The “First Time For Everything” Tour rolls on Nasty Bingo makes our Little York Tavern debut. Get your Pizza and Beer on as you groove to the flying Folkedelia.
rock and roll
Since the team started working on Dive Bar Tuesdays, one bar has been at the top of our list to get to sooner than later. It is one that we all discovered while working together and we had been attending for a while. The location was relatively central to where we all lived, the food and drink prices were right, and the atmosphere was incredibly relaxed. Schedules did not align, especially since on Tuesday nights the bar was packed. Packed to the point people were making reservations. Reservations? In a dive bar? When Tuesday Night Trivia is so popular that majority of the tables in the place are set aside, something special has to be happening. This week we were finally able to make it to the Phone Booth Lounge in Kettering. It was much quieter than the last few times we tried to enjoy the calm atmosphere we were accustomed to.
The Phone Booth just exudes calm. It could be the fact that they have been serving customers for the last five decades. That’s right, they have been sitting there taking care of customers since 1964. The wood paneled walls and stained ceiling tiles tell that tale well. And not in a “this place needs an update” way. It is just comfortable, like a well-worn sweater. The bartenders are friendly, going the distance to help me find a whiskey I enjoyed (I was feeling some Bushmill’s) and rooting through the beer cooler for me. There were photos of bands surrounding the stage, and lit signs indicating all of the upcoming events being held there. There is live music all weekend, including a Blues Jam on Thursday nights. Monday through Wednesday they have beer specials and something different each night; Wii bowling on Mondays, trivia on Tuesday, and warm up the stage on Wednesday with karaoke. This month they will also be teaming up with the Dayton Blues Society for their Second Annual Youth Showcase on February 20th.
Their cocktail menu reflects their claim of being the Home of Kettering Rock and Roll. The shot list falls on the more traditionally named side, with Black and Blues, Cinnamon Toast Crunch, and Sweet Tarts. When you look over to the cocktail menu, however, the rock comes out. You can find some Sweet Emotions, possibly Blinded by the Light, or end up Knocking on Heaven’s Door. There is a list of beers, wines, and other liquors they have on the back, but it is not a complete list. There is one thing that they took down that I really enjoyed using to see all their beers; a beer shelf that hung over the bar. It allowed you to look at the selection of specialty beers and be ready to order on a moment’s notice. This is also one of the few bars I have been to where all of the liquor is not up where it can be immediately seen. The hiding of the complete beer and liquor menu may just be a clever ploy to get you to chat with the staff.
The food menu is a perfect complement to the space. It is all very comfortable food. You are not going to hit many surprises on it, unless you order the nacho platter without understanding what you are asking for. There was other food on the table, like hot dog pretzel bites and fried mushrooms, but we all turned our heads when the nachos came. It was big enough to serve the five people that were sitting there, and there were enough toppings on it to hold it all together. Even after nibbling on it for the better part of an hour, we did not finish it. It was one hell of a surprise to see on the table, and makes me curious as to what other surprises may be lurking in that kitchen.
Why is this place packed on a Tuesday night? It is definitely more than for just the trivia. Good food and good company are part of the equation, even if you come alone. You have great bartenders to talk with, and there is pool, darts, and on Monday nights, bowling to keep you occupied. You can admire the art show on the ceiling tiles through the building, some of which has been there for years. In the warmer months there is a patio for your enjoyment. For a low key night with friends, it is the perfect place to meet, get cozy, and hang out for a few hours.
The Phone Booth Lounge is located at 155 E. Stroop Rd., Kettering, OH 45459. You can call for information at (937) 298-8712.
Southern Rock Is Pronounced Lynyrd Skynyrd
“Well every time that I come home nobody wants to let me be
It seems that all the friends I got just got to come interrogate me
Well, I appreciate your feelings and I don’t want to pass you by
But I don’t ask you about your business, don’t ask me about mine”
~Gary Rossington/Ronnie VanZant
Don’t Ask Me No Questions
The iconic band that is Lynyrd Skynyrd is at once an ever changing amalgam of talent as well as a indestructible thread holding together the roots of American rock. From their auspicious beginnings, practicing in a carport in the summer of ’64 in Alabama, to their recent Rowdy Frynds tour with Hank Williams Jr., Lynyrd Skynyrd has remained true to their origins, playing the type of music that has made their name synonymous with “southern rock”. The history of Lynyrd Skynyrd is one of tragedy, turmoil and triumph. Yet, throughout it all, their music plays a testament to the undying appeal of their sound and words.
The original line up of what was to become Lynyrd Skynyd was formed in 1964 with Bob Burns, Gary Rossington, Ronnie Van Zant, Allen Collins and Larry Junstrom. They practiced in the carport at Bob’s house, which gave inspiration for their original band name, “My Backyard”. “The Noble Five” quickly supplanted that name as the boys melded their Southern blues sound with the prevalent country influences that resonated throughout the south at that time. With the introduction into the mix of British invaders such as Free, The Beatles, Beck and Clapton, their sound was all but complete. There was an ever-changing roster of names that the group called themselves while they honed their sound; The Wildcats, The Sons of Satan, Conqueror Worm, The Pretty Ones and The One Percent. Then, one night at the Forrest Inn, Ronnie called out to the crowd, ‘Hey, we’re Leonard Skinner and we’re gonna play for y’all tonight’. Leonard Skinner, it should be noted, was the name of the gym teacher whom Gary and Ronnie had problems with on a regular basis. Most of the people in the crowd had had problems as well, so the new name was met with a thunderous applause. Later, the band would change the vowels in the name to y’s to “protect the guilty”.
By 1970, having honed their musicianship in countless bars and taverns, Lynyrd Skynyrd cut some demos of the originals that they had accumulated, using Quin Ivy’s studio in Muscle Shoals, Alabama, returning in ’71 to make a full album at Muscle Shoals Sound Studios. Skynyrd was finally signed in 1972 by Al Kooper, who also produced their first three albums: pronounced leh-nerd skin-nerd (1973), Second Helping (1974) and Nuthin’ Fancy (1975). They immediately caught the eye of Pete Townshend who signed them up as an opening act for The Who’s Quadrophenia Tour.
Skynyrd was promptly propelled into a world of fame that they may have yearned for, but were perhaps not wholly prepared to deal with. Various changes in the band’s line-up, exhaustive touring and an accelerated drug and alcohol intake served to create fissures in the once impervious Southern rock band. Tom Dowd stepped in as producer on the Gimme Back My Bullets album, bringing with him a discipline and focus the band desperately needed.
Steve Gaines filled the void that Ed King left during the Torture Tour, bringing the band back to it’s original three lead guitars. They once again became a tight performance group, as captured in the 1976 live album One More From The Road. The revived Skynyrd next created Street Survivors, arguably the band’s best since Second Helping. The album cover showed the group engulfed in flames and one of the songs held the lyric “The smell of death surrounds you” which ominously alluded to an impending tragedy that loomed on the horizon.
On October 20, 1977, just three days after the release of Street Survivors, Lynyrd Skynyrd’s tour plane, nicknamed “Freebird”, ran out of gas due to a mechanical failure, crashing into a marshy bog on Johnny Mote’s farm in Magnolia, Mississippi, killing band members Ronnie Van Zant, Steve Gaines, back-up vocalist and Steve’s sister Cassie Gaines. Skynyrd’s road manager, Dean Kilpatrick and the two pilots also died from the crash, as all of the deceased were in the front section that broke apart on impact. The other twenty or so passengers were injured to some degree or another. Powell’s nose had been utterly mangled, Gary Rossington suffered numerous broken bones and contusions, and Allen Collins had a hefty piece of metal embedded in his arm. Artimus Pyle, the drummer, managed to walk to get assistance, but suffered a shotgun blast by a person mistaking him for an intruder.
With only two of the original members surviving the crash, the days of Lynyrd Skynyrd seemed to have come to a fiery end. The label quickly pulled all the copies of “Street Survivors” depicting the band surrounded by flames. The following year, MCA records released the Muscle Shoals sessions and titled it Skynyrd’s First…and Last. Some of the members played with bands like Molly Hatchet, Alias and .38 Special. Gary Rossington and Allen Collins went on to form The Rossington Collins band in the early eighties after Rossington had undergone extensive surgeries to regain the use of his arm.
Tragedy still stalked the musicians when Artimus Pyle suffered a leg injury in a motorcycle accident, Allen Collins’ pregnant wife suddenly died and a 1984 car crash paralyzed both of Collins’ legs and killed his girlfriend. Collins died in 1990 after succumbing to pneumonia.
A 1987 concert commemorating the 1977 plane crash found Ronnie’s brother, Johnny Van Zant stepping into the spotlight as lead singer, showing the world that the music of Lynyrd Skynyrd was far from forgotten. Through many permutations over the years, Skynyrd has recorded several new albums, been inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, performed innumerable concerts and held onto the sound that has made the freebird a phoenix of American rock and roll culture.