Slugging It Out On The Front

“How I learned to stop worrying and love the banjo”

October 1972, The 3rd set had begun at “On the Hill,” a long gone by nightclub in Danbury, Connecticut. The place was packed and crawling with beer soaked bikers and Deadheads and we were doing our regular routine, a strange mix of Commander Cody swing tunes and Ukrainian polka numbers.

Suddenly, half way through the first chorus of “Who Stole the Kishka,” amidst the countless throngs of gyrating bodies, two gentlemen very close to the stage were seemingly engaged in dispute over a spilled drink.

As I was quite caught up in the task at hand; playing my guitar, and simultaneously trying to reason out I was in this place singing a song about a stolen sausage, the small disturbance over the spilled drink erupted into a flurry of swinging arms and flying bodies. Then…a chain reaction began; in a giant domino effect from front to back, the room erupted in a sea of fists and fury and the crowd lurched in unison as they spilled out on to the parking lot while the five of us on stage clutched at our not-yet-paid-for equipment.

The band locked arms and tried in vain to hold back the flambee des masses from destroying the only dream we’d ever had……playing the opening of the new Rte. 9 Shop-Rite the following week!!!!

Stay tuned for the next installment of: “How I stopped worrying and learned to love the banjo!”

Mel Paskell

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