The late Leslie Haseman on Barry Fey's busted zipper, a case of this is so not what it looks like
On Wednesday, March 6, Barry Fey will be inducted into yet another hall of fame, this one the Denver & Colorado Tourism Hall of Fame. In honor of his induction, we'll be running the stories that didn't make his memoir all this week. Today, the late Leslie Haseman with a story she shared before she passed about Barry's big mouth and a busted zipper.
By Barry Fey
Leslie Haseman (1968-69, 1970-74, '78-'79, 1997)
Leslie was unique. I met her in 1967. The people from San Francisco, Chet Helms and Bob Cohen, hired her locally to work at the Family Dog. I met her then because I was opening the Family Dog. She was my mentor in the world of hippiedom. I mean, I was scared. I kept hearing these stories about planting marijuana on us and stuff. I said, "What do we do? What do we do?" She said, "Don't worry. We'll take care of it." I asked Chet Helms once, what do I do if they plant me?" He said, "Don't worry, Barry. You won't grow."
But that's where I met Leslie. We opened the Family Dog and she was my assistant by that time; we went out with Janis Joplin the second night. And then after the Family Dog closed in February of '68 and I took it over and called it the Dog, she was my assistant from then on until 1974. She worked with me on the Denver Pop Festival in '69, and then in '74, she took a 21 year break. She came back to us in 1995 and worked with us until 1997.
She was so strong, such a strong lady. She was the best, man. At her funeral, which was last year, her daughter and son asked me to speak and keep it light, and the last thing I said was, "We all know that Leslie was an organ donor. We'll never get to know who got her organs, which really upsets me because I'd really like to see the guy who got her balls." She was just the best. She was always with me in spirit. We used to talk every week.
I met Barry when I started working at the Family Dog in Denver. Cathy Millward also worked in the office with me. We'd give each other a breather. When one of us had enough of Barry and would quit, the other would go to work until she'd had enough. We kind of switched back and forth for a while. By "had enough," I mean that Barry would say or do something stupid, and after a back and forth round of "fuck you," Cathy or I would walk out the door.
It was fun to be there at the beginning when the country was literally carved up by five concert promoters. Those were the first people that bands went to when they wanted to play an area. If you wanted to do something in San Francisco, you went through Bill Graham. If you wanted to do a show in Denver, or the rest of our area, which included Dallas, Houston, Albuquerque, Kansas City, Phoenix, Las Vegas, Omaha, Lincoln and other cities in the region, you went through Barry Fey. By the way, Barry and Bill were a lot alike. Both were street-tough guys who did a lot of posturing. No one could poster like those two. Bill may have been jealous of Barry because many bands liked Barry better. He was better at relationships with the bands. Bill had some success in other areas that maybe Barry was jealous of, but they were peas in a pod.
Barry had a bad mouth. A really bad mouth. A guy named Mario from Bogota, Colombia got Barry to fly down there to look at promoting a rock festival. It never happened, but Barry would get so angry at Mario's secretary because she couldn't speak English. We had to send a bodyguard with Barry to make sure his mouth didn't get him killed. Colombia never happened. China was also interested in hosting a rock festival, and that looked promising until Tiananmen Square happened.
One my funniest moments with Barry was when we had a show for Dan Hicks and His Hot Licks in Denver. Barry was at his heaviest then, and the zipper on his pants busted. I found some pins and we're outside the venue. I'm down on my knees in front of him, pinning his fly shut. We looked over to one side, and we're maybe fifty yards from a busy intersection. I looked up at him, he looked down at me, and we burst out laughing. I don't know what people passing by were thinking, but it didn't look good.
Barry and Feyline were a huge and important part of my life.
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