The passing of Billy Powell (2009) really tugged at my heartstrings. Billy and his family lived in this community, as did many other band members, and while I didn’t know him personally, I certainly knew about Lynyrd Skynyrd. The band originated right here in my hometown. You would be hard-pressed to find many old timers who didn’t go to school with one of the band members, or didn’t know one or two of their family members. Seems everyone knows how the band got its name. I myself have a story or two to tell.
Lynyrd Skynyrd has known more than its fair share of tragedy along the way. In 2006, they were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Free Bird has always been my favorite Lynyrd Skynyrd tune.
Billy’s passing got me thinking back to a time when I dated someone who was in a local rock band. Go ahead and laugh but it’s true.
Way back when, I dated a guy in a rock band. I met him through a friend of a band member. I can’t remember what he played … the horn, I believe. The band played local clubs and dances. So, there I was, little Miss Socialite, trying to be a rock band member’s girlfriend. Let’s just say a wardrobe change was in order if I was going to fit in at all. The pearls definitely had to go.
Because I was living at home at the time, anyone I dated was required to come to the front door to pick me up for our date, come inside to chat with my parents, and basically get the once over before I was allowed to leave. This included my new rocker friend.
One night he came to pick me up with two other band members and their dates. Keep in mind they all had long hair, much longer than mine, and none of them looked liked poster children for the preppy look (which was more my style). In fact, one of the guys was wearing a vest that strongly resembled something Sonny Bono would have worn. Fur comes to mind.
I thought my parents would lose it but they didn’t. Everyone sat around chit chatting, having a good time, and then we were out the door. I think my parents enjoyed the visit far more than they were willing to admit. Years later, they were still talking about it.
On that particular evening, we went downtown to a club that had live music. Funny how these memories are rushing back. I like it. Anyway, we were sitting around a table, enjoying our beverages … probably rum and coke … when a guy came up to one of the band members (from behind) and asked him to dance.
Ronnie was his name (the band member, not the stranger). Ronnie had very long hair, and I can see how someone might have been confused if approaching Ronnie from behind. It was rather dark inside the club. Well, with that, Ronnie turned around, beard and all, looked the guy square in the eyes and said, “No, thank you.” The look on the other guy’s face was priceless. He didn’t know what to do. There was that awkward moment of silence, and then we all had a good laugh. The guy might have sat with us for a drink or two. While the guys talked music, I chit chatted with the girls. Hair and makeup might have entered into the conversation. I don’t believe we discussed pearls.
Butch was my date’s name. I’ve never dated a Butch since that time. In fact, I don’t recall that I’ve known another Butch. I wonder what his real name might have been. That much I’ve forgotten. I do recall that he was very sweet and quite cute. We went out a few more times before the band started to get busy and travel out of town. Shortly after, Butch and I lost contact. That’s all I remember about Butch and the band.
I wonder if they made it big. I hope so.
© Catherine Evermore. All rights reserved.