Editor’s note — This is the fifth and final of a multipart column about the author meeting famous rock and roll stars.
My boys. Well, for a minute.
Back around 1978 Aerosmith was on a bit of a downward spiral. Something about drug addictions and whatnot. Anyway, it was after “Dream On” but before the album “Permanent Vacation” marked their return to prominence. A friend of mine was a regional roadie, one of those guys who doesn’t travel with the bands but works a certain area where he helps set up shows and the like. Well, he had backstage passes to Aerosmith and asked if I wanted one.
I watched the show (not so good actually – something about drug addictions and whatnot) then headed backstage for the festivities. I don’t really know how to explain it other than saying it’s exactly what you’d expect it to be. Lots of girls, drugs, alcohol and things I didn’t recognize and haven’t seen since. Rock and Roll decadence at its highest form. Back in those days I blended right in. My hair was as long as theirs and I looked like a taller Charley Manson, minus the God complex and murderous intentions. well, maybe just the murderous intentions.
I worked my way over to Steven Tyler and struck up a conversation, probably saying something witty and insightful like “nice show” which incidentally would have been a complete lie. He looked at me through glazed-over eyes and offered me a beer (for the record, it was a Stroh’s – dead serious). One thing led to another and I ended up on a couch sitting between Tyler and Joe Perry.
Kids, there once existed a picture of me between those two, all three of us holding up a beer for the camera with half-crazed smiles on our faces. Later, in one of the dumbest moves of my life, I gave the picture to a girl I was dating, who displayed it proudly on her apartment wall. Sadly, when we had an ugly break-up, she hit me where it hurt most – she burned the picture.
For years I waited for her to show up and say she had really kept the picture, then hand it to me with a smile. That moment never happened, but there’s still hope, right? Right?
When a Beach Boy
tried to steal my girl
In the late ’70s I went to see The Beach Boys, again at Riverfront Coliseum in The Natti.
It marked the return of Brian Wilson, quite a big deal at the time. Anyway, we were once again right down front. From the get-go Mike Love was paying special attention to my date, at one point getting down on one knee and singing a song right to her face. I don’t remember the song, probably because I was too busy watching the security dude and figuring my odds of getting a shot at Love’s nose.
Eventually, Love actually sent a guy down to ask if she was interested. She said no and he never came close to us the rest of the show. Bizarre experience. And oddly enough, a few years later almost exactly the same thing happened with Peter Cetera of Chicago.
Saluting Boz Skaggs
Back in the mid 2010s a girlfriend of mine at the time and I went to a Cincinnati Bengals game in The Natti. It was a night game and we were staying at The Cincinnatian, a cool old hotel and a favorite of mine that’s located downtown and within walking distance from the stadium. After the game we went to a few local establishments to celebrate the victory with Bengal fans, then we decided to have a nightcap at the hotel bar. My girlfriend had to run up to the room so I went on into the bar to grab a couple stools.
Turns out the place was nearly empty (probably because it was 1:30 a.m.), save for a lone gentleman sitting across from me wearing a suit and loosened tie. I didn’t really pay attention to him until my date rejoined me, but when I looked again I said, “Damn. I think that’s Boz Skaggs over there.” After a minute or two I walked over, stuck out my hand and said, because I’m quick like that, “You’re Boz Skaggs aren’t you?” I know, not my best work but still. Anyway, he looked me right in the eye and said, “You are correct, sir.”
At that point I told him I loved his self-titled first album back in ’69 and particularly loved the song “Loan Me A Dime” where Duane Allman played some killer guitar. I think he liked that because most people know him from his mid ’70s album “Silk Degrees” which is less bluesy and a little more poppy. After a nice chat he bid me goodnight, gave a hug to my girlfriend as he left, and since he was taking a drink back to his room he raised his glass in salute and was gone.
We got back to the room, and since my girlfriend had never heard of Boz Skaggs, I played her a few tunes on my phone. She said, “What? That was THAT guy?”
Yep. It was that guy.
Eating mac and cheese
with Taylor Hawkins
It was at CalJam ’18 and I was backstage thanks to a buddy of mine whose daughter happens to be on the Foo Fighters management team. I was causally going through the food line, opening those stainless steel chafing containers as I went. As I opened one I said out loud to myself, “Huh. I wonder what that is?” Next thing I knew a voice from behind me said, “That’s Couscous mac and cheese man! You have to try it!”
I turned around, and there stood none other than Foo Fighters drummer Taylor Hawkins, who proceeded to grab a spatula and fill my plate with a generous portion of Couscous mac and cheese. Then he slapped me on the back and sauntered away. Thanks Taylor Hawkins. By the way, the Couscous mac and Cheese was indeed spectacular.
Hawkins tragically passed away March 25, 2022. It was a shocking loss for the rock world, but I’ll always have that great memory of him. So sad.
So that’s all I got. Oh, I’ve met the guys from Cracker, Carbon Leaf and a few other bands, and I finally got to meet Steve Forbert a couple years ago, which was a big thrill for me. He even autographed his book for me.
I’ve also had some near misses, as they say, like the time I attempted to approach Eminem at an airport in Miami only to be stopped by a couple bodyguards the size of Rhode Island. Oh, and I approached Eric Carmen at the Cleveland Airport once and he couldn’t have been more dismissive. Go to hell Eric Carmen. Still love The Raspberries though. Finally, I spotted Eric Clapton walking down the other side of the street in the Short North of Columbus, Ohio in the late 2000s and gave him a yell and a wave. His wife was a Columbus gal and I read later it wasn’t unusual to see him strolling through the area. And yes, he waved back.
Good times indeed. Have a great weekend everyone.
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/.