David Bruce: 250 Music Anecdotes — Husbands and Wives, Illnesses and Injuries and Rehab

Husbands and Wives

• When Barbara Brooks, wife of country singer Kix Brooks of Brooks and Dunn fame, fell from a horse, she ended up in a hospital. One of the things she noticed was that a different person would appear each time she had to give a blood sample. The head of the department eventually apologized to her for this. The workers in the department were taking turns drawing her blood because they wanted to see the wife of a famous country and western singer.

• In the documentary Too Tough to Die: A Tribute to Johnny Ramone, Rob Zombie says that Johnny told him that he and his wife, Linda, were walking down a street in New York. Johnny was carrying groceries, but when he saw a fan, he said to his wife, “Linda, take the groceries. I can’t have a fan see me carrying groceries.” Linda said, “F**k you, John. Then leave them in the f**king street.” Rob says, “John was all about cool.”

Illnesses and Injuries and Rehab

• Jazz drummer Buddy Rich was a personal friend of Johnny Carson. When Mr. Rich became severely ill and worried that he might not ever play the drums again, one of Ed McMahon’s friends called Mr. McMahon and said, “Ed, I’m going to make a strange request. Buddy is as down as a man can be. Would you and Johnny consider coming down to visit him? And the sooner, the better.” Ed told Johnny that Buddy was ill, and Johnny immediately thought of a way to cheer him up: He and Ed would visit him and do a sketch with Johnny portraying Carnak the Magnificent. Carnac, of course, was gifted at divining the answers to questions. He would say the answer, and then he would open a sealed envelope that contained the question. As Johnny wanted, the jokes were somewhat bawdy. One example: Carnac stated that the answer was, “Dry hump.” The question was, “What does a camel do after a bath?” The laughter therapy worked: Buddy made an incredible recovery.

• Dee Dee Ramone, bass player for the Ramones, was heavily into drug abuse for a lot of years. (He eventually died of a heroin overdose.) According to a Ramones roadie, Dee Dee would sometimes ask to do cocaine with the roadies. They would lay out five lines of cocaine, but Dee Dee would snort more than the one line laid out for him — he would snort all five lines, then say, “Oops! I slipped.” Dee Dee owned a cat named Orlando at a time when he was smoking lots of marijuana. Eventually, the cat came into the possession of Ramones tour manager Monte A. Melnick, who said that the cat was so high from all of Dee Dee’s marijuana smoke that it was bouncing off the walls for a month before it calmed down. Mr. Melnick says, “Orlando is the only cat I’ve met that has gone through rehab.”

• In 1907, opera singer Enrico Caruso needed to visit a doctor, but he did not want the media to find out about the visit, so he decided to visit the doctor incognito; therefore, Mr. Caruso used the name of his voice coach and accompanist, Richard Barthelemy. Following the examination, the doctor said, “All right, Mr. Caruso, I’ll get you well.” Surprised, Mr. Caruso asked, “You know me then, doctor?” The doctor smiled and replied, “Mr. Caruso, after years on the stage of the Metropolitan Opera, do you present yourself here and expect to pass incognito? Why did you give me the name of your friend instead of your own? Don’t you know that doctors are held to professional secrecy?”

• Russian conductor Vasily Safonov got very seasick while crossing the Atlantic. Violinist Fritz Kreisler’s wife was on board, and she tried to comfort him by singing the Russian national anthem to him, but he begged her, “Please don’t do that, or I shall have to get on my feet.”

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Copyright by Bruce D. Bruce; All Rights Reserved

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