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Before singer-songwriter Kris Kristofferson played the Poway Center for the Performing Arts on Saturday, October 18, I met Sammy, an L.A. guy selling concert shirts for $20 apiece in the parking lot.

“They aren’t selling them inside, I already asked,” said Sammy. “That usually makes it easier to sell.… They usually only buy when they’re leaving and the women have all the juices flowing.”

How often does he come to San Diego to sell shirts?

“Not that often. There’s a big Samoan crew working all the big shows, so it’s difficult. And, when I came down for [Bob] Dylan at Qualcomm…

I had these beautiful, multi colored shirts. I only sold 12!”

Does he make the shirts himself?

“I used to. But then I spent my time looking for artwork and photos, buying ink…it was too much running around. It’s easier to just buy the shirts now. Sometimes, the shops will mess up, though.”

What about the possibility of getting arrested?

“Yeah, I get arrested once a year. The worst time was when I did Monsters of Rock [concerts] in the ’80s, with Van Halen headlining. They grabbed three of us in Denver, and we had a $5000 bail. We had to fly back to appear in court.

“Bonnie Raitt drove by once and cursed at me out her window. But some stars, like Joe Cocker…he just walked up to my wife and hugged her. Willie Nelson was real nice, too. But when Ted Nugent’s security grabbed me, he walked by and said, ‘I hate you bootleggers. You’re the scum of the earth.’”

As we were talking, Kris Kristofferson pulled up in an SUV. I figured Sammy would take off. Instead, he asked him questions, as did the rest of the small crowd. Kristofferson said he had to get in for the sound check, adding, “We’re running late. We almost didn’t get here because of the fires.”

– Josh Board

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