Hard Rock, Rail, and the Red Barn

“Back in the day”, when we weren’t getting drug tested and crunching out some rock and roll, we liked to take in a show ourselves. One band that we were particularly fond of was called, “Rail”. Rail had a small claim to fame – they won the first MTV Basement tapes contest with their song, “Hello”[1].


For you younger readers, once upon a time there was this really cool cable TV show called MTV (Music Television) and they would play music videos. Before the Internet came along, it was a great way to see some of your favorite artists in action. Too bad that sort of thing didn’t catch on.


Rail had also toured with Van Halen on their “Women and Children First” tour. However, until their MTV success came along, Rail was really only known in the Pacific Northwest. The band I was in were all airmen stationed at Malmstrom Air Force Base, just outside of Great Falls, MT.


We covered a couple of Rail’s songs in our band, and we heard that they were coming to a local bar called the Red Barn. (Which sadly no longer exists). The Red Barn was semi-locally famous for having hosted another small northwestern music act, called “Heart” (with Ann and Nancy Wilson). You may have heard of them.


While we all liked Rail, our lead guitar player (let’s call him, Terry) really loved them and was totally stoked to see them. And the Red Barn was a small venue, so it was a going to be a great chance to get up close and personal. And we made sure that we got there early so that we could get right up next to the stage.


Unfortunately, Terry was a little too enthusiastic in his positioning, perhaps fueled by a little too much liquid courage. Words were exchanged with another patron. A bouncer appeared on the scene and Terry wasn’t having it. But here’s the thing, Terry was about five and a half feet tall, while this bouncer was a giant of a man. (As often bouncers are). Oddly enough, the bouncer wasn’t interested in a retelling of events and simply picked our boy up, under the armpits, and started walking him to the door. Terry made a move to grab a post that went from floor to ceiling and hugged it. The bouncer simply set him down, then grabbed his head and wap, wap, wapped it against the post. (Probably no doubt singing one of Rail’s other hits, “1, 2, 3, 4 (Rock n’ Roll)[2]” in his head as he did so). That was the end of Terry and out the door he went. And shortly thereafter, the smoke came on and out came the band.


You might say that Terry was Rail-roaded. But at least the rest of us enjoyed the show.

[1] https://youtu.be/YupdacfBEn4 [2] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1jmZfZk1bDM

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