The Hollywood Bowl is a venue that is absolutely in a class of its own with world class acoustics. It is steeped in tradition and a dress code that is quite a bit more restrictive than the usual Hollywood dives we would frequent. Plus, they allow you to bring in your own picnic basket filled with wine and snacks. Luckily, we had both worn our very best pair of shorts that day and although we were not big wine drinkers, we had managed to find an empty wine bottle, fill it with Jack Daniels and bring in what was left of the olallieberry pie to snack on. What followed was a wonderful day of jazz music that started around noon and ended the evening with an awe inspiring set by The Yellowjackets.
After the show, Kramer and I decided to stop by the bar at the Sheraton Universal for a quick nightcap before the long drive back to Orange County. When we walked in, the place was pretty much deserted except for a table of dudes drinking, laughing and talking. Kramer turned to me and pointed out a tall dude sitting at the end of the table and I realized that it was Stephen “Doc” Kupka, the baritone sax player and founding member of Tower of Power. Although Kramer and I were big jazz fans, we were absolute funk freaks and Tower of Power is the Greatest Funk/Soul Band of All Time.
We tried to stay cool as we headed over to the table, but by the time we got there, we were just a couple of blubbering idiots who proceeded to tell The Funky Doctor what gigantic fans we were and attempted to recount each and every time we had seen them perform. I guess Doc took pity on us because he invited us to take a seat at the table. He introduced us to the other TOP band members and explained that they were touring as the horn section for Huey Lewis and the News. Right then, Huey Lewis walked in with his entourage and the place got crazy. By the time we got around to ordering our first drink, the bartender had announced last call so Huey, probably thinking we were friends of the band, invited everyone at the table to his suite to continue the party.
Once we got up to the room, I pulled out my trusty blow bullet filled with twenty five dollars worth of the finest Peruvian marching powder money could buy and in true Tony Montana style, said, “Who wants a bump?”. That poor little anemic bullet barely made it around the room, but after that, we were everyone’s best pals. I spent most of the night watching Huey roll a joint, light it up and pass it on. He repeated that process at least ten times throughout the night and by the end, Huey and I were drunk harmonizing to the TOP classic “You’re Still a Young Man”. Eventually, we said our goodbyes to our newfound friends and headed downstairs, but I still remember how Kramer and I turned to one another in the parking lot and said simultaneously, “Did that just happen?”
It’s just like I always say: Timing is everything, but it never hurts to have a little blow on you, Dude.