I had been looking forward to my first concert ever in Lubbock, Texas with great anticipation and excitement. First of all it's Buddy's hometown and his family members still live there. Would I possibly get a chance to meet them? How would we go over in the great state of Texas? These and other questions came to my mind. Well, it all exceeded my wildest dreams and if you have a moment or two, read all about it and let me know what you think.
Day One -- September 11th, 2000
Rocked by the Winds of Lubbock, my plane landed on a hot and dusty Monday afternoon. I pick up my swingin' mini-van, courtesy of Victor Hernandez and the Fiestas Del Llano festival. Next stop: the La Quinta Inn, conveniently located next to the Lubbock Civic Center where we'll be playing outdoors and right next to Buddy's memorial statue.
Sculpted by Grant Speed, one of the nation's top western sculptors, the statue is a beautiful rendition of Buddy with his guitar. Bronze plaques surround the base, bearing the names of many great West Texan musical artists -- the Crickets, Waylon Jennings, Joe Ely, and many others in tribute to the great Buddy Holly.
Niki Sullivan has given me Bill Griggs' phone number. Bill lives in Lubbock and he happens to be the historian and researcher on Buddy. I've known of Bill for a while and have used his superb five-volume series, Buddy Holly . . . Day by Day, for most of my own research. I first met him in Jackson TN, when we played at the Rockabilly Hall of Fame groundbreaking ceremonies, but this would be my first chance to spend a few hours with him and pick his brain.
Bill is polite enough to drop everything he's doing and meet me for a bite to eat. I first meet him at his office which is kind of the way I'd imagined it: cigarette smoke fills the air, many papers yet to be filed, photos, weeks worth of mail opened and unopened, books and records everywhere. And then there's Bill, sitting in the middle of it all with his computer, looking somewhat like he's stranded on an island. He's kind of a fun loving wise acre like me and we trade a few jibes back and forth and head out to the Golden Corral restaurant. I offer to buy but the day manager rewards Bill for bringing in yet another customer and gives us the buffet on the house.
While stuffing my face I ask Bill questions he's probably heard a million times, like "Why do some people persist in thinking there was foul play on the plane that cold night in February?" Bill puts that issue to rest very succinctly in his June 2000 issue of Rockin' 50s and he reiterates for me. He then tries to stump me with a question: "On what song can you hear Buddy use his tremolo on the lead guitar part and produce a bending string sound?" I think . . . I know this solo. It's from "Rock Me, my Baby," I answer. "Correct!" Bill responds. "It's the only song Buddy recorded that he did that technique on." "Cool," I say. There really isn't anything Bill doesn't know about Buddy's history, so it's a blast to shoot the bull and test my knowledge and skills! We head back to Bill's office and jawbone some more.
I give Sherry Holley a call over at Holley Tile Company. It's still in business and is run by her father, Larry, who swears he's going to retire someday. Buddy used to work for his brothers there as well. I ask her if she and her father would be available for dinner this evening and the answer is yes! So tonight is set---after a quick shower at the hotel, that is. By now I've been sitting in Bill's office for over two hours, and I smell like a smoke bomb!