The Pros and Cons of Hitchhiking -- Picking up a Rock Star!

The first radio station I worked at in the late 80s/early 90s, was great for a lot of reasons. One of them was the amount of autographed albums and CDs I was able to add to my collection.

Now, there would be a few times I didn’t score the autograph. When I was walking with the afternoon DJ to interview RUSH backstage at the Sports Arena, their female tour manager said “You can’t bring that drum cymbal back here! We’re not doing autographs.”

When only one person was allowed backstage at the Ozzy concert, a DJ lost the album I gave them to get signed. It was set down and stolen.

I’ve got thousands of stories about the autographs from those days – successes and failures. Gotta love those radio daze (as I like to call them).

This is a story that involves something slightly different. Our afternoon DJ “Rock and Roll Peg” was recently diagnosed with cancer. She was the highest rated DJ in our market, and is still a great friend. Of the thousands of stories she has as well, I loved this one best.

Since Eddie Vedder was a San Diego guy, when he joined Pearl Jam and they made it big, he occasionally came into our station for interviews. Yet it was one time when Peg was in L.A. that she saw him walking down the Sunset Strip. She pulled her car over, and asked if he wanted a ride. It’s funny that she actually had a Pearl Jam sticker on the back of the window, too. He seemed shocked that anybody recognized him, until he saw who it was.

I had given a few musicians rides in my cars, but it was usually when they were leaving the station and needed a lift to the airport or back to their hotel.

I did have a time a few years ago, where Macy Gray was playing a concert in town. I had a concert poster and CD I wanted signed, but forgot them at home. The show was great, but I immediately jumped in my car, and drove 20 minutes north to get my stuff. I had to turn around, drive the other 20 minutes back to the venue.

As I was driving around looking for a place to park, I saw her walking with a group of about 12 people. You can see her huge afro, even at night. Now, I felt awkward about doing this, but I pulled up next to her with my window down. I said “Hey Macy, great show tonight!”

She replied, “Hey thanks, man! Cool of ya to say.”

I asked if she could sign my stuff, and she did. She then said, “Let me ask you a favor. Can I get a ride from you? We’re going to this club downtown, and we just found out it’s going to be a really long walk.”

I said, “Sure, hop on in.”

She asked, “Can any of my friends fit in your car?”

I replied, “I don’t see why not.”

She then started looking around the inside of my car, and said “Damn man, your ride is messy as hell!”

Macy was right about that. I had a few magazines on the floor, my racquetball bag in the back, and probably trash from the last drive-thru I hit.

She asked if she could get a copy of the poster she signed. She hadn’t seen it before and liked the illustration.

Well, just as she’s about to get into my car, a short, balding white guy in a suit came over. He said “Uh, Macy…you don’t know this guy. Perhaps this isn’t the best idea.”

She seemed tired, and a bit out of it, as she tried pleading with the dude. Macy thanked me and said “I guess we gonna walk the rest of the way.”

But hey – at least my stuff got signed.

I was thinking of this story last week when I heard about what happened with Dave Matthews. It was before the Dave Matthews Band concert in Pittsburgh.

A woman named Emily Kraus and her boyfriend were driving to the show. They saw a guy stranded with his bicycle, and they pulled over to see if he needed help. Turns out, it was Matthews!

(I also thought about the time I met David Byrne of the Talking Heads – he likes to ride his bike around before shows)

Matthews didn’t have his cellphone with him and couldn’t call for help. So the couple used their bike rack, and they gave him a ride. He took them to dinner, backstage, and the tickets they had for the show soon became front-row seats with backstage passes.

I guess the moral of the story is – always keep your eyes peeled when heading to the venue for a concert. Just make sure that guy with long hair and sunglasses really is the bassist for Black Sabbath. Just sayin’.

Views: 363

Tags: Dave Matthews, Dave Matthews Band, David Byrne, Eddie Vedder, Macy Gray, Ozzy, Pearl Jam, Rock and Roll Peg, Rush

Comment by KarlKeaton on July 25, 2013 at 3:57am
Great stories, made me smile, thanks.
Comment by wascher on July 25, 2013 at 3:59am

Keep the "radio daze" stories comin' - love reading them!

Comment by J. Patel on August 13, 2013 at 12:12pm

I love this post Josh.  You always have the most interesting blogs.  I have a Google alert for autographs and this never came to my email.

Comment by Josh Board on August 14, 2013 at 12:06am

Thank you for the kind words, J. Patel!

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