Karmen Kirk went to see the bass player in the '90s cover band Hazynation, but she soon became the guitarist's biggest fan.
Karmen and the bass player, Kathy Venable, had been friends since before kindergarten. She wasn't awestruck when Kathy introduced her to her bandmate Jim Daly. He wasn't really her type.
The first time I saw my future spouse:
She says: “I thought, ‘No way.’ He was a long-haired hippie boy and my dad had said you better not ever bring home a long-haired hippie boy.”
He says: “Wow. She was strikingly beautiful and I wanted to meet her.”
On our wedding day:
She says: “Everything went as planned except for the photographer, who didn’t show up.”
He says: “We had a blast. We got married at the Nazarene church and then we had a reception at the Greek Orthodox Church because we wanted to serve alcohol.”
My advice for a long happy marriage:
She says: “Communication is important. Never go to bed mad — that’s a real thing.”
He says: “Spend quality time together. Trust and respect each other.”
"I was long-haired, playing in the band, didn't really have a job ..." he says.
She went back to see the band play, though, each time getting to know him a little better.
"I wasn't really interested the first couple of times we talked and then somehow he convinced me to hang out after one of the gigs," she says. "We ended up sitting in the car talking until 2 or 3 o'clock in the morning. And he was just so sweet."
Their first date was on March 28, 1991, at Vino's. After pizza they went to White Water Tavern to see the FREDS.
"Our drummer played in the FREDS so I drug Karmen out to White Water to see them," Jim says. "I would work nights and then play in the band on the weekends, but Karmen had a real job so she had to be up early and I was keeping her out late."
She was enjoying the company -- the time, not so much.
"I was falling asleep," says Karmen, who was doing administrative work for Orbit Valve then.
Kathy was dating someone else, but that fellow quickly fell out of favor.
"Jimmie had said, 'I love your eyes. They're brown with gold specks.' I was like, 'Wow, that's really descriptive,'" she says. "So I asked the guy I was dating, 'What color are my eyes?' And he said, 'I don't know. Brown?' I'm like, 'They're brown with gold specks.' Jimmie won."
Jim had begun working as a transportation orderly at St. Vincent Infirmary then and didn't have to be at work until 3 p.m., and he played in the band on Friday and Saturday nights.
Their work schedules overlapped, with Kathy getting off work just a couple of hours after he started his shift. She had a daughter, and the three of them did things together on weekends.
"We would go to church, and we would go to the park, things like that," he says. "The cheaper the better, really."
Money was tight, after all.
"Sometimes I would go over there after work and we would sit on the porch and talk and keep her up really late and then she would have to go to work early the next morning and I could sleep until 2 in the afternoon. We were young then -- we were in our 20s -- so we could do that," he says.
On Thanksgiving Day 1992, Jim fully intended to ask Karmen to go hiking at Pinnacle Mountain. There were a few kinks in the plan.
"The whole family was gathered for Thanksgiving and it was raining and it was cold," he says. "I knew there was no way I was going to get her to climb Pinnacle in the rain."
He was able to convince her to go with him to the mountain, though, and they got out of the car and stood on a little deck leading to the trail. By then, of course, she had an idea what might be coming next.
He proposed to her then, though she doesn't remember exactly what he said.
"I'm sure it was something sweet," she says.
Kathy's family already knew he was going to propose -- he made plans with them early on to delay dinner to give them time to climb Pinnacle. They went to Jim's house, though, to share their news. While they were there, his sister, Kathy, and her boyfriend, James Fuller, came in and announced they, too, were engaged.
"We both wanted to get married in June and it was hard to coordinate two weddings in June," she says.
They decided to save money and stress on the families and just get married together.
On June 12, 1993, the two couples stood on the stage at the Church of the Nazarene in Little Rock, each with their own attendants, and exchanged their vows.
They had a reception at the Greek Orthodox Church, with music by the Happy Tymes Band, which included Jim's high school band director from Catholic High School for Boys.
Shortly after they were married, Jim adopted Karmen's daughter, Lexis Santoyo, who now lives in Anna, Texas. They also have a son, Carter, who lives in Little Rock. They have one granddaughter.
They live in Fayetteville, where Jim is director of information services at Washington Regional Medical Center. Karmen is overseeing the construction of their new home.
Hazynation has performed sporadically throughout recent years but the band members found it increasingly difficult to coordinate their schedules to play. They will give one last show on Nov. 17 at Cajun's Wharf.
Karmen will be there to watch, likely feeling a bit nostalgic along with many others in the audience. Maybe she'll remember being the girl who fell for the guitarist.
"I was just a band babe back then," she says.
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Jim Daly and Karmen Kirk were married on June 12, 1993, in a double ceremony with Jim’s sister, Kathy, and her husband, James Fuller. Both grooms go by “Jimmy/Jimmie.” “We said, ‘Now don’t marry the wrong people. This could get kind of tricky,’” Jimmie laughs.
High Profile on 09/09/2018
Print Headline: 'Band babe' falls hard for long-haired guitarist