then, quicker than I can ever remember moving, we were back in the elevator frantically pushing the button to our floor, giddily tippytoe dancing and screaming like a couple of school girls and hoping that no one else was getting on that elevator. I mean, we had so much food with us, it would have been impossible to explain. And we were howling with inexplicable laughter. When we reached our floor, we were the kings of a party that went on and on. I don't remember what we did with all the dirty dishes, but it seems to me my complexion suffered for a great while after that night. That was the trip we all got our tattoo done from across the street at Lyle Tuttle's place. Some times all of it doesn't seem real. All those times. It seems like all these delerious things happened to somebody else and were just told to me or I read them somewhere or something-it seems like a dream-a dream of another life..........Then, I get into an enclosed vehicle on our way to a gig, and all the farting and the laughing at the farting, and memories of farts gone by, and more farting, and I realize it wasn't a dream at all. And there goes my complexion again.....steve, 03-Nov-2002

 

10/13/02
I remember when I got into some trouble almost 5 years ago now that the judge reviewing my case asked me how old I was. And I stumbled and said thirty, fff...and then suddenly I realized that I was 48. It was like a blinding light. A revelation. I was becoming close to the AARP age. Shortly after that, I tried very hard to remember everything I could about my thirties. It was like I had been attacked by Alzheimers all of a sudden. I got very paranoid that I had done things I didn't know about. And really I had. So many times I had. People would tell me what I did the next day when I saw them in the lobby again. Or they'd call me on the phone thanking me for inviting them to the house, when in all honesty, I didn't even recall them being there. Mostly it happened around the band. I ate some valiums and drank a lot on a plane ride once and by the time we got to where we were going I was blotto. On our way to the hotel(which was in the desert), I opened the door to the backseat and rolled out, luckily while the car was stopped. From then on everyone started calling me "Dances with Cactus". It's funny now, but when you wake up the next morning and don't remember where all the fast food wrappers came from, and then hear from Phil or Rich that on the way up in the elevator they watched me consume two double cheeseburgers and an order of onion rings while I was sitting on the floor in the corner, and that I didn't leave the elevator until I was finished, it takes on a kind of strange "Jekyll and Hyde" type of existence. I remember while the O.J. case was going on I was riveted to the everyday action of it all. In Trinidad where we recorded "Freaks of Nature" there was nothing else to do. Well, there was one other thing. And so I did both. I got really high and watched that case every day. There was even this "mock" book that came out in the form of a legal pad..like the one you saw O.J. scribbling in every day. He looked really focused on TV when he was doing this, and as a viewer of the trial, I was dying to know what it was he was so busy writing down. But the legal pad that came out for sale made it all look so silly. In it were rhymes about the judge like "Ito Ito not so neato" and other stuff like it. Drawings of Marsha Clark looking like a stick figure witch, just stupid shit like that. Man, I gotta get that out and look at it again. I remember at the time it made me roll. I'd like to know if it matches what he was really writing in that pad. I bet it comes close. Freaks was a strange thing to do. I was in the height of my coke use, and responsible for most of the material. I still feel like that was possibly the best band I have ever been in, with Ragsdale contributing to the writing and all. The one thing I regret deeply is that I collaborated with Dave and went over to his condo to work and was around him doing all this drinking and drugging. Dave had realized he had a problem with both of those things, and never touched either. He had told me that it was because it got out of control. I remember thinking at the time,"wow, I'll never let that happen to me!!". I was so freakin naive. We had done "live at the whiskey", which is something that I am embarrassed about to this day. I know Jeff Glixman tried his best to pull it out, but I was on this tear it up thing. I'm reading a book about the early days of Saturday Night Live titled "Live from New York", and in it Chevy Chase(whom I've met and can't stand) says something which really resonated with me. He tries to explain in normal terms what it meant to him to be nobody, then somebody, then nobody again. It is very well put, and a great read. But this particular passage pretty much sums it up for me at the time. I was bitter about the way our career was going. Maybe I still am. I couldn't believe the world was functioning just like it did before it had ever heard about me. I couldn't believe anyone could get along without me. It was all an illusion, and I bought into it. I know that now, but then, I was just giving the bird to anyone who would look my way. I thought I could do it with "Freaks" but out of that, ten years later, I realize that what makes life so precious is that it passes. It goes away, and it just seems like you're beginning to get the hang of things when it does. I use to be in a band with a guy named Jerry Allen. Jerry was not a good bass player, but he booked the band, and was a real sharp guy. And kinda crooked. He never scammed me, and we were great friends. He was severly funny. And had this laugh, like a hyena, that was contagious. When he told a joke, he laughed at it himself, and so you ended up laughing-not at the joke, but at him laughing at his own joke. I had moved on and started working with the guys who would eventually end up being KANSAS and Jerry would call me once in a while, and Phil and Jerry and I would show up at gigs impersonating a band that Jerry booked with 7 people in it...I mean a horn section and everything. He wouldn't tell the real band at all. And here the three of us would show up. I mean these other guys had the matching suits, and the dance steps, and all the poppy songs of that time, and in we would stroll-three guys lookin like we had been rode hard and put up wet. The gigs were usually for about $1,000.00 which was a shitpot of money to Phil and I who were starving at the time. People would start requesting songs from Chicago and other horn groups, and we'd fake our way through "Color my world" or something equally lame, and they'd all look at us and at each other and be saying "who the hell are these guys". We'd end up packing up afterwards REALLY quick and getting the hell out of there, and we always got paid before we played. It was a hoot now that I think back on those days. Jerry shot himself in the head about 6 years ago. With a shotgun-Kurt Cobain style. His mother found him. I know just where he was sitting. When I went back to visit my mom in St. Joe, I'd always end up at Jerry's house for most of the time. But towards the last when I would go over there, he was acting really strange. Had a lot of coke, and in the later years, I guess that's why I hung out with him. We had both changed a lot and really had nothing else in common except this coke thing. I'd walk in and sit down, and notice usually how much it looked like Jerry was dying. Then he'd look at me with these really wound-up eyes and drag out the shit. We'd stay up till dawn just sitting there drinking Crown, and snorting blow, and looking over our shoulders like there was a thousand flesh eating beetles that were getting ready to devour our livers. That was fucked up, and that's where that shit took us. Jerry's dead. I still feel responsible. Steve, 13-Oct-2002

 

 

1ST ALBUM
Part of the thrill of recording is getting in the same room(often quite an expensive room), and putting on headphones and bashing about on something that you know is having a positive effect on everybody in that room. It's contagious. You are literally able to record emotion that way-like actors going through a scene in a movie. Sometimes you can do it several times and the emotion gets honed,sharpened, intensified. Sometimes it only takes one time, and from there on, you're never able to repeat that emotion ever again. On those experiences, you can actually hear yourselves lose confidence instead of gain. It's a learning experience, and it's better had with others who are on the same level of experience as yourself. That's what makes a producer good. He or she is the person who has been able to capture that moment on tape or in a computer that is that magic thing that defies description. Regardless if the song is one you like or not, you can hear a successful producer on a song. But wait, maybe I'm wrong. Maybe it's that you DON'T hear the producer. Maybe that's what makes the magic. At any rate, when we started recording, we were doing demos in western Kansas at a tiny place that I'm sure has since been bulldozed in favor of a strip mall. Without Kerry, the songs were purely and unequivocally shit. But they got us the ear of Don Kirshner who had a label. A fellow named Buster Newmann represented us to Mr. Kirshner, and we didn't know him either. We never met Buster, but we were all pretty sure he was black by the way he sounded on the phone. I'm not trying to sound racist when I say that. It would be like talking to Redd Foxx(the deceased actor/comedian), and trying to describe what he sounded like. It would occur to you that he most assuridly must be black. He would sometimes call to his wife and say, "come talk to da boys Beverly"-and then a voice would say in a pleasant way, "hello boys". and what's funny as I think back on that exchange is, that it very well could have been Buster disguising his voice to sound like a woman. It had that kind of quality. Anyway, how he got the tape was a mystery to us, but when he called, we were playing in a very dank and lonely bar basement in Dodge City Kansas, so needless to say we were most pleasant with whoever this person was on the other end of the line. One thing led to another and we signed a contract with Don Kirshner based on the demo he heard of the songs I summed up previously. We went to New York in the dead of winter to rehearse with Wally Gold, who had produced Barbara Streisand among others. He had written some big hits too as I recall. I think one of them was "It's my party" by Leslie Gore. Wally was a great guy. He's passed away now. He reminded all of us of the TV series Palladin starring Richard Boone. He looked a lot like him, but his manner was soft and secure. We felt great in his presence-at least I did. He loved Robby. He was who Kirshner sent to see us play. I don't know if we ever told Wally what we did that night he came to a Kansas concert. It was in a small town in western Kansas(practically everything is west of Topeka), and we set it up so that there was free beer before Wally arrived. When he came in, what he saw was a crowd that was over the top and when we played they went nuts. Of course they were all shitfaced, and I think Kerry still has a tape of the performance which I hear is worth quite a laugh. Wally ended up getting clobbered in the head during one of our songs by a beer bottle thrown in sheer exuberance. These people knew the value of free beer, and we knew the value of a shitfaced crowd. We got signed immediately. So in New York everything was magic. We were all in our mid 20s and had a few bucks in our pockets for perdiem. We stayed on 48th and 8th at the Ramada Inn. It's funny but as I'm writing this, I can see that place better and better. There were hookers that stood around on the corner right before we got to the hotel door, so going anywhere or coming back from anywhere, you had to encounter them. I think Dave use to talk to them a little, I know I never did. I was scared to death of them. They were so utterly worldly, and I was so new. I remember checking in, and the way it seemed the bellman, who you had to give your bags to be delivered, was really crass to us. Jeff Glixman(who later produced our biggest hits, but at the time was doing our sound), took a dollar bill and folded it in a way that only the corner was showing, and then he tore the corner off a hundred dollar bill and placed it on that corner, so it looked like he was tipping this guy a hundred dollar bill for delivering our bags. This guy was bitching and moaning about something, but I could hear in the hall the minute he gave this clown the dollar bill with the hundred dollar corner. For about 30 seconds the guy just about passed out, but then you could hear(my door was definately closed and locked at this point) him unfolding the bill and seeing that he had been duped. Man, he was pissed....But somebody, possibly him, got the last laugh on us. Later on while we were staying there, we came back, and Phil discovered his room had been gone through, and $600.00 was gone. That was money we were all suppose to live on, and so we got ours. Wally did us in two segments. We did some songs, then went home and returned to do the rest. I can't remember if we were playing much during this time, but I do remember that we were writing up a storm. When Kirshner finally heard what it was he was investing in, he had no idea what to think. There were songs like "Death of Mother Nature Suite" which were 180 from the stuff he heard and signed us for. We started right out being the lone strangers in a category. I guess that might never change. All kinds of new definitions were making their way into our minds at that time. For instance, Wally played us a tape of Barbara Streisand doing this soft sweet perfect rendition which Wally was producing at the time. He said to us, "now listen to this", and as the song was reaching an emotional climax she stops and just starts cursing a blue streak at the top of her lungs. It was unbelievable. Things like that had our jaws on the ground all the time. One of the funniest things I've ever seen Rich do was in the Record Plant where we recorded. At the time Jimmy Iovine was sweeping floors there. He was always great to us. Who knew then that he would go on to foster so many successful and meaningful artists like Trent Reznor. Anyway there was a toilet room that occasionally got used for vocal overdubs because of the tile reflective surfaces on the walls. Rick Derringer was in doing an album and we had talked to him also. He also was very friendly to us. He came out of that bathroom one time, and Rich walked in immediately and in the loudest voice I've ever heard bellowed, "WHO SHIT"....we all howled with laughter. Rick took it in good nature. It was great. At that time it was a far different 42nd street than it is now. It was dotted with peep show after peep show. Where there wasn't a peep show, there was a pawn shop. I bought a cassette tape recorder in one of them. I ended up getting something I didn't want though, and tried to take it back. They laughed me right out of the place. What's funny was all the famous people you would see just being in New York. Standing right next to me in this pawn shop was Red Skelton. I forget what he was buying. Some Nun Chucks or something. He's dead now too. Funny to think about all we have lived to see and do....Steve, 07-Oct-2002

 

 

IN THE SPIRIT OF THINGS
I was outside in Milwaukee today, and the smell of something triggered memories of when we were in L.A. recording "In the Spirit of Things". It's funny how that happens once in a while just out of nowhere. But L.A. smells like nowhere else I've ever been so I was surprised to be thinking about California in the middle of the cornbelt. I mean, even with all the obscene encroachment that has been made by the giant footprint of American Civilization, and the desert being held barely at bay by the artificially watered greenery gardens and manicured palm trees, L.A. smells like success to me. And nowhere and at no time was I ever to achieve the kind of success I came to realize there-and I probably never will again, which makes me ever melancholy about that time in our career. The 80's had been brutal to the kind of dreams we had once for our future, and my personal goals which I embarked on with the formation of STREETS. So as many opportunities lay in waste for us, all of a sudden someone cared. That person was a famous producer named Bob Ezrin. Bob had cut his teeth with Alice Cooper, Kiss, and so many others-all of whom had gone straight to the top with Bob's help. I was proud again-like I felt when we got our first recording contract, and optimistic for once(even though at one point in the recording of the cd, Bob intimated to me that he thought I "could pick out the only dark cloud in a clear blue sky"). He was funny, and seemed genuinely interested in the artistry of music, as opposed to making money. We as a band were just coming off the POWER tour and cd, and had not been overly successful with it, but Bob saw a diamond in the rough, and wanted to add his special polish. We were thrilled. Steve Morse and I had some demos which we made locally and even in Phil's basement I think. I had high hopes for these pieces, and one of them even got played for Bob before he came, which I think he gravitated to. He promptly tossed the rest, and all of a sudden that feeling hit me of-"gee, I might not be such a big shot after all". I thought I had half the damn thing written already, but Bob took it to zero, and we all but started over. I did learn however that he never asked me to do anything he wouldn't have done himself. And it was with great tenacity that Steve and I began to come up with some pretty darn good shit. Of course, for Steve, getting him to give some of those good parts to others in the band proved the trick, because as good as he is, he could play all of them all by himself. So he and I had some fairly heated battles-similar to how things sometimes went with Kerry and me. My comfort was that, what became part of the song and what didn't would not be decided by either "Steve", and that the rest of the band and Bob would make it make sense. That's exactly why a KANSAS song doesn't sound like the same song when KANSAS isn't playing it. I had bought a building which use to be a fitness center south of Atlanta close to where I lived when I first moved down from Kansas, and that's where STREETS did all of our work. That's where we worked with Bob also. It was no longer convenient for any of us, because I moved to Atlanta which was a good 45 minutes away, and that pretty much was the same for everyone-except Steve Morse-who lived much farther south. Steve came in one day still in the uniform he had to wear when he worked briefly as a commercial pilot. Bob was flabbergasted. He asked Steve if he was in this band or not. Brought him right to the front of it all. "Do you want to do this or not?" I remember Steve being embarrassed, and the rest of us thinking-"Man, this guy's got balls-so THIS is how a producer is suppose to be!" Bob was my first introduction to the world of computer assisted music sequencing. He made me buy my first Mac, and taught me how to operate Mark of the Unicorn's Performer program. I wish I still had that computer now-I guess it'd make a great fishbowl. Anyway, it was an amazing tool and came in right at the right time. We did basic tracks in Atlanta, and Bob used his magic to do all kinds of things we had never seen done before. One of my favorites was to mic the whole drum kit through a gigantic P.A. in the same room as the drums and then pick everything up with a couple of room mics. IT SOUNDED GIGANTIC....I can still listen to the first track "GHOSTS" and feel that intensity. I was knocked out!! Hell, we all were. Brendan O'brian engineered for us. Lately, he just did Bruce Springsteen's latest cd. Anyway, then we went to L.A. to do all the overdubs, and that was when I knew that we were on a roll. Everything seemed smooth at MCA, our record company, and we had met with Irving Azoff, who had had great success as the manager of the EAGLES, and all day every day was about invention....and oh yeah, drugs. In those days, the inventions I came up with held hands with the drugs and booze I was into. I was also mesmerized by a book I was reading about the BEACH BOYS. It kinda blew the lid off their facade and went into detail about how screwed up everything was behind the curtain. It was like those "E" channel programs-"MYSTERIES AND SCANDALS"-the kind of stories that never have a happy ending. Anyway, to relax and get out of the studio vibe, I'd sit by the pool at our condo in a great part of town, do some mushrooms, have a cocktail or three, and read about the screwed up lives of others...then I'd go round to the studio to see how everything was going. It was freakin heaven doing that routine. My first introduction to sushi was there, and of course-sake...Man, there was nothing like smokin a doob and drinkin some hot sake on a warm California night. One night I walked into the studio and David Gilmore (the guitarist from PINK FLOYD") was sitting there talking to Bob. He was a great guy, and about a week later, we got to go to their concert close by. They were going to work with Bob right after he finished with us. Every day it just seemed like more and more events were going on around us that made me believe we were once again on our way up....like when we went to record the choir we used on "The Preacher". I had never done anything like that before, and the Reverend who has since passed away was by no means intimidated by Bob. There was no doubt who was in charge inside of his church, and Bob grudgingly respected that. Another time, Bob told me he thought the lyrics to "INSIDE OF ME" were not right yet. So, I went up the coast about an hour and sat by the sea practically all night. I brought some coke to do and drank some beer. In those days, drugs helped me get somewhere I couldn't get when I was straight. And it worked. To tell you the truth, I was pretty ashamed of most of the stuff I had come up with while Kerry was in the band. The songs we collaborated on always came out good in my opinion, but I never really thought I connected until I started writing in STREETS. And in STREETS, I did a lot of blow...Anyway, I brought Bob a completely new set of lyrics the next day. He still wasn't satisfied, and to make a long story short, I did that same thing 2 additional times-all for the same song. The thing was, I felt great about the fact that I could dig and dig and not hit bottom. There was never a moment when I was out of ideas or just gave up. But what I remember most was the smell of L.A.-of the ocean close by, and the beautiful weather, and the beautiful people-all of it now probably more of a dream of mine than a fair representation of what it really was like. It's probably like when you revisit some concert hall you fondly remember and look around and say to yourself-"gees, this place really shrunk!!" But every time I go to L.A. or listen to that cd, I think of the confidence I had that seemed to make the whole world ripe and delicious, and oh yeah, very optimistic. The cd didn't end up selling due to a lot of dirty politics, but to me it's still magic. Bob didn't finish the project. He became disenchanted with the new management at MCA which had replaced Irving Azoff and all of his team while we were working on "SPIRIT". The new people who came in didn't give a shit about us or our cd, and Bob bailed out early without telling us his worst fears which we eventually came to realize. I remember him coming into the studio on one of the last times we worked together doing some vocals, and I just couldn't stop crying. I couldn't bear to think of being in there with anyone else but him producing the last of this epic of ours. He pulled me out of it by telling me that it was US who had made it great and that he just happened to be there. But he was tryin to bullshit me-and he knew I knew it. So, I'm standin here in Milwaukee thinking how memories of things that come to you for no reason are what keep me going sometimes. Man, what a great time we had with Bob Ezrin at the helm. Steve, 02-Sep-2002

 

 

There are many moments in my life which are memorable-and if I thought about it long enough, I could possibly enter quite a few. But skimming them over in my memory, one does come to mind quite vividly. I was 11 or 12 and it was summer vacation. My cousins came down from Chicago every year for a couple of weeks and stayed with my grandparents who lived right next door. Naturally, my house became party central for all of us and overall we had some truly fantastic times. I have a cousin from California also who was our age, and she came once in a great while to stay with my grandparents. This was one of those times when everybody was there and we were all invited to go to the lake with some of our older cousins who lived a couple of miles away from me. They actually just invited Connie(my cousin from California) because she was from a cool place and looked and acted older than all of us did, but my grandparents told them if Connie went, we all must be invited. So they drug us all along, obviously perturbed with the pre-pubescence of us boys. The boat was of average dimension so it was impossible to take everyone at once on laps around the lake, so a few at a time would clamor in and off it would speed-out of sight for a few minutes or so, and then return to ferry more passengers to another location where everyone else was cavorting in the water. It turned out that I was left there alone to await the last journey, when I noticed a lot of time going by. Little by little I decided that they might not be returning for me, and so I decided to walk home. Home wasn't that far away, but it wasn't that close either-especially for an 11 year old boy who was by himself. Thinking back on it now, it might have been the first really bold thing I ever attempted to do. Anyway, it's something that I'm sure my boatowning cousins will not soon forget, as they showed up to get me and I was gone. So on and on I walked when all of a sudden a car screached up beside me and there everyone was-about 12 people in a car all screaming at me as if I were a vision. They beckoned me to get in and abruptly turned the car around and headed back to the lake at full speed. Everyone talking at once was hard for me to understand, but what was easier was the sight of about 20 people-all casting giant nets over the lake where I had been standing. It seemed that they had reported me missing and apparently drown, and my cousins were probably convinced that the wrath of my whole entire family would be upon them for the rest of their natural born days. Though I hid it, I remember feeling a bit vindicated-as if to say to my cousins "see!!! you shouldn't have taken so damn long to come and get me !!!" But as I read the relief on their faces and knew that their butts were a little more relaxed than they had been only minutes before, I said nothing. At this point it was only early in the day, but as the news was announced that I was in fact standing right there, my cousins decided to load up the boat and leave. I don't think the netcasters were too happy with them, and so in turn they were not very happy with me-but I think they knew they had screwed up. Anyway, we left and they dropped everyone off at my house and then they went home. My cousins who were staying at my grandparent's house next door were also worn out from worrying and so for a while I was there at my house by myself with nothing to do. At that time, my parents lived in a cinder-block structure which was built as the basement for a future house. The floor of that house was the ceiling of the existing structure, and they were proceeding with the first floor as planned. One of the first things they did, was to build a staircase straight up to the first floor. The basement was not completely submerged in the earth. It was on a hill which allowed one complete side access to the outside through a door. Anyway, I was there amongst the many things which were in transition-the staircase walls were only skeletons of what would later exist. Tossing a ball up the stairs and then catching it time and time again, it diverted behind this skeletal structure and lost itself in all the possessions we had stored under the staircase. As I reached down to pick up the ball, my behind came in contact with a full-length mirror which shattered in three enormous pieces and came crashing down making the kind of sound you hear in really scary monster movies. Scared me to death. My Mother came running down the stairs and shrieked with horror when she saw me. And then it occurred to me that I felt something on the back of my leg. Something very wet and warm and plentiful. It was blood. And it was a lot of blood. And it wasn't stopping. My Mother must have kicked herself into preservation mode subconsciously, because her tone became totally different upon realizing the gravity of the situation and how her reaction would affect me. I remember screaming and then reaching down to feel where I was cut. It was devastatingly deep. I could literally almost have torn the heel of my foot off with very little effort. Severed all the way through my achiles tendon and down to the bone my veins throbbed pulsating gushes of the blackest blood I had ever seen or probably ever will. I was horrified, and I know my Mother was too-but she steadied herself and tried to get me out from behind that staircase with no more damage. As I emerged I fell into her arms, and who should appear but one of my cousins from my grandparent's house-the one who wanted to enter into the medical field. My Mom told him to grab some linen off the bed and he came back a dissheveled mess of bedding. He looked like one giant tear of rags. They wrapped my leg as best they could and we sped off to the hospital, where they applied almost 50 stitches. I was in a cast for a couple of months, and eventually my cousin who had helped my Mom wrap my leg wrote to me to say that after witnessing such a catastrophic event, he was not planning any medical career what so ever. He later became a District Attorney in Oregon. I thought you might find this insightful. Steve