MUSIC TO MISSILES
Well at least one. . . . . Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
During the Cuban Missile crises the American National Guard were called up, a number of European military bases were re-activated which meant a bonanza for musicians as all bases required entertainment. At that time I was resident in Jersey, Channel Islands and got a job with a band working on US Bases in Europe.
The trusty Volkswagen Kombi was loaded with instruments ready to catch the early morning car-ferry to France. Sitting down to my evening meal it was announced on the news that President Kennedy told Fidel and his mate Nikita where to stick his missiles and he only had 48 hours to complete the task. I thought, "Ah well, that's an encouraging start".
The first month in France was fairly uneventful, working at the US 34th General Hospital Base, La Chapelle near Orleans. This was followed by a month at Chambley Air Base near Metz, Meurte et Moselle. However when I moved to Germany and got a job with a German band touring US bases, there was an incident that seemed insignificant at the time but might have had a very different sequel.
The "gig" was on a large base called Baumholder not far from Kaiserslautern. Germany was experiencing its worst winter for 80 years - and that is saying something - ice and deep snow made for appalling driving conditions but the trusty Volksie always got me safely there and back. Returning "home" after the gig I got to a certain small town and there was a road block with a line of traffic and German Police and US Military police everywhere.
They asked where I was heading and I told them Wiesbaden. They said you're not going anywhere, you will have to stay the night and there are a number of private houses with vacant rooms. Being a bit tired after the gig and quite happy not to drive further in terrible conditions, I got a bed for the night in a private house and did not bother to ask questions. Had I done so I may not have slept so well.
Some time after the incident I read a small piece which was tucked away inside the middle of a newspaper which read "Military authorities in Germany released a report today which said that on "such and such" date there was no chance of a nuclear explosion when a missile fell its transporter in the town of . . . . . ."
Having suffered nothing more than the effects of "fall off", which was considerably less drastic than "fall out" I felt rather relieved. I continued to tour American Forces Bases in Europe and worked with many American artists such as Johnny Cash, Ella Fitzgerald and Les Paul and Mary Ford - who at that time, had their son Gene Paul on drums - Gene was taught by the King of Skins, the great Buddy Rich.
The moral of the story is: not all things go bump in the night, thank heavens.
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