In the immortal words of Dr. Gregory House…..Everybody lies!
Well I was flipping through the memories filed away in my head last night and came up with some pretty great one’s that unfortunately would probably get me into some sort of trouble somewhere, so I thought maybe I should make up names and be careful on posts….NAH! Everybody lies, I WANT TO BE DIFFERENT!
Rockstar Moment #1 Phil Anselmo
Somewhere around 2002 was my first real experience with a rockstar; this should be titled Rockstar Nightmare; but I am not going to lie, remember? Well Phil Anselmo was the boy I met. See I was writing back then, some pretty deep, dark and sometimes not understandable poems, lyrics and what-have-you’s. Now for those of you that do not know Phil Anselmo (lucky people) he was the front-man for Pantera.
I was contacted by Phil about some lyrics I had posted on Poetry.Com, he was interested and even went as far as to send me a cd to listen to, believe it or not I had NO idea who he was or who Pantera was, not my thing thankfully. Anyway, I thought this was awesome, a real band, a real rockstar wanting my stuff..RIGHT ON! So me and my daughter were sitting at the computer one night and I was attempting to plan my writing, what was I going to send him? how much? were we going to collaborate? That sort of thing.
I figured the best way to know what style to write I should first listen to what he was all about…we did! I was sitting in a computer chair, you know the ones that have the wheels and springy back rest. I turned up the volume on my computer speakers and sat patiently while the CD loaded…and then it happened…Literally BLOWN AWAY, no people…really…fell backwards in my chair, my daughter started crying, then I sat still and silent and started to weep real tears. It felt sort of like what I am guessing an exorcism would feel like. The room got dark and cold and I felt dizzy. This dudes voice was like something from the bowels of hell. It was FRIGHTENING!
Well days and weeks went on, for what felt like an eternity. I was shattered that someone like him wanted MY beautiful, poetic words, well it would be like a demon attempting to suck the life right out of an angel! Needless to say, nothing could be agreed upon as far as collaborating, how do you collaborate with a monster anyway? That was the day I stopped writing, for a very long time. Now that the world pretty much hates that miserable excuse for air, I am back writing about it. Dimebag Darrel (Rest his soul) was a good man and he got hooked up with Phil and you can see what happened to him! Evil feeds on good…and this kitchen is CLOSED!
Rockstar Moment #2 Son of Billy Eckstine
About a year after my horrifying experience with Pantera boy, I decided to give it one more shot at writing for anyone famous, who wasn’t possessed by the devil please! So you see,my husband didn’t nickname me Lucy for nothing…I set out to do exactly that, write for someone famous! I’m not really sure how I ran into this guy, but my next meeting was going to be Ron Eckstine, son of the legendary Billy Eckstien whom according to the wonderful Wikipedia history was born William Clarence Eckstein in the East Liberty neighborhood of Pittsburgh Pennsylvania and he was a ballad singer and bandleader of the swing era. Eckstine’s smooth baritone and distinctive vibrato broke down barriers throughout the 1940s, first as leader of the original bop big-band, then as the first romantic black male in popular music, and I get to break ground with his son Ronald Eckstine!
Ron lived out in Santa Monica area…NICE part of Santa Monica I might add. He lived in this “crazy mad ” high rise on a ridiculously busy street. When we spoke on the phone earlier that day, we made plans to meet so he asked me to come to his “office/studio” and I agreed. Telling the husband was a task I would need to plan all day for, but I figured it out even though those pesky red flags were everywhere! So I get directions to his “office” and set out dressed to impress!
I arrive at the address given and I thought this looks strange, not really much of a Studio, however I could see where he could use the word studio, it was the size of a mouse hole and was across the street from a REAL Record Studio. Against my better judgement, and I suppose because in this Industry I learned quickly that you just gotta do, what you just gotta do.
I parked my car in the underground parking after some wisecrack cookie decides she is going to scream obscenities at me for attempting a right turn into a tiny driveway on a major street…what? I’m from San Pedro, we don’t know how to drive in the larger Cities! So I park, get out, jump in the elevator and am greeted by two very large men at his front door. They looked like two of those gargoyles that you see perched in front of creepy castles. The "rang" for him and he advised them to let me in.
I had a lump in my throat the size of an apple, sweating as if I just ran a mile…in the dessert and was planning to walk into this incredible studio with all it’s magnificence. I walked in and there sat a man wearing what I believe may have been pajamas, with fuzzy slippers and a Hugh Hefner type of robe/jacket thing. I took a quick look around and to my surprise, the carpet was full of giant black spots and burns (which in my head I was imagining blood stains) and his studio recording gear consisted of a small keyboard sitting lonely on the floor and hooked up to what appeared to be your standard television set. To the right of that was a video camera plugged in and to the left was a double cassette player/recorder. Oh yeah this was a classy joint!
My first thought was to run, but there were two gargoyles outside that splintered door, could those scratch marks on the door be from some poor woman who’s untimely death was caused from trying to pry herself out? He said sit, just like that, SIT. So I did. I was not going to be the next stain on his carpet or the next head mounted on his wall (no he didn’t really have heads on the wall). He offered me a glass of wine, I refused, he offered water and again I refused. I had watched on TV where people could spike your drink with GHB…Oh no, not me sister!
He explained what he wanted as far as lyrics and I got out before he could explain what he wanted from me. I walked out and never looked back ever again. Now in all fairness, he was actually a nice enough man, but not very truthful on his description of his success, I believe it is called riding on the coat tails of Daddy? Lesson #2 learned.
Rockstar Moment #3 Bob the Builder
Yeah I know, I don’t learn. My husband says it best, Everyone is in a band, and everyone is going to be the next big thing Erin". Well so was this guy I will call “Bob” because I couldn’t obtain his permission to publicly destroy any chance of a music career for him. “Bob” lived in a slum neighborhood somewhere in the heart of LA. Nice enough guy with a real desire to be a rockstar.
I met him on Songwriters Anonymous..haha…OK no it was not called that, although it was starting to feel like I belonged to something along the lines of that. I really do not understand what my fascination with going to so-called musicians lairs. Because if you flip those letters it spells LIARS. I thought it may be different this time because “Bob” claimed to be Pantera Boy’s Producer…if you had seen him and his place, that’s a funny statement!Anyway, notebook in hand I head out to Los Angeles to meet whom I thought was some guy in the process of getting a record deal and was unlucky enough to be Phil’s Producer/Manager/sad soul. I get there, and yet here is another mouse trap of a house. This one consisted of 1 room. There was a front door and then a bed to the right of that, one of those fold out beds from the wall. There was a refrigerator to the left and a window straight ahead with a view of what would be my death had I lived there.
“Bob” had this sad little keyboard and a very tattered notebook with every one of his thoughts scribbled into it. I got such a sad vibe in that room, the only hope was that window, he must have felt like Cinderella trapped in that tiny room atop the castle and his only hope to the outside world was those tiny bluebirds chirping on the window ledge. The only difference was those little birds were not going to turn into fairy godmother’s and grant him his musical wish.
The irony of this was that I came up with some of my best material after experiencing him and that horrid room. I wrote a song about a run away girl, I wrote a song about the sad life of a aspiring actor and even came up with a suicide song that actually had THAT window in the song. Turns out this kid was a convicted felon, had no record deal waiting for him and well had no clue how to use that keyboard. What he did have was a refrigerator full of beer and I believe he said cheese, I am hoping that is what it was. It felt more like an interview of him than a collaboration meeting. I wonder what ever became of him today?
Rockstar Moment #4 Black Goat Entertainment
I was moving on up…still hadn’t learned about meeting people in their homes yet, but by this time I was starting to see how things worked, most recording artists work from their home. So this time I actually had a name, a big name…BLACK GOAT ENTERTAINMENT! He had these cats in his studio recording an album and was interested in a few of my lyrics. This guy lived in San Diego, so it was a drive for me and all I could do was pray that I made it there and back, alive. Remember my last encounters were sketchy!
I showed up to his home, this time it was a HOME. He had this great in-home studio with all the latest gadgets, he could make Pee Wee Herman sound like Frank Sinatra if he had to. Apparently he was getting plenty of practice on these guys he was attempting to record. Well I felt good, I felt like this time I had arrived to my calling. I COULD help him, HELP those poor guys.
The band sort of had a “Staind meets Creed” sound to them, not to mention they were absolutely adorable! Who cares if they could sing, they had the look, the look to turn my lyrics into gold or at least a few thousand dollars anyway. This time, no pesky red flags, no blood stains on the carpet and no window enticing one to jump, there was only my first real experience in the music industry.
OK so we all know that I am not rich these days, and no I don’t own a Porsche and I am not holding stock in BGE, but what I can tell you is that my very first chance at working with Musicians came from Geno and that band. I booked them gigs, took part in a few of their recordings and just loved every minute of it. I am not sure why or how but Eugene “Geno” Fields, CEO and founder of Black Goat Entertainment still has his hands all over the Music Industry. I only wish I had the strength he has. But I will never forget him and his lessons he taught me on this Industry.
I truly believe that every step we take on this path called life, just brings us that much closer to who we really are, given that we don’t stop off too much to taste the water. He taught me to hold onto my dreams, stay focused and always remeber to let that horse know who is holding the reins and wearing the spurs! Thanks Geno! Thanks boys.
Rockstar Moment #5 Frank Zappa’s Circle
Well I have so many more, but I need a break from all these memories, it is making me want to jump back in…say NO ,NO ,NO! I was working as a bartender at a place called Ellie’s Place in Torrance. When it would get slow I would sink all my tips into the jukebox to sing and dance along with whatever song captured my mood. For some strange reason “You’re Still The One” from Shania Twain became my obsession. I COULD sing that song like no others mama!
This guy who knew a guy came in one day and heard me singing, sort of under my breath. So he said, “I’ll double your tip if you sing out loud so I can hear you”. Happy to oblige, I said sure. I sang like a canary, or maybe it was really a parrot, but canary sounds sweeter so I will stick with that…for now. Anyway long story short, he invited me AND my husband this time to his buddy’s house. His buddy being a part of the ever changing circle of Frank Zappa, not positive of his name (memory fart) but I believe it was Art. Anyway the guy had worked at one time with Frank Zappa and assisted with “Valley Girl”, well he lived or set up camp in a small “house” recording studio and my friend from the bar convinced us to come and record a few background vocals, what? me? were they on drugs or something?
Well David and I went, I put on the big headphones, rehearsed my part about 150 zillion times, still couldn’t make it on the note he was trying to attempt, I soon became frustrated and Art and Tank (big guy singing with me) offered a few shots of Vodka (I think that’s what it was). After about half the bottle, singing just came natural to me. I recorded two songs with these guys, with my husband giving me the old “two lying thumbs up” looks, and we called it a day, a long day. I now knew what it felt like to be a “rockstar”! Yes Siree! Oh and I forgot to mention, I NEVER did that again, but now that I think of it, he never called us again either, It may have had something to do with me stumbling down his stairs and playing with the microphone inappropriately!