I remember the first time I was ever on stage. It was at the bluegrass festival in Liberty, NC. My Dad's band, The Wake County Ramblers were playing and they had me come out and help them on "Mule Skinner Blues". I was about 9 and there were about 1400 old folks out there. I was scared shitless! My job was to smack a folded belt together and whistle at just the right time in the song. My only problem was that I couldn't reach the microphone so I had to stand on a little (and very shaky!) step stool. At one point I remember coming dangerously close to falling off of that thing and busting my ass right there in front of God and everybody. But luckily I grabbed my Dad's guitar and held myself up, not messing him up TOO badly.
My first time on stage in Europe was with Don Dixon in August of 1985. We were second from last at an all day (I think it was actually 3 days long) rock festival in Louvin, Belgium. We went on just before Graham Parker. Also playing with Dixon were my friends Parthenon Huxley and Rod Abernethy. It was a spectacular event some 18,000 strong, a sea of people. This time I wasn't so scared. It was a lot of fun even though I didn't know ANY of the songs. I had played along to a few of Don's records and we did and impromptu gig at the Brewery in Raleigh before leaving, that was about all the practicing we did aside from what we learned right before we went on. Suprisingly I didn't screw up too bad. That was a great tour. We had some other awesome gigs. One I'll never forget in Amsterdam at the Paradiso where we did 3 encores.