A Short Story - Webb Pierce

By Roc LaRue - ralarue@gapac.com - Posted October 2, 2002
           Some of you many not know who Webb Pierce was. In the 50's he was the King of country music. He revolutionized country garb with the glittering rhinestone jump suits - and he had the most dazzling of them all - all tailor made especially for him. His big hits were, "Why, Baby Why, In The Jailhouse Now, Slowly I'm Falling, There Stands the Glass" and so many more. He had a very unique high pitched sounding voice.
           The story: Again the Wagon Wheel in New York. It was a Saturday Night. The place was filling up, but 2 tables were reserved directly in front of the bandstand. I remember turning to Billy, my lead man and saying "I wonder who's coming to see us tonight." The band playing opposite us during that time was "The Jive Bombers" of "Bad Boy" fame.
           Well on about halfway thru the first set (The Jive Bombers played first) there was a big commotion at the front door. People headed to the front looking out the window, including me. Lenny Montana, who was the doorman and bouncer, had a problem keeping people back away from the door. There was a big cadillac pulled up in front. It had long-horn steer horns on the front and colt 45 type pistols for handles. Out stepped Webb Pierce in a white suit with embroidery all over it - and if memory serves me correctly he had the most dazzling black and white western boots I had ever seen. He was a tall man with black slick hair.
           Lenny ushered him and his group in to their reserved table. It was our turn to play. Again, another one of my idols, right there in front of me, looking at me. Good gosh, what do I do now - run and never turn back:) I felt a knot come up in my throat - but we got thru the set. He invited us to sit with him and we tried to talk him into coming up to sing with us. Note: We, Billy and I, were very familiar with his songs, and I knew Billy could back him lick for lick like his recordings. Well, after the JiveBombers finished their second set, we went back up on stage. He had a habit of continually pulling his comb out and combing his hair.
           (Let me ask you all a question here - how would you feel if you were a young 18 year old from a small town in Massachusetts, singing on stage with one of your idols sitting directly in front of you - and the King of Country Music at that - believe me I was one nervous kid.) Well - I took a shot - I said "Ladies and gentlemen, as you all know, the King of Country music is with us tonight - and I think with a little coaxing we can get him up here. Well - the applause and shouting was deafening. Billy kicked into the riff to "In the Jailhouse Now" - Webb smiled at what he heard and got up and came on stage. WOW! - Web Pierce standing right next to me. He turned to me and pointed to my guitar. WOW! - Webb Pierce wants to play MY guitar. Well I sat at his table and watched as he did a solid 1/2 hour of songs. Billy kept up with him to his delight and amazement. When he was finished and came back to the table - I remember him clearly saying "Thanks, Roc - you got a great group there - especially your lead man."
           Well - that made our night - it made my week. I think that's one of the reasons I kept that Gretsch Country Club guitar. Webb Pierce played it - along with others I'll relate to at another time. You can see the guitar at my page on the RHOF site. I still use it - even though it's a little beat up.

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