Behind every successful band there is a hard working bunch of guys that don’t get the recognition they deserve. My Brother John was one of them. He was with me every step of the way. He did a million things for Cheater and myself. Those are stories that will be told!

Speaking of John,

My Brother John ALWAYS drove the equipment truck when we were on the road.
On this one particular road trip we were ending the tour in Fostoria Ohio. (Near Sandusky, Ohio) It was back home to Rochester, NY from there. The toll that touring takes on a band is unrelenting. Even a few days off was an unbelievable gift at times. We were all in great need of a rest. I was blown out!

Much to John’s pleasure, his girlfriend, Debbie Boylan (now wife of around 30 years!) made the trip to surprise him!

John decided that he would drive home with Debbie and they could spend some quality time together for once. Maybe stop when they want to, you know…like real people not the road rats that we were!

For just this one time, John would have Rick Triest drive the band truck. Rick is the soundman of ROCK! A Brother from another Mother. Also another guy deserving of high recognition for the success of all of us.. Also, Nick “The Stick” Vito, (all around crew guy and great guy!) would ride along with him through the night. John also gave Rick money for a hotel room, should they decide they were too tired.

The band was all crammed in whatever big car we had at the time and headed east, toward home. The first stop after many hours of driving was Don Mancuso’s parent’s house in Rochester, NY, to drop him off. As we pulled in the driveway, Donny’s Dad came out to meet us. ..This was not a good sign.
As we got out of the car, Mr. Mancuso said,
“You guys better come inside, there has been an accident”

We gathered around the kitchen table as he explained to us that our manager called him to tell him that Rick and Nick had crashed the truck… and… our instructions were to wait for our manager to call us back.

After a million questions that poor Mr. Mancuso didn’t have the answers to, we found out that neither one of them were hurt. That, of course was the most important thing.

We were now worried about the gear!
We had rented so many trucks at that time, from the truck rental location that we used, that they had given us a brand new one! This was the first time this truck was ever used, We hoped that would be to our benefit. (not so much for the trucking company…)

After about an hour of being freaked out and caffeined out, from all the coffee. Our manager called and told us the story.

Rick and Nick had indeed gotten tired. There was a rest area coming up in a few miles, so Rick decided he could make it there. He didn’t.

Nick was asleep and Rick fell asleep at the wheel. The truck rolled over and skimmed along the highway about 50 yards, on its side. It stopped sliding…in front of the rest area..  They both, thank god, were able to keep each other from falling through the window that was sliding along the road.

They exited the truck with no injuries, as the police and fire department soon arrived. The report was that the band’s equipment did not look good…
As we were being told the story at Donny’s parent’s house, I watched Donny turn white… and put his head down.

Donny was in the band “Black Sheep” before joining us. The band had two albums on Capital Records. (The band featured Lou Gramm, who later became a legend with the band Foreigner.) The end of Black Sheep was marked by their truck crashing on New Year’s Eve in Rochester, NY and destroying everything they owned…

This was Déjà vu all over again for Donny. We were done in his mind. It had happened again…

A plan was made that a new truck would be sent. The gear would then be transferred and be driven back to Rochester. We were supposed to play a show in a few days at The Freight House in East Rochester, NY. The owner, Steve Hearn, was a great friend of mine. He agreed that we could use the place to unload the equipment as soon as it returned from Ohio and assess our situation.

As I and the other guys have said a million times, thank God no one was hurt.
The sound system suffered some bad damage, most of the our personal equipment was banged up pretty good (Thank god for road cases, or it would have been a lot worse) …but the most damage was Blayne Pierce’s keyboard setup. …It was destroyed.

We crunched a lot of numbers, made a ton of phone calls and tallied it all up. It was bad, but it was doable. We were not wiped out.

After a few weeks of gigs with some borrowed equipment and about a hundred rolls of duck tape. We would be OK. Oh! …and we still pulled off the show at the Freight House that week!

Now, dear reader, that is the story to the best of my knowledge …but this would not be a true “Cheater” story if I didn’t tell you how we handled things once the dust was settled …We broke balls and laughed our asses off. We never let Rick and Nick be at peace about it.

You see, a few things came out afterword. (Rick is cringing right now if he is reading this.)

It seems that the boys had decided that the hotel money would be better used for “the entertainment” we all new so well in those days. That would keep them awake!

As you are reading this, you might be thinking, “Didn’t these a*holes have any insurance on the gear or at least the truck contents”

Yes…and no. The truck insurance that you pay in the price of rental was probably about ten dollars at the time. It was waived by our manager. He didn’t want to spend all that money…
Still, we would have been OK…if when Rick was asked what happen he didn’t say,

“I nodded”

He will never live that down.

“I nodded.”

Anything else would have worked for the insurance company! A deer ran in front of me, I thought I saw something in the road, I saw a spaceship…anything!
The police report said,

“I nodded.”

Falling asleep at the wheel was not covered.


I’ll stop being hard on Rick now, after all, he was probably in shock and could have been badly injured or even worse!

Oh! One more thing though, when the fireman ran up to the back of the truck with hose in hand he asked Rick if there were any DRUMS inside…
I’ll give you a minute to think about that dear reader…

Rick said, “Yes”

Nick came running over to the fireman screaming, “No, no no! There is a band DRUM KIT in there not CHEMICAL DRUMS!”

The fireman did not hose the truck down with chemicals… That would have been the destruction of everything.

Ok, I really will stop picking on Rick now. I love my bro. Thank god we’re all still here telling crazy stories!

My Brother John went back to always driving the truck.

3 thoughts on ““I Nodded””

  1. Nick the Stick! The Freight House! Equipment truck accidents! Memories that light the corners of my mind. Thanks for taking me back to a time oft forgotten, Jeff.

    1. Those were the days my friend!! Just Change a few things here and there in each of my stories and it was your life too! Can’t thank you enough for following along!

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