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1976 Merle Haggard/Cason Sound

FOH Audio Engineer

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Hag onstage at Oakland Coliseum

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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.

 

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