When my buddies and I get together, all the old stories start to surface after a few beers. One of the best is The Legend of ZZ Top. Let me set the scene. It was a frigid night in January when that Little Ol’ Band From Texas rolled into town. Since they had been on my concert bucket list for many years, I thought it would be a great idea to catch the show at the Joe Louis Arena in Downtown Detroit. The trio from Texas was in top form, and we weren’t disappointed. However, there were a few snafus that turned the night into one we would never forget.

Jim, Joe, Mike, and I were jazzed about seeing ZZ Top. However, Jim was in the habit of inviting along a third, or in this case, fifth wheel who the rest of us weren’t too crazy about. This time it was another Joe, nicknamed Joe Studly, who joined our group on that fateful night. Joe, Mike, and I had other names for him by the end of the evening. Once the music began, Jim didn’t see much of the concert. Earlier that night, his Irish roots had taken over, and his pre-game festivities got a little out of hand. Since he was in no condition to enjoy, much less even notice the band, Joe Studly offered to take Jim back to the car. This should have set my spider-senses tingling, but I was enjoying the show too much to notice.

After the concert, Joe, Mike, and I tried in vain to locate Jim’s car in the JLA parking garage. However, since we had pre-gamed as well, none of us had taken much notice of where the car was parked, since we assumed we would all be leaving TOGETHER! Nope. We eventually came to the conclusion that Joe Studly had abandoned us and drove Jim home, alone. At this point, Joe Studly’s life expectancy had considerably shortened.

We pooled together our meager resources and hired a cab to take us as far as $14 would go. Turns out it was 10 Mile and Jefferson. It was a cold, clear night and there was a brisk wind blowing in off Lake St. Clair. A bank thermometer said it was a balmy 10 degrees as we began our trek home. Since we were not prepared for an arctic journey, it was not a pleasant stroll. However, we burned with the inner fire of what we would do to Joe Studly when we finally caught up with him. Since Mike was the bodybuilder of our trio, our plan was for Joe and I hold him down, while Mike beat him senseless. We eventually got to my house, and I drove the guys the rest of the way home, cranking up the heat all the way. Needless to say, the next day Jim had some serious ‘splainin’ to do. However, it was Joe Studly who abandoned us, since Jim was barely conscious.

We didn’t see Joe Studly again for about six months. A good thing for him. After the initial tension, we had a good laugh about it. However, we told him he would never be allowed to go anywhere with us again. He readily agreed and was happy to get away from the party without serious damage to his person. ZZ Top is playing at nearby Freedom Hill Amphitheater this September. Since it’s only two miles from my home, I have suggested that we get back together and do it right this time (minus Joe Studly). Worst case scenario, the chance of serious frostbite should be greatly reduced!

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