Just some stories.


Photo by bertvthul from stock.xchng

During the Roller Derby road trips in Fall and Winter we required the skaters who wanted to use their cars to take two other people with them.  Charlie O’Connell was not happy about doing it but in addition to someone he knew, a rookie who he barely knew was assigned to his vehicle.  Somewhere in Ohio there was a stop for gas, etc and Charlie proceeded to the next date (I think it was Pittsburgh).  When he arrived and dressed for the game he realized he only had 7 players instead of the 8 on his team.  We found the rookie stranded in Ohio and we sent him a bus ticket…..luckily Charlie remembered him the rest of the road trip

Probably our best referee was Bill Morrisey.  He was quite serious, not a lot of histrionics, but called penalties equally on all skaters.  One night at a Cow Palace game Charlie was in the infield when an opposing skater came flying into his back and Charlie rolled into Morrisey and knocked him down.  Bill’s glasses came flying off, and when he got up he turned around to O’Connell and threw him out of the game.  The crowd went crazy, their superstar not able to skate the rest of the night.  Charlie came off the track and found me…..”Did you see the crowd reaction, we can pack the house for the next Cow Palace game if I skate a match race with Morrisey”  “Are you nuts, he can’t skate” ” Don’t worry about it.”

Well our referees didn’t skate, there were two (three for playoffs) who walked backwards in the infield in a figure eight with each one designated to watch either the pack or the jammers.  I told Charlie we would start promoting it for the next game at the Cow Palace.

Match races were extra events sometimes held at half time, generally featuring top skaters from opposing teams.  This race was to be 4 laps around the track, legal blocking.

The night came, the Cow Palace was sold out, and fans could barely contain themselves.  I was amazed that Bill stepped up to the starting line.  The other referee blew the whistle to signal the start of the race.  Charlie immediately turned and blocked Morrisey to the infield.  He lay there stunned as Charlie sprinted around the track.  Just before Charlie got back to the starting point Bill got on his feet and back on the track:  “Boom”, Charlie laid him out again…this happened each lap until Charlie won.  Bill had never gotten off the starting line.  Afterwards, I asked Charlie how Bill  had gotten on the skates OK.  “Easy, he locked the wheels so they wouldn’t turn”

One of the first events we handled for the student activities director at UC Berkeley was a film that has never been released.  Mick Jagger authorized and paid for the production which followed the Stones through an US tour in the early 70’s.  I saw it and it had some very great moments in it:  the Stones stopping at a roadhouse in the South that featured all blues and the world-famous band standing in awe of what the locals were doing.  And there were some great Rolling Stones concert footage.  The problem was that the film maker shot a completely honest film:  Mick and Bianca talking appeared just vacuous; the roadies having sex with groupies on the plane; much use of coke, etc and Keith Richards backstage looking out of it with white powder by his nose and shooting heroin.  The film was to celebrate how the group had ended their relationship with one label while going to another.  The label told them they were owed one more album, so the Stones recorded a obscene group of songs and the album was called the c**ks****r blues, which was the name of the film.

The problem at BASS was, what did we put on the tickets.  We were told that we had to put the name of the film on them which really presented a dilemma, since our department store (Mont’y Ward) at that time, refused to sell the two performances, so we used just our record stores and our phone sales.  The film maker had been told by Mick to destroy the film and never show it;  of course it was his work of art and he was determined to have it seen.  Our phone room and staff referred to it as cs blues, and both showings at Zellerbach Auditorium sold out immediately.   Maybe that would not be such a problem in today’s society, but it sure was in the 70’s.  The director Robert Frank was vindicated in later years when the film was shown in 1998 in the San Francisco Film Festival and called “one of the best rock and roll films ever”.  You thought ticket selling was easy.

Shortly after I moved to Sonoma in 1993 the Rolling Stones were performing at the Oakland Coliseum along with Pearl Jam.  Since we still had the BASS box in the Stadium, Judi and I decided that we would take a bus load of friends to the show.  Among those I invited from Sonoma were Richard Cuneo, chairman of Sebastiani who had never been to a concert and brought his two young sons, Tommy Smothers and his wife Marcia, John Lasseter (“Toy Story”) and Nancy, and a prominent orthopedic surgeon and a leading restaurateur, as well as a good friend I will call Dave.  Judi had invited Susie Tompkins, the co-founder of Esprit, Tom Hulce (“Amadeus”) and a group of other people, including one I have to keep nameless.  Judi and Susie had exotic food; Richard Cuneo brought a case of wonderful Sebastiani wine.

We left from Sonoma in a blinding rainstorm and picked up Judi and some of her friends in Marin County and then headed towards Berkeley, where we picked up the others.  Judi was passing out the food. and the wine was being poured when one person, who had just separated from her spouse, grabbed a bottle and was drinking from it.  I said to Richard, ‘what a great promotion for your wine, take a picture of her drinking from the bottle and you can use it as an ad, as everybody knows who she is”.  He looked at me as though I was crazy…..he didn’t know me that well yet.

When we got to the Stadium the rain had pretty well stopped, and we missed Pearl Jam, but nobody was feeling any pain.  When we got to the box, Dave pulled out a very welcome bag of marijuana which he happily donated to the party.The young Cuneos headed down to the infield to get close to the stage and the projected runway.  Tommy, who was definitely feeling no pain confessed although he and his brother Dick had had many of the famous rock and roller on their TV program, this was the first concert he had actually attended.  Suddenly he disappeared and seemed to be gone for a long time.  Marcia was getting concerned.  When he finally showed up, he said that he couldn’t remember the box number (all were private sky boxes with doors to enter) so he kept going from box to box stating that this was Jerry Seltzer’s box and he was supposed to be there…..apparently he was thrown out a number of times, but finally ended up with us.

I can’t tell you too much about the concert…..I have seen the Stones at least a dozen times and really enjoy them.  However, our magic bus was the story that night, and it got even crazier on the way home.  Most people wanted to sleep (I put a Vivaldi album on the sound system), but Tommy and the surgeon kept walking up and down the aisle demanding that everyone stay awake until their respective wives pulled them into the seats.

I considered it an A plus evening.

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5 comments on “Just some stories.

  1. Too funny Jerry. Vivaldi?????????? After an
    evening like that. Yikes. Wish I had been a fly on
    the back window. I can see you trying to calm things
    down. 🙂

  2. I’m just young enough to have missed the Smothers Brothers in their much-lamented prime time show. But I remembered that I’d always liked them when they popped up here and there on TV after their show was canceled.

    Key to their act: Almost everyone has an idiot they love in their family. Tommy’s a very smart guy who convincingly acted like a goofy twelve year old boy well into his 70s. I think Dick was/is his perfect foil.

    I went to see them once in Tahoe and twice in Vegas. They’re still hilariously funny, smart, topical and are very clever about how they sell their humor to their fans from the past and folks who don’t remember that far back.

    Tommy wandering around knocking on box doors is hilarious. With it being a Stones show a LOT of the people who answered the doors were probably really pleased/amazed to see him.

  3. 2 things,Tommy is dyslexic which made it difficult for him. Also despite appearances, Tommy was the responsible one in regards to getting the act together, booking, etc. Just like Laurel really put their sequences together and Hardy just showed up, filmed and went home.

  4. I find each and everyone stories so interesting. I only wish that I was there during the road trips traveling from city to city. I belive with the right combination of people that all thing’s are possable. god bless everyone Lali O 🙂

  5. YOUR TELLING TALES ,MAYBE IT’S A GOOD IDEA TO START LETTING THESE NEW SKATERS KNOW THE BAD SIDES OF DERBY, DURING THE EARLY DAYS.
    WHERE WE ALL LIVED IN THE BUILDINGS WE HAD SKATED IN . TRAVEING BY BUS OR TRAIN CARRING OUR OWN COOKS ,TRAINER,SKATING IN THE ARMORIES, BUILDINGS THAT HAD KITCHENS.
    OH SORRY JERRY THAT WAS THE DAYS OF YOUR DADS ROLLER DERBY..
    YOU HAD ALWAYS BEEN A GREAT PROMOTER, AND I WAS TOLD HOW GOOD YOU WERE TO THE SKATERS UP NORTH.
    IT WAS A SHAME ALOT OF US RETIRED BECAUSE GAMES WERE PULLED OUT OF SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA.
    NOW ITS ANOTHER GENERATION OF SKATERS WITH THERE OWN STORIES. PUT THIS INTO A BOOK. EVERYONE ELSE IS DOING THIS. LOVE YOU MY DERBY BROTHER
    THE ONE & ONLY LITTLE IODINE, STILL PAYING ROLLER DERBY.

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