Here’s one for a good laugh.
Today my son pulled down from the garage rafters the ten or so leaf bags full of rock tour t-shirts Dale had stashed over the past forty or so years. The bags were crumbling into big plastic flakes, but the shirts inside were all in pretty good shape. Except for one Spinal Tap shirt that disintegrated in my hands, the rest were fine, I’m going to sell them to supplement my Social Security.
First step was to sort them. Separate the keepers (Paul Simon, Bruce Springsteen, Black Sabbath, etc.) from the Goodwill shirts (Loch Raven Coach, Molly Murphy’s Restaurant in Oklahoma City, Harley Davidson, etc.), then carefully fold the keepers, give them identifying tags, slip them into Ziplock bags, and put them in big plastic tubs to keep them safe and clean until their turn on eBay. I spent the entire day at just the sorting into piles. Ultimately I learned there were several hundred shirts squirreled away around the house, some going back to the mid-seventies. Dale had been a tour driver for nearly forty-five years.
Many of the shirts meant nothing to me; I had never seen them and they’d never been worn. But there were many that brought back memories of tours when I’d accompanied Dale, between 1981 and 1997. The several Jefferson Starship shirts I came across made me smile. Dale’s first tour as a bus driver (previously he’d driven a semi tractor and trailer, carrying stage equipment instead of people) was the Nuclear Furniture tour in 1984. I accompanied him for three weeks.
Did I meet Grace Slick? Of course, I did. She was perfectly sober every time I saw her. But that has nothing to do with this story.
Shortly after I arrived on the tour, at the hotel Dale and I got on an elevator and Grace and a man I didn’t know got on with us. Dale needed to stop on the floor where management had their rooms, which was also where Grace needed to go. They both got off at that floor, and the man and I continued on to the top floor.
He seemed like a nice guy. Asked me if I was Dale’s wife, and I explained that I was visiting him for a few weeks. He said some complimentary things about Dale, etc. as we left the elevator and proceeded to our respective rooms. Thinking I was being polite, I asked him if he worked for the band. I had, after all, seen him get on the elevator with Grace.
He replied in the affirmative.
I asked him what he did.
He said, “I’m the bass player.”
Yeah. Pete Sears.
“Oh, I guess you do work on the tour!”
Had there been a hole to crawl into…
I apologized sincerely. He laughed and forgave me for the rest of my visit.
Now the t-shirts are all packed up, wrapped up, and sold. Fourteen large tubs crammed with them. They’re gone, but the memories stay here.