[Dixielandjazz] Requests not to play and huge tips!

TCASHWIGG at aol.com TCASHWIGG at aol.com
Thu Dec 9 14:51:49 PST 2004

I was playing on a Festival in Belgium with Chuck Berry, Little Richard, and 
Bo Diddley and Fats Domino & Percy Sledge amongst many others.

Chuck Berry who has been known to be a jerk for many years, was about to go 
on and play for the greatest and fairest promoter I ever worked for.  He was 
paying Chuck $25,000.00 for his show.  Chuck walked over to where the promoter 
and I were talking backstage and told the promoter:

I do a one hour show, not a minute more, If I get an encore I get $3000.00 
extra, and if I get two it's gonna cost you $6,000.00 got it?  He walked away to 
join the band.

The promoter who never trashed anybody said what an a---hole, to which I 
agreed, and told him not to worry about it, as I owed Chuck Berry a pay back for 
many years for someting he did to me as a promoter, and he had long forgotten 
even who I was even standing in front of me.

The promoter wanted to know what I was going to do, and I just told him to 
trust me, and it's better if you don't know anything about it, just make sure 
you are out in the audience when Chuck does his last song of the hour show.

Chuck went on and I told the stage manager to build a ramp fromt he front of 
the stage down into the audience discreetly while Chuck was up there 
performing about six feet above the audience.

Having worked and or promoted many shows with Chuck Berry over the year I 
knew his routine show perfectly and knew exactly when it was going to be over, he 
would do his little duck walk across the stage and reach back and yank the 
guitar cord out of the amp and wave to the audience.

I got St. Gabriel's ready to go and came up the ramp backstage for his last 
number, and when he yanked that cord out I blew the whistle and we started 
playing Saints and marched right out onto his stage and down the ramp into the 
audience with all Hell breaking loose, as they thought it was part of the show.  
Chuck never knew what hit him and man was he pissed off.

We worked our way through the crowd of ten thousand folks and went back up 
the ramp to the stage again just before the next act was coming on, we got a 
thunderous ovation form a great audience which was really enough reward.

When we got backstage the Promoter came over to me and slipped a roll of cash 
in my pocket and said it was the greatest trick he had ever seen pulled and 
loved how it went off so professionally and well to serve it's purpose.  I 
counted the money when I got back to the dressing room and it was $3,000.00.  
Chuck uttered a few obscenities at him and stormed out of the festival grounds 
vowing to never come back and blocking his face from any of the photographers 
from making any photos of him.


It just don't get much better than revenge and a great tip too.

Tom "Be Nice" Wiggins
Saint Gabriel's Celestial Brass Band  and sometimes Circus.  :))

More information about the Dixielandjazz mailing list