The SMB has been at it a while and we have covered a lot of ground. We have found a loyal fan base in the biker community and have played bike runs across the United States since the beginning.
A few years ago we were playing the annual “Run to the Cascades” in Bend, Oregon. Bend is a sleepy little town nestled in the Cascade Mountains in the middle of Oregon. Once a year it comes to life when about 5000 bikers converge on the town.
This was our third time playing the run, and our second time headlining the event. We were really looking forward to the gig.
We arrived in town the day before the show and made our way to Bears and Roses Harley Davidson, the dealership that was hosting the event. We were friends with the owners and they were big SMB fans. They had thrown a meet and greet party on our behalf, and like all good biker parties there was BBQ and beer…a lot of beer. There were quite a few SMB fans that had made a special trip to just hang out with us. Some had come very long distances and had even taken time off work. Being the type of guy who would never want to offend any of our fans or the fine people of Bend, I felt it was my duty to help them drink all the beer they had brought.
As the afternoon turned into night we were in full swing and having a blast when I heard some talk about the next day’s schedule of events. Someone mentioned an on-air interview for the morning drive to help promote the show and the new CD. I also heard a promoter say there was going to be a pancake breakfast on Sunday morning, the last day of the run, and that he would like the band to be there for another meet and greet before we left town. I was excited, but to be honest, I didn’t pay much attention. After all, sound check wasn’t until 4pm, and the show wasn’t until 9pm the next day, and there was still quite a bit of cold beer left…I had work to do.
Some time later the party was dying down and we decided to make our way back to the hotel.
“Heeeeey, guysh I’m gannna grab a couple cold onessss for the road,” I slurred as I made my way to a van (I think) that was driven by our trusty D.D. and bass player Greg Kasparian.
As usual Greg was very sober and very annoyed by my antics. He dumped me into my room and said something about being up early to be on the air as he exited my room.
“What the hellll’ssss hissss problemmmmmm,” I mumbled before collapsing face first on my bed like a bag of bricks.
Boom! I shot out of bed reaching for the alarm clock.
“Who the hell set my alarm for 4 am? I’ll kill um!”
I laid back down in bed and a few seconds later, BOOM BOOM BOOM, at my door.
“What the hell?” I thought.I went to the door, opened it, and there are the guys in the band.
“You ready?” Sam asked.
“For what? It’s 4 in the morning, dude,” I managed to get out.
“The interview!” Greg said. “I told you last night when I dropped you off we had to be at the station at 4:30. Let’s go!”
“Oh Yeah,” I said. “Let me get my jacket.”
I wasn’t too worried about it. I just needed to be there. I didn’t have to say anything, so no one would see what a mess I was. After all, it was radio, not TV. I was good to go.
I looked at Sam. “Sorry, bro, my alarm went off but I went back to sleep.”
He looked at me. “Here have a Tic-Tac. Actually take two. They’re small.”
We got to the radio station and they shuffled us into a small booth where the DJ was doing his version of the “Morning Zoo.”
“Hey, guys, great to see you. I love the new CD. We’re live in 5…4…. Hello, Bend! I’ve got a special surprise for you. The Sam Morrison Band has just invaded the Zoo! They’re in town to play The Big Bad Bike Run at Bears and Roses! I’ll have a few questions for them after we listen to their new single ‘I Gotta Ride!’”
As he turned off the mic all I could think was, “Bart do not talk. For once in your life just shut the hell up. If you say one word you’re going to be the tool of tools. Let the boys handle this one you just sit back and relax.”
“And we’re back!” the DJ barked into the mic. “That was the new single ‘I Gotta Ride’ by the SMB. Now let’s meet the band.”
He went around the room asking everyone their names and what we played. When he got to me I had no problem mustering up, “Bart…Drums.”
Now in my head I’m thinking, “What a pro! You got this, ol’ boy.”
When in all actuality I sounded like Animal from The Muppets.
As the interview went on everyone was chiming in, answering questions, telling quick stories about making the record, short road stories, cracking jokes. It was great. However, I was starting to feel left out. I didn’t want to blow it, but I wanted to say a little something, nothing too much, just something to let the people know I was there.
“You’re awful quiet back there, Mr. Drummer,” said the DJ. “Do you have anything to say to our listeners before you guys have to get down the road?”
The next words that came out of my mouth still haunt me to this day.
“Yeah, man. Bears and Roses threw a great party last night so we could meet some of our fans. If you didn’t make it, be sure to come by the dealership Sunday morning for another chance to hang out with us. They are hosting a FREE pancake breakfast!”
Now I don’t know what happened faster, the entire band spinning around in a 3’x5’ room to shoot darts at me or theDJ yelling into the mic, “FREE PANCAKES!?”
At this point I just had to roll with it.
“Yeah, man, free pancakes. Come on down and hang out with us. Oh yeah, the show is going to be great too. I almost forgot about that. Ha ha. We love playing in Bend. ROCK-N-ROLL!!”
“You heard it here first, Bend, two great shows, Friday and Saturday night, topped off by a FREE pancakes with The Sam Morrison Band! Thanks for coming by, guys.”
Nobody said anything as we walked out of the building. When we got to the car Sam Looked at me and said, “Dude, FREE pancakes? Really?”
“Yeah, man. The promoter said they were having a pancake breakfast Sunday morning,” I said.
“You idiot!!!” Greg yelled at me. “He is charging for the breakfast! It’s not FREE!”
“It looks like you just bought a lot of pancakes, Robley,” I heard someone say from the back seat.
That voice in my head came back. “You couldn’t do it? You couldn’t just shut up the hell and be quiet? You had to open that big pie hole of yours and insert your foot in it didn’t you?”
When we got to the venue for sound check I went straight to the promoter and told him what had happened. Luckily for me he is a great guy with a fantastic sense of humor. He said not to worry about it, that he would handle it and we had a big laugh about it.
Needless to say, I don’t talk much during interviews anymore. I also quit trying to drink every town dry a few years back, but the guys in the band still ask me to buy them pancakes whenever we’re on the road.
Until next time!
Mon, December 16, 2013
by Bart Robley