The World Accordion to Corky
Updated: Sep 14
Blog #0002 - August 15, 2020.
About this crazy pandemic; I had my first gig since March 13th on July 19th. It was a 90th birthday party for a lovely lady who loved opera. They asked me to play about 90 minutes of Italian favorites and then two very fine opera singers came on with their own background tracks. When they were finished, the host decided to announce and introduce me. I got a nice round of applause and decided to take advantage of it by using that time to do a little comedy. I told two funny stories. Within two seconds after telling my second joke, the loudest thunder clap of all time happened, accompanied by a torrential downpour. It was like God was saying, "Corky, that'll be enough of that!"
In my last blog, I left you in Searchlight, Nevada. The saga continues.
The Searchlight, Nevada gig finally ended after about three months and Nancy Kaye and we Echoes decided to go our separate ways. I often think of those Searchlight days with great fondness. Although it was only a few months out of my life, it was a memorable and educational experience. Every time I pass through that desert town, I see the same motel, casino, and gas station. The only thing that has changed is the new hooker.
I once had a friend who was lost in the desert. He was crawling around, dying of thirst, begging for water. Pretty soon, a guy rode up to him on a camel and said, “I’m Saul Weinstein and I sell ties, two for five dollars.” My friend said, “What, are you nuts? I need water, water!” He crawls another fifty feet. The guy rides up again and says, “Look, maybe you didn’t hear me correctly the first time. I said, my name is Saul Weinstein and I sell ties, two for five dollars.” My friend said, “Look pal, I don’t need any of your ties, I just need water.” The guy said, “Okay, I have a brother-in-law who owns a very exclusive restaurant just down the desert. Maybe if you crawl down there, he’ll give you a glass of water.” My friend started crawling to the restaurant, dying of thirst, crying out for water. He finally reached the restaurant, pulled himself up and banged on the door. A guy opened door and asked what he wanted. My friend said, “Water, water!” The guy said, “Yeah, we’ve got water but you have to have a tie to get in.”
My mom, dad, brother Terry, and sister Carmie had moved to Tucson, Arizona, because of Daddy’s health so Elden, the drummer, and I decided to go there to visit and check out the employment scene.
We decided we might be able to work as a trio if we only had a bass player. We gave Steve Sanders, an old friend from Seattle, a call. He drove down to Tucson in an old beater of an Oldsmobile and we started rehearsing.
We learned a couple of tunes and went gig hunting. We were rejected at every turn. I guess we thought we were better than we were. After all, we had been to Las Vegas and we knew showbiz.
Because of the nonexistent employment situation in Tucson; Elden, Steve, and I decided to go back to Seattle to find work. Daddy pulled a twenty out from his pocket and gave it to me. I’ll never forget that moment. It would be the last time I ever saw my father.
We piled in the Olds and drove straight through to Seattle, stopping only for gas. Upon our arrival, we called the Jack Belmont Agency; the biggest, most respected booking agency in the Pacific Northwest. Jack booked us into a dive in Pasco, Washington for two weeks. With even that amount of work, we were able to improve rapidly. We rehearsed every day and came up with a pretty good repertoire.
When you’re young and “on the road,” everything is new and exciting. Whenever we arrived in a new town we would always look for great restaurants and nightclubs. We liked to check out the competition and try to learn something. All entertainers build their act and learn their craft by watching other artists. In Pasco we would go to the other nightclub, The Top Hat, and catch comics.
While we were in Pasco, Jack Belmont called and asked us if we could back up a singer by the name of Tony Martini for a gig in Bremerton, Washington. Elden didn’t like the idea, as he was the lead singer in our band. He didn’t want to share the spotlight with anyone. However, the Martini gig was for real and paid real money. With nothing else on the horizon, we accepted and hooked up with Tony in Bremerton.
I’ll tell you a few more stories in the coming weeks about my life as a road musician and entertainer.
I sure do miss my fans. This pandemic has changed the way we all live. Thanks to all of you who have contacted me on Facebook and emails. I want to have you in my life, forever!
By the way, I must eat and feed my dog, Peeve (my pet Peeve). So, if you feel like you would like to help, here are some links to Venmo and Zelle. Only send what you can afford. All donations are appreciated!
Note: I don't know if I can produce one blog per week, as I planned. I don't have a staff of cameramen and other assistants. I do these things by myself. I will, however, try to publish them as often as I can. Please keep an eye on this website.
Zelle name: (775) 287-2050
Venmo name: firstname.lastname@example.org
Hey, be sure to check out this video!