...continued from On The Road - The Journey
A funny thing has been happening over the last few months. Gravity has been starting to form around a 30 year-old event.
In April I published the first chapter of my On The Road series, which highlight my early years on the road as a young musician boy-man.
In chapter one, I described how I was summoned on the phone at 7 a.m. by a gruff old man named Gabe Garland, who coaxed me into driving out to Pennsylvania to join one of his magic road shows (my word, not his).
In the second chapter, I relived the harrowing cross-country road trip, aided by the pages of my infamous angst-filled teen diary.
However, in the weeks that followed those stories, I started noticing several new hits on my blog by people searching for "Gabe Garland." Then I started receiving comments on those posts, followed by emails from various people who also had experiences with Gabe and one of his many bands. These messages came in 2 flavors:
1. people sharing their stories with me
2. people asking me to continue my story
And so, to fulfill my duty as a servant of the people, I will now continue the tale of my first road experience as a 19 year old musician.
When we last left young Jeffrey, he was just pulling into Hazleton, PA after a horrifying 3-day limp across the United States.
By the time I reached Hazleton I was completely spent. For 12 hours I battled mountain hills, road construction, pea soup fog, and icy, pouring rain. All I could think about was finding someplace to lie down and sleep... for a long, long time. But I was still not at my destination completely. I still had to get to the studio. And so, armed with the phone number Gabe gave me just a few days earlier, I pulled into a gas station, dropped a quarter in the pay phone and called the studio. It was now 1 a.m.
Band guy: "Hello?"
Me: "Um, yeah... I'm, uh... Jeff Lee and I need directions to... uh... you know, where you guys are at."
Band guy: "Oh. Well, you're still about 15 miles out dude. How about we meet you at the Beacon Diner in Hometown and you can follow us from there to Barnesville, where the barn is."
Me: "15 miles? The barn?"
Little did I know that the studio was not so much of a "studio," in the traditional sense of how you would imagine a recording studio, as it was a "barn." Literally. In Barnesville.
And also little did I know... that the band I had just traveled 1267 miles to join was not the only band living at the barn. In fact, there were three bands living there - our band The Toys, The Boxtops and The Classics Four. In addition, not only were there 20 or so musicians occupying the place, but so were their various spouses, girlfriends/boyfriends, children, dogs and cats. All-in-all I estimated there were about 40 people in this place. In other words, I had just pulled into what was the equivalent of a hippie commune.
When I finally walked in at 2 a.m. the place was quiet. And dark. One of my band-mates showed me to a large room and pointed me at a mattress on the floor along the wall, which was to serve as my new "home" for the next 10 days. I was asleep within seconds.
The next morning things became very strange very quickly. Allow me to quote directly from my infamous diary:
|When I woke up there were a lot of things going on - especially in my head. 1st - what am I doing here? There was a band set up at one end of the room and there was all these weird people waking up on all sides of me. So I took refuge in Matt, our bass player, and had him show me the place. First the shower.|
The bathroom (guys) had 2 toilet stalls and 3 shower stalls. There was a long counter with 3 sinks and a long mirror over the sinks. There were toothbrushes, shaving kits, hairbrushes and anything else a bunch of guys would need. So I took a shower and got dressed and got my act together so I could meet all these people.
I went into the kitchen which was the popular hang out. Here they had a fridge, a stove, some cupboard space and a table that seats 6. No sink of course - you had to go into the bathroom to wash your dishes or get water, which was real appetizing. There wasn't much in the way of dishes there either. A few spoons and plates and cups - you had to wash out anything you wanted to use and then wash them when you were done - so there was all kinds of dishes in the bathroom on the counter next to everything else - including the smell.
And so we will pause here until next time... which I promise will be sooner than it took me to get to this one. In the meantime, since I have been receiving so much interest in this story from ex-Gabe recruits, I thought it would be insanely cool to set up a common space for all of us to get together and share our tales, pictures and pain from 30 years ago. Hmm, let's see. What would be a good place to do that? Wait, I know... how about a Facebook fan page? Good idea Jeff!
So, if you're someone who wants to contribute to this living legacy, or just follow along, simply click this link and you will forever be included as a member of:
Next Up: Gabe