As I said in my last post, standing outside hotels smoking can lead to some interesting encounters and those at the Relax Inn beside Tripp’s Harley-Davidson was no exception. The guy staying two doors down from Ed and I had also come out for a smoke, and the conversation was sparkled up by a comment about my tattoos. After a brief discussion over wether I wanted any marijuana, which I didn’t – I told him I couldn’t risk it as I might be thrown out of the US before the end of my trip – we got onto other topics.
I’m also interested to hear other peoples stories, especially when travelling, so I asked him about himself. He’d moved into the hotel 3 weeks ago, and was currently living there full-time as he was going through a bitter divorce. I certainly felt for him there. His soon-to-be ex-wife sounded even more of a nightmare than my ex-wife, if that’s possible. He’d been a fencer for the last 35 years, but his real passion was music. He’d played bass in a band which had opened for Motley Crue some years back, and had played the local scene for years. That is until his drummer was shot by his brother over a pretty argument, and the guitarist crashed his car into a store without his seat belt on and went right through the windscreen. His brother had run with the wrong crowd for a long time, and had a big macho ego. He’d been in and out of prison his whole life. That is until he was stabbed to death in prison for crossing the wrong gang.
He told me another curious tale related to his brother. Apparently, Alice Cooper had played Amarillo in the 1970s, and his brother had chanced his luck by visiting the band’s hotel with a view to thieving. He got lucky because he found a hotel room unlocked, and made off with a waistcoat and a briefcase containing the keys to the bands instrument cases.
His brother had brought these home, and my smoking buddy had tried to convince him to take them back. He said being a musician, he knew how valuable the keys to the instrument cases were. His brother let him take the keys back, but wouldn’t part with the waistcoat. He took them back saying he had found them in the trash, and with some suspicion the keys went back, but not before Shep Gordon, Cooper’s manager, had asked if he had found a waistcoat with them. Apparently the waistcoat had been made by Gordon’s girlfriend at the time and had great sentimental value, even more so after she died of cancer a few years later.
Well my smoking buddy said he held onto this waistcoat for the better part of 30 years, and had always had the intention of returning it to its rightful owner, but couldn’t do this with his brother alive. With the death of this brother, he managed to track Gordon down, and called him asking if he remembered the incident from 30 odd years before. He did. And he remembered the waistcoat. My smoking buddy had mailed the waistcoat back to him after 30 years just a few weeks before. He said he hadn’t heard from him since and was thinking to contact him again. I got the impression he was hoping for a reward.
Now I have no idea what the veracity of those stories are, but I thought they were interesting.