17. The Magic Kingdom

Updated: Oct 24, 2020

Once upon a time, there was a world where it was possible to have fun without fear, guilt or recrimination. It was a world where live music was king and bands were paid accordingly. It was the dawn of music videos, before the rise of DJ's, karaoke and police roadblocks checking for drunk drivers. It was a time when people typically went out to hear live music, dance, meet new people, spend time with friends and socialize. And it was the last decade before the internet cast its shadow over human existence. It was carefree and it was fun.

So this is where we pick up the Rush saga which began with a few successful local gigs and gradually edged towards a full time job. The guitar player and bass player who I came into the band with were gone and replaced by others who were considered more bankable. And I accepted the need for stage clothes, but rejected the ones I was offered. I augmented my Rhodes electric piano with my first synthesizer, a Korg Poly 61 which was followed by others until I found myself surrounded by Korg, Roland, Yamaha and Casio keyboards.

Many nightclubs, many stories. During our first Summer we landed a gig at a new nightclub in Old Orchard Beach called the Midnight Cowgirl and worked our way south. We had an agent (or two) who booked us out of state and did most of our own local booking, thus saving ourselves the expense of an agent's commission. We had homes and families so we tried to book as many gigs as we could within commuting distance, but we also needed to make money and the higher paying gigs were mostly out of state.

We typically rolled into town around mid-afternoon for a three to five night gig, checked into our hotel, took a couple of hours to set up and do a sound check, grab some dinner, shower, dress and head for the gig at 9 p.m. We played three or four sets which ended at 1 p.m. and took some time to wind down after the gig either at the club, or back at our hotel. As much as possible, we rehearsed at the club during the day to keep our repertoire fresh and interesting.

It was a simple equation. Bring in as many people as possible to generate maximum revenue at the door and at the bar. And we made it work.

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