EUCLID, OH–According to Main Street Tavern employees and patrons, the guy at the end of the bar is a little too into deceased blues guitarist Stevie Ray Vaughan.
Bar-goer John Menke said that the guy, an unidentified beret- and denim-vest-wearing man in his early 30s, should be avoided "unless you want to talk about Stevie Ray Vaughan for at least an hour."
"I go up to get another pitcher of beer, and this guy at the bar just stares at me, biting his lip and nodding his head to the Stevie Ray Vaughan song on the jukebox," Menke said. "I try to look away, but then I accidentally make eye contact for a split second. That's when he says to me, 'Man, there'll never be another SRV.' Before you know it, I'm trapped listening to him go off about Vaughan's blistering guitar solo [on 'Cold Shot']."
After expounding on Vaughan's "fiery, impassioned guitar work" on "Cold Shot" for several minutes, the guy explained to Menke the song's origins.
"The guy says to me, 'Stevie used to sing this to the women he felt had wronged him, but he realized he was the one who was cold to women because of his addictions,'" Menke said. "I definitely got the feeling that this wasn't the first time this guy had ever told a complete stranger that story."
The guy was about to explain to Menke that the title of the album In Step was a reference to the 12-step program Vaughan had completed, but Menke excused himself to go to the men's room. After waiting in the bathroom the approximate length of time it would take to urinate, Menke ordered a pitcher of beer at the other end of the bar and returned to his table.
Main Street Tavern patron Bill Raychek, who later in the evening encountered the guy at the bar's pool table, said he "went on and on" about how Vaughan had finally begun to turn his life around and conquer his demons when he was tragically killed in the summer of 1990.
"I don't recall asking the guy to tell me about the night of Stevie Ray Vaughan's death in great detail, but he did," Raychek said. "As you no doubt know, Vaughan had just finished a show with Clapton, Buddy Guy, Robert Cray, and his brother Jimmie at Alpine Valley Music Theater in East Troy, WI, and was going to drive back to Chicago. At the last minute, though, Vaughan decided to board a helicopter instead. Shortly after take-off, in a thick fog, the chopper crashed into a nearby hillside, killing all five on board, including numerous members of Clapton's management team."
Continued Raychek: "When the guy told me that, I responded by saying, 'Wow,' in as disinterested a manner possible. But he just plowed on ahead, telling me how ironic it was that the last song Stevie ever played was a transcendent 20-minute version of 'Sweet Home Chicago,' almost as if he knew he'd be called home to the Lord that night."
Bartender Frank Aufiero said the guy's habit of steering any conversation toward the subject of Stevie Ray Vaughan was "extremely irritating."
"For some reason, I was talking to someone about Annette Funicello," Aufiero said. "Out of nowhere, the guy chimes in about how the soundtrack for the Funicello movie Back To The Beach has Vaughan collaborating with Dick Dale on a version of 'Pipeline.' It's almost like he's playing Six Degrees Of Stevie Ray Vaughan."
Aufiero acknowledged that he himself likes Vaughan, but said he finds the guy at the bar's enthusiasm "a bit much."
"Stevie's great, but there are other things to talk about in this world," Aufiero said. "I mean, when I go out someplace, I don't sit around saying things like, 'Without Stevie Ray Vaughan, there is no Jonny Lang or Kenny Wayne Shepherd.' If I didn't know better, I'd think this guy was hired by Vaughan's PR firm, but his territory is only this bar."