Summer Hill Sock Hops
Forest View Community Center
Westover Hills Sock Hops
Grange Hall School (Melissa Spain attended that school)
Falling Creek Middle School (Valentine's Day Dance)
Summerview Davee Gardens (may have been a private party)
Bellemeade School (Community Center) Sock Hop
Webber Memorial Baptist Church
409 Club (memory provided by Pooh, Bozo, B.T.)
Top of the list in memory was the 409 Club. Let's just say that according to the boys, all was not what it appeared to be and as the evening developed the boys found themselves in an unusual situation. But first things first. Chip recalls that the band went down to the club earlier in the day to set up the equipment. The first amazing thing about the club was the stage. It was suspended about 10 feet into the air. There was an open staircase that led up to it. So the boys set up the equipment and left through the front door rather than the back. They noticed a man rehearsing a show, which Chip recalls seemed to be like a broadway musical . The man was pantomiming.
Later that evening Midnight Sun went on stage and as usual started with some good old fashioned rock `n roll. The crowd was not into it and not many people were dancing. After several songs, the band "slowed it down" and then the couples came onto the dance floor. Much to the surprise of the boys there was a lot of "same gender" dancing going on and the boys realized they were not in a "routine" night spot. I'm told the boys began to drink quite a lot to calm their nerves and were truly glad they were on a stage "out of reach" of the clientele. Brooks took a nasty fall down the open staircase and landed smack dab in the middle of a table and was unconsicous. Bozo tells the story that Robbie Davis picked B.T. up and threw him over his shoulder like a sack of potatoes, carried him outside, and put him in a car, where he remained the rest of the evening. The band gave B.T. a hard time, because they tried to make him believe that one of the "gents" of the evening stayed outside with him to take care of him. The boys later told B.T. they were just kidding. The boys remember the pay was good for the evening, but had no desire to have a "return engagement." (return to top)
Officer's Club Pool Party (memory provided by Chip)
The second most often talked about gig was the time the band played for an officer's club pool party at Fort Lee. I'll let Chip tell the story:
So many stories so little
paper. The guys and myself have been known to say over the years that it
was a shame one of us didn't turn out to be a writer because there sure
was a best seller in the exploits of Midnight Sun. Oh how true that statement
is. With at least 100 stories running through my mind I think I will tell
the tale of Midnight Sun, the U.S. Army and a swimming pool.
I don't remember how order was restored but it was and we continued playing. The one thing we have never figured out to this day is how we played electric guitars with everyone soaking wet, standing in a pool of water, without getting electrocuted? (return to top)
Aqua Land (memory provided by B.T., Gordon, Steve and Goone)
Midnight Sun was always up for a challenge. So they loved to participate in competitions like "Battle of the Bands." So the band traveled to Aqua Land to play in what they thought was a Rock `N Roll Battle of the Bands. When the band arrived they discovered the competition was for Bluegrass/County music. So Gordon told the manager about the misunderstanding and asked if he still wanted the band to play. The manager told Gordon, "go ahead and rock them." So Midnight Sun took the stage and played Rock `N Roll to a group of 500-600 people. The audience had not been dancing very much according to Gordon but when the band took stage Gordon says the band "blew the doors off." The band had its full compliment of brass at that time and played music by Chicago.
The band was not allowed to compete but was invited by the management to stay overnight and play the following day, because the people liked them so well. The boys didn't have any place to sleep so the manager let them sleep in the bar. BIG MISTAKE. Gordy had to baby-sit to keep the owner from losing his stock that night! The next day Sun played again and management complained because there was Bingo being played in another room and Sun was so loud the Bingo players couldn't hear the numbers being called out! (return to top)
Battle of the Bands - State Fairgrounds (memory provided by Peg, Pooh, Steve and Goone)
Midnight Sun played in two different Battle of the Bands at the State Fairgrounds. In the first competition, Steve recalls there were eight bands competing and Midnight Sun came in 4th place.
The second time Sun played at the Fairgrounds, they came in 2nd and placed higher than Dry Ice. The band, Dry Ice had beaten Sun at Skateland in a Battle of the Bands, so even though Sun didn't come in first place at the fairgrounds competition, they were really pleased that they placed higher than Dry Ice. Marion says the band lost first place to a "Michael Jackson" look alike. Chip recalls that Peg and some of the other girls who hung around with Midnight Sun made a huge banner and waved it in the air when the band came on stage to compete. After the competition, most of the band came to Gordy and Peg's house and spent the night. The boys were so disappointed in the loss. Some of us stayed awake all night. Peg went to work the next day with no sleep. (return to top)
Skateland (memory provided by Steve and Marion)
Midnight Sun played at Skateland on a regular basis. Steve recalls that Midnight Sun played at Skateland a lot during the summer of 1971. There was a sock hop at Skateland on Wednesday nights. Midnight Sun also participated in several Battle of the Bands at Skateland. The first competition, Midnight Sun came in second to Dry Ice another Southside band. The second time they played in a Battle of the Bands, Midnight Sun beat Dry Ice. Marion recalls that during that competition, Chip was out sick and Shagg played the drums that night. (return to top)
LSD Fraternity Party (memory provided by Brooks)
Brooks recalls this party because things got a little rough. The band played an extra set and then the fraternity would not pay the band. So Brooks says "we had to open a few heads to get out." Brooks lost his wallet during the fight and he, Marion and Melissa went back later and found the wallet laying in the parking lot. (return to top)
Coles Point (memory provided by Peg)
I have so many good memories of the band playing at Coles Point, which was a tavern built out on a wharf in the Potomac River. When you went out onto the wharf you were in Maryland. Midnight Sun played there many times. We played there many Saturday nights and we played there on a Labor Day Weekend. On that Labor Day Weekend the band stayed down there all weekend. The management provided two little trailers and the guys stayed in one and Gordon and I stayed in the other. The trailers didn't even have a bathroom. I remember on Saturday, before the guys were to perform, we went into the river in our shorts and bathed in the Potomac River using someone's English Leather soap.
Coles Point is where we were playing the first time Kenny unexpectedly got sick and didn't show up. The guys did not have a lead singer and asked me to help fill in that night, helping with lead. I remember singing "Proud Mary". On another occasion, I sang "Help Me Make it Through the Night". I had asked Marion and Chip to learn the music and we had practiced it a few times at Chip's house. I sang it 7 times that night. The band would play rock n' roll and then someone would yell out, "Hey how about let that little girl get up there and sing that slow song," and I would go back up on stage and sing it again. I always figured the drunker people got the better I sounded and that is why they asked me to sing it over and over as the night went on. But for one night, I felt like I got to be a member of Midnight Sun.
Gordon says the band learned "Wildflower" a song that got played a lot at Coles Point. Remember the old guy who danced there every week. We called him "the Stomper."
I especially enjoyed traveling up to Coles Point on Saturday with Marion and Chip in Sun Van. We'd go up a little early and get Chip's drums set up. One night Marion and Chip got really "SICK" on the way to Coles Point and Chip asked me to drive his van the rest of the way to Coles Point. I couldn't believe Chip was letting me drive his van, so I knew he didn't feel good. When we got to the trailers Chip and Marion became very ill and I was trying to take care of both of them. Chip told me he remembers everything about that night except "Playing." I helped set up drums, equipment, so forth. Music was REALLY OFF that night. (return to top)
Jerry Lewis Labor Day Telethon (memory provided by Pooh, Peg, Gordon, and Brooks)
The local television station Channel 12 hosted the National Jerry Lewis Labor Day Telethon. Gordon got the band booked to play on television. The boys were excited about this but it turned out to be a disaster. The band was to play during the late night hours. Chip recalls having an episode with asthma, and was sleeping in Gordon and Peg's bedroom at Bartee Road until it was time to go to the station. A lot of the girlfriends of the guys stayed with Peg and they stayed up to watch it. They were supposed to go on about midnight but ended up going on around 4:00 a.m. But Peg and the girls stayed up and watched them. Gordon recalls the band playing 3 songs. Acoustics were horrible and the band sounded about as bad as they had ever sounded. Brooks recalls that the band had played a gig somewhere else earlier in the evening and was worn out. (return to top)
Crippled Children's Hospital (memory provided by Steve, Kathy, and Pooh)
The band went to the Crippled Children's hospital to play at Halloween. While the band was playing Kathy remembers passing out candy to the kids. Chip recalls that when he did his drum solo, the rest of the guys in the band went out and passed out candy. The kids really seemed to enjoy the band and the boys said it was a very moving experience to play to those children. (return to top)