Unexpected Aspirations…….#137 (the 70’s)


.  Jan Lawhon’s envisioned vehicle of return to the nightlife entertainment of Oklahoma City ending, her and Mickey Rogers club ownership aspirations, a pilgrimages into history,  the band a casualty of Jan’s Club’s demise.   Gary having been privileged to the club’s possible closing, was aware of a booking opportunity at the Derrick Club in Edmond,  a small but growing community north of Oklahoma City, and when inquiring, discovered the  clubs franchise fortified by a well-known acquaintance of his from the Pirates Cove, Bill Diehl.

.   The Peter Falk resembling Columbo looking Bill Diehl was from Chicago, having made a transition to Oklahoma City years earlier as a union organizer,  conducting the unions business out of the Holiday Inn West.  The musician wasn’t surprised that Bill had remained in Oklahoma,  as he was an astute visionary and opportunist, as evidenced by  securing the lease of The Derrick Club.  The band accepting a five nights per week offer, Jerry Cooper’s expertise of the Doobie Brothers,  Jim Croce and Loggins & Messina  enliven a capacity house mainly on weekends,  drawing from the Oklahoma City metro area.

.  Bill spending less and less time at the club, finally  mentioning to the band that he spoken with the owner of the building,  and was putting his five hundred dollar  per month club lease on the market, for a walk away price of fifteen hundred dollars,   halfheartedly asking if the band would be interested in acquiring it,  and as part of his sale pitch. offering to exhibit the club’s financial records, demonstrating as operators, the band could marginalize the entertainment overhead expense.  A discussion of convenience between Cooper, Hughes and Gary was engendered, a possible partnership was up for consideration.  Guitarist Jerry Connell deciding it was time he moved on.   The three deciding to move forward with the purchase of the lease,  each to contribute five hundred dollars

T.  he night of acquisition, Gary with a five hundred dollar check in hand,  making a fathomed discovery, he was the sole responder to the agreement,  Jack Hughes venturing no expenditure,  Jerry Cooper accrediting that he would provide monetary support for the cosmetic enhancements to the club,   equal to his agreement share.  Bill accepting Gary’s token five hundred dollars and a promissory note for the balance, Gary’s wife Kaye and longtime drummer friend Glenn Froman witnessing the transaction. The lease transferring event concluding, it was the band’s first night as club proprietors

.  Gary about to embark onto the bandstand when drummer Jack Hughes approached, from out of nowhere, Jack with one blow to Gary’s jaw.   sending the pianist sprawling to the floor, Hughes immediately pouncing upon the now prone pianist,  making threatening accusations,  but presenting no other physical response.   The pianist responded with a call for someone to remove Jack from his endowed position, a glance at the two hundred and twenty pound Glenn found no response.   Gary’s ninety five pound wife Kaye arriving, clutching Jack’s shoulder with a resounding , “get off my husband”.    Jack rescinded his position,  the pianist arose,  the blood trickling from an endowed split in his lip,  the what and why perplexity of what just  transpired remaining, the open mouth onlookers projecting a scene of bewilderment.

.  Jerry Cooper immediately taking Jack aside seeking an explanation,  but discovering the drummer unresponsive,  not giving a reason for his actions,  even to his closest friend, and also refusing  to fulfill his percussionist expectations on the drums.   Gary approached his friend,  drummer Glenn Froman about playing,  Glenn not enthused, but said he would.  Jerry Cooper again visiting with Jack, returning stating that Jack still refuses to play, but would bow to Glenn using his drums.  Gary having maintained what he thought was mutual respect with Jack, but Hughes,  younger and a bachelor, the two having little in common except for their shared interest in music.

.  Gary finding Jacks action perplexing, but a lesson was instilled, the drummer never acknowledging the rational for his action that night, and from  henceforth the pianist would question the drummers character.  Gary receiving  later disclosure from Cooper that was somewhat chilling,  Jack was in possession of a thirty two caliber handgun  he carried in a briefcase that was always with him,  realizing if Glenn had intervened instead of his wife Kaye,  there might have been  an entirely different outcome.

.  Gary and Jack putting their differences aside,  but Gary soon discovering  what could have been a successful affiliation  was not to be.  The band, a trio on Tuesday thru Thursday,  with Gary’s longtime friend Jerry Willis,  playing lead guitar and sax on Friday and Saturday nights.  it was just a matter of time before the so called partnership crumbled. Gary offering to withdraw from the club if compensated for his investment amount.   Cooper and Hughes now working in conjunction,  at first accepting Gary’s offer,  the pianist about to return to his piano bar calling,  but the two reneging on the agreement, not coming up with the compensation, and after a brief attempt to operate, they locked the doors walking away.  Gary having to make a decision, whether to write off his investment and also walk away, or accept the challenge of the Derrick Club


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