The Joan Osbourne gig

joan-shirt1I don’t know why all of the sudden I feel like writing about these memories, but I do. If they bore you, please move on. Nothing to see here. You’ll have to wait till I get pissed off about something stupid Obama or his viceroy’s do if you want the juicy stuff.

Anyway, I played music professionally from the early 80’s to the mid 90’s. My most successful run was from 1988 to 1992. I had a great band at that time and we were working all the best clubs. We had an awesome fan base in central PA and everything was just falling into place with a lot of hard work and a lot of great music. I landed a solo gig opening up for Joan Osbourne in ’92. I booked the gig prolly around June of ’92 for a play date of late September. It was supposed to be just me and my guitar for a 45 minute opening set at Club Met, which was the biggest rock club in central PA at the time, and then Joan and her band would take the stage. I was really excited about it. Joan wasn’t real famous yet, but anyone who was into music knew who she was. She wouldn’t become a household name for about another 3 years when in 1995 she released “One of us” which comes from the refrain in the song “What if God was one of us?” Anyway, Joan was on fire and was touring all over the states and I was lucky to get the gig.

Something bad happened though on August 2nd of that year. I was in a bad motorcycle crash and lost my left leg. It was a very serious crash and injury as I’m sure you can imagine. August was a big pain blur for me. Naturally, August’s play dates were cancelled and so were most of September’s but I wasn’t going to let the honor of opening for Joan get away from me.

I was in severe pain and on heavy doses of mscontin.
I was all screwed up mentally and physically and decided that I still wanted to do the gig, but I didn’t want to do it myself, so I called my friend Dave Venet and asked him if he’d do a duo with me that night, and he accepted.

My mom hated the whole idea. She moved in with me after I was released from the hospital to take care of me, so she knew first hand what a mess I was, but she reluctantly drove me to the gig anyway. So, I’m in a wheel chair in pajama pants and a t-shirt and off to the club we go. I took an extra jolt or two of the pain killers to try to put that excruciating pain somewhere other than right in front of my face and once we were there I was getting my friends to order me and sneak me Jack and cokes when Mom wasn’t looking. She was all on my ass about drinking while I was on such heavy pain medication and wasn’t happy about the entire situation.

Show time comes. Me and Dave are on stage and the lights are dim. The local radio celebrities are getting the crowd jacked up and here we go. We get introduced and the lights come up and it becomes totally quiet. Pin drop quiet. I see a bunch of my friends and people I know in the audience and they’re all looking at me with compassion and hurt, as if they are sharing my pain. I made some kind of stupid joke about….”Don’t worry folk’s. I’m ok. It was just a motorcycle crash, but look what the hospital took for the bill!”

It’s seemed to lighten the mood and Dave and I started jamming. We played some great tunes that night and the crowd was into it, not only for us but they were really stoked for Joan. When our set was over, we went back into the dressing room and I got to meet Joan and her band. They knew what had happened to me and were completely amazed that I even did the gig. They treated me with with a great amount of respect and were all just incredible people. They all signed a t-shirt and gave it to me and I still have it today and keep it with my most valued possessions.

We stuck around for a little while while they played but Mom wasn’t having any of it and we had to go. I was drugged and drunk. She was pissed and in charge.

I didn’t do the gig for like…”the show must go on” or anything like that. I was having a hard time mentally at the time about losing my leg and I had to do it for myself to try to convince myself that my life would still continue with some type of normalcy. It was weird. Anyway, it was a memorable night for me and I’ll never forget meeting Joan and her band and how awesome they were, not only as musicians, but as people. Just people.

Discussion Area - Leave a Comment