My memory is a very fragile thing, especially when it is based on a mistruth, not to be confused with a bald-faced lie. It was almost midnight on a Thursday night. It was the winter of 1980, I was in Champaign, Illinois trying to find “myself” as a pre-young adult, walking about the campus thinking that the answer would just come up and introduce itself to me. Instead, I stumbled upon a bar called either Panama Red’s or Mabel’s. The front door was wide open. Warm air and the stench of cigarettes and spilt beer spewed out, as well as someone screaming/singing “If you walk away, walk away, I walk away, walk away, I will follow.”
This is how long ago 1981 was. Cigarettes cost 75 cents a pack. Quaaludes were on the verge of extinction and cost 3 to 10 dollars a pop. An ounce of Mexican marijuana was 40 dollars, a good third of it was composed of seeds, stems and little pebbles. By the way, this is where the term dime bag originated. One quarter of an ounce equaled 10 dollars, and it was packaged in either a plastic film canister or a small palm-sized manila envelope. The ratio of seeds, stems and little pebbles was 1:1. A considerable rip off, but one does what one does when you’re jonesing THC. Concert tickets were 7 dollars. A two-record set was $14.98 list price, which meant you could get it on sale for $8.99 to $10.99 if you were thrifty.
Rock and roll heaven must be a happier place now, while we, in this shitty Tom Petty-less world, muddle along without a guiding light. Meanwhile, we are left on this mortal plane with Jimmy Buffett, Dave Matthews, Eddie And The Cruisers, an irresponsible incompetent CBS, Ray Parker Jr., Jason Aldine, Jared Kushner, Spin Doctors, Taylor Swift, Barenaked Ladies, bigger and better record breaking mass shootings on American soil, Tears For Fear, Half of Milli Vanilli, The Village People, Coldplay, Demi Lovato, The current Rolling Stones, and Right Said Fred. Space prevents me from making this list longer, time too.
This is one of those crazy rock and roll stories I have heard and it may not be true, but it sounds like it is. It’s like that crazy No Doubt myth. In 1976, the Lynyrd Skynyrd played with The Rolling Stones at the Knebworth Fair Festival. Also on the bill: 10cc, Todd Rundgren’s Utopia and Hot Tuna.