Confessions of a Bootlegger Pt. 2
April 17, 2012 by Max
….Continued from Part 1.
Did the promoters confiscate your tees to protect their b(r)and?
Yep a few times. Once in Cleveland at a World Series of Rock event we had guns pulled on us (by a dude claiming to be Ted Nugent’s brother) shirts and cash taken. We reported it to the cops, but no dice – they didn’t care.
We also got busted by cops too many times to mention. We got popped early in the day during the 1978 Rolling Stones Soldier Field show in Chicago. Then we all realized we had doobies on us in the paddy wagon. We didn’t want to hit the police station in “possession” so we smoked all of them. When the cops popped the doors a huge cloud of smoke hit them. What a look on their faces.
Any memorable events in the parking lot? Or after shows?
Too many. On a really good blowoff, you were surrounded by hundreds of people, wanting shirts and it was mayhem. You had to be totally aware of everything as stoners would always try to grab your cash or shirts. We carried mini baseball bats or blackjacks for protection. You learned to hold your cash in a certain way so it couldn’t be grabbed.
Also people always wanted to negotiate, we traded weed, kisses and more for shirts. Ha, what a hoot and time it was. No single event, but I do remember a Frank Sinatra show (yes we sold shirts there) at Riverfront Coliseum in Cincinnati. This was the place where the fans were trampled at a Who concert. Totally wealthy dudes and ladies pulling up in limos throwing fistful of dollars for made in Pakistan shirts. We sold out and made about $3-400 for one night of work. It didn’t get better than that, being a teen on the road, with cash in hand.
Do you have a secret stash (of tees)?
I used to. Damn, I sold them all for a buck a piece at yard sales many years ago. I wish I had held on to them first for sentimental reasons, and second because I see you can make so much friggin money in them now – I have two kids in college!
What do you think about the value of old concert t-shirts now?
Honestly, I didn’t see it coming. If I did, I would have stockpiled and would now be retired.
It was a great learning experience, I have partied with Pete Townsend on Bourbon Street, seen almost every state in the USA, met thousands of great nameless, faceless people and these experiences helped shape me good or bad.
We were living a fun lifestyle, not harming anyone (except some promoters…slightly) and just there for the cash and party.