Fun in Happy Valley

By Eric Riebling
Special correspondent

We had a great time opening for Rusted Root at Penn State last month. Especially when I was falsely arrested for driving under the influence! Boy was the officer surprised when my blood alcohol content was only .01 as opposed to the .10 required for DUI.

I blame it all on the collapsed heel of my left boot (the one I tried to balance on, unfortunately). I get the impression that this guy's judgment was even more impared than mine... especially when we pulled up to the hospital (for the blood test) and he was futzing around with paperwork (or something) and totally ignored the fact that we were in neutral and drifting backwards. Boy was it hard not to say anything about it... but I figured I'd let him figure out his own mistakes.

I asked for a copy of my mug shots... should make an excellent souvenir for the Gathering Field's first visit to Happy Valley. I feel like I've joined a new elite crowd of musicians who've been treated with suspicion by law enforcement officers. Like the time Peter Gabriel's band had to convince their captors that they were musicians (where are your instruments? they were asked) and not terrorists by singing barbershop music in their jail cell. Luckily I didn't have to go that far to prove my innocence... just thankful for medical science proving what I knew all along... I was perfectly sober, which is probably what gave me the confidence to make the yellow light instead of taking it slowly.

I have a feeling that Penn State police are used to the statistics being in their favor... just about anyone they pull over after leaving a bar at 1 am is probably too drunk to drive. But we in the Gathering Field are a surprisingly sober bunch, and will go to great lengths to prove it, including being cuffed and uncuffed in and out of a squad car several times, printed, questioned, and detained for hours. Not to mention attempting to balance ourselves on flimsy footwear.


Copyright 1995 by Eric Riebling, all rights reserved

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