And now a tale from Richard King…
Back when The Blue Note was still on Business Loop 70, regional bands started hearing about the club and started asking to play. One Grateful Dead cover band from St. Louis named Jake’s Leg was especially eager to try out The Blue Note’s stage. A band member called the venue regularly, hoping for an open night.
But there was a problem. Richard King, owner, didn’t like the Grateful Dead. So he never returned the phone calls.
But Jake must have been very insistent to have such a persistent leg. The band member drove from STL to CoMo and does some serious sleuthing. The guy — a big guy — manages to track down Richard at a bar in town.
According to Richard, the conversation went like this.
STRANGER: “Hey, are you Richard King?”
STRANGER/RANDY: “I’m Randy. I’m from Jake’s Leg. I’ve been calling you for six months, and you won’t return my phone calls.”
RICHARD: “Oh, yeah, man, look…”
RANDY: “All I want is a gig in your bar, that’s all I want. Give me the shittiest night of the week — I don’t care. Can I have a gig at your bar?”
RICHARD: “Dude, you drove here all the way from St. Louis for this? I’m really sorry! That’s bullshit I didn’t call you back. Call me Monday, and I promise I will take your call, and we’ll find a date.”
So Randy called, and Richard answered. They found a date.
On the day of the concert, Richard was still apprehensive, not expecting much. “I just really didn’t listen to the Grateful Dead. A lot of my friends did, I guess. I didn’t get it.”
Turns out, everyone else did.
Richard did a sound check for the band during the day and then, like usual, went home for the evening to eat dinner and shower. And like usual, he tried to call the club to make sure everything was set up for the night,
The line was busy. He called again. Busy. Again… busy. Finally, he decided to drive down to the bar and see what was going on.
“The doors weren’t even open yet, and there was a line of people stretched all the way around the block! That was the first time I’d ever seen that. I said, ‘Oh, shit.’”
The crowd somehow managed squeezed itself into the bar, but the beer was gone before the show was over. “We sold all the beer we had in the building,” Richard says.
At the end of the night, Richard approached the band to pay them their portion. “I just dumped all of the money out and said, ‘Kick my ass, guys. I missed this one.’”
They asked for another gig, and Richard agreed. Of course.
“It was an eye-opening experience for me,” he says. “It was not my personal taste, but it was something that other people liked. It was a big lesson for me — that it wasn’t all about me. It’s not always what I liked.”