Saturday, November 03, 2007


Sad about Bama.

Manera Saloom's sister Debra now lives in Cottonwood.

On the weekends during the summers of '66, '67 & '68,
Culberson & I practically lived over at the Saloom place in Enterprise.

Debra has written a recipe book inspired by her Mother's Lebanese recipes.,M1

I'll shoot an email to her publisher but if you'll find out about her I'll appreciate it.


Yo' Bro' Bob


Saloom Strickland lives somewhere near the old Shimoda egg farm just west of 231.Her and her husband Wayne(who is a postman and works with Paul) used to live as neighbors to Bobby and Sarah Poole. Wildman Smith’s wife ,Stephanie, worked with Debra at the Social Security office(God bless FDR). She may have Debras number.
Becky and I see
Wayne fairly often at “Glo’s Restaurant” near Young Jr.
I looked in the phone book and they are unlisted.
As we get more info we will let you know.



Vehicular incidents, apartment drama & fire code violations for the bars on the Strip are coming on strong on the Police Scanner.

You can't believe it!
Click on the above to listen to the Tuscaloosa City Police Scanner- it's especially rich after 11:30 on Friday night...


"Break this party up"

"Oh, well"


I have a circa:'65 Gargoyle
photo of the front of NIP'S

Dothan's Home of
Frosted Malts
Toasted Sandwiches
"Where Sport Fans Meet & Eat"
Southside Dothan

Ernie went to DHS with my Daddy Earl. I knew him real well & the story I heard was that he cracked up and that's why Nip took it over in about '63 or '64.

Nip and his family lived near us on Pinecrest.

I got lots of stories about Nip & Ernies.

Here's what's coming over the Police Scanner right now at 3:29 A. M. in Tuscaloosa:

"Multiple U-turns. Shots fired. Blew the red light."

"90 miles an hour"

"We can get him near the interstate with a spike stip."

"Still heading east, just passed the Honda dealership"

"He's out here in the middle here at Tree Top Apts."

"Subject in custody. Gregory Richard of Baton Rouge"

"Did he throw anything out?"

"I didn't see anything, Sarge."


Friday, November 02, 2007

From Eugene Chadbourne:

March 14-17 - The Chukker, Tuscaloosa, Alabama

This is the pow-wow grounds for the Alabama psychedelic generation. The '60s hit particularly hard in this college town. The repressive atmosphere of cops and rednecks vs. the new hippies loaded on locally grown mushrooms has left lots of residue (ace free improvisers Davey Williams and LaDonna Smith, for example) and the locals are definitely up for the rumoured combination of country, psychedelic rock and 'weird sounds' we are offering.

The bar is packed every night. On St Patrick's Day, three Irish guys yelling 'Borstal!' and spitting beer at the band are practically torn to pieces by the crowd.

The front row consists of employees from the local mental institution. 'Sorry I have to leave,' someone tells me between sets. 'I got to be at the insane asylum first thing in the morning.'

Thursday, November 01, 2007

Photography by Earl

Hey y'all:

(iddin dat rite, folksizzzzz!)

Bob Weston was ARTIST TO THE BONE!
So much of his work has now been lost.
Please let John Earl
know how much we appreciate his images of Bob's work
which was unfortunately destroyed this week by the

Samson Tiger IGOR came through for us as always by capturing the annihilation of Weston's Chukker mural by the machinery of THE COCKSUCKERS IN CITY HALL.

image by IGOR

image by IGOR

image by IGOR

image by IGOR

From The Chukker Nation group:
Does anyone have a photo of that "Bob self-portrait"? It was at the end of the mural

Hi Indy, I stopped by today (October 31, Halloween) after work about 5 p.m. and they were pulling the last of the wall down then. I asked for the boss and explained my desire to take this photo for you and he kindly walked me into the midst of the turmoil and stopped the monster track-hoe so that I could shoot this photo. I've down-res'd it for this email to share with all, but I'll send you a high-res copy offlist. Not 10 minutes after I took this photo, they pulled down the last of the wall with the mural on it. I shot some video on my little digital camera which won't be hi-qual, but i'll post it to youtube as soon as i can figure out how to stitch together about 10 15-sec intervals. A cool, spooky halloween thing happened as the mural fell . . . a huge dust cloud bellowed up then sank down to the street and began crawling up the street where it reared up and descended on City Hall. Tomorrow it will be in the building, in their lungs, in their hearts and minds . . . the chukker's revenge. It was sad to stand and be the last one to see the fall of the second home for so many for so long. How strange that it finally bit the dust on Halloween day.

he would probably be quite philosophical about it. "It's only stuff.
> Indy

yeah, he would, but he also got the last laugh. When they pulled the wall down, they quit for the day and the last part of the mural left was a tiny speck of it still clinging to the brick -- it was Bob's portrait staring down the evil machine that did the deed! I'll try and get this series of the very last photos made of the chukker on flickr over the weekend.
~ Igor

Photography by Earl
Big D, Teddy & Goat

Photography by Earl

Photography by Earl

Photography by Earl

Photography by Earl

Photography by Earl

Fortunately Archie Bird saved the mural Bob painted on the pine paneling of Brother's Club House wall. We cut the boards off the wall with a battery powered saw & the mural is now in storage at Lee Pake's warehouse with the rest of the PAKE COLLECTION.
(I just so happen to be the curator of THE PAKE COLLECTION)

image courtesy of Michael Palmer
Frank's/Bahn Hoff/Brother's Motorcycle Club

image by Michael Palmer

image by Michael Palmer

Get this:
Yesterday Christopher was replacing a shot out window pane on the 2800 block of 24th Skreet and saw a little bitty baby sock another baby smack in the face with her fist!

Christopher called me immediately to tell me what he'd witnessed and I yelled,"Oh,Wow! Unbelievable!"

"You've never seen that before, have you, Daddy?"

"No, son"


WHEW, the boy got me on that one.
I swear Christopher attracts child abuse.
There's not a boy in this town his age who's witnessed as much human cruelty as my son.

In a similar vein, I will now reveal an important work of folk art.

The following is the text transcribed by myself today of the HOUSE RULES for

Phillis's Section 8 Casino!


1) Must show stake $25.00 when entering THE DOOR,
If so you can not play
know cut no acceptable,
2) Play as you come in your cuts
pulling or playing a card,
no talking IN GAME,
no showing cards,
you have to wait until newcomer play before you play again,
anybody can cut cards, call for cards,
If you keep a dead THE GAME GOES OVER,
If the Card you dish and someone don't need it,
pick it up & the game keep on going,
If you need the card on the board & wait until someone pull
you slept the card, NO ACCEPTANCE!!
WAIT until I say deal the cards,
that's mean I have the money are knows who owes up,
IF someone play a card & dish playing fast
they got to pick up there card & THE GAME KEEP ON GOING &
If a card is not turn up & you dealing & a card flip
that's the turn up card,

unless someone is already here ready to play,


Do not stand behind anyone playing cards,
If you dealing & to cards come off at the same time
the person in front of you gets the top card &

Subject: alas pore chukker,I almost knew him well.chukkernation is good way to go-Babbs

hey Rob
I attached a photo still from my new documentary film Made in Mexico ;The History of Mexican Rock -Starring Javier Batiz , Alex Lora, Fito de la Parra, Lalo Toral ,Johnny Ortega... slated for relase at Christmas this doc tells the linear history of Mexican Rock
Vive la rock

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

"...I AM a preacher. The onliest difference is, I'm preachin' FOR it!!"


Tuesday, October 30, 2007

image courtesy of John Earl

great chukkernation writeup!
Stories were exhilerating. I'm drinking
a big cup of turkey tail, ginseng, cat's claw and green tea and am
buzzin', cussin'.


What good times I had there.
Many wonderful memories.
I hope that you are well and are happy.


Subject: Eban dough ya gotz cut off in '68
don't meanzzzzzzzzz
can't git cut on in '08!

Mittuh Man:

You are one sick Parvo Puppy
gettin' me hooked on that damn first Heeey Baby Days CD!

The Heeey Baby Dayzzzzzzzzzz Mob
need to know eban dough
cut off in '68

Man, I gotta tell you this story.

My 19 yr. old son is my

Last week he asked me,"Is your back still hurting?"

"Yeah", I replied.

"I bet it is 'cause you WHIPPED!!!!

Good Lloyd, he got me good.

Today he said,"You know I'm gonna take a locksmith class next semester at Shelton."

"Really!" I said.

"Yeah, I wanna teach you how to pick the lock on that ball & chain around your ankle!"

Oh Lloyd,
Oh Lloyd...

He got me good.


Monday, October 29, 2007

image courtesy of Bruce Hopper

image by Michael Palmer of The Tuscaloosa News
Sharon & I at the LAST NIGHT @ THE CHUKKER- OCTOBER 31, 2003

One mo' ole John Earl shot from HALLOWEEN '80 when I auctioned off THE CHUKKER!!!!

Chukker Halloween Auction '80: robertoreg, Rick, ????, Mark, L.C.

Hey y'all:

Go out of town for a couple of days & what do they do?

Monday, November 03, 2003

Chukker's last hurrah melds angry punk rock with passed-out customers
By Graham Flanagan
Entertainment Editor of The Crimson-White
November 03, 2003

The following is Entertainment Editor Graham Flanagan's first-person account of the final hours of the Tuscaloosa bar The Chukker on Saturday morning.

As I waded through the sea of remorseful Chukker patrons at the nearly 50-year-old bar in the wee hours Saturday morning (the last official day for it to be in business), two distinct thoughts ran through my work-weary mind.

The first: "Hey, that guy is passed out on a table."

The second: "Hey, so is that guy over there."

I entered The Chukker after getting off work at another bar at about 4:15 a.m.; thankfully, the managerial staff had ceased to charge the rather unappealing $10 cover. Never before had I seen The Chukker hold a larger, or for that matter drunker, amount of customers.

While I do not and should not condone intentional intoxication by means of the excessive consumption of alcohol, I felt this moment was one when it was understandable to want to drown one's sorrows in drink.

While I, personally, cannot claim to have been a Chukker regular - I only recently turned 21 and entered a bar legally - I understand the reason for the sadness of its hundreds of faithful, former customers. In the past few months it has, for me, become somewhat of an automatic destination after a long Friday night spent working at the aforementioned "other bar."

I have numerous fond memories of losing at pool and sipping on Pabst Blue Ribbons after pumping multiple dollars into what I consider to be the most impressive and eclectic jukebox in town. By impressive and eclectic, I mean... Well, you read Friday's online edition of "The Weekend Warrior," didn't you?

"This song is for the c-------ers in the Tuscaloosa City Council!"

-- D.C. Moon and His Atomic Supermen bassist Ricky Lee

After only seeing one rock 'n' roll show (Charlie Hunter in 2002) at the 1956-established bar, I must confess that the performance (which began at 4:30!) delivered by D.C. Moon and his Atomic Supermen easily goes down as one of the greatest shows I have ever seen in Tuscaloosa, let alone at The Chukker itself.

Awash in rage and hostility toward the City Council, the performance contained a myriad of bizarre details and instances.

One particular instance, and the most memorable as far as I'm concerned, came during a performance of a song that I'll assume is titled "Dead Babies."

Amid the creepy instrumentation and lyrics ("Dead babies take things off your shelves"), the band added some theatrics to the mix by having a man wearing an S&M slave mask perform crude surgery on a blonde-haired kewpie doll and then hurling its body and cotton entrails into the crowd.

Case in point, D.C. Moon and His Atomic Supermen now own every local rock band. It's no wonder The Chukker's management decided to close out the night with their performance.

Aided by drummer Dave Standifer, host of the Metal Zone (Fridays at 10 p.m. on New Rock 90.7), as well as Celesta Riner (also a New Rock veteran) on vocals and Warren Eckstein on guitar, lead singer/guitarist D.C. Moon's performance Saturday morning certainly did justice to the well-known legacy of the infamous downtown booze-hole.

What a way for the place to go out: with mean-as-hell, ass-kicking rock 'n' roll.

I will miss hanging out at The Chukker. It was a unique spot with a unique environment.

I will always remember, though, the grade-A final performance that graced its very narrow music hall.

I can only look forward to the next time I get to see a live version of "Dead Babies," if that is indeed what it is called.


The Chukker has been a part of my life for more years than I care to admit. It has become both a family and shelter for me and always will. The disappointmant in its closing is felt nation wide if not world wide as our network hears of the impending doom of an establishment existing since 1956. Please realise that this was never just a bar. It still is the only bar I have and will ever call home.

Friday, November 07, 2003

From the Tuscaloosa News

MARK HUGHES COBB: The Chukker: Breaking up is hard to do
November 07, 2003

One last shout for The Chukker: Even though it seemed everyone was there -- and like some Crimson Tide games and the Police concert at the Bama, eventually everyone WILL be there -- people still want to know about the last big bang.

So here it was: Long, sad, funny, dark. So jammed with mourners you couldn’t get to the bar or the bathroom without loads of patience and tolerance for claustrophobia.

By the way, I’d just like to thank the fire marshals for passing by that night, even though there were times the crowd could have used a good hosing down. It would have been all too ironic to shut the place down the night it shook apart. Guess there were barbecue grills smoldering on balconies somewhere.

Lots of fine old friends gathered around, including ex’s, but what the heck. If you can’t bury a ground-down axe (somewhere aside from my skull, that is) at the wake of a friend, when and where can you?

As all non-drinkers know, it’s just bad etiquette to report on drunks when you’re sober.

But nobody’s paying me Miss Manners’ bucks, so, there was this one guy who kept staggering behind me, trying to lean his half-conscious head on my back. At first I thought nothing of it. Figured it was someone I knew, someone in need.

Then I sensed the hitching breath of someone struggling not to vomit.

So I inched forward. He shuffled up, inclining his noggin somewhere around the 11th vertebrae. It was like having a baby duck imprinted on me. A big drunk baby duck.

Finally, I took a giant step forward, at which time he slumped to the floor like somebody had yanked the skeleton right out through his neck. The floor was a good place for him. Gravity, for once, was a friend.

Then D.C.’s bass player did a G.G. Allen (the infamous and dead performance artist/rocker) tribute, dressed only in tiny G-string, high-top Converse sneakers and white socks, which inspired much stage-/sdiving and a full-frontal flasher or two. Finally, a turn for the bizarre; up to then, it had been nearly high-school reunion sweet.

Speaking of costumes, there were the Osbournes, Hendrix, Sigfrieds and Roys, and of course, your friend Satan.

Cleverly, many folks came dressed as burned-out hippies, or bikers and drag queens. Fascinating attention to detail, and I’m telling you, those wigs were NOT coming off!

With the benefit of a nap earlier that evening and several Cokes from the bar, I hung in until the sun was fully up, IHOP-ing on the way home. When I left, there were still probably 150 people soaking up rays in the courtyard, or avoiding them in the bar.

Just one question: Where were all of these sad sacks for the past few years, when the club was sliding down the tubes? And where were they when the struggling bands were up on stage sweating their ends off for no money?

If I had to listen to one more stranger whine about how it stunk that the city council did this or Ludovic did that ...

Fine, oddball Chukker-type places are like public radio. Cough up the bucks, or the signal fades.

Rowbear’s song “Gypsy Business" (the reunited Club Wig closed with it) hit an emotional high point for a lot of folks: “I tried staying in one place / but everybody seems to move away / hey hey / hey hey / it was a sad, sad day / hey hey / hey hey / engines are rumbling far away."

Local artist who brightened the walls of The Chukker dies at 56

By Mark Hughes Cobb
Staff Writer
March 17, 2004

Email this story.

Rippling rainbows of eye-tickling color threading through a knotty jungle of buxom women, fantastic landscapes and mythological creatures, the/smural painted by Bob Weston down The Chukker wall might have been almost as complex as the painter himself.

Tuscaloosa native Weston, 56, friend of millionaires as easily as those down on their luck, a man who probably gave away more of his art than he sold, died Monday at DCH Regional Medical Center.

In high school he was such a good athlete, friends thought he might be a pro football star. But he also painted.

Coming out of Tuscaloosa High School, Weston could have taken advantage of a full scholarship to the Chicago Art Institute, but instead he signed on for the Marines at the height of the Vietnam war.

After serving three tours of duty, during which he was wounded several times, Weston didn’t adjust easily to civilian life. He became a near-/slegendary wild man, paying his bread and board with paintings.

In the last 12 years, he had been sober, a changed man who helped others, especially fellow veterans, to get and stay clean.

“I think everybody who knew him knew he was wild as he could be most of his life," said friend Van Thompson.

“But then he basically turned around. It used to be you’d kind of hate to see him coming; then it got to be great to see him coming," Thompson said, laughing.

A longtime student of the martial arts -- in the Marine Corps, he was a two-time heavyweight judo champion -- he could physically defend himself or friends but thought violent aggression dishonorable.

Health problems, possibly related to his war experiences, continued to plague him. In recent years, he toted around a canister of oxygen everywhere he went.

Weston didn’t talk much about the war. What his close friends gathered came in dribs and drabs over the years.

“He didn’t elaborate that much on Vietnam," said childhood friend Bill Caldwell, who also served.

But friends agree that he returned a different man.

“He came back pretty messed up and was pretty irresponsible for about 20 years," said Bob Guin, another friend.

“But he always had a good heart. You just had to give him his space."

Weston painted numerous smaller murals at The Chukker before he began the wall-spanning jungle mural many remember best.

Back when the bar was by the front door, Weston painted a reclining lady on a wall.

“Bobby called the painting a whore," Caldwell said, laughing. “One day I’m sitting at the bar when the door swings open, and Bob brings in his little-bitty mom. 'There she is, Mom!’

“And she said, 'Well that’s a real nice whore, Bobby!’ She was quite a character also."

After Weston sobered up in the early ’90s, he began helping others, through Alcoholics Anonymous and the Veterans Administration.

“There’s a lot of stigma attached to alcoholism. Folks don’t talk about it, so he didn’t do it for aggrandizement; he just did it for other people," Guin said.

Caldwell was one of those Weston helped.

“When I finally hit bottom and had to do something, I called Bob," Caldwell said.

“All alcoholics are looking for an easy answer, that it’s going to be easy to quit.

“But Bob would not tell me that. He told me what I had to hear, which is that there’s no easy way, you just have to get in there and work at it. That probably saved my life."

But Weston’s skills weren’t limited to the visual and physical. He had a writer’s insights and the vocabulary to match, leading to endless hours of discussion, even after the drink of choice became coffee.

“I talked to him [Monday at the hospital], but he couldn’t talk back," Guin said.

“He always had a retort, so I figured for once I’d get the last word in.

“I told him, 'Don’t kick out on me now, otherwise I’ll have to have these meaningless philosophical conversations with myself.’ "

Visitation will be 6-8 p.m. Thursday at Tuscaloosa Memorial Chapel. Services will be at 11 a.m. Friday at the funeral home, and burial will follow in Tuscaloosa Memorial Park. In lieu of flowers, the family asked that donations be made to the John Robert Weston Memorial Fund at any AmSouth Bank branch.

From: "robertoreg2003"
Date: Sat Oct 4, 2003 8:55 pm
Subject: Subject Headings in Chukker History

Got da box so here are the titles to the cards:
Alves, Walter
Banned from the Chukker(the classic is Claudia Chermuk trying to buy
a draft for 37 cents)
Barred from the Chukker
"Allman Joys"- 1965-1967
Ariff, Basil
Artists and Art
Artifacts (looks like most of the artifacts have disappeared)
Big Ben Adkins and the Nomads
Bill Connell
Beer (sample: Quarter Beer-Tues. and Thurs. 1972- outlawed by State
ABC in 1985)
"Blues Magoos"
Butts, Jimmy
Beverages- January '82- moved bar to rear- bar moved to plumbing in
to serve liquor.
Blue Laws
Check on Bill McMinn
Cort Pickett
Crazy Shit That Has Happened at the Chukker(according to me the
craziest is Weston biting and sucking
a boil off Michael McGovern's toe)
Chefs(Bruce Hopper photographed the corpse in the coffin of the
father of the big old black lady who cooked for Chukker Bill)
Chukker Nation (proclaimed in August '69 by John Little while
watching telecast of the Woodstock Music Festival in
the Chukker)
Chukker Room in Hell (Trice Keene,Bob Weston,Stephen Rogers,Tom
Kuhns,Brian Hendrix,Joe Cary, Mike Tucker, Mike
Williams, Robert Register, John Thigpen, Val
Holloway,Lloyd Riley, Tommy Stevenson,John Thorn
Ron Shirley,Dick Ellenburg("I already have first
row seats saved." said Dick while he was alive),
Bill Gipson)
Chukker definition from the dictionary
"Candy Men"
Chukker Bill
Deceased patrons (over 50 on this list)
Drugs(someone always played "For What It's Worth" on the jukebox
when a narc walked in)
Eddie Hinton
Ernie Halford
Ellenberg, Dick
First Time In the Chukker (The Classic:"I was so young I was amazed
to be served alcohol")
Fantasies (The Classic:"All you guys want to see is two girls get it
on. It's UNIVERSAL!!!!)
"The Five Minutes"- '62 or '63
Fat City (game preserve)
Hendrix, Jimmy (Phil Phillips has a Hendrix guitar pick)
Hogie (Guy Huthnance, Jr.)
Hagler, Marshall
Hart, Bill
Hinton, Eddie
Janitors(The Classic: Ed Hanselman)
"John Ed" Watford (The Classic: Took a dump on the bar to win a bet)
Kooness, Oolee
Kizziah, Mickey
Little Bit
Lesbians(The Classic: Engraving on sports trophy for a Chukker
softball team:"Nobody Could Beat Those Dykes"
"The Magnificent Seven"
Music (The Classic: Don Maples, "the Possum Man", hit Jimmy Turner
with a beer bottle because Jimmy played the jukebox and
Maples wanted to hear his tape deck-Maples barred by
Myths (The Classic: Mice nests in the pinball machines fuck up your
May of 1970
Mary Kay
Menu (copies from the late sixties are owned by Bruce Hopper and Jo
Nineteen Fifty-Six, July-Chukker opens (Oasis opens at same time)
"The Omen and Their Love"
Orange Julius
The Old Dutch
Pat's (Earl's first bar- changed to Jackie's)
"Pieces of Eight"
Personal Testimony (December 21, 1987- Dart Hayward suggests a
contest for "Best Personal History of the
Poets (Rhett Maddox moved to New Orleans and gave readings at the
Maple Leaf Bar on Oak St.)
Pets (Chuck the Cat died violently and you could feed cashews
to the mouse who lived in the cash register)
Queers (The Classic: The VD control officer asks Enoch for the names
of everyone "he'd had intercourse with lately" and Enoch
lists everyone he had talked to at the Chukker and Egan's.)
"Rocking Gibralters"
"Rubber Band"
Riley, Lloyd
Ronnie Brown
The Red Rooster
Residents (Bob Weston)
The Roof
Robert Register (Loves Pussy. Very narrow minded on cornbread!)
Ramona Landers ('55 or '56 - '88)
"Sam the Sham and the Pharoahs"
"Sail Cat"
"Swinging Medallions"
The Silver Dollar
Scotty Fitzgerald (Waverly asks,"Could you procure a marijuana
cigarette for Scotty?)
The Spectrum and The Dickery
Starvin' Marvin Henry
Sports Teams
Swindle, Sharon (First visit to Chukker- 1972. Had her first orgasm
in the summer of 1972)
"This Side Up" - with an arrow pointing down
Tab (LARGEST TAB: $1700 FOR A SUMMER. Brian paid it with '66 GMC
Turner, Jim - "Today Was Surreal, Wasn't It?"
Thigpen, Johnny
Tiger Jack Garrett ("under Confederate gray skies")
University of Alabama
Wallace, George

That's all folks!

From a Planet Weekly Interview with Jerry Henry:

From what I hear you are know as the official historian for the historical Chukker. What are some of the printable highlites that happened at the Chukker?

Roberto: I guarantee you there's very little "official" about anything associated with The Chukker. What I officially am is the proud owner of a recipe box filled with 4 by 8 cards.They tell one hell of a story.

This attempt to preserve Chukker history began on December 21, 1987 when we were all sitting at the bar and the late Dart Hayward, brother of Charlie Daniel's bass player Charlie Hayward, suggested that we start a contest for "The Best Personal History of the Chukker."
Well, that contest never occurred but I started taking notes that night and basically it all degenerated into "The Craziest Stuff That Ever Happened In The Chukker."

In most people's opinion, the craziest thing that ever happened in the Chukker involved the late Bob Weston and Michael McGovern's toe. That's all I'm gonna say about that because my Mommy and Daddy raised me not to talk about stuff like that in public.

Hey Robertoreg:
What's this got to do with the Chukker?

-Well bogustrumper,
According to my very own personal testimony of my experiences in The Chukker (fall of '68 to fall of '03), breaking news from Cuba has always been of interest to many of my associates who are members of the Chukker Nation (one problem with my personal testimony: I am the only one still alive who witnessed some of those crazy nights in the Chukker)
Two things came immediately to mind when I read your question.The first was Bill, Ludo's bartender, who I believe was born in Cuba.I am certain that he was raised in Miami and his parents were Cuban exiles. We always talked about Cuba.
The second was Joe Scott. When Joe wasn't chasing away cops walking the beat by dancing with Philpott, he was speaking Spanish. In fact, Joe often refused to speak English to me because he and I had both taught at the Colegio Americano de Guayaquil and he wanted me to practice my Spanish.
Other things came to mind: Donnie's admonition that "The Chukker is an Island of Tolerance surrounded by a sea of intolerance." It's easy to imagine a Bay of Pigs veteran drinking beer next to a wild eyed anarchist in a Viva, Che! t-shirt at the bar of the Chukker.I recall tales of expeditions planned to capture everything from Batista's buried treasure to the biggest Tarpon in the tidal flats of the south shore.
and a nudder thang....
When the Chukker opened in July of '56, Havana wuz the #1 foreign port for the Port of Mobile and................
Beginning in '82, you could order a Cuba Libre in the Chukker and Bruce Hopper probably sold Cuban sandwiches when he opened the deli in '87 and Castro and Che always showed up at the Halloween parties and Ry Cooder was always hot on the juke box and the Chukker Nation has always been cool with the Secret Police. Don't you remember: The only time anyone played "For What It's Worth" on the juke box was when a narc walked into the bar and the Chukker was real hip to censorship[i.e. "Babylon Motel"] and since May of '70 we have all known the total unity which can occur when everybody has that revolutionary spirit and , besides all that, The Chukker was different from Jumpin' Johnny's or The Silver Dollar or Lee's Tomb or Down the Hatch.
At the Chukker there was always someone there who was interested in the latest out of Cuba.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

images by Marshall Hagler courtesy of Tommy Stevenson's blog and the Tuscaloosa News

Photo of Marshall Hagler by Martha Jane Patton

Tommy Stevenson published an excellent obit for Marshall on his blog at the T News. Check it out:

photo courtesy of WTBC
Jimi in Tuscaloosa in May of '69.

a message I received yesterday
from Igor:

Dear Friends,
Our old comrade
Marshal Hagler
passed from this world around 12:30 today.

He had been ill for some time and hospitalized with complications of diabetes for several months with the major factor being congestive heart failure.

It was his wish to have no traditional funeral, but to be cremated and his ashes to be scattered into the Rio Grande in New Mexico.
His brother David will do this at some time in the future.

Currently we are trying to raise money to pay for Marshal's cremation.
If anyone wants to donate toward this please contact Bruce Hopper at aaa440(at) (insert @ sign) or call him at 205-333-1821.
We need to raise about $1,000 and have about 1/2 of it accounted for.
At some point in the near future there will be a memorial to celebrate Marshal's life.
As soon as that is finalized, I'll let you all know.

Marshal was a major active contributor to the 'nation back from his publishing the ChukkerNation News ("all the news that fits") which helped us all keep in touch with each other long before the Internet was ever dreamed of.

He blew our minds in the days of the Woods Quads and onward with those fantastic light shows with many of the techniques that he invented. His documentation of the entirety of the 'nation with his photographs, many of which graced the famous Chukker Calendar and adorned the walls of the Chukker for many years is a heritage that cannot be forgotten. He was also a great and generous friend and I'm glad I had the privilege to know his for all these many years. He will be greatly missed.

Old friend Martha Jane Patton visited with him on July 1 and took this last photo of Marshal.

She wrote:

CRIMSON WHITE Issue date: 10/31/03

1956 - The Chukker opens (Bill Thompson, owner)

1968 - Sold (Earl Hillyer)

1974 - Sold (Bob Callahan, Lewis Fitts)

Expanded to two sides - right side (where stage now sits) added

"Sistine Chukker" painted

1980 - Sold (Bruce Hopper)

First to charge cover - money went entirely to bands

Early 1980s - Scheduled up to 200 live performances per year

Indigo Girls, The Replacements play

1989 - Sold (Bill Gipson, Richard Lindsay)

1991 - Sold (Ludovic Goubet, Frannie James, Robert Huffman)

Under Goubet - Sun Ra, Sublime play

Art shows, poetry readings

1995 - Goubet buys out partners

2001 - Chukker closes

May 2002 - Reopens (Will Harris, Brooks Cloud) renovations/restoration

Carl Denson, Hank Williams III, Reverend Horton Heat play

March 1 - City Council imposes ordinance banning alcohol sales after 1:45 a.m.

March 20 - Chukker applies to be membership-only club; application denied

July - City announces downtown renovation plans, including Chukker location

Nov. 1 - Chukker to close


Don't worry about the Sistine Chukker.


image courtesy of


A Typical Chukker Story from an anonymous source:

You want stories . . . I've got stories! (or at least I think I do . .
.. my memory of those years has been reduced to disjointed snippets).

I remember the year that I spent in Tuscaloosa from June of 1970 to
September of 1971. I had just gotten done teaching a semester of
seven grade science at an all black high school in Greene County (my
first job after college). I had taken the job to kill time while I
awaited being draft (I ended up flunking the physical thanks to my
surgically reconstructed ankle). Between 1968 and the end of 1969 I
had undergone a transformation from a Barry Goldwater conservative
into an SDS radical (I wonder whatever happened to Paul Scribner?).
After the fall of 1969 some of that political activism started
morphing into the counterculture lifestyle.

The year and a half that began with the summer of 1970, in hindsight,
was probably the best part of my life. I didn't have a job, didn't
pay rent, didn't make car payments, and didn't have any kids. I lived
on Bubba Hayward's houseboat during the summer (up behind the Holt
Lock and Dam) and crashed on the food co-op's couch during the winter
(I was their unofficial night watchman). I got around town on my dirt
bike. Practically every night there was a party somewhere. People
would leave their doors open in the student ghetto neighborhood and
you could always expect visitors to drop by. In those days
Chuckernation felt like a one big extended family. Some of its
members were into "leftist politics", others were hippies, other were
gay, some were blacks, still others were simply "liberals". The
common thread uniting this diverse group was more than simply liking
to drink beer at the Chucker. In those days in Alabama there was
clear sense of repression, racism, and intolerance. If you were
somehow perceived as being "different" you had a sense of potential
hostility. You instinctively huddled with the other outsiders. You
knew who were your friends and who were your enemies. There was "us"
and there was "them".

Of course the underlying economics that supported the original
Chuckernation was weak. The bulk of its members lived off of mommy
and daddy paying their expenses while they attended college. Others
lived off the underground economy surrounding the student community
(selling drugs, waiting tables, etc.). As the students graduated (or
dropped out) many of them had to face the reality of holding down a
real jobs (which tended to undermine the 'peace, love and happiness"
ethic very quickly).

It was fun while it lasted however. I remember a party at Sydonna
Dyers apartment. Everyone there, of course, was high on something.
Naturally there was lot of alcohol. Beyond that almost everyone was
smoking pot and fair number had taken LSD. I remember Chuck Schwartz
arriving late. He had taken some LSD earlier that evening and had
gone see a Beethoven concert (no shit). Hogdew was there, of course,
along with many other Chuckernation legends. Sydonna had a pet boa
constrictor snake in a cage in her living room. She took it out at
one point so that people could get a better look (oblivious to that
fact that the loud music and the rowdy drugged crazed party goers
might be alarming the reclusive reptile). One of the guests (who
happened to be tripping) reached out to touch it. The snake proceeded
to bite the shit out of this guy's hand (so hard that it drew blood).
Sydonna, very calmly then said, "I think that it's time to put him
back in this cage now".

Another time me and Bubba (and some others) were at the Chucker
drinking beer. Bubba was always telling his wild stories about his
days in Air Force in Texas and about all the great times that he had
experienced at the whore houses in the Mexican border towns. As we
got drunker someone said "hell, we should go out their some day".
Some else said, "damn straight, lets go out there someday". Someone
then said "talk, talk, talk, let's get in the god damn car right now
and go" . . . "Tonight"? . . . "Hell yes, tonight". "Fuck yes, lets
go tonight, someone get me another goddamn beer". The conversation
continued like that for a while getting louder and more rowdy as the
beers went down (of course deep down inside we all knew that this was
total bullshit because we were definitely NOT going to go to Mexico
THAT night). Then this guy sitting at the next table leans over to
me and whispers that he and his friend were leaving for Arizona within
the hour and that Bubba and I could ride with them as far as Del Rio
Texas (which was directly across the river from Ciudad Acuna).
Apparently these guys (whose names escape me) had a "well thought out
plan". They were going to buy a few kilos of pot in Mexico and then
smuggle it back into Arizona where they would sell it for a handsome
profit. The next thing you know we were all in the car speeding down
I-20 westbound. After an all night drive Bubba and I were dropped off
in Del Rio. As it turned out, a few days later our driver friends got
busted bringing the pot across the boarder into Nogales and they ended
up doing some serious prison time. Bubba and I spent a few hedonistic
days in Mexico and then, for some unknown reason, we decided to hitch
hike down to Key West Florida. We got back to Tuscaloosa about two
weeks later.

I probably have other stories to tell but for now they are lost to the
clouds of time (its like George Carlin used to say "if you can
remember the 60's you weren't there") ...

Sunday, June 20, 2004

FROM DA DUDE WHO COINED THE TERM "CHUKKER NATION"[chukkernation] the Tuscaloosa All Stars

Greetings from Miami. As we learned from his recent message, Robert
Register has been kind enough to post a whole bunch of great old
photos on his "Cuba, Alabama" blog (thanks!!). One of them is labeled
the "Tuscaloosa All stars" and shows a group of musicians that
includes Joe Rudd. I hadn't thought about Joe Rudd in many years. Some
of you may recall the famous Tuscaloosa "urban legend" that involved
him. Back in 1970, so the story goes, Joe came into the kitchen one
afternoon all hot and thirsty. He opened the refrigerator and saw a
big ice cold pitcher of Kool Aid. He took it out and gulped down a
big refreshing drink. He was so thirsty that he damn near drank the
whole thing. What he did not know (because his no one had bothered to
tell him) was that this particular pitcher of Kool-Aid had been spiked
with large amounts of LSD in anticipation of the big party planned for
that evening. The story ends with Joe having a very "intense"
psychedelic experience (something about him being in a Kansas wheat
field for three days, but I might be getting my stories mixed up).
The good news was that he lived to tell his tale. Such is how legends
are made. 1970 was probably a very good year but we were all so fucked
up that none of us remember much about it.


Way back in the day about 20 years ago,
I was in the Chukker sitting at a table and the conversation turned to drugs in South America and this young kid from Duncanville bragged,

Needless to say I immediately went into shock!

I responded,
"Don't tell me you actually took ayahuasca & san pedro at the same time & you're sitting at a table here in the Chukker able to tell us about it!"

That cooled his beans a little & he replied,
"Oh, it was bad!"


Seems the kid from Duncanville, Alabama in Tuscaloosa County had grown up as the child of a Southern Baptist missionary in Ecuador.
Seems like he rebelled against his Dad & one day,
for some God forsakened reason , he took both of these powerful poisons.


He said that when the stuff first came on him, he looked over at a cara cara bird on the beach and immediately had his brain transfer into the brain of the bird.

image of the cara cara bird courtesy of

He looked at the hairs on his arms and watched each of them turn into cara cara bird feathers.
He looked over at the cara cara bird & it took off.
So suddenly this cat from Tuscaloosa County is looking out over the Pacific Ocean in front of Manta, Ecuador through the eyes of a cara cara bird.

Well, that's sorta like how I felt about watching the black skimmer there by the airport.

Sign in the Chukker, October 25th, 1971

When the stranger swung into this dark
butt-littered bar, draped his white
weird toga, or whatever, over a stool,
and ordered Miller's Malt, no one was
perturbed (it being late, and most of us dead
drunk). But when he said "No bread,"
a hush fell like a flatiron. "No new tabs,"
Mark said, and gestured. The stranger
scratched his beard, his blue eyes slow
and casual as swimming pools.
"Lookee here," said the stranger, "I don't know
how long it takes you necks to get the papers,
but I'm the son of God, and I could turn
this Miller into wine; but I'm inclined
to turn you and your buddies into Ovaltine.
What do you say? I'm kind of in a hurry."
One skinny arm reached out of Mark's white shirt,
shaking, and tore the sign down.
A row of white teeth chattered and chattered, and
"Here at the Chukker,
if nothing else, we believe. More to the point,
you gotta make exceptions. What about another?"
Brushing the sticky halo from his hair,
he went to fetch it.

by Rette Maddox
Received this message from my ole pahdnuh in crime,
Sydney, Australia's SIMON ROBINSON!

Hi Robert:
My memories of 1519 8th street are that it was
always the meeting point for the beginning of an adventure organized by our fearless leader RR.
Summer days , swimming in this spring water that just bubbled out of the ground, somewhere out in the woods , travelling out there in the fabulous 62 chev,
going down to the Black Warrior River, trips to Moundville,
what a place that is you can feel the history , I have been out in the desert country of australia it just takes your breath away its ancient.
I digress;
preparing to go to a concert to see YES(Fragile album) going to the Chukker
then back to 1519 just in case we had not had enough.
Laurie from Texas , Bob , Karen Fowler and others .
Where is Laurie? Did you keep in touch?
I would love to hear from her.
What a great gal.

It was a great thrill to find you and talk.
I will now start planning a trip to Tuscaloosa.
I just had one of the best times living there.
Talk to you soon
your friend


From Igor:

Here 'tis. See attachment. Was a cheap camera back then. Little fuzzy. Sharpened a bit in photoshop.

BTW, that Sistine Chukker shirt on the Lauri photo was the first 4-color process t-shirt done in Tuscaloosa (maybe in Alabama!) from a photograph. Shirt and ink reps said it couldn't be done (with the technology of the time). The photo was a 2-1/4 slide taken by John Earl back when the original ceiling art was pretty new. He lighted it well and shot as good a photo as could be taken. Back before photoshop and PCs, I had to send the image off to a graphics house to have the separations done at 1/2 size to photo positives. Cost about $100. I then enlarged it to size with a process camera. Shirts were hand-printed (which is why the reps said it couldn't be done without fancy printing machines) but turned out pretty good for a first timer!


Thursday, September 15, 2005

Re: Gatemouth Brown

Gatemouth played the Chukker twice during my tenure and I think at least once with the frog. He stayed out at my house for both of the performances. He was really a character. He would not let his band drink, but anything else was OK. He had his little 5 year old girl with him who also was part of the band. I remember that when we got home after each performance, he would have to cook cous-cous before he could go to bed. What a performer that the world will miss.

Thanks Bruce, you da man!

Gatemouth was buried this morning in Orange, Texas. Details may be found on his website

Brett Tannehill has put some great Chukker stuff on the Web.
Check it out at....

Do You Remember?

By Jerry Henry

Robert Register and I went to Birmingham a few weeks back to see Drive By Tuckers, Robert Randolf and Family, and The Black Crowes. This is not a review of that concert but more about the trip up there and back.

Robert and I took a trip down memory lane.

Our minds went back to those Hot Summer Sunday afternoons when you made your way to Holiday Beach, Cherokee Beach, or Cascade Plunge rather than the usual swimmin hole at Hurricane Creek. You see back in those days Lake Tuscaloosa did not exist.
Since that trip I had the occasion to attend a Shag Dancing event where people from all over the Southeast gathered at Cascade Plunge. It was built in the 30's. It was in it's glory days in the 60's and 70's. Today it is green and there are fish in that huge pool. That night I went to a Bop Party in Homewood. I had a good time but my mind kept wondering back to my memories of Cascade Plunge the way it used to be. Time stands still for no man.
As Robert and I talked and through correspondence many memories have returned. A few have changed very little, Moon Winx, but then again it used to be a great place to eat. Dill's Court still looks the same. The Stafford is long gone.
The parties you heard about was at fraternity houses. You were hot stuff if you got to go to a frat party and you were still in high school. There were only three high schools in those days. Tuscaloosa High (Black Bears), Tuscaloosa County High (Wildcats), and Holt High (Ironmen).
If you were to hear live music it was Fort Brandon Armory, YMCA, Mimosa Park, and Northport Community Center. Later on it was Memorial Coliseum, Foster, the Quads, and with time more were added and some taken away.
In Tuscaloosa you couldn't dance where alcohol was served until 1975. There was the Citizen's Club and Club 61 that existed in and around the laws. Robert said he saw Cort Pickett play at Club 61. He was braver than I was. He also said he was told groups played at the Diamond Theater also. I don't remember that.
Now Northport was the party place in days gone by with The Chef, The Red Ox, The Shiloh and The Stardust.
A great American Graffiti kind of place was at the intersection of what is now Bryant Drive and Hackberry. It was Art's Char House, some called it the Doghouse. James (John Henry) Moore and I cruised it in his 1936 Ford three window coupe every night that we got out. We also had to check out every other drive inn in town. We knew every song on the radio and sang in harmony.
How many of these do you remember?
Morrison's Cafeteria at the University
Howard Johnson's Ice Cream on Univ Blvd.
Perry's Pride at the foot of River Hill (Jack Warner Pkwy now)
Solomon's at 1001 University Blvd
Another Roadside Attraction 1009 University Blvd. (their first location)
The Dickery was at 1207 University Blvd.
Beggar's Banquet was at 1302 University Blvd.
The Dobb's House was at 1400 University Blvd.
Johnny's Restaurant was at 2400 University Blvd. (now a parking lot)
The Deep South Lounge was at 2402 University Blvd.
Roy's Place (pool room) was at 2404 University Blvd
Barnwell Hall which housed Down under in the basement 800 10th Street (Bryant Drive).
Jackie's Lounge was once called Pat's Cafe 2111 10th (Bryant Drive)
Frank's (later the Bahn Hof) was at the end of 11th Street beside the railroad tracks
Special Edition (hip hugger bellbottom jeans and t-shirts) 7th Avenue (now right half of Yazoo Courtyard Grill)
Joe Namath's Restaurant was at 607 15th Street
The Chukker was at 2121 6th Street
Chuck Wagon Cafe was at 2309 7th Street
The Silver Dollar Bar was at 2311 7th Street
Hanly's Pawn Shop was at 2313 7th Street.
Lee's Tomb (John F Mason, manager) was at 2209 4th Street
The Tide was at 614 25th Avenue
The DelRue Restaurant in Northport.

Alas pore chukker, I almost knew him well

chukkernation is good way to go.

capn skyp [a.k.a. Ken Babbs]

81774 Lost Creek Road
Dexter OR 97431

Here I stand near Nickajack where Alabama,Georgia and Tennessee intersect. Please send all suggestions and other unwanted comments to

Muchas gracias a mi buen amigo, babbs, para el t-shirt. Git yur skypilotclub t-shirt @

Give em hell RR-