This is part of a series of posts I’ve entitled, “Stories From the Road.” Each week I will post a new story from Rick Sikes, a Texas musician who traveled the roads of Texas, Oklahoma, New Mexico and out to California for well over twenty years. With hours to pass in a van full of sweaty musicians, they found ways to entertain themselves. These stories are told in Rick Sikes’ words. I’ll do my best to correct grammar, but I want to keep them in his own voice.
I’m going to switch gears and share a few of the Rick Sikes and the Rhythm Rebels Band stories. Some of them are pretty unbelievable, but they all did happen. 🙂
“My brother Bobby, was a fantastic keyboard player. He played guitar too but excelled on the keyboard. He was a crazy SOB. In high school, his nickname was “Nut” Sikes. So, he was always game for a prank or skit or anything else we came up with.
We used to have what we called a “prop kit.” It had all kinds of old stuff in it like a Viking helmet, some beards, floppy hats, and raggedy Hobo clothes – all kinds of stuff, and we had a lot of fun with it. I remember one time we had stopped to eat at a fancy restaurant in Waco. We had figured out a scheme or plan that involved Bobby playing the part of a sex fiend. He didn’t care. He was a comedian anyway and he loved to be a fool.
So, I went inside the restaurant first and there was a nice elderly lady sitting behind the counter. I told her, “Ma’am, I have a band and we would like to eat, but I have a brother that is in the mental hospital most of the time. I bring him out for a couple of weeks on the road with me because our parents are both dead and we don’t have anybody. But, he’s really messed up mentally.”
She said, “Oh, I’m so sorry. What is his problem?”
I was good at keeping a straight face and playing the straight guy. “Well, he is what we call a sex fiend,” I said. “He sees women and he just gets nutty sometimes. So, if you will allow us to come in, please ask the waitresses not to get too close to him.”
She said, “Well, of course. Of course, you can come in.” I said, “We’ll hold him down and confine him, but just ask them please not to get too close.”
So, I go back out to the bus and get everyone and I’m sure she’s warning all the waitresses.
We walked inside and Bobby was slobbering and growling like an animal. A couple of the guys had him by the arms leading him in. They sat him down at the end of the table and we all sit down. A guy sat on each of Bobby and kept holding onto his arms.
The waitress came to the far end of the table away from him and asked us to pass the menus down. Everyone ordered. I ordered for Bobby.
A couple sat at the table next to ours and when their waitress brought a cart with their food on it, she got pretty close to our table. Bobby jumped up and lunged at her growling. The waitress screamed and knocked her food cart over spilling food on the couple.
I ran up front to the elderly lady and apologized. “I will pay for that couple’s food and for anything that got broken. I am so terribly sorry.”
She just shook her head and clicked her tongue. “That’s okay. Don’t worry about it.”
So, I went back to our table. In the meantime, the other guys had dragged Bobby back to his chair and held on to him.
When the waitress brought our food, she stayed at the far end of the table. Bobby started crawling across the table right in the middle, slobbering and making goofy noises. The guys yanked him back and that waitress screamed. She sat our food down and took off.
I don’t remember what we had ordered for Bobby, but I do remember it had mashed potatoes and gravy and Bobby started eating with his hands and getting it all down the front of his shirt.
Of course, everyone in the restaurant was watching all of this. And that just egged him on. He played it up heavy.
Finally, we got finished and washed him down the best we could. The guys escorted him out and all the while, he was still carrying on.
I went back to the lady at the front and said, “Ma’am, I want to pay for everything. Any damages or anything else he caused.”
She said, “Oh, no, no, no, no. Don’t worry about that at all. What on earth do you do with him when you go to play someplace?”
I said, “We just chain him in the bus. We have to lock him up or else he’ll get out.”
She clicked her tongue and asked, “And, you take him out two weeks every year so he can be with you?”
“Yes, Ma’am,” I replied.
She said, “You know you are one of the most compassionate men I have ever met. You are certainly a good man and I admire you. I know it’s terribly humiliating for you.”
I played the straight guy all the way. “Yes, Ma’am. Yes, Ma’am.”
So then we all get back on the bus and everyone cracks up and has a blast.
It was a crazy stunt to pull, but it helped break up the monotony and boredom on the road…”