Meanderings

On the Passing of Dave

I really don't know what to say but I guess I should say something. When we first arrived in Regensburg, we often went to see Dave's band, The Fiascos, play at the Harp. They formed part of the first impressions we had of Regensburg. When we left, Dave let us host our going away party at Gallagher's and what a party it was! And in between that time, it really was an 8-year pub crawl for us.

Having said that though, I must add that Regensburg was home too. Our community was like family. We were all thrown together into that certain time and place. Whether we liked each other or not, we lived in each others pockets and for the most part I think we all looked out for each other. Dave was part of that family. My Regensburg family. For my part I got on quite well with him. He had his daft moments but we were all daft back then.

As a musician he was not the world's best but he wrote catchy songs and could be quite a showman. He, Jim and Miller always put on a good show. We went along regularly to the Harp to see them play. I still remember some of his songs though I haven't heard them in over 10 years. "The Middle of the Desert" and, "Sandy" and "Change of Heart" and "Back on the Road Joe."

Dave hired me as a barman when he opened Gallagher's Irish Pub. Late at night well past closing time we'd sit at his bar with Tina the barmaid and listen to a Bill Withers Greatest Hits cassette. We'd put it on again and again night after night, and each time it ended we'd get the Jaegermeister out and we'd have a shot. I can't remember a thing we talked about but we'd sit there blethering and laughing incoherently for hours then I'd stagger happily home. I lived along the river out in Pruffening but Dave lived just across the Golden Ente Bridge. He'd spend his entire nights takings on a long circuitous taxi ride home because he didn't want robbed of his evening's profits. Robbed? On a good night he'd be lucky to have made the taxi fare.

Gallagher's wasn't a big success but on Thursdays there was the Live Blues Session downstairs in the Keller. Dave would get up and do what he did best; singing the blues. I'd play the bass, Peter Cosmic would play lead and Paul Whaley would play drums. It was one of the highlights of my week. I loved playing the bass with him on the Thursday night jams, we had such a blast.

I don't think Dave was really cut out to be a bar owner. I was working in Gallagher's one evening when Dave pokes his head around the bar and shouts urgently "quick, two Guinness." I pour them super fast and hurry them over to Dave. "There ye go. Who are they for" I ask? But Dave just looks at me and yells "How the FUCK should I know?"

Later on, the same night, I'm working away and Dave's involved in an animated discussion with someone at the bar and he turns to me and asks, "James, what's that famous Scottish whisky, Loch something?" and I say "Loch what" and he says "yeah! That's it! Loch What." And he turns back to the guy to finish the conversation. "Loch What. Great stuff…"

 

We were playing the session in the Harp one Sunday. The usual bunch was there. Me, Peter, Michael, Steve, Tim and Dave. Maybe a few others. We were all seated around the session table and had been for some time. So we were all getting a bit rowdy. I remember Dave and Tim were seated directly across from one another. Dave sees Tim's cigarette packet sitting on the table. He says," Tim, can I have a cigarette?

Tim says, "Of course Dave."

Dave picks up the pack and opens it. "It's your last cigarette Tim. Can I still have it?"

"Ah" says Tim. "You can't have that one. Any other one yes. But not that one."

Dave looks at the cigarette. "But there only is one!"

"Well that's too bad."

"So I can't have it?"

"Sorry Dave."

"Why Not?"

"That's my lucky cigarette."

"Lucky cigarette" scoffs Dave? "Yea right." And he takes the cigarette out the packet.

"Seriously" says Tim. Every time I buy a packet, I take one cigarette out and I flip it round and put it back in. It's my lucky cigarette."

Dave's eyes narrow. "You're joking… right?"

"No joke."

"So can I take it?"

"Sorry Dave."

But Dave now has the cigarette between his fingers and has his lighter poised in the other hand.

Tim says "Don't light that cigarette Dave."

Dave puts the cigarette between his lips.

"Don't light that cigarette Dave. I'm warning you. It's my lucky cigarette."

Dave studies Tim. He clicks the lighter but it doesn't work.

Tim picks up a beer glass and holds it menacingly towards Dave. The tone of his voice changes. "If you light that fuckin' cigarette I'll break this fuckin' glass in your face. That's my lucky fuckin' cigarette."

Dave stops. His eyes widen. His eye brows go up. The whole place is tense now. Tim and Dave are locked in a staring contest.

Since Tim first appeared in Regensburg, he'd had a reputation as a prankster. He had a great talent for dry humour. Even those who knew him well found it difficult to tell his acting from reality. Trouble was that he wasn't always joking. On this occasion I'm not sure if Tim had decided yet whether he was joking or not. We all knew he'd never hurt anyone with the glass but I couldn't guess the punchline.

Funnily enough, it was Dave who had the immortalised last words.

Tim is leaning low over the table: glass in hand like he wants Dave to talk into it. Dave upright: a freeze-frame with the lucky cigarette and lighter.

Tim growls. "That’s… my… fuckin'… lucky… cigarette."

There is a long pause. Suddenly Dave leans back and lights the cigarette. "Not this one man. Hah." He guffaws and lets out a big smoky demented laugh. Tim laughs too, shrugs, and puts down the glass. "Ah well. Whatever. Had you going though, didn't I?" He wanders off to the cigarette machine.

Steve, at the far end of the table, stands up, raises his glass and through the smiling gap where Gresh had punched his front teeth out he shouts "Prost ya bastards." Then he picks up a guitar and sings Baltimore oriole.

Ride on Dave.

 

There was one more incident that I think is very worth mentioning. It happened shortly after Dave had opened Gallaghers.

As I recall, the place had been quite busy that night. I was sitting up at the bar with Simon. I think Brian McCrumb was there with his girlfriend. Tim was there and a few other ex-pats. Dave should have been pleased with business but instead he was getting uptight about something and he began to shout and insult everyone. At one point he disappeared into the toilets and I could hear muffled shouting and thumping. When he re-emerged he started ranting again. his face was red with the exertion of it all. When it became clear that his tantrum was not going to end any time soon, the customers began to filter out. In a matter of minutes, his bar was deserted except for one guy who courageously stood by him; Tim Doud.