The Box Tops at Grandmothers, East Lansing, Mich. 1968. Recognize these autographs? I was 10 years old and have no idea what I was doing at a matinee show at this place. What I remember: They did “The Letter” and “Cry Like a Baby.” Keyboardist Rick Allen was really drunk that day and sat at a table after the show near the front of the place. Tom Boggs was the drummer, and he was kind enough to personalize the autograph. Gary was Gary Talley, the guitarist. And there's the signature of Alex Chilton, 17 years old. He would turn 18 in December, and I’m sure this was either fall or summer. I missed getting the autograph of Bill Cunningham for some reason.
I was what was referred to painfully at my elementary school as a “prof’s kid,” or the offspring of a professor at Michigan State University. I say painfully because our folks were consumed with work, which gave us free reign to run around the town and wreak havoc, which had few bounds even for 10 year olds. We egged houses, toilet papered yards, stole shit, had dirt clod fights and were chased by the cops a lot. We also hung around the university kids, copped their tossed skin mags from Dumpsters and went to the cool records stores in East Lansing. In addition to catching the Box Tops, I also recall seeing Frank Zappa and the Mothers play in an open area on campus, and an MC5 soundcheck at a little building in a park called Valley Court. It was good to love rock and roll as a pre adolescent, setting the stage for mayhem inside.