Tuesday, September 23, 2008

off to a bad start

So for a daily update i'm not doing so well. having missed yesterday and all. i'll try to make it up to you my little cabbage heads.

ah, where to pull today's tale from - comedy club shenanagan?, drug tale? travel tidbit?

Nope today will be the first in a series of stories of dave's horrifyingly embarrassing encounters with famous musicians and celebrities. (there are about 6 in this series.)

No one on earth was a bigger fan of the band cracker between the years 1992-1997 than the trio of my friends cliff, jim and i. Saw them everywhere, listened to them nonstop, (traveling interstate as a sign of your devotion to a band was still reserved for the dead at this point - but we'd do neighboring states to see them (RI, NY, etc.). Anyhow - in 94 they had blown up with the success of "low" as a single (along with get off this, etc) and that summer they were touring like mad. they had totally anihalted everyone present that april when they played (what i still hold in the top 5 show experiences i've ever had) Avalon in Boston and again at Lupo's in providence.

As that magical summer plodded along (we were all out of college, not yet burdened by work, about to leave the state, etc.) we got wind of them coming to Great Woods of all places. turns out they were the opening act on a package tour featuring them, the gin blossoms, and headliners the spin doctors (ha.). we had just got back from driving out to Saugurties to see the horror that was woodstock 94 because rolling stone had an ad from virgin that had a cracker tourdates list which included Saugurties on the date of the festival listed... (they didn't play) (it was insane)(we left)

Anyhow - we load in the car and trek down to great woods that night - only to get there later than expected and miss all of their set but the closing "Eurotrash Girl"

Sitting on the lawn, having missed cracker and getting tired of heckling the Gin Blossoms. (most people who didn't live through the 90s look back and think all the bands were the same - they weren't. cracker were cool like the stones, gin blossoms were silly like the monkees. spin doctors were a joke all around) anyhow - us sitting there, getting bored and surly, decided we would leave. but if we were going to leave - why not do something crazy - like try to sneak backstage for the fun of it.

So we - the three of us... a 300lb dude, a dude in a wheelchair, and a red faced wild eyed madman - start snooping subtly along the perimeter of the fence that leads to the backstage area.

all of a sudden a door in the fence opens and a giant security guard asks us what we're doing? Cliff and I are 100% ready to say "nothing, sorry" and bolt, but before we can - Jim matter of factly says "we're trying to sneak backstage to see cracker."

cliff and i freeze. how could you just say that? the security guy looks us over - and with a grin says - "ok - but just two of you". indicating me and jim. we look at cliff - he say's go. we say 'we'll be back for you'

and with that we're cast into what appears to be the biggest hotel back yard in the world.... barbecue stations, picnic areas,etc. We decide that since we're here we may as well find David Lowery and Johnny Hickman and tell them thanks for the two greatest albums ever - we wander down to the doors of the pavilion and go in - just sort of bumbling along - open a door to find various spin doctors and ask "hey, where's cracker" they tell us room C.

we find the door to room C. look at eachother and try to agree on what approach to take and how to explain ourselves to the security guard that would be sure to greet us and/or bar our way. jim knocks.

the door opens. A cloud of pot smoke clears and there is Johnny Hickman. Guitarist, singer, guy who just onstage in front of thousands of people. I'm racing for the thought of what to say to justify our presence...explain that we didn't really just sneak in and knock on the door -

instead Johnny looks at us like we're his favorite brothers arriving unexpectedly, says "HEEEEY! COME ON IN!" and hands Jim a joint. for the next 5 minutes we stand there in a circle with Johnny, Charlie Quintana and a couple of other people chatting as a joint is passed around wondering if anything cooler has ever happened to anyone.

all of a sudden Jim says "CLIFF!" and i ask johnny if there's any way we can get cliff in - he says - sure - take me to him. so johnny and i jet back outside - walk through the yard and johnny talks the security guy into letting cliff in. (a funny aside to this is that cliff is the kind of guy who love's the band's music but pays no attention to who's who or any of that. it wasn't till hours later that he knew that it was in fact "johnny" who had come to get him - not "some janitor that dave found" as he thought.))

Anyhow when we get back we're all just sort of standing around. People are stoned out of their gourds on weed that charlie says he got from Izzy stradlin. (we were fearing for our health at that point) when David Lowery came in, eying us nervously. Cliff decides that the time has come to ask David the one question he can formulate to ask - after 10 minutes in crakcer's dressing room, cliff says - hey! how did you record the reprise of kerosene hat that's track 99 on the disc? cliff who isn't a musician and who has never recorded anything in his life. David sort of paused. scratched his head and said - 'uhh. camcorder..... soooooo ya. i think we need to pack up to get on the bus now.'

not to be outdone - my racing brain decides i have to ask something high quality. as i'm not working, about to drive cross country anyway, and have nothing to loose i really want to say "i know every note to your records can i please join the band as a third guitarist/keys player?" but something in my head tells me that cracker aren't hiring here today - but - my brain decided to improvise and ask to be a roadie instead. so i said to Johnny - "hey i really love this band and if you guys need any extra road help i'm just about to move away from here and think it would be fun to join your crew".

Cliff and Jim both inist that what what came out was actually instead " i love you.....bof fri flu."

yeah. the version of the story that i get made fun of by those guys is that i confessed personal romantic love to cracker and they said - hey. great. thanks. bye. made like they were getting on the bus, and we left. as we left we saw them stand near the bus till they were sure we were gone, then they went back backstage to what they were doing.

so there it is - hope it reads as funny as we recall it.

the time we scared cracker away.

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