David Bruce: The Funniest People in Music, Volume 3 — Alcohol


• Some American towns are wet (they allow alcohol); other American towns are dry (they don’t allow alcohol). During his 1885 American tour, Colonel James H. Mapleson had the misfortune to stop in Topeka, Kansas, a dry town. His opera troupe had drunk all the wine available on their train, and they were very displeased when water was placed before them while they dined at their Topeka hotel; in fact, Colonel Mapleson’s baritone drew his knife and said that unless he had something suitable to drink soon, he would not perform that evening. Hard pressed, Colonel Mapleson sought a physician and explained the situation to him. The understanding physician wrote a prescription in Latin, Colonel Mapleson took it to a pharmacist, and the pharmacist filled the prescription by giving him three bottles of something much more stimulating than water.

• People who drink to excess are found throughout the world — even in the high arts. At a production of Giacomo Puccini’s La Bohème at the Dublin Grand Opera Society, the tenor was drunk, but he managed to make it to the intermission. During the intermission, the audience speculated on whether the tenor would be able to continue the part. As the intermission grew longer and longer, the audience then speculated on what excuse would be given for the tenor’s non-appearance. Eventually, a man appeared in front of the curtain and announced that the tenor had just returned from West Africa and was suffering from malaria. A member of the audience shouted, “I wish I had a bottle of that!”

• Good things can come out of evil. Someone once put LSD in Richie Ramone’s drink. He had a very bad reaction to it, and he had to be carried away in a strait jacket. However, he wrote the great Ramones’ song “Somebody Put Something in My Drink.” Of course, Richie gets the credit for writing a very good song. Whoever put the LSD in his drink gets a ticket to h*ll — or at least a few more hundred years climbing the Mountain of Purgatory. By the way, the Ramones insisted on canned soft drinks in their dressing room. Yoohoo chocolate drink was also a favorite dressing-room tipple.

• Conductor Luigi Mancinelli, a conductor at the Metropolitan Opera in the early 20th century, used to dine often at a restaurant and order a $5 bottle of Italian wine (quite expensive at the time), which was brought to him by his favorite waiter. One evening, his favorite waiter was ill and at home, so Mr. Mancinelli ordered his favorite bottle of wine from a new waiter. He was shocked to learn that his favorite wine cost only $1.50 per bottle — his favorite waiter had been deliberately overcharging him for months.

• Rolling Stones Keith Richard and Ron Wood attended a party hosted by Dudley Moore and Peter Cook at the Cobden Working Men’s Club in London. The party was upstairs, over a bar, and so when Mr. Richard and Mr. Wood felt like getting a pint, they went downstairs. Mr. Richard talked with some of the people in the bar, and one of them asked, “What do you do?” Mr. Richard replied, “I’m in a band.” “Which one?” “The Rolling Stones.” “Oh, yeah. I think I’ve heard of them.”

• During the days of Prohibition, tips sometimes consisted of something other than money. Besides being a radio announcer, Glenhall Taylor was also a pianist. Once in a while, a bootlegger would call him up to request that he perform “Twelfth Street Rag” on the radio, then the bootlegger would send over a fifth of gin to show his appreciation.


Copyright by Bruce D. Bruce; All Rights Reserved


The Funniest People in Music, Volume 3 — Buy:

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