Band Biz

by on September 9, 2023 :: 0 comments

photo "Under Cracks" by Tyler Malone

The dance was on the second floor. The leader played sax and flute. He brought along a drummer, bass player, keyboard man, and guitarist. All the players shared the singing responsibilities. They were each capable of doing lead and background harmony.

This was to be an easy gig because a lot of speeches and award-bestowing rituals for gang members, for whom the dance was held, were scheduled. The men expected to play a little while, then there’d be speaking.  Play another short set, then more speeches, more awards.

The youth were dressed in sports jackets and ties and brought their girlfriends. Altogether forty youth were present, along with fifteen adults.

The kids alternated between sitting and dancing to the latest pop tunes, stuff by the Temptations, Wilson Pickett, Sonny and Cher. The band also played some slow tunes, doo-wops and jazz. Most of these guys danced pretty swell, as did the young ladies. They all did the popular dances—the Jerk, the Frug, and the slow-grind. Some even danced the Lindy.

Around 10:30, some strange thing occurred. Seems two parties that night were happening on the second floor of the Odd Fellows Hall. Along with Dr. Leonard Brown’s Awards Dance, members of a St. John’s University fraternity, called The Dead End Dogs, were holding their own dance. For some strange synchronistic reason, one gang youth named Tony Muzio walked out into the long, narrow hallway of the second floor at the same time as two frat boys strayed from their party. Maybe Tony just wanted to get some quiet.  Anyway, he left the room and encountered the two.

The sociology of the meeting is something akin to townies encountering college boys in a small town. These two sets of youths in Brooklyn insulted each other. Tony wound up calling one of these guys a motherfucker and a jerk, and one of these guys called Tony a fucking scumbag. Strangely, Tony Muzio had the nickname of Tonto. His large eyes, straight, dark hair and sharp nose resembled a T.V. hero at the time. Thus, Tony bore the namesake. Tony himself was out scouting for something.

Motherfucker was the key taboo word. And that was it. The two guys chased Tony into the room where the youth dance was held. The girls screamed. All the gang guys jumped the two frat members. Other Dead End Dogs frat boys, hearing strange noises, dashed into the gang youths’ dance. Suddenly, there was a melee involving close to a hundred guys. The Dead End Dogs’ girlfriends ran in to join the fracas.

Cowboy and his Riders just kept on playing. After all that’s what they were supposed to do.

editors note:

Bring on the band to beat back what’s bubbling underneath all of us, and themselves. ~ Tyler Malone

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