In a turn-around of a recent topic - how about telling us your story of musicians you’ve met who were so nice, or engaging, that it made you love their music even more?
I haven’t actually met them, but have had a few chats with them through email through lockdown, and they’ve been doing weekly livestreams on Twitch throughout lockdown also.
2 of my now favorite DJ’s:
Both of them are truly genuinely nice and down to earth, it’s made me buy their back catalogues.
I’ve already told my story of Natalie Merchant kissing me on the cheek over in one of the What Are You Spinning threads, so I’ll tell the story of meeting Steve Vai when I was a younger pup.
I was visiting NYC with some friends to see bands. I was in a vintage clothing store (it was the 80s) and a guy walked in all in black, with a black cape, and killer beatle boots. I said to the woman (with the blue mohawk) behind the counter “I wonder where he got those boots” to which she said “Go ask him”. Duh.
I tapped him on the shoulder and knew instantly it was Steve Vai. I wasn’t a huge fan of his stuff, honestly, but knew him from Guitar magazines. I said “you’re Steve Vai” - “yes” - “where did you get your boots?” - he told me then started asking all sorts of questions about me. Super super friendly.
When I met up with my friends, I told them and they didn’t believe me. Later as we were walking up the street here came Steve who casually said “Oh, hey Dave - whats up man?”
I feel a weird sense of debt to those artists who did lots of livestreams online during lockdown. I want to thank all of them
Absolutely, during last years very strict lockdowns, they were entirely responsible for keeping me sane, that’s what made me send them both emails to thank them.
And I know the livestreams generates them money, and they’ve got to pay the bills somehow, but I don’t think that was their primary focus in doing it, I really believe they were more intent on entertaining people and giving them something to look forward to.
agree on Livestreams, meant i could see music (and theatre) i can’t normally see, it’s just a huge shame that almost all those artists and venues stopped doing them as soon as in person gigs were possible again.
for us housebound and / or otherwise disabled folks this is a bit of a kick in the teeth since we now know they can do it when it suits them.
not a pop at the performers, it’s more of a corporate and structural limitation.
as for cool artists, when i was 18 or so i met members of Hawkwind at a liverpool gig, ended up gassing all night in the hotel bar, and they were quite happy to give me an access pass for any gig on the rest of the tour i could make it to, sometimes by hitch hiking, sometimes got a lift in the crew bus.
happened on the following year’s tour too.
was much appreciated
i’ll doubtless think of others later!
was it “Lemmy era” Hawkwind? I’ve heard through a friend who would hang out at the Rainbow Room that he was a really sweet guy
The closest I’ve gotten to world class greatness was an intimate Q&A with Anne-Sophie Mutter at the Denver Center for the Performing Arts. What made that particularly remarkable is she was in town for a recording session in Boettcher Hall, clearly not feeling well yet honoring her commitment. What a trooper. Oh and she’s a sensational violinist who gave a teaser during the Q&A. Jaw dropping.
Oh I haven’t thought about Boettcher Hall in a long time! I lived in Denver for a few years and went to quite a few performances there.
The first and to date only hall in the round I’ve ever attended concerts in. I didn’t know about that unique aspect of the hall when I attended my first concert. A total surprise.
I met Abdullah Ibrahim at a solo concert in the 2000’s.
His music accompanies me since I was 16-18 I guess (so, many years before). It was one kind of entry (over world music) into jazz (another entry was fusion/jazzrock, Mike Stern, Bob Berg, Tower of Power and such). But it especially was and still is some of the most emotional touching music for me as well as some of the most beautiful and touching melodies to be experienced.
So I carried my 2 first LP’s with me to that concert to have them signed. I was at many concerts in my life but asked for no other autograph before and after, but he was special to me.
At the end of the concert I went into the cue for autographs. When it was my turn, Ibrahim looked into my face at first as if he knew me. Saying “you’re musician!”.
Thinking not only of standing in front of one of the most adorable musicians, but also feeling generally not justified to carry the term “musician”, I said something like, “I learned to play some instruments, but no, I can’t say I’m what I understand by a musician and especially not after this concert, but you’re right if you mean, I play instruments”. I asked him how comes that he said that.
He said something like, “you look like a musician, I see it”. Then he made a remembering remark about vinyl records, which were quite special to see around the 2000’s and signed (when I’m at home again, I’ll post the pictures). I made a few remarks about the history of those records and his music for me and after saying goodbye and wishing the best, I left blessed in general and bewildered by the surprising musician talk (I’m engineer aside of hobby musicianship and school and army big band activities).
Ibrahim, looking gentle but dominant, is active in martial arts even at high age as far as I read. When you see him with his group, his etiquette to guide the members is not always pleasant, sometimes rather arrogant and directive. But it can also be the opposite, as well as his general appearance when playing is warm hearted.
Independent of this experience, he’s one of the biggest of all times for me, as musician and composer and especially in expressing emotions in music.
That’s excellent! I had somewhat of a similar experience when I first met Youssou N’Dour - he somehow knew I was a musician before we even got talking. He also had this deep love for music that was infectious. We were in a crappy restaurant and the waitstaff started singing Happy Birthday to some people at a table - he jumped up and joined in with a big smile on his face. They had no clue who he was.
later, 1982 i think, but Lemmy played at the Hammersmith gig that year and seemed a thoroughly decent chap afterwards
Michael Moorcock also performed at that gig too, good night was had by all!
Saxophonist Nicolas Simion maybe can’t be called famous, but he played with greats like Mal Waldron, Lee Konitz, Art Farmer, WDR Bigband and others and has a very special and respected way to integrate Rumanian folklore into his world music jazz. He’s composer and initiator of several fascinating musical projects.
Nicolas is a good friend of a friend of mine who’s writing jazz critics and I was around with them several times before and after concerts about 15 years ago.
Once I asked Nicolas if he can give me a saxophone lesson as I had a problem reaching deepest tones easily with it. I anyway wanted a new mouthpiece and he said he could sell one, so I bought a nice wide Otto Link mouthpiece from him, which at length enabled a beautiful tone at my standard.
First he told me to play just some notes I wanted, just to hear me play. I thought I played normal…but he said…have trust, don’t play so shy, I want to hear you.
In the following, also hearing him play in this rehearsal room, I realized how much more power professional musicians have in their tone (and there’s still a James Carter left). You can’t imagine how much stronger and more authoritative they play. They know why, they have to dominate a concert place if necessary.
I then showed my problem getting the two deepest tones on my tenor. No chance to play them halfway loudly from start, the tone immediately collapsed.
I thought he now tells me how to put pressure to the mouthpiece differently or anything like that. But what he said was „think what you want to play, imagine the tone!“ I looked unbelievingly and tried doubtfully. Didn’t work.
Then I took some time thinking into what I wanted to play and tried. It first time worked to get this tone easily. Couldn’t believe it.
In following conversations I realized that musicians as good as him, really play what they imagine. They play the tone they think of, not a note they remember from sheet music or that fits into a scale theoretically. It works like coordinated by pure imagination. Unbelievable.
I met Ian Hunter and his band in a record store when they were playing in Cleveland around 1979 on their You’re Never Alone with a Schizophrenic Tour. I got them to sign their album and Ian asked me my name. Turned out my name was the same as a drummer they played with in NYC. Ian got a big kick out of it and was telling the other band members. Next thing you know they are all telling me stories about this guy. Anyway, I have been a big fan ever since.
1979, you must have been one of the “young dudes”!
Sorry… I’ll show myself out
Not my personal story, but my brother was out at trendy restaurant in downtown Cleveland years ago. At the table next to him is Todd Rundgren. I am a big Rundgren fan, so my brother strikes up a conversation with him. Todd turns out to be very approachable and conversational with him. Todd and his party leave the place afterwards. Later, when my brother’s group asks for their check to leave, the waiter told them that Todd picked up their check.
You are correct, I was only 16 at the time.