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Re: “Runnin' Away

That's a fairly accurate account of what occurred that night before, durring, and after Sly's appearance at the Wells Fargo Center in Santa Rosa. I was Sly's Road Manager at that time and the behind the scene details printed in the Bohemian were loosely gathered from sources who were at the venue but not personally with Sly. I WAS in contact with Sly every day leading up to the show, the day of the show, durring and after his appearance. Without going into the boring business related details here's a few details I feel are interesting and or are entertaining (some at the expense of others) which I was directly present for (in order); Sly called me the morning of the show and asked me to call "who ever I need to to have $3,000. wired to _ _ _ _' s acount or I ain't showing up". I did and it was done. Sly called me several more times that day with various requests which I took care of. To back track, the person who was was Sly's self appointed "manager" for that gig only, called me a little after midnight the day of the show to inform me he had quit. What he didn't know but should have known, is that due to my close association with Sly, 24 hours a day 7 days a week, at that time and for years before he "appeared" in Sly's outter circle, is that I was on line 3 listening to Sly say to "him", "ok, check this out _ _ _ _ _, I'm fireing your ass from whatever the imaginary position you think you have is". To continue. The people were arriving, the numbers growing fast, hanging out in the lobby and outside by the fountain, the anticipation was thick in the air with a sprinkle of fleeting party flavored enthusiasm but many had a look of skepticism (been here, done this), others blind to the probability of a late arrival by Mr. Stone or possabilly not at all. The two mid 20ish promoters (their 1st show beyond a small nightclub), nervously asked me if I had heard from Sly yet (he didn't show up for the now departed for home base limo) and I told them "not yet but he'll call". Eventually I suggested that one of them should head to SFO and hopefully by then I will hear from him. One of them did so and sure enough shortly after he left Sly called and asked, "where the fuck are you?" I replied, "at the gig where WE'RE supposed to be", "well get your ass over here and pick me up!", I knew he was going to love this one, "the promoter is on his way", in a very deep and calm voice Sly said, "I don't know no motherfucking promoter, I know YOU", "he's driving a", Sly interupts and repeats as if it was a recording and I flipped the call up (flip phone days ya know). The kid arrives at SFO and calls me, "he's not at the gate", "drive around and up the parking structure and look hard". a little over an hour later (it's now 9:30ish) here pulls in the promoter in his Toyota sedan with Sly psaaed out in the back seat, I almost couldn't believe my eyes. I opened the back door, "Syl!, hey Syl!" (short for Sylvester) Nothing. I went around thr other side, "Syl!" his eyes popped open and he smilwd and said, "Neal! am I here?" "yeah, come on!". He got out , gave me a hug and said, "man am I glad to see you", "back atcha". When the people realized it was him they started in with all the "hey Sly's" etc... We wrnt through the back stage lounge door and Sly walked up and lioked at what was left of the buffet, "where's the beef?! I ain't no fuckin' rabbit". The WF folks were asking if Sly needed anything, "Meat and privacy" I replied. "Those curtains won't work. The main WF rep. escorted us to the huge bath-shower room and I locked the door behind us (myself and Sly). I could hear the crowd chanting "we want Sly! we want Sly!". Sly was in a shower stall with the door closed and the water off. "hear 'em?" I said. Sly, "Neal, what do you think about this Obama cat?" "I think it's time", "I know that, but what about him?", "I mean it's time to get on stage", "in a Slyish, boyish tone he replies, "yeah, I know" We were in there about 15 minutes, he wanted to walk though the crowd which he often did when he was late. He never said so, vut I know it was a way for him to connect with them and sort of apologize, he sincerely loves his fans. As we were walking through the now empty lobby, being escorted by several WF folks, Sly sees the lobby grand piano, walks over, sits down and starts playing, smiling and saying, "this is a NICE piano", then sings, "if you want me to stay I'll be around today", laughs, get's up and we proceed through the doors and start down the main isle, Sly stopibg to shake hands with people as heads turn to realize it's him and it got loud and tye excitement grew. Sly got on stage to a very enthusiastic welcome, the band was surprised and excited and that band, an excellent group of musicians from Sacranento did their thing. Sly shouted, "What up Sacramento!" with a few groans and "you're in santa Rosa's", and he proceeded to sing a few songs for about 20 minutes, then he slowly made his way towards me stage left, my head shaking no, mouthing go back while pointing at my watchless wrist, and he said, "I gotta take a piss, I'll be back!" We wrnt down into an area below the stage where the two promoters were and Sly demanded his $14k, they told him he had to play for 45 minutes and Sly said he put in much more than that to got on the stage and promised to come back and "play for free, and even give out free popsicles and ehit like that". One of the promoters had a half smile - look of confusion combined with an I can't believe I'm standing here in front of Sly Stone can I have your autograph look on his face, while the prher was in the process of saying (I wad already shaking my head no and mouthing the same), we were instructed by Jerry Goldstein to give the money to Neal Austinson only, Sly quickly responds, "Give it to him then" and repeated that 2 more times at which time he handed me the money and Sly looked at me, hand out and I gave him the bag. He said, "let's go" and I followed. Wr went out yo the waiting car with Marcy, Sly' no nonsence, 5' 2", fire cracker publisist, and a good one, at the wheel. We got in the back seat, Sly looked up at the starry sky and asked me, "Where the fuck am I anyway?", "Santa Rosa, remember, my home town?", "Oh yeah, I used to pick hops in Santa Rosa, let's go to Frisco!" I got out and said "I'll meet you there, my truck is parked right there". Sly said ok and they took off at which time the band came out, some litterally running, "where's the money!, Where's the..." I pointed towards the fleeing car and then most started running to their cars and the chase was on. The rest I wasn't present for but accordung to what Marcy told me later the, the Bohemian account is pretty accurate. I want to ad that three band members did not act "funny, as Sly puts it", they were Rose, Sly's sister (can't say the same for her manager who was driving), Rose's daughter Lisa, and ladt but not least, Cynthia Robinson, founding member and trumpet player supreme, her name in the dictionary next to the the word loyal, a true and faithful friend of Sly's. I said, as she walked towards me in the parking lot, smiling and singing a song, "Sorry Cyn, I tried to", she stopped and said, "Neal, don't worry, I sure ain't, do I seem like it?, you do your job and it isn't an easy one. This isn't anything new to me". She hugged me and walked off picking up where she left off. I love Cynthia. I wrnt home, Sly called, "you commin'?", "I'm tired", "ok, it's cool, call me tomorrow", "I will. Hey Syl, thanks for showing, my mom and dad loved it". With that boyish - Slyish, smiling, head down eyes looking up look and sound he replied, "that's cool, I'm so glad man, I'm so glad". That's how it went, I was there. PS: Excuse the typos, that took a lot and was not on my list of things to do today, Aug.,1,2020 (2 months shy of 12 years since the gig, and now a very different world).

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Posted by Frankensly on 08/01/2020 at 2:17 PM

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