Chet Williams has no problem sleeping on the floor of a grimy apartment – as long as his music gets a little exposure.
Sometimes, the underground music scene is on his side, like when the house-show hosts let him and his band, So Long, Pluto crash at the venue. Sometimes, the folk rock bandmates are on their own.
Once, hoping to find directions to the nearest Motel 6 in Kalamazoo, Mich., the band walked into the lobby of a luxury hotel. But when two female receptionists heard that a touring band was looking for a place to crash, their interests peaked in hopes of harboring rock ‘n’ roll’s next big thing.
“We can get you a room,” one receptionist said, “but if a manager asks, you’re just hobos off the street looking for a place to stay.”
The free room turned out to be the penthouse suite, complete with two bedrooms, a living room and a kitchen. Each bedroom housed two double beds, and “really, whatever you wanted.”
“It’s pretty nutty,” Chet said. “Like, how did this happen?”
Typically, he’s crammed into one highway motel room after the next. At one point, he even found himself swaying in a hammock outside a Pittsburgh house in which he had just played a show.
In Columbus, Ohio, he slept on a couch in a Delta Chi frat house. After parking their SUV along Ohio State University’s frat row, the band’s manager – who happened to be a Delta Chi brother – decided to try to use his Greek status to get the band a place to sleep.
“We were like, ‘We’re in a band,’ blah blah blah,” Chet said, “and they were like, ‘Cool. Do you guys wanna have a show here tonight?’”
The Delta Chi brothers created a Facebook event on the spot, and So Long, Pluto ended up playing for 300 Greek partiers that night.
“It’s funny sometimes, the situations you get in on the road,” Chet said.
He’s not picky about where he plays, or where he ends up after the show. His only request is an audience.
This summer, Chet lived at home in Scranton, playing house shows in basements and living rooms and working at Brunetti’s supermarket. After his shift, he would walk home and lay his head on a pillow in the room he grew up in.
– Maria Zankey
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