Magic Carpet Ride

J.Brent©1993

There was Big Junk singing, Jer on guitar, Mac on fiddle and me bottling. I'd been demoted from the position of flute player in Munich, after everyone agreed (my vote abstaining) that it was just too much having flute and violin together in what was supposed to be a Rock and Roll group.

I didn't care, I made just as much money collecting coins as I did when I was playing and that also meant I got first shot at the girls.

A friend of Junk's in Munich gave him a big Persian rug. When we got to Nuremberg, I suggested that we use the rug as sort of a "street stage", to make it look like a real band (sort of).

Big Junk thought that it was a stupid idea, but if I carried the carpet out to the pitch he said he'd give it a try and see what happens.

I humped the rug on my shoulder down the street, the damn thing was heavy and well, you know what old rugs smell like, so by the time we got to the pitch, I was beginning to have second thoughts myself.

We set right up in front of the church doors, which made an impressive backdrop. I positioned the "stage" while they all got tuned up. Then they all got on to the carpet, with Big Junk looking really embarassed saying what a fucking dumb idea it was for a street band to play on a carpet. Anyway there was a crowd beginning to form and they got stuck into the pitch.

Big Junk always sang with a drum on his back when he did the streets. So with his big booming voice (which everybody reckoned that he had the loudest voice of all the buskers), the boom-chick of the drum on his back, and the relentless Rock and Roll guitar strumming, he was like a bulldozer music machine chugging out heavy duty Rhythm and Blues. He really reminded me of a charging bull. When I told him that later in the bar he did not take it as a compliment. He said "Oh, yeah? I remind you of a bull, do I? Well, you remind me of a snake!" Actually, with all the different instruments that I play I had always thought of myself as more of a chameleon, but that's beside the point.

In the middle of the third song just as I was about to go around with the hat, somebody inside the church that we were playing in front of started banging on the doors. They were too chickenshit to open the door and ask us to move in a civilized manner. So, who ever it was, was hammering away at the door to express their annoyance in the same way people bang on the ceiling of an apartment when the neighbors are making too much noise. Oh, hell! That's just what we needed!

And then an elephant walked right through the middle of the crowd. A fucking elephant! Along with the whole crew of the circus that was in town. As the elephant walked away down the street, so did our entire crowd.

So there they were, standing on this Persian rug, playing for nobody. The banging on the inside of the church doors had stopped, but almost certainly because the person had gone to telephone the cops.

Because the police showed up in the elephant's wake. They told us to pack it up and get out of town. Damn! We'd just driven four hours to get to this place, we hadn't made a single penny, and on our very first pitch we'd had our crowd mowed down by an elephant and been given the boot to boot. And somehow it was all my fault because I'd brought the stinking rug!

Big Junk went nuts. He started screaming in German about what a bunch of nazis Nuremberg's police and citizens were.

He put his drum on the ground but the cords were still attached to his shoes. So every time he took a step, the drum would hit. He started marching around the main square with the drum in tow, doing the nazi salute and yelling "Sig Heil".

Here's this maniac screaming at the top of his lungs (if you think Big Junk could sing loud, he could scream even louder) goose-stepping around in the middle of the busiest pedestrian street in town.

"Sig Heil" BOOM! "Sig Heil" BOOM! "Sig Heil" BOOM! "Sig Heil" BOOM! What a spectacle!

I tried to get him to calm down, but I was the last person he would listen to, me and my fucking "magic carpet", elephants and pigs!

When Junk finally got that out of his system, we got in his VW bus and drove to the nearest big town. On the next pitch we did, you can be sure that the rug stayed nice and snug right inside that van.

 

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