Rock ‘n Roll Bluegrasser

         Just so you’ll know, ole Dr. Bibey can be a versatile guy on occasion.  I am a Doc, I play bluegrass mandolin, and after that I’m glad I have a very smart wife, ’cause she knows most everything.  Every once in a while, though, I’ll take on a different gig.

         Such was the case last night.  Rock ‘n roll mandolin.  Now I know the English Professor musta done a double take there, but it did happen.  I’ll have to say I did a double take myself, especially when we did one called “Double Shot of My Baby’s Love,” and all these young women came up on the stage and started gyrating around.  We’ve having a mild winter; I’m concerned about this global warming thing, but it was still way too cold for those girls to be dressed so skimpy.  Most of ‘em were patients of mine, and I felt like they might wind up with pneumonia, but Jimmy Martin, the drummer (his real name!) said they always dressed that way and not to make an issue of it.

         The gig was the Harnett County Rock ‘n Roll All Star Jam, and it is held at Iggy Rock Pub, our only rock venue in the County, every year the week between Christmas and New Year’s.  They have taken to being more inclusive, and this year I was invited as the token bluegrasser and mandolinist.  I don’t know too much rock ‘n roll, but I like to be accommodating, so when Jimmy called to see if I’d do the gig, I agreed to it.  I went to the closet, got out my solid body Tele-MandoCaster that I play on some sacred numbers at Harnett Methodist, found my only guitar cord, so I could plug in, and went to take in the adventure.

         There is only one rule for the All Star Jam- no practice.  Given my background in bluegrass music, Jimmy knew I’d fit right in, and I’ll say that as far as the music, I think I did.   Now the rest of the gig, that was a different story.

        For one thing, everyone there was blessed with youth and good looks, and I do not possess either.  Jack Martino, the little hip heartthrob kid leader, all of twenty years young, was dressed in a black silk shirt that was open about half way down his chest, and had a gold chain dangling around his neck.  He wore some of those new blue jeans you paint on rather than wear.  He sported a soul patch, (I’d never heard of one of those) and spiked jet black hair.  His dark eyes locked in with every young lady in the audience, half of whom wound up on the stage before it was all over.

         I have to tell you, I stood out in stark contrast.  Gray hair, bifocals, and I forgot to take out my pocket protector and pens, and left my omnipresent cell phone on my belt, but I wasn’t on call and it didn’t go off.  

        All the young ladies wanted Jack’s autograph, but he didn’t have nothing on me.  A bunch of women wanted me to meet them after the show.  They all wondered if if I took new Medicare patients or if I could help them get a lift chair.  (I think it was senior discount night- now I know why they hired me- marketing.)  

         I’m sure young Jack must have wondered what in the world Jimmy Martin, who was a little closer to middle aged- about thirty- was thinking when he put such a old guy like me in the mix, and I reckon I wondered a bit myself.  But it wasn’t long before the International Language of Music kicked in.  Jack sang “Ain’t no Sunshine When You’re Gone” wailed away on the sax, then glanced my way, gave a nervous nod, and cued old Doc to take a break.  Well, I was more hip than those boys thought, and got to bending those strangs like the ex-rock ‘n roller I somewhat am.  (I didn’t tell ‘em I’d played in a beach music band in high school- I didn’t want my bluegrass buddies to know.)  Randolph, the electric guitar man, was so taken by it he walked over and stomped on a box on the floor they had me running through, and it made for some kinda wild distortion- my MandoCaster is a fine ax, but I never heard it sound quite like that.  After the show I inspected my gear, and that little box was called a “Bad Monkey Tube Compression Overdrive.”  I’d be willing to bet not many old docs have played a mandolin gig through a Bad Monkey Pedal before.  

         I did so good, even a few of the young ladies asked for my autograph.  I hope they aren’t gonna try to pass it for a prescription at the Reveco by the River.  The State Board has some pretty strict rules about these things, and somehow I didn’t think they would dig the fact I’d played a rock and roll gig even if I did overdrive a Bad Monkey. 

        But, unless they object, I’ll be back next year.  Jimmy re-signed me, and I’d better be there, ’cause sure enough they’ll have it on Senior Citizen’s night, and I don’t want to let my fans down.

        Well I came home, and all that cigarette smoke made me smell like I’d been to a bar (I guess maybe I had) so Ms. Marfar sent me straight to the showers and fixed me some hot tea, ’cause my throat was all raspy from having to talk over all those folks- that place was loud.  Good thing she did, too.  I didn’t need to wind up with laryngitis- it is hard as the devil to dictate charts when that happens. 

         It was a good gig, and very exciting, but for the most part, I’d better stick with bluegrass.  I don’t know if my heart could take all that on any regular basis.

Dr. B

                                                                                                                  

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6 Comments on “Rock ‘n Roll Bluegrasser”

  1. Ted Lehmann Says:

    You’re in pretty good company. The Kruger Brothers toured Europe for years in a Rock band. Even my banjo teacher, Bruce Stockwell, played in rock bands for years. You’re lucky as a doc, since you don’t need to give up your day job, the important one, to follow your muse. I think maybe I’ll do a study of bluegrass musicians’ day jobs. All I know is that the great thing about bluegrass is that in the best sense of the words, it’s an amateur form of music with a few professional adherants. – TEP

  2. drtombibey Says:

    Ted,
    They say on the Net the best musicians have days jobs, but when I listen to Darrell or my cousin from Pecan Grove, N.C. (mamas side six times removed) I ain’t so sure.
    Maybe it’s like Dwight Eisenhour said about golf. (This was the only dirty joke he knew, and I hesitate to post it, ’cause I’m going for a “G” rated site.)
    Ike said golf (in this case music) and sex were a lot alike ’cause they were one of the few things in life the amateurs enjoyed more than the pros.
    Ike was embarrased he said it to the press, but since it is buried in the comment section, I don’t feel quite as bad about posting it.

    -Dr. B

  3. bobleckridge Says:

    Ah, Dr B, “sex, drugs and rock and roll” – always did go together! I rather like that in your case, its a joke in the comments section, prescription only meds and a Bad Monkey Pedal!!!??? Whoa! Just what IS that??!
    Have a good New Year, Tommy Bibey, it’s a pleasure getting to know you, and it’s great to hear about your new experiences, whether they be blogging or rock and rolling!
    Dr Bob

  4. drtombibey Says:

    Dr. Bob,
    Well, I did get to rock ‘n roll, but my idea of a drug is aspirin, and as far as that first thing well, I’ve bout forgot ’bout that! I am thankful no one tried to pass an autograph off as a script, so I am still in good standing with the State Board.
    A Bad Monkey is a real item. It is a rather obscure floor pedal you can stomp on and distort the sound of an electric instrument- sort of a Jimi Hendricks type thing. Is is akin to a wah-wah or cry baby pedal that you hear on old timey rock ‘n roll records. Don’t tell my bluegrass boys- I don’t know how they would view it as they tend to be rather conservative.
    Always good to hear from across the pond.

    -Dr. B

  5. pandemonic Says:

    Sounds like a great time.

    I wish I could play with others, I think you learn the most about music just by collaboration.

  6. drtombibey Says:

    Absolutely true. Our guitar man at church was a decent player, but once he joined the band he went up three levels. I’m glad I know the mando- I couldn’t touch the cat on the guitar now. When he started with the band five years ago, he thought I was the man on the six string! (Had him fooled for a while.)

    -Dr. B


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