If you could look underneath the layers of paint that have been applied to the bathroom stall in the lady's room at the P&H Cafe, you'd see this classic piece of graffiti: "The Rhythm Hounds ate my underwear." Memphis musician and Rhythm Hound Don McGregor says he may have some idea as to the origins of the once-famous scrawl.
McGregor, one of Memphis' more quietly influential players, was recently diagnosed with stage III colon cancer. To show their love and appreciation, area musicians have planned an epic 10-hour benefit concert. Artists scheduled to perform include Rob Jungklas, Mark Edgar Stewart, Randy Haspel, Richard Johnston, Jimmy Crosswaith, and many more. There will also be a silent auction of paintings by McGregor's wife, Cathy Reese.
Like his friend and fellow traveler Jim Dickinson, McGregor is a wit and keeper of Southern musical traditions. He's penned songs, picked lead guitar, and sung with many bands including Crawpatch, Lost Dog, and the Rhythm Hounds, who allegedly ate someone's underwear.
"There is an untold story about the Rhythm Hounds and underwear," McGregor explains. In the early 1980s Frayser-born actor and artist Chris Ellis, of Batman and Apollo 13 fame, was slinging beers at the P&H, drawing caricatures, and printing T-shirts. "On a whim, one night we went to Zayre and bought several packages of cotton women's panties and [Ellis] silk-screened my face onto the crotch of all of them," McGregor says. "Sold out the first batch the first night." It became customary for women to show their love for the Hounds by showing their underwear. "It was very distracting," McGregor says. "But in a good way."
The Rhythm Hounds will also play "McGregorfest," as the benefit has been dubbed. Show your love.