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Wild days at White Water Tavern 

All the stories fit to print (and some that probably aren't) about the legendary dive bar.

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Greg Spradlin (musician): The last time Lucinda Williams played in town, she and some mutual friends had asked about coming out after the show and having a band to play with. So, I set it up at the White Water Tavern. She was a no-show (another story, another time), but it was cool to look out in the crowd to see Pamela Des Barres hippy dancing the night away at the White Water. If only Connie hadn't been banned, we could have had the two most famous groupies in the world under one roof at the White Water Tavern.

Garrison: The third fire was an accident. It was in the late '90s. A guy on a motorcycle who was real drunk ran into the back part of the storage room. I had just put a new gas hot water heater in because everyone told me how much money I was going to save with a gas hot water heater. It busted the gas line and when the hot water heater kicked on it burned the front side of the bar.

Garrison: When I first opened up back up in '99, Johnny B [of Mojo Depot] did my open mic on Wednesdays. People started coming. Another night we did rockabilly. We did all these things on off nights. That's how Tuesday nights started.

TJ Deeter (former promoter, manager): My original goal was to do something that was free, consistent and a mix of all different Arkansas music.

At the time, there were all these groups of people who didn't mix: the punk rock kids, the hip-hop people that did Under the Ground, the established groups like your Ho-Hums, the North Little Rock sludge metal folks, and the Conway and Fayetteville crowds.

I knew everyone, so I decided to invite everyone I knew from these different crowds because I wanted to kill cliques. I would try to put together the most random acts — say a folk singer with a rap group and a metal band.

Garrison: TJ came up to me and asked, "What's your worst night?" And I kind of laughed at him and said, "Tuesday night, motherfucker, it's everyone's worst night. You can do anything you want to on Tuesday. You're not going to scare me. And not only that, I'm going to give you free PBR — draft."

I got with my beer guy and told him I needed to give these kids something they could afford on Tuesday nights. So we did $3.50 PBR pitchers. And after 30 days, it was fucking packed. And it just got better and better.

He got the bands that would never get to play anywhere else. I thought they were the weirdest and most fucked up people in the world until I got to know them, and shit, I loved them. I loved them.

Deeter: It's hard for people to realize now because there's like a band playing every second in Little Rock. At the time, Vino's, the Belvedere or a punk rock house were the only places local people could play.

Eventually it turned into its own scene, with all these people who weren't actually part of a clique. People started to think of it as "the White Water crowd."

Talbert: I was one of the ones who encouraged Goose to lease the place out. He'd been talking about it forever, and he had had diabetes and the stress was getting to him. One night, after we closed, we were upstairs playing pool, drinking. And he started talking about it again and I told him, "You need to quit talking about it and do it because if you don't you're going to die." The next day he put a sign in the door.

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