1976 Merle Haggard/Cason Sound
FOH Audio Engineer
Hag onstage at Oakland Coliseum
Merle's personal bus is in front
Working for Merle was great, but also grueling. Most of the time it was just me, Charlie Burns (the boss), and a lighting guy who couldn't drive the truck. Show up at noon, setup, do the show, tear down and drive sometimes 500 miles to do it again. Bob Eubanks ( yes, The Newlywed Game guy ) company Concerts Express booked Merle and was at every other show. I don't think he owned a map. We criss-crossed the country several times. We started an Eastern Canadian tour leaving from here and crossing into Canada at Sault-St.Marie above Minnesota. We were detained at the border for over four hours because Merle had been a felon, hah! He had already received his pardon from President Jimmy Carter, but I guess we had to wait on a confirmation phone call. We finally made it to the first show in Moncton about 7:30 PM for an 8:00 show and the place was packed as we unloaded. We got started by 8:20 and I think our setup was a pretty good show in itself. Anyway we did 9 shows in 10 days and ended up in Augusta, Maine on Sunday night. Thursday night we were in Phoenix!!! Then Fresno ( 550 miles ) to San Diego ( 600 miles ) to Anaheim. In Anaheim, I was rolling the equipment to the end of the truck for unloading and as I rolled the console back I thought there was a guy waiting, but I was wrong! The console rolled off and flipped and landed on its back. Fortunately, George was at that show and minor repairs kept us going. I think that was about 13,000 miles in three weeks and 14 shows. I lasted less than a year. I decided not to continue after Christmas holidays, mainly because I was told the money would not get any better, not much incentive. Also the tour would start in Bismarck ND on January 4th (BRRR!!). I had just started recording some and had some good contacts in town, the longer I stayed on the road, the less I would be remembered. Might have been a mistake, but that's where my heart led me. I still could work local gigs for Cason Sound and build my recording skills and clientele at Pantego Sound.