Franco Harris, crowd pleaser

I suppose it’s natural to wonder, particularly when playing some of those gigs where the band members outnumber the audience, just how far one’s music career will go. I’ve had the pleasure of playing many different venues with many talented musicians, but I am afraid that I still fall short in the category of “people I’ve played with whose names I can drop into conversation”.

Thank you, Franco Harris, for changing all that.

When Mr. Harris showed up at the PSU event that The Nerve played at recently, [Nerve bassist] Eric leaned forward and asked me “Is that Franco Harris?”. I said I didn’t see how. After all, Mr. Harris was a football hero of mine when I was a kid, and the man that everyone was lining up to take pictures with looked scarcely older than any of us. A quick Google search between songs confirmed, though, that somehow in the intervening years I have closed the age gap on Franco.


When I was a kid, the whole football universe was the Pittsburgh Steelers (the good guys) and the Dallas Cowboys (the bad guys). I grew up loving football, and wanted to go pro despite my lack of size, strength, speed, and talent. I did eventually get to live out my Walter Mitty dream in Japan for two years, until a serious knee injury ended my career. Luckily for me it wasn’t my own knee injury, but rather one of a teammate, though my own sense of invincibility (critical for a football player) was collateral damage*.

But I digress. Mr. Harris was urged by the crowd to step on stage and sing “Sweet Caroline” (it’s a PSU thing I don’t understand, but it seems to be a big deal). How did he do? Well, the crowd loved it, so I’d have to say he rocked.

So now I can say that I played with Franco Harris. And, a couple of decades from now when I have completely caught up to him in age, maybe people will think I mean I was on one of those Super Bowl teams.

The Nerve is at Milkboy, Ardmore tomorrow night (10/6). Tickets $12 at the door. A couple of new songs worth hearing.

* there’s a pun in there if you look hard enough