Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Going back to Vegas ... Music

I WAS ASSIGNED to cover a meeting tonight. It was at a child's consignment shop at 20th and Broadway, the old Vegas Music building.

Halloween, Funions at The Elks
My heart sank when I got the assignment. Vegas Music was owned by Pat Cornwell, who played drums in my band, The Funions. We used to practice in the back room of the store and we had some righteous times in there, sometimes even learning a few songs. The fridge was always full before practice started, if you know what I mean.

Pat got sick in September 2010, and died two months later. The store closed and the building has been vacant since. I have trouble even driving down Broadway past the store. After he died, Sheryl and I decided to open Second String Music, and we bought some of the Vegas Music stuff from Chris, Pat's son, to get started.

Pat always said the building was haunted. He and Warren Riley told many a tall tale about all the strange things they experienced. Lucky Cat Vegas, who now lives in our music store, was part of the store's haunted history - ask Warren about the times Lucky used to come down the stairs with blood red eyes.

One night we were practicing in the back room and a strange smell started drifting around. It was right before Halloween, and Pat simply shrugged, then reminded us the building used to be a funeral home.  Once he took the time to show us where they drained the blood in the basement.  Warren jumped out and scared the crap out of Sheryl and her sister Stephanie.

Open Mic at Streeters
Sheryl noticed the other day the consignment store had opened, and wanted me to go over there to give them our store business card. I resisted because I have too many memories and Pat's death still hits hard. 

Tonight, I had no choice. I had to go over there to write about the daycare meeting. As soon as I pulled into the parking lot, the memories started flooding back, and I felt like I was floating when I walked in through the front doors.

Not much has changed, except a bad paint job on some of the walls. Not seeing the counter in the main room was jarring. The stairs were closed off. No guitars hung from walls - instead, clothes and toys were scattered around the floors.

The meeting was in back, the old practice room, and it seemed bigger because Pat always had a bunch of PA stuff crammed back there.  But it was the same room, same marks on the wall by the outlets, same carpet with beer stains, probably.

Pat with Tim Corrigan, Johnson, and Jeff VanKanegan 70's
It wasn't much of a meeting, and I had to wait to talk to a couple of people. It was really hard, I felt like jumping out of my skin, and I half expected to see Pat jump out from around the corner, like the practical joker he was.

When I got done I felt very heavy, like Pat was still there and was trying to tell me something. It probably would have gone like this - "Can you believe what these people are doing to this building?" Something like that, anyway.

The current tenants say they've experienced some strange things after moving in. They asked me if stuff ever happened when Pat was in the building.

I just smiled and thought, I'll just let Pat tell them himself.

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