Jim Shelley & Book Of Kills

Everybody Wants Some

Way back in 2001 on this day, Book of Kills (comprised at the time of me, Jane and Casey Firkin, Randy Simpson, and Bill Bird) were scheduled to play a gig at the now-defunct (more about that in a moment) Main Street Bar and Grill in Harrisonburg, Virginia. We'd already played five gigs at Main Street that summer largely because we were consistently drawing very good crowds for a local band. I'd scheduled our sixth show there for the summer where we were supposed to be the opening act for a national Van Halen tribute band called "Everybody Wants Some" which was projected to draw a sell-out audience. They were, I'll admit, very good at imitating the David Lee Roth era Van Halen. Still, they were a tribute band.

I remember the lead singer, who really really looked and sounded like Roth (though the band's Eddie Van Halen clone looked even more like Eddie!), yelled out to me during a sound check early that afternoon, "Hey, Jim! Aren't you a little old to be singing rock and roll?" (Wonder what he'd say to me now?)

But that's not the gist of the story.

After we did a soundcheck, we all left and drove to 102 Maryland Avenue where Jane and Casey lived and where BOK practiced and hung out together until it was time to head back to Main Street. When we got there, another band (besides EWS) was milling around in the dressing room.

"Are you guys playing tonight, too?" I asked.

"Yeah," one of them replied. "We're the opening act."

"Wait. We're the opening act."

"Are you sure? I just talked to the owner and he told us we'd be going on about 8."

I stormed out of the dressing room and headed upstairs to the owner's office. He was drinking booze from a bottle and acted about half wasted.

"Hey, I thought we were opening tonight. What's going on?" I asked. He stared at me like I was a visitor from another planet.

"No, Jim. I don't think so," he said. He checked what appeared to be some sort of appointment calendar on his desk. "Nope. I don't have you guys playing tonight."

"What the hell? I sat right there at your desk after our last show here and you told me we'd be opening for Everybody Wants Some!"

"No. Sorry, Jim. You're not on the calendar."

I wanted to punch his drunk ass so bad, but I left and informed Casey, Jane, Randy and Bill that we'd been stiffed. I remember Randy said he was going to throw a brick through Main Street's big plate glass window, but we managed to dissuade him of that notion. Instead we all drifted back to 102 Maryland Avenue. I think we ended up playing our set at the house to a small group of folks who'd planned on coming to see us at Main Street, but I don't have a record of the set list.

Everybody Wants Some broke up not long after their performance in Harrisonburg.

Not too long after that, Main Street Bar and Grill burned to the ground and never reopened.