A Whole Lotta Ragin Goin On!

My nights with Jerry Lee and Smokey

So we played a buncha songs with Smokey, and it was great. But ultimately, we wanted to get back to playing our own set, so after the end of the fifth song or so with him, I announced, "Ladies and gentlemen, let's hear it for Smokey Wilson!" This was his cue to turn the stage back to the band. But Smokey wasn't done yet, and he counted off another tune. Same deal at the end of that one—it soon became apparent Smokey had no intention of leaving the stage. To make matters worse, he decided he hated our drummer and shared that sentiment with the crowd. "Wouldn't give you a plugged nickel for that damn drummer," he kept growling into the mic. Of course, the drummer didn't take kindly to this abuse and began to sabotage Wilson's tunes, deliberately throwing in off-time rim shots and loud cymbal crashes at the most inappropriate times. It was awkward as hell, but it was also fuckin' hilarious! We were trying to retain our composure, but we were laughing so hard there were tears falling from our eyes. What a ridiculous predicament: a pitched battle going on, and no question that Wilson would emerge the victor.

The crowd seemed to sense they were witnessing great theater as they watched the proceedings with their jaws agape. That was one unforgettable New Year's Eve; thanks for the memories, Smokey!

Wilson plays with singer Linda Hopkins on Thursday, March 2 at the Blue Cafe. I recommend you show up not only to see a great double-bill blues show, but also perhaps to see Wilson attempt to bogart the stage from Hopkins.

Jerry Lee Lewis performs with Hellbound Hayride, at the Galaxy Concert Theatre, 3503 S. Harbor Blvd., Santa Ana, (714) 957-0600. Wed., 8 p.m. $50; the Smithsonian Blues Party features Smokey Wilson and Linda Hopkins at the Blue Cafe, 210 The Promenade, Long Beach, (562) 983-7111 or (562) 570-1930. Thurs., March 2, 6-10 p.m. $20.
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