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Saturday, March 21, 2009

GUEST POST: ASSAULT AFTER GFR SHOW




Assault After Grand Funk Railroad Show
The cop's pistol looked huge and aimed right at the head of Grand Funk Railroad's lead singer, Mark Farner.

The late night Halloween show on October 31, 1969 at the Houston (TX) Music Theater with Grand Funk Railroad and the opening act, some guys from Austin called ZZ Top had gone well. As the roadies were loading up the equipment, I went up to the box office to see how my wife Cookie was doing closing the shows books. Went up to the door , knocked and waited to be let in.

From inside I heard my wife Cookie cry out my name in distress. I looked through the one way glass and could see her struggling with the Houston Police Officer who was suppose to be guarding her while she counted the money. But, I could see through the glass that he wasn't guarding her, he was trying to assault her !

Pounded really hard on the door and yelled, "OFFICER, OFFICER !" It seemed to throw him off long enough for Cookie to roll out from under him and run to the door to let me in.
It was obvious that the dude was blitzed drunk as he was standing there weaving and holding on to the counter for support.

I approached the officer and in my most authoritative voice proclaimed, 'OFFICER, YOU ARE NOW OFF DUTY...YOU CAN GO HOME NOW !"
He was dazed as I led him across the room and out the door.

I then went to the phone and called the Houston Police Headquarters and told the desk Sergeant what had happened and that they should send an officer to make sure the guy didn't try to drive in his condition. I said no, we did not want to file a complaint, just called to let them know that their fellow officer needed some help, pronto.

No sooner had I hung up then there was a pounding on the door and a roadie outside yelling that a cop had a gun at Mark Farner's head back at the loading dock. Oh s**t !

I ran full tilt back to the stage entrance and sure enough there was that drunk Mexican cop holding his gun at Mark Farner's head mumbling about f***ing long haired hippie freaks and such.

Terry Knight, the band's manager and Don and Mel, Marks band mates and the rest of the road crew were standing around frozen in fear of what could happen next if the gun were to go off. Oh s**t !

I have no idea of how I knew to handle this situation as it wasn't until several years later that Waylon Jennings told me that guys like us don't have problems, we have, "situations".

So I just strode up and again in my most authoritative voice said, "OFFICER, YOU ARE OFF DUTY, HOLSTER YOUR WEAPON !!."...

With that distracting him ,I walked up and took his arm with the pistol in it and lifted it off Mark's head and up to the ceiling., repeating, OFFICER YOU ARE OFF DUTY, HOLSTER YOUR WEAPON...WHERE IS YOUR CAR ?...its TIME TO GO HOME, WHERE IS YOUR CAR ?.
At that point he put the pistol back in the holster and pointed out to a lone car way out in the parking lot.

As I was walking him out to the car, Houston PD cars came flying in from every direction heading right for us. They immediately took over the "situation" and a burly Sergeant asked if I wanted to file a complaint. I said no as I did not want to have to come back to Houston and a court case involving a f'd up police officer as, hey, nobody got raped, or shot.

About two months later we received a letter from the Houston Chief of Police informing us that the officer in question was given a two week suspension (no doubt with pay) and was receiving counseling. Go figure.
Bob Gately

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2 comments:

Me-Me King Mar 21, 2009, 7:07:00 PM  

I have known Bob Gately for many years, he was a great promoter of some of the greatest bands that ever came to Phoenix - Jimi Hendrix, Cream, Janis Joplin, Dr John, etc.

Great article!

Ms Macky Mar 23, 2009, 4:30:00 AM  

Exciting story Bob! Bet you have lots to say, how's that book coming?

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