First Show

Published: Oct 29, 2020

The first time Larry Bernard played the drums in front of a crowd was the late 1960s, in a club on the South Side of Chicago. He was under 18, and had to lie about his age to be admitted inside. His brother new the bass player in the band who backed Junior Wells. An arrangement had been made to let Larry play for a song or two in place of the regular drummer, as a favor from one friend to another.

The air was smokey and smelled heavily of marijuana. It was loud, almost enough to make him turn back. But Larry tightened into himself, a kind of self-hug, that brought him a little comfort, and he pushed through several clumps of people yelling at each other. Not yelling from anger but because that was the only way to be heard.

He liked the music, it had a solid beat and a simple riff. His brother was at the bar, and couldn't be missed because he always wore a snake skin Trilby.