To be a part of the great local music scene has always been not only a great job but also, in many cases, an honor. In the course of that time I have met and enjoyed some of the areas best and brightest, but I have also met a few who are a real hassle. A phrase I have heard uttered to me from my mentor and friend, Gregg Huber, “Don’t let it get to you, we will still be here long after they are gone”. Meaning, of course, that these stars shine brightly, but they are usually short lived…. our services are sometimes a bit thankless, but also, as a result, a bit timeless. Our job is to help them shine and then go on and help the next one shine too…. Sometimes, it seems, this is also a curse, when faced with the likes of a character like Willie Murphy.
I was always entertained by Willie. I had seen him perform many times and heard endless stories about his antics but it wasn’t until 2014 that I actually got the chance to work with him, recording the Willie and The Bees reunion show at the Cabooze. It was a great show and another notch in my mic case, but it was also a chance to meet Willie and hang out. The man was an entertainer through and through and his animated characteristics fit so well with his road wizened features that one didn’t really talk to Willie as much as listen to Willie and laugh.
I was truly sad to hear that he had passed away. The city lost an icon and the music world lost a true master. I wondered, at that time, whether it was such a blessing to always “still be here”.
Tomorrow night I get to share the Willie experience one more time, down at the place I really “met” Willie, as we gather to commemorate the accomplishments and the man. I am humbled that they have asked me to be a part of the production crew for this important event. While I won’t be recording the show, I will be the stage manager, keeping things rolling as the riotous crew of his cohorts get together to celebrate the life of the legendary Willie Murphy, at least one more time.
The lineup is going to be something else, with the likes of Paul Metsa, Ipso Facto, Spider John Koerner and, of course, The Bees amongst others. I hope to see you down there…. if you do come down, stop in and say “hi” to the guy running himself ragged trying to heard cats.