Life really knows how to throw a curve ball….. and how you react determines the outcome!

I was setting up my kit for Friday night’s Mystery Trip (Beatles) gig, at the Factory in Franklin, when the phone rang.  It was the Guess Who’s manager, Randy Erwin:  “Hi, Charlie, what are you doing tomorrow? Fancy doing a Guess Who gig in Effingham, Illinois?” – It turns out their drummer,  Garry Peterson, was unable to leave home (Greensboro SC) because Atlanta had been hit by a massive snow storm (freak “Winter Storm Benji” hit the Deep South, but somehow avoided most of Tennessee & points northward).

So I said “yes!” – and continued setting up my kit. Not a moment was spent thinking about such mere details as logistics!  As it turns out, the weather the next day was perfect (cold, but clear) and it was a straight 4-hour run.

So, back to Friday night’s show:  The Little Brick Theatre (at the Factory, Franklin) is an intimate setting for a gig.  The 5 musicians who are collectively known as “Mystery Trip” played for over 2 hours, faithfully reproducing 30 Beatles tunes for those who braved the cold:- Gordon Kennedy (guitar/vocals), Rob Arthur (keyboards/guitar/vocals), Adam Lester (guitar/keyboards/bass/vocals), Saul Zonana (Bass/keyboards/vocals) and myself (drums/vocals).  And a great time was had by all… especially those of us on stage! We do this gig for the pleasure of being able to recreate the genius of the Beatles.

Saturday morning, bright & early:  I packed an overnight bag, filled up the car with fuel & set off up I-24, out of Nashville, accompanied by a few snow flurries. 4 hours (and 300 miles) later I pulled into the parking lot of the Holiday Inn, Effingham Illinois, in time to catch the bus to sound check, with the rest of the band.  Since I last payed with them they’re doing a couple of new songs, and I was able to listen to them in the car en route (and also sketch out a rough chart before sound check).  Sound check itself was a breeze:  these guys have their shit together.  I’ve never done a sound check with them that lasted  longer than an hour.

There’s another thing that always strikes me when I work with the Guess Who. Everything they do is about enjoying life and having fun.  There’s never a single moment of brow-beating, frustration or anger. This joie-de-vivre transmits to the audience, too!  It’s infectious.  Some of the people I work with could definitely learn a thing or two from these guys! After all, what we do for a living is something that many people can only dream of doing!  OK, I know it’s a “business” and we need to exercise some professionalism, but not at the expense of fun.  I’ve never had a bad gig with this band!  And Saturday’s show was no exception.  I left the stage feeling euphoric.

After a period of autograph-signing, we headed back to the Holiday Inn, just in time to get a last food order in before the closed the kitchen. We spent the next 3 hours, eating, drinking & catching up.  What a great way to top off the year!

Sunday’s drive home was relaxing & pleasant, basking in the afterglow of two great gigs (for completely different reasons).

THIS is why I do what I do!