Steve was one of the greatest saxophone players of the ’70s. He and his band had played the dives and smoky bars for twelve years before they finally hit the big time’ opening for bigger names before getting there own shows.
There were five members in the group. Bobby played piano and synthesizer. He was the leader of the band, sporting a gold tooth and flashy threads. Bobby was the oldest and had played with a few other groups in the late fifties to early sixties. None of them had any success, though, and Bobby had turned to booze and drugs, before cleaning himself up and getting back to his music.
Jerry played rhythm guitar. Before coming into the group Jerry had only ever played with a small group in college, doing fraternity and sorority parties. Like Bobby, the partying and booze took its toll and Jerry flunked out of college – and the group. With no more frat parties and sorority girls to play for the party scene lost its appeal to Jerry and he started looking for another band to play with.
Bongo, the drummer was a wild man on the set. He could play like nobody’s business and would get the crowds fired up with his improvised drum solos. Away from the stage, though, he was very quiet and kept mostly to himself. He and Jerry wrote most of the group’s new stuff.
Then there was Stacey on bass guitar. Stacey had been Steve’s girl since junior high school. She played violin in the orchestra and he played saxophone in the band. They lived and grew up on the same street and saw each other every day. After graduating from high school they jumped in his car left the small town, searching for fame and fortune on the road. He would play on street corners while she danced and played her violin. She started playing guitar soon after and jumped to the bass when they hooked up with Bobby and Jerry, who had been playing together for a couple years with, yet another failed band.
Things were going great for the group, until that one night. They were just off tour and trying out some new tunes at one of their usual joints; good sized bar, nice dance floor with a regular crowd who always packed the place when the band was in town. He and Bobby were setting up the stage and doing mic checks, while Bongo set up his rig. Steve went back to the dressing room to get Jerry and Stacey to come out and check their guitars with the sound board and caught the two in each others arms. Steve told them the sound board was ready for their instrument checks, turned and walked back out the door. When it was time for the first set Steve acted as if everything was normal and the group began to play.
The last song of the first set was one of the group’s fan favorites, called, “Let’s Heat Up This Chilly Night”. It started with Steve, low – slow and sexy – on the sax – (he was the “chilly”), accompanied by Stacey on bass, while Bongo lightly brushed the medium and floor toms with some hi-hats thrown in. After about eight or nine minutes of “chilly” Bongo switched to sticks and added some more drums while Stacey’s volume rose and Bobby kicked in with the piano. Then it was Jerry’s turn on the rhythm guitar, starting out low and increasing in volume and speed. This was the “heat” and it went on for another ten minutes or so. During this time Steve had nothing to do, so it was easy for him to walk back to the dressing room, pack his sax, grab his gig and duffel bags and walk out the back door, unnoticed, into the cold New Jersey night. The rest of the band didn’t notice he was gone until the end of the song. So…where did Steve go and what happened to him?
Ten years after leaving the group, and Stacey, behind Steve was spotted working at a warehouse in Chicago by a former fan. The fan called a music magazine and they sent a reporter to get his story. Steve didn’t want to talk at first, but finally gave an interview. He said when he left the bar that night he walked to the nearest bus station and bought a ticket to California, hoping to hook up with some musician friends he knew and play with them, but they were touring and didn’t need a saxophonist. He managed to get some studio work for a while and played clubs around Burbank and Oceanside before getting back on the bus and going to other towns. He said he spent about six months in Mexico, playing with a Mariachi band, but never could pick up the language and always felt the locals were making fun of him. He said he stayed too drunk most of the time to care anyway. After coming back to the states he headed for a large musician roundup he heard about in Chicago. Unable to garner any interest in his music he took a job at the warehouse and had been there ever since. He said he still plays local joints, but has no more interest in playing with a band anymore.
It’s been a long time since I’ve written anything. I had a little time, so I thought I’d throw something out off the seat of my pants. Let me know what you think.