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Once Charles, the stage manager, saw me yawn as the prelude to the show was starting. He said me, “Kid, you’re yawning.” I replied, “I’m getting tired.” His response was, “You’ve got one of the best voices I’ve ever heard while managing this stage at the Wintergarden.” Charles being the dapper gentleman he was, I listened to every word he said. There was another alert that maybe it was time for me to become more independent of the show. I had been used a lot. Charles said, “When you start to yawn before going on, you lose your natural energy to perform.” At the moment he mentioned that, I remember Bobby Jones walking up the stairs behind me to our dressing rooms. Like a mantra, I kept repeating, “I’m so tired, I’m so tired.” It was shortly thereafter that I contracted mononucleosis. Physically, I was war torn; mentally and emotionally, I had been beaten up. I had been doing the work of many people. I saw a doctor, who prescribed a badly-needed break. On his advice, I went on a six-week hiatus. I returned to Wisconsin for some rest, after which I headed for the Pantagas Theater in Los Angeles.

The New York cast had previously opened up in Los Angeles at a location in Century City. I had completed my hiatus and was ready to resume my Beatlemania role at the Pantagas theater. Increasingly, I started to distance myself creatively from Beatlemania and shifted my energy toward writing my own original music. Songs included Rock And Roll Me Over and Point Of No Return, both composed by myself, as well as a number of tunes such as Love Eyes, It’s Over, Twenty-Four Hours, and You, which were co-written by KiKi Dee and myself. Gradually, I came to reinvigorate myself creatively. Beatlemania became something of the past; and I, Reed Kailing, once again emerged for the present and future.

Reed Tours with Badfinger

Later, the guys from Badfinger were temporarily living in Milwaukee. I received a phone call from a gentleman who was more or less managing the business affairs of Bob Jackson, Tom Evans, and Mike Gibbins. He mentioned that Tommy and the guys wanted to form a band to tour. He asked if I had any interest. Being a Badfinger fan, I said, “Absolutely.” Then things came to a screeching halt with the following question, “Do you play slide guitar?” I replied, “No, I just play lead; but I know a guy in California who plays incredible slide guitar.” The guys from Badfinger wanted to keep expenses down. I told them the guy I had in mind was Donnie Dacus, the lead guitar player for Chicago and other groups. The conversation then shifted to “Do you think you can get him?” I gave it my best shot, and everything came together.

MILWAUKEE SUMMERFEST 2007 ... PHOTO BY RICK KOHLMEYER

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