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!