We were on tour with Carol King’s daughter Louise Goffin (Rock & Roll, The Next Chapter) the year was 1979 and NEXT OF KIHN had just come out. The FM stations had started playing REMEMBER as the first single, but it was way too long. Just to show you how primitive our technology was in those days- edits were made with a razor blade on the two-inch multi-track master tape! Yikes! If you blew it you really blew it. You actually cut the master tape! Our engineer at the time was Richie Corsello (listed as Dr. Schnozz on the credits) and he was the best tape-cutter in town. He had a golden straight razor in a fancy wooden box that he would whip out for important edits. It cut like a scalpel. Our distributor at the time was GRT Records and Tapes and GRT President Eddie DeJoy (another Baltimore guy) really loved REMEMBER so he had us make a copy of the master tape, then cut that up to make the edit. The song was recorded live with no click track and the tempo wandered a little, so for whatever reason, it didn’t work. So we went back into the recording studio and recorded another shorter version (for the single) but that turned into a disaster. You can only capture the magic once- if you’re lucky, lightning never strikes twice. That single is another rare GKB collectable, the re-recorded REMEMBER. There weren’t too many copies released at the time but I see them out there once in a while.
GRT and Ed DeJoy made some great promotional items that year- like the Greg Kihn life-size cardboard stand-up (now quite rare) and the Greg Kihn Cocktail glasses from the Roxy. That was the night Bruce Springsteen showed up and gave me RENDEVOUS.
Anyway, we were in Nashville to play a small club. The buzz there was great and the place was packed. Among the patrons that night were Gene Simmons from Kiss and the legendary Roy Orbison. They both came backstage and we had a very interesting conversation. Gene told me to shut up and play more songs. He thought I talked too much. I probably did, I was probably stoned that night and sometimes I get that way. But I’ve always been verbose on stage.
I invited Roy and Gene out to sit on our tour bus. It was a fancy two-section job with an accordion middle, like the big Muni busses. GRT must have been paying for it because we could never afford anything like that. We were always on a budget, usually driving around the country in a rented RV. This tour bus was a luxury coach with everything.
We were all sitting in the back lounge talking. There were a couple of good-looking groupies Gene invited on the bus as well. The man was insatiable.
We were all sitting there, when Roy turned to me and said, “I do believe this bus is moving.”
He was right. It was rolling backward, slowly at first, then the middle jackknifed.
Our soundman jumped up. “Oh, my god!” He ran up the aisle and dove over the driver’s seat and hit the brake with the palms of his hands.
One of the groupies had been sitting in the driver’s seat, pretending to drive, and she had inadvertently released the park brake. It’s a damn good thing Roy noticed. He narrowly averted disaster.
The bus lurched to a halt. Gene pulled back the curtains to see the brick wall of the club about two inches away. The bus had jackknifed and nearly rolled through the wall. It would have slammed into the crowded dance floor.
We had stopped inches short. No one spoke. We were all too stunned.
Roy and Gene left shortly after that. What a weird couple. It must be the magic of Music City. The Greg Kihn Band missed being front page news by an eyelash. I think our soundman was Jerry Blumenthal at that time. My memory is foggy. I have the mental image of Jerry going head over heels diving for the brake with his hands.
I’ll be telling this story and a ton of other road tales at Logue’s Black Raven Emporium in Nashville next Tuesday night at 7:00pm. If you’re in the neighborhood please drop by. We will have a limited number of advanced reading copies of RUBBER SOUL. This will be the first time ever the book is has ever been seen. We will have posters of the book cover suitable for framing. I’ll sign whatever you want. I’ll do a couple of tunes, and read from RUBBER SOUL, answer questions, whatever you want. This event looks like it’s going to be a lot of fun. I’ll see you there!