Monday, September 13, 2010

Oops! I Did It Again!

     Last time, we saw my shameless celebrity name dropping recollection of my Top Five most memorable professional moments in hopes of enticing new followers into the spider web of my blog. Sure, it was fun to reminisce on the high spots over the last nearly 20 years in the glorious field of music journalism, but now we're ready for the blog you've really been waiting for -- my most heinously embarrassing moments. It's like watching "America's Funniest Videos" and laughing at all the times someone gets hit in a sensitive area.

     So now, let's take a big shot to the groin walking down memory lane to moments that will live in infamy ...
     5.) Technically, this moment was not so much an embarrassment to myself as it was to the audience members who witnessed the event. My secret affinity for the Loony Lucy bag lady character as portrayed by Lynda Kavy at the Sterling Renaissance Festival has long been known only to a select few. But after several years of ogling her (the authorities might call it "stalking") and even thrilling to the discovery of a photo of us together posted on her band Empty Hats' official Website, my unrequited love-that-has-no-bounds was revealed to all during one of their Sterling performances this past summer. So was my total lack of dignity and any kind of singing or dancing prowess. Here's the scene -- Empty Hats is playing their song "Take Her in Your Arms" live when suddenly their guitarist/vocalist Carl Asch comes out to the audience, grabs my hand, and pulls me up on stage to dance with my no-longer-secret crush. I revel in the moment, getting jiggy and shaking my groove thing with no real rhythm whatsoever. Luckily, to preserve the moment for posterity and to remind me never to dance in public again, my buddy Deb was in the front row with her camera.
     Okay, so maybe "Dancing with the Stars" won't be calling, but it was a great time. If you can't laugh at yourself, who can you laugh at?
      4.) So now let's get to the truly embarrassing stuff. Last time, I mentioned how the recognition factor of having my stories appear regularly in the paper has earned me other job offers, and last year, I had the honor of serving as emcee for the Heritage Farm Fall Festival in Eaton, N.Y. Well, that day I made the mental note never to stray from my preplanned rap with any kind of improvisation. Introducing a special duet performed by guest musician Zachary Collins, lead singer and guitarist of the Same Blood Folk Band, and the farm's own staffer Kelsey Brady, I announced to the audience of a couple hundred they were brother and sister. The evil eye I immediately got from Kelsey told me that was a major guffaw, and it turned out they were actually engaged to be married. I suppose in some places that doesn't preclude being brother and sister ... a wise sage named Jeff Foxworthy once said, if someone introduces you to his girlfriend and his sister and there's only one woman standing there, he might be a redneck. Or something like that. Let's move on.
     3.) Working with my favorite bands has most often been a true pleasure, but that hasn't always been the case. One time in particular I was at a show featuring one of my rocker faves, so I sauntered up to their tour bus backstage to cajole with the band. The big, burly guy guarding the bus door wasn't looking too welcoming, however, but I figured that would quickly pass after I told him I was looking for an exclusive interview with the band for the paper. After I explained who I was and that I was on official business, he yelled inside the bus to ask if anybody wanted to talk to a reporter. I heard a resounding "No!" in unison, and he told me to come back in 30 minutes and maybe someone would talk to me then. When I came back, he checked his watch and said it had only been 25 minutes, and sent me away for that additional five. Finally, at the appointed time, the bassist came out to chat -- looking disgusted like he had picked the short straw and was forced to do the interview -- and I had probably the worst discussion ever where the guy obviously had no interest in being there. I think revealing the group's name would be a real cheap trick, but I can guarantee you that I felt this particular quartet didn't want me to want them. 
     2.) Now for the big letdown for my blog followers who caught the preview last time, telling how I would reveal why my Lita Ford pictures were censored from publication. Given Lita's, shall we say, somewhat naughty reputation, I'm sure some people might have thought those photos showed a little something (or a big something) that wasn't fit for print. Well, not exactly. Our meeting took place way, way back in my early days of journalism when I was right out of college; it was even before I wrote my music column and she was one of the first rock stars I met. Plus she was even hotter in person than in concert or in her videos. So when she showed up at a local record store to sign autographs, my buddy Eric and I were there and I shot a roll of film for the local paper. After developing that film, however, all of the pictures came back so blurred you could barely even tell the subject was a woman, let alone Lita Ford. Asked what happened to the shots, I had to admit it was my own fault -- my hands were shaking so much while I was in her presence that every single one of the pictures was unusable. Now, wasn't the fantasy of thinking I had nasty Lita pics a lot more exciting than the truth? And I must admit attractive women still make my hands shake, so now if you see something in the paper that's somewhat blurry you'll know why.
     1.) I can thank my former Rome Observer editor Leeanne for the moment at number one. Shortly before a local Blue Oyster Cult concert, she suggested I reach out to Donald "Buck Dharma" Roeser's mother-in-law Nancy who lived nearby for her own unique take on the band. Nancy could give us some personal anecdotes about knowing him not only as one of the best singer/songwriter/guitarists in the business, but as a son-in-law, so it sounded like fun. We got together; she told me about the day her daughter Sandy brought home the long-haired musician, showed me their wedding photos, and even shared tales about times when Buck was in the doghouse with her and temporarily might not have been a favorite son-in-law after all. One thing she mentioned was her own singing back in her younger days, and that little tidbit caught Leeanne's attention. There was no timeframe describing when those "younger days" were, so she asked me to call Nancy back and ask how old she was. Since I'm a guy, I didn't even consider the fact that this might be a taboo subject, and sure enough, that question went over like I was the Reaper knocking at her door. Our conversation quickly ended without any answer and it seemed evident the fondness we developed during our initial meeting had suddenly disappeared. Another mental note: when an editor asks me to ask a woman her age, find an intern to do it!
     So those are the five best of the worst moments of my career. Now it's time to go out and make some more!
     To be continued next blog.      

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