These are some final thoughts on my series, “Brushes With the Great and Near Great,” that I’ve been posting since the beginning of March. I hope you’ve enjoyed this series, and please keep in mind that haven’t been putting all this down to show how great I am or to seek any kind of status. I’ve been unbelievably lucky in getting to meet all these people, kinda like a Midwestern Forrest Gump.. My only goal is to lend a peek at some big name folk that not everyone has gotten a chance to see before. Today, we wind it up.
I’m out of the business now and if I’m going to hang with any more celebrities, I will just have to do it like everyone else…by chance. Or maybe fate…
I think it was a mix of the two that landed Carl Reiner and Mel Brooks at a book signing, about 3 miles from my apartment. They were there to sign their 2000 Year Old Man book. Well, if Mel Brooks is coming to my back yard, then I have to be there.
So there I was, the only gentile in a line that snaked from the back of this enormous store, straight out the door. I think every Jew in Pikesville (the predominantly Jewish neighborhood I in which I live) was there to greet their heroes. I had an outstanding time in line, just schmoozing with the folks.
Mel smiles big for his people.
So when it was my turn to approach, I told Mel that way back when, my folks had taken the whole family to see Blazing Saddles, which made us the coolest kids on the block. Our folks had taken us to see an R rated movie, on purpose. Oooooooh!
He seemed pleased.
Signing my album.
I love how they felt they needed the arrows so I'd know which was which.
But it was strange being on the other side of the velvet ropes, being the one guided through the process, instead of being on the inside. Coming full circle, I guess. I figure, I’ve had my turn, anything else from here out is just gravy. A new generation of fan is meeting their heroes now. If their experiences turn out anything like mine, then they should have fond memories to last a lifetime.
I just hope that they always keep in mind the cardinal rule, which is to never pass up the free meal. And by all means, when the band invites you, get your ass in the van!
Now, here are some leftover pictures I wasn't able to stuff into the other posts…
Roy Buchanan at Barney Googles, Cleveland.
Albert Collins, out in the crowd, also at Barney Googles.
Jeff Healey Band, Peabody's Down Under, Cleveland. Jeff is best known from being the blind blues guitarist that played a blind blues guitarist in the Patrick Swayze film, "Roadhouse."
Who knew they let him get up and wander around?
Alannah Myles at Peabody's Down Under. She had that big hit "Black Velvet" back in 1989. All I can tell you is that she was totally smokin' hot. Too bad she never had another hit.
They did a number sitting right down on their monitors, at the front lip of the stage.
Not sure what she was doing here... maybe adjusting her spurs?
Celine Dion, playing our District Manager's Convention in Saratoga Springs, NY. She was a star then, but not yet the superstar she is now.
Candid shot of Joan Jett, working the listening party for "Up Your Alley".
My trophy from her show in Akron.
The Blackhearts' guitars, backstage at Saratoga Winners.
Joan playing a post-Orioles game at Camden Yards. For the record, I hated the blond hairdo.
This was my Joan shrine at my 2nd Cleveland apartment. The posters and the framed 8x10s weren't signed, everything else was. The little white square in the middle was that first check-stub I had signed. And I used to love love love the smoldering hotness of that poster on the left.
The Joan shrine, alongside my ZZ Top shrine and Meat Loaf shrine. (I was very big into putting up separate shrines in those days.)
My Springsteen and AC/DC shrines.
The "Ladies Corner" in my spare bedroom.
I used to collect picture-discs too. Here, they surround a 6x6 painting of a 38 Special album cover. These album boards used to decorate the old Peaches stores. When they were going bankrupt, management began selling them off. My dad gave them $50 bucks for this one in 1984 and we kept it in The Barn until we moved. Then I schlepped it around with me before finally selling it last year. We used to joke that there was a little smudge spot right in the "upper middle" that was an accumulation of nose-prints from my dad.
This was all the music crap I had in my first apartment in Cleveland. The whale was a promotion for the video release of Star Trek IV... which featured humpbacks, not orcas. (No one really gives a shit about those kinds of details, in the music industry.) Oh, and that's my brother in the chair, who had come out to visit. From the looks of the glass in the lower right corner, we were enjoying some gin and tonics.
This was my the store I started out in, in Toledo OH. Like I said, it was huge.
View from the back corner, forward.
OK, so much for the old music biz reminiscing. I've wanted to revisit these stories since I started this site, so thank you for coming along with me. Now, starting with the next post, I'm going to have to start actually writing from scratch again.
You've been a great crowd... Thank you... GOODNIGHT!!