Concertgoers live in a world they believe to be loud and free. But there is, unheard by most, an outer world, a barrier between in and out, just as loud but not as free as they thought — the world outside a venue, where the door guy simply wants you to pay the cover charge. Welcome to a few nights in the life of Tin Roof’s door dude, Rex Stickel.


8:10 p.m.

Me: “The cover is $7.”

Guy: “Can we, is there a way …”

Me: “There’s an ATM machine inside.”

Guy: “Great, I’m gonna go inside and use that. Here, you can keep her for collateral,” pointing to his date.

Me: “She doesn’t look like property to me,” I say as I watch his date’s eyes roll around in their sockets.

10:16 p.m.

Photographer asks if he can take a photo of me and a friend [local painter Mollie Howey], who recently appeared on the cover of the City Paper. After his first attempt, he goes “Let’s try that again; it was way overexposed.”

Me: “I was just beginning to think the same thing.”


9:23 p.m.

Couple walks up.

Guy: “What’s the damage?”

Me: “It’s only $5 a piece, which is a pretty good deal in this economy.”

Guy: “You need it in cash?”

Me: “Yes sir, we have an ATM and I have change, whatever you need.”

Guy: “Will you take it in pennies? I’m here to see my boys play.”

Me: “I won’t, they might.”

9:31 p.m.

Two couples walk up.

Me: “What’s up guys, y’all here for the show?”

Guy: “We’re here for some drinks, but if there’s live music …”

Me: “Sure dude, I’ll cut ya a deal. Twenty bucks, I’ll let everyone in.”

9:40 p.m.

Band guy: “Does this stage door open?”

Me: “If you’re worthy. It’s like the sword in the stone. Pull real hard and left a little, and if it opens then you’re like King of London or whatever.”


An older couple walks up, eagerly pulling money out to make the cover.

The man says, “Is it true John Prine’s son is performing tonight? I was drinking downtown at A.C.s and met a kid who said he drummed for him. Told me about this gig. I’m a big fan of his dad and we came here tonight just to see him.”

The sound guy and I look at each other, unsure if we should confirm or not, as the 22-year-old kid we know as ‘Rambo’ doesn’t exactly go around introducing himself as the son of John Prine, American country/folk singer-songwriter who happened to be playing the North Charleston PAC the same night. Rambo’s own rock band, No Logo (formerly Them Ohs) isn’t exactly the same type of music dear old dad plays.

Almost on cue, up drives a car with the prodigal son himself, bandmate in tow. Usually projecting the laid-back, beach-riddled Spicoli vibe, he’s now sporting a close-shaved dyed-black buzz cut. He’s attempting to put his button-up shirt on inside-out and apologizing for being late.

The older man pounces.

“Jack? Jack Prine? By God, we came all the way to see you. May I introduce myself? I’m a big fan of your dad.”

“Uhh … sure,” a confused, red-eyed Rambo starts, coughing into his hand before extending his reach to the excited fan-of-his-dad. “Thank you very much for coming out, sir.”

I could see the color physically drain out of the once excited super fan’s face as he slowly starts taking in the young man, noticing his sagging pants and the sunglasses he’s wearing after dark.

Rambo quickly begins unloading his running car, not really in a parking spot, but in a great place to load out.

The older gentleman, noticeably feeling a little shorted by the interaction, attempts to re-engage the young man.

“Well, say Jack, I’ve got a friend inside here, and I’ve been telling her all about you, and I was sure hoping …”

“Sure dude, but right now I just need to load in my gear,” and Jack continues into the venue.

The old man looks at me perplexed.

“Well, he’s not very nice, is he?”

Me and the sound guy look at each other again.

“Um,” I start, “You do realize he’s like a 22-year-old kid, right? He’s not exactly following in his dad’s footsteps.”

Shaking his head, the older man says, “I just wanted to shake his hand and tell him I’m a big fan of his dad.”

“Well bud, all I can say is careful what you wish for.” This message was Rambo-approved.