Well, not quite, but The Claudettes did cause quite an uproar with their Legends debut.
The Claudettes eagerly awaited their first show at the famed Buddy Guy’s Legends in Chicago — which, as fate would have it, fell on Friday the 13th of September. Pianist Johnny Iguana had played Buddy’s dozens of times with other groups including the Junior Wells Band, while this was drummer Michael Caskey’s first time.
As she often does, the band’s boss Claudette sent her assistant Tatyana to sell beers from the stage; this was disallowed by the club. But Tatyana still had a strong effect at Legends, where her flower dress and tap shoes, thick Russian accent and the fact that she didn’t play an instrument caused consternation among the staff. The displeased club manager considered, aloud, throwing beer bottles at Johnny; clearly, some feathers at this Chicago-blues institution were ruffled by the Claudettes’ appearance.
The crowd, though, had a different reaction to the music. Even as Tatyana tried to sell neckties from the stage, chastised the musicians for not smiling and interrupted the band to take phone calls from a worried Claudette, smiles and cell-phone cameras flashed all around the room. Feet were tapping steadily to the amped-up, off-kilter blues attack of the Claudettes as they blasted through 13 songs in 45 minutes. Concerned that the band’s unorthodox sound and style weren’t right for the club and would send customers to the exits, the management cut their set at 45 minutes (it was to have been an hour). Many in the crowd used those 15 extra minutes to come talk to the band and buy Claudettes CDs.
The band rated the night a success. Claudette, like the club manager, was not pleased. Couldn’t Tatyana have sold beer out on the sidewalk where the manager couldn’t see?