Bands: Devil and the White Man

Early gig

Russ Chesebro and I at the Great American Sandwich Company, Dec. 1991.

Band officially formed: December 1991


  • Russ Chesebro - Guitar
  • Big R - Guitar


    Well, let's see. How did this start? Russ came to work in our shop for a while before he was to transition out of the Army. He found out that I was a guitar player. We got to talking about music etc. Turns out he had a weekly gig down on the Ku'damm. For those in the know, that is THE area to play in Berlin. Lots and lots of tourists from all over the world go there, and the gigs pay WELL.

    Anyway, he invited me down to sit in. We played and it turned out GREAT. We decided to back each other up. Russ knew EVERYTHING it seemed. We wound up making different types of "theme" sets during practice.

    No Name pub

    "Jamming at, uh, I can't remember the name of this place!"
  • The theme sets included "Skinny Elvis/Fat Elvis", "Floyd", "Blues", "60's", "Rebellion", "80's" plus others. The crowds really, really liked it. Mellow, but still a lot of fun.

    Eventually, Russ lined us up with a gig sponsored by Daimler-Benz. It was basically going on this cruise boat in the Wannsee for a day and playing requests for some American Exchange students. Pretty sweet for how much they paid us. We wound up DJing a party after the cruise for the students.


    Prim and proper at the Berlin Brigade Officer's Club. Spring 1992.
    The cruise gig got me enough money to buy my own acoustic, plus some other gear. Big paychecks are NICE! We actually had a lot of gigs lined up. I got a co-worker named Suzanne (wonderful German girl) to manage the group. We cut her in for 10-percent of all booked gigs.

    That really didn't turn out to be all that bad, just for making a few calls, or dropping by a pub and talking to the owner. We made a demo tape for her, and that was what sold a lot of the gigs. The pub owners really liked us. We wound up playing most of the popular pubs in Berlin. Doing the "pub circuit" as some of us called it. We were making DM 300 per night (about $80 each after the manager cut). Not bad, considering the pubs hooked us up with dinner AND all the free beer we could handle.

    Goofing off at the Draw-Down Cafe.

    Goofing off at the Draw-Down Cafe.
    Well, we were playing out at least twice a week during the summer. We also landed a sweet deal right on OUR Kaserne (Barracks). The MWR opened up a cafe/bar for the troops there. I knew the Sergeant that was in charge of the joint. He had heard us play before, and hired us at the Draw-Down Cafe. Now, that place was GREAT. We would host the Friday Afternoon Club (for lack of a better term).

    When our friends heard that we would be playing there. WE PACKED THE PLACE. Every single week. AND, we ALWAYS sold them out of beer. It was freaking hilarious! Usually about two-thirds into our three-hour set, The Sarge would yell, "well, we're out of beer again!" Then, after the usual grumbling, we would pack up our gear, and the whole place would walk to the bars across the street to finish getting hammered.

    James Joyce Tavern

    Hooking up the James Joyce.

    One of the better gigs we landed was the James Joyce Tavern in downtown Berlin, right off the Ku'Damm. A great place. It just so happened that on our first gig there, we literally packed the place to the seams. Normally, you invite 30 people out, and maybe get 5 - 10 to show up, well, we invited about 40 people out, and they ALL showed up AND brought friends! The waitresses were overworked. The owner was extremely happy, and invited us back for a series of shows.

    But, as you might figure, the crowds were not as readily available for the rest of the shows. But, the regulars and the people we did manage to bring in enjoyed it quite a bit. Russ eventually moved back to the US, and I finished the last show or two with my friend Dave in early '93. I taught Dave how to play guitar a year or so before, and thought that it would be good for him to get onstage. We pulled the shows off, and that was the end of DWM. When all was said and done, DWM made thousands of dollars. One of the most fun and relaxing times I ever had playing. The question was always asked, "who is the devil?" Take a wild GUESS.

    Where are they now?

    Russ is out in Jersey I believe. Doing financial stuff. Can't remember exactly what. Think he is married and has three kids now.

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