Tuesday, November 20, 2018

Farewell, Tony Gilliland

ONE OF THE best things about Second String Music is the sense of loyalty and family we get from our customers. Our casa is your casa, we like to say. We are only as good as the people we surround ourselves with, on a daily basis.

So it was with great shock and sadness we learned Tony Gilliland of Hannibal passed away last month. His wife, Helen, came in this morning to break the news (sometime we live in a bubble around here) and Sheryl shed some tears with her and as we remembered Tony.

He used to come in every other month or so and he bought a guitar and a tuner from us, among other things. He'd pop by when Helen got her hair done next door, and he was usually too modest to play much. Sheryl liked him because he was funny and loved music.

I loved it when Tony came into the store. He was 91 but looked a lot younger, and he could still play the heck out of a guitar. I learned that when he came in, we sort of had to make him play because he really didn't want to show off or get in the way. Far from it - Tony had a love for music, and he was still rocking until the end. Country music was a passion for Tony and you could tell by the way he picked the guitar.

One day he came in and was sitting there patiently, shooting the breeze, and I begged him to play. When he shrugged it off, I got my old Gretsch Cutter guitar out and his eyes practically bugged out of his head. He picked it up and I swear that old guitar came to life, the way he coaxed notes out of it with his fingerstyle method.

We are helping Helen sell a few of his music items, including a tuner and an amp. Please read his obit in the link above - Tony had a great ride and obviously loved life.

God bless ya, Tony. You will be missed and we are so much better off for knowing you and you gracing us with your presence.

Monday, November 19, 2018

Beer Can Bowling Controversy

AFTER THE SMOKE cleared and the debris was swept aside, Second String Music Happy Hour legend Pete Magliocco emerged victorious Saturday to win the coveted and now broken Bedford Beer Can Bowling Invitational.

But there was huge controversy, and we may have to call the International Beer Can Bowling Association of Nebo to clear it up.

I was one of the first to bowl Saturday, as the chaos of our annual Saturday Before Thanksgiving Party started to unfold. The rules are this - you get three throws at 10 cans. They are reset after every throw. One point per can. You get one bonus point for every throw if you hold a beverage, so your max score is 33.

Pete broked the trophy.
I believe I notched a 28. Then Pete walked in and we handed him Angus' plastic moon ball, the official ball of Beer Can Bowling. Pete tossed his first throw. Immediately, Beer Can Bowling Sgt. At Arms Adam Yates cried foul, er, foot foul. Pete's left foot crossed the line as he threw, and his score of six cans plus bonus beverage held was not valid.

I felt sorry for Pete and ruled he could replace his throw without penalty. What a dumb move. Pete proceeded to knock down seven pins on his replacement throw, one more than the previous throw. Then he bowled two beer can strikes and the store went nuts.

There were protests filed and legal action was threatened, but in the end his score of 30 was allowed to stand. As it turned out, another guy threw a 29 so I wouldn't have won anyway. Plus I was having too much fun jamming and was in full store party mode.

When Pete's name was announced, he immediately teared up and emotionally accepted the coveted trophy, made by Steve Rees' father. Then Pete broke the trophy. "I just came off!" he cried, pointing to the bowler dude on the ground. "I didn't do anything!"

No worries, Pete. We'll get Steve to fix it this afternoon, or bring it to his dad to fix.

Anyway, the store party was another raging success. To me, the best part is looking over at five or six people in the jam session playing music - none of them really know each other, but it doesn't matter. Music is the universal language.

Until the next store party, our eighth anniversary in February, Pete is the reigning and defending Beer Can Bowling champ. Even if his name has an asterisks next to it.

Friday, November 16, 2018

Shouldering the load after surgery

SHERYL HAS BEEN dealing with bone spurs in her shoulder for quite some time. She was referred to Dr. Smith in Columbia, Mo. Sheryl went there Wednesday morning for a consultation.

"You need surgery," Dr. Smith said. "We need to look at your rotator cuff, too."

Normally it takes a while to get surgery scheduled. But Dr. Smith said, "I have somebody cancel tomorrow morning at 9:30. Can you come back?"

Of course! Cori Lyssy volunteered to drive Sheryl to Columbia, and off they went early yesterday morning. Sheryl says it was quite the adventure.

Sheryl right after waking up from surgery and not feeling her arm.
The doctor got in there and took care of the bone spurs, but then found the rotator cuff needed some major attention, and the arthroscopic procedure took 2 1/2 hours. She has a massive shoulder harness that makes her look like an NFL linebacker or maybe half of Robocop, and she has a special chair than elevates her arm up and down so it doesn't lock up
The nerve block wore off during the night and it isn't pretty. She'll need six weeks to recover. Thankfully she is taking time off from the store and hopefully she can fix all my bookkeeping blunders next week. Our annual store party is Saturday and we aren't sure if she'll be up to coming, but we'll see.

Thank you, Cori, for getting her there and back, and thank you to Steve Rees for pinch-hitting yesterday.

Sheryl has been putting up with constant pain for a long time. We are really hopeful this will correct her shoulder issues. In the meantime, I'm hanging with Tucker and keeping Second String Music rolling. We'd appreciate you thinking of Sheryl, and let's hope she's back behind the counter soon!

Thursday, November 15, 2018

Don't give these bleepholes attention

APPARENTLY WESTBORO BAPTIST "Church" is sending protestors to Quincy Sunday morning. It's on their website, which is a seething cauldron of hate and uniformed ignorance.

All they want is attention. They thrive on it and expect us to react and engage.


I highly doubt they even show up here in the first place. If they do, let the authorities and the churches deal with it. Don't drive by, don't stop and picket, don't do anything to let them know we know they are here.

They hate it when they get ignored, and the irony is delicious. I really wish they'd come down to Fifth and Maine early Sunday morning - nobody else will be here and their chants will go unheard. If a tree falls in a forest .... it makes no sound.

The churches have responded with message of love, not hate. It's a much better way to approach it and I have a lot of respect for our spiritual leaders reacting that way. But I won't tolerate this so-called "church" and I'm calling these Westboro assholes out on it, and if that makes me a lesser man, so be it. I'm hashing it out with my Maker as we speak.

Some of our local pastors have organized a gathering Sunday at 2 p.m. It's a great idea. Show love, not anger. Preach and pray it forward, not backwards into ignorance.

The message of hate will not work here in Quincy.

Tuesday, November 13, 2018

Frank defends the title

IT'S THE ANNUAL Second String Music Saturday Before Christmas Party - this Saturday. Already? Yes!

We'll start jamming around noon and go with the flow. At about 3 p.m., we are literally dusting off the Bedford Beer Can Bowling Invitational trophy and Frank Haxel will defend the title he cheated to win last year.

Frank built the contraption we use, which makes sense since he won. Basically we use one of Angus' balls and put 10 beer cans down, and you get three throws. Cans are worth one point each and are reset after each throw. If you are holding a beverage while you throw, you get one bonus point.

Making things more interesting this year is the carpet we put down in front of the stage. It is not exactly smooth and level. The lane is the same for everybody, unless you put spin on Angus' ball. We may have to take up the carpet for this event, it hides the stains from last year....

The winner gets his or her name put on a sticky note on the trophy, lovingly crafted by Steve Rees's father. We still don't believe he foraged around his neighborhood on recycle bin night to find the beer cans, though we do wonder where he found the purple 16 ounce Steel Reserve Alloy Series can.

We are also raffling off a gorgeous Ibanez TM330M guitar with a 10-watt Fender Frontman amp and a gig bag. We sell ticket JUST this Saturday so get in early to buy your tickets. We'll do the raffle about 6 p.m. and you don't need to be present to win.

At 5:45 we'll do our annual toast to Pat Cornwell, the late and great owner of Vegas Music who passed away about this time of year in 2010. He was our inspiration for opening the store and continues to inspire us every day.

We'll have beverages and snacks and plenty of room in the coolers or fridge if you want to bring your own. Matt Roberts Blues Band plays Saturday night at Red Light Saloon across the street and we might - repeat, might - bring the party over there after we are done.

See you Saturday and let's celebrate the start of the Thanksgiving and Christmas season!

Monday, November 12, 2018

The Gambler and the right band

I GOT A call last week from a Quincy woman. She's celebrating her 70th anniversary next summer and wanted to know about The Cheeseburgers. "I have some friends at the Elks and you come highly recommended," she said.

She's planning a party and wants live music. The party is from 4 to 7 p.m. at one of the nicer venues in town. She wanted to know what kind of music we play.

"Well, it's rock and roll," I said.

"Well that's great," she said. "We will have some people there in their 50s and 60s."

She asked if we played any country music. As a matter of fact, we do have a Johnny Cash medley, but that's about it. She suggested we might do more country. "We do love our Kenny Rogers," she said.

I had a brief flash of Cori Lyssy and I belting out "Islands In The Stream" while the rest of the band tried not to laugh. Saturday morning Pepper Spray played in a very cold Veteran's Day parade in Quincy, and I told Tim Smith the story. He started playing "The Gambler" and much to my horror, I actually followed along and played it. And knew it. GUH.

I'm going to call the woman back and tell her she might want to think about a different band. There are some country groups in Quincy who'd be perfect. So would Little Ronnie. We will do it, but I'm not sure it's the right fit, and there's nothing worse than going to a gig, setting up, then realizing you'll be playing to crickets and mild indifference.

Then again, it could be the greatest gig of our lives.

A few years back we were hired to play at a graduation party. One of the guys in the band said it was the Class of 89. Right up our alley! A week before the gig it became the Class of 79. Okay, fine, we'll still fit in. Then the night before it was the Class of 64.

Unfortunately when we showed up, it was the Class of 59. As in, 1959. I am not making it up. This was one of several times we were told to turn it down before we even played a note.

In the end, I'm honored the woman thought of us, but she'll likely go with another group, and everybody will be happy, even when the band launches into "The Gambler."