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Larry Coryell

 

Back in 1979 my band Northstar opened for world renowned guitarist, Larry Coryell at Kent State University's Rathskeller night club. After the show I invited the band, the sound crew and friends back to my apartment for an after gig party.  The concert's promoter, Steve Goodman, said that Coryell would be up for joining the festivities.  It didn't take long for word to get around.  A lot of people started to arrive including members of 15-60-75 (aka The Numbers Band)  and local jazz DJ, Chuck Ruby, of WKSU FM among others.  Unfortunately, no one had any money for beer; we had just one case of Molson provided by the Rathskeller's manager.

 

Coryell was touring with a business manager, (more accurately, a baby sitter) whose main job was to try to keep him sober.  It didn't work.

 

Coryell asked me to sneak him a beer, which he intended to drink in the bathroom, where no one would see him. Knowing that he would prevail with or without my help, I told him to relax in another room away from the party guests (one with a seat that wasn't a toilet) and went to grab a Molson.  When I delivered the beer, he was snorting up the last of an illicit substance and apologized that he had none left to offer. He then said that he felt like playing some guitar and asked me to have the promoter grab his Ovation 6 string acoustic from the car.  I asked if his intention was to play privately, or in the living room where the main party was taking place.  Coryell said he wouldn't want to bother the guests with his playing.  I replied that I didn't think it would be an issue!

 

After acquiring the guitar, I wheeled an office chair into the the living room and cut off the stereo.  I then announced to everyone's surprise "Ladies and gentlemen... Mr. Larry Coryell!".  We were all blown away as Coryell sat down and treated us to an hour long private concert in my living room in Kent, Ohio!  Strangely, no one complained about the fact that we ran out of beer.

 

UPDATE: Many years ago Coryell became completely sober and continued to perform his music prolificly around the globe. Sadly, on February 19, 2017 Larry Coryell passed away. He was an amazing talent and a wonderful person. Rest in peace, Larry.

 

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