Surly and Recalcitrant Equipment Boys

In the early morning hours of May 28,1992 following yet another filled to capacity show in one of the counties largest venues, a very stoned Woody Wannamaker, lead singer and guitarist for the up and coming band, Gauntlet, was weaving his Bronco up a mountain road with one of the more beautiful perks of being an almost famous rock star naked from the waist up, arched over the console- her lips firmly planted- in his lap.

Woody never saw the twelve point buck enter the roadway. He never heard the massive thud of the Bronco hitting the buck, or the scream of ripping metal when the Bronco face-planted into the tree that stopped the truck from going over the mountainside. 

He also never saw the crushed skull of his then nameless young companion being extricated from its fateful position in his lap, where it had been the only thing between him and the imploding steering wheel upon impact.

What he did see was everything he had worked for his whole life disappear. What he did hear was a judge sentencing him to ten years in the state pen. And when he had done his time, all he heard was “Sorry, man” from everyone who was anyone in the business.

That is until JJ offered him a position running sound lines for a second rate metal band that was opening for the band that was opening for…

He had taken that job. It was supposed to be a stepping stone. He was supposed to network. Make connections. He could still sing. He’d find something.

But he never did. 

Today he was running sound for the headliners. He was one of the top sound tech’s- one of the most sought after men in his field- but in the early morning hours, when he lay awake in bed the tortured visions of all that could have been playing out before him, all he felt for his current station in life was contempt.

He hated the band. He hated the guys he worked with. He hated the screaming crowds, the cast off chicks, the lonely hours spent on the road making a name for somebody else. 

But above all he hated himself. He hated the miserable man he had become as a result of putting all his efforts into mourning a life- that he had killed just as surely as if it too had died in the front seat of his Bronco that night. 

A life he would never again have the opportunity to live.

Mlmm’s Music Challenge is hosted by Jim Adams. He provides the song, and you go where it takes you. My piece is based on Bob Weir of The Grateful Dead’s dedicating the song to their “surly and recalcitrant equipment boys.”

This week’s song was The Race Is On which was recorded by numerous artists, the two featured in Jim’s post being The Grateful Dead, and George Jones. 

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