I thought I was never going to have sex again.

Funny how out of town you’ll do shit that you wouldn’t THINK of doing at
home.  Ribfest?  SURE!

There’s some back story here, which I can’t remember.  Lewi was going on
about this, how it’s a Clear Channel production, but I’m not into sideshow, I’m

Not that there isn’t music at Ribfest.  Shitkickin’ music.  At least tonight.
 With Jo Dee Messina.  Thursday and Friday was has-been music.  Rick
Springfield and Ted Nugent.  If you want to know where old players go to die,
just hit Ribfest, where they don’t even charge you an ADMISSION fee, the music is
FREE!  Paid for by Miller Beer and a host of other corporate sponsors.  That’s the
line of demarcation.  If you’re taking money to play, SPONSORSHIP money, even
if you’re charging admission, you’ve jumped the shark (what better than a
has-been expression to describe the reality of has-been musicians?)

But we weren’t there for the music.  We were there for the ribs.

The scam is it’s a cash-less event.  You pay for everything with tickets. 
OVERPRICED tickets.  You think the public doesn’t know we’re ripping them off? 
That was the second thing my sister told me.  It was fun, but it was
EXPENSIVE!  Are there any bargains left in America?  Any deals? 
Any fair exchanges?  Every time you go to an event you get ripped off. 
Sports.  Entertainment.  The movies.  People are sick of it.

But you never get sick of ribs.

That was the allure.

We didn’t have barbecue growing up.  Not THIS kind of barbecue.  SOUTHERN
barbecue.  With meat roasted for hours in a pit.  The closest we came to ribs was
what was served as an appetizer at chinese restaurants.  But those whetted
our appetites.  For the real thing.

Not that I was convinced you could get the real thing here at Ribfest. 
Because the whole thing was so CHEESY!  With booths flashing banners of events
they’d won that you’d never heard of.  Sporting trophies that looked like they’d
been barbecued themselves.

But you’ve got to get into the spirit, you’ve got to give it a try.

I felt we had to go to the booths with lines.  That somebody knew something.

Turns out this was TOTALLY wrong.  People are sheep.  They follow the crowd
to mediocrity.  Whereas the vendors with nobody waiting served the best food.

We got samplers.  Three ribs for five tickets.  Which works out to $8.33. 
Not a deal.  And not enough food to satisfy either.  With each of us taking one

But after a few joints, our hunger was satiated, we could start playing the
connoisseurs we believe ourselves to be.

Oh, the Pigfoot ribs were thoroughly cooked.  And their sauces were heavenly,
ranging from mild to hot.  AMERICAN hot.  Which we all know is wimpy. 
Because Americans love their food bland.

But then we discovered North Carolina BBQ.  With meat that tasted like it had
been cooking for a week.  Flaky dry instead of moist.  With a hot sauce with
pepper seeds that was out of this world.  I was down with this.  But Wendy
preferred the ribs of Good Ole Boys, which if you go for the pink stuff, the
slowly roasted but cooked today style, were truly the best.

And having sampled the wares of so many outlets, we took a break.  Laid in
the shade of the one extant tree.  Escaping the Minnesota heat.  Which is barely
bearable at five p.m.

But then, fully rested, we strode over to the Howling Coyote emporium.  For
some pulled pork.

Enduring a line, since the place had filled up, I decided to sample the
sauces.  I sauntered over to the giant tubs with fountain dispensers
and found them labeled "Mild", "Pyro" and "Super Pyro".

What a laugh.

But just to be sure, I started with the Pyro.  There’s just something about
that word that put me on guard, that warned me.

I licked my finger and the world started to spin.  I had an urge for water
but I knew that this was no help, it would only fuel the fire.  My tongue, my
lips, they were scorched.  And the fire was still burning.  And when it faded, I
made the mistake of licking the remaining remnants from my index finger.

This is where I went wrong.  It’s hours later and my lips STILL tingle.  I
thought I’d have to go to the emergency room.  I saw no relief.  Was I the only
one on this trip?  Did they have a mobile burn unit, ready to deal with hot
sauce poisoning?

When the pulled pork sandwich arrived I wouldn’t let Fred put ANY sauce on
it, not even mild.  I was working on some mental theory that the meat and the
bun would dilute the effect, but this was fallacious.  My lips still burned.  My
tongue too.  When they finally started to merely tingle fifteen minutes later
I was so relieved I swore off sauce FOREVER!  Once burned, FOREVER shy.

I was done.  Finished.  History.

But before we exited, I had to make one final trip.  To the loo.

I strode over to the porta-potty, lowered my pants, whipped out my member,
did my business, shook my unit a few times for good measure and then reinserted
it into my jeans.

Business done I felt relaxed.  I hiked over to the NASCAR exhibit for a peek
at the hot rods.  But when I started walking back to the concourse, to meet
with Wendy and Fred, to get our shit together and go, I started enduring a
strange sensation, a BURNING sensation.

It flummoxed me.  Was there something in the lemonade?  Something that had
entered my urinary tract that was causing such discomfort?

And then, as my sword started smoldering, as it felt like it was being rubbed
in hot coals, needles inserted all the while, I finally added it up.  The
Pyro sauce, from Howling Coyote, it had been transferred like a virus, from my
hand to my DICK!!

The pain wasn’t fading.  Was the skin here that much more sensitive?  Where
the sun never shined?

I’m running the mental scenarios as it feels like flames are raging inside my
pants.  If I thought water would have worked I would have run into the
Mississippi.  Maybe someone’s got some hand lotion.  Can ANYBODY help me?

Can I TELL anybody?

Finally I ran into Fred.

And as I told him my dilemma, my story, my amped-up conundrum, I sank to my
knees, I rolled onto my back, I spread my legs, to make sure my penis touched
not a whit of clothing.  I told him I couldn’t move, I just had to lie there.

He chuckled.  He couldn’t help himself.

But it was no laughing matter.Ribfest.jpg

Ten minutes.  Twenty minutes.  Was this pain EVER going to subside?

I didn’t move for half an hour.  Panicked, just PRAYING that nature would have an antidote, that this searing pain would run its course and I’d be free.

I’m free now, but it’s hours later and I haven’t let my hand touch my dick since, even though I’ve washed it vigorously a number of times.

So let this be a warning.  Pee BEFORE you go to Ribfest.  And don’t go again
until you’ve come home and SHOWERED! 

[Above Right – Wendy and me with the Ribfest mascot.]

4 Responses to Ribfest »»


  1. Comment by Bob Welch | 2005/08/03 at 10:49:05

    Bob …Enjoyed your missives on backstage w/Brian Adams and Def
    Lepard….Also the hilarious "dick story" with the "hot-sauce hand"…I had something
    equivalent happen to me once , only with Santa  Fe Mexican food , and it happened
    to my asshole.. not my dick.

    But I MUST , truly , take exception to your brutal use of the phrase "has
    -been-musicians" when referring ro Rick Springfield and Ted Nugent , who play
    "soft ticket" gigs at fairs , when contrasted with your endless rhapsodizing over
    acts like Def Lepard and Brian Adams. Bob , Def Lepard and Brian Adams (AND
    Fleetwood Mac) are has-beens too….only diff between them and Springfield/
    Nugent is that they are 1st tier has-beens. But then , in their day , they were
    1st tier acts , whereas Springfield et al were always 2nd tier…even in the
    days when they COULD headline a hard-ticket show.

    Being a second or 3rd tier  has been myself  ,the phrase rankles , kind  of
    like "dinosaur rock" did in the eighties when Capitol records promotion was hypi
    ng their  "new" punk thing ( "The Knack") with the PD of XYZ radio in the
    backroom while I was in the studio on air trying my best to promote my "dinosaur
    rock" hit.

    Bob , you’ve been around…maybe you made more money once than you now do ,
    or have been more in demand than you now are….I wouldn’t know. Should I
    therefore say you are a has been music biz guy….but Jimmy Iovine isn’t because
    he’s still climbing higher ? Is victory and honor truly only to THE most
    successful ? Is being #1  kick-ass really what means the most ?..

    I certainly wouldn’t assume this having read some of your previous
    columns…Indeed , sometimes you almost come off like a "sensitive soul" God forbid  😉

    All I do know is..Springfield’s gotta’ eat , Nugent’s gotta’ eat (even though
    I abhor his politics) ,….and I gotta’ eat too.

    So would ‘ya lay off the high school ranking stuff……….

    Nursing bruised feelings , I am ,

    Yours sincecely , and with all best wishes ,

    Bob Welch

  2. Comment by Steve Lukather | 2005/08/03 at 10:49:25

    Ouch. hahahahha
    Hey, Bob, I can dig your rave BUT.. what are Older muso’s supposed to do?
    Stop playing? I mean just cause you are not a "super-star act" doesnt mean you
    give up music. Its a a deep love and a calling. Its NOT just about money and
    hype. My idea of heaven is playin a cool club full of peoiple that dig what I am
    doing THAT night. NOT "go out and play your hits" There are those of us than
    enjoy the $ to pay the bills and live a nice life but *I* still get up and
    practice my guitar and still love playing it after playing for 41 years. Dont
    equate rock star shit to being a REAL musician that still strive to get better. Of
    yeah, its NOT hip to be really good and have great technique but very few
    people actually PUT THE TIME IN TO BE LIKE THAT! And WE are the ones that get
    raked thru the coals by the so called " Rock press" which are basically failed
    musicians that HATE anyone that has attempted to master the instument.
    Any ass fuck can be a "rock star". It takes decades and then some to be a
    journey man musician. I mean what are half these asswipe "rock stars" gonna do
    when there 2nd or 3rd record fails? They aint good enough to be a REAL musician
    ?? They will spend all there money right away like the idiots that win the
    lottery. You can blow thru a million bucks in 3 weeks if you try. hahaha Its like
    Austin Powers Dr. Evil. "One MILLION dollars" haha
    Dont fuck all us old guys off for trying to make a living? So we aint "hip" I
    am not U2, never was never will be but I AM a proffessinal musician and proud
    of it. It beats working at MCdonalds , which is about all I could do if it
    wans t for music. haha
    So, play a state fair, have a laugh. At 47 years old I LOVE to play music. It
    is not a crime and its not really selling out. I mean what will the "Flavor
    of the month’ Bands be doing in 30 years? I am still working and havin a blast
    and I have taken nothing but shit from the press for almost 30 years. If they
    had any real power I would have been over in 1978. I am not bitter or pissed o
    ff at all. The great thing about getting older is that I could give a fuck
    what my media enemies think of me. I know where the bodies are buried with most
    these fucks anyway. hahahaha They are, for the most part, all wankers and
    posers anyway. I mean, If you cant play as good as me or any other REAL muso than
    fuck off. Its my life NOT a job!!!!!!!!!!!!
    I dig your raves Bob , and I agree most of the time BUT , dont be so harsh
    with us older cats just makin a living and havin a laugh. I have GREAT life and
    still look forward to whats ahead.
    Beats workin for a livin

  3. Comment by Chris Apostle | 2005/08/03 at 10:49:53

    Interesting to read this. May I offer a response. Having spent 24 years as a
    roadie. sound engineer. Keyboard player in 8O’s hair band that scored 3 top 4O
    singles, I moved on to coordinate records for the biggest stars around. I am
    one of the few NARAS members who may actuallu qualify to vote for the Grammys.
    Bob,you are very insightful and seem to be quite passionate about music but
    you are not that inside the touring and working musician side of the biz. Have
    you looked at the musicians in bryan adams band? On the inside these are the
    best players around. They have endured and survived computer records and they
    still make a living doing the one thing they do better than 99 per cent of the
    young diva so called musicians. Have you ever seen a destinys child show?
    These so called musicians would get eaten alive by any player in most bands at Rib
    Fests. Bob, I played a ton of these gigs as a keyboard player with flo and
    eddie. These week long or weekend middle america parties are our bread and
    butter. First and foremost the crowds are great the production is usually very good
    and a bunch of good old fashioned sound and light systems get to be used and
    people make money the old fashioned way. What is wrong with that. The greatest
    live festival is the milwaukee summerfest which is done for this year and I
    am surprised you didn’t talk about it. On the inside every band agent and
    manager know it is a mandatory stop for their artists. Ask any of our expert urban
    teenager A@R experts if they know what the mil sfest is?  If you ever played
    there and I have about a dozen times each stage is sponsored by a beer company
    with giant inflatable beer cans on stage right and stage left of each stage.
    Nevermind you can see maynard ferguson on a jazz stage. Joan jett on a rock
    stage. The guess who on a classic rock stage and dwight yoakum on a country
    stage. All playing the same time and for 1 price. Of course if you want to see
    stevie wonder in the evening at the bradley center it costs you additional but it
    is what it is. Point is. What is wrong with deep purple touring or rick
    springfield and nugent playing a ribfest. Shit instead of chicagofests like the old
    days each community in the area has its own fest. The naperville fling. The
    oakdale summerfest. These gigs are work for people in our field. I just made a
    record that is high on the charts and we used maybe 3 real players and of
    course pro tools and the famous pitching vocal devices. I ll bet rick ted bryan and
    such didn’t have too many sequencers on stage. Watch the foo fighters live
    bit on mtv. Notice some of the guitars out of tunes and how daves voice or growl
    gets tired the 2nd half of the show. What a concept. Live music. You seem
    very knowledgeable about music. At least you often mention records I  know very
    few remember. Mott. Etc
    I feel you should make sure to know that ribfests and such are the last
    bastion of gigs available for working musicians. I d rather watch a live gig in a
    minor league stadium or ozark mountain amphitheater or tulsa than watch a lip
    synd destinys child in msg anyday. An oh yes. Who gives a shit if U2 or the
    stones have their music on ads or silly tv shows. Better than ashlee ashanti or
    the other unmentionable young divas. Keep writing. Thanks. Chris

  4. Comment by Karen Gordon | 2005/08/03 at 10:50:09

    Bob.. I sent your column to my cousin the caterer/chef and she sent back this
    email.. It does seem like Sour Cream is one quick way of trying to put out
    the fire..and its certainly avail at rib fests… Or should be I guess. Although
    it does remind me of a joke I heard years ago when I was a kid about three
    old Jewish men..and the punch line went : It looked so good, I ate it myself.
    Here’s my cousin’s response.

    we related so closely with this poor soul – we had been on a pepper jelly
    making binge – and of course are way too cool to wear gloves (not any more!!), so
    away we go prepping potfuls of peppers and like a couple of good kids, clean
    up the mess, followed by a shower. Mr. P goes in first and "bubbles up" and I
    hear this wail from the WC as the effect of his cleaning operation kicks in. 
    I thought he had fallen or perhaps slit his throat???  I rush in and there he
    is pointing at willy winkie and doing the dance of fire.  I rushed back into
    the kitchen and returned with a TUB of sour cream – any dairy will do, and
    slathered his buddy to quell the heat.  Seemed like a good opening for a porno
    flick – n c’est pas???
    Moral of the story – WEAR GLOVES!!
    Sure glad we’re not the only idiots on the planet!!

This is a read-only blog. E-mail comments directly to Bob.