News From The Pit

This Old Guitar
By Jimmy Brown

Hello readers. It's official: school's out, and for yours truly, that means it's really summer. I bring that up because for this month's column, I was asked to tell an "old guitar" story about summertime and the coming of summer music festivals.

I thought I might share a story about what I have gone through in order to deliver an old guitar to some of the roving rock stars who campaign around the countryside this time of year. You know the story: "You want it when?!" Better yet, call it the "I want what I want when I want it" syndrome.

Being an eager-to-please sort of person, I have found myself in more than one jam doing things like that. But that's a whole 'nother story, one more suited for Psychology Today rather than Louisville Music News. When posed this question, two events came to mind. The first one I discussed with our illustrious publisher, Paul Moffett, was quickly deemed it unfit for publication! So, that left me with the 2nd event. It's scary how I can forget so much stuff, but I'll do my best to retrace these steps.

It must have been the mid-Seventies, because I was old enough to rent a car. Alan Rogan, an English gentleman well known in rock and vintage guitar circles as a fellow who takes care of performers' instruments, gave me a call. There was a festival in Tennessee featuring Fleetwood Mac, The Eagles, and Joe Walsh. Maybe Joe Walsh was in The Eagles - I can't remember. I do remember it was a Saturday and Alan calls.

He says they need something in the way of guitars. They need it that day, and can I deliver the guitar(s) immediately? As I mentioned earlier, being eager to please, I said "okay" and hung up the phone before realizing that my car wasn't in trustworthy enough condition to deliver me, much less those guitars, to Tennessee in a matter of hours.

So I stepped into that until-then-unknown place: a car rental shop. For some reason, renting a car had always seemed like an unwise thing to do. At the very least, I thought it was an expensive thing to do. Bear in mind, this was the Seventies, when renting or leasing a car was still for the select few. Or so I had always thought.

Anyway, I rented a car, some sort of Chrysler. It surprised me with how relatively inexpensive it was to rent the car for a day, especially when I took into consideration that there was no time for breakdowns or mishaps. I needed a car that would go right there, right then. I just figured into the cost of doing business for a day.

And the thing I remember most about that day was not the festival, or the performers, or even what old guitars I delivered. No, what I remember is the feeling I got from driving somebody else's car!. Heck, it didn't even really belong to anybody!

And it's a good thing it didn't. For it turned out that this festival was in the middle of nowhere. What I really needed was a tractor. I know this rental car was not meant to be an ATV, but it quickly turned into one for me as I drove it through an unpaved field to the festival.

That car got me there safe and sound, the guitars got delivered and somehow I got the car back safe and sound, too. Gee, how much easier it is when it's not yours!

I wonder if that old Chrysler is still on the road? Naw -- not a chance.

Well. that's all for now. So until next time, keep rockin'.