For some reason, every time a celebrity would drop by our dressing room, I'd miss it.
Countless band pictures were taken with folks like Sugar Ray Leonard, Buzz Aldrin,
Robert Redford, and I always seemed to be off, getting something off the bus, on a
pay phone, or working on my equipment backstage. But one day in Reno, I was in all
the right places.
The setting was Harrah's Hotel & Casino, and the world premiereof "Pink Cadillac", a
Warner Bros. film starring Clint Eastwood & Bernadette Peters. We had a song in the
movie and as part of the premiere, we were to perform in Harrah's showroom for the
attendees. We were on at 7:00, then they were to empty the room for the regular
evening show at 9:00 by Waylon Jennings.
Movie premieres are lavish, with food that rivals a Caribbean cruise. On the way to
sound check, bassist Gary Roller and I stopped at the banquet room to grab a quick lunch. We found a room full
of about 500 radio and record folks, flown in from all over the country for the event. There was one empty table
left in the corner, so we sat down to eat. Shortly, we noticed that Clint Eastwood and Bernadette Peters had
entered and were "working the room", going from table to table, introducing themselves. When Clint got to our
table he introduced himself and asked who we were. We told him we were musicians in Michael Murphey's band
and he smiled and said to his assistant, "This looks good, right here." (Clint is a music fan) With that, he sat down
next to me to eat lunch. Immediately, a photographer was hovering around the table, and I realized how hard it is
to eat with flashbulbs going off. Eventually, the paparazzi drifted off, and we enjoyed our lunch with "Dirty
As soon as we got to the stage for sound check, our road manager pulled me aside to tell me that Bernadette
Peters wanted to sing a song during our part of the show, and had requested that we accompany her. As
bandleader, I was to meet with her at the piano to go over the arrangement, key, tempo, etc. And so I had a
one-on-one meeting with another movie star. Bernadette was cute and funny and I had fun kidding with her. She
wanted to sing Hank Williams' "I'm So Lonesome I Could Cry" (from sheet music), but I kept playing the song she
had sung in Steve Martin's "The Jerk". ("I'm picking out a thermos for you. And a rectal thermometer, too...")
The show went well and afterwards I stepped out the backstage door into the non-smoking alley, to get some
fresh air. A long white limo came skidding up, and out stepped big ole' Waylon Jennings. Seeing me, he broke into
a wide grin and headed for me with his arms outstretched. Apparently mistaking me for someone else, he
hollered, "Hey Hoss, how the hell are ya'?" and gave me a big bear hug. He asked about my wife (whom he'd also
never met) and chatted for a minute before heading inside. By this time, I was looking for the candid camera.
Finally, after wandering the casinos and watching some of the Warner Bros. folks lose money at the tables, I
stepped on the elevator to head for my room on the 7th floor. At floor 2, the doors opened and in walked my old
lunch buddy Clint Eastwood again, with two policemen as bodyguards. (Dirty Harry needs bodyguards?) He
greeted me, complimented my piano playing, and said he really enjoyed the concert. I finally made it to my room
and called home to recap the strange and interesting day for my wife. Of course, she thought I was pulling her
leg and it wasn't until I brought home this lunch photo of "Clint & Squint" that she believed me.