A few concerts, a few more autographs

The past 6 weeks or so has been pretty good for concerts in my area and getting autographs from these artists has been just as good.  I haven’t gotten every artist that I tried for, but my percentage is pretty high.  Here’s a synopsis of what I’ve been up to.

Graham Nash opened up a new exhibit at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in October and he was on hand to personally open the exhibit to members the day before it opened to the public.  Before the opening, he played 5 acoustic songs for the crowd (which was excellent) and then did a book signing at the store.  An email was sent that said no outside materials were to be signed, just his book.  Well, knowing Graham like I do (I’ve never seen him turn down an autograph request) I decided to bring a small Woodstock poster with me.  Graham had a stack of Sharpies on his table in various colors and seemed surprised that no one else brought anything for him to sign.  My wife and I spoke to him a few minutes about how we both use his music in our classrooms (we both teach history) I asked him if he would mind signing my poster.  He gave me a look, smiled and said “Give it here!”  I love that.

The next week, I was approved to shoot Edgar Winter, another artist who happened to play at Woodstock.  After the show there were a few people hanging out by the stage.  His manager came out and said, Edgar is happy to sign for the fans, give me the items one at a time and I will take them back for you.  So one at a time, he asked for each person’s name and every item was personalized.  I really didn’t want the Woodstock poster personalized, but beggars can’t be choosers.  After the 10 or so people got their item signed, I decided to try for an album.  This time the manager of the theater was taking items back to Edgar and he wasn’t asking for first names.  He took 4-5 items back at a time and just had Edgar sign them and it went much quicker.   

I decided to make the trek to Pittsburgh and check out The Darkness, a 2000’s British hard rock band that I like.  They put on a great show and they are a great party band!  A few fans decided to wait for the band to come out and meet them after the show.  Two of the members, Frankie and the new drummer Rufus were more than happy to chat and sign for the fans.  Actually, Frankie wanted to go drinking with us and wanted to know where the closest bar was.  Four of us were not from the area, so we had no clue.   So he headed for the bus.  I asked where Justin and his brother were (the singer and guitarist), and he said that they were already at the hotel.  Oh well, I missed out on half of the band and also a chance to party with a rock star.  But I did get a drum head signed by 2 of them.

Styx played with the Contemporary Youth Orchestra for Scott Hamilton’s cancer fundraiser.  My wife has a student in the CYO and he said that he could get something signed for us.  I had one of my students draw the Styx logo on a drum head and he ended up getting the entire band to sign it after practice.  It turned out pretty nice and the show was great as well.  All for a good cause!

Since that show started early and was over by 6:45, I asked my wife if it would be ok for me to try and find a cheap ticket to the Smokey Robinson tribute which was happening right across town.  She didn’t want to go and since we drove separate (I left earlier to try and get Smokey before the Styx show) she didn’t mind. 

Although I didn’t get Smokey (I heard he signed and took pix with everyone at the Rock Hall) I did manage to get Martha Reeves.  She was so cool and actually sat down at a table in the lobby and had an autograph session for the 7 or so fans that were there.  I was first in line and I broke out my HOF poster.  She commented that she really liked that and said she had to get one for herself.  Then she said, “I’m going to sign that for you, but I also have something else I’m going to sign.”  She then got out an envelope with about 30 head shots of her and signed and gave them out to everyone there.  What a classy lady who appreciates her fans! 

Anyway, I get to the venue right before it starts and ask at the box office what they had available.  He showed me and I said thanks but I was going to pass.  He said, “Hold on” and proceeded to reach down and pull out a ticket.  He said that this gentleman had to leave and he turned his ticket back in and he wanted to give it to someone who could use it.  He then said, “It’s yours, enjoy the show.”  I thanked him and said good karma was coming his way.  It was a very good show with a lot of new artists singing some Smokey songs as well as some Hall of Famers.

After the show, I went to the hotel where they were staying and  managed to get a couple of the newer artists who performed that evening on the program.  I also got Michelle Williams from Destiny’s Child who was very nice, and Martha Reeves as well as Mary Wilson from the Supreme’s.  I wanted to get her on my poster, but it was windy out and I didn’t want to take a chance.  Overall, it was a great day.

Next on my list was Tom Keifer who I also got approved to shoot.  Cinderella is one of my favorite bands from the 80’s and Tom puts on a great show.  I ended up getting 3 tickets with my photo pass, so I saw a guy who was hanging around the box office and asked if he wanted to go to the show.  He asked how much, and I said nothing, I wanted to pay it forward.  So he grabbed his wife, who was playing slots and had a free night of entertainment.  See how that karma thing works? I did however accept the beer he wanted to buy me.  Afterwards, the entire band came out to sign for the fans on a cold Ohio evening.  Tom eventually made his way out and told the 30 or so fans to wait a minute.  His manager came over and told us to line up by his bus and Tom would sign and take pictures from the steps of the bus so he could get out of the weather.  Awesome, another guy who gets it! 

Finally, the next night I got the chance to shoot The Baby’s.  Even though there are only 2 original members left (Wally and Tony) the new band sounds great!  The entire band signed at the merch table after the show.  What a great bunch of guys.  However, I couldn’t believe how rude some of the “fans” were.  I saw people with 20-30 albums, and they laid them down one at a time to get Wally and Tony to sign.  I was the 5th person in line and I did not move for over 15 minutes and there were at least 40 people behind me.  I was amazed that those guys signed everyone without saying a word.  Well, I take that back, at one point Wally did say “I’ll be seeing these on eBay tomorrow.” 

Hey, if that’s what you want to do, fine.  But how about maybe getting 4-5 albums signed, then getting back at the end of the line so A. you aren’t being rude to the band and B.  you aren’t holding up the line for everyone else.  It was ridiculous!

Until next time…. Rock On!

Views: 424

Tags: Baby's, Darkness, EdgarWinter, GrahamNash, Keifer, MarthaReeves, Styx, in-person, rocknroll

Comment by Brian Burger on November 17, 2015 at 6:52pm

Coach, love to hear about your adventures collecting! Things are cooling down(winter) up North so opportunities down South(where it's still warm) in sunny Florida will be heating up. Disney's food and wine just ended and last night we tried for Chaka Khan but she pulled a Hank Williams Jr and left the stage and the park during the last song while her band was still playing. Well as a grapher you live and learn and we'll know for the next time she come here. Keep up the great blogs!

Comment by Ian Baldock on November 17, 2015 at 7:04pm

Keep em comin coach!

Comment by Eric K Longo on November 20, 2015 at 12:43am

Really nice stuff! It is nice when signers are eager. I remember Heston having a sign up that said "ten feet away for any photographs"  - I waited over an hour to get a Soylent Green VHS (old times) signed in green felt tip, and I had to grovel. But, I got it, low "r" and all. Shatner had a sign that said " No handshakes or photography" - I just said "Thanks for the years of enjoyment" and stuck my hand out - which was met with his heartily. I swear I saw women there with their...birth certificates to be signed. The strangest in person signing I have experienced, at this moment anyway, was Jonathan Frid. Big line behind me - he stops, gets up, takes me by the shoulder and walks me behind a column. He then tells me that he saw something in my eye - that when he was a kid he went to the serials and the local single screen was not quite as large as it should have been. Every Friday he saw "Coming Next Week - Frid" ("Friday" was cut off) - and it was upon this he hitched his star. This I shall remember. The sig was for a friend- I don't have one. But those, you can buy with $. The experience...

Eric

Comment by RobO on November 20, 2015 at 8:27am

Great post! You prove that the singing opportunities are always out there. You just need to act with integrity, hope for high sleuthing ability and go get em! Thanks

Comment by Terry G. on November 20, 2015 at 2:09pm

I can understand the guys getting sigs from the Baby's- they haven't toured here in decades and stay mainly on the UK side, so it's looked at as a one time opportunity. John Waite is a solo act now and he signs stuff freely and plays the U.S. all the time, so getting ANY of the other guys is tough. Frankly, I'd probably bring 6-7 albums out if they ever played down here, just knowing I might never see them again. I always find it funny that the "see them on eBay line" comes out from an artists mouth. And it's usually from someone who has little value to begin with- I mean, is there truly a market for Baby's autographs?  Even vintage full-band signed albums don't go for much so why would a Brock-Stocker signed album go for more than $10? And if they signed so many, as you said, doesn't that devalue them even more, lol?  It's not like anyone outside the hobby even knows that band, let alone the players...but what you say is true, the autograph seekers should have some self-control and get a few signed, then allow others to get some-it's the right thing to do but I've found that it rarely occurs to people in the heat of the moment..

Comment by Coachgd on November 22, 2015 at 2:50pm

Thanks for the compliments!  I'll keep writing if you keep reading them!  

Terry, I agree with you 6-7 albums at most.  I would get 3-4 and then get back in line.  But I am not kidding when I say 20-30 albums that this couple had.  Unbelievable!! I couldn't  imagine 1. having that many  2.  getting them all signed at the same time.  3.  not caring that I'm holding up the line/ making others wait.  Oh well, to each his own!

Comment by Terry G. on November 24, 2015 at 9:52pm

I guess it's always been a struggle with that type of behavior in this hobby. People who bring multiples are almost always looked at as "dealers" whose obtained autographs will surely end up on eBay. We know this isn't always true but have to admit it does happen. You can't judge the person based on that alone- like I said, a real fan is more likely to be excited and bring a ton of stuff out-I've always differentiated it by WHAT they have- dealers are more likely, IME, to have multiples of the SAME ALBUM while the hard core fans usually have more from the artists catalog. For example, I've always liked Southside Johnny's music but never once had seen him play util 2 years ago when he played down here for the first time in decades. I went out with 10 albums spanning his career and he signed them all, and we had a discussion about some of them. I felt guilty asking him to sign so many- but I told him the truth, that I had never seen him but truly was a fan and that if he only wanted to sign one, please sign this (my favorite one), to which he laughed and said "I think I can sign for the only fan out here, let's see what you got!!" But I've also seen what you speak of, that one guy who brings EVERYTHING out and expects to get it all signed. I recall one night where I was out trying to get Jeff Beck along with one other hobbyist and we thought we had a good chance UNTIL a third guy showed up- with EVERY single one of his albums in both vinyl and CD versions and about 30 8 X 10 glossys. We tried to get him to limit himself but his view was "if I get to him first, he'll sign what he wants, he can say no"....and as beck stepped out of the van later, he looked at that huge stack of stuff  and said "sorry, not signing tonight"...I did get him after the show but it proves that some artists DO notice volume and make decisions based on that..

Comment by Brian Burger on November 25, 2015 at 8:54am

Yeah I also heard that Jeff Beck will not sign guitars and that if you had photo standing there and if someone showed up with a guitar and stood next to you the autograph session would be over immediately. Artists aren't stupid even older artists although I've never personally tried for Beck.

Comment by Coachgd on November 25, 2015 at 5:07pm
I'm ok gettin multiples signed, my favorite band is Van Halen and I would love to get every album signed. However I would never get more than 3-4 signed at one time, especially if there were others waiting. I have one friend who brings every cd that he has of a band plus a drum head to every show. His attitude is the same as the Jeff beck guy, "he can say no, if not I'll keep putting them out." Now this guy never sells and is a fan and never has more than 1 of the same cd. Another friend told me one time Kenny Loggins was headed into a show and he stopped to sign. He had a stack and Kenny said- "ok, I'm signing but once I see the same album, I'm done." Luckily he had all different albums.

I also don't begrudge people who sell items. I just don't like some of the attitudes that I see; like the artist owes them to sign their stack of albums. Sure, it's nice when the artists are nice and willing signers. But I never feel that I am owed anything.
As far as the Baby's goes. I think they put out 5 albums and maybe 2 greatest hits. To have 20-30 albums means at best, they had least 3-4 of each album. Even the new lead singer told me "yeah, I have 15 friends that I'm getting these signed for."

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