WARNING : Blatant, unapologetic bragging contained herein !
Inspired by S.A.Murray
S.A. Murray left a comment on my "Brush With Dizzy" blog asking if I had a photo of myself with Dizzy Gillespie from our meeting many moons ago and sadly, I don't have one. Cameras were not aloud in the auditorium where he was performing. This made me think of many other lost photo ops throughout my long strange trip of life so far, and a couple that were not lost.
,...and now for some BlancheNoE history.
When I was 19 years old, I began working for a music store/recording studio/location sound and installation company. Yes, we did it all which might be why the company went out of business after only 4 years, but during those 4 years we worked with some very big names. Heck, on one gig alone,
Taylor Hackford's " Hail, Hail Rock and Roll " I got to meet, hang out and work with MOST of my musical heroes over the course of 2 months. We provided the location sound for rehearsals at Chuck Berry's private club house and for the final big birthday show for Chuck at The Fox Theater in St. Louis. Here's a picture of a much younger me with Chuck Leavell, keyboard extraordinaire, sitting at a classic B3 organ in Chuck Berry's clubhouse :
It was Mr. Leavell who suggested the picture. When you are working these gigs, you just don't walk around with cameras or you're liable to get thrown out. The list of names for the missed photo ops on that gig alone reads as follows : Eric Clapton, Joe Walsh, Steve Jordan, Johnnie Johnson, Etta James, Julian Lennon, Joey Spampinato,Linda Rondstadt,..oh yeah, and Chuck Berry (meh). I'm sure there are a few I'm missing. There is a photo of me with Keith Richards which is in the possession of an ex-boyfriend but S.A. has inspired me to try to track it down. I'll keep you posted on that one.
The biggest whoa-shit-I-might-pass-out moment on that gig was when a restored model A motored up the drive and deposited Julian Lennon about 8 feet away from where myself and the other grunts were breaking for a smoke. I got chills, I got dizzy and almost puked. I like Julian just fine but it was the fact that there, standing right in front of me was a substantial chunk of John Lennon's molecules and passed on living DNA. It was magic. Julian is very nice by the way, and a joy to work for. The biggest surprise of the gig for me was Keith Richards. I'd always seen him looking so badass on the album covers and in the magazines and he had a reputation for not suffering fools. He was SUCH a sweetheart, just a genuinely nice man. he showed me pictures of his daughters so many times I could probably still draw them from memory (okay, he may have had some short-term memory issues). The funniest moment came when after a long morning of dodging advances from two particular horn-dog roadies, I left the main rehearsal room and went to sit in the bar on the other side of a glass wall where I could still see the ongoing rehearsals. I figured I could hide there from my new,..uh,..admirers.
I was sitting on a stool with my elbows on the bar watching through the glass when a door behind me opened and an interloper sat down right next to me on my right side when there were clearly 10 other stools around the bar available. I assumed it was a lurker and quickly, coldy and in a huff jumped down from my stool and stomped around to the cooler behind the bar to grab a water and storm out when I heard, " so, you're the barmaid then ? " in the most lovely proper English accent.
I looked up and forgot who I was because staring back at me inquisitively was Eric Clapton. Thank goodness Alan Rogan, Keith's guitar tech. came waltzing in and said " ya' made it then Eric,.." and proceeded to fix him a vodka-tonic. Yeah. I was worried about getting hit on by E.C., Okay, I'm sure he wouldn't have hit on me. Judging by the manner in which he threw back his drink I'm pretty sure he was just really thirsty.
In the only other surviving picture from my wacky sound-tech/install days I'm posing with Steve Stevens at the N.A.M.M Show ( National Association of Music Merchants ) in Chicago. Billy Idol used to sing for him *snicker* and he was THE hottest guitarist on the scene at the time. I used his " Run Across the Desert Sands" on one of my vids on LV (which I can't access now) and you SHOULD download the song from somewhere even if you have to buy it. You won't regret it.
,..and yes,..that is a drinky-poo in my hand. If I hadn't been there with my boyfriend, I totally would have left with Steve. WHAT ?!?!? JUS' SAYin.
Man, I'm sorry if all this sounds like the bragging that it is but S.A. Murray ? Thanks for sending me down memory lane. I already greatly appreciated my life but especially in the last couple of years I'm discovering that I do indeed lead a charmed life. I'm so glad that it led me to the real stars of my life story, You, my wacky, talented, loving, silly, emotional,courageous, supportive and cherished friends.