Have you ever met someone whom you already held in high regard? In my experience, these encounters are cordial, generally, with rare exceptions on both ends. I’m always a little leery about meeting my heroes because doing so risks revealing too much about at least one of us. Like this one time where I happened to walk into Island/Def Jam and jump on the escalator right behind Jay-Z. He had recently been brought in to run Def Jam after a HUGE regime change and I was just bold enough to say, “JAY! That’s you?! What’s up, man?!” He ended up inviting me up to his office. I sang and I talked. And I talked. And talked some more. It wasn’t until years later when I looked at the photo of us that I recalled how I had squandered an opportunity. Here I was with a bonafide-badass- record-mogul-artist-self-made-multi-millionaire and I can’t shut my mouth! I don’t even remember
what I said but I guarantee it was a bunch of nonsense because that was the first and last time I ever got to hang with H.O.V.A.
I still talk too much but I’m working on it. Hopefully writing all of this down will help. What I would like to do is tell you about three experiences with some incredible artists that shaped me in ways I could never have foreseen. The wisdom imparted in a moment or even in a gesture by someone who lived up to the hype shaped me because they’ve stayed with me. Let’s face it, you’re not gonna catch everybody on their best day, but when it goes right and you can reflect on the moment for years to come, you’ll find it quite informative. We admire people for reasons related to who we are and who we want to be. At least, that’s what I like to think...
Ben Folds had to cancel his opening slot because of sickness and we happened to be in the neighborhood with a rare day off. When we pulled in backstage that afternoon, it was a pretty typical scene for an amphitheater on show day. Lots of crew guys and gals running around. Somebody from the kitchen staff napping in a hammock. I noticed a little girl near catering. She looked about as old as my son, Gavin, around 5 at the time. Someone said the girl was Tori’s daughter and I made a note to use our mutual parenthood as an ice breaker should the chance arise, which it later did in Tori’s dressing room.
Her chef made us both an excellent hot tea while I tried to make nice conversation about the kids. She wanted none of it.
Me: It’s so nice to meet you. I saw your little girl backstage. She’s precious and makes me miss my
Tori: Yeah, yeah, that’s nice. Now tell me. Do your managers commission off the gross or the net? Me: Uuuuhh... Whut?
Tori: Do your managers commission off the gross or the net?!
Me: I have no idea.