I had one of the best nights out of my life. The hospitality kept growing all night. Vic and the band were one of the best I have ever heard and as it was their first night together without any practice as a group of three I was blown away. They played a huge array of styles but their Hotel California did it for me. Their mastery of the guitars and the different sounds I have never heard before. Unfortunately it is an extremely competitive business and getting that lucky break is as we all know extremely difficult. Three guitars playing together is a superb sound. They decided last night to continue the band with a new name as Highway 98 - which is the road that runs next to us. They sat for over an hour having discussions over a name and having gone full circle came back to the one decided upon in the first place. We had a short talk after the show and as they now want to go on tour I asked them if they fancy doing one in the Algarve down to the Costas next Spring/Summer. Discussions I might add were not drink driven as they were well sober and if I can find an initial venue it would be great to have an open air gig.
I also met one of the most interesting guys I have ever met, his fascinating life is a book which should be written and all I was able to achieve was to record a small part of it. Daryl was a helicopter pilot in Vietnam and has two purple hearts adorning his Stetson. He was shot seriously twice and, after the long conflict, was dismayed that their huge sacrifice was not being recognised when they came home. I gathered from his stories of flying ops after the war in South America and Africa that he got up to some very interesting stuff. I don't think it matters so much these days but his knowledge of how things were secretly funded and his amazing understanding of world history and politics is stunning.
His grandfather was Cherokee Indian and he is really in touch with spiritual things. He carries and ancient piece of petrified wood from his grandfather around his neck.
The Machine & Truck
Danny, Kim & George wouldn't see me sleeping in my tent and Danny took my Machine on the back of his pickup truck to his farm where he gave me a room for the night. He doesn't mind me saying he is a true 'Redneck'.
As I entered his house set in hundreds of acres of forest and farmland I noticed the confederate flag adorning the wall. Even the dog had studs on it's collar!
Although he rubbed up against the law seriously several years ago he is so funny and great fun to be with. His stories of life on the wrong side would be funny if they weren't so tragic. He has learned his lesson and has gone straight for several years. I asked him what brought this about and he said that crime does not pay.
The Confederate Soldier Lampshade!
Having spent time in prison for attempted murder and for robberies he came to the conclusion that he would have earned more money with less risk than getting a job and working hard. I might add that the circumstances regarding the attempted murder is one that anyone could have found themselves in.
They are all advising me not to stay in Mobil as I might need an escort through the tunnel and as it is Halloween tonight they say it will be difficult travelling and finding somewhere to stay. They have persuaded me to leave tomorrow so it sounds like I will have to listen to another great Alabama band.....tempting!
I think they really like the idea of my Machine sitting outside to attract more customers and discussion. Tonight it has been renamed the Bat Mobile and I might even get the outfit from Walmart!
The beaches here are the purest white sand I have ever seen. The water is WARM and so clear. This is a lost paradise. Forget Florida. Come to the 70 mile stretch of Alabama where tourists are a novelty and one thing is for certain you will receive good old Southern Hospitality - this is not a myth - and don't forget to pop into George & Kim's place at Lillian's Cafe and also look up Daryl if you want to heard some incredible stories.
I also met a super guy call Shane and I gave him my AAC cap. Today I noticed him wearing another one, so I asked him where it was and he said he put it in the glass cabinet he keeps for very special things!