Dawg in the Taxi

This story about Charlie Derrington goes back well over ten years. I am guessing it was around 1996 or maybe 1997. To give a little background, after Charlie left Gibson (I believe in 1987), he and Jerry O’Donnell opened up a music store in Bellevue. Bellevue is a suburb located on the west side of Nashville. Jerry and Charlie’s store was called Bellevue Guitar’s and Gear. Jerry and Charlie parted ways after being in business less than a year and Charlie opened a store with Tim Shaw. Tim was head of Gibson’s R and D department while I was employed at Gibson. Tim was my direct boss around three of my six years there. They did a lot of instrument set ups and repair at that time. The rest of this story happened over the phone.


“Hey Bub!”

“Hey Charlie.” I said.

“Hey Jimmy. You’ll never guess what I’m doing.”

“Come on Charlie, I don’t know what your doing.”

“No really Jim, guess.............”

The connection wasn’t that good and it sounded like he was on his cell phone. “You’re in a car,” I guessed.

Charlie laughed, “Surely you can do better than that.”

I started getting frustrated. I was in the middle of working and it was mid afternoon. I didn’t feel like playing twenty questions with him. I could hear other voices in the background. Charlie kept prompting me and I had no idea what he was up to.

Finally I said, “Charlie, you called me. Why don’t you just tell me what you’re doing.”

He said, “ok,” and then snickered......... “Guess who I’m with then.”

“Charlie, you know that’s impossible, just tell me.”

“You woulda never guessed anyway,” he said. After more snickering he finally spilled the beans. “I’m in a taxi with David Grisman!”


“Yeah, Grisman.”

Then I could hear a “yeah man,” in the background.

“We’re on our way to the airport.”

“Yeah right Charlie. That’s a good one.”

“No really Jim, he’s right here. Here listen.........” Charlie held out the phone and I could hear a drawling, “Hey Jim.”

It sounded like Grisman I thought.

“Really he’s with me and I’m workin’ on his mandolin. I can prove it.” He did a few chops on a mandolin........... “Did ya hear that?”

“Charlie, let me get this strait. Your doing a repair on a Loar in a taxi on the way to the airport.”

“Hee, hee. Yeah bub.”

“How can you do a repair in a moving car?” I asked.

“It’s mostly just set up work. He was late comin’ to the store so I told him I could fix it on the way in the cab.”

“Ok Charlie, I believe you.”

“Bye Jim.”

Some times I never knew wether to believe Charlie or not as he was always pulling somebody’s leg. I never could have guessed what Charlie was doing that afternoon in Nashville, and I doubt that no one else could have either...................... Jim Triggs, OUT!