Dealing with the Byrds Chapter 2

After going through the pangs of making sure that The Byrds were going to arrive on time and perform (chapter 1), i never envisioned the things that were to come.

the Director of Social Affairs at Memphis State University (now University of Memphis) had warned me what to expect but there were some things that apparently, he did not experience that i did.

he said they showed up 45 minutes late for an 8pm show, played 5 or 6 songs and left with no encores. he was generally pissed.

The Byrd’s equipment semi and their advance team arrived about 6pm which was way late in my mind. the band arrived about an hour later. Their setup was pretty simple and the sound system was pretty straight forward, no special equipment requests.

the band was a different story. i went in the dressing room to greet them and make sure that we did not have a repeat of the previous night late start and limited song list. i immediately saw that they were using drugs and doing whatever they wanted. i told the road manager that we were on campus and alcohol and drugs were not allowed. there was security. the manager informed me that he did not like me and that they may not play at all. of course, this turned into an exchange of threats of litigation and physical violence from me, which he did not seem to care about. i don’t think he perceived a real threat.

the byrd’s manager then demanded payment of the back half of their contract before they went on stage. thinking that i did not have any option and that it was a check which payment could be stopped, i presented the check for $2,500 to him. we had already paid them $2,500 with the signing of the contract through the william morris agency.

the tour manager looked at the check and handed it back to me and said, “cash only”. i looked at him in astonishment. he looked back with a blank look and said, “cash or they don’t go on.

i knew there was one chance of getting that check cashed and that was Kiamie’s bowling alley. i jumped in my car and raced out to kiamie’s. mae helen was at the cash register in the restaurant and I presented the check to her. she immediately said “let me get Mr. Kiamie.” as Mr kiamie walked up mae helen presented him the check. Mr kiamie looked at the check and said “how do you want it son?” I replied “$100s will be fine “

I raced back to the Tad Pad and presented the money to the road manager, who only laughed as though he really did not expect me to get it done.

the Byrds went on timely but only played six songs, all hits, and left the stage never to return for an encore. needless to say, the audience booed for a suitable time after they figured out that the concert was over. there were better days ahead with the mama’s and papa’s on tap in early May.

Ole Miss Associated Student Body concerts series in the school year 1965-66

Fall of 1965

The Highwaymen

The Righteous Brothers

Spring of 1966

Johnny Mathis

The Byrds

The Mamas and the Papas