Joe Savage: Musician and Firefighter

musings 250_edited-1If you use Facebook, you know one of the neat things it does is let you know which Facebook friends have birthdays.  I have always prided myself on telling people “Happy Birthday,” even before Facebook.  I must admit that I don’t always send birthday greetings to everyone.   I guess I am saying that there are people that I am Facebook friends with who aren’t really friends. Don’t hate.

Which brings me to last Wednesday.  One of the individuals I friended on Facebook was Joe Savage.  Joe doesn’t know me from Adam, Eve, or even Moses.  I saw his profile and thought “why not?” and friended him.  He turned 75 on December 3.  Wow.  When did he become grandpa age?

Who’s Joe Savage?  If you were raised in the Nashville area during the 70’s and 80’s, surely you remember the ads inThe Tennessean’s Sunday Showcase.  It promised a night of music and exotic animals.  Joe would bring his pet boa constrictors and leopards out on stage with him.  I always figured his show was more Ringling Brothers than music. I found out different on a particular night in Knoxville.

Obviously, I was never old enough to see Joe Savage when I was in high school in Middle Tennessee.  While attending the University of Tennessee in Knoxville in the mid-80’s, I noticed he was playing a club in West Knoxville.  My college roomie (who happens to run BeaverDamUSA.com) and I went to the show preparing for Lord knows what during the show.  I must say that I was very surprised by his show.  As something that would be best described as a musical revue, Joe ran through all music genres from rock to Frank Sinatra’s New York New York.  He really impressed me with the range of songs that he performed that night.  However, the music was not the most memorable part of the night…..

Best I can remember, toward the end of the show, there was THAT girl dancing on the dance floor.  You know the one I am talking about — alone and obviously enjoying her first or second beer ever.  When I say alone, I’m not saying she just didn’t have a partner to dance with.  She was the only person on the dance floor and I am convinced that in her mind, she was dancing with someone and was dancing well.  She then decided that everyone else needed to dance and party with her.  Earlier in the show, Joe had used shredded newspaper strips as confetti and it was all over the dance floor.  Doing her best cheerleader imitation with newspaper strips as pompons, she proceeded to shake the strips at everyone sitting at the tables on the edge of the dance floor.  Did I mention that these tables had burning candles on them?  Yep, you guessed it.  The wad of paper went up as quickly as dried newspaper could.  Immediately there were flames a couple of tables away from us and the room filled with smoke.

Before I could grab my drink and go elbows and a##holes to the door, Joe Savage grabbed one of the round tables, turned it upside down and proceeded to stamp the fire out.  Best I remember, the show was done due to smoke in the club.

Needless to say, anytime I think of Joe Savage, I am taken back to that night.  Maybe I should have wished him a happy birthday and told him the story.  Maybe he will see this musing.  If so, happy birthday and know that 75 candles would not produce as many flames as the drunk girl on the dance floor.

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