“The Red Devils lived up to their name.”
That was the opening line of a review, of sorts, of The Red Devils’ stop in Chicago in 1992.
Certainly, the crowd at Buddy Guy’s Legends club on Sept. 27, 1992, appreciated the band more than Tom Nelligan did at the Days Inn Near North hotel.
The band’s stay at the Days Inn ended in destruction Sept. 28, according to a fax Nelligan sent to the band’s travel agency.
The problems started with a late check-out request, which caused late housekeeping service, which meant the damage was not discovered until the next day, when the band was safely back out on the road.
“In room 410 they broke an armchair that was part of a set of two armchairs and a round oak table, they broke a wall mirror in a oak frame, which they hid behind the dresser and they tore the drapes on the windows,” Nelligan wrote. “The housekeeper said that she can repair the drapes so we won’t charge them for the drapes.”
That wasn’t all.
“In room 416 they broke a paneled door that is between the dressing room and the bedroom. They knocked out the center panel and then peeled all of the paint off the door and threw it around the room, they also ruined one wall of vinyl. It appears that food items were thrown against it and it was also torn in several spots.”
The number of misspellings and grammatical errors in the fax hint at the anger of Days Inn management.
From the band’s perspective, the Chicago incident wasn’t really that unusual.
“We destroyed several hotel rooms actually,” Mike Flanigin told nofightin.com in 2015, providing us with a look at the fax. “This one was in Chicago but the one I really remember (destroying) was in Florida. So this is the one we got caught on and I don’t know what happened on the Florida one. But the money at a certain point ran out. … But I don’t remember the particulars of Chicago. That’s sad to say. I can’t even remember.”
Bill Bateman might remember: “I have added $500.00 onto the creditcard that the group billed under the name of Bill Bateman,” the fax reads. “We have taken pictures of the items damaged and we would be glad to forward them onto to you or them if they should request them.”
Surprisingly, Nelligan didn’t end his message by saying, “This will go down on your permanent record!”
Instead, he instituted a lifetime ban.
“We won’t be able to accept the group back here at the hotel again should they be coming to Chicago. This is the first group that has ever given us a problem like this. Some of them get loud but they don’t destroy the rooms.”
That 1992 tour of the U.S. was infamously brutal, according to the band. Money and patience were wearing thin. Unfortunately, Mr. Nelligan and his staff bore the brunt on this occasion.
PS: Ironically, the band had its late check-out on Sept. 28, 1992 — the night they were to play in Bloomington, Ind., the birthplace of nofightin.com. That gig had already been canceled, and it would be a couple of weeks later that we would see the band at its rescheduled Indiana date.
PPS: That $500 U.S., with inflation, would be about $960 in 2021.
PPPS: We are sure the statute of limitations has run out on the Days Inn ban (it’s a new hotel in Chicago; we hope Nelligan had a chance to retire). Just in case, we suggest booking hotels under an assumed name … The Blue Shadows? The Stumblebums? The October Polkateers?