I’ve had several random encounters and run-ins with rock stars over the years, and most have been documented on this site at one time or another. Just type in “random encounters” in the search box and several blogs will pop up. Mike Love of the Beach Boys got down on one knee and sang to a girl I was with once, and afterwards sent a roadie down to ask if she wanted to meet him after the show. That particular girl laughed it off, but on another occasion it never went down that way. Here’s the story:
It was the late ’70s and a bunch of us went down to The Natti to catch a Chicago concert. This was back when Chicago was cool, still using horns in their songs, long before they went all schlocky and sappy with the lame ballads. Sure, they did slow stuff like “Color My World” before, but unfortunately Peter Cetera sort of took over with tunes like “You’re the Inspiration” and “Hard to Say I’m Sorry” and it all went downhill from there. It would have never happened had guitarist Terry Kath knew that gun was loaded when he put it upside his head, but that’s neither here nor there. Well, maybe to Terry.
But I digress. And maybe there’s another reason I don’t like Peter Cetera.
Back to the concert. This was before those 11-people got crushed to death at The Who concert, so it was still general admission at the gate. Trust me, when it was general admission I always ended up right down front, and that’s where this all started.
The show was great, Robert Lamm and Cetera and the boys were rockin’, and my date and I were having a good time. Keep in mind I’d been dating this girl for about two years, which will become relevant shortly. Anyway, after a couple of the obligatory encores the lights came up and we’re sort of standing there talking to friends, waiting for the crowd to thin. At that point some guy comes walking up to my girlfriend and asks to speak with her. Hell, I thought something had happened, an emergency or something, and he had been sent to find her. He sort of took her elbow and walked her a few feet away to have a private conversation. She listened intently and nodded her head a couple times, the guy did the same, then she turned and walked back over to me.
The guy stayed where he was. I was getting a bad vibe.
What followed was a conversation that basically ended a relationship.
Me: “What was that about? Is everything OK?”
Her: “Yes, it’s … fine.”
Me, senses on high alert: “So… what’s up?”
Her: “W-e-l-l … that guy told me that Peter Cetera wanted to ask if I’d like to come out to his bus.”
Damn Cetera. Lotta nerve, huh? But my girlfriend was just looking at me.
Me: “Uh, you know what he wants, right?”
Next came the words that are etched in my mind to this day.
Her: “What should I do?”
Wait. What? What should I do? What should I do?
Me, after about 15 seconds of stunned silence: “What should you do? Well, do what you want, but Mr. Cetera better be ready to give you a ride back to Chillicothe because if you get on that bus I’m not waiting on you.”
At this point she actually thought about it for a minute and discussed it with her friends. Then, she decided she’d stick with me. Boy, did I feel special. Did I mention we’d been dating for two years?
Turns out she probably should have gone to the bus. And stayed there.
As you can imagine, we had the “How could you have even considered going off with Peter Cetera like that? How?” conversation about 173 times over the next couple of weeks, and naturally she had no reasonable answer. What was she supposed to say, “Well, I thought it would be nice to boink a rock star?” After that it was all downhill. I couldn’t get past it.
Yes my friends, fame and money are a powerful attractions indeed.
Then again, could I resist if Kate Beckinsale saw me somewhere and sent an assistant over with an invitation to board her bus? No freaking way. Probably not.
Wait. So I would do the same thing I was mad at my girlfriend for considering? Something’s wrong here.
Maybe it’s a double standard?
Maybe I should have just laughed it off?
Maybe I made a mistake?
Maybe I overreacted?
Crap, the more I think about it now the more I think I’m guilty of all of the above and was being a jackass. Or, maybe I wasn’t? The mind reels. I’m so confused.
So I come out of this little self-therapy session realizing three things. The first is that I’ll never fully understand the whole dynamic between men and women. The second is that I still hold a grudge against Peter Cetera. The third? I really need to let this go.
Dave Shoemaker is a retired teacher, athletic director and basketball coach with most of his professional years spent at Paint Valley. He also served as the national basketball coach for the island country of Montserrat in the British West Indies. He lives in southern Ohio with his best friends and companions, his dogs Sweet Lilly and Hank. He can be reached at https://shoeuntied.wordpress.com/.