In this week’s The Rant in Memphis Flyer, Randy Haspel talks of his first memories in the original Lafayette’s in Overton Square. Here is a sneak peek:
When Lafayette’s Music Room opened in August of 1972, I became the Square’s unofficial go-to guy for a warm-up act. Friday’s manager and former Box Tops drummer, Thomas Boggs, moved me across the street where, instead of playing four sets a night, I became the opening act for some of the major artists of the day. Lafayette’s wasn’t just a rock club. They booked jazz musicians like Herbie Hancock, Buddy Rich, and Chick Corea, or you could drop by the next week and catch Waylon Jennings or Earl Scruggs.
Billy Joel was touring behind his first album, Piano Man, when he played Lafayette’s. I strummed pleasantly for the packed house, but Billy Joel blew them away. Between shows, I went to the dressing room and, after introducing myself, I told Billy that I really believed he was going to make it. He smiled and told me he appreciated it. Hey, you’ve heard of the “butterfly effect.” Who’s to say my few words of encouragement didn’t make all the difference?
When I was finishing up my set before Barry Manilow made his Memphis debut, I told the audience that they would love this guy with the piano that lights up like a Christmas tree, which sent Manilow’s manager into a rage, chasing after Thomas Boggs, screaming that I had ruined Barry’s schtick.
To read the whole article, with more stories about Thomas Boggs, pick up a copy of this week’s paper or read it online here.