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Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Eric Burdon and the Animals


Back in the mid or late 90’s, around one Saint Paddy’s weekend the rock band Eric Burdon and the Animals performed a few shows at Bruce Willis’s Hailey Mint Bar. I attended one of the events, even dancing for a while, and was impressed that these old-timers still ‘had it’ as they put on a festive show, and played a number of nice recognizable classics.

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At the time, I was working at Horizon Airlines as a ramp agent, and while working in the back room early the next morning, I noticed several musical instruments in their cases starting to roll through the bag well. Traveling bands often have suitcases and trunks with souvenir stickers from every end of the world patched all over them, and as this band’s distinctive checked luggage continued poring through, I edged my way up to Horizon’s front counter to gain a closer peek at the rock stars.

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The Animals looked a little worse for wear, and I had a vibe that they probably had stayed up late partying, probably even gaining less sleep than I had. It wasn’t even 7a.m. yet, but the band probably needed an early start in order to prepare for their next gig.

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As I worked my way back to the bag well, I noticed that a large duffel bag in the middle of the band luggage was leaking some type of dark liquid. It looked bad enough that I should attend to it; because as well as tarnishing whatever was in that particular bag, it had to potential to ruin other passenger luggage. Using a bit of the self-empowerment that the Horizon Air leaders often encouraged, I zipped open the bag and discovered that the culprit was a slowly leaking bottle of rum. In transit, the cap had become slightly cracked and as we didn’t have a fitting replacement cap that size in stock in our provisions cabinet, I decided to use a bit of duct tape to stem the leak. While doing so, the thought flashed, “This is exactly, what I would want somebody to do for me, if I had a bottle of cheap rum, leaking at the airport.”

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Following on that thought, I figured it best to page the band member to explain what happened. I walked to our front counter and asked Jane to page the bass-player from what had now become a bustling early morning crowd. He came forth in his ragged-glory and I started to explain that I had taped his rum bottle to stop the leak, and that the rum was certifiably STILL GOOD!

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Somehow though, stumbling through this hazy and cacophonic chaos, he misinterpreted my intent, and I’ll never forget, he asked, “WELL, CAN WE DRINK IT NOW THEN?” I re-explained that my intent was to show him that I personally had duct-taped his rum-bottle secure, so that it would not soak any more of his clothing, and wanted him to know this, so that he wouldn’t suspect that somebody had tampered with it along the merry way!

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And he seemed happy enough with that.

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