This is my story of meeting and ultimately joining Silver Laughter. It was 1979, I was all of 18 years old, and the place was New Ulm, Minnesota. At the time I was working for a well known lumber company as a pole building construction worker, a job that in the middle of February was, well… just plain cold!
I was staying at a “posh” hotel in downtown New Ulm where the shower was one floor lower than the rest room, which was on the floor I occupied. I had only been in town maybe 2 weeks, and I was getting tired of hamburgers and diner food. I noticed a night club, oddly enough, right across the street from my hotel and found out they served very good food. I had just totaled my 1969 Oldsmobile Cutlass and was feeling sorry for myself. So using the insurance pay out I decided to buy myself a real meal. As I finished my dinner of butterfly shrimp, the waiter, who I found out later was also the bar manager, told me I might enjoy the band playing in the bar that evening.
Well, I saw Silver Laughter that night and every night after that for I believe a 2 week gig. Every night I would corner a band member to tell them how much I liked their music as well as their talent. I have to say that every member I talked with over that 2 weeks was always very nice. They answered all my questions and never once made me feel like they were somehow annoyed with this 18 year old “Punk”… a term I refer to with great pride. I’m not sure who was the first to call me the “Punk” but I think it was a joint effort between Mick and Ken. It was not derogatory; it was more a term of endearment. At least that’s my story and I’m sticking to it!
Anyway after the 2 week gig it was apparent that the band was looking for a new sound man and didn’t have anyone lined up to replace Carl. I made the offer to the band members that I would pay my own expenses short of I think it was $35 pay a week from the band to grunt gear and learn in a 3 month power course of running sound and lights as well as learning how to set up the P.A./light system and power amp hookups. I also had to get to know 5 people I’d only known for short of 2 weeks.
The band had a meeting and by that Monday morning I had quit my job loaded up with the insurance money, a paltry $952, and my suit case, I was on the road with Silver Laughter. Now I still miss that 69 Cutlass, but the memories of working with a recording rock band at the ripe old age of 18, far out-weighed the loss of the car. I had found the thing I knew in my heart I wanted to do for the rest of my life. By the way, in just 3 months time I had learned how to set up the gear, and run a 12 channel stereo sound board… a Peavey if I’m not mistaken.
My favorite part of running sound for Silver Laughter was mixing the 3 and sometimes 4 part vocal harmonies. When you get it right, there’s a feeling I can’t describe. Even the members on stage can hear/feel it and one would give a little smile or a nod of approval. It’s so cool! Kicking up the lead guitar during a solo, not deafening but just enough to make it come to the front of the song. Again I’d get the head nod from Ken that he could tell too. I don’t remember the club’s name, but the Bavarian seems to keep coming to mind. Thanks, New Ulm, MN. you rock!
Glenn Stone, AKA (the Punk).
Note from Mick: Everyone had a nickname in the band, so “The Punk” was Glenn’s. I do believe it was Ken who came up with it, but it was meant as a term of endearment! I do remember playing New Ulm, though I do not recall the name of the nightclub. I checked some of our material and could not find a reference to it. The only Germanic name I show in my 1978 calendar is “Kaiserhoff”, but no city is noted. Glenn has confirmed that Kaiserhoff was indeed the name of the club.
Leave a Reply