top of page

Time frame early 90's
Big Eric and the Budget Crunch

This all started with 10 gloomy days in September. It was one of those super hot and humid days where it just sucks to move. The gig is in Colts Neck New Jersey. This was a large Italian wedding. I think it was about 300 guests on a 10-acre horse farm. The band and I arrived about 4:PM. A large tent had been erected down on the bottom of long sloping hill. The weather had been bad, torrential rains for several days prior to the event. I pulled up to the house with my van. I walk into the house to say hello and it is very glum. No happy faces here. I ask around for the caterer and try to find out how to load in and setup our gear. I finally get a waiter who says, "just around back you can't miss it." The ground was so waterlogged. The tent was a ¼ mile away. The load in was looking like a serious workout! I see many tire tracks leading around the side of the house from the driveway. I decide to drive around the side of the property and take a chance.

I have gotten stuck before so I was very cautious. As I get around the side of the house there is a magnificent sloping lawn heading down to the tent. The only problem is the caterer's 30-foot big ass truck has broken down directly in front of the tent. I decide to walk down and take a peek. As I get closer I see the truck is at a very funny angle. It has the appearance of the titanic going down! The caterer's truck has busted through the damn cesspool! No shit! It looks as if the earth is ready to eat it alive. I am speechless. This is a first .The truck is less than 20 feet from the bride and grooms table. It apparently broke through about 2 PM that afternoon. It's a 6:00 clock start and the ceremony is still going on at the church.
We back up to the driveway and start our equipment load in It's a long walk in the rain. The caterer's staff has set up a field kitchen around the truck. It looks like Custers last stand! These guys are doing their best to pretend that every thing is just fine.
The cesspool had a gaping hole in it. The truck was ½ way in. The stench! I wish I could accurately describe the smell. It was unholy. It was a crime. It was worse than the monkey house at the Bronx zoo. It was disgusting. I set up the band as far away as I could. We are clear on the other side of the tent. The caterer has set up these huge fans which are blowing every which way. The guests are now starting to arrive. Lots of old folks. Handkerchiefs are flying. It looked like a bank robber's convention. Old ladies were fanning the air. The waiters are passing out hor's douvres. The band has started to play and we are awaiting the arrival of the bride and groom.
In come the bride and groom. The bride in tears her mascara running. It's ugly. There was very little dancing. Envelopes were being passed to the bride and groom as soon as they sat down. People were leaving early. This is not a good thing at any wedding let alone an Italian one. Halfway through the gig, the bride disappears. She is gone. She was not to be seen for the rest of the evening. We march on through the night. Carry on with our nose's in the air. It's a grim evening at best. As the party winds down I go looking for the money. The gap. The do re me. The bread. The balance of the contract. I have to go in the house and find the father of the bride who has been drinking Chivas all freaking night . It's like a scene from Goodfellas. A soon as I walk in the door in my tux the father says there he is it's the RAT BASTID who ruined my daughters wedding. I am grabbed none to nicely by his 2 brothers who say we got him. With my life flashing before my
eyes I yell I'm the ****ing BANDLEADER let me go! I posture loudly with these jamokes and I say I need to be paid right now. They look at me up and down and say are you sure you aint the caterer? I am the bandleader can I have my money please? The father blinks about 10 times and reaches into his pocket and pulls out his checkbook. He writes me a check for the balance and throws in a $ 100.00 tip.
I walked back to the bandstand and the last tune was played. We packed up in 5 minutes and were back on the interstate in 15 minutes. I never found out what happened to the caterer. I think he left and never came back. I bet he was already on a plane at Newark airport. By the way the check was good. I cashed it the following Monday at his bank.

True story ya'll

Kickin Ass and Takin Names
January 28, 2009 at 7:05am

The Moonlite Mile circa 1983 was a nice cozy little joint. The new owners were 2 ladies who were absolutely clueless as to how to run a shot and a beer establishment. It had been a hot spot for at least 15 years. I had been working this spot on and off since the early 70’s. Well this little adventure is not about me so much as it’s really about Jimmy Keneally.
Jimmy is an outstanding bassist and singer. He also plays guitar and saxophone.
We have played gigs on and off for a long time. I book a trio date at the mile and hire Jimmy on bass and Mike Holleman on drums. We can play just about anything. We all sing quite a few tunes. Mike is a certified lunatic as well. We are into the first set and its cool just another one. The only problem is a big drunk mook heckler. Normally this no big deal as we have dealt with these guys forever. We ignore him.
As I said earlier the new owners were sorta clueless. There were no bouncers in the place just the 2 ladies behind the bar. So it turns out the drunken mook is from England. He loves Pink Floyd. We do not know any Pink Floyd tunes. He is friggin relentless. Somehow he figures out Jimmy is Irish. Jimmy is a tough guy. He was raised in the projects in the Bronx. He takes no crap. Once he gets steamed look out. So now the Irish taunts and insults are flying. We take a break.
We head to the bar for an adult beverage. Over lumbers our new pal. You guys suck. You call yourselves musicians? We are all on the verge to clock him good. At this point he invites us all outside. I am thinking this not right. Jimmy jumps up and says lets go. The Englander and Jimmy head out the door with me and Mike right behind him. We get about 20 steps outside the bar when I grab Jimmy and drag him back into the club.
He’s breathing fire.
Now we are back in the club and get back on stage, our pal is sitting right up front going pussy pussy pussy.
I say into the mic
“Ladies and gentleman we are Big Eric and the Budget Crunch and we are here “kickin ass and takin names”
Now we are just getting ready to count off the tune when the drunk leaps up and grabs Jimmy around the neck.
Jimmy slams his 1961 fender precision bass into the guys chin. What an upper cut.
Stunned, the drunk staggers back.
Jimmy now has the p bass neck in both his hands and pole axes the dude with the body of the p bass.
He hits him on the right cheek. POW. Down he goes in a heap. 
Mayhem ensues. Screaming women. Dudes all over us. The drunk is rolling on the floor and reaching in his jacket. I see a glint of chrome. I leap on the dude and just crush the wind out of his ass. Jimmy is hustled out the back door. I am knocked off the drunk and skedaddle out the back door myself.
Cops come 5 minutes later. We are hiding out back in the parking lot. Our drunken pal has disappeared out the front door and into the night…..

So we go back and do what we do, finish the gig get paid and never go back.

I actually wrote a little tune about this adventure.
Kicking ass and taking names.


bottom of page