From time to time during the telecast of the “Nastiness in Nashville,” the cameras panned on a few spots around the city. It was a nice relief from what was going on at ice level, and it reminded me of a trip I took there once. There was no NHL team in Music City then, but there was a lot of nightlife.
Lots of nightlife. Perfect for a bunch of athletes to have fun and break curfew in.
Just trying to make sense of how a team can allow 55 shots on goal.
I was in the depths of despair when I went to Nashville. It was a time when my marriage breakup was only a few months old, and my brother and his girlfriend, who lived there, invited me down and tried to raise my spirits somewhat.
My brother was the bass player in a band, and his girlfriend, Michelle Wright, was the lead singer of the band that bore her name. She was a rising star in the music business, had several top-selling albums, and she and my brother lived in a beautiful home on the outskirts of Nashville. She had also just bought a brand new Mercedes not long before I arrived, that we rode around in and I felt like quite a bigshot at the time.
Nashville’s an odd place, old yet vibrant, but not once did I get the impression that it was a hockey town. It’s a music place, as we all know. Although my brother took me into the arena that was there at the time that housed a minor-league team. But other than the arena – like I said, it’s a music place.
Michelle and my brother showed me around, and I even got to see her lay down some tracks in the studio, an experience which can be long, tedious and fascinating. The producer and engineer invited me to sit beside them in the control room, and afterward, all of us went for dinner where I found out by talking to the producer that he had been in a successful band in the sixties called the Beau Brummels, and had played the Ed Sullivan Show, a show I had grown up watching.
On another night, my brother and I went for beers and live music at a place called the Bluebird Cafe, and we saw John Prine, a longtime favourite of mine, sitting alone at the bar. We let him be, of course, because it’s not my style to bother these people. But you must know, if you’ve not heard of John Prine, that he’s one of the greatest folk/country songwriters of all time.
In another honky tonk, legendary pool player Minnesota Fats was handing out stamped autographs. Maybe he couldn’t write, I’ve no idea. Eddie Shack, early in his career, used to do the same thing.
Michelle Wright is a tremendous woman with lots of style, and she had dozens of lit candles scattered throughout their house. She cooked and laughed and sang and she was wondrous. We had a long talk one night about writing, and she got on the phone and made a call and before I knew it, I had a new gig as a freelance writer for a music magazine.
She and my brother, (who are no longer together), made me smile at a time when smiles were seldom to be found on this mug. and this is a little thank you now to the two of them while using the pathetic display by my hockey team as an excuse to do it.