Sunday, June 17, 2012

Looked at my Watch

When I was a kid I wanted to promote a Chuck Berry show.  The rumor was that he charged about $2000 a show in the days before "My Ding-a-Ling" brought him back to the top.  I figured that was doable.  My plan was to do it at my school, which was outside Sacramento.  It was a small school, but I thought that if all the students brought their friends and families, we could have a nearly private Chuck Berry show.

What saved me was a line from an interview by Ralph Gleason of the San Francisco chronicle.  Berry told Gleason that he'd never, ever play for less than $1000 a night, and that if some "punk promoter" told him that he really wanted Chuck Berry but could only pay $900 Chuck would tell him, "Son, you just retired the great Chuck Berry."  As a person who enjoys the thrill of irrational fear I was terrified of hearing those words be directed towards me.  

Yesterday Chuck Berry was supposed to play his "last concert in Europe" at a theater in Cannes.  Lots of my friends in Europe made plans to go.  Others suffered over their inability to do so.  But the show was cancelled at the last minute.  I have a feeling that the minimum cash in advance didn't arrive in St. Louis, so the show didn't go on.  It's a shame.  Don't promote a show unless you're willing and able to take a bath on it.

But happily, no one's retiring anybody.  Chuck Berry will be at Blueberry Hill on Wednesday June 20, and at The Argosy Casino in Alton, Illinois this coming June 23.  Read about it HERE. 

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