Gavin DeGraw is a good tipper, apparently
At around 10:30 or 11 p.m. after the final day of last year's state fair, the Ernie Fowler Trio was performing at Hightopps Backstage Grille in Timonium, right near the fairgrounds. I'll let band member Mike Prout tell the rest of the story, in his own words:
It was pretty packed night. In the middle of our second set, people were coming up to us, asking for songs. Some were even coming up in the middle of songs to try and talk to us.
I'd be like, 'I'm in the middle of playing and I can't talk to you.' So I stopped making eye contact when I saw anybody approaching. I remember we were playing "Drive" by Incubus and took it right into "Keep On Rocking in the Free World."
We were in the middle of that, and I was wailing some guitar lead when I see out of the corner of my eye somebody approaching. I was like, 'Oh no, he's going to want to talk to me.' ...
He drops a crumpled up bill in front of our floor monitor. We had a bucket off to the side of the stage for tips. We said, 'Hey man, there's a bucket right there for tips.' He said 'OK,' and he grabbed it, walked over and put it in there.
Rob looked at me and was like, 'He looks familiar, is he one of those piano guys?' I was like, 'I don't know. He doesn't look like it.'
Another thing I noticed was, when he picked the bill up, it looked like a big bill. I was like, 'That could have been a $20 or something.' Maybe that's why he wanted to throw it down here and not mix it into the tip bucket.
After the set's over, we look in the tip bucket and sure enough, there's $100 bill in the bucket. We were going, 'Who the hell is that guy? He's got to be somebody, dropping a $100 bill on a cover trio in Hightopps.'
I got stuck talking to somebody on stage and Ernie and Rob went outside on the deck to smoke a cigarette and saw the guy. They walked up to him and Ernie, who still didn't know who he was, said, 'Hey, thanks a lot man, we really appreciate the tip. That was really nice of you.'
He said, 'Oh, no problem. You guys sound great. You guys obviously love what you do, and it's great to see musicians having fun.'
Ernie said, 'Cool, my name's Ernie' and shook hands.
The guy said, 'My name's Gavin.'
Ernie goes, 'Gavin DeGraw?'
"Oh my God! It's great to meet you! What are you doing here?"
He had his whole crew there, apparently, five or six people. Ernie comes running back and says, 'That was Gavin DeGraw.'
I said, 'Oh, where is he?'
He said, 'He just left.'
I was like, 'Awwww come on!' It was pretty surreal.
(Photo of Gavin DeGraw by Getty Images)