Over the years the S.M.B. has certainly had a cast of characters come through it. Somewhere along the line everyone who is in, or around the band acquires a nick name that goes along with their personality. The original keyboard player for the band was a gentleman by the name of Chris Daniels who earned the name Doc. Doc is no longer in SMB but he’s still a good friend and there are so many funny stories about the guy that I just had to tell one. The best way I could describe Doc is he’s like a cross between Sylvester the cat and the Cowardly Lion. To call Doc just a little jumpy would be the understatement of the century…that was the only kink in his armor Steve and I needed.
Now, when it comes to traveling with the band, accommodations can get a little sketchy from time to time. At some gigs we’re treated like kings. We’re put up in the finest hotels, fed steak dinners and treated like royalty for the entire gig. Other times the entire band and road crew are all squeezed into one room in a motel that smells like someone put a 6 pound salmon into the bath tub and filled it ammonia. Doc’s first road trip with us was the latter of the two.It was the summer of 2006 and we were booked at the Kern County Fair for two nights. The hotel we were staying in was right next to a huge truck stop. My advice to anyone who hasn’t stayed in a motel next to a truck stop is…don’t. This particular truck stop, like many others around the country, attracted some ladies who made their living at the oldest profession in the world.
After we got checked into the hotel we didn’t have much time to survey our surroundings. We had just enough time to clean up and have a cold one before we were off to sound check, business as usual. We left the hotel and were off to the gig. It was a good night, sound check went well, the band played great and the gig was well attended. After the gig, when we got back to the hotel we noticed the place had come to life with some of the ladies from next door looking for “a party.” No big deal, we’d seen things like this before in our travels, so we looked at it more as the local entertainment, a side show if you will. We had a few laughs about it and soon called it a day. The next morning it was a real nice day, and Doc had the door to his room open listening to James Brown. That was all one of the nice ladies from next door needed as an invitation. Doc was sitting in his room minding his own business and in walks this woman who is about 6’ 7” with a huge yellow afro, weighing in around 300lbs, wearing a hot pink spandex dress that was made for a woman who weighed 98lbs.
“Hey Baaaby……wanna party?”
Doc was speechless, and scared to death. Instead of saying, “GET THE HELL OUT OF HEAR!” he tried to be nice, “Well….a……no thank you maam. But thanks for the offer…..a…….um…….please leave.”
She said, “OK baaaaaaaby. Maaaabe a little later. I’ll come back sweetie.”
At this point Doc freaked out! He ran into and Steve and my room and yells, “DUDES! You guys are not going to believe what just happened,” and he proceeded to tell us the story. Even though Doc was more than a little rattled, Steve and I just thought it was funny. We had a laugh and went about our day. We’d seen a hell of a lot worse in our travels. We went out to breakfast and when we got back the same girl was walking around trying to drum up some business. When Doc saw her, he freaked out again. “Oh my God dude, there she is! She’s looking for me!” he yelled.
Steve said, “No she’s not bro. She’s looking for anyone who has $20.”
Then Doc got real paranoid and said, “What if her pimp saw her walk in my room and he thinks I owe her money?” I said, “You’re really over thinking this one bro. Let it go dude. She probably doesn’t even remember you.”
When we got out of the bus she saw Doc and said,” Hay baaaaaaaby! You still got that James Brown CD? Let’s paaaaarty.”
“OK so I was wrong. Forget it bro.” I said.
Doc didn’t want to hear it. He wanted to check out and get another hotel, maybe leave right after the gig for home, whatever he had to do to not go back to that hotel. There wasn’t time to find another hotel and move before the show, and there was no way we were leaving right after the gig. He was just going to have to deal with it. That night the show was great, and the crowd loved it. Everyone in the band had a great time. That is everyone except Doc. All he could think about was a 6’7”, 300lb hooker and her pissed off pimp hunting him down.
When got back to the hotel what Doc did to get to his room looked like something from a James Bond movie. He was dressed in all black, he bolted from the bus, ducked behind a bush, crawled between trash dumpster and the wall, climbed over the stair railing, walked sideways with his back against the wall, checked around each corner all the way to his room. Hell, I’d bet that he was humming the Mission Impossible theme songs the entire time.
Sam looked at me with a puzzled look on his face and said, “That was weird, what’s up with Doc?”I said, “It’s a long story bro. don’t ask.”
Steve and I got to our room and the phone rang. Steve picked up, it was Doc, he said, “I think I made it. I didn’t see her anywhere, the coast is clear.” “Good to know” Steve said.
After Steve hung up we had another laugh about the situation. I changed out of my stage cloths, got into a pair of shorts and flip flops, cracked a cold beer and walked out onto the balcony where I saw Sam standing at the very end by Docs room. As I was I walking down to talk to him, I noticed Steve was right behind me. However, in a very “un-Steve like” move, he pushed past me in somewhat of a hurry. I had no Idea what was to come next. When Steve got to Docs room the door was closed and the shades were drawn tight. Steve walked to the door and proceeded to beat the hell out of it in the upper left hand corned. He hit the damn thing so hard I could see light coming from inside the room, between the door and the door jam.
Steve began to yell, at the top of his lungs, “YO MUTHER F$%#ER!! WHERE’S MY BITCHES AT? GET YOUR SCRAWNEY ASS OUT HERE AND GIVE ME MY F%$#ING MONEY BITCH!!!
Sam and I both jumped, it scared the hell out of us. We both stood there with our mouths wide open in bewilderment. We couldn’t believe what we were seeing, and hearing.The next instant the curtains started shuffling around so hard that it looked like there was a cat inside them getting squirted with a hose. They flew all the way open, only to close equally as fast, revealing Docs head from the neck up. His eyes were as big as truck tires and the look of shear terror on his face was priceless. The next sound I heard was Steve laughing like a hyena.
As a small side note, if any of you out there reading this don’t know Steve Cenker, and have never heard him laugh, you’re missing out. It is pure evil. If Satan laughs he sounds just like Steve Cenker. It’s a gem to behold.
By this point Doc caught on to what had just happened to him and he was pissed. He thought Sam and I were in on it, but we had no idea Steve was going to do this. Hell, I wish I would have thought of it. It was one of the funniest things I’d ever seen. I don’t think I’ve ever laughed so hard in my life. Even Sam, who is the kindest soul I’ve ever known, and would never hurt anyone, was laughing harder than I’ve ever seen. In true Sam Morrison / Larry the Cable Guy fashion he said, “Now that’s funny! I don’t care who you are.” Doc came flying out of his room, “THAT IS NOT FUNNY YOU ASSHOLES!” he yelled.
“Hey man we’re not in on this.” I managed to get out through my laughter.
Doc Yelled again, “BULLSHIT!! WHEN EVER CENKER DOES SOMETHING LIKE THAT YOU’RE RIGHT BEHIND HIM STURRING THE POT ROBLEY! WE’RE GOING OLD SCHOOL!! I’M GOING TO KICK YOUR ASS WHEN I’M DONE WITH CENKER!!” By this time Steve had run back to the room and was lying on the bed laughing so hard he couldn’t talk.
Doc chased after him yelling “YOU’RE AN ASSHOLE CENKER!!”
“I know” Steve managed to get out through his laughter. “I love you man…peace brother, I was just playing.”
“You could have given me a heart attack man. That was not cool!” Doc yelled as he exited the room. When he got to his room he slammed the door and we didn’t see him for the rest of the night. The rest of the band must have stayed up until 4 in the morning laughing about that one.Needless to say, the next morning Doc got over being mad and ended up laughing along with us. That was Docs first road trip with the S.M.B. Steve and I continued to torture him every chance we got until he departed the band in 2009. Doc didn’t leave the band because of us, he left to form him own group The Chris Daniels Project (http://www.reverbnation.com/chrisdanielsproject), and I’m happy to announce they are doing great and we wish him the best. We love and miss you brother.
Doc was replaced by the talented David Kurtz. David not only plays keyboards but is also one of the best guitar players I’ve ever had the honor of playing with. In true S.M.B. fashion, Steve started torturing David right away, and I’m always right behind him to help stir the pot.
Until next time Bart