Stories From the Road #12

STORIES FROM THE ROAD!A series of first-hand tales from a Texas Musician and songwriter...

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 bus 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.


“One time we had bookings out in California. We left Brownwood, Texas and made the mistake of stopping in Juarez, Mexico. We had too much fun…drank too much and hung out with too many senoritas. We didn’t really have a whole lot of money left by the time we got out of Juarez, but we had to get on to California to work. Then, the worst happened when we got into Arizona somewhere. The bus started making an engine noise. We had to stop and get it fixed. To the best of my memory, it was an oil pump. At any rate, we were sincerely broke by the time we reached California. We found a motel that rented apartment type rooms; like two bedroom motel rooms. I told the lady who managed it, “We’re musicians and we get paid next week. We get paid every week. We just blew into town from Texas and had some bus trouble so we don’t really have the money to pay you in advance, but we would like to rent the place. We’re going to be here at least six weeks.” I have no idea what possessed her to agree, but she said, “Ok. I’m going to trust you for this week.”

We settled in and had just enough money to buy a pound of bologna and a loaf of bread. We’d managed to get out of Mexico with a few cartons of Mexican cigarettes and a few bottles of Cognac. So, we drank Cognac, smoked Mexican cigarettes and ate bologna and bread for a week.

Finally, at the end of that week, we got paid. That night we went to a place down the street from the motel that advertised all the chicken you could eat for a buck. We almost wiped the poor guy out. I mean, we were hungry! I told him fair and square, “This is the first time we’ve really eaten in a week. We’ve been living off bologna and bread. I’m sorry we wiped you out.” He laughed and said, “No, no. You guys eat all you want and come back again. That is all I ask; that you come back and see me. I’ll come out in the long run.” So, we ate fried chicken there often, but we didn’t eat hardly as much as that first time.

The irony of this band business…this music business, is that I would be up on stage with a fifteen-hundred dollar suit on, high dollar boots, Stetson hat and all kind of fancy hand-made belts and guitar straps. I would be up there looking like I had a million dollars when I didn’t have fifty cents to my name. People would say to me, “Man, I wish we were like y’all are. You get up there and work only four hours a night and make a lot of money, get all the women and have all the fun. And, I would be thinking, “Man they have no idea what this is all about. No idea.” They didn’t know how many hundreds of hours of rehearsal we put in and all the money that had to be paid out. It was not as it appeared. ”

Rick and Band 1960's6 (2017_11_16 21_30_48 UTC)Rick 1960's3

I hope you've enjoyed this segment of-STORIES FROM THE ROAD-from Texas SingerSongwriterRICK SIKES

20 thoughts on “Stories From the Road #12

  1. Judging a book by its cover can be hazardous! What a great series, Jan. I wonder if Rick is enjoying reliving it as much as we’re enjoying reading it… Love the music notes on the pants 🙂 ❤


  2. Love this new tale from the road. I can believe it. That’s no different from a writer. Just because you have a little bit of success, people assume you have all kinds of money and living high on the hog when the reality is completely different. Just teaches that appearances can be false. I think all artists struggle, some more than others. Often the struggle breaks them. I’m glad it didn’t Rick.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You are so right, sister. But, another thing he always practiced and taught was no matter how tough things got, you didn’t whine or complain, but instead put it out to the public that you were doing great. I’ve never forgotten those teachings. Everyone loves a winner. 🙂 Thank you for stopping by. Love you, sister!


  3. Great insight to the reality of being on the road. Hard work, keeping the vehicle running, having some fun and living on baloney and cognac. A nice perspective.


  4. What an eye-opening look at the life of a musician. And I’m willing to bet that chicken was some of the best tasting those guys had after a week of bologna, LOL.
    Another great look at life on the road, Jan!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Jan, I love how you get the perfect photos for each episode. Every time I look at them I wish I was wearing a rhinestone jacket… LOL. I guess I might as well — they think I’m bizarre for wearing colors… (Here tan qualifies as a bright color…) Hugs.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Another great episode! And, Rick was right, we non-performers don’t know what it is like to be on the road. Thanks for sharing this with us, Jan. Have a great day!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, Gwen. We see the performer as glamorized, but in reality, it’s not much more than a glorified bus ride. They have to have a love for the music to do it. You have a great day too, and thanks for stopping by!


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