Douglas L Perry, The Author blog

December 22, 2009

I was in a band

Filed under: Stories — douglaslperry @ 1:03 am
Tags: , , , , ,

Once, long ago, it’s true, I was in a band.

I played the bass guitar, so yeah, I got all the girls…. NOT

However that’s what’s important when you are 19 and playing in a band isn’t it. Truth be told I did have a girlfriend at the time and she pretty much scared the other women away.

There were lots of stories, but one still sticks in my mind.

We had to cut class to leave early enough to make it to the venue. It was a Prom dance for a little town called Bowdle, located way up  in northern South Dakota (oxymoron anyone). Earlier we had used a broken down Ford Econoline van to transport our gear, or a trailer behind one of the bandmember’s cars, but this time we were going in style. My father and I had refurbished an old school bus into sort of an RV complete with stove, kitchen, hot water heater, sink, running water, the works. It was awesome. We spared no expense.

The fact that it still drove like an old broken down schoolbus, was beside the point. To us, this was living large.

On the way up to the event we were excited. We had never played this venue before and it was always nice to go someplace new.We started to wonder what we had gotten into when it took us more than a half an hour just to find the place on our map using a magnifying glass. (Google wasn’t yet invented, so that didn’t count)

We stopped for gas at the only gas station in town on the way up, because we knew it would be closed when the dance was over. We filled the tank, and went to start the engine, but the battery was dead. That was odd. We had just driven it all the way here.

We got a jump from one of the station attendants who ironically had a disfigured face. When we asked him what happened, he told us that it happened when a battery blew up in his face last month while jumping a car. You see the irony right? OK, glad you are still with me.

We played the event, which is another story in itself, and while the dance was happening, we charged the battery, because we just happened to have a battery charger along, you know, in case we needed it. Which we did.

After the dance we set off down the road, and everything seemed fine. We were tired, but still awake enough to keep going. About 60 miles from home, in the middle of nowhere, the bus started running very rough. It was then that I noticed that the alternator wasn’t charging the battery, and that we were almost out of juice. (Don’t ask why I didn’t notice it in the 8 hours of driving that had already happened)

Since it was about 3 in the morning and there wasn’t any traffic visible in any direction, we turned off the headlights and navigated via a flashlight along the edge of the road. When we did meet cars, we turned the lights on right before we met, then turned them off after we passed. Not real smart, but I did mention that I was very young, right?

About 45 miles from home, we ran out of gas. In the middle of nowhere. (Which is pretty much everywhere in South Dakota)

About a half mile away we saw the security light for a farmhouse, so we set out on foot. We woke up the poor farmer, who luckily had a gas tank for his tractors and such, and filled up a few plastic jugs with our fuel. We trekked back out to the bus, gas in hand, but by the time we got there, the jugs were being eaten through by the gas, and we barely got it in the tank before the jugs disintegrated.

One more trip back to the poor farmer to get a jump, and we were off again.

At this point we were approaching the big city town where I lived, and traffic was increasing. The headlights had to be turned on more frequently (pretty much all the time). We reached about a mile from our destination, and the bus just died. We tried to start it by coasting down a hill with it still in gear, but it wouldn’t go. It was as dead as one of the bugs on the windshield.

I hitchhiked into town with a scary movie villain dude guy who turned out to be a friend of my fathers, and snatched a battery from one of my dad’s vehicles.

Sidenote: Right about this time the story of the Uruguayan Rugby team disaster came out. You remember that right? It’s where the planeload of people crash into the Andes mountains and they have to resort to cannibalism to survive the winter. So that sets up the next part.

I drove the fresh battery back in one of my dad’s vans and pulled up to the bus. One of the other band members came out to tell me the bad news. I was too late. They couldn’t wait any longer to be rescued and had to eat Simons (band groupie). We all had a good laugh, got the vehicle running, and drove home.

The next day I found that the charging wire from the alternator to the battery had fallen off because of a loose screw. That turned out to be the source of our adventure, well, except for the rest of the loose screws riding in the bus.


  1. Dear douglaslperry,

    My name is Leora Trub and I am a student in the Clinical Psychology Ph.D. Program at The Graduate Center of the City University of New York (CUNY). I am conducting a study of the reasons that people blog and what benefits it brings, which at this point are still largely unexplored in research studies. I am therefore reaching out to you as a blogger who can help deepen our understanding of this phenomenon. I believe that your voice is an important one to be heard and hope you will enjoy participating in the study. I have developed an online questionnaire that asks about specific aspects of blogging as well as asking about feelings about yourself and others. The survey is a mix of numerical scales and opportunities to reflect in an open-ended format about the role of blogging in your life, and how it has changed over time.

    You are eligible to participate if you are at least 21 years of age and have been maintaining an English-language personal blog for at least six months that you update or visit at least twice a week (on average). Your participation involves completing a confidential online questionnaire. The data will be downloaded onto a secure server to which only I have access. No identifying information, such as your names or address, will be collected, and you will be given the opportunity to be identified by a code name in research reports and to have your blog description changed slightly so it cannot be identified if you wish. In addition, you may choose not to share your blog information, in which case I will not access your blog for any reason after this point.

    The survey takes approximately 45 minutes to complete and participation is completely voluntary. Three participants who complete the survey will be randomly selected by a lottery to receive a $75 cash prize.

    There are no foreseeable risks to participation in the study. Although some of the questions are personal in nature, participation in the study provides an opportunity to think about the role that your blog plays in your life.

    If you have any questions about this research, you can contact me at (732) 407-7928 or, or my advisors Dr. Arietta Slade at (212) 650-5658 or and Dr. Tracey Revenson at (212) 817-8709 or

    The study has been approved by the Institutional Review Board of the Graduate School of the City University of New York and meets of their guidelines as well as all state and federal guidelines for research with human participants. If you have any concerns about the project at any time, you can contact Ms. Kay Powell, Institutional Review Board at the Graduate School of the City University of New York (212) 817-7525 or

    In order to participate in this study, I need to send you an invitation through survey monkey. If you are interested, please send an email to from the email address to which you would like the invitation sent. I hope that you will decide to participate and also that you will share it with others if you decide you would like to. Please feel free to contact me with any questions.


    Leora Trub, M.A.
    Doctoral student in Clinical Psychology
    Graduate School of the City University of New York
    365 Fifth Avenue, New York, NY 10016-4309

    Comment by ydoublog — March 14, 2010 @ 11:18 pm

  2. Doug,
    Many times I think of this story and every time I hear your Bass solo on the radio I think of you. You may be thinking of someone else as your girlfriend however I did type your resume and move you to CA. Any chance you might send an autographed copy of your book? I too like many of the books you mentioned especially since I was in the Air Force for 6 years.
    Yours Truly,

    Comment by Renee Wood — July 6, 2010 @ 9:48 pm

  3. Will do. Playing in the band was a fun time.

    Comment by douglaslperry — July 7, 2010 @ 1:40 am

  4. Okay,so I never blogged before,does your son play any instruments? My daughter plays drums.

    Comment by Renee Wood — July 18, 2010 @ 7:59 pm

  5. My son makes music on his computer, electronic techno music. Like father, like son…..

    Comment by douglaslperry — July 28, 2010 @ 4:15 am

  6. Sounds good…surprised not Rock n Roll. Lynard Skynard will be coming to our area for a free Beach concert and I am looking forward to listening to Freebird and Sweet Home Alabama. My daughter and I went to a benefit concert which the All American Rejects played. Are you familiar with them?

    Comment by Renee Wood — August 8, 2010 @ 1:56 pm

  7. Lynyrd Skynyrd…So Sorry

    Comment by Renee Wood — August 11, 2010 @ 7:46 pm

RSS feed for comments on this post. TrackBack URI

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Blog at

%d bloggers like this: