Our trip to DMAI/Las Vegas this week began just as serendipitously last Sunday afternoon as we waited for our flight in the insane fail that is MSP’s newly designed Concourse G.
After hitting the head, I returned to find Terri doing the PLP against a pillar next to a table at which a familiar face was grabbing a beer before his flight.
I first met Robin Zander in the mid ‘80s (click image to enlarge) at an album release event at a major record retailer in Chicago. My radio station was the host as his band signed LPs (big CDs for you younguns) for the fans that streamed into the store.
I next hung with him (quite unexpectedly) when my event manager and I were tooling around Madison’s Capitol Square in a golf cart, overseeing the evening cleanup of the 1991 Taste of Madison. That event manager was none other than Kirk “Wheel” Dyer...the former Road Manager for one Cheap Trick (and “the voice” the opens the classic “Live at Budokan”).
And, who jumps aboard the golf cart with us for the rest of the evening? Robin Zander.
As the three of us, thrown together serendipitously in Concourse G began a conversation, Robin offered that he was in “a little rock band.” Which I absolutely loved.
I chuckled and said, “Robin...I know who you are. We met years ago in Madison. And, how’s Kurt?”
I reminded him of our shared evening on the golf cart and we laughed, remembering that silly night. He confirmed that Kurt, who has had a rough number of years medically, was doing much better...they had just talked by phone the week prior. And, that's joy to my ears.
And then, a magical thing happened. He started asking Terri and me about our business. Our industry. Our personal relationship. Every time we turned the conversation back to him, he’d flip it back to us.
Which is so what most would not expect from one of the biggest rock voices of a generation. But, that’s Robin.
And, y’know...it's pretty much true of a lot of name musicians I’ve had the pleasure of which to hang. And, after a ten year stint in rock radio, that was a fair number. Many are some of the most engaging people you will every meet. Often, much more real than the phony balonies you call your friends.
In fact, the only true asswipe I ever met during my tenure in radio? Conway Twitty. Go figure. You probably don’t even know the name. But (he thought), he was a big deal in the ‘70s.
Damn...another long post. I guess spending a week in Vegas does that to me.
For this Music Friday...there’s a couple directions we could go. We already featured one of my all time Cheap Trick faves, “Tonight it’s You.” And, there are so many more on YouTube...and a bunch of Robin's solo work, too.
For some reason, I'm veering to a Cheap Trick track that got little traction upon its release in 1990...but it's another personal fave: "Wherever Would I Be."
He had a few songs in his head that he was going to play...but a lot of the night was in response to suggestions from the crowd. He clearly shifted gears when someone shouted out "Somebody's Baby," as he chuckled, clearly pleased by the rare, non-album track request.
Listen to both if you can. But, if short on time, jump to "Running." One of the beauties of that album was that some of it was recorded live on the tour bus. In this accoustic studio version, you can almost hear the highway under Jackson's guitar. We heard it the other night.
It is a show so worth seeing. He's in Minneapolis tonight, Cedar Rapids tomorrow night and Wichita on Monday before heading back east through August. Here are the tour dates.
With all the bruhaha over racist owners and logos in professional sport, I had to chuckle as I drove through the simply sensational Virginia Blue Ridge last weekend. Listening to a classic rock station, I heard two big hits, back to back, that seemed incongruous in today's over-sensitized world.
"Uh, yes I did, I shot her. You know I caught my old lady messin' 'round town. And, I gave her the gun...I shot her!"
Which is not a rationale response in today's world (as if it ever was). And, certainly not one that we want our kids to believe is correct...though they may sing along in our car as we drive them to school or to the mall.
On our last Music Friday post, we referenced a TV show that aired through the 1970s called The Midnight Special. Those that lived through that era never missed a show. You couldn't. Recording it to a "video cartridge" was pretty much only available to the rich at that point in our evolution.
There was no internet. There was no satellite radio. Only a few communities had terrestrial radio stations that would experiment with new, unproven music (and I, luckily, had the chance to work at one). In those days, The Midnight Special and Rock Concert were pretty much the only way we saw new bands in concert.
Is that why music meant so much more to those of us in the '70s? Because it was so rare? And, while I know that Millennials love their music...I just don't sense the same passion. Is it because it's so easy to find and free as well?
Before the stadiums. Before the drama. There was a struggling band called Journey. After a couple prog-rock albums, they added a singer named Steve Perry to the line-up. The rest, as they say, is history.